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Sgt. Bruce Cann

Posted on August 13, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (2)

In my life I've been fortunate to be able to do and see a few things as opportunities have arisen over the years. Some people resent that, because a poor country boy from upstate S.C. isn't supposed to know or do anything out of the ordinary. But, being an anally compacted blowhard is their problem, not mine.


This blog isn't really about me though. What I am going to start doing occasionally is writing about people I've known, both good and bad, but who had character. I want to start today with SC Highway Patrolman, Sgt. Bruce Cann.


During the seventies and eighties, Bruce Cann was a legend to anyone who had attended the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. He was a Highway Patrolman assigned to the Academy to teach defensive tactics. Average height, average build, sawed off and mushed mouth, he hit like a ton of bricks. Sgt. Cann was a TaeKwonDo and Jujitsu black black belt. He also stayed on us constantly about what we ate and getting too much "Coe...les..ter..rralll" in our diet. He also liked to talk about "Paii..y..ne." You get someone in a "Paii..y..ne" compliance hold.


 The stories about Sgt. Cann as a highway patrolman in the seventies were legendary. Working the Beaufort area he stopped a Marine Corp Captain for DUI who decided he wasn't going to be taken in by some punk ass state trooper. After Bruce got through breaking ribs the Captain was begging him to take him to jail.


Another time he dealt with a stupid snowflake who decided to try him in a D.T. class. The jerk bucked the Sgt. when he was demonstrating a technique, trying to be a know-it-all show off and Sgt. Cann broke his arm. The one thing I can say about Sgt. Cann, he knew how to apply a hold. I was young, strong and in very good shape, but he could tie me into pretzels. I usually volunteered to be the one demonstrated on, knowing that being on the receiving end was a good way to learn.


Cann was a good guy who was simple, straight forward and didn't have a problem telling the truth. He hated the Highway Patrol major who made the purchasing decisions on equipment. After the HP went to a clamshell style "security" holster Cann made no bones about what a sissy the major was, that he didn't know what he was doing and that he could whip the major with one hand tied behind his back. Cann of course, being old school, prefered the old style, low ride Jordan holster with the security strap.




In our politically correct world of today, where progressive agenda rules, and are actions are judged by namby pamby standards, a guy like Brice Cann would be a dinosaur heading for extinction. But truth be known, we need more no nonsense men like Bruce. Those are the kind of men who gets things done when the times are tough.


To Push-up or Not?

Posted on August 8, 2017 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (7)

Ah - the venerable push-up. They are a good exercise, but they definitely can be overdone. Over the last ten years I fell into the push-ups everyday line of thinking. The perfect exercise and all that. For awhile I was even doing 500-700 a day, but 300 was considered the minimum. On the positive side you get great endurance that carries over to running and endurance tasks. On the negative side, your strength plateaus and there is a point where more doesn't translate to strength for other movements.


Another detriment is appearance. But before I go into that, let me add a qualifier. You see your individual genetics has a lot to do with how your body responds to an exercise. What affects me in a certain way, might not affect you the same. Now push-ups can be done anytime and anyplace. They can be done in a myriad of ways. They work the body as a whole, albeit the emphasis is on chest, triceps, and shoulders. So they have a lot of good going for them. 


For me, one of the things I didn't like about push-ups is how it affected my appearance. The ribcage got way too big for the rest of my proportions. I was also starting to get round shouldered. The chest muscles were too big. It was far from a balanced look. So for the past year I have de-emphasized push-ups and worked more on exercises that create strength and mobility in the shoulders and upper back. It can be more than just pull-ups. There are a lot of self-resistance exercises that can be utilized for this. My proportions are changing and I am getting away from that barrel chested, round look. 


Now I still do push-ups. I do them twice a week in a lot of different varieties. They coordinate the body's strength and give a certain look to the triceps, chest and shoulders. However they are not the engine anymore. They help make up a comprehensive train. 

Enhancers to a Workout

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I've seen a lot of fads come and go in physical culture. What goes out in the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties comes back in the Millenium. The process repeats itself over and over again. One thing though I learned a few years ago from watching Mike Chang workout videos was the use of "enhancers" or finishers to jack your heart rate up during a workout.


Now I never bought into the six pack short cuts program. Mike and the other trainers were obviously on PED's. But, I did learn things from watching Mike's videos. His workouts were mostly circuit style weights and bodyweight, and then you did a calisthenic like burpees to jack the heart rate up. In theory what this does is boost the metabolism to burn fat while at the same time you are strength and muscle building.


Does that work? Like anything else it does to an extent. I like training that way because you can get a good bit of work done in a short period of time and it boosts your endurance and stamina for other activities. Burpees are a little hard on my lower back. Fortunately there are exercises I can do. Squat thrusts from a pushup position are one. Jumping jacks are another. Once again you find what is friendly to your body. 


So how does this work? Set your routine up into circuits of two to four exercises. Once you are through with the circuit, do X number of burpees, squat thrusts, jump ropes, jumping jacks etc. This morning for example, I did two different circuits for the hips and thighs, and after each did 100 jumping jacks for 600 total. I was able to get a lot of work compressed into a very short time limit. If I were going to do burpees I'd go sets of 10-20. If For squat thrusts sets of 20-30. For jump ropes, sets of 100 skips. Of course that is me. You can do more, and you can do less. You work it to your level of fitness.


In fact, a good way to train with calisthenic style exercise is to drop set the numbers. Let's look at jumping jacks. You have six circuits. You could go 100, 80, 60, 40 and 20 by the time you are through. You don't exhaust yourself and as the numbers go down the intensity of the effort on your circuits goes up. It is a good way to train with high numbers. One of the classic mistakes I've made over the years with pushups, knee bends etc. was to always go all out on every set. Do your first couple of sets hard and then taper off.  


So give it a try. Find a joint friendly calisthenic to do between circuits or sets of exercise. Try it for a few weeks and see what difference it makes.



Good Morning Holy Spirit

Posted on August 1, 2017 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (1)

This morning as I started my day, with 30 minutes of exercise of course, I couldn't help but think about God's Blessings and being thankful. Thankful for another beautiful day of life, thankful for a home, thankful for a job, thankful for my family, thankful for being able to move without pain and able to do things and be productive...


Does that mean I don't ever have problems? Hardly. I deal with traumatic and stressful events and disapointments every day of my life. But you take the good with the bad, and keep on trucking. You see, no matter how bad things go, we can hold onto what is good. The Bible says "...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."


In other words, in the midst of a trial or storm, or even when things are good. See the best, think the best, and praise God for the things that go well. What this does for those of us who believe is to stir the Holy Spirit of God into our lives. So when we wake up in the morning and thank God for his blessings we are literally saying Good Morning to his Holy Spirit.


Even if you don't believe - try living on the optimist side of life for a change. Choose to dwell on what is good and see the best in people and adverse situations. It makes a difference.

Getting More Out of Your Exercise

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The longer I do the exercise kind of thing the more I realize that is not about training to performance - the numbers of reps, the faster you do work, or the amount of weight but it is about focus, concentration, and not exhausting yourself.


Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian philosopher and cultural commentator I like to follow. He has a saying - Resistance creates strength. What he describes is in context of mental development and success in life in general. In other words The stress of conflict creates character and the ability to adapt to different circumstances. He drew this analogy from physical culture. And he is right - resistance does build strength - but it has to be a conscious effort at resistance.


We exercise to build and strengthen our bodies, yet often we neglect the factors that enable us to succeed. We overtrain, we focus on the numbers, and we waste energy. If I can do 25 repetitions of pushups, can control my body through a range of motion, and feel the muscles being worked, will it do me better to do 50 repetitions where I take a faster pace, use momentum and don't control the muscles being contracted?


I read something Bodybuilder Chris Dickerson wrote many years ago - and that was that he wished every poundage on every barbell and dumbbell would be filed off. It wasn't the weight that was important, but how the weight was used. I didn't understand it at the time, but over the years I have experienced the negative effects of only pushing weight and numbers. The body only builds one dimensionally against gravity, and you beat your joints up by the extra slights, heaves and cheats you use to get those last reps up with a weight. What are you really building when you do that?


Slow it down, concentrate on the muscles you are working, and don't grind your body down. Performance is for the athletic field. Training gets you there. But if the training is always to the max, how will you build recovery? Better to use forcus and deep concentration in your training and save energy for recovery. Most of us are not competition level athletes, and we work out to enhance our day to day lives. If our exercise beats us down, beats our joints up and soaks up our energy output - what does it matter if we do hundreds of reps of an exercise and can push X amount of weight?

A Morning Leg and Hip Workout

Posted on July 28, 2017 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Most of you know I prefer working out in the a.m., and rather than post on the workout section, I thought I would blog out a workout occasionally. The goals here are coordination, balance, endurance, strength, flexibility and aesthetics. No worrying about doing X number of squats or X amount of weight. The goal here is to keep the heart rate up in a circuit style of training for three circuits. The workout took 28 minutes.


FMT Leg Extension - 10, 8, and 6

FMT Leg Curl - 10, 8, and 6

Hip, Lower Back and Hamstrings self-resistance (which is also a Rudolph Young exercise) - 10, 8, and 6 

Rudolph Young Press/Squat against a stationary object - 10, 8, and 6

FMT Good Morning - 10, 8, and 6

Hanging L sit - 12-15 second holds

Jumping Jacks - 135, 135, and 135


After that:

Calf Raises - 25, 25, and 25

FMT Toe Press - 12, 12, and 12

L Sits from the arms of a chair - 12-15 second holds


The L-sits are something I haven't done in a while and wanted to bring them back. Basically it is an isometric hold where you support yourself with the legs in an L-position. In lieu of iron boots, I used 3 pound ankle weights for the FMT extensions and leg curls. The weight helps you focus, but creating tension is the goal.


This is pretty much what I have been doing for hips and thighs for the last month or so. The lower back feels good, I have good flexibility in the the hips and thighs, and my knees feel good. I have more than enough strength to hike, climb or lift heavy objects, which is what it should be about, and that exercise should ENHANCE your life style not detriment it with aches and tears.


Which Way Do You Go From Here

Posted on July 24, 2017 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (4)

In 2016 I lost my interest in training. A lot of things happened family-wise with several deaths, one very tragic. Summer that year I started getting back on track and started YouTubing about firearms, fitness, and self-defense. It is an ongoing thing. Having not been involved in firearms for many years, that has been the focus of most of my attention. But things always even out. 


I am not totally fitness consumed like I was for many years. I laugh when I think about the thousands of pushups, knee bends and situps I've done in the last ten years. I could say the same about martial arts training or weight training I have done during the decades. Training like an athlete has some benefits, but the bottom line is, when you are in your fifties, it is a wasted effort. Energy becomes more precious and you need to be concerned about long term health and productivity. No one cares about how much weight you can push or how many pushups you can do. If it is not for your own betterment or personal satisfaction, it is a wasted effort.


I've always been a fan of the Charles Atlas course. 'Ive come not to always agree with the exercise advice, but overall, it is an excellent way for the ordinary person to look and feel better within the context of working a job and raising family. Will it build a bodybuilder physique? No. Will it allow you to lift heavy weights? No. But it will enhance your overall life and strength for day to day tasks.


So I want to take off from that base. How can that course be enhanced and solidified beyond doing pushups to perpetuity? Along with that what about basic self-defense via simple movements trained repetitively. Can you say John McSweeney? How can self-defense for the average person be enhanced beyond the basics McSweeney taught?


Last but not least - firearms. A lot of people are antithetical to firearms. But, it is a part of American culture and life. Educating yourself about firearms, firearms use, laws, and self-defense strategies goes a long way towards creating a safe and respectful culture. It is also very empowering for the weak, the infirmed, the elderly and women.


It is all about being prepared. Being prepared for the unexpected, and taking your body's health and fitness one step at a time. But, that is not the only thing here at this site. I'm a Christian with fundamental beliefs in God and the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ for our sins. A lot of people are uncomfortable with that. That's O.K. I'm still going to speak it. I am not going to try to proselytize or argue my faith, but I will tell you where I stand.


Historically we are heading for some very intersting and exciting times of great social upheaval worldwide. It pays to prepare mind, body and spirit, and to try to live at peace with all men, as much as possible. So I encourage you to prepare and to not waste precious time that you could be bettering yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually.



Gun Control - Wherefore Art Thou?

Posted on July 2, 2017 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (8)

As a young man, and even into my first few years into law enforcement I was a flaming liberal and an advocate of gun control. It was a little hypocritical on my part since I had access to firearms because of being in law enforcement. Over the years my opinion has changed to one of indifference to a strong belief in the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution.


One of the things I have noticed over the years, and even in my liberal days, is that statistics can be manipulated to side with any end of an argument. So take this article as you will. 


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/04/26/us-murders-concentrated-in-5-percent-counties.html


This is also an interesting site to compare statistics on homicides around the world.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate


The reason I bring this is that media and the socialist anti-gun interest in this country tend to portray America as a shooting gallery with criminals, police and ordinary citizens slaughtering people, which is not the case. There are an estimated 300 million guns in America with 30 to 40 percent of Americans owning guns or having access in a home to guns. That is over 96 million people. You'd think we'd have much a higher murder rate than we actually do. 


Statistically what you find is that the most murders are committed in densely populated urban areas in states where there are strict gun control laws. The fallacy of the gun control argument is that a tool or implement is responsible for murder and crime, so take it away, and you won't have murder and crime. This takes away the responsibility off human decision making and criminality and blames it on the tool. It also plays into a political "control" agenda where ordinary citizens have to depend on government for protection. Of course politicians and wealthy elites have access to firearms and or bodyguards behind their gated communities, but that is never mentioned. 


The Cowboy Codes

Posted on June 17, 2017 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We all need ideals to aspire to. It brings out our better selves. Our heroes are human beings, just like us, with all the shortcomings and flaws, but they represent what we could be, to be better people. Let's take a look back to those TV cowboy heroes of yesteryear.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IlZNs-Z-x8

Strange Times and Being Prepared

Posted on June 14, 2017 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (7)

The shooting at the Virginia ballfield should be a wake-up call. We are living in perilous times. Statistically, attacks are still rare, but agenda driven violence is definitely coming to this country. It is well documented, but there are currently 24 ISIS training camps in the United States. One is in Orangeburg SC.


The standard political knee jerk to violence is more gun-control and more police. But as we've seen in Europe, and here as well, it doesn't take a firearm to kill large numbers of people. Bombs, trucks, and knives have certainly created a death toll. The police can't be every where. The intervention of the Capitol Police today had more to do with being there on scene as a protection squad for Congressman Steven Scalise.


It comes down to this - you have to be prepared for any eventuality. We don't live in a sane, stable world anymore. Violence can reach out and touch you wherever you are at. Recently we had a high profile abduction where a man lured a girl from Canada here on the promise of a modeling job. It was only last Spring that we had a school shooting that claimed a child's life in a neighboring county. It can happen wherever you are at.


Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If something at the back of your mind nags you about something not being right - listen to your instincts. Don't make excuses for people. If you are picking up a bad vibe off of someone - don't smile and be polite. Be rude and assertive. Always think escape. Where are entrances and exits? Is your phone on you at all times? Do you keep your motor vehicle fueled? Do you keep an extra set of car keys on you? Do you have relatives or friends in another location you can go to in case of an emergency? The list goes on and on. Plan, Prepare, and have a healthy dose of Skepticism and Suspicion when it comes to dealing with people you don't know or don't know well.


Greg Newton


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