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

Statistical Results of Martial Arts Surveys

Only one is true and relevant, which is it? Can you say why it is true? 

A: “A recent survey of karate practitioners resulted in 95% as being unable to apply their craft in actual street self-defense while the other 5% were composed of professionals such as military, police and security personnel who applied their skills on a regular basis with, per the survey, 72% achieving successful results of the use of karate in defense on the job.” - International Martial Arts of American Association survey of 2012. 

B: “A survey by the largest martial arts organization in the United States to respondents from training facilities, dojo and seminars states that martial arts are not applicable to successful self-defense in street altercations and/or predatory attacks.” - International Martial Arts of American Association survey of  April of 2012. 

C: “A survey by a reputable surveying organization states that the average martial artists tend to believe they are able to defend themselves while another survey shows that only about 3.6% of all martial artists in the United States has adequate ability to defend against street altercations.”

D: None of the Above are true.

Provide comments in the comments section please

What is it to “Be A Man”

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

When I started to contemplate this was after reading the article posted or shared on Marc MacYoung’s FBWall, “Our Kids Don’t Need Gun Control Laws, They Need Fathers.” In one of the comments that followed Mark Burns mentioned, “be a man.” This reminds me of the constant discussion and disagreement as to what is considered “Traditional Martial Arts.” Emphasis on the definition of traditional. 

Being a man seems to be a very subjective phrase that results in as many different thoughts than does the discussion of traditional martial arts what ever that really means. I began to contemplate as to what it takes to “be a man.” 

Being a Man: First, do a search on being a man and at the top of the google search I used it gave the stats of about 1,680,000,000 results in only about .65 seconds. Second, amazing time to achieve that many results in so short a time, thanks google search engine. Third, this simply means that defining what it is to be a man is subjective and dependent on each individual, that individuals perceptions and distinctions according to the various influences such as their fathers, their families, the social structure of that family in its local social tribe and so on. Don’t forget that for all of these it does include the cultural belief systems at each and every level. It also comes from the longer line of ancestry involved because ancestry has a lot to do with how that cultural belief system evolved over a long period of time, say at a minimum of three hundred years. 

Every man must become the man that his social community requires as to that groups survival. Think of survival as what each generation teaches the one that follows so that it maximizes that groups chance of survival. If any one generation fails to transmit that social cultural belief system, including what it is to be the man in that group along with other beliefs, then they have allowed a weak link to effect that groups chance of survival. If the group actually has its shit together that weak link will be readily detectable and therefore the group will either correct it or remove it but in modern times this part may not be available now. 

Being a man has a lot more involved than merely acting in a macho manner. There are all kinds of descriptive terms and phrases that would give some modicum of information toward what it is to be a man but to remind you, that changes according to the social construct and the survival instinct of that same social entity. There is a huge amount of diversity in that thought and it also provides me a theory as to why humans should have remained in those ancient groups or tribes. Such descriptive terms as, “Selflessness, consistency, humility, integrity, respect, courage, honor, compassion, honesty and sincerity as well as duty and loyalty.” All of these then therefore depend heavily on how that particular person, family and social community defines them and then that definition is instinctually modeled toward the tribe or groups survival. 

Then there are how such definitions are affected by group dynamics such as where a person, a man in this case, sits within the groups hierarchy, their status at that level within the tribe and finally their duty and responsibility to the tribe or group with emphasis on its survival. 

Now, I would add in how the effects of the society at its current standing effects being a man. Modern society compared to a more simplistic social standing such as Medieval times would create what it is to be a man to self, the group and the social tribes involved. Modern times seems to me to have put a socially conditioned different spin on what it is to be a man.

For instance, being a man to me means having the intestinal fortitude to solve your own issues, problems and obstacles but modern man as of this time seems to be conditioning men to seek others in solving issues, problems and obstacles. Modern society is actually distancing everyone, men especially, from the natural human instincts that provided for survival of the tribe making for men who no longer have the knowledge, understanding or tools to cope and resolve conflicts along with the sometimes resulting violence. We are forgetting our ancestry and roots especially those aspects that have not been removed by nature through evolution. 

A complete lack of knowledge, understanding and the resulting tools to cope with conflict and violence, a very natural state of human existence that is not going anywhere any time soon, means when the natural human conflict arises we either try to force its resolution onto others so we don’t have to deal with its stresses or we try to ignore it until frustrations rise to a level causing anger, escalation and violence, more violence than what we originally wanted to rid ourselves of to begin with by sticking our collective heads in the sands of ignorance. 

In that light lets say that to be a man is to learn and understand what it is to be human, collect adequate tools and knowledge and especially understanding so each man can deal with human conflict and violence, at all levels. A man does rely on others to assist but deflecting the entire situation to others is simply cowardice. A man then through knowledge, understanding and awareness knows how to properly apply the coping skills to avoid, deescalate and resolve said obstacles, issues, problems and obstacles. A man knows when to “hold-em, fold-em and when to walk away” as Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler, would say. 

Being a man is accepting the world for what it is, having the courage to deal with the world and then finding ways to make for a better world using the tools the world has and works under. Hiding and othering and ignoring and forcing others to take on and handle our responsibilities is cowardice, stupidity and just plain wrong. 

Maybe being a man is as simple and as complex as understanding we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and our tribes to do the best we can for our survival. Maybe those are the underlying principles of being a man while all the others such as being “Selfless, consistent, with humility, with integrity, with respect, with courage, with honor, with compassion, with honesty and sincerity as well as with duty and loyalty,” will help each man to understand what it takes to be a “Man.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Multi-attacker Training

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

Yeah, right, this guy is going to survive and beat the crap
out of all these attackers, reality Check!
What is it? It is about being attacked by two or more adversary’s. One of the most sought after aspects of martial arts training is the ability to stop a multi-attacker situation, i.e., what one does with martial arts to stop two or more determined attackers from doing damage to you. The discussion always turns to kata and proponents of this type of training tend to say, “Kata is training to stop multiple attackers.” 

Invariably, self-defense martial artists ask, “How do we defend against multiple attackers?” The answer is simple really, “Avoid environments and situations where you expose yourself to being attacked by two or more adversary’s!” I don’t care how much martial arts experience, training and ability you may or may not have gained over decades of training, practice and experience. When you face multiple attackers you had better find a way to deescalate and avoid a physical encounter. 

In the world of professionals seldom does anyone fare well in a multiple attacker situation. Awareness is one aspect of training, i.e., be it martial arts or other venues of self-defense, where an awareness of self, surroundings, environment and situations that promote conflict and violence, etc. is the only realistic and fool-proof (mostly) way of avoiding and thereby defeating multiple attackers. 

It seems to me unrealistic and a huge disservice to students and practitioners to promote, train, teach and practice multiple attack drills and techniques because multiple attacker levels of force far exceed any real expertise and proficiency one can attain in martial arts or any other defense training. One reason why the higher levels of force use against multiple attackers is acceptable, i.e., where one takes up and uses enhancers/weapons to attain some level of survivability in multiple attack situations. 

Honestly, if I detect a multiple person attack, and believe me if properly aware you should see those signs a comin, I will turn and run like hell to safety! Running away from two or more determined attackers is a good thing and very high on my priority list of things to do in defense of my life and limb. 

If I face multiple adversary’s with an intent to process me for some form of resource, i.e., my money, watch and wallet, the best plan of survival is to follow their script and walk away, run away, when the opportunity presents itself. You beginning to see the picture here regarding multiple person attacks.

This media driven macho ego status building Ninja like ability to destroy multiple attackers swiftly, quickly and efficiently with little or no damage to self is pure bullshit put out and believed through the dramatization of movies, television and sport oriented competitive endeavors. Life seldom reflects movie, television and fictional stories. 

Now, if your training program for multiple attackers is geared toward the intent of theory, competition and entertainment of self, dojo, dojo mates and other like minded people then go for it, have fun, enjoy and be safe. If your training is to fool yourself into believing that you can easily handle multiple attackers with your Karate Ninja Deadly Hands art of defense, grow up and get some sense cause it ain’t gonna happen in real life.

If you are one of those lucky souls who used your awesome martial skills to combat two or more non-professionals in a fight, great, I am glad for you but don’t fool yourself in thinking cause it worked that time it will work the next time and then hope and pray you are not facing a determined, predatory and professional attacker cause you are going to get a visit to the ER or die. 


If you want to ensure your ability to survive multiple attacker situations then join the military and go to war. They will provide you the training, the tactics, the strategies and best of all the weaponry that equalizes things a bit. If you are a citizen for self-defense handling multiple attackers means you have superior levels of applied force that may not be viewed as legally justified. 

THINK before you TRAIN and most of all before you ACT! THINK Avoidance and THINK RUN FORREST RUN!!!!!

Bibliography (Click the link)

OT (Off Topic): Seeking "Serenity Atlas of the Verse, Volume 1"

Looking for a very clean copy of, “Serenity Atlas of the Verse, Volume 1, by QMx” If you have one and are willing to part with it contact me for pricing and shipping. Email me at, “isshin do karate <@> gmail com” 

Kicks - Above and Below Our Center/Waist

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

The following is “Strictly” my thoughts, theories and feelings and are not meant to represent any other system, style or practitioner. This is about principles as applied to such kicks as well as kicks used toward self-defense, not sport or competitions. 

First, my style of practice when I began seriously the study of karate in the mid-seventies was Isshinryu. My Sensei was taught and taught me that to kick above our centeredness, i.e., the waist line where many are taught that our center resides about two inches below the navel, etc. I was taught two distinct principles of kicking. First, is effective kicks tend to be to targets that appear below our centers or waists. Second, kicks are not meant to be used toward self-defense as a part of applied techniques but are strictly “Finishing Techniques” in fighting. Notice I said, “Fighting,” and remember that fighting is illegal so why I didn’t say self-defense. 

Let me give you a bit more to remove some of the possible confusion in that last paragraph. Effective kicks below our center can be used in self-defense but you will find that to be more about the monkey dance socially driven type conflicts. This means it is very iffy if it will be viewed and determined as legally applied self-defense. In reality and as to what I understand to be an attack, not the social monkey stuff, means in all likelihood it will be so close that the use of kicks may often not be available. This brings about the so-called “Finishing techniques.” Many martial arts self-defense models teach such techniques that from my view would be determined by the authorities as a lead-in toward the use of deadly force. If someone who attacked you is put into a position where one can apply a finishing technique you have to consider that to remain within the self-defense square you may better serve your survival and security by leaving over finishing someone - a finishing techniques speaks to me of a socially driven emotional type, “I will make sure this asshole knows he messed with the wrong guy,” attitude and that attitude means it ain’t self-defense. 

When you accomplish your goals of stopping the attack and the damage you leave, you don’t finish it. Think about that one. Now, back on topic as to kicking above and below our waists. 

Originally I was taught that when using kicks one must adhere to the fundamental principles of martial disciplines because otherwise such kicks as above th waits place you into greater positions of vulnerability. When in the fight against an attacker one of the principles that is critical to achieving a goal of self-defense is, “Balance, Structure and Alignment, etc.” If you raise your leg over the waist you violate those principles along with some others such as, “Economical motion, Heaviness, rooting and so on.” 

Example, economical motion means you remove as much wasted motion as possible where the extra distances necessary to achieve higher kicks is pretty much wasted and provides too much time for an adversary to Observe IT, Orient toward IT, Decide to exploit that time and space, etc. and finally to Act by using attack methodologies to disrupt your heaviness and use it against you, your stability of structure and balance and others to achieve his goal. 

Below the waist kicks, if possible or available for appropriate use toward appropriate levels of force, are faster, more economical and harder to defend against and even detect. This is just off the top of my head too!

Isshinryu as originally named and created was taught to me regarding kicks was to keep them below the waist and make them techniques used when distance is available to keep the attacker at a distance or to cause the attacker to reconsider things like, “Don’t attack me, it will cost you too much so leave,” type thing. 

In Isshinryu teachings the higher kicks were adopted because they became popular and therefore were easier to see to award points as well as in competitive full-contact type matches are powerful toward knock outs (That my make it seem like that means they are good for defense but that, in most cases, simply is not a valid assumption and theory).

Another misconception about Isshinryu in particular is the old saying it is made up of equal hand and foot techniques in kata but this is not accurate. You will note a considerably higher level of hand techniques over the feet/legs and there is a reason why this is so. In karate, which is actually the Asian hand-to-hand form of defense, is more about using the hands to defend. Not just the striking aspects associated with karate but those attack methodologies best suited to self-defense, i.e., “Impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc.”

In closing I will say that kicks are effective but how they are used type distinctions must be made. In one thought many tend to lean heavily toward kicks for many reasons of which one is a human instinct to keep distance from an attacker. It is a natural use of our first hand or foot-to-attacker weapon that explains why in most conflicts with the type of violence levels such as combat it is preferred to use a greater distance where weapons are preferred. This was how karate was used on Okinawa in the earlier times where its practice and training were more a prerequisite toward training with weapons, i.e., swords, spears, canon, etc.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Gripping or Hand Strength in Martial Arts

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

Like hitting with the hand, the ability to grip effectively has to deal with a lot of slippage, i.e., the flex found in the hand that affects our gripping ability and also the effectiveness of gripping in self-defense. The hand as readily discernible has to deal with a lot of bones, tendons, cartilage and ligaments, etc. The overall strength and weakness lies in these parts and depend heavily on their stability along with the strength or lack thereof in the wrist and forearm, i.e., as to direct strength and stability as dictated by those body parts. It is ancillary to these that the affects of the elbow, the upper arm and the shoulders/shoulder girdle also have an immense effect and overall strength and power as they too contribute to the application of gripping models of technique as can be seen readily in systems like, “Chin-na [擒拿].”

Since self-defense relies on a compilation of methodologies to get the job done, i.e., “actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat,” one can detect a need for strong hands and associated support strength and stability to achieve successes with pulls and twists, directly, and takedowns/throws and compressions, indirectly, to achieve a self-defense goal.

Because of its inherent weaknesses to bleed off power one needs to achieve stability and strength whereby the whole or holistic goal is achieved, i.e., a combined strength and application of techniques and principles with a strong strength of muscle enhanced by the structure and alignment of the shoulder girdle, the arm with elbow and wrist and finally the weakest link of that chain being the hand, i.e., the many complexities of hand structure with its hinge and gliding joints.

Consider that the hand strength is very limited therefore in conjunction with hand strength it must also be enhanced by the wrist, arm, shoulder and then body with the spine, hip girdle and legs achieve stability, balance and force by their structure and alignments and strengths as applied toward manipulation with hands against an adversary’s body. 

Add in a solid knowledge of the principles of joint manipulations to disrupt structure and balance of an adversary to achieve the goals, the many goals of self-defense. In short, know the weaknesses of the body along with the strengths in applying such forces with strength of your body toward the weaknesses of an adversary’s body, etc.

Add in another aspect that to use and/or rely on hand strength alone or hand strength as supported and enhanced by other principles leaves out other methodologies necessary to achieve success in self-defense. 

The truth is one who demonstrates incredible feats of strength using the hands is actually demonstrating an exemplary understanding and application of fundamental principles. Like generating power in a strike by the movement of our mass and enhanced by those bodily applications such as structure and alignment generates great power all things considered. Because the focus of attention is directed on handling an adversary with the hands while manipulating weaknesses of the body as well as the mind makes it appear that the hands are demonstrating incredible “Gripping skills.” 

This is simply not accurate. Another point to grip or hand strength is that its development usually comes from the strengthening program used to build strength in the entire body. The hands therefore become a controller and stabilizer of an application such a those demonstrated in joint locks, manipulation and the art of Chin-na. It is like the hands representing the the ring spanner while the arm/shaft acts as the forearm, etc. so that when pressure and torque are applied the hand itself twists and rotates, etc. while holding tight to the target area. I can grab and twist just the hand with little or not impact to the adversary but when I add in the arm, shoulder, body and grounding, centeredness, structure, torque, etc. as a whole I am able to manipulate the adversary’s weakness, physical and mental, to my choosing - mostly. 

Finally, having strong hands are a preventative against injuries, etc. when using them for self-defense. A strong hand clenched tightly leaves little room for an adversary to manipulate, twist or pull a finger and joint in a manner that causes you to lose balance, structure, etc. in fight for self-defense. 

A good grip is a solid tool in martial arts and/or self-defense and it is good to know how it fits in that model but one shouldn’t spend any more time on its development as a singular unit over a combined one of whole body applications. Usually the hand and its strength, etc. will come from the hands use in training, practice and applications be it sport or self-defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Proof in the Pudding Exercise

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

“As a society, we seem to have the unfortunate tendency to swallow the most ridiculous statistics as if they were gospel. We seem willing to accept any ‘fact’ or ‘theory’ as long as someone throws us a number to back it up. It doesn’t seem to matter if they clash horribly with what we know to be true: our experience, knowledge and rational abilities just aren’t worth as much as statistical evidence.” - God’s Bastard Blog

Comment: I liken this to the “Proof of fact” often used to ensure acceptance of that persons beliefs in martial arts. I hear things like, “Personal Interviews,” and the like where qualifiers are added as if that supported such personal interviews, i.e., video record said interviews or video and interview older prominent martial artists of Okinawan karate.

Here is another rub to this “Proof of Fact” effort, that such memories, since none of it till this video interview of a personal account, are subjective at best. Memories are just not that solid of evidence of fact. 

In one source it has been found that due to the differences in one’s background and identity they see and hear events differently than someone else present at that time. Add in that over time our minds change then we have to remember that the recreation of memories goes a bit like this, “Human memories fail on a regular basis; our memories are not really like video cameras; our real memories are severely hampered by limits in perception and attention; we are incapable of processing the incredible amount of material we encounter every second of every day. Just seeing or hearing or smelling something does not create a discrete memory that we can readily recall. … It does not matter how many times we have seen something or even how important it is. … If we don not have a reason to note of something at the time we are less likely to remember it. We all, also, tend to lose our ability to recall a lot of what we experience and then our memories do not perform as we expect them to. We tend to only remember the ‘gist’ of what happened and we are much less successful in remembering verbatim details. The specifics of what happened are also the fastest to slip away, with the exact words of a conversation being particularly delicate.”

In addition, “False memories are often highly specific, which makes them all the more believable both to the people who carry them and to third parties (including police officers, jurors, and judges). In most cases, our false memories are not made out of whole cloth but are instead logical extensions of what we would expect or want to have happened. Conjuring memories provides us with a narrative that makes sense and affirms what we want to believe. People’s recollections of events are abut 80% accurate. Roughly every fifth detail is false. A quarter of inaccurate memories were given with total confidence. Research shows that a witness’s eyesight and age, the viewing duration and distance, and the lighting all play a role in whether a memory is encoded accurately.”

Yet, in the martial art communities and specifically in certain particular system or style communities, folks will readily accept such supposed facts from their authority figure, i.e., their Sensei in their Dojo, etc. In our modern society we have been conditioned and influenced greatly by media such as television and movies not to forget the sudden burst of interest and use of hand held cell phone video capability and so on. We forget that such media are controllable by the person filming and subject to such psychological influences of such “Qualifiers” added to frame and influence the viewer to “See what they intend” rather than view it objectively. 

We also have to remember that through the interview process the form, content and intent of the questioner frames and influences the answer the interviewee provides in addition to the memory issues discussed in previous paragraphs of this article Add in cultural belief systems and perceptions and distinctions of each individual that influence the memory extraction process you often get a picture that if we were able to view history directly as it happens through a fictional history viewer most often they would not match. Yet, adding in such qualifiers as the interviewer being a “First Generation Student” and a “History Researcher” and a “Expert,” etc., you are being influenced and steered toward an agenda of the interviewer who in all likelihood innocently influences the audience so they will easily and readily accept their view, perspective and proverbial historical fact per a “Personal Interview with Master So-n-So.” 

Lets add in a few more memory issues that also influence such efforts, i.e., “There is substantial evidence that people regularly confuse individuals in their memories. The process of retrieving memories, remember, is a constructive process: sometimes we cut out someone’s face or body and paste it into a completely different setting. Suggestion can create false autobiographical memories.”

and, “When we watch a video, listen to a recording, or look at a photograph, we feel as if we are viewing things in an objective, neutral manner. But then, not everyone does see things the way we do. We operate under the illusion that reality enters our brain through our senses unfiltered.”

Ergo, memory is very, very subjective. If we fail to question such information we will be influenced according to our personal feelings, perceptions, opinions and emotions (in a sense our emotions, often referred to as our monkey brains, will often be the most dominant influence to the point it tells our human logical brain it is wrong when it isn’t, etc.)

Until some scientific and/or historical source actually achieves appropriate scientific and historical studies of such things there will never be any “Fact” that will actually support many of the modern martial community beliefs. Many historical researchers of martial arts have achieved great strides in documenting historical information but that information may never achieve a status of “Fact” because this particular subject and discipline has no definitive historical fact or documentation that does anything other than lead to assumptions so we have to believe or not according to our personal beliefs, etc.

The shame is that so many have come to believe such things as “Dogma” that they cannot see the light to lead them to greater understanding and knowledge but remain steadfast in their personal socially connected dojo group belief system. I also believe this is one reason why even a system or style proponents in the community tend to disagree according to each groups own belief systems, etc., and that is a shame because it hinders the growth potential of the system or style of community or dojo or tribe or group. 

Oh, and you can include this article in all the above and that is why I have the disclaimer in each one, click the link at the top of this article to read if not already read. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Nagle’s Kata; Armstrong’s Kata; Mitchum’s Kata; Advincula’s Kata

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

A great question came up on a Facebook Page Post about the kata practiced under the lineage, if you will allow some latitude herein, of Don Nagle Sensei, Isshinryu Karate. Nagle Sensei is one of those labeled “First Generation Students” of the systems founder, “Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei.” It is a set of questions about kicks in the Naihanchi kata. 

Caveat: such trivial curiosities have their place, especially those interested in discovery of and practice of the kata from a “original way” that Tatsuo-san taught and practiced. It is about carrying on a specific tradition under the heading of Tatsuo Shimabuku Sensei’s origins, cultural and beleif where remaining exact and true to his system is critically paramount to ancestral foundational origins (a real mouthful I know and it still won’t be adequate to describe why one must remain true to such things). This level of exactness is not exactly conducive to training toward fighting ability (not sport), combative ability and/or self-defense ability with karate let alone Isshinryu specifically (let the anger and flame wars begin).

Lets get to the quick of this article, the differences in kata as practiced even though they are all from this one, fairly new, system or style of karate from Okinawa, Isshinryu. To achieve this we have to recognize and understand that the system or style was taught to a variety of American servicemen of which many were, “Marines.” 

Second, we should understand as well that during the time, i.e., circa late 1950’s and early 1960’s, changes abounded and even Tatsuo-san was known to make changes in how kata were performed, practiced and applied in the karate system. After all, he spent a lot of years in the creative process before naming the system officially. Even after the naming he made changes as appropriate, he was the creator after all. 

Third, Tatsuo-san as I perceive his efforts from the limited research I have done made changes and created his system or style from his studies and practices of other systems and styles. His efforts, to me, were filled with change and that change seemed to continue on until his retirement and following death. 

So, back to the questions regarding the differences of kata practice where the questioner mentioned the Nagle Sensei lineage. I am of that same lineage and found over the years that even those who fall under Nagle Sensei influences tended to practice kata with variances to those depicted even in the video’s of Nagle Sensei. I want to express my views that variances in kata are not about right or wrong, correct or incorrect and traditional over modern but rather differences in individuals. 

Take a look at human memory, memory is very, very subjective and influenced by many factors. Most of what I understand about memories can be presented in a few quotes as follows.

“The trouble with relying on memory is not just that we fail to encode certain things or that we forget over time, but also that our memories record what we encounter through the lens of our motivations, expectations, and experiences. As a result, two people will not have exactly the same memory of the same event. Our memories are subject to revision, alteration, and reconfiguration. Memory is a constructive process best likened to creating a collage: we piece together various fragments and then fill in the inevitable white patches with our background knowledge, desires, and beliefs until we have something that is complete and usable.”  - Adam Benforado, Unfair

“When we go to retrieve a memory, we are not simply rummaging through an old filing cabinet for a snapshot; as we search, we may in fact be arranging the image.”  - Adam Benforado, Unfair

“Presented with new information about an event, we may readily incorporate it into what we remember. We can even remember things that we never experienced or saw.”  - Adam Benforado, Unfair

“False memories are often highly specific, which makes them all the more believable both to the people who carry them and to third parties (including police officers, jurors, and judges). In most cases, our false memories are not made out of whole cloth but are instead logical extensions of what we would expect or want to have happened. Conjuring memories provides us with a narrative that makes sense and affirms what we want to believe. People’s recollections of events are abut 80% accurate. Roughly every fifth detail is false. A quarter of inaccurate memories were given with total confidence. Research shows that a witness’s eyesight and age, the viewing duration and distance, and the lighting all play a role in whether a memory is encoded accurately. Simply by altering the conditions in which a person viewed another person, researchers were able to boost identification accuracy to 86% or drop it to 14%.”  - Adam Benforado, Unfair

“At any given moment, our race, gender, age, profession, politics, religion, and countless other identifying-defining characteristics and affiliations color what we see, hear, feel and perceive at any given moment.” - Adam Benforado, Unfair

“At any given moment, our race, gender, age, profession, politics, religion, the time in which a person lives, the culture and social culture in which a person is raised and lives, the power relations or power dynamics of social connections, i.e., family, friends, associates (tribal connections, etc.), the person’s sensory input modes such as sight dominance or tactile dominance, etc. their internal environment, the social external environments and then their perceptions as to movement (theirs and others), how they therefore read body language especially facial along with tone of voice and word intonations, etc. effects perceptions and perspectives in a unique way.” - Compilation of Mr. Benforado’s quote and mine.

“Humans tend to use a process of maintaining their own viewpoints by discrediting others who disagree is pretty much automatic. Disagreements don’t arise from the character flaws of those who see things differently, they reflect the realities of cultural cognition: shared backgrounds and experiences shape how we perceive what we perceive as objective facts.”  - Adam Benforado, Unfair

“Humans tend to look to dismiss others views by finding a character flaw that explains their contrary position.”  - Adam Benforado, Unfair

When you add all the above together then you may find that any one interpretation will be different dependent on said factors and more. I also added in the length of time on the island with the same length of time under the direct instruction and influence of Tatsuo-san. 

Example: the kata I was taught included those taught today without the dynamic tension process because my Sensei either didn’t know that or decided to practice and teach it differently in his dojo vs. the Nagle way. One of the parts involved in the practice of Seisan kata were the first three moves that I didn’t discover as different until I actually viewed the video’s of Advincula Sensei’s. I then began to see slight to great variances in how the kata were done.

In the end I then discovered that unless you believe in the way that is exacting to the way of Tatsuo-san those difference made no differences because the true underlying essence of all kata and all martial arts were the proper knowledge, understanding and application of fundamental principles that transcend the individual particular perspective and perception of practice that led to the creation and separation we now call, “Styles.” 

These new systems or styles then became “Belief Systems” and such systems are inherent in all human survival tribal social ways. They connects us to what provides us safety and security and meaning to our lives and to living. 

It has led to my belief that the exactness often required toward kata practice stems from such belief systems along with demonstration and competitive models similar to testing and quantifying competitive performances similar to those used in say, “gymnastic floor exercise competitions” that demonstrate a certain control of the body and mind while the original true essence was to teach fighting, i.e., combatives and self-defense. 

Initial adherence to the form is actually a lead in toward teaching principles such as structure and alignment, etc. Not performance and appearance that is often the teaching goals of modern competitive martial arts. It has its purpose but distinctions become important, critical in self-defense, toward learning how to apply that in reality.

In the question of kicks in Naihanchi, truly it is about two things dependent on the distinctions - One is performance or historical importance while, Two is about stopping grave bodily harm or death in self-defence. If the distinctions are set and adhered to in training and practice you CAN achieve both but more often than not those distinctions don’t exist, become lost or are ignored for say, economic reasons, etc.

In the end to answer the question the question needs those distinctions presented or the answers might not be appropriate when applied in practice and in applications. 

One professional I am aware of always prefaces his answers in self-defense with, “It depends …” Because in martial art regardless of distinctions and applications - it depends!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Honor and Dignity and Self-defense

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

Social conditioning seems to be pushing society, ours anyway, toward a more “Dignity based” culture where dependence on “Others” to handle our conflict and violence is dominant. I say this with trepidation because I feel that leaning too far toward such a culture is a lead up toward chaos and oppression. In truth as I hope I understand it, we need to create a society that is balance in an “Honor Culture” with a “Dignity Culture.” In order to understand that a bit more it is beneficial to read the following article by Ronald Bailey dated September 11, 2015 at 1:30 pm at

You can read the article here:Victimhood Culture in America: Beyond Honor and Dignity

Since the article goes into the honor culture as well as the dignity culture I won’t try to express any personal views on the subject other than what I have already, i.e., trying to find a balanced culture of Honor and Dignity.

The article makes some excellent and what I see as relevant statements as to how we are becoming a heavy proponent of the Dignity culture, i.e., where we condition our society to depend on others rather than develop our own coping skills and those skills necessary to resolve those things that lead to conflict and violence.

In my view one of the tools necessary to achieve a true balance is the use of violence as a communications tool as well as an enforcement tool. Don’t mistake the use of the term violence as they types you often see glamorized and dramatized in the media, that is only one kind and there are many levels from merely using verbal violence all the way up to what is called, “EBD or Educational Beat Down” versions and so many variants between and even some that exceed the EBD. 

Only through education, training and most importantly, “Understanding,” will society develop the balances that will leave the so termed, “Victimhood Culture,” the authors tell us about in the article. 

I welcome comments and suggestions on this viewpoint, both mine and the articles, because it will promote such understanding toward a more balance social order that promotes our personal ability to resolve issues and helps us become more confident in handling such issues will less and less dependence on “Others.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

As to self-defense aspects, one can achieve greater ability and understanding on some of these concepts through, “Appropriate,” training, practice and applications of a fuller comprehensive models of self-defense and martial arts self-defense. This is most difficult but remember an important part of self-defense is the ability to communicate in conflict, i.e., called, “Conflict Communications.” (See Rory Miller’s book of the same title)

p.s. thanks to Marc MacYoung for presenting this article, the one linked above about Victimhood, on his Facebook page/wall.

Basics vs. Principles (Principles through Basics)

“Basics are everything in karate. It is essential you stick with the basics. It is impossible to truly understand advanced techniques without a firm grasp of the basics.” There is always a story from the dojo bout the importance of basics. The question I have had for a long while now is this, “What makes those basics so all fired darn important?”

Well, it took me years to figure this out even when others spoke of principles. It isn’t about basics but what basics bring to the table, a simple physical way to instruct and train and practice applying principles to a variety of karate, martial art, techniques. It is not really about the technique itself but rather the underlying fundamental principles of martial disciplines that make things work - across the board regardless of styles or systems or sensei or dojo.

In a nutshell, “It ain’t about basics but principles,” and those principles are everything in martial disciplines, they should be an essential part of your daily practices and it is virtually impossible to truly understand goals (Notice I said goals over techniques, even applications are better here, etc.) in regard to the very essence that is a martial discipline - that physical and mental manifestation under the stress and strain of adrenal stress conditions of self-defense. 

It is time the true essence of martial arts be utilized for clarity in the distinction of what it is that system is meant to be, a fighting system utilizing the fundamental principles of the disciplines for self-defense.

PRINCIPLE ONE: PRINCIPLES OF THEORY (Universality, Control, Efficiency, Lengthen Our Line, Percentage Principle, Std of Infinite Measure, Power Paradox, Ratio, Simplicity, Natural Action, Michelangelo Principle, Reciprocity, Opponents as Illusions, Reflexive Action, Training Truth, Imperception and Deception.)

PRINCIPLE TWO: PHYSIOKINETIC PRINCIPLES (Breathing, posture, triangle guard, centerline, primary gate, spinal alignment, axis, minor axis, structure, heaviness, relaxation, wave energy, convergence, centeredness, triangulation point, the dynamic sphere, body-mind, void, centripetal force, centrifugal force, sequential locking and sequential relaxation, peripheral vision, tactile sensitivity, rooting, attack hubs, attack posture, possibly the chemical cocktail, Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat]???see below)

PRINCIPLE THREE: PRINCIPLES OF TECHNIQUE (techniques vs. technique, equal rights, compliment, economical motion, active movement, positioning, angling, leading control, complex force, indirect pressure, live energy and dead energy, torsion and pinning, speed, timing, rhythm, balance, reactive control, natural and unnatural motion, weak link, non-telegraphing, extension and penetration, Uke. Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat])

PRINCIPLE FOUR: PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY (Mind [mind-set, mind-state, etc.], mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup.)

Principle’s One through Four: 
Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: PRINCIPLES OF SELF-DEFENSE (“Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence (Social and Asocial), Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Predator process and predator resource, Force levels, Repercussions (medical, legal, civil, personal), Go-NoGo, Win-Loss Ratio, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”Attitude, Socio-emotional, Diplomacy, Speed [get-er done fast], Redirected aggression, Dual Time Clocks, Awareness, Initiative, Permission, multiple attack/defense methodologies (i.e., actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat)

Principle Five: 
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

PRINCIPLE SIX: CHEMICAL COCKTAIL: (Attacked Mind, Train It, Breath It Away, Visualize It Away, Sparring vs. Fighting, Degradation of Technique/skills, Peripheral Vision Loss, Tunnel Vision, Depth Perception Loss/Altered, Auditory Exclusion, Weakened legs/arms, Loss of Extremity Feeling, Loss of Fine Motor Skills, Distorted Memory/perceptions, Tachypsychia (time slows), Freeze, Perception of Slow Motion, Irrelevant Thought Intrusion, Behavioral Looping, Pain Blocked, Male vs. Female Adrenaline Curve, Victim vs. Predator, The Professional, Levels of Hormonal Stimulation, ???)

A Pamphlet, Maybe

This one is on Isshinryu specifically because it is the one I encounter toward an effort to get a book written by certain parties. One party I believe one day will actually write it all down and make it available while the other party will never write a book simply because there is not enough to actually write a “Book.” 

A pamphlet or flyer or short story but a book with relevant historical first-person data on the system or style, not a chance. Personally, as to one party, I have done the research on the material that would need to be involved in the book and that information is already available to those who take the time to seek it via electronic means. It is out there, you just have to let it in.

Often, the full extent of that information has been repeatedly provided on a few venues and when it is compiled and edited it might make a pamphlet or small short story eBook. This is a shame for information on martial arts in general let alone any one system or style is often filled with pictures showing techniques, combinations or what most call bunkai. 

Even if one fills more pages with the more esoteric teachings that involve the culture as well as more philosophical driven writings based on theory and philosophies from the ancient classics as they would apply toward martial arts it still doesn’t do justice to the style or any one style or system. Overall as to martial philosophy and principles of same, yea, you can achieve a book. Would that book be sought after in the martial arts community, not much and not really because the focus is not on that type of presentation and articulation and practice toward the study of martial arts. 

Shame, ain’t it?

Fine Tuning Karate

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

Can anyone say, “Nit-picken?” Isn’t such detailed corrective effort about teaching students to fear they are getting things wrong when they aren’t? I read somewhere that all the “fine tuning” done in karate dojo actually creates a mind-set of “Fear of failing the Sensei” and all that dribble. Is this actually the best way to teach one karate especially if for self-defense.

Now, if SD is not in the picture and this is all about self-improvement and other philosophical teachings toward enlightenment and such then by all means, fine tune your karate. I still have to ask though, “Is fine tuning still a good beginners tool in teaching?” I think it might be but then it must be remembered that teaching must reach beyond those limitations toward a less rigid model and a more “Play Model.” 

Then I have to ask myself, what are we find tuning here and why? Often, I say that a lot, it is about fine tuning specific techniques when in my mind it should be about fine tuning, “Fundamental Principles.” I don’t mind fine tuning principles such as structure and alignment, etc., but feel strong that technique applications should be played with while maintaining adherence to fundamental principles. Maybe this is the change point in teaching, study, training and practice. A natural step-off point out of the nit-picken fine-tuning into play, play with techniques while working to perfect applications with principles properly applied. 

Lets call fine tuning, criticism, lets call nit-pickin, criticism. Criticism is not a positive way to teach or learn in my view. It ain’t fun, it ain’t play and it is a limited method of retention. Criticism, fine tuning and nit-pickin are rarely effective teaching methods. 

When I write about, “Fine Tuning or Nit-picken,” I am talking about the use of “Criticism” in teaching martial arts. Constantly tweaking a student is actually criticism, fine tuning or just plain old nit-picken. If your mind is focused on doing something correctly in the hopes of not being corrected so you can feel like you are doing it right then your focus is not focused, i.e., not focused on having fun playing around and encoding properly so that the lizard uses your skills to succeed in self-defense. 

“ … criticism is rarely effective teaching. … “ “You have to know your principles, understand them. And you have to have a clear idea of what you are actually teaching (most common mistake, people equate fighting with self-defense.) Your ability to pass on knowledge is absolutely limited by the clarity of your understanding of that knowledge. And what follows is a process, but you must know how to teach and how to communicate separately from this process. For instance, criticism is rarely effective teaching.” Rory Miller, Chiron Blog “The Process of Principles Based Teaching.

p.s. I was a nit-picker in my early years teaching karate. I attribute that to military influences but also admit that it came from some deep seated issue in myself often expressed in inappropriate ways. It seemed to fit but since those early days I have come to realize that it is not the way toward the more violent aspects of a martial art. Go figure ….

Bibliography (Click the link)

On Budo and Bushido

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

A recent article spurred or inspired this article on budo and bushido. In that article it seems a lot of assumptions and agenda driven meme’s were used as well. Hmmmm.

Budo [武道] simply defined as, “Military arts; martial arts and makes reference to the term Bushido.” 
Bushido [武士道] simply defined as, “Bushido; samurai code of chivalry.” 

The terms didn’t exist in the feudal era of Japan. When referred to as a samurai code of chivalry the person making the reference actually used the title of the samurai when he wrote the book and coined both budo and bushido. As to its traditional roots, however that is defined, that is questionable as to historical facts or even truth. 

Budo and Bushido were first coined as terms in the book written around 1899 by its author Inazo Nitobe titled, “Bushido: The Soul of Japan.” I believe personally that his effort was an attempt to give some historical meaning to the feudal era with its colorful Samurai, chivalrous warriors of Japan. 

Even the current information on these terms states, without definitive proof beyond the times mentioned articles and books, that Arthur M. Knapp, a non-Japanese, who wrote, “The samurai of thirty years ago had behind him a thousand years of training in the law of honor, obedience, duty, and self-sacrifice.... It was not needed to create or establish them. As a child he had but to be instructed, as indeed he was from his earliest years, in the etiquette of self-immolation." 

I put forth this theory, the budo and bushido were created to give support to the continuance of the colorful history or stories of samurai toward fostering of a more modern morally driven social belief that would support the efforts of the Japanese in their continued conquests of surrounding countries/states such as China and Korea, etc. This also gave credence to the effort to train and condition the populace prior to WWII to create a mind-set of a warrior that met the needs of Japan in justifying the upcoming war. As some will recognize this is also why disciplines like Okinawan Karate were educationalized to teach and train Okinawan youth for membership in the military in support of Japan’s war efforts. 

There are hints toward what Nitobe Sensei wrote in his books but like most articles and books of modern times, for that particular era when it was written, the influences of the individual authors and their perceptions, perspectives, intent, and background along with all socially driven influences both societal and familial tend to lead the content of such writings toward an agenda that may or may not be conscious. 

I will admit that like many meme’s, etc., that the end result did generate an excellent tome or book that is, could and can be used toward self-improvement with the intent toward socially accepted self-enlightenment but as to its actual historical intent and meaning and to its actual application in the world of the Samurai, that is questionable and possibly just plain fictional. The Japanese are well know for their use of fiction to create hero’s that their society needed and wanted much like every other society of our world. When we need it we use or create or manufacture hero’s to move our military and society toward the accepted and dictated agenda’s accordingly. 

All of it is kind of a propaganda machine and is often cited toward generating an agenda by all humans including us. We tend to use it and quote it as a means of instilling a mystique like quality to attract students, students who pay for lessons and lessons to inspire more students, etc. 

In a nutshell the book on Budo and Bushido is just the cultural metaphor toward a goal and in martial arts it is to promote it giving it a life that hopefully will be passed down over the ages just like the Japanese passing down their samurai heritage toward a lasting cultural historical and social belief that makes their cultural unique and respected. In the end, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that effort, it is a part of our human nature toward survival.

Read more on, “The Cultural Metaphor.”

Bibliography (Click the link)

Modern Kata and Bunkai - Reality vs. Fantasy

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

Honestly, the martial arts communities regard to self-defense have expectations that what is given as bunkai is reality. Like kata, they believe that the kata techniques in conjunction with the bunkai given is reality. In truth, it is not reality - reality as in modern self-defense goals, tactics and strategies. Reality as in modern applications to combatives for military and fighting for sport. 

When I have taught and demonstrated bunkai from kata it is more about teaching a concept then actual hands-on techniques in a technique-based self-defense model. In most self-defense situations I have experienced and observed rarely do I see martial arts-esque applications. 

What good then are modern kata and bunkai toward self-defense? Well, once again I drag up the subject of principles. Those kata and bunkai are teaching tools to demonstrate proper structure, alignment, centeredness, and so on in a fight, self-defense fights. Observe the perfectionist way many martial artists demonstrate kata, bunkai and defense partner driven drills. They look good but don’t fool yourself into thinking that those drills will get the job done in a self-defense situation. Don’t rely on them because they are not reality, reality is not achieved in the training hall and it is not truly achieved even in adrenal stress conditions reality-based training scenario’s. You get a bit closer but hands-on experience is the only real way to achieve and acquire reality experience. 

All I hope to do here is point out the fantasy of kata and bunkai as taught in most halls while inspiring those who pursue training and practice for self-defense to take it beyond kata and bunkai into that something that will be available when needed. 

Kata are great in teaching principles, they are great in teaching other aspects such as coordination, discipline and so on as well as bunkai, bunkai provide you concepts and a means to stimulate thinking toward what will work in the fight but only so far, you really do have to go way beyond the limits and restrictions that naturally occur with kata and bunkai training. 

Most kata and bunkai fill our fantasies toward this meme driven commercial pursuit of modern martial arts but to reach higher and farther toward reality takes a bit more, a lot more to achieve. Using the fantasy to commercialize is a good thing as long as students don’t fool themselves into the meme of, “I am a warrior!” when in reality it is just what it is, a fantasy. 

Fantasy or metaphor, read this HERE.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Mario Higaonna Karada Kitae - A Traditional Practice

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

In a recent posting on Facebook a concerned practitioner encountered a less than stellar review on the practice Higaonna Sensei uses, his personal practice not required by his students at least to the degree he goes, for hand and body conditioning. The end of the comment provided the following question, i.e., “Do you think that this kind of conditioning and other types of ‘extreme’ training have an added value for our modern time practice or should they be regarded only as a historic fact that is now practically useless.”

I find the question a good one and a question often answered according to individual cultural belief systems of individuals that answer it. I am no different, my answer would be thus, “It depends, it depends on the goals, desires and results each individual considers before walking a path of body conditioning at any level up to that of Higaonna Sense and those who practice systems like, Uechi-ryu.” 

If I were to be asked as to its benefits, overall I would say that it does have certain benefits such as learning how to endure and ignore pain, how to apply principles properly such as by use of the standing makiwara (Note: it ain’t about toughening the hands or callouses but proper application of principles for force and power, etc.) to demonstrate force and power through a proper structure, alignment and application of momentum to achieve force and power, etc.

Simple questions such as this often do not have what is desired, “Simple and concise answers,” because in such disciplines one question leads to another and another and another so that in the end you have to chain them together to make one whole, holistically wholehearted, answer that itself will float and flow chaotically dependent on situations as they arise. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

The Cultural Metaphor

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

A recent study on another topic brought out a possible explanation as to why we tend to make use of cultural aspects of others for our own needs and requirements, etc. Often in martial arts we see slight references toward certain cultural use of Asian cultures and beliefs especially as they may or may not apply in martial arts dojo, training halls.

This usage in most cases is sporadic and interspersed with more English and American cultural beliefs. We use the karate-gi, we use terms and phrases with the assumption we know what they mean and their intent in training, practice and applications. We count in Japanese, we read and quote Asian morally driven “Meme’s or quotes” for inspiration often without knowing their true intent and meaning - we more often than not make assumptions and those are driven not by true understanding of Asian cultural beliefs but our own beliefs and perceptions and perspectives and so on.

When I read the following I actually said, “Wow, this could very well be true and explain it all.” The following italicized is that quote:

There is a concept that cultural studies theorist, “Bell Hooks,” termed “eating the other,” in which “the other” - the mysterious, the unknown, the exotic - is employed to add “spice” to everyday life. The goal is not true understanding or appreciation of the Other, but an enhancement of one’s own situation, an experiential vacation yielding the conceptual equivalent of a piece of mass-produced Indian pottery and slideshow to impress the neighbors. It’s bits of authentic culture recontextualized for a bored white mainstream’s use. 

The recent trends in the use of Japanese characters, i.e., such as printed on t-shirts, etc., are divorced from their original linguistic meaning and exploited solely for the decorative aesthetics. The Japanese also use English in their pop-culture signifying not a true engagement with American culture but a simulation of it. Borrowed currency in a solely Japanese exchange, a conversation that does not extend outside the countries borders.

What is happening here is a type of cultural artifact - organic expressions of a particular people, situated in a particular time and place - are being divorced of their meaning in order to be used as a metaphor for something else.

Americanized cultures of Martial Artis takes Asian cultures, takes each artifact, and strips it of its original meaning until it is just an object (“it doesn’t mean what you think”), which is used to signify something else entirely (often to suit the person or organization or an agenda, etc.) - into something, we are to believe, entirely new. Like America’s recent obsession with yoga (without the Buddhist spirituality), the result is entertaining but curiously empty. 

 This merging seems to be less between American and Japanese/Okinawan that it is between east and west in the broadest possible sense. As in many situations in which you lose the particulars, the result is a vague approximation of nothing at all. Again: pretty, but ultimately without meaning. What it does end up accomplishing - and very well - is a sense of difference. Use of Asian culture without context may be empty, but it works. It tells us that this world is different. 

Using what is “Other” as a metaphor for difference is not, in itself, wrong. Metaphor is an essential part of living, whether you are tired as a dog, happy as a lam or as honest as the day is long. It is healthy, vibrant, creative; it lets us make new connections and discover new insights. The metaphor sets the stage for a richly imagined social order, the difference it implies making it easier for us to see our own situation more clearly.  - Leigh A. Wright, Asian Objects in Space

This can be why so much of what is historically relevant as to the birth and growth of martial arts in all its forms has been created from each culture’s extraction of other cultural influences to create a true and “Different” form that exists and lasts simply because of its “Metaphorical Worth” to each successive group. Like Okinawan’s pulled in from the Chinese (and others), the Japanese pulled in from China and Okinawa (and others) to the Americans pulling in what they wanted from those early training years of karate, etc. to create what we now call “Martial Arts.” Where Martial Arts takes on a new and unique meaning at each iteration throughout its history.

What I like most about the quote is the last sentence the expresses the positive aspects of such approaches to furthering our martial arts, or cultural beliefs, prowess, knowledge and understanding. 

Bibliography (Click the link)