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Showing posts from February, 2019

Doors, Center-Entry, Odin, & Jack Reacher by Mark Hatmaker

Let’s talk “making an entrance,” Vikings, action heroes and what can be gleaned from these for our day-to-day use.

By “making an entrance” I refer to how we step through any and all doorways. [BTW-This material might best be consumed in tandem with our lesson on The Killing Hand.]
To begin our journey let’s go back over 1,000 years to an Old Norse cycle of poems that in compiled form are known as the Havamal (“Sayings of the High One.”) The authorship is attributed to the God Odin, but we need not sweat the fictional origin of the wisdom to realize that the advice offered is grounded in the pragmatic and the tactical.
The passage we shall consult for today’s lesson is:
Allar dyrnar,
áður en þú ferð áfram,
ætti að líta á;
því erfitt er að vita
þar sem óvinir geta sest
innan bústaðs.
That is:
All door-ways,
before going forward,

should be looked to;
for difficult it is to know
where foes may sit
within a dwelling.”

Here, our fictional God is “writing” at a time when strife was common and offers a…

The Whip or Snap Hook

Opposable Thumbs, the Neo-Cortex & Padded Cells by Mark Hatmaker

[The following is excerpted from our book No Second Chance: A Reality Based Guide to Self-Defense.]

We, humans that is, have, like our primate cousins, opposable thumbs which enable us to grasp any object we see fit. One of the attributes that separates us from our primate cousins in the use of our opposable thumbs Is the myriad objects we see fit to grasp and how we utilize these objects once we grasp them. Our species is descended from a line that sought to grip objects and use them in ever more unique and creative ways. This grasping of an object and then turning it into a tool of some sort was (and is) so pronounced in hominids that one branch of our family tree has been dubbed Homo habilis or “Handy man.”

This ability to see wide and varied applications in grasped objects is the result of the neo-cortex, that vaunted overlay of brain matter that we find in our species. The neo-cortex is what allows us to pick up a hammer and see it both as a tool for construction or destruction. It…

Hack Speed & Conserve Energy by Killing Stance by Mark Hatmaker

Before we get into the scientific nitty-gritty, let’s do a little self-experimentation.
I want you to stand up right now and hit ten rapid Hindu Squats [deep-knee bends for the non-grappling minded.]
Did you do it? Ten hard and fast?
Now, let’s self-assess. How do the legs feel?
There is a possibility that the lungs required you to puff a wee bit and the heartrate elevated, but I wager that the low repetition number has not made any fatiguing demands on your legs. They are probably good to go for another ten.
Since the effects we are feeling are not leg fatigue but maybe elevated heart-rate and respiration let’s hit ten more but…
This time I want you to time them in the following manner.
·Rather than ten hard and fast, let’s go leisurely, drop down for Squat 1 and stay there for one solid minute, then return to standing.
·That’s rep one. Continue on down the line for a total of ten.
I wager the majority who submit to the self-experiment will do the first hard fast squats no problem but will b…

Rough ‘n’ Tumble Snapshot: Bad Georgia Road by Mark Hatmaker

The following excerpt is from Whitman Mead’s Travels in North America [1820.]
The author refers to an incident he witnessed in 1817 while travelling though Georgia.
Such gatherings, according to Mead, occurred 2-3 times per week where folks would gather to fellowship, feast, drink, dance, gamble, exchange wares, and often following the ever-present horse-race a public challenge may be issued.
At which time:
A ring is formed, free for anyone to enter and fight…After a few rounds, they generally clinch, throw down, bite and gouge, and the conquered creeps out under the ring as a signal of his submission.”
Mead tells of meeting several past combatants who had noses bitten off, eyes gouged out, and more than a few who had been castrated in such affairs.
Many of these now unsavory tactics were not mere desperation moves in the heat-of-battle but sought for targets-of-acquisition with their own strategy and methods.
[For more Rough & Tumble history see this blog,and for pragmatic applicati…

Rough & Ready Challenge: Kansas Burpees by Mark Hatmaker

Today’s bit of old-school fun takes a conditioning standard and adds the laborious pleasure of hefting sacks of Kansas grain at market time.
·Grab your grain-sack stand-in, make it one of heft, but not so hefty you have to break your reps. We’re looking for solid non-stop work.
·Too heavy, you’ll take too many breaks.
·Too light and we’ll miss all the Farmhand strength benefits of the struggle.
·Drop and hit your plank to push-up.
·Return to feet.
·Gut-grip the “grain sack” and hoist it to a shoulder.
·Push-press the load overhead.
·Drop it and repeat.
·Alternate shoulders with each rep for balanced strength.
·50 in just under 10-minutes.
·If it takes longer than 10 you either tip-toed your pace and will get a good dressing-down from the Boss or you gambled too heavy. Correct that mistake next time.

·If you come in around 50-seconds or more under, you gambled too light and went easy on yourself. Rev it up for the next time.
·Aim for a steady-pace that brings it in around that 1…

Hacking Fluid Natural Movement by Mark Hatmaker

Let’s attempt to walk smoothly the following seemingly unlikely path: Dog-Interactions, Successful Camel-Herding, Stalk-Hunting, 19th-Century French Literature, and finally end with an exercise called The Movement Soundtrack.
Some people inspire more negative reactions in dogs than others. Some dogs need a warming-up period so that the dog can learn the newcomer’s place in the hierarchy. Dogs can be slower to respond to those with herky-jerky, un-flowing, or quick body movements. Such movement, whether it be borne of aggression, nervousness, or simply the ingrained movement pattern of the human are read as aggressive or suspect by the dog.
If the dog begins barking [the nervous signal] and the human jerks back or retreats, this triggers the dog’s pursuit mode, the interaction deteriorates. The jerking back or retreat seems to “confirm” that this was an interloper or submissive animal to be dominated; a possible friend or dominant animal would not stand-down so easily.
Conversely, nervou…

Training for Courage: Intensity + Micro-Duration by Mark Hatmaker

The body is a time-machine.
That is, the mind [the currently intangible part of the body] anticipates a future event and the tangible portion of our body [the physiological structure and internal biochemical processes and all their attendant prowess] begins behaving in a direction towards that future state.
To make that clearer, the body while existing in the present is always on the look-out for what “might be on the horizon” and gets to work preparing for that possibility.
We have everything in common with Pavlov’s dogs. They salivated at a bell. We do the very same thing at the viewing of a Chicago deep-dish takeout menu, or the aroma of freshly baked bread, or hearing the smooth pour of a good bourbon in a glass.
We are not yet tasting whatever comestible or tipple it is we have summoned into mind by various bells, but our physiology goes into preparatory tasting mode just the same as those long-dead Russian dogs.
We live in the here and now but allow our thoughts to go to the not here…