Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Captain Atom and Jiu JItsu

I have found one lesson on jiu-jitstu from the Captain Atom series of comics. Rather than a how-to, it gives a rather general overview.

Visit the Comic Book Self Defense Page to see self defense comics previously posted.

Before Comics, Trading Cards

I have previously shared some of the comic book instruction in self defense that peaked in the 1950's. It may interest WARSKYL readers to know that long before comic books, someone might receive instruction in jiu-jitsu by purchasing cigarettes. (NOT an endorsement!)

A publication of the New York Public library explains about cigarette cards:

Cigarette or tobacco cards began in the mid-19th century as premiums, enclosed in product packaging. They were usually issued in numbered series of twenty-five, fifty, or larger runs to be collected, spurring subsequent purchases of the same brand. Typically, these small cards feature illustrations on one side with related information and advertising text on the other. (This digital presentation enables both views.) The height of cigarette card popularity occurred in the early decades of the 20th century, when tobacco companies around the world issued card sets in an encyclopedic range of subjects. After a slump during the First World War, popularity resumed, with new emphasis on film stars, sports, and military topics.

I have discovered that jiu-jitsu appeared as one of the topics in a cigarette card series. Here is an example.

This series shares some of the deficits of the least helpful comic book instruction. Sparse details in both the drawings and the instructions leave a lot to the practitioner's imagination. This leads to practice based on trial and error, which may well result in injury. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hebrew Battle Cry

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)

I have written before on the utility of the battle cry in controlling adrenaline stress (See here and here). This video came to my attention through a niece of mine, and it gives a lot of insight into a Hebrew battle cry based on the verse above.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From the Barber's Chair: Aglockalypse?

My barber sent me the link to an article about the fact that Glock seems about to take over as the U.S. armed forces handgun of choice. I have to publish it, not only because it heralds some historic changes, but also because any author who uses a word like Aglockalypse deserves a hearing.

Breaking: Rangers Go Glock, Is the US Army Soon to Follow? 1911s Not Longer Pistol of Choice for SF

I'm not in a position to either laud or criticize this particular movement in history. Like a lot of old curmudgeons, I don't often get carried along with the times. If you favor the latest in krunchentickers, I know you will do well, but I still like Perry Como, Patti Page, old movies and old friends.

I also still like my 1911 and I'll stand behind it . . . especially in a day of trouble.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cossack Christian Warrior Culture

This post on the Cossacks as representatives of a Christian warrior culture appeared on another blog of mine in 2011. I think it's worth republishing here.

Although I find various aspects of Eastern Orthodox belief & practice foreign to my understanding of Scripture, I do recognize Orthodox culture as one expression of Trinitarian faith in a social context. As a Christian Martialist, I find the Cossack warrior culture of particular interest.

Wikipedia's article on the Cossacks says that they Orthodox, and of the Old Believer persuasion in terms of liturgy and dogma. The way they organized their society appeals to my Christian Martialist leanings.

Wikipedia says,

In early times, Cossack bands were commanded by an ataman (later called hetman). He was elected by the tribe members at a Cossack rada, as were the other important band officials: the judge, the scribe, the lesser officials, and even the clergy. The ataman's symbol of power was a ceremonial mace, a bulava.
. . . . The ataman had executive powers and at time of war he was the supreme commander in the field. Legislative power was given to the Band Assembly (Rada). The senior officers were called starshyna. In the absence of written laws, the Cossacks were governed by the "Cossack Traditions," the common, unwritten law.
Cossack society and government were heavily militarized. The nation was called a host (vois’ko, translated as 'army'), and subdivided into regimental and company districts, and village posts (polky, sotni, and stanytsi).
Each Cossack settlement, alone or in conjunction with neighboring settlements, formed military units and regiments of light cavalry (or mounted infantry, for Siberian Cossacks) ready to respond to a threat on very short notice.

In my fantasies, I see a society of believers tied together by something like the Scottish Confession of 1560, who live in a martialist community as described in the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy and incorporates the best from various Christian Martialist communities of the past (Scottish Covenanters, Cossacks, Paladins, etc.).

Sadly,I believe the only thing that would force us together into such a community is a great upheaval of our civilization.

Oh well . . . a guy can dream, can't he?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Come O Thou Traveler Unknown

Before wrestling with forces of wickedness in high places, we would do well to wrestle first with God. I could not find a performance of this hymn that included all 14 stanzas, but I have provided them below the video.

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,
My misery and sin declare;
Thyself hast called me by my name,
Look on Thy hands, and read it there;
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold!
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal
Thy new, unutterable Name?
Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell;
To know it now resolved I am;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

’Tis all in vain to hold Thy tongue
Or touch the hollow of my thigh;
Though every sinew be unstrung,
Out of my arms Thou shalt not fly;
Wrestling I will not let Thee go
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,
And murmur to contend so long?
I rise superior to my pain,
When I am weak, then I am strong
And when my all of strength shall fail,
I shall with the God-man prevail.

My strength is gone, my nature dies,
I sink beneath Thy weighty hand,
Faint to revive, and fall to rise;
I fall, and yet by faith I stand;
I stand and will not let Thee go
Till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,
But confident in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquered by my instant prayer;
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me if Thy Name is Love.

’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy bowels move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

My prayer hath power with God; the grace
Unspeakable I now receive;
Through faith I see Thee face to face,
I see Thee face to face, and live!
In vain I have not wept and strove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

I know Thee, Savior, who Thou art.
Jesus, the feeble sinner’s friend;
Nor wilt Thou with the night depart.
But stay and love me to the end,
Thy mercies never shall remove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

The Sun of righteousness on me
Hath rose with healing in His wings,
Withered my nature’s strength; from Thee
My soul its life and succor brings;
My help is all laid up above;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Contented now upon my thigh
I halt, till life’s short journey end;
All helplessness, all weakness I
On Thee alone for strength depend;
Nor have I power from Thee to move:
Thy nature, and Thy name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey,
Hell, earth, and sin, with ease o’ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home,
Through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sheepdogging It

I drove my wife and daughter to English Country Dancing last night. The past few months they have gone without me. As an introvert, I get pretty much all the social interaction I need living with my wife and an adult daughter.

Earlier this week, though, Laura mentioned to me her concerns over security during the Friday evening dances. I told her that I would drive and watch the door from the parking lot. During my time in the ministry, I had pulled quite a few security gigs, to support my family (and my preaching habit), so I knew the job description.

I took along my laptop, figuring to connect through the free WiFi at McDonald's right next door to the Baptist Church building where they held the monthly folk dances. The signal proved too weak for me to access the web, so I settled in to spend the next three hours just watching.

There's a big difference between watching and just waiting. When you watch, you notice things.

I had picked a spot where I could monitor the one unlocked door as well as the fenced-in area behind the building. A couple of boys, whose parents had come to dance, played outside, occasionally joined by some other children from inside. I noticed, disapprovingly, that the gates on either side of the area stood wide open.

I knew from past experience that pedestrians sometimes cut through that yard as a shortcut. Did their parents not see the open gates? Did they not think to close them before turning their sons loose outside? Well, no matter. I was there. Standing watch.

Laura later told me that the boys' father kept looking out to check on them. He still should have closed the gates.

After a while, the thunder and lightning started. (Why do we say, "thunder and lightning?" The lightning always comes first.) The boys went inside, and I changed my vantage point. Then came a bright flash followed by loud CRACK, and the lights went out.

The traffic light on the corner still worked as did some stadium lights a little way off, but the parking lot lights had gone black. I got out of the van as the rain began to fall more heavily. I had my flashlight in case folks needed to see to exit the building. When I got to the glass door, I could see through the window in the inner door that the building had not lost its lights.

When I looked up, I could see the sodium pole lamps already starting to come back on. I returned to the van, pelted by cool drops that felt good after the humidity and triple-digit heat of the day.

In the course of the evening, some cars pulled into the lot to drop off late comers. One lady exited the door, got into a car and drove away, evidently after dropping off passengers. Then she returned later to pick them up. I wondered if any of them saw me.

I wondered if any of them questioned the presence of an old guy sitting in a van in the lot, just watching. Did the warning light flash in anyone's head? Not likely. Most folks pass through the parking lot the way they pass through life. Things around them never register.

Last night I stood watch. Not for pay. Not because anyone asked me. I stood watch because . . . it's just. . . what I do.