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Showing posts from January, 2019

A Royal Instance of Robustification by Mark Hatmaker

Alexander I [Aleksandr Pavlovich 1777-1825], was a beloved Russian monarch. At the suggestion of his grandmother Catherine the Great…]
“…he was taught from his early childhood to sleep, lightly covered, with the windows wide open, and a mattress of morocco leather stuffed with hay. He became almost immune to weather, and enjoyed ‘extraordinary health and vitality.’”-Will & Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization, Vol. 11, page, 677. [The Age of Napoleon]
Keep in mind, this open-window robustification was in Russia.
[For an in-depth historical, cultural, and scientific examination of building cold tolerance and robustification see Cold Tolerance: Warriors,Explorers, the Science by Mark Hatmaker also on this blog.]

A Master Trainer on Training for Toughness by Mark Hatmaker

You’ll have to tolerate a paragraph or two from me before we get to the meat of today’s lesson, some wise words from a Master Trainer on training for robustness.
Who is the Master Trainer I speak of?
Jimmy DeForest.
For those not in the know, Jimmy DeForest was the boxing trainer and conditioning coach for…well, have look at a few of the luminaries he prepared for battle:
·Jack Dempsey
·Stanley Ketchel
·James J. Jeffries
·Joe Gans
·George Dixon
·Joe Walcott
·Kid McCoy
·Tommy Ryan
·Philadelphia Pal Moore
·Jack Sharkey
·Luis Angel Firpo
That is quite a stable of leather-tough, nail-spittin’, hard-hittin’ hombres if there ever was one.
These men all share in common heavy hands, no quit in the tank, and to-the-marrow toughness.
So, what was it that DeForest thought was so important?
Toughness. Robustness.
What is robustness?
It is not merely the conditioning one does [which is all fire important] it is also the circumstances, the environment, the overall “feel” or vibe that training is conducted in.
I…

Wisdom from a WWI Flying Ace by Mark Hatmaker

A change of pace as we look not only to the past for today’s lesson but also to a completely different realm of combat to see if there just may be any advice that is pertinent for the sport of MMA and real-world operator survival.
We’re going to look to strategic advice offered by German flying ace Oswald Boelcke, one of the top (if not the top) innovators and instructors in the Axis’ formidable flying force during the First World War. Boelcke personally chose the legendary young Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the famous/infamous Red Baron) to become his pupil and protégé and coached him to an astonishing string of air victories.
Boelcke was flying at a time when the airmen of both the Axis and Allied powers considered themselves “knights of the air”; they exercised a sort of curious chivalry with courtesies often offered to the opposition. Stories abound of pilots who upon finding their primitive machine guns jammed mid-dogfight receiving a simple salute and fly-away from their advers…

Submissive Signalling: Dogs & Humans by Mark Hatmaker

·Dog Submissive Signals: To keep peace or to be clear about not issuing challenges to hierarchical authority dogs use a variety of behaviors to “keep safe.” It is wise to pay close attention to this species with which we share a symbiotic relationship as there may be something telling in these universal strategies, one we may be unwisely signaling as humans every single day.
·How does a submissive dog act? Our short answer is…Like a puppy.
·Pay close attention here and feel free to substitute human for dog at any point in the mix—the rules of ethology hold.
·“Weak adults in many species of animals adopt juvenile postures or perform infantile actions when they are threatened by a dominant individual. If they lack the courage to match threat with counterthreat and risk engaging in a serious dispute, they resort to the animal equivalent of waving a white flag.”—Desmond Morris
·Notice these, so called value-laden words: “weak adults” “lacking courage” come from the science. They are accurate …

Drilling the “Rough Break” for Grappling & Streetwork by Mark Hatmaker

Let’s start with a little Old West history and then walk that into a mighty pragmatic drill-set that trains sensitivity, sensory deprivation, and overall resourcefulness.
Our first stop is a little horse-breaking practice that will upset horse-whisperers everywhere.
In the wild and wooly old days horses were mighty useful companions and work-mates, but, and this may come as a surprise to many, horses don’t pop out of the womb with a hankering to be ridden.
In our best-case scenario, a young horse is acclimated to people, raised around people, seen other horses ridden, and even then, the initial acceptance of bit, saddle and rider is still a slow process.
This rider-acceptance is all the more recalcitrant in a freshly captured mustang, a wild adult horse that has not been socialized to humans let alone fostered any unfulfilled dreams of losing its liberty and having a curiously garbed ape perched atop its back.
Compassionate “gentling” takes some time. Gentling is the preferred method, b…

The Admiral, “Iron Mike,” & The Father of Psychology by Mark Hatmaker

It’s the first week of the New Year and likely many of us are in the throes of commitment [or re-commitment.] We use the turn of a calendar page to assess ourselves, where we are now and where we want to be.
It’s a lovely tradition, a wise practice. It need not be tied to a mere one-day or one-month per year as “everyday is a new dawn” but…
If we’re going to resolve, let’s resolve big, and resolve wisely.
First, why do so many of us like the idea of increasing our resolve, forging our will?
Because many of us have our heads on straight to the fact that we are mortal. We’re all going to die, every tick of the analog second-hand is one tick closer to the end.
And if we’re really paying attention, that end is not necessarily some distant
“Golden Years” fading.
I have, and many of you have, up close and personal experiences with no matter how old you are, no matter your current state of health—we can be done and snuffed or altered in an instant.
The more we put off, the less we’ve lived. Of …