Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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Does the Movie Industry Have Responsibilities

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

For a movie or book or other entertainment production to be good it often means it should at least come close to reality with a good dose of license toward fiction to, “Entertain.” Does the movie or entertainment industry have a responsibility to at least present a bit of reality to a production or at least to provide disclaimers that stunts used are NOT realistic and that the theme’s are NOT realistic and if one were to try to use them then be warned that to do so would involve the rathe of the legal authorities and the irate tirade of society. 

This brings to question the responsibilities of self-defense training and application. A new movie on martial arts is being released and just from the trailer I got these most horrible feelings that some might actually relate to and believe the theme and resulting actions that are being used to make the movie. As the theme came out in the trailer and the attitudes and actions as a result were presented I got a flurry of pictures flashing through my mind of just what we as a society do NOT want to convey as reality to the masses. I could detect the monkey brain taking control and leading all the parties involved down this illegal path of damage, revenge and other such things - all considered as proof positive that the person and persons are breaking the law for ego boosting status seeking egoistic monkey dancing. 

Don’t get me wrong, the preview trailer makes a presentation of lots and lots of action in martial arts even if the actual actions are not legal or really realistic in a socially driven legal self-defense reality based belief. Three of the actors I like and have a lot of fun watching them in their movies especially when they are science “FICTION” presentations. 

It has been shown that many who don’t have the understanding of the reality between movies or games toward the reality of real life tend to find such things as “cool” and then go forward to find and learn all these tactically cool things that spin up emotionally driven monkey dancing unrealistic actions labeled as “Self-defense” or as “Perfectly ok to apply when you feel a need for revenge” and so on. 

Who is responsible for making sure that folks know that this stuff is fiction and strictly entertainment, not reality? I like the sporting aspects of martial arts and I like the sport of competitive kick boxing called Muay Tai but seriously, this movie really goes to the extreme of monkey brain egoistic unrealistic applications of martial prowess. 

Example: There is one scene where one guy in training is tied down to a bunk while the teacher is beating his shins with a stick and the guy is screaming with the pain. Now, how many monkey driven folks will actually allow someone to beat on their shins with sticks because they now feel that is a legitimate way to condition the body for kickboxing mastery? Like anything in regard to body conditioning such extreme measures are often not the best way to go and often require a long time build up to deaden the body properly. Then I ask, is it necessary? Mostly, to my mind, no it is not necessary. Yet, when this movie comes out I would bet you that someone or some folks will take up this particular training model. Wanna bet?

Oh, and what about the other bad guys training regimen where he is depicted beating his legs and shins against a cement device and that cement breaks into pieces when he gives a final kick, what the ????

People today are so enamored with the entertainment industry that they have come to “believe” a lot of it as reality based truth and that is a dangerous thing in my book. I love films but I also know that they are not reality, they are “EntertainMENT!”

p.s. I would still enjoy watching the movie, typical bad vs. good and I will know and understand that it is merely entertainment. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

The Survival Instinct (Maslow’s Needs)

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)
  1. Survival: the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of conflict and/or violence (an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances).
  2. Security: the state of being free from danger or threat; the state of feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety; the safety of a state or organization against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft, or espionage; procedures followed or measures taken to ensure the safety of a state or organization.
  3. Belonging: be a member or part of (a particular group, organization, or class); have the right personal or social qualities to be a member of a particular group; (of a person) fit in a specified place or environment; be rightly classified in or assigned to a specified category.
  4. Esteem: respect and admiration, typically for a person; respect and admire; Self-Esteem: a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth; a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self; beliefs about oneself, as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame; the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it.
  5. Self-Actualization: the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone (A person who embraces the unknown and the ambiguous; who accepts themselves with all their flaws; they enjoy the journey not the destination; inherently unconventional without succumbing to shock techniques; motivated by growth, not a satisfaction of ego; have purpose in life; not troubled by small things; have gratitude and show appreciation; have close tribal relations while identifying with others; humble; resist enculturation; accept their imperfections).
The reason I have presented definitions to the Maslow hierarchal pyramid of needs is to show that ‘Survival’ is the very foundation of that hierarchy, it is the very essence of humanity itself. It is encoded not just in our gene’s but in nature itself and permeates every single atom that makes up our universe. Consider the concept and theory of the ‘Big Bang’. Isn’t that actually a form of violence, a form so huge the human mind has issues with the very concept and why it is referred to as a big ‘BANG.” 

There is a most excellent article about Maslow’s needs and you can read it here before continuing here (Note: this article has nothing to do with my article except as a subject of discussion, etc.)

There, in my mind, is an apparent dependency here and why I feel that survival holds up the pyramid and thus is meant to teach us that survival is the very essence, the cornerstone, of humanity and human existence. It is one of those reasons as to why I have the belief that every facet of human existence is based solely on humanities very survival/existence. It is the very core of why, what and how to  the very existence and meaning behind such disciplines as martial arts (Karate for me in particular). It is why I feel considerably strong about the existence of martial arts is about survival whether as a tool to keep our connection with that fundamental principle through a philosophical study or through the more violence oriented fense (defense/offense) studies. 

Hey, even playing video games has a thread that reaches toward an instinctual feeling in regard to ‘survival’. In truth, I see and feel that the five levels of the Maslow model is how we come to create our selves as to personality and character. I have also come to believe that the upper levels of security, belonging, esteem and self-actualization are all ego based personality and character traits the provide humans the ability to think, analyze and synthesize so that they can navigate the world and universe and survive the worlds and the Universes obstacles that are often dangerous and a threat to our very … wait for it … ‘SURVIVAL’!

You then have to ask yourself at every dangerous encounter, “How will this effect my survival?” Not just those immediate dangers that result in either or grave harm or death but the layers in between that affect your survival, i.e., your job stability as it relates to your income as it relates to your ability to provide as to the ability to have shelter and sustenance as to staving to death as to being exposed to the elements of the world as to your surviving those very elements by not freezing to death; being exposed to the dangers of nature; being exposed to the dangers of others who would need, want and require what you have for their survival and so on. Oh, and I didn’t forget that a pert of all this is also that drive to propagate so that your tribe (family) and you survive. 

If you stop and think of the connections they all find themselves connected to the very center of each individual and groups center - a need to survive. If we take the pyramid and change it a bit we can then see survival as the very center of human existence while the other needs circle and connect to make survival possible except when survival becomes and triggers our very instincts, i.e., the flight-fight urges. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Challenging the Status Quo

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Status quo, often in martial arts directed toward a specific style, a specific dojo and a specific sensei, sempai and kohai as to the doctrine of the style as well as that of the dojo and sensei. It becomes so ingrained that sensei is put on a pedestal and his doctrine becomes immutable, irrefutable and just dogmatic in its beliefs, culture and perceptions. 

If you dare to question the beliefs and culture you will meet with a vehement and often angry response even when you provide irrefutable factual proof, not conjecture, theory, idealogical or first person memory driven interviews. They will immediately other you as an outsider of the tribe or clan, as a traitor to the cause or provocateur. Once you become an “Them or Other” vs. “US or group member, etc.,” then it is easy to disregard any and all things you present even as stated when irrefutably true, relevant and proved through a variety of means acceptable as scientific, factual or researched proof especially if from two or more different resources. 

Once this takes hold then no matter what lines of communications outside of their own echo chamber rhetoric reasonable work and data and facts will just not work to change the status quo of the group, tribe, clan of dojo community. I have personally witnessed truth proven be refuted with unsubstantiated information simply because it was, “My sensei tole me,” and “The Master said it was so,” responses. Not even for the sake of argument and discussion is such blasphemous information allowed and that is a shame. 

What it comes down to is active listening to foster amenable and beneficial communications so topics can be discussed, analyzed and synthesized into proof positive or even something new and relevant to the situation, the times and the experiences of all involved. When listening one listens to any question, any answer, any response, to the exchange of disagreements regardless so as to find and dig out the truth, the facts and the end validations necessary to make the way, the path, a good one. We don’t shut down others, their comments or their efforts but listen with a mind toward the possibility that what they say is true and then ferret out what it may be true of - analysis. Noting on either side is the unquestionable and irrefutable truth. 

Even when the truth is found remaining open minded to the fact that as change occurs in each moment and with each situation that truth then is changed and synthesized into ta new relevant truth to the situation and moment. 

It has been said and I quote, Listening includes asking for reasons, facts and perspectives. It does not mean accepting conclusions or disregarding your reasons, facts or perspectives. Communications is about listening actively, exchanging each’s reasoning of their facts and perspectives and perceptions; accepting or discarding conclusions until the group arrives at a mutually agreed upon conclusion. 

Challenging the status quo is the law of the Universe, of nature, where change is normal, inevitable and natural. Everything changes in every moment and to refuse to change is damaging to the self, to the dojo, to the dojo mates, and to sensei’s regardless. 

Challenge everything, even if you are told you should not challenge the teachings of your sensei, the styles master or other luminaries on the martial arts community. Mastering and being an expert means you have embraced the cheng-n-ch’i methods, the analysis and synthesis model and seek the path to knowledge and understanding no matter the obstacles. It is about doing rather than being, think about that one. 

“If you dare challenge, they’ll turn their fury on you. They’ll blame you, accuse you of being a traitor to the cause, a sell-out and do everything in their power to silence you or get the group to turn against you. This rat-packing and bullying is a very real factor inside groups.”

“They quietly self-isolate inside their group where they can stick with their interpretation of what the cause is about. Thus creating an “Us vs. Them” environment.” 

The question begs, “Ok then, what can you do?”
  • Find some commonality between the two disparate parties and open a line of communication through that channel. 
  • Moderate, make sure you can find reasonable and willing parties willing to work with other people.
  • Be an active listener by accepting what others say and find what is true about that.
  • Avoid extreme tactics, i.e., automatic urge toward disagreement, etc., as they are excuses to attack or bully.
  • To foster mutual communications while actively listening ask speaker for reasons, facts and perspectives without biases.
  • When disagreeing wait to hear actively the entire perspective and perception, stop and contemplate and then ask more questions for clarity, what they mean according to their beliefs, etc., and why they believe it to be so.
  • Look to find what the persons perspective is that they look from.
  • Avoid using your own beliefs through filtering what is being said according to your perceptions, perspectives and beliefs - remain open as possible.
  • Understand the persons interpretations as to why it looks like that that person.
  • Once the person has expressed their point of perspective and perception then filter that information from your perspective and perceptions while maintaining thoughts of what that persons truth might be true of and try to synthesize your side and theirs through connected commonalities, etc.
(“Oh yeah, here’s a free tip about getting people to listen to you and something I touched on before. Don’t use the same lingo as the extremists are -- especially just before or while they are attacking. It’s that whole, people can’t tell the difference between you and extremists if you’re both using the same language thing.” - Marc MacYoung)

Bibliography (Click the link)

Hat tip to as the inspiration for this post.

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Striking Opportunity

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

In some karate circles there are these terse teachings of the ken-po goku-i and one of those meme’s is, “The Time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself.” Good advice in the most general ways of things but warrants considerable study and understanding because without that effort many end up fighting and as we have come to know in modern society, “Fighting is illegal.” 

In a recent article the author created a quote that made me think of this meme, i.e., “ … You must be the one leading the dance, not the one following, so move first.” 

Granted, in certain specific situations you may have to resort to striking to achieve your self-fense goals. In just those particular spots the present those very opportunities you have failed self-fense already and are in the fight-zone. That is why I liked the second quote because regardless of the stage of conflict and violence if you move first, if you move earlier that your adversary or perceived threat you win. You are inside that persons loop and as long as you move quickly, change rapidly and vary the methods, etc., you are using you are going to overcome and find success. It is just a fact and proven by fire through the efforts of the loops creator.

If you take the lead you force others to follow or to miss the dance altogether. Your goal is to have them miss the dance by your moving first into avoidance mode along with escape and evasion. Finding those opportunities often presented long before conflict and violence manifest is actually striking, with a method of avoidance, escape and evasion (a part of avoidance), first but not with the fist or foot, with your mind, your mind-set and your mind-state. 

If you want to exploit all the opportunities that are presented along the way to conflict and violence you begin by exploiting those opportunities you have in training and practice to learn and understand all those factors of conflict and violence in yourself, your ego and how you act and do things in life, this is the early opportunity and to strike down those foibles in yourself goes a long way to leading the dance, your ego following the logical human mind-set you created and the staying inside your own loop of destructive behavior. 

If circumstances lose you that path then you will find, with this awareness, those other off ramps on the road to conflict and violence that you can take at the very first opportunity presented (cough cough, snicker snicker, you knew that was coming). 

It just goes to show that not everything is as plain as the nose on your face, that face covers up a mind that has many wonderful traits and aspects and personalities and character that when properly led tend to create a person of character and personality who takes the very first opportunities presented through the travels of life to include conflicts and violence of all levels and types so as to strike first for yourself toward those lofty, honorable and morally right goals you created. Ain’t life grand.

My dance card is full and I often work diligently to take the lead, create the opportunities before they are presented in other ways outside my purview and then apply them as best I can - ain’t life grand. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Hat tip to <Sword and Circle> as the inspiration for this post.

OFF TOPIC: In a Nutshell

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

What is missing in modern society and the cause of all this mess is this, “We are not in a state where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted and the world should be about the importance of human relations that is governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life.” 

If we could establish a culture and belief that every facet of life here is important and that nothing in our world, society and culture is to be taken fro granted and then if we can all establish and live a relation with others governed by how well we trust one another with our very lives I feel we could get back that spirit that made this country and its people great so long ago. 

Possibilities in the Dojo

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

As sensei we encounter many different people all seeking something, often that something being self-fense through the building up of confidence, experience and a certain philosophical belief system toward their own betterment, improvement and abilities. Education of this type does not come from study alone, academics, but through hands-on physical experiences that occur only when people act in tandem with the mind and its studies so that things get absorbed into the very core of who and what we all are.

Only when people come together into social like groups do we achieve such things. Only through a type of forging by fire do humans connect at such a level of mind and body that we achieve great things in all things. It reminds me of those times when our society learned how to do these things from the influences of our parents, elders and clan or tribe connections and their experiences as passed down through the generations comes from experiences where the most important and critical knowledge and understanding are about … “Military Service.” 

It has been and always will be about human survival that requires the tribe, the clan the social entity in context must learn what it takes for the groups survival in a world where conflict and violence are normal, nature and a part of the entire universe in which we live, exist and survive. 

Our current modern difficulties is born from a loss of that connection and fear has created a type of social conditioning that has suppressed the very core traits necessary to meet the needs of a human society, group, clan or tribe. It has jammed a wedge between the reality of existence and survival that is taking us toward the spiraling pull of a social black hole where at some point the ability to resist its strong pull toward oblivion that the tribe then ceases to have the ability to survive and thus expires into the void, it dies leaving a hole that will be filled by those fittest to survive in a universe of conflict and violence. 

The dojo, being a hall of learning toward proper coping skills, both mental and physical, to handle all types of conflict and violence, to achieve a cohesive brotherhood of connectivity that, historically, came from the fire of military training, service and in some cases combat that created a mind-set, mind-state and social philosophy that actually instilled a social brotherhood that spans the overall society in general and permeated every facet of its existence down into its groups, clans, tribes, and families where adversity simply means we come together with a core experience of knowledge and understanding that allows us to achieve a dynamic that exudes power and authority keeping the wolves at bay so the tribe, group, clan and family can survive, flourish and live well from generation to generation. 

It is in the dojo where sensei can re-instill that kind of spirit much like the actual spirit of the mind and body and dojo members into a single wholehearted connected tribe that can handle such adversities that threaten the very existence of its members as individuals as well as the proverbial dojo family, tribe or clan. 

The dojo dynamics holds the possibilities to achieve a return to such a state of humanity that would cause such modern disfunction’s to no longer exists much like a return to a national military draft would bring back in a few generations that brotherhood that permeates our very genes and thus extends that philosophy into our culture, our beliefs and our very being. 

Using such aspects as mind-body-spirit as developed through thought and actions of things like the yin-yang dynamics in the practice of martial arts of sensei-deshi, senpai-kohai and tori-uke, etc. Through the shin-gi-tai and the shu-ha-ri and other philosophical aspects the create the type of foundation that I am trying to convey. 

I remember that my family with my father, my grandparents and our ancestors all had that one trait that came from what can only be termed as a culture and philosophy built by the fire and blood of military service, the only way to achieve the brotherhood and connectivity that brought us all together when our very existence was threatened, our very survival. I feel that we have brought ourselves to that state in our modern society simply because we have suppressed those vey survival instincts out of ignorance and fear. We have become, as history proves by those who came before but have disappeared from existence, our worst enemy while the hordes of the barbarians stand at the gates pounding against its weakening structure simply because we fail to maintain our readiness to combat and survive the threats of our society, our tribes and our families. 

Bring back the military draft, draft all who reach the mature age of 18 years; draft both genders and allow them to server in all capacities; and in a generation of three or four that spirit will return or it will not and our way of life will go the way of the Roman Empire, into the dust never to be seen or exist again. 

Sensei shall go forth into the dojo with a new purpose, to re-instill our nature and our abilities to handle and cope with all forms of conflict and violence, the very core and nature of existence, by the way, the way of the warrior through martial arts. We do have a responsibility but it goes way beyond mere competitive tournaments for trophies and accolades of our peers, it goes to the very core of our survival against those who bang at our doors just waiting for the chance to enter and destroy our way of life in the name of their way of life. 

Then again, what the fuck do I know …

Bibliography (Click the link)