Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Christian Martialism on a Budget, 5

The running tally for Christian Martialism on a Budget is as follows:

Holy Bible --------------------$00.00 (assuming you already own one)
By This Standard ------------$00.00 (available free online)
Prin. Personal Defense ------$17.24
The Gift of Fear ------ -------$07.99 (no shipping if you wait & order with a book to be named)
The Secrets of Jujitsu -------$00.00 (available free online)

Total: ---- ------------------ -$25.23

After you get a handle on the basic techniques of the palm heel & the knee blow, you will want to expand the number of your techniques. For this I recommend two books.

I've written about W.E. Fairbairn in previous posts, and his book Get Tough! provides a distillation of the basics of close quarters combat. You should study it as much for insights into mindset and combat spirit as for techniques. You can purchase reprints of the book, but since we are cutting all possible corners, the link above will take you to a Russian site that has reproduced this classic online.

Although Get Tough! is a great instructional aid and a classic, I always felt it could benefit from expanded explanation and some more illustrations. As a result, I produced the book 12 US Military Combat Techniques That Could Save Your Life. (Still at its introductory price: $17.98 + $3.78 S&H = $21.76). Use it as a companion volume to Fairbairn's book, and you will develop a repertoire of techniques that are basic, simple and effective.

In "Christian Martialism on a Budget, 6", I want to discuss going beyond technique in your training.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Christian Martialism on a Budget, 4

Training in Fighting Techniques, cont'd:
One of the greatest advantages to training in a martial art is the development of body skills. These include a sense of balance, coordination, reflexes and various kinesthetic senses. The beginner often thinks he is there to learn a lot of techniques so that he can defend himself. Often, however, the techniques are designed to illustrate and train the body skills. It takes wisdom & experience to winnow the street-effective techniques from those that are useful for body skill training alone.

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, a Scot by the name of Allan Corstorphin Smith was among the first Westerners initiated into the Eastern art of jujitsu. He received his black belt at the Kodokwan in Tokyo at a solemn ceremony which he attended wearing his kilt. After WWI, he taught close quarters combat to the US Army, and in 1920 he published a book called, The Secrets of Jujitsu.

Captain Smith evidently had keen powers of perception, an analytical mind and the ability to communicate concepts simply and clearly. When I found his book online, I realized how much more quickly and effectively I could have picked up certain skills if I'd had this information when I first started my jujitsu training. In fact, I used his book as the core curriculum a couple of times when I thought I'd found a practice partner (sadly, neither partner stuck with it).

You can learn jujitsu, develop body skills and train at applying some basic joint locks & chokes if you have a practice partner and Smith's book. Just this one caveat: PLEASE follow ALL the safety instructions in the book, so they become second nature. Some of the later techniques can be harmful or fatal if you do not follow his safety instructions TO THE LETTER. Even so, your decision to engage in the practice of jujitsu is your own, and I assume no liability whatsoever.

Here are two links to your free copy of Allan Corstorphin Smith's book:
The Secrets of Jujitsu (PDF)

The Secrets of Jujitsu (HTML)
(scroll down toward the bottom of the page for the links to the book)

In "Christian Martialism on a Budget, 5", I'll let you know about some supplemental resources for your training. One is free online, and the other will come out of the $100 budget.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Christian Martialism on a Budget, 3

So far, we have addressed the training of mindset & recommended the following resources:
  1. The Holy Bible $0.00 (assuming you already own a copy)
  2. By This Standard 0.00
In addition to a sense of justice, you need certain other mental traits to round out your warrior mindset. For this, I would recommend two books you may have to buy. One is Principles of Personal Defense by Jeff Cooper. It's $13.25 + $3.99 S&H from (You may be able to borrow it from your pastor -- if your pastor's name is John Knox.)

Cooper's book is short and an easy read, but don't let that fool you. Make it your 2nd mindset textbook (the Bible is first). Immerse yourself in it; memorize the seven mindset traits. Study them in light of Scripture, and then make them part of your meditation.

(In conjunction with Principles of Personal Defense, I recommend you study & meditate on passages such as II Timothy 2:3-4 and Ephesians 6:10-18.)

If Jeff Cooper's book (studied critically in light of Scripture) is Warrior Mindset 101, then Gavin DeBecker's The Gift of Fear (studied critically in light of Scripture) is Warrior Mindset 102. It costs $7.99 + S&H, but shipping is free if you order it along with another book I'm going to recommend, later. (This one is available in many public libraries or through interlibrary loan.)

Read DeBecker's book thoughtfully and empathetically. He uses true-life stories to illustrate his points, and you should let let the stories draw you in. Imagine yourself in the place of those people who suffered violence. But also be aware of the author's non-Christian worldview -- keep your Bible handy.

Memorize DeBecker's pre-incident indicators of violence. Understand them and be able to recognize them. In a year's time, this book along with Cooper's and your Bible will give you a solid foundation in the righteous warrior's mindset.

Training in Fighting Techniques:
Here is an area where someone with a lot of money can accumulate a lot of expensive instruction without gaining the desired knowledge and skills. It's often better to train lean & mean (or is it leanly & meanly?) with focus than to have all the bells & whistles that distract from the goal.

Providentially, the internet provides some incredible training information completely free of charge. I would recommend you begin with this blog. Re-read the post on the palm heel strike, and then the followup with the video link. Practice that one technique with your partner. Practice in ultra slow motion against each other's chins (foreheads, temples), with follow-through (slowly!). Then practice full force against a body shield, as in the video. If you don't have a body shield or focus mitt, improvise.

(Use a feed bag, pillowcase, etc. stuffed with sand, dry dirt, rolled newspaper . . . use what you have. In his comment on the first post in this series, Steven mentions hanging a striking bag. I once used a tree about 2.5" in diameter at shoulder height. I wrapped a couple of discarded foam cushions around it with duct tape. The tree had enough give to keep me from hurting my joints, but was sturdy enough that my hitting & kicking did not damage it.)

In addition to the palm heel strike, you should develop the skill of striking with your knee. My post on the calisthenic/training combo from Arwrology should help you here. As with the palm heel, you can practice with a partner. (Do it in slow motion to avoid injury, but wear a cup, just in case.) Practice the knee to the groin as well as grabbing his head and bringing it down to meet your knee as it comes up. (Did I mention to do this in ultra slow motion?)

If you follow the links in my post WWII Combatives, you will find demonstrations of both the palm heel and the knee blow. After warm-ups & stretching, every training session should include a practice of these fundamental techniques. You may add some others after a few months, but practice these until you can do them automatically with speed & power and no telegraphing. Then practice them some more.

The rest of your training time should include the development of body skills and perhaps some joint locking techniques. I believe one way to accomplish this cheaply is to train in jujitsu. In my next post, I am going to reveal to you what I have found to be the absolute best resource for a beginner and his partner to learn jujitsu on their own without an instructor. Did I mention that it's also free?

See "Christian Martialism on a Budget, 4".

Friday, January 25, 2008

Christian Martialism on a Budget, 2

Given: You have a training partner, $100 to spend and a year to gain the fundamental skills of a Christian Martialist. In this post I will discuss developing the righteous warrior mindset on a budget.

Many soldiers have gone into battle thinking they would have no problem killing an enemy, right up until the moment of pulling the trigger. Then they found they couldn't do it. They would rather be killed themselves than take another life. Why?

The answer is mindset. Somewhere deep inside they realized that taking a human life is a grave responsibility. In addition, they were not fully convinced in their inmost being of the rightness of that act. In order to kill an enemy who threatens your life or the lives of your loved ones, you must have an absolute and unwavering sense of justice in doing so.

How do you know what's just and assimilate that knowledge into the very fiber of your being? The answer is Biblical Law. The Law of God as contained in Holy Scripture is an expression of His sense of justice. That's just another way of saying that The Law reveals the God's character. (I'm not talking here about Law as a means to salvation, but as a continuing standard of right & wrong.)

If you have fallen into the error that says God has somehow nullified His Law in this dispensation, I suggest you read Greg Bahnsen's By This Standard. It's available for free, online. Even if you believe in the abiding validity of The Law, read the book -- it will help solidify your convictions.

If you don't love God's Law, then you don't love His justice, and you don't love His character. Immerse yourself in the study of The Law (but don't neglect studying His mercy & grace, either). Think of the Book of Psalms as God's Law set to music -- let it seep into your heart. That was a major contributing factor in making the Presbyterian Scots such terrifying warriors.

I'm assuming that a Christian Martialist already owns a Bible, so the expense for this most important resource for molding of mindset is $0.00. We'll continue talking about mindset "Christian Martialism on a Budget, 3".

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Christian Martialism on a Budget

I received a question from Colton that brings up a topic very near to my heart:

Ok, so I decide to start learning self defense as outlined by ["The Best Self Defense System"] set of articles but I have a limited budget, or even a moderate budget. What is the best bang for the buck I can get as far as resources. There have been a variety of resources presented. but could you outline a set of resources which would be sufficient for learning the basics? i.e. personal fitness, handfighting, mindset ect.

Great question! In fact, it's a question that I'll have to answer over a series of posts. But before I begin, I want to set some parameters to make this a little more challenging. Let's say that I'm addressing a teenage young man with limited resources -- say, $100 to spend over the next year. Let's also assume that he has a buddy (brother? dad?) who is eager to be his training partner, but who cannot contribute to the expenses.

Can this aspiring Christian Martialist acquire basic warrior skills in a year for only $100? I believe he can. There are some excellent resources out there that tend to be somewhat expensive. There are also some top notch resources you can get for free.

Let's start with mindset: "Christian Martialism on a Budget, 2".

Monday, January 21, 2008

Recovery, 2

What is recovery? Recovery is the process of rest and repair that tissues need after a workout. Muscles and tendons strengthen and develop between training sessions. The stress you put on your muscles, for example, during a session prompts them to come back stronger after recovery.

The amount of time you need to recover is directly proportional to the intensity of your workout. Adequate sleep and good nutrition are also integral to tissue recovery. Gentle stretching helps increase blood flow which is necessary to carry off toxic wastes, oxygenate and nourish stressed tissues.

Some of my own injuries developed because I didn't allow adequate recovery time between exercise periods. When recovery time is too short, you go into your next session with tissues that have not had sufficient time to repair themselves.

Most recently, I have cut out (for now) the isometric exercises I added to my routine. Even at two or three times a week, my knees were constantly sore, and my old shoulder injury started to act up. I had a choice to make. I could tough it out and risk the probability of eventually being unable to continue my program at all, or I could give my joints a rest and continue at a lower level of intensity.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Wolf in Sheepdog's Fur: The Unconsecrated Warrior

I am grateful to my barber for sending me the following story:

Ivan the Great became the great sovereign ruler of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together warring tribes and independent provinces. He has been called the gatherer of all of Russia. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.

However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.

The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of
Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.

The King of Greece was delighted. It would align
Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan's response, "I will do it!"

So, a priest was dispatched to
Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.

He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over

What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue
Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia—ribbons of valor, medals of courage, and their weapons of battle.

Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they would have to give up their commitment to bloodshed. They could not be killers and church members too.

After a hasty round of diplomacy, the problem was solved quite simply. As the words were spoken and the priests began to baptize them, each soldier reached to his side and withdrew his sword. Lifting it high overhead, every soldier was totally immersed-everything baptized except his fighting arm and sword.

That is a true historical fact. The unbaptized arm. What a powerful picture of Christianity today. How many unbaptized arms are here this morning? How many unbaptized wills are here? How many unbaptized talents? Unbaptized check books? Unbaptized social activities? How many are there here this morning?

[Dr. Wayne Dehoney, Walnut Street Baptist Church,]

I have no idea whether the foregoing story is actually true or not, but it is fascinating, nonetheless. Pastor Dehoney's application is also effective and vivid. What interests me, however, is that the story reveals certain general mis-perceptions of Biblical teaching.

The man in the street seems to assume that Christ taught pacifism. I know this because people who see me reading my Bible in a public place often engage me in conversation. Many of them assume that I'm against capital punishment or that, in the face of a murderous orc, I would turn the other cheek.

Even worse, some professing Christians seem to have the attitude that Biblical ethics only works in civilized settings. They think that in the case of violent assaults (or war), we need an extra-biblical solution to the problem. Such thinking results in the conclusion that Biblical ethics are for peace, but all morality goes out the window in violent conflict. That idea is wrong and dangerous.

Some of this attitude may come from a false view of Luke 3:14.

And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

As we read John the Baptizer's charge to professional soldiers, we would think that "do violence to no man" is an exhortation to pacifism. The the phrase do violence, however, translates a Greek verb that means
  1. to shake thoroughly
  2. to make to tremble
  3. to terrify
  4. to agitate
  5. to extort from one by intimidation money or other property (Thayer's Lexicon)
The idea behind the word is the same as an American slang term for extortion. We say that the mob shakes down small business owners for protection money, and we refer to such activities as a shakedown racket. So, John was telling the soldiers not to shake civilians down for economic advantage.

The very fact that he told them to content themselves with their wages as military men implies that he had no scruples against military service. Neither is there any evidence that would deny baptism to a soldier based on his military affiliation.

I conclude that we must wholly baptize the righteous warrior -- including his sword-bearing arm. He must fight evil as a Christian lest he become part of the evil, himself. The sheepdog must remain a sheepdog, for if we train him to act like a wolf, even in our defense, we will have cause to fear him.

David Morrell's novel First Blood makes that point much more eloquently than the Sylvester Stallone film based on it. The book relates the story of what society can expect when it turns its young men into amoral killing machines. There was no sequel to the novel, because in the book, John Rambo dies. Col. Troutman, who had trained and unleashed the beast within the troubled vet, put him down like a mad dog.

Morrell's novel is actually more violent than the movie, and its ending is in no way satisfying. It's not meant to be. It shows what happens when we separate baptism and all it signifies from the use of force.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lines in the Dirt, 3

Continued from "Lines in the Dirt, 2"

See if you don't like the following scenario better than the previous one:

Your hands are full, carrying shopping bags to your car at a location with just one other person around. You see him from the corner of your eye, and he has cut off the route of return to the safety of the crowd. Your internal orc-alert is in full alarm. You decide that if it's a choice between you or him, you're going to take him out.

You turn to face him fully.

"Those packages look heavy. Need . . . ?"

You interrupt him in mid-sentence: "LEAVE ME ALONE."

"Hey, I'm just offering to help." He smiles broadly as he continues toward you.

You drop your shopping bags and bring your hands up into the non-challenging defensive position. "STOP! I SAID, 'LEAVE ME ALONE.'"

(Dropping your packages sends a message. If someone is just trying to be helpful, it lets him know that you are alarmed and want him to go away. It also informs a predator that you will not be easy prey. Since you are speaking in a loud voice, it also alerts anyone within earshot that trouble may be brewing. As a bonus, it says to your more timid self that your assertive side is taking over.)

At this point, you have drawn a line. It's not a literal line on the asphalt of the parking lot, but a psychological line of words. At this point, anyone with truly good intentions is not going to cross that line. In this example, though, Providence has not sent someone with good intentions.

"Oh, look. You've dropped your packages. You're probably one of those paranoid people whose mother told them not to talk to strangers. I'll help you pick up your stuff." He closes the distance.

You uncork your fury and counterattack as though you are fighting for your life -- for you are. By ignoring your verbal warnings, he has crossed the line; he has made his intentions known. Even though you may strike the first blow, his attack begins the moment he crosses the line. At that point, the fight is on.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Buying a Sword, 2

Continued from "Buying a Sword"

At this point, everyone agrees (don't you?) that when Jesus told his disciples, "he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one," He meant for them to arm themselves. Therefore, we may now address the question of why He said this. I see three possible interpretations here.
  1. He wanted the disciples to defend Him against capture and crucifixion;
  2. He wanted the disciples to go on a mission of conquest to convert the heathen at the point of the sword;
  3. He wanted the disciples to use weapons defensively against attack.
The first option is absolutely excluded by Jesus' reaction when Peter used his sword at the scene of Jesus' arrest. The Lord rebuked him, told him to put up his sword, and then He restored the ear which the overzealous disciple had sliced from the head of Malchus. Jesus obviously did not want His disciples to defend Him or in any way keep Him from the death that would accomplish their redemption.

The second option, bringing the world into Christ's fold through violent conquest, may suit the religion of Mohamed, but it is not the strategy which Jesus gave to His disciples. The Gospel of Matthew, which culminates in the Great Commission, is replete with strategy and tactics. We may summarize the program of Christ in this manner: 1) Gospel words and 2) Gospel deeds. There is not hint of approval for methods involving violence or intimidation.

This leaves the third option: that Jesus was warning the disciples of possible violence. As they proceeded on their mission of peace, there would be robbers and perhaps even assassins who might attack them. Although their overall strategy was one of peaceful words and deeds, He gave them permission to meet violent attack with righteous force.

This interpretation is the obvious one in the context of the exhortation to carry a purse and scrip on their mission. It also is the only option I can think of that holds up to the greater context of Jesus' life and mission. As a commentator, Albert Barnes was not one to overlook the obvious. Concerning Luke 22:36-38, he concluded:

All, therefore, that the passage justifies is:
  1. That it is proper for people to provide beforehand for their wants, and for ministers and missionaries as well as any others.
  2. That self-defense is lawful.
Men encompassed with danger may lawfully “defend” their lives. It does not prove that it is lawful to make “offensive” war on a nation or an individual.

If you are a Christian Martialist, you should settle in your mind exactly what Jesus was saying, and you should also decide exactly how you will apply this passage to your own life.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Lines in the Dirt, 2

Continued from "Lines in the Dirt"

Put yourself in this scenario:

You normally don't park so far from the mall entrance at night, but there were no spaces closer. Your hands are full of bags from the store, and you see him. Your internal "orc-alert" begins glowing, a blue flame.

He says, "Need help with those packages?"

Maybe you're just being paranoid. Maybe he just wants to help. "No, I'm fine."

He moves closer, smiling. "It's no trouble. Someone helped me right here last week, and I'd like to pass it on. Let me take some of those for you." He reaches out.

"No, really. I can handle it."

You can handle the packages, but can you handle what's about to happen next? Through indecision (and, perhaps a little denial) you let a stranger get too close, and your hands are still filled and useless for defense. In one more second the momentum will be all his.

In another Lines in the Dirt, 3, I'll present a better reaction to to an approaching stranger. (Incidentally, how many pre-incident indicators of violence can you identify in the above scenario? Should be easy if you've read The Gift of Fear.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lines in the Dirt

They glare at each other with the righteous indignation rarely found outside the society of prepubescent boys. Then, with the toe of his shoe, one of them etches a line in the dirt. It's a challenge as clear and as formalized as the slap of a glove in dueling days.

The other boy steps over the line, and the fight is on. The beginning of the fight is clear-cut and mutually agreed upon. Such is not the case in the violent world of the orc.

Predatory violence looks a lot more like a scene I remember from a Louis L'Amour novel (I don't remember which one -- if someone knows, please post a comment). A gang of toughs had maneuvered the town marshal into the middle of the street. He told them to disperse, but they ignored him and kept talking as they gradually surrounded and closed in.

Finally, they were close enough for someone to jerk the marshal's revolver from his holster. Then they beat him to the ground and kicked him into unconsciousness. The marshal's problem was indecisiveness -- the lack of a clear-cut line that signaled him to act before it was too late.

This is the same indecision that violent predators like to foster in their intended victims. More about that in Lines in the Dirt, 2

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Controlling Adrenaline Stress through Breath Control, 2

Controlling adrenaline stress reactions by means of breath control relies on an interesting physiological phenomenon: your heart rate and your breath rate are connected. It makes sense, because during intense physical exercise your muscles need more oxygen, so you breathe faster to get more O2 into the bloodstream, and the heart beats faster to deliver it to the cells that need it. It's all part of that "fearfully and wonderfully made" design.

In stressful situations, your heart rate increases as your breathing . . . .

{The material which originally appeared in this blog along with a lot more information and practical methods now appears in my e-book, How to Take Control of Your Adrenaline. Click here to learn more.}

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Buying a Sword

Did Jesus command His disciples to go armed into the world? A prima facie reading of Luke 22:35-38 sure seems to indicate that He did:

And He said unto them, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?" And they said, "Nothing." Then said He unto them, "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end." And they said, "Lord, behold, here are two swords." And He said unto them, "It is enough."

It is interesting -- though frustrating to Christian Martialists -- that commentators seem to agree that Jesus is not telling His disciples to go forth into the world armed. Matthew Henry furnishes a classic example:

They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce upon them than they had been, and they would need magazines as well as stores: He that has no sword wherewith to defend himself against robbers and assassins (2Co 11:26) will find a great want of it, and will be ready to wish, some time or other, that he had sold his garment and bought one. This is intended only to show that the times would be very perilous, so that no man would think himself safe if he had not a sword by his side. But the sword of the Spirit is the sword which the disciples of Christ must furnish themselves with. Christ having suffered for us, we must arm ourselves with the same mind (1Pe 4:1), arm ourselves with an expectation of trouble, that it may not be a surprise to us, and with a holy resignation to the will of God in it, that there may be no opposition in us to it: and then we are better prepared than if we had sold a coat to buy a sword.

If Henry is correct, when Jesus told His disciples to arm themselves with swords, He really meant for them to arm themselves"with an expectation of trouble" and "with a holy resignation to the will of God in it . . . ." It would mean that Jesus is using the concept of taking up a sword as a metaphor for the opposite of defending oneself. This is an odd use of language, at best.

Matthew Henry raises another possibility: that the sword Christ refers to is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). In this case the meaning would be for them to go armed with the Word of God. As a metaphor, this interpretation makes more sense, although it, too, has certain problems.

First, if purse and scrip are metaphors for economic provision, then the most sensible meaning for sword would be the use of potentially lethal force. This is the meaning of the word in Romans 13:4 in reference to the civil magistrate's authority backed up by lethal force:

For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Second, when the disciples showed Him that they had two swords, it would have provided the perfect opportunity to correct their literal misinterpretation of His words. That is exactly what He did after He warned the Twelve to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and they thought He was reproving them for not bringing along bread.

"How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?" Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12)

Far from correcting them, Jesus responded by saying, "It is enough," thereby implying that they had understood Him correctly, and that their provision of arms was sufficient. I do not see how to take Jesus' words other than as an admonition for disciples to arm themselves.

More on this in "Buying a Sword, 2".

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Warrior Fitness -- Posture, 6

Go hang yourself. That's the advice of many a physical therapist and chiropractor to patients with back problems. Of course the hanging I'm talking about doesn't involve a rope tied in noose.

I'm referring to hanging by your hands rather than by your neck. Although I've heard this before, it was an e-letter from John E. Peterson that convinced me to try it. I hang from the rung of a ladder, although you can do this from a chinning bar, if you have one.

I hung myself this morning after Laura & I took our walk. It gets gravity working in my favor to align the vertebrae. You might want to try it, too.

Simply hang at full arms' length for 10-30 seconds. A daily hang tends to keep your spine in proper alignment. This, of course, not only helps relieve back pain, but also improves posture. Warriors with healthy backs tend to fare better in battle.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Controlling Adrenaline Stress through Breath Control

A little adrenaline is good in a crisis. It quickens your responses, sharpens your focus and increases your power. A little too much adrenaline can hinder you in a crisis. It can give you tunnel vision or even cause your senses to black out. It can unhinge your reactions from reality.

If you have a means of controlling adrenaline stress, it can work for you rather than against you. You can achieve that control with a simple technique. Many martial arts teach some form of this technique, and I've seen it in articles about how to control "butterflies" before a job interview or giving a speech. In his book On Combat, David Grossman . . . .

{The material which originally appeared in this blog along with a lot more information and practical methods now appears in my e-book, How to Take Control of Your Adrenaline. Click here to learn more.}

I will describe the technique for controlling adrenaline stress in my next post.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Quick Plea for Input

If you're looking at the blog today, Happy New Year (& a joyous 8th day of Christmas). I want to very briefly ask for your input.

Someone has suggested that I include on the right side of the blog some links to some of my best articles. My problem is I don't know which are the best (I confess to the erroneous feeling that everything I write is wonderful). Therefore I'd like you, my readers to choose a favorite or two that I might put in a "Best Of" column.

As #5 said in the movie Short Circuit, "I NEED INPUT!"