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Showing posts from June, 2019

Lessons from a Swashbuckler by Mark Hatmaker

This piece delves into literary waters to highlight a point of the wise marriage of academic martial study and exhaustive practice and application.

I will provide a lengthy extract from the swashbuckling novel Scaramouche by one of the masters of the historical novel, Rafael Sabatini.

The passage is from the sequence where our hero goes to a master-at-arms to become an exceptionally skilled swordsman.

I will provide the passage in full and we will pull apart aspects of it that demonstrate how we can use Andre-Louis’ method in our own training.

Feel free to ignore the swordsman specific advice that follows but, by all means latch onto the spirit of the thinking fighter’s approach.

Under this really excellent tuition AndreLouis improved at a rate that both astounded and flattered M. des Amis. He would have been less flattered and more astounded had he known that at least half the secret of AndreLouis' amazing progress lay in the fact that he was devouring the contents of the master'…

The Unique Legacy of Breath Control & Utilitarian Hacks by Mark Hatmaker

You are amazing.

That’s right, you.

Of all the species on this planet you possess a rather remarkable ability that I wager that you take for granted. 

Before we disassemble and then re-assemble this astounding legacy let’s revel in it.

First, take a deep breath through your nose.

Let it out.

Second, take a deep breath through your mouth.

Let it out.

What you did in both of those instances is demonstrate an ability that no other land mammal possesses.

One, your breathed ably and comfortably through both mouth and nose.

Two, and this is remarkable and significant, but almost invisible in its import as we do this so readily every single day of our lives we take it for granted—you consciously chose to take a breath, hold it for your own determined duration and exhaled at will.

Let’s leave our unusual anatomy that allows for our atypical mouth and/or nose breathing to another day and dig deeper into the conscious control of respiration.

We all breathe automatically, until we don’t and then we’re dead.

Historical Snapshot: The Top Five Bare-Knuckle Targets by Mark Hatmaker

In what now adds up to 43 years [and counting] of loving research in the area of old-school dealers of pain I have come across many unusual blows and quite a few sources naming this or that bit of the human anatomy ideal for delivering a walloping blow.

What follows are the targeting observations of an old-timer himself, boxing journalist Earl Raab, writing in 1943, on what he found to be the Top Five Targets from the Bareknuckle Era.

ONE-“Beneath the Ear”

There are many resources that put targeting the ear fairly high on the list but in Mr. Raab’s findings this bit just below the ear delivers many happy returns.

TWO-“Between the Eyebrows”

An ungloved blow here was found to give a high-percentage percussive effect.

THREE-“The Pit of the Stomach”

This would later be called “The Solar Plexus Punch” as made world-famous by Bob Fitzsimmons. 

FOUR-“The Heart”

A highly coveted blow and ungloved it still has exceptional disconcerting wallop. A particularly deadly form of this blow was covered in deta…


Let’s talk real world, rubber meets road altercation. Zero room for sport-fighting or choreography here.

In the “Fight or Flight” dictum we always counsel flight. Run. Get the hell out of wherever you are as quickly as possible. Some, will read the “flee no matter what” advice and cock an eyebrow asking “Always run? Even if they have a gun?”

You are right to be skeptical, after all, a gun does seem to be the great equalizer, able to inflict grievous harm upon us even at a distance. So, what do we do when we encounter a gun? Sorry to be the proverbial broken record but…you run.

Let me offer the following information to make your choice to run, no matter what, a bit more confident.

ŸUnder 5% of armed robbers utilizing a firearm fire the weapon--those are good odds to run. Repeat—Under 5%. A percentage point of somewhere in the neighborhood of 95+% do not fire the brandished weapon.
ŸThose who do fire the guns are not armed robbers but murderers or attempted murderers--I advise you to run fro…

Which Strikes, Which Submissions Earn the W? by Mark Hatmaker

Be patient with me, as before we get to the answer to the above question of bestest strike ever, most effective submission under the heavens, we’re going to take some seemingly unrelated side-roads.

·We’re going to walk with Netsilik hunters.
·Ponder the large part that a few lumps of sugar played in the D-Day invasion.
·Quote a little Ralph Waldo Emerson.
·Lay out legendary Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s simple test for evaluating field officers.
·Tell why WWII British Commandos and US Army Rangers praised soil engineers and geologists who never saw battle.
·Quote a little Smokin’ Joe Frazier
·And then, finally, answer the titled question and offer a suggestion or two about how we can add more W’s to our own combative curriculum vitae.

Netsilik Hunters

The Netsilik are indigenous peoples who inhabit the far north. Much of their survival is based upon hunting prowess. The land they inhabit is windswept trackless terrain and ofttimes snow-covered and featureless rendering the few familiar naviga…