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The Traceless Warrior

The Thoughts of a Teacher of the Martial Ways

Updated: 2017-11-14T10:16:55.493-05:00


Why Anthony Wiener needs to retire from politics


Surprised I think that? You shouldn't be.

Right now as I follow the story I see people on the right calling for Wiener's head, and people on the left trying to excuse his behavior.

The Right's argument seems to boil down to "his actions prove that he is an immoral scumbag, so he should resign." I can buy that argument, but the problem is that, as far as I can tell, everyone in office is pretty much an immoral scumbag, so if you take that tack, everyone needs to resign (which is maybe not such a bad idea)

The argument on the Left is that Wiener broke no laws. This is correct as far as we can tell. Phone sex and sexting are not illegal acts per se. It does not seem to be the case the Wiener has even broken his wedding vows, at least technically. So this is not a case like that of Elliot Spitzer or David Vitter who actually broke the law.

So why should Wiener resign then? It's simple, his actions demonstrate a profound lack of emotional maturity, coupled with an inability to project the consequences of his actions into the future and act accordingly. He also shows a lack of conscience, which is to say he shows no connection to understanding that his actions will hurt a great many people.

I accept the fact that to get elected and hold office in this country you need to be a borderline sociopath, but it matters to me which side of that line someone lands.

Weiner's emotional underdevelopment, in my opinion, makes him unfit for office and the right thing for him to do is to retire from political life and get himself some psychological help and some marriage counseling.

We need people in office who are both intellectually and emotionally mature, and Wiener as shown himself to be neither.

Life is unfair


But sometimes it's unfair in your favor.

I have again been the guest on the Diamond Hour with my friend Steve Barnes. This is the first cast of the show since Steve made his move from the West Coast to the East coast. As usual we had great fun talking about all manner of things. Check it out.

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More for the Exercise Nerd in all of us


Two More Core  Exercises

The first I call "Double Poling". I use it to help keep in shape over the warm months for winter XC skiing. All you need are enough resistance bands to give you a challenge, and a hook at about shoulder level.

Here is my student Laura demonstrating  the exercise.

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As you can see, the whole body works together, but the focus is on the core contraction, just as if you were propelling yourself forward on XC skis. There is also a serious cardio component to this one.

Here is a pretty good tutorial on actual double poling, so you can see how the two relate.

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Today's second exercise, demonstrated by Joe, is called the "rope pull".

It is also done with resistance bands and a hook, but this one is designed to address the obliques and build strength, stability and endurance along the diagonal line of the torso.

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This one also has a nice cardio component to it.

We usually do both of these exercises as Tabata sets, 20 seconds at fast speed, 10 second rest period for 8 rounds.

Exercise Nerd


A new hash-tag is born!

My friend Carey Rockland has coined a new hash-tag for the twitterverse, #ExerciseNerd. This allows those of us who get all geeked over tinkering with exercise to be able to easily aggregate our conversations on witty new ways to create happy muscle soreness.

In honer of this most momentous event, I would like to start introducing some of the exercises I use with my students to help them with their conditioning. I'm also planning on some do-it-yourself exercise posts in the near future that may be of interest.

So here is the first of what may be an ongoing series for your edification.

All that is required for this exercise is something to give you resistance like a thera-band or dyna-band, some way to anchor it, and a bit of room to move. (For more resistance you can use two or three bands at the same time).

The idea is to stand facing the anchor point holding an end of the band in each hand. You then swing out for a leg or hip throw motion, making sure to focus on good form, with careful attention to core activation throughout the throw. Your obliques will thank you.

Here is my student Adam demonstrating the exercise, which will do more to pass it on to you than reading about it. Enjoy!

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I think Dennis Kucinich is the last politician I have any respect at all for.


Here's the sort of thing any decent public servant should be saying.

(I hope Obama is paying attention).

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Rule #1 applies


Someone (Named Timothy, Thanks Dewd) Mentioned  that my last post referenced "Sword of Truth".

I have to allow that I didn't know what he was talking about, so I did a bit of quick research (I love Wikipedia!) and discovered that "Sword Of Truth" is a series of books by Terry Goodkind the first of which is called "Wizard's First Rule". I had not in fact read these books, having come to the realization of Rule #1 all on my own by the simple expedient of watching my fellow humans for quite a long time, as well as examining my own inner workings. But I have to say, Goodkind's take on Rule #1 is pretty good, and more to the point, perfectly explains the situation in America today (on ALL sides).

So here is Terry Goodkind's read on Rule #1, taken from the book "Wizard's First Rule".

"Wizard's First Rule: people are stupid." Richard and Kahlan frowned even more. "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."

 Pity the poor human. The main quality that makes us human is not speech, or tool making, it is the near infinite capacity for self delusion. Understand this and you will understand the greater part of history, politics and religion.

Rule #1 Applies!

Say goodby to the State of Michigan


Say hello to the new corporate Territories.

I try to not feel too bad about it, people here were gullible enough to elect someone like Snyder, even knowing what happened to Gateway Computers. So when they get what they deserve asked for, we should remember Rule #1.*

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But I hate to see this happening. We have given up any semblance of a democracy, and when Snyder starts giving the State over to his buddies I hope the Tea Baggers are happy with their new corporate overlords. (Bunch of F^*@#*G idiots)

(Rule #1: People are Stupid)



I am becoming quite the media personality (HA!)

I was invited back on the Diamond Hour to discuss the idea of flow, what it is and how to find it with my friend Steve Barnes. We were having so much fun we ran overtime. Take a listen.

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The Latist Political Meme


"A public union employee, a tea party activist and a CEO are sitting at a table with a plate of a dozen cookies in the middle of it. The CEO takes 11 of the cookies, turns to the tea partier and says, "Watch out for that union guy he wants a piece of your cookie."

Scott Sonnon's Interview by TACTICAL Magazine


I would like to recommend this to all my many fives of fans.

Scott just did a rather informitive interview with Tactical Magazine on the subject of Tacfit, it's well worth the read,

Thought for the day


The thing I find most interesting about predictions of the end of the world is that so far they have been 100% wrong. 

In any other field, that kind of failure would drive people away in droves. Can you imagine a stock broker staying in business if he were to be 100% wrong about his stock choices? How about a farmer who was 100% wrong about when to plant his crops?

Yet many people, when confronted by this failure, rather than avoiding the people who make these sorts of prognostications in the future, instead rationalize as to why the prediction was incorrect.

Now this is different from the usual "prophecy" pattern, where someone says something obscure which is then pointed to after some event as "proof" that the prophecy was correct (The prophet Brutha said "angels weep rivers of tears for man's loss of faith in Om" and that year the river Ankh flooded so the prophecy was true.) That's just an old stage mentalist trick.

This is of a much higher order of craziness. Various power hungry (or completely insane) "prophets" predict the end of the world, then make excuses for why said end failed to come and their followers buy it.

Of course "normal" people do this all the time. Every time a belief is proven to be untrue people don't abandon it, they rationalize as to  why the belief is still valid even though the evidence shows it to be false.

Truly I say unto you, "Belief is the enemy of faith".

I was invited back on The Diamond Hour again today


The topic was on changing life patterns using hypnosis and NLP.

I always hanging out with me amigo Steve Barnes and talking about strange and esoteric things. For those interested (and who wouldn't be) here is the program.

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The Android Sisters


Frank Talk with a Frankie

Your thought for the day.

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Thought of the Day


“Many forms of spirituality try to get rid of thoughts, feelings, and memories-to make the mind blank, as if that were a desirable or spiritual state. But to have the mind blank is not necessarily wise. Instead, it is more helpful to see through thoughts and to recognize that a thought is just a thought, a memory. Then we can stop binding consciousness of spirit to our thoughts and mental states.”

Seven mile cross country ski run


Groomed trails are nice, but sometimes ya just gotta get away from the crowd.It was a very nice day today, though a bit overcast and in the single digits for a good part of it. Rather than heading out to the fancy park with the groomed trails, as nice as they are, we decided to go brush popping today.There's nothing quite like being the first person to explore a world covered with three to four feet of fresh snow.   Here's an example of what the day looked like at one of the ponds along the trails.And here's the snow gnome getting ready to make her getaway. Off the beaten track..... and up the hill in fresh snow. Me, being the brains of the outfit, I stayed back and let her break trail :-)  There were points where we were half way to our knees in snow even on the skis.After a good hour and a half of running around the woods we finally made it back down to the Grand River. Which, as usual, just gorgeous with all the snow and ice. Life doesn't get much better.  Every day I say a thank you to the first crazy guy who figured out how to tie a couple of sticks to his feet.[...]

Subversive Musicians?


Back in the day in Anatolia, this would have most likely been a group of Bektashi families.

Ya gotta watch those sufi types, who knows what trouble they might cause.

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Be Happy, it's an order!

With a hat tip to David.

Scott Sonnon Interview on TacFit


The most comprehensive interview on the subject to date.

Here is an interview of Scott Sonnon, conducted by John Sifferman on the subject of TacFit, the revolutionary training and workout paradigm that is changing the face of exercise.

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Of all the training methodologies I have experienced in my life, so far Tacfit has been consistently the most useful. I am in the process of writing up a review of TacFit Warrior at the moment, but this will take a few days, in the meantime check out this interview, drop by the Tacfit website and check out the full entry on John Sifferman's Blog.

So Sad, So True


Sonw Day, Michigan style

With a hat tip to Fenna!

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A little NSFW

The Blizzard of 2011


Such as it was. We got some snow last night, enough to shut down most of the streets around the house.The best way to get around the neighborhood was on snowshoesGetting out of the driveway was a little difficult.Taht was the accumulation since 11:00 PM last night (when I went out and shoveled, knowing I would regret it if I didn't)We had to dig out in shifts.Then I took a walk around to see how thing were. The streets were buried and impassable for the most part. The plows had opened up the main thoroughfares,  But haven't even begun to address the residential streets.Which, to tell you the truth, is just fine by me. I am looking forward to a few days of skiing and snowshoeing.Yay Winter![...]

For the first time in my life I'm actually looking for followers


For my twitter account that is.

Yes, I have been co-opted into the world of social networking (sigh) and am going to make an attempt to use it for good rather than evil.

You can follow my ramblings and adventures here if you are so inclined.

Pop Quiz: it's 7 degrees f and there's a snow storm, what do you do?


Go skiing!!!I do love going out when it is storming, there is never anyone else on the trails for some reason.This winter has been a bit disappointing in that all the really good snow storms just passed us by, it's one of the drawbacks of living in Michigan's sun belt. This Saturday though, we got a fairly decent snowstorm.Of course you do have to put on some protective clothing. (he win chill factor made it as if -10 f)But it is sure worth it to be able to experience the world under such conditions.The section of the Grand River that I was able to make it out to was only just beginning to ice over.You just gotta love the quiet of a snow storm in the woods.Sunday was even colder than Saturday. The temperature was -20 f at sun-up and -6 f at 10:00am but the sun was out, so...... More Skiing!I grabbed the Snow Gnome and we took off for Pigeon Creek park where they have about 10 miles of groomed trail for XC skiing. It was quite a treat because for the last couple of years we have just gone off trail back country brush poppin. Which, while lots of fun, requires more attention to the technical side of skiing than does well groomed trail.It was a perfect day for just gliding through the woods and enjoying the sunlight.I do love winter.[...]

The Passing of an American Icon


Jack LaLanne died yesterday at the age of 96

He was one of my personal heroes. I used to love tuning in his half hour show when I was young and follow along with his workouts. It was a lot cheaper than trying to acquire weights or sending money to Charles Atlas. It was probably LaLanne who launched my interest in athletics and fitness.

He was the original minimalist, doing his workouts with body-weight a towel and a chair. He was also decades ahead of his time in his thinking about health.

Rather than going on about him, I'll just leave you with a few video clips of a great man.

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Meeting Stevan Plinck - Part 1


Over the years there have been a few inquiries about how I have found the people I have studied with.So pull up a chair and take a load off, and let me tell you about meeting a couple of the best martial artists I have had the pleasure of studying with.It was back it the first year of the last decade of the twentieth century (It's so odd to be able to say that), I was living the life of a dojo bum in Southern California. I was making my living mostly as a bouncer, and by the occasional pick-up job as event security.If your needs are small you can make sufficient money doing this sort of thing to support a martial arts habit, while getting the opportunity to test your art in interesting and unexpected ways.I had come to LA from the South West, where I had spent a year studying a new martial art a guy had come up with that was based in Aikido. It was interesting for the guy's take on flow, but a bit too esoteric for long term study.I was hoping to find something a bit more.... energetic to train in while in SoCal.One evening, a week or so after arriving in town I bumped into an old friend at a social gathering. It turned out that he had been studying Pukulan Pentjak Silat Bukti Nagara with Pendekar Paul de Thouars. Paul de Thouars was a person who I had been interested in for a few years. Back in the '80s I had run across a couple of videos while buying some equipment at the I&I Sports outlet. they were a two VHS tape set on Pentjak Silat Serak-Tonkat by another member of the de Thouars family. I had been practicing Silat for something like 10 years at the time, but had not been exposed to this particular art.To tell the truth, the videos were not all that impressive, except for one thing. There was an interlude in the middle of each tape of a person (it turned out to be Paul de Thouars) working with Dan Inosanto. Even though the clip was only a couple minutes, it was by far the most interesting part of the tape. the man's movement was smooth, elegant, and decisive. It was pure combat efficiency. I wanted me some of that!  In the intervening years I had seen a few articles about Paul de Thouars in the martial arts rags, I remember on in particular where Mr. Inosanto referred to him as "the deadliest man I have ever met", but I never had occasion to run across him.And here I was, talking to a friend who was attending classes with him. I asked for an introduction.There were a couple of phone calls, and an invitation to drop by the PDT Academy.Within the week I found myself at a strip mall in Arcadia (people can make fun of strip mall dojos as much as they like, but you never know what you might find until you sample the wares) watching a class.I was impressed. At the risk of sounding more arrogant than I actually am, I had become used to going to a school and being able to come out favorably against a good number of the students in a sparring match. At the PDT Academy this was not the case. There were some serious people at the PDT academy. They were skilled and were game to mix it up on a regular basis. It was sort of like being surrounded by wolves. it was an invigorating experience to say the least.The first thing I did when I got home from my first class was to call my friend Steve Barnes. I basically told him that I was pretty sure that I had just found the real world equivalent of The 97 Steps, or perhaps Sinanju, and that if he'd never forgive me if I didn't insist that he get down to the School tomorrow,[...]

Found and Improvised Weapons


A simple method of classification.A few days ago a friend gave me a call and said "I ran across someone who credited you in an article about improvised weapons". I got the name of the guy from my friend, did a little digging, and discovered something fairly kewl.Many years ago there was a discussion on improvised weapons on one of the mailing lists I used to frequent. I made a suggestion as to how one might organize different weapons in a sort of continuum (1) to one of the participants in that discussion.The person who I was conversing with on this subject, a fellow by the name of Michael Johnson, ended up writing a very thoughtful essay on the subject, a copy of which can be found here. It brings together a number of different ideas for how to think about found objects as potential weapons. The essay offers a good starting point for exploring the use of found and improvised weapons, so do take a look.An  image grabbed from the website Improvised WeaponsThe conversation that I referenced  took place somewhat over ten years ago if my memory serves me, and I do believe I have refined my model a bit since then, so it occurred to me that it might be fun to talk a little about the model as I use it today.This is a graphic representation of how I classify objects for use as weapons. I don't, as a rule, use an axis for projectiles, basically because anything that you can pick up you can throw. I also don't address incendiary/explosive devices like Molotov cocktails or cans of hair spray even though under the right circumstances they can make useful weapons.The map is designed to allow you, with some practice, to index (2) anything you pick up very quickly. Assessing each quality will be somewhat subjective, and the numbering system is perforce arbitrary. Point 5 represents 100% of a given quality, and point 0 represents a perfect balance between two polarities.For an example of the last, take a well made sword, which must have a precise balance between flexibility and rigidity. Take a look at this video. At about one minute, seven seconds in you will see the sword removing the head from a pig carcass, both at speed and in slow motion. You will see the typical flex that is needed for a sword to shed impact energy without breaking.  You could say that the sword blade sits at zero on the flexible/rigid axis.If you grab up a five foot digging baryou have something that could be indexed as slow, long, double handed, heavy, rigid, and blunt. On the other hand, a weighted jump rope could be considered flexible, blunt, heavy, about halfway to quick, single or double handed, and long.This model works best if you have a  principle (3) based martial practice. This is because a technique (4) based skill set requires too great of a learning curve, with the need to memorize way too many discreet actions for any given weapon.For learning, this can be a bit problematic. In my experience,  while a good many people give lip service to the idea of a principle based practice, the reality is occasionally a bit different.If you find that when you train you are doing a series of discreet actions against a a specific attack, that would be technique based practice. A common example of this is the "scenario" training so popular in some self defense courses these days.Do please understand that I am not saying that there is anything wrong per se with technique based training. It is a good way to pick up some easy[...]

Happy New Year!


And all the best to all my many fives of readers!