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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IKENSHO: Human Body and Mind

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

Yes, I know you already know this because we all took biology class in school and yet it does no harm to revisit this with a bit more focus on how it will enhance our abilities in applying skills in the martial disciplines, yes?

Although in my personal case this subject became important after, rather than before, it holds a lot of information and understanding that would have contributed to a greater understanding of the martial disciplines, like karate, for self-protection. 

When you understand the underlying systems, concepts and principles that make things work the way they do it allows one to reach certain objectives and goals much earlier and quicker than doing it the hard way. 

What I would do today is provide relevant information to set a foundation of understanding our bodies and minds especially in regard to such a physical/psychological discipline found in the martial arts. Learning how the body and mind work allow us to make connections in our studies that actually make learning easier, faster and more apt to be retained on another level used by our instinct-like abilities in survival thus in self-protection through martial arts. 

First, we need to learn how the body works; second, we need to learn how the mind works; and third we need to learn how the mind leads the body and how the body influences the mind. This is a yin/yang principled based concept that carries the weight of years and years of practice basically floundering around until one achieves some oh-shit insight. 

First, a list of the human body systems:
  • Integumentary System: the skin, hair, nails, and holder of the many, many sites of sensory receptors used to gather in sense data for our minds to utilize. 
    • Sensory information must come first from knowledge and understanding then it can be translated into triggers through training to achieve the can-do actions when those very senses detect something requiring action - either or the type to avoid or handle situations including those that become gravely harmful.  
    • Pressure, direction and environment all come into play with our sense of touch, or rather our sense of sense, we feel with more than our fingers and hands thus in certain environments and situations one touching us from behind, for instance, can convey a lot of information, if you understand and know things, about that touch as to its intent. 
  • Skeletal System: made up of the bones that maintain our structure of the entire body to which all else are attached, etc. 
    • this is where we focus to learn how that compilation of bones, tendons, cartilage, etc., achieve efficient and effective work. 
    • knowing its function and its most efficient abilities along with how things link various joints, hinged vs. ball for instance, work and later coupling that with the muscular system speaks to how we should train to maximize the efficient application of movement, etc., to achieve martial self-protective goals and objectives. 
    • The six types of freely movable joint include ball and socket, saddle, hinge, condyloid, pivot and gliding. []
    • Example: Flat bones of the body provide protection, like a shield, they also allow larger muscles an attachment point in the body. Think of the two, the larger muscles that attach and the flat bones as the natural armor of the body. This is our protection and if we give due attention to those then we create a stronger protection of the body, mostly. [][]
    • Proper structure and alignment of the skeletal system is the first step in understanding how to achieve a solid structure necessary to generate stability, grounding and efficient movement thus producing power and force. It is also about how that transfers to a target because, example, if the elbow is cantered out of alignment then structure suffers and the power and force bleed off compensating for that canter. 
    • Not correcting skeletal structure in one area often means one compensates in other areas trying to correct and improve ergo needing to understand how the body works. 
  • Muscular System: a system of muscles that allow us to manipulate and move the very skeletal system that also contributes to that systems ability to maintain structure, alignment, etc.
    • A over-lay, if you will, of the skeletal system that allows the two systems, think yin/yang here, work in tandem to achieve martial protective goals, etc. 
    • In the muscular system, muscle tissue is categorized into three distinct types: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Each type of muscle tissue in the human body has a unique structure and a specific role. Skeletal muscle moves bones and other structures. Cardiac muscle contracts the heart to pump blood. []
    • Once proper structure and alignment, etc., are achieved in the skeletal system then the muscular system becomes productive, i.e., the muscles contract or expand accordingly giving support and stability to the skeletal system, the tendons and cartilage, etc., provide their support and stability and connectivity of the muscles to the skeletal system and when all aligns, builds proper structure accordingly and moves efficiently and appropriately we have power and force then how the muscles relax, for speed for instance, then contract, when connecting, you achieve certain principled effects that achieve your objective in applying the physical in self-protection. 
    • knowing the difference between fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles is beneficial and knowing that the muscle itself is comprised of both and is limited in a yin/yang way will help determine which is enhanced in training and how it is trained. 
    • knowing that muscles also mean stability and that how that manifests is critical to keeping alignment, structure and impact survival is helpful BECAUSE those fast-twitch, slow-twitch and strength-n-speed muscles are the SAME muscles so balancing that out is critical to achieve goals and objectives. 
    • muscle development is limited and going beyond those nature-natural limits means sacrificing some aspects of the muscles for that objective, i.e., stronger muscles for bigger muscles beyond the bodies natural limits may result in less fast-twitch, less stabilizing ability and bulk only beneficial for body mass leaving other aspects at a lower level of efficiency. 
  • Respiratory System: lungs, etc., used to pull air in and exhale carbon dioxide out so the body can absorb oxygen, a fuel for the body, and remove contaminates such as carbon dioxide, etc. In particular the sense of smell contributes a good deal to the mind/brain in martial disciplines even tho it is an under-appreciated sensory system. 
    • "Through breathing, inhalation and exhalation, the respiratory system facilitates the exchange of gases between the air and the blood and between the blood and the body’s cells. The respiratory system also helps us to smell and create sound." []
    • muscles cannot perform at maximum efficiency without air and what the provides along with other systems and factors toward efficiency and effective action or non-action. 
    • Smell begins at the back of nose, where millions of sensory neurons lie in a strip of tissue called the olfactory epithelium. The tips of these cells contain proteins called receptors that bind odor molecules. The receptors are like locks and the keys to open these locks are the odor molecules that float past.
    • People have about 450 different types of olfactory receptors. (For comparison, dogs have about two times as many.) Each receptor can be activated by many different odor molecules, and each odor molecule can activate several different types of receptors.
    • This neural code begins with the nose’s sensory neurons. Once an odor molecule binds to a receptor, it initiates an electrical signal that travels from the sensory neurons to the olfactory bulb, a structure at the base of the forebrain that relays the signal to other brain areas for additional processing.
    • The olfactory system is critical when we're encountering someone, for example, approaching from behind because a seemingly mystical ability triggers when certain smells hit is that would trigger a spidey sense telling us an unfriendly is approaching, from behind. It also comes in handy when surprised because smell can tell you a bit about who, what and why this attack occurs including how to handle it all dependent on the smell you encounter thus using it with the touch-sense-receptors in our skin, etc. can lead to success rather than failure in a self-protection event.
    • When we detect a smell the system, the thalamus, sends smell information to the hippocampus and amygdala, key brain regions involved in learning and memory. Also, the amygdala is already known by most in martial arts used to trigger a more lizard like encoded response if training and practice are accomplished efficiently and accurately. 
    • Pressure, direction and environment all come into play with our sense of of smell. Like that of touch, if someone comes up behind you and touches you they are close enough that you can smell them and that smell can also tell you volumes about who and why a person is behind you entering into your personal space. The smell with pressure along with direction and the environment dictate interpretations. 
    • knowing how to breath as to depth, breadth and application means the difference, example, between endurance and success or lack of endurance and failure, i.e., lose endurance quickly causing weaknesses that spell losing the ability to self-protect even in a situation lasting moments. 
  • Cardiovascular System: circulates the blood by way of a pumping heart, the arteries and veins, etc., delivering oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, organs and cells while carrying away the waste products as a result of efficient work. 
    • when many consider this system many contribute it to the concept, symbolism, of “ki or chi” or that energy that circulates throughout the body giving is the force and power, physically and spiritually if you will, to get-r-done. 
  • Neurological System: Utilizes information from the sensory systems via nerves and the brain telling the muscles to contract and relax, etc. to cause physical actions. 
    • All the sensory systems carry all the reality of the outside world into our inner worlds of the mind. 
    • Sense of sight; sense of hearing; sense of touch; sense of taste; sense of smell are the only way external stimuli of our reality reaches our inner worlds of the mind. It comes down to perceptions of that stimulus data to create what we believe creating the reality of our lives. 
    • The nervous system must receive and process information about the world outside in order to react, communicate, and keep the body healthy and safe. Much of this information comes through the sensory organs: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Specialized cells and tissues within these organs receive raw stimuli and translate them into signals the nervous system can use. Nerves relay the signals to the brain, which interprets them as sight (vision), sound (hearing), smell (olfaction), taste (gustation), and touch (tactile perception). []
    • The Eyes Translate Light into Image Signals for the Brain to Process;
    • The Ear Uses Bones and Fluid to Transform Sound Waves into Sound Signals;
    • Specialized Receptors in the Skin Send Touch Signals to the Brain;
    • Olfaction: Chemicals in the Air Stimulate Signals the Brain Interprets as Smells;
    • Home of the Taste Buds: The Tongue Is the Principal Organ of Gustation.
    • this same system as the yin/yang principle explains becomes a target of the adversary as proper applicable methods tend to cause instant immobility when properly applied pressures are used. 
  • Digestive System: system that absorbs nutrients and removes waste via the intestinal tract that includes the mouth, stomach, and intestines, etc. 
    • fuel, that which is necessary to achieve the most efficient and effective physical and psychological running machines that are the very cornerstone of our realties. 
    • think FUEL, ask yourself, “do you use premium in your high performance auto?” Then why would you put low octane fuel in your tank. Your are what you eat and by extension your actions are a result of the fuel you put in your tank!
  • Endocrine System: here lies our adrenal systems or the hormones often discussed as the go to chemicals of human survival. 
    • the chemical dump; those chemicals triggered in situations requiring our actions and thoughts toward the very survival of self and species. 
    • The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol. []
    • to learn all about this aspect of cause and effect when stress and danger present itself see the bibliography especially those for Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung for their explanations really spell out how important this is to self-protection and life matters in general. 
There are a few other systems but for brevity and considering how those are not directly related to this articles objective; to understand how the body works; to make use of the mind and body along; with the spirit to achieve ‘get-r-done’ processes; to achieve mastery of martial disciplines, especially in self-protection. 

This is just the TIP of the iceberg, visualize your mastery when you take the time, effort and considerable work to study these things and manifest that into your training, practice and application of martial disciplines!

Sanchin, it is the kata spoken of in karate circles and is not as understood as one would imagine and yet it does convey a lot of understanding to those who make it their primary study tool. It teaches us a lot about our bodies and therefore our minds. It is one of those kata tools that teach us principles with emphasis on how the body works when manifested. It is sanchin-shime, if understood and practice properly, that one can check the control exhibited in the body through the various manifestations of said body functions demonstrated in the sanchin performance. The main characteristic of sanchin is not always taught and trained and exhibited in its performance where things like dynamic tension and the ability to sequentially lock and sequentially relax are taught, applied and tested. It is in this one kata that fundamental principles like breathing, posture, alignment, structure, axis, etc., are taught, practiced and once understood applied in both controlled drill format and into the chaotic creative free-flowing types of practice and training that embrace the adrenal reality-based concepts. 

Kata, sanchin, are tools that are transcended at certain levels or stages of training and practice in order to apply those principles for self-protection under the duress-stress environments of conflict and violence. Learning about the body and how it works connects the dots and makes sense once you apply the strategy to your lessons. 

The Brain:

The Brain: The Cerebellum Fine-Tunes Body Movements and Maintains Balance; The Thalamus Mediates Sensory Data and Relays Signals to the Conscious Brain; The Hypothalamus Manages Sensory Impulses, Controls Emotions, and Regulates Internal Functions; amygdala is a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions; The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol... []

Then there are the more creative free-flow thinking, analysis and creative aspects of the mind that one must develop through study, training, practice and a myriad of applications both reality and reality-based that make one a master of themselves and the disciplines. 

In order to master our bodies we must master our minds and only through an academic study of a huge myriad or variety of subjects used in reference can one achieve that goal for that reference material encoded in the mind is what the mind searches and creates and inspires both in training and in a clench to get-r-done. 

Since the mind controls the body and the body teaches the mind it is understood, as you already know, the mind must be trained and understood so that the body follows the correct path of the mind. Concepts and principles like philosophy, mushin, yin/yang, zanshin, empty cup, non-action, etc., are all of the mind that when properly applied in training feed the body so the body acts when the mind comes under attack and this dynamic ability is how we avoid, deescalate and then use escape-n-evasion to our benefit yet if necessary triggers those actions necessary for self-protective survival. 

Charles James  “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

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

IKENSHO: Meme's Work (Except When They Don't)

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

Except meme is not appropriate for realty states that such things are maxim’s, i.e., “a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct.” What is important here is that one must understand that “general truth” is, well, general. All maxim’s of martial origins both ancient and modern tend to hold both a general truth or meaning if you will, along with some rule of conduct one perceives when reading it especially in a martial context. 

Here is the thing about maxim’s, when you read it you almost instantaneously either like it or don’t like it and there is no in between. When you don’t like it after the initial reading you always discard it immediately and label it in some form literally blocking it from your mind for now and in the future - mostly.

When you do like it you instantly assign your perceptions and beliefs and reality to that maxim regardless of what may or may not be its true or original intent with emphasis that no one, NO ONE, can know the authors intent in the maxim unless that author provides a comprehensive explanation to why that maxim came about, what its purpose is to those they wish to read it. Otherwise your perceptions and beliefs and realities tend to assign it meaning and that meaning is almost literally wrote in stone in your mind. 

There is NOTHING wrong with this as maxim’s are meant to do just that, get you to accept them then, hopefully, get you to thinking. Often a maxim can be encoded in your mind and throughout your life may pop up when you experience things. They trigger the maxim and you may automatically re-assign the original intent and meaning you gave it or as is human and nature you may create a new one, sometimes closely resembling the old one. This is also a good thing. 

It is when you share the maxim with others that things tend to get out of hand, especially if others start to comment on their interpretations of said maxim then, if you are lucky, a dialectic meeting of the minds occurs and everyone benefits with the resulting theories, ideas and beliefs. In short all parties win-win without resorting to a competitive your idea must win dynamic.  

Mixim’s work when held and questioned and used as a teaching tool that is fluid in nature meaning that the perceptions one has of its intent changes according to the times, the moment and the evolution of one’s efforts toward using the maxim for training, practice, understanding and application. 

Individually, once exposed to a maxim, it is meant to be a teaching tool for that individual. It matters neither way whether they get the intent of the author or not, sometimes that intent is obvious to all due to its terse yet accurate composition and it often carries throughout history with little or no adjustment YET in many cases the intent of the author may be hidden in obscurity due to large windows of time passage along with a lack of true tools to convey and articulate that meaning as would occur to differences in culture, beliefs and the when of the author, i.e., Lao Tzu vs. a Modern master of that discipline. Then we are left with interpretations that differ accordingly. 

On a personal note, I take maxim’s as a means of learning and teaching where lively dialectic discussions often lead to a better understanding or even a change in the original to meet the needs of now vs. of then. As long as they achieve these goals and objectives then everyone wins and that means, to me, once it enters the arena of the many then everyone who participates must be ready to present a side for discussion. 

Remember, “All bottles are good, they all serve a purpose, simply means that the differences and disparities found in one bottle don’t change its purpose, to hold something regardless of what that something is…”

Charles James

"All bottles are good, they all serve a purpose and as long as the purpose is foremost in one's mind in training, practice and application then all is well otherwise... " - cejames with some license on Tatsuo-san's original bottle maxim :-)
For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

IKENSHO: Shut Up and Train!

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

One of the worst responses to a student I have ever heard. As a guest teacher at one dojo I was actually approached by an instructor who told me I articulated way too much and that their goal in that dojo was to train, train, and train then practice, practice and practice. 

Granted, sometimes I can be a bit long winded and being asked to par down the discussion or answer to questions is not a bad thing. I do try hard to keep in shorter and in plain English and then I consider just how important words are to understanding even when the discipline is so physical in its very nature, like karate. 

Anyway, in regard to the shut up and train response, this one should be totally and completely removed from the dojo vocabulary BECAUSE it is inappropriate in that it negates rather than supports and respects questions from students. It is like being slapped in the face and we all already know how disrespectful it is to be slapped. I would rather they cold cocked me or threw me down or beat me about the head and shoulders than to be slapped. 

It is also a phrase that speaks loudly about the person using it as fearful, fearing they will lose respect and status if they don’t know an answer to the question. They fail to realize just how much more respect they convey when they simply say, “I need to do some research, let me get back to you on that, ok?” Another approach is to say, “I need to ask for some guidance form Sensei , give me a few minutes and I will get back to you, ok?” 

We speak about respect in the dojo through the martial arts so it seems plausible to me that respect is mutually given when both the spoken word and our actions speak to the respect we have for ourselves as professionals and as humans; the respect we have for others as students, fellow martial artists and as humans to others as to visitors, members and other professionals as invited friends in martial arts. 

Just because my sensei spoke those words to which at the time I took to be more harmful then helpful and I also used it in my fledgling years as a sensei AND now I have come to realize it is not a conducive methodology in teaching, training and practicing a martial art or just about any other discipline be it sport, competitive or combative like martial disciplines. 

Think about it!
For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

Charles James

IKENSHO: Proper Technique vs. Improper Technique

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

What makes a technique proper? I had to ask myself that question because I don't feel that most in karate actually know and understand what makes it proper or improper, they often look to the form presented and that question arises, "is form of technique proper and how does that translate to form vs. function, i.e., function being its application according to its intent."

It must be noted if you are a first time reader of my stuff that I no longer use technique-based teachings except as a beginner model because I prefer that one focus on a principled based fundamental model of methodologies to learn the more critical aspects of karate or martial arts for the intent of self-protection.

What is improper? ANSWER: when protecting oneself and it fails...
What is proper? ANSWER: when protecting oneself and it succeeds...

Both questions should initially be answered with, "It depends..." using the ellipse to indicate there is far more here than a simple and simplistic answer that humans lean heavily toward for a variety of reasons BECAUSE in the end the two questions and their answers above should dictate just how you teach the arts. Even with these simplistic perspectives the answers although good sound-bites leaves out a lot, i.e., for instance, when they work and when they don't work can mean that in the legal system even when you successfully protect yourself those skills used may end up sending you to jail anyway ergo they succeeded but they failed anyway. 

To those who are committed to the technique-based programs this is NOT a hit on what you do BECAUSE one very proficient, knowledgable and expert karate-ka once stated, “I think the problem with is that they are often taught out of context… and that is totally OK when FIRST learning a technique. People see this INITIAL phase and MISTAKE it for the entirety of the process.” In short, technique-based is most excellent in teaching principles through a martial methodology so that when principles and multiple methodologies are then studied the foundation is laid properly and that is a good thing AND YET to remain static within a technique-based model hurts more than helps when working toward mastery of the discipline. 

Note: this and all my articles are not meant to be a comprehensive encyclopedia of the how-to of martial arts or karate but rather a stimulus of the old gray cells so that one can perceive, discover and create the necessary methodologies and philosophies that govern the righteous honorable way of the empty hand. As you can readily imagine it is the discovery that is the impetus of greatness and not the repetitive practice of movement; it is the creativity of thought that spurs on the actions necessary to assimilate proper processes and concepts in one’s mind; it is how we excel and break the stagnation of such static, unmovable and unchanging practices. 

What is proper technique? What is an improper technique? What is one’s intent in answering these questions? What is one’s intent in the training, practice and application that would answer these two questions? What other questions can you derive from this study? 

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

Ikensho: Karate is but a Video Game

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

I remember my fist video game, it had the entry or beginner level then progressed, assuming I completed a level, to the next level that increased the challenges I needed to complete to get to the next level. 

"Video game levels generally have progressively increasing difficulty to appeal to players with different skill levels. Each level presents new content and challenges to keep player's interest high." -

This last paragraph is symbolic to how one should approach and practice karate regardless of its intent, i.e., sport vs. self-defense, etc. You already know if you have ever played video games that there are ways to cheat the system to advance the levels and the same applies to martial arts because you can cheat, i.e., like skimming over basics to reach kata and kumite or in self-protection ignoring all the before, during and after of self-defense defense because it is not the exciting fun stuff of the play in kumite, etc., on the dojo floor. 

You can also look at the levels in that to achieve completion of one level to the next without the 'cheating' is more of a traditional way of achieving mastery of the game. To cheat is to cheat oneself and to complete a level comprehensively and with expertise and mastery benefits the person while cheating and advancing to attain mastery of the game is cheating oneself. To cheat oneself in this manner in both gaming and martial arts is more of an egoistic self-serving process that really cheats the individual of a certain satisfaction in going things right; in doing things according to the game/arts original intent and to provide a level of self-satisfaction unparalleled in all games and endeavors especially toward self-protection.

In the self-protection aspects any and all cheats will not just gain you recognition but will gain you the type of recognition found in a guilty verdict sending you to jail, do not pass go and don't collect $200.

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


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

There are standard lengths that are sold according to a persons sizing. In my case I wear a size five karate-gi and obi. I find that the standard lengths are not always a good fit. Even if you find size 5 a bit long you may find a size 4 way to short. In my case, example, I get a five and then adjust it manually to fit at a good and what I see as a proper length. I cut of one end and then use some of the material to fold in to the cut area to make sure it is one solid color, i.e. the white underneath is obvious if not covered, and then use a same color thread to close it properly and keep it neat in appearance.

I do not wash it and bleach it to make it look cool, i.e. faded, and I do not drag it behind a vehicle to get it frayed looking either. That is crap that the ego uses to look like a person has experience and longevity. It is also perceived as "cool," as well as many other descriptive views. 

The belt is used for two things. One is for a large class type teaching environment so Sensei can readily see where a person is as to the level of knowledge, experience, and proficiency. The other is to hold your jacket closed and keep it as neat as possible during practice, i.e. a decorum thing. It is worn around the "waist." It is NOT worn around the hips. It is not loose so the knot and ends hang down from the hips in a "cool looking" way [can not describe this well enough but it is representative of someone who is wanting to stroke the ego and tell every one he/she is cool and wants it to look cool and acceptable to others views and such stuff ...]

If you wear an obi then the very first thing you learned was how to tie the knot properly yet I see again and again, both novice and yudansha, who still cannot tie a knot well or just don't care and also have varying lengths and ends, etc. To me its like showing up for a job interview in your sweat pants and t-shirt with a stubble on your face where you sit down, lean back, and take a cocky guy pose with a cocky guy attitude; you ain't getting hired dude VS coming to a interview in a suit with polished shoes pressed and clean, clean shaven and you sit tall with respect and proper assertive posture, etc.


If you wear a good and properly fitted uniform. If you wear it properly. If you keep it cleaned and pressed, somewhat, and the belt is clean and in good condition [when it wears, frays, fades then put it in a box-frame, put it on your wall for posterity if a belt given to you with special meaning, and get a new clean presentable belt for training, practice and instruction/teaching.

Oh yea, for the length of the ends that hang down, in my view it should not extend when hanging naturally after tying the knot "no more than between 6 and 8 inches which brings it down to slightly past the groin area on each side and they should be as close to even as possible with no more than one inch variance maximum. Attention to details and a pension and ability to see and do things in detail just to name one thing of importance in taking this view.

Other Reading:

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

Note: regardless of content herein, I do have a different view on the belts and their symbolic value as written in an earlier comment on Facebook if you are interested in reading that one too.