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Showing posts from October, 2017

Rough & Tumble Spotlight by Mark Hatmaker

"Big Jim"


In the grand ol’ crazy days of New York, competitive fire mustering was a thing.

Essentially it was whoever could get to a fire first would win the contract. Fires were frequent [as was a bit of serendipitous arson] and the competitions were not friendly.

Many fire departments recruited from less than savory elements to give the upper hand in jockeying for superior mustering position.

One such element was Jim Jeroloman, AKA “Big Jim.”

Big Jim was a 6’4” shipbuilder and boxer with earrings that dangled to shoulders—which he removed for musters.

Although a big man with what are described as heavy hands, he still relied on other tools of the rough and tumble trade—he was a noted biter.

Post one scuffle, his opponent complained of all the biting, once he peeled off his shirt over half a dozen bitemarks were found on his shoulders.

[Details on bite-targeting and unusual jaw-strengthening in upcoming RAWs.]

Big Jim complained that he would never go far in boxing because it den…

Yukar'u & Hacking Attentional Bias by Mark Hatmaker

“Nuusukat’u tenap’i yukar’u.” [“The Happy Man Moves About.”]
Humans can focus on only one object at a time—this is attentional bias.
What feels like multi-tasking is actually a series of attentional shifts.
We have a blindness to the duration of attentional shifts hence the perniciousness of distraction technology. We witness this when we see someone stare at their phone far longer than they realize, all the while forgetting that our own peer at the screen is likely equally misjudged in duration. Consider post-accident reports of “I only looked away for a second.” Not likely true, but the blindness has us assume it as true.
We have less control over attention than we would like to presume. This is one reason why mulling and stewing in negative/peevish thoughts manifest more often while alone—few human “distractions” to veer our thoughts. Alone time can lead to cycles of repetitive thoughts, if they are not set on a base-rate of p…

You Are a Hunter-Predator-Warrior by Mark Hatmaker

We are all hunters, predators, warriors. Every one of us. I do not care whether you are a card-carrying member of PETA, a strict vegetarian, an avowed pacifist, or have never laid a finger on a hunting rifle or compound bow let alone fired a bullet or bolt into an animal.
We are all hunters by the sheer dint of historical and biological forces. We are all the offspring of forebears that hunted for millennia and thrived because of that evolved prowess for hunting.
Let’s toss all the contemporary arguments pro or con hunting aside, the titled observation is not telling anyone to abandon whatever moral precepts they possess regarding hunting, animals, and any perceived cruelty to animals.
To declare human beings as a hunting species is not a value judgment but a statement of fact.
Evolutionary biologists, paleo-ethologists, and anthropologists from Robert Ardrey to Richard Wrangham have gone so far as to say that what makes the human species so distinctly different from its simian brethren…

Blind Training by Mark Hatmaker

There are so many examples of blind training, or blindfold training that the paltry examples below don’t even scratch the surface.
·Blindfolded Chi Sao [“Sticky Hands”] training among Wing Chun practitioners.
·Blindfolded disassembly and re-assembly of the M-16 by armed forces cadre.
·Blindfolded judoka and jiu-jitsu practice.
·Emperor Joseph I, challenging the young Mozart to play the violin with one-finger, and to play the clavichord with a cloth lain on top of the keyboard. [BTW-The young prodigy did both unerringly.]
And perhaps most intriguingly, to me, at least…
·There was a “war game” engaged in by many American Indian tribes to prepare the young for all contingencies. The Comanche called the practice Pui Wha’i. Essentially, Pui Wha’i involves two warriors one blindfolded, the other sighted. They are to complete a long-run and series of obstacles with the sighted warrior calling instructions, but he may never give physical assistance, just vocal prompting. Once the course is complete…

Kittens, Hoplites, & Combat Stances by Mark Hatmaker

Do you have a kitten?


If so, go play with it, dangle something in front of it, activate its play-fighting mode.

Watch it bat at the stand-in enemy with a forepaw.


If you don’t have a kitten, perhaps a dog?


Go play with it. Rile him up a bit and toss a toy on the ground watch him pin that toy with a forepaw and go to work with the jaws.


No dogs, no kittens in the house? How about a toddler?



If you have an 18-36-month-old human around the house go play with them. Roll a ball with them and watch them pick it up or roll it back.


No kitties, no dogs, no toddlers? Well, let’s have you try something.


While reading this, look around a pick up the nearest small object within your reach.


Now that we’ve all played with our pets, or our kids, or at the very least picked up a stapler or some such thing, we can repeat these activities and pay attention to the handedness of all entities.


The kitten will bat primarily with a dominant paw.


The dog will pin its mock-prey to the ground primarily with a domina…

Comanche Tubuniti & Observational Prowess by Mark Hatmaker

First, a definition.
Tubunitu is a Comanche word/phrase/command to be awake. In the cultural context it is less about the opposite state of being asleep than it is about full-engagement, full-awareness of your environment. It’s actually a little more complicated than that but we’ll come back to Tubunitu.
For those who wish to nail the pronunciation-the above spelling is phonetic as there is no written Comanche language, but to nail the “u’s” instead of pursing your lips outward, pull them back towards your teeth when you give voice to the “u” vowel and you’re good to go.
Legend and anecdotal evidence abounds in regard to the scouting, woodcraft, bush craft, outdoor awareness survival skills of hunter-gatherer cultures of the past and extant hunter-gatherers. Some of these stories border on the supernatural to our eyes and ears as many of these accounts seem to stretch credulity to the breaking point. And I have no doubt that in some cases exaggeration takes an upper hand but…we have more…

Walk Like a Warrior by Mark Hatmaker

In reading contemporary historical accounts written by soldiers (cavalry and dragoon), settlers, scouts, pioneers, and other citizens of the American frontier 1680s-1880s, I find mention that Native Americans (“Indians” or “Savages” in the accounts) did not walk like “white men.”
Their gait, stride, and foot placement is described often in poetic terms as “light” or “light-footed,” “fleet”, “gliding”, and often times “springy” or “spring-like.” These terms while descriptive of the effect do little to tell us the how or why of the gait.
We can find clues in accounts given by trackers in any of the myriad “Indian Wars” or skirmishes that riddled the continent in the first few centuries of the settling of the nation. The obvious telltale barefoot or soft impression of a moccasin is often a giveaway that you have a Native American track but this is less so in the moccasined foot as more and more Anglo backwoodsmen adopted this footwear.
But there are a few accounts that mention how you can …