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

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

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 (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“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

I am not a leading authority on any one discipline that I write about and teach, it is my hope and wish that with all the subjects I have studied it provides me an advantage point that I offer in as clear and cohesive writings as possible in introducing the matters in my materials. I hope to serve as one who inspires direction in the practitioner so they can go on to discover greater teachers and professionals that will build on this fundamental foundation. Find the authorities and synthesize a wholehearted and holistic concept, perception and belief that will not drive your practices but rather inspire them to evolve, grow and prosper. My efforts are born of those who are more experienced and knowledgable than I. I hope you find that path! See the bibliography I provide for an initial list of experts, professionals and masters of the subjects.

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Martial Arts - defined ...

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

In another great article by John Vesia Sensei of Long Island, New York he speaks to the conundrum of defining the phrase, "Martial Arts." This one, like so many others as you can imagine, is a conversation that may never truly come to one defined conclusion. It will be about opinions, both informed and not informed. It is a hot topic that tends to trigger a lot of emotional effort on everyone in the conversation. 

Literally, the definitions found for "Martial Arts":

Martial Arts: Google definitions provide, "various sports or skills, mainly of Japanese origin, that originated as forms of self-defense or attack, such as judo, karate, and kendo."

Martial Arts: Wiki says, "Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, physical, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage." 

Martial Arts: Tangorin translates and defines this, "Budo [武道]: martial arts; military arts; Bushido; Bujutsu [武術]: martial arts; military arts; wushu; modern sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts AND Butoku [武徳]: martial arts. To name a few of many on this site."

Then there is the inclusion of European Martial Arts to which I believe are martial and an art form as well at least in practice in modern times. About how they are classified in their day, European ancient times, it is most difficult to say, prove and validate but the consensus is that they are and always were. 

The real crux of the heated discussion is whether what is practiced today as a modern discipline is best served and lumped under the title, "Martial Arts." The arguments for and against are pretty well thought out, mostly, and pretty convincing... in general. It is tantamount to once long ago referring to all forms of the full-contact sport as, "Karate." In that one, I disagree because most of what I saw, in that time frame, as full-contact karate was really full-contact with rules and restrictions kick-boxing, i.e., boxing with karate like, actually tae kwon do, kicks thrown in. 

As you already know I do have an opinion on the definition starting with a reference to another professional who practiced and trained in “Koryu” disciplines, i.e., when he left to return to his country his sensei told him that all he learned was fine and dandy for Japan and that he should teach the way of his country in passing on his expertise. In that light, lets define the term martial in our country.

Martial: Merriam-Webster defines martial as:
  1. : of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior;
  2. : relating to an army or to military life;
  3. : experienced in or inclined to war.
Martial and Roman Mythology: Mars was the Roman god of war and one of the patron gods of Rome itself. He was responsible for everything military, from warriors to weapons to marching music. Thus, martial arts are skills of combat and self-defense also practiced as sport. When martial law is declared, a country's armed forces take over the functions of the police. And a court-martial is a military court or trial.

Now, without adding in the confusion of who and what in Asian disciplines says what and why to the use of martial arts and as in particular to the word ‘martial’ as defined by our very American Merriam-Webster dictionary I can say with confidence, “In the United States according to the accepted authority of the Merriam-Webster dictionary the term ‘martial’ does apply as a definition toward all forms of Asian Defensive/Combative training and practices. So, karate and judo and MMA and many other offshoots of martial prowess in both defense/combative along with sport are martial in nature.

But, as you already know, we can’t stop there because now we have to address the “ART” part. Lets go back to the M-W dictionary.
  1. : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation;
    • Yes, every dojo and discipline I have experienced and/or studied all require skills from study, observation, practice and training along with experience does apply. 
  2. : a branch of learning;
    • Yes, karate or MMA or Judo, etc., are all a branch of learning. 
  3. : an occupation requiring knowledge or skill;
    • Yes, again all of what we naturally call martial arts is an occupation that not only requires knowledge and/or skill, they all provide a form and function that teaches and promotes skill. 
  4. : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.
    • Yes, not especially as to objects unless you participate in Japanese Zen gardening, the practice and training and application of all that is taught as martial arts require the conscious use of said skills and the creativity of the human spirit to apply said skills both in sport and in self-protection.
In the end, I would say that “martial arts” does apply to all forms that are defensive/combative/sport oriented regardless of the culture from which they sprang so very long ago. Be it Asian, European or American they ALL can be called “Martial Arts” because as you already know or you know know and can imagine the fit nicely in the M-W American definition. Oh, and by the way, the art of boxing, wrestling and other such sports and disciplines also meet this criteria of martial arts. 

Thank you and on we go… don’t argue with an authority with an honorable and accepted history in defining words, terms and other such things and accept the fact that a dutiful honorable recognized and frequently used, even electronically, to define and therefor educate all of us… the definitive authority “Words” and we all know how important words are, right?

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

What and How You Wear the Uniform

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

When this thought crossed my meandering mind you can imagine how it triggered the old saying, "What your clothes say about you matters." What you wear, how you wear it and what that says to others really does matter even when you wear jeans, nice shirt and sandals, especially in our modern social realities. 

It says about you:
  • What kind of character you have;
  • What kind of personality you have; 
  • What your culture and beliefs are;
  • What kind and how much experience you have;
  • How it expresses your image, ego and life;
  • How others will judge you;
  • How confident you are;
  • How detailed you are in both action and deeds as well as in mind and spirit; AND
  • What kind of impression you convey to others especially in high stress situations like self-protection.
There is a reason why criminals dress so well when they appear in court. I suspect as you already know that if you use your skills in self-protection and then find yourself within the legal system; your attorney is going to tell you just how to dress when in court. 

The clothing you wear, how you wear it and what you wear is a lot like communicating through body language, your clothing will have an effect on another persons emotional reactions when the encounter you and clothes contribute to that a lot.

Most of us use the karate-gi in the dojo. What color is it, how well does it fit, is it neat and tidy, how long is the obi after tying it, and do the ends meet or are they different lengths, how long are the sleeves and pant legs and then add in your personal hygiene along with grooming. 

When you enter the dojo what you are wearing matters and provides impressions to those there, what and how you change does as well and what kind of uniform you put on and how tells its own story as well. Example, tying the obi:
  • What is its color?
  • What is the condition of it?
  • How do you tie it?
  • Does it criss-cross at the back?
  • Do the ends extend a certain length?
  • Do the ends extend the same length when hanging down after tying?
When you enter the dojo and if you are either sensei or senpai, do you think these impressions will matter to the others deshi? What do they feel and how does that affect their efforts and how they learn from that person?

Then, consider the other members of the dojo as to their culture, their beliefs, their perceptions and their social norms and then relate that to how they may infer feelings and attitudes to you, our dojo-mates, your system of karate and to the methodologies used in teaching? 

I can imagine, as you are now and already figured out, how many will say, “That kind of stuff doesn’t matter, what you do on the dojo floor is the only thing that matters.” Yet, respect is about perceptions and everything, even on the dojo floor, matters to everyone when it comes to respect. Sometimes those unspoken things do have an affect on the dojo floor because how we dress and maintain ourselves tells others about expectations of what and how one acts on the dojo floor. 

If you and your uniform symbolize a cocky attitude what do you think training and practice will be like when you are paired up with that person. Suggestions both verbal and otherwise do influence our minds, often subconsciously, toward certain attitudes and perceptions and it will come out later… ON THE DOJO FLOOR and worse, when you are articulating to the first responder why you did what you did in self-protection. You think the first responders and others are not going to use their impressions and emotions to judge you and then that will have an affect on how they decide to proceed, i.e., let you go or cuff you, etc.

Something to think about, right? If you want others to take you seriously then consideration about how you appear and your attitudes all are reflected by body language along with the body clothing added to what you say and how you say it… MATTERS!

All of the good intentions and the proverbial right to dress and act and do what you want are all about impressions and perceptions that in many cases don’t matter YET when it does, what you do the majority of the time will rise up to the top especially under duress and stressors found in aggressive and violent situations. 

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

Risk + Success + Failure = Innovation

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

"Our skills are defined by the relationship of ‘risk, success, failure, and innovation’, i.e., one takes risks to try something very innovative, but your are likely to fail. It is at this point that one who fails is able to analyze that failure, to discuss it with others whose collective experience provides a dialectic conversation with the purpose of discussing differing points of view and experiences so they may establish a collective baseline where by one, the group, can express an innovative concept leading to the synthesis of something new, exciting and an established truth through reasoned arguments."

Our ingenuity as humans who can make use of weak links, failures, to achieve a stronger link within the chain that is progress and evolution of the person, the group and especially the groups personal skills, abilities and understanding taking the discipline to a whole new, relevant, level. 

We must evaluate risks and consider the possible rewards then step to the plate and swing away. You begin by asking, "is it worth it?" In all cases of innovative evolutionary progression the answer is always, "YES!" It reminds me of the saying, “if at first you don’t succeed; try, try and try again!” This concept, this premise I propose is something we can easily imagine and if we can imagine it, we can make it real. The more we challenge ourselves, the more our capabilities will evolve, increase and expand. Asking ourselves, “What happens when you ?” Provides us a thought process that inspires and creates that which our species uses and relies on to evolve us and our social structure. 

If we can see it, we can risk it and through our successes and failures create a new way, an innovative way, to get to the end results. RSF=I is the only way to evolve and for us in the dojo we MUST activate a innovative way based on risks and the results while making comparisons to reality and to the creative training and practices that build our skills to the highest levels possible. 

When you think of, “the way or Do (Doah),” this is what it means barebones, basic and fundamentally. Follow the Way and achieve mastery of what you aspire to do, be and become. 

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

What You Know - MATTERS

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

What you know, what you practice, how you train and what you understand along with experiences accumulated all contribute to both, "Good Self-protection and Bad Self-protection." In knowing what you know humans sometimes forget about that which sits just below the surface and tends to fall into the cracks that make up what you know and one professional calls this the, "unk-unk," or what you don't know you don't know syndrome. 

Did you KNOW that what you know, how you express that and how it was taught, trained, practiced and applied makes the difference in self-defense defense? Did you KNOW that how you label certain methods and methodologies matters when you have protected and defended through the dangerous mine-field of the "legal system?" 

Did you know that it is very probable that if you have training and expertise that it and how you gained that skill, knowledge and understanding matters in defending within the legal system. Did you know that your perceived expertise dependent on those in the legal profession/system can put your protection defense off kilter and into the you broke the law side? 

Have you developed your articulable vocabulary to a point that it truly and correctly reflects your adherence in the self-defense defense to the legal system? Does your self-protection program address vocabulary toward honoring and articulating to the legal system and its representatives or is it the ‘tacti-cool’ stuff that triggers the ego and provides one the ability to impress the girls when out on a date type stuff? 

What you know directly correlates to what is perceived by those who deal in the legal system from the first responder, the prosecutor, the jurors and the others all sitting and waiting their chance to take you to task after the judge and prosecutor get done with you. 

How does your training and practice compare to that of the entertainment industry because those sitting in judgement of your actions will be influenced to see what you did in such a light it is used to suggest that your skills are such that only a criminal would use them. 

What you know…

Example: Do you know about the legal term, Preclusion?”

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

Isshinryu Leadership

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

What is leadership? As many answers as there are people in the world especially those who hold a position of leader of a discipline. Seldom have I come across, in the Isshinryu world, an accepted definition of what an Isshinryu leader is and how the express those traits and skills in any leadership role. 
  • Some assume rank indicates leadership, but what kind of leadership?
  • Some assume time spent in practice, say decades, along with titles, accolades and other ancillary titles, symbols and promotions indicate leadership?
  • Black belt wearers are often seen in leadership roles? 
  • Connection to the style's creator or master as indicated in Isshinryu as first-gen students is assumed a leadership role in Isshinryu, is it? 
In general, fundamentally, what is a leader and what is leadership? 

A leader is:

A person who leads or commands a group, org, or country, i.e., also known as a chief, head-person, principal, boss, commander, captain, director and so on. 

Leadership is: 

The actions of leading a group or people or an organization, i.e., also known as a directorship, captaincy, controller, ruler, commander, etc.

So, with that basics set, what are the traits of a leader, i.e., leadership traits:
  • Judgement;
  • Dependability;
  • Initiative; 
  • Decisiveness; 
  • Tact; 
  • Integrity; 
  • Endurance; 
  • Bearing; 
  • Unselfishness; 
  • Courage; 
  • Knowledge with Understanding; 
  • Loyalty; 
  • Enthusiasm;
  • Character and Personality. 
I would go so far as to state that one must first and foremost have character and personality that exemplifies all the other traits with a stronger emphasis on knowledge and understanding with the common sense ability to bring skills, disciplines, knowledge and understanding to the power of the skill and/or discipline. 
  • One can have rank and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
  • One can have a lot of time in a discipline along with rank and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
  • One can have and wear a black belt in a discipline and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
  • One can have a direct or close relationship with the creator/master of a style or system and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
  • One can have a direct and close relationship with one holding high rank and high credentials and high level position within an organization and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
  • One can teach a style or system or skills owning a dojo and organization and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
  • One can hold trophies, certificates and other symbols of achievements such as winning titles and accolades in a competitive environment and still not be a leader or have the ability to provide others leadership.
So, do you hold such symbols, titles and achievements as indications of great knowledge and understanding along with the traits of a leader in a leadership position as being a “leader” with “leadership abilities?” 

In Isshinryu, as example, I found many who were leadership material who I would follow and utilize in creating my skill-sets along with character and personality toward being an inspirational leader much like the person themselves, call that mentorship and mentoring and guiding one who follows toward a skill of being the one who others follow and those held ranks lower than others making the same claims and having dojo and members who they freely “give” back what was learned freely and unencumbered with the trappings of what others see as successful dojo, etc. 

I quote, "I didn't train for X (me: forty plus) years so I could keep it, I learned it so I could give it away." – Ken Bent

Something to contemplate, something to aspire to be and do and believe and something to hold as a standard within oneself in the hopes and aspiration that others will find it of value.

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

Shido [指導] translated into English as, "leadership; guidance; instruction; direction; coaching." The first character translates to English as, "finger; point to; indicate; put into," and the second as, "leading; guidance; conduct; usher." 

Add a character to get, Shidosha [指導者] translated to English as, "leader; guide; mentor; coach." 

PHILOSOPHY: Dojo-Reality or Social Reality

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

I was listening to the local Bay Area public radio station when a program about sports and their popularity along with how that pans out economically speaking, since sports seems to be this huge business, when they mentioned traits involved, i.e., “sublimation, tribalism and identity fusion.” That sparked an interest because of self-protection in karate and martial disciplines involving group dynamics. Read on and than we’ll get back to the topic of this article that by the way as you already know and imagine has nothing to do with the program on public radio and that the program merely provided me the inspiration to take this on a different direction. 

Sublimation: a defense mechanism that allows us to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form. For example, a person experiencing extreme anger might take up kick-boxing as a means of venting frustration.

Tribalism: Tribalism implies the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group. Based on strong relations of proximity and kinship, members of a tribe tend to possess a strong feeling of identity.
  • The behavior and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group.
  • Groupthink, mob mentality, tribalism.
  • In an ecstasy of excitement and passion, sports fans lose their rationale and logic, and fall into the instinct of us vs. them.
Groupthink: when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment.” Tribalism, blended with groupthink, is a recipe for violence.

Us vs Them: called agnostic behavior in the wild. 

Agnostic Behavior: the aggressive behavior includes tests of strength or threat display to make animals look larger or more physically fit, as well as to retain resources or territory.

Ritual Display: animal displays particular signs to avoid the fight, with the intent to bluff their opponent into backing down. 

Identity Fusion: a relatively unexplored form of alignment with groups that entails a visceral feeling of oneness with the group. This feeling is associated with unusually porous, highly permeable borders between the personal and social self. The personal self refers to the characteristics that make someone a unique person (e.g., tall, old, intelligent), while the social self pertains to the characteristics that align the person with groups (e.g., American, fraternity brother, student council member, etc.). Fused persons come to regard other group members as “family” and develop strong relational ties to them as well as ties to the collective. Therefore, fused persons are not just bound to the collective; they are tied to the individual members of the collective. -

Ok, we’re back at the station and ready to take this a bit further. All three of these things describe something you already feel deep down in your bones, your DNA, and that is an evolutionary origin to the survival of humans. That survival looks and feels different along with being labeled and symbolized by modern terminology that in the end, as you imagine from my philosophy on this forum, lead us back to that DNA-like encoding of the lizard brain to survive, prosper and propagate humans that are group oriented to the point that sometimes aggression and violence happen, i.e., both the good and the bad. 

Yes, Calvin and Hobbs, there is good aggression and violence and there is bad aggression and violence. That is a statement of fact about humanity and nature. 

In the program discussing sports economics and how we as people along some social realities it became clear to me that their importance goes much deeper toward the survival model of which I write about all the time. Take another look at the last one, ‘identity fusion,’ and that helps make some connections regarding group dynamics and know as you already do that such fusion in the sports arena, especially in these supposed less violent modern times, triggers within us some very deep feelings and drives that help influence us into some compliance traits spurred from the collective emotional vibes of sport oriented group dynamics. For me, it explained a lot that I didn’t really get about the draw and drive of sports. 

I guess this is why my philosophical and beliefs and drives inspired me to first, join the Marines then second, participate in martial arts and karate that has spanned and influenced by beliefs, perceptions and experiences over a forty-plus span of years. 

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)