“A wrestling tournament crash-landed at a Renaissance Fayre and they all intermarried,” was my thought. I'd tagged along with a trio of friends to SoCal Swordfight, a weekend-long HEMA competition: That’s “historical European martial arts,” three days of armored people fighting politely but hard with steel longswords, rapiers, daggers, and sabers. I’ve been practicing with... Continue Reading →
The Piñata & The Wrecking Ball: Why can small people hit so hard?
So it feels like an ever-new mystery to get overpowered in fight training by short, thin, or otherwise gracile people who, it seems to me, can’t possibly have as much power. Not just outmaneuvered and outskilled, but manhandled or just plain pounded. I’m talking thin teenagers, featherweight women, even a girl who’s too young for PG-13 and weighs less than my checked luggage. What gives?
Feet Are the New Core
Good news: The “core” isn’t the all-important missing link anymore. The cool kids have moved on. Now feet are the new core. Thank heaven, because I got bored of direct midsection work long before the fools in marketing renamed it the “core.” When did they coin that phrase anyway? I missed the Nineties, living in... Continue Reading →
Chat maigre: French for “lean, solid dog”
National Commando Training Center in Coullioure. Photo courtesy of Romain Mielcarek (http://www.guerres-influences.com/romain-mielcarek/) The Cult of Light Infantry? Here at Lean, Solid Dogs, we maintain a special interest in light infantry because we love to romp around the outdoors carrying heavy things. And there’s a whole profession dedicated to that! They're called light infantry and they... Continue Reading →
“Attention, Walmart Shoppers: You Already Have a Prize-Winning Physique For 1900”
"However, the champ often 'took ill' with a pathogen transmitted in oak barrels known to disparately afflict the Irish community."
Sherpas of the Desert: How South Africa Mastered Rucking In Dry Heat
The Kalahari and Namib deserts. Except for the red sand, these could almost have been taken within walking distance of my home. Here at Lean, Solid Dogs, we think a lot about backpacking in hot, arid landscapes, and we're always seeking wisdom for dry heat from neglected corners of world. Why? Because of a cosmic... Continue Reading →
Chest Rigs: A Love Song
Other than kettlebells, if any object screamed aloud for the attention of Lean, Solid Dogs, it would have to be some kind of (a) surplus outdoor equipment (b) made to carry heavy loads over long distances, (c) especially in hot, dry climates, and (d) with a Communist parentage. What if I told you that such... Continue Reading →
Camping AAR: Bivvy, Boots, and Freezer Bags
After prolonged talk and little follow-through, I finally camped in the Marijuana Highlands for the first time this year. Since the lockdown, I've seen over 10 times more people up there than ever before, but as usual everyone is exceedingly neighborly. Hikers being almost non-existent there, people in trucks and ATVs routinely slow down to... Continue Reading →
Double Your Work Capacity By Being Lazy
This little $4 Esbit stove has been a huge winner for me. Dating back to the 1940s, it uses technology and design so simple and un-screw-up-able that I consider it honorarily Russian. And though it's as just a survival stove, if you add a coffee can to screen it from the wind and contain the... Continue Reading →
Romp in the Rain
Today’s game was to test out rain gear on a 3-mile ruck romp with Lean Solid Girl and our team weight, the Canadian Brick Bag (CBB), a sturdy canvas antique loaded with 35# of bricks. The rule was that the bag had to be carried in one hand at all times, by either one of... Continue Reading →