Why People Believe Crazy Things

My guest is a science advocate generally known as The Genetically Modified Skeptic.

In this hard-hitting (and likely controversial) discussion Drew discusses magical thinking in the martial arts, essential oils, alternative medicine, cult leaders, Jordan Peterson, religion, the anti-vaccine movement, fake cancer cures and much more.  I hope you find it interesting and though provoking.

Go grab episode 170 with Drew on the podcast player that you already have on your phone

For example, if you have an iPhone then it’s the purple app with the antenna-like thing in it; just click the Apple Podcasts link below to go to the right place and hit ‘subscribe’.

Here are the links to find the podcast on various players – the episode with Drew on skepticism and why people believe crazy things is number 170

Apple Podcasts (the purple app on your iPhone) Google Podcasts (the new google podcast app) Spotify (it’s free) StitcherSoundcloudGoogle Play 

Or you can stream the audio here:

If you enjoyed this podcast you may also enjoy the one I did with Jeff Westfall called “Skepticism and the Martial Arts.

Also check out Drew’s popular Youtube channel, support him on Patreon, chat with him on Discord, and/or follow him on Facebook.

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Full Contact Jousting with Shane Adams

Shane Adams is the star of Full Metal Jousting and has been featured in the New York Times because is the godfather of modern full contact jousting.

In full contact jousting two knights wearing 150 lbs of armour ride on charging horses and try to unhorse each other using 11 foot long solid wooden lances that deliver 2,000 lbs of force.

Yes, this is an actual sport: there are rules, competitions, champions and a point system.  For example you get 1 point for hitting the opponent with your lance tip, 5 points for breaking your lance during that hit, and 10 points for unhorsing the opponent (i.e. if he falls to the ground)

But thousands of pounds of human, horse and armour colliding creates quite a bit of an impact, so broken bones, concussions and impacts that feel like you’re being hit in the chest with a sledge hammer are not uncommon.

Oh, did I mention that dodging, ducking, parrying, and blocking your opponent’s lance is NOT allowed?  You have to sit there and take it. This is definitely NOT a choreographed Vegas dinner show…


Doubles EVERYWHERE!! #pne #vancouver #knightsofvalour #knightsofmayhem #jousting#extreme#bc#horses#dirt

A post shared by Knights of Valour (@knightsofvalour) on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:15pm PDT

I caught up with Shane shortly after one of his live shows at the Pacific National Exhibition this year where full contact jousting had quickly become one of the favorite events of the event.

Shane and I talked about the physical and mental aspects of jousting, and what really distinguishes people who manage to survive the training and stick with the sport.

I really enjoyed the part where he talks about balancing on the knife’s edge between the aggression required to do this insane sport, and the zen state of mind you need to properly plan and aim your shot.

Here’s the video version of that chat (the audio and free podcast version is like to below)…

The problem with just watching the video » Continue Reading.

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Podcast Episode 156 with Survivorman Les Stroud

This conversation with Survivorman Les Stroud  might be one of my favourite Strenuous Life Podcast episodes ever!

Les Stroud has produced many survival-themed shows for The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, The Outdoor Life Network, and YTV.  In these shows he usually goes out into very challenging wilderness situations and tries to survive using only the materials at hand and minimal equipment.

He’s done this again and again in places like the Rocky Mountains, Kalahari Desert, Amazon Jungle, Arctic Tundra, Australian Outback, and many other wild and remote locations.

Dealing with hunger, thirst, heat, cold, animals and terrible conditions would be difficult enough for most people.  But unlike other survival experts (who go out there with their own film crews and helicopter back to plush hotels for the night) Les does all the filming himself and actually stays out there.

So it’s gritty, difficult and very, very real.

He’s also a talented musician who has found some incredibly innovative ways to combine cinematography, storytelling and music to create compelling narratives.

Les Stroud  combines his incredible skills with great mental toughness to exemplify the strenuous life!

In this 46 minute episode Les and I talked adventure, survival skills, navigating in the wilderness, the closest he’s come to death while filming, work-life balance, music and more.

I hope you enjoy listening to his episode as much as I did recording it for you!

How to Listen to this Episode with Les Stroud

This conversation with Les Stroud was episode 156 of my show, which is called ‘The Strenuous Life Podcast’.

You can subscribe to the podcast on your phone, tablet or computer by using your favourite podcasting app and/or going to the appropriate feed below:

iTunes StitcherSoundcloudGoogle Play 

Alternately you can listen to episode 156 on the embedded audio player right here…

Or you can watch the same conversation in the embedded video below (direct link the Youtube video here)…

How to Help Create More Podcast Episodes

I really want to avoid having ads on the podcast!  And you probably don’t want to hear me singing the praises of mattress companies, web design services, or microfibre underwear either.

To keep it ad free I’ve created an option where you can support this podcast through Patreon.com. For the price of a cup of coffee you can help us create more podcasts, ask questions for our Q&A epidodes, » Continue Reading.

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The Red Line in Jiu-Jitsu

I once flew in through the mountains in a helicopter with my friend Kevin at the controls. He was not only a commercial pilot but also fellow whitewater paddler.

We had commandeered a helicopter for ‘a maintenance flight’, but the real reason we were airborne was to scout a remote river in northern British Columbia, almost at the Yukon border.

The idea was to fly over the river and down its many canyons to see if it was navigable by kayak.  If it looked good then we hoped to go paddle it later in the summer.

Anyhow, as we whizzed along, I was asking Kevin about the dials and gauges in front of us, the windspeed, altimeter, compass, bank indicators and so on.

Then I asked him about an RPM gauge (apparently called the ‘dual tachometer’) and why there was a red line marked on the dial.

He pointed to the section below the red line. “This is for the paying jobs…“, he said.

Then he pointed to the section above the red line, “…and this is for the wife and kids.

In other words, there were the regular speeds that the engine and rotor blades could operate at safely.

And then there were speeds that he could maybe get the engine to go up to, but only for emergencies.  Those situations where pushing into the red might just save his life and bring him back to his family.

If he flew his bird above the redline on every trip then his million dollar machine would soon get damaged and maybe drop out of the sky unexpectedly.

Jiu-jitsu is much the same way.

When you’re training normally then yes, you should be pushing yourself hard.

You should sweat, struggle, and get tired.

But you shouldn’t balls-to-the-wall every single time.

Operating at do-or-die levels of intensity every time you train you train means that the chances of something going catastrophically wrong go up hugely!

Either you’re going to injure your training partner or yourself.

If you’re injured then you can’t train.  And if you can’t train then you’re not going to get better.

Part of the problem is that we respect all-out training.  We’re in awe of the intensity with which Dan Gable pushed his Iowa wrestlers, and forget that these were already elite and genetically gifted athletes who only had a few years to be turned into Big Ten and National » Continue Reading.

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12 BJJ Black Belts Give Their Best Tips for Starting BJJ {Video and Podcast}

Today you’re going to get 12 BJJ black belts give their best tips, strategies and advice for people just starting out in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. White belts looking for help getting started and organising their training will really benefit from watching this.

Although there are a few themes the fascinating thing is how diverse the advice is.  There is no one path, no one BJJ tip to rule them all, so getting different opinions from different grapplers is an amazing thing!

If this video doesn’t fire you up and get you on the mat grappling then nothing will!

Watch the video below, or scroll down to find out who they are in advance and listen to this in audio-only podcast format!

Here are the 12 BJJ black belts featured in this video:

Stephan Kesting (0:00 to 1:14) grapplearts.com Bernardo Faria (1:14 to 2:25) bernardofaria.com Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins (2:25 to 5:22) justgipants.com Travis Stevens (5:22 to 6:04) fujisports.com/blog/travis-stevens/ Rob Biernacki (6:04 to 7:21) islandtopteam.com/ Pshemek Drabczynski (7:21 to 8:10) besthometrainer.com Ritchie Yip (8:10 to 9:22) infighting.ca Sean McHugh (9:22 to 10:20) alliancekelowna.com Elliott Bayev (10:20 to 12:09) openmat.ca Jason Manly (12:09 to 12:48) instagram.com/jasonmanly Michael Zenga (12:48 to 13:49) bjjfanatics.com Perry Bateson (13:49 to 14:56) nwjja.ca/ BJJ Positions & Techniques Checklist (free download here)

If you want this same information in audio form then go to your favourite podcasting platform, subscribe to ‘The Strenuous Life’ Podcast, and then look for episode 132. You can find it on most podcast platforms, including…

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/strenuous-life-podcast-stephan-kesting-grapplearts/id320705565?mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?authuser&u=0#/ps/I3qvbtkdb74xrpv6ozbzie2ca4e

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-993426357

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stephan-kesting/grapplearts-radio-podcast

Alternately you can also listen to the advice on the embedded player below…

See you on the mat!

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Wrist Locks – Attacking The Most Under-Attacked Joint

Jiu-jitsu and submission grappling offer techniques to attack almost every major joint in the body including the elbow, shoulder, neck, knees, feet, and ankles.

These should be your bread and butter submissions because they have a long, proven track record of effectiveness.

I think a bit of variety is a good thing, however, so let’s talk about a not-so-common attack: wrist locks!

The wrist is the most under-attacked joint in grappling. Just about every time you are attacking the arm you have access to the wrist as well. If your opponent is really good at defending the armlock, for example, you may be able to switch to a quick wristlock and get a submission that way.

The video on wrist lock safety below also has lots of examples of wrist locks that you can intentionally (and accidentally) apply on the ground:

There are lots of ways to compress, extend and twist the wrist. Just watch an aikido class or read a book and traditional Japanese Ju-jutsu. Typically these wristlocks start with both combatants in a standing or kneeling position, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t also work on the ground.

But against resistance – an opponent who is really fighting you – wrist locks are a lot easier to do on a pinned opponent than on a more mobile standing opponent.

I am not alone in my respect for the wristlock in grappling. Fernando ‘Terere’ and Fredson Paixao are just 2 of many BJJ players who have used the wristlock at the highest levels of competition. One the home front, one of my main training partners is a master of sneak wristlock attack. When we spar I constantly have to watch where I put my hands or he is going to trap a hand and lock the wrist.

Now for an important safety announcement: APPLY WRISTLOCKS SLOWLY!! Here is why:

The wrist is a small joint with many small bones and ligaments and thus susceptible to injury in the first place Wrist locks are relatively easy to counter, so  the temptation is to slam them on quickly If  you slam them on quickly you WILL injure your training partners.

In a very real sense wrist locks are the heel hooks of the upper body – very effective, but also prone to injure your partner if misused.

I’ve accidentally injured a training partner’s wrist with a simple twist of » Continue Reading.

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The Strenuous Life Podcast: New Episode with Extreme Kiteboarder Jack Rieder

I really enjoyed talking with kiteboarder and extreme athlete Jack Rieder (in part because I’m dying to try kiteboarding myself).  

It’s episode 107 of The Strenuous Life Podcast with Stephan Kesting.  You can listen to the audio below or subscribe to the podcast and then download the episode in iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher.

Even though Jack doesn’t do martial arts (yet!) he still exemplifies the strenuous life. I hope you’ll enjoy it! Here’s just a bit of what we talked about…

1:10 – What is kiteboarding? 6:47 – The disciplines of kiteboarding 13:57 – Other uses for kites 17:51 – Controlling the kite 21:28 – Injuries and risk 27:14 – Media and video process 30:36 – Training vs doing for high level performance 38:07 – The future of the sport 41:11 – The art of getting sponsored

The best way to listen to this podcast is definitely to download a podcast player to your phone and subscribe to the podcast (details above) but if you want to listen to it right now you can just hit play on the player below:



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Podcast Episode 102: Ken Johnson on What He Learned in 34 Years of Firefighting

In this episode of The Strenuous Life Podcast I sat down with Ken Johnson, retired Battalion Chief of Training, to talk shop. We covered,

Managing emergency scenes, Staying calm under pressure, Training for boxing and making sure that you’re always in shape, Recent breakthroughs in firefighting tactics, How to do your best in difficult situations, The critical importance of your team, The fun side of firefighting, Whether someone should become a firefighter or not, How to increase the chances of getting signed on, Plus we talked ironworking, boxing, and a lot more.

There’s a lot here for everyone, including non-firefighters, because many of the principles and ideas shared by Chief Johnson are universal.

Find out more about Chief Johnson on his Career Firefighter site where he helps aspiring firefighters get hired and do their best at their new jobs.

You can listen to this episode (number 102) on the player below but it’d be even better if you subscribed to my Strenuous Life Podcast which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher because then you can check out the previous podcasts and not miss the future ones!

Let me know what you think about this interview on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below, OK?

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Older Grappler Training Q & A

In this episode of The Strenuous Life Podcast I answer lots of questions by older grapplers about continuing to train and make good progress when you’re in your 40’s, 50’s and beyond.

Can you still train hard as you get older? How often should you train? How can you recover faster? Should you also do weight training as an older athlete And more!

The questions came from an Instagram Live broadcast I did; follow me on Instagram @stephan_kesting and maybe next time I’ll be answering YOUR question on one of these Q&A sessions.

You can listen to this episode (number 097) on the player below but it’d be even better if you subscribed to my Strenuous Life Podcast which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher.

P.S. If you’re an older grappler you can click here to check out these other Grapplearts articles, videos and podcasts on the topic

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Cults, Comets and Critical Thinking!

I’ve just released a new podcast episode (episode 093) just out that starts with martial arts training and ends up talking about mass suicides and alien spaceships trailing comets…

At it’s core it’s a rant about the importance of testability, falsifiability, and critical thinking.

You can listen to this episode (number 093) on my Strenuous Life Podcast which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher.

Or you can just click play below, but then you won’t catch future episodes like you would if you subscribed at one of the podcast provider services above!

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Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse

As we get closer and closer to Halloween it’s important to shift your priorities from training jiu-jitsu to surviving the impending zombie apocalypse.

(After all, it’s tough to train jiu-jitsu when you’re dead.  Or undead, as the case may be.)

That’s why you’ve got to check out the most important video I’ve ever put onto Youtube: Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse.

A lot of people will tell you that jiu-jitsu will be useless when the Zombie Apocalypse hits.  But those people have an agenda: usually they’re trying to sell you flamethrowers, or have stocks in the big arms companies.

The truth is that the better your jiu-jitsu and grappling skills are, then better your odds become of surviving long enough to get to your arsenal, your giant vehicle, and making it to the safezone.

This video was a lot of fun to make, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t very important stuff in it. Check it out right now and thank me later!

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Are You Just Not Getting Any Better? Here are 3 Steps to Bust Your Training Plateau

When you’re training hard, hitting a training plateau can be incredibly frustrating.

But first of all, let’s hit on an important distinction.

A training ‘slump’ and a training ‘plateau’ are two different things…

I go into detail about the differences between slumps and plateaus in this article here, but basically a slump is a relatively short-lived event, one to four weeks long, in which your skill level actually goes down.  Usually it’s caused by a specific cause, for example illness, overtraining, or not enough sleep.  Fix the underlying cause and your level starts to improve again.

But when you’re in a plateau you don’t get any worse.  The problem is that, no matter how hard you try, you just don’t get any better either.

It’s one thing to suffer if you’re making progress towards a goal; at least there’s light at the end of the tunnel.  Suffering without progress is much harder to deal with.

A plateau typically lasts much longer than a slump – often one to six months.  It seems like it’s never going to end.  And it’s doubly frustrating because during this time your  training partners usually insist on continuing to make progress, which widens the gap and leaves you even further in the dust.

Everybody deals with plateaus if they only train long enough.

In the video below, which I shot right at the end of a frustrating cardio session, I talk about the three steps to break out of a training slump…

First, don’t freak out. Plateaus are a normal part of any long learning or training process.

Of course jiu-jitsu players hit slumps, but it happens in every endeavor.

Runners hit plateaus when their running times just stop improving. Academics hit plateaus when they just don’t have any new insights. Businesses hit plateaus when they just stop growing.

Plateau Buster 1 – Try to Identify the Underlying Cause of the Plateau

This isn’t always possible, but if you can figure out what’s causing your plateau then you can fix it.

For many people the underlying cause is training volume.

Maybe you’ve gotten as good as you can get training twice a week.  Yes, every time you go to class you learn something new, but in between classes you also forget stuff.  Maybe at twice a week the knowledge flows into your cup as fast as it drains from it, and that’s what’s causing » Continue Reading.

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McGregor vs Mayweather: Don’t Waste Your Money

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Conor McGregor, the reigning light-heavyweight UFC champion, is going to be fighting one of the all time best boxers Floyd Mayweather on August 26th.\

I know people are excited about this, because I get asked about it every single day…

McGregor is younger, bigger, cockier, is a southpaw and has proven knockout power.

But is he going to win a boxing match with 10 oz gloves?

Almost certainly not!

In the video below I talk about why this is the case…

McGregor is an amazing salesman for this fight, trash talking like nobody’s business.  He has 100,000,000 good reasons to do so after all…

But it comes down to this: football and soccer are different sports, just like MMA and Boxing.  Even the most gifted athletes in the world can’t switch from one sport to another and expect to do well at a high level on their first outing.

McGregor murders Mayweather in MMA.  Mayweather beats McGregor in boxing.  The end.

Let’s say that the best team in soccer (Real Madrid, say) plays a FOOTBALL GAME against the worst team in football (the Cleveland Browns). Even  competing against the worst football team in the game Real Madrid would get slaughtered.

A friend of mine summed it up like this, “McGregor has about the same chance against Roger Gracie in a gi IBJJF match as he does against Mayweather in boxing.

But what about an upset?

Well, it is a fight, there’s a one in a hundred chance that he gets super lucky, lands a crushing left hand and KO’s Mayweather.  And if that happens it’s the end of boxing and the immediate ascendency of MMA to the premiere sport in the world.

But it’s so unlikely that it completely baffles me that people are putting money on McGregor.

Last I looked the odds of McGregor winning were +375.  That means that if you put $100 down on him and he actually wins then you’re $375 richer than you were before you made the bet.

For the layman, that’s roughly 4 to 1 odds of him winning, which is ridiculous.

The odds are so against McGregor that you should get a 50:1 payout if he wins.

Don’t waste your money betting on the underdog in this match!

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July 4th Sale on All Apps!

July 4th Long Weekend Sale: All Apps on All Platforms Currently 50% Off the Listed Price!

I’m not often confused with Tom Cruise.

First of all I’m a lot taller than he is…

I’m also NOT a Scientologist, and have never jumped up and down on Oprah’s couch…

And finally I’m much better looking (at least that’s what my mom used to tell me)!

But Tom and I do have at least one similarity…

In 1989 he starred in a movie called ‘Born on the Fourth of July.’   Coincidentally I star in that very same movie every year.  Because I too am born on the Fourth of July.

So in the next few days, amidst all the fireworks and celebrations I’m going to be celebrating my birthday.  But there’s a twist: YOU’RE going to get the present.

Here’s what’s happening between now and July 4th…

We’re having a giant sale.

First all Grapplearts Apple, Android and Kindle apps, and all Grapplearts instructional DVDs and programs are 50% off.

(The DVDs and on-demand training is also going to go on sale, but I still need to set it up at my end, so I’ll likely send you another email with that info tomorrow).

This is a great time to grab all the BJJ apps you need to turbocharge your training for the next year.  And if your phone or tablet is too full to hold them  all then I’ve got a solution for you!

Remember that you can purchase the app now to take advantage of the great price, but leave it ‘in the cloud’ until you need it.

That way you get the discount, but only actually download the app to your phone from the iTunes or the Google Play store whenever you’ve cleared some space on your device.

As long as you’re still using that same account that app will always be there for you!

Click here to see all the BJJ instructional apps that I’ve got, or select from the links below…

Roadmap for BJJ Apple | Android | Kindle FREE

Grapplearts Submissions Apple | Android | Kindle on sale $1.99 (regular $3.99)

Grapplearts Guard Sweeps Apple | Android | Kindle on sale $1.99 (regular $3.99)

Grapplearts Submission Defense Apple | Android | Kindle on sale $1.99 (regular $3.99)

7 Days to Better Guard » Continue Reading.

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