If It Is Important, Do It Everyday

“If it is important, do it every day, if it isn’t, don’t do it at all.”

-Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Gable

This year my primary goal is to work on my discipline. The way I’ve chosen to practice discipline is to pick several tasks that I will do EVERY DAY, whether I feel like it or not. I’ve dabbled in daily habitual practices, but I never would sweat it much if I missed a day or ten. This year is different.

Technology To Keep Me On Track

To help keep me on track, I’m using a simple service called NAGBOT. It texts you a reminder every day at a chosen time and asks if you’ve done whatever your daily goal is. It uses humorous responses depending on your answers. I have mine set to remind me of my tasks at 7pm, so there’s still enough time to do everything in case I forgot.

I’m getting used to having a robot nag me into doing work.

What Am I Doing Everyday?

I’ve chosen four tasks:

  1. Keep A Journal of daily events and martial arts training notes.
  2. Do 100 pushups every day.
  3. Do Dry-Fire practice every day.
  4. Actively practice Stoicism every day.
Why Journal?

I did a lengthy post on this recently. Check it and see if you think it’s worth doing.

Click to be routed to a nice 2017 Journal to start your record keeping journey.

Why 100 pushups?

My sport is Jiu Jitsu, which I train three times a week. It involves a lot of pulling muscles and flexibility. I’m still technically recovering from a stem cell transplant, so I have limited energy and recovery power. So I chose to do a daily ‘pushing’ exercise to compliment the ‘pulling’ that Jiu Jitsu gets me. Here’s Coach Dan John talking about the fundamental human movements. So far this year I’ve done 2,500 pushups. They add up quickly. 36,500, here I come!

Stoicism and Dry-Fire go together like peas and carrots… or something…
Why Dry-fire?

Dry-fire, while boring to some, is a great way to maintain and improve aspects of your shooting for an extremely low cost (read: free). I also find it meditative. Here’s The Tactical Professor explaining how to avoid “Grabastic Gunclicking”. I subscribe to his method of concise limited duration dry-fire, then I get on with my life. It is (in theory) never more than 24 hours since I’ve seen a sight picture and pressed a trigger. There is no downside to that in my eyes from a defensive shooting perspective. It’s about how recently, not how much you last practiced.

The Dry-Fire range is hidden behind a painting. There is a brick fireplace behind this wall. Set it up, practice, and put it away.
Why Daily Stoicism?

Ever since I read A Guide To The Good Life (link to my book review here), Stoicism has been on my mind almost daily. I have lacked the discipline and guidance to have meaningful study though. One of the key aspects to practicing is daily reflection. Luckily, a book exists that helps provide a short daily quote from a Stoic’s writing and paragraph to reflect on. I don’t know enough about Stoicism to prosthelytize, but I know it resonates with me fundamentally, so I’ll study it daily. The book is The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living.

Completing these four tasks every day is something that has become very important to me. I know there will be days when I don’t feel like completing those tasks. It is in those moments that I force myself to that real growth happens.

Discipline equals freedom.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you’re doing to develop  your discipline.

Mark

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Gear Review: Chinese “Tactical Fleece” (TAD Clone)

*Trigger Warning - This review is of a Chinese made clone of a TAD Ranger Hoodie. Turn back now if that bothers you.

I was looking for a kick-around warm and cozy fleece to use on the range and keep in my truck for unexpected foul weather. I was cruising AliExpress (China’s Amazon, basically) late one night and came across what appeared to be a reasonably accurate clone of a TAD Ranger Hoodie. I had been coveting that particular jacket for a few years, so I was pretty excited to see a VERY affordable clone.

$24 and free shipping to the U.S.A.

A note about AliExpress:

This website is basically a huge collection of independent vendors who sell their wares. You’ll see many vendors with the same items, sometimes at vastly different prices. Shop around. Also, look at the seller’s ratings. I have had no issues ordering from reputable vendors. They have been very responsive and I have had good luck ordering with Ali.

Fit:

As you can see in the photos, the jacket fits me quite well. The sleeves are long enough that I can use the thumb holes if needed. The waist of the jacket sits right below belt level, just like a legit TAD jacket. Note that raising my hands above my head reveals what I have on my waist. This was originally designed as a hiking/backpacking jacket, so it’s great for using with a pack. The higher waist is to prevent bunching where the pack sits.

The pockets sit higher on the chest, above where a waist strap would sit from a pack. It has some goofy arm pockets that I’m not quite sure what to do with. It also has a lumbar kangaroo pouch for a hat or gloves, I’d wager.

The hoodie is spacious. It doesn’t flop over my eyes when it’s up, and the visor of the hood acts as the bill of a hat.

Sizing:

I’m 6′ and 215Lbs. I ordered a Large and it fits very well.

Price:

About $24 shipped from China. The only downside is the long transport time. It took about 3 weeks. But I can hardly complain. I’ve very pleased.

Quality:

It’s obviously not real TAD quality. There are a few loose threads, but nothing is unraveling yet. I washed it upon receiving and got a nice wad of fleece in my dryer. I don’t expect this to have a decade long life, but I suspect it’ll live for a few seasons. It had a strong chemical odor when I first received it. I washed it and let it air out for a few days, and the smell has now completely gone away.

Available Colors:

Black, Grey (what I bought), OD green, and Brown are your color options.

In Summary, I’d definitely recommend this to my friends who want a kick around ‘Tactical Jacket’ and don’t want to break the bank. If you were going on real expeditions and your safety counted on quality gear, I’d say spring for the real deal. For us weekend warriors, I think this is plenty.

MY NEXT ALI PURCHASE:

A softshell that has a bit more rain repellency.

 

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Review: Combatives For Concealed Carry: Clinch Fighting Volume 1

I’m always looking to improve my grappling. I do my Jiu Jitsu and get together with training partners and integrate grappling with weapons whenever I can. However, it’s very difficult to find instructional media that deals with grappling in a weapons based environment. Justin White of Mad Science Defense has a series of DVDs about this topic.

In case you don’t have time to read this: I recommend this DVD.

Chapters and Topics:

  1. Introduction – An explanation of why we might need to deal with a standing contact range fight with weapons.
  2. Dummy Guns
  3. Weapons Access- Discussion of accessing a weapon while in an entangled fight. Discussion of a universal draw stroke.
  4. Posture/Angle/Level- A solid discussion of the fundamental requirements to have sharp grappling.
  5. Clinch from Strikes – Achieving the clinch from a Cover and Crash or off of a striking blast.
  6. Clinch from Grabs – Front, side, and back
  7. Offside Underhook – Options for when your weak arm has an underhook
  8. Strongside Underhook – Options for when your strong arm has an underhook
  9. Overhook – Options for when you can’t achieve an underhook.
  10. Skill Development – Drills to work at home. 1-2-3 dominance drill, slo-mo drill

Extras:

  • Choosing Dummy Weapons
  • Using a Training Dummy
  • Striking With a Handgun
  • Scenario Training

Things I loved:

Expert grappling instruction. It is obvious that Mr. White is a talented grappler and instructor. His teaching progression is logical and starts with the fundamentals of posture, angle, and level and he then introduces techniques that will allow you to close distance and achieve a clinch. He progresses from a solid clinch (underhook and far-side wrist control) to either a tie up, or taking the back of your opponent. He finishes the progression with accessing weapons from these dominant positions.

His details cleared up a few sticking points I have been having while standing. I’ll be taking them to our training group. His emphasis on doing the work was much appreciated. He urged the viewer to seek training and emphasized that this stuff won’t just happen if you don’t practice it. He even gives some exercises to work with a partner to get better at this stuff at home.

Good stuff.

Minor Gripes:

I don’t envy anyone who has to try to cram a topic as dense as standing weapon-based grappling into an hour presentation. There just isn’t enough time to mention all the details. For the person who hasn’t seen this material before, I would have loved to see a brief discussion on why the clinch is such a viable fighting platform for an extreme close range problem. Why we don’t want to get in a speed draw contest with our opponent at close range. Mentioning the importance of monitoring hands while in a clinch to prevent the other guy from getting his weapons, as well as a discussion of why underhooks are such a dominant position just in case the viewer doesn’t glean that from the instruction. But of course I understand why it was omitted, those ideas were inferred in the material and we only had an hour.

The other gripe I have is in one of his tie-up positions from an overhook. He advocates shooting from this position while pointing his gun at himself (43:00 of video). I know (from simunition experience) that it’s easy to shoot yourself if you’re not super careful about your muzzle-target line. I talked with Mr. White about this and he recognized that it was a bit of an oversight. This was the only flub like this I noticed.

In conclusion:

This DVD would be a solid buy whether you have experience grappling or not. If you have trained with any of the Shivworks collective, this will be a good reminder of your options in the clinch. If you haven’t, you’ll get an idea of what this topic is about. I hope I get to train with Justin one day, as he has a lot to teach. I need to pick up his ground fighting DVD next. Recommended.

Be Safe,

Mark

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Review: High Noon Holsters – Mister Softy

A few years ago, I was looking for a holster for my Glock 19 as a temporary setup to hold me over until my custom kydex order showed up. Several of my trusted friends recommended the Mister Softy from High Noon Holsters. Even after receiving my high-speed kydex stuff, I’ve found myself going back to it again and again. Here’s a brief review.

Glock 19
Glock 19

Things of note:

Price – At $30, it’s a really good value. It is also in stock and ready to ship. Mine has held up really well. I’ve got my money’s worth. The price point means that if I have a friend who is carrying in an Uncle Mike’s nylon job, I wouldn’t feel bad giving them this one as a solid upgrade from nylon.

Sig P250
Sig P250

Multiple Gun Fit – It fits all of the G19 sized guns I own. I have successfully carried the Glock (26,19,17), the Beretta PX4 Compact, and now the Sig P250. The pliability of the cowhide allows slightly different guns to fit the same holster. I usually would poo-poo a ‘universal holster’, but this one does a good job of doing what a holster needs to do, while accommodating several guns. It’s like a quality gun sock. That’s a win.

Beretta PX4 Compact
Beretta PX4 Compact

Belt Clip – The stout spring clip snaps over belts with ease, and stays put. I have used this in force on force and in a lot of range trips and competitions. Never a hiccup. It DOES require a belt though.

Belt Clip
Belt Clip

Concealment – This is a good carry holster, but not a great training or competition holster. It’s a basic holster with no wedges or claws to tuck the grip into your waist, but still does a fine job. You can see where the top of the clip meets the grip/trigger guard that the holster rides low in the pants.  This is great for concealment, but requires you to tilt the holster as your fingers slide into position to establish a full firing grip before drawing. Retention is provided via friction by the rough side of the leather. I carry this at 1 O’clock. It is a straight drop holster.

Construction – The small gripe I have with the construction is that the mouth of the holster is not reinforced besides a second layer of cowhide. I’d love if it were steel or kydex reinforced, but that adds to price significantly. While it’s new, you can still holster the gun easily. The lack of reinforcement means the mouth of the holster closes a bit once you draw. The more sweaty and worn it gets, the worse this issue will get. This is why I say it’s not a great training or competition holster. For daily carry, it’s perfectly serviceable.

No reinforced mouth
No reinforced mouth

That’s pretty much it. It’s a holster that I have no problem recommending for an off-the-shelf option.

Thanks for reading,

Mark

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