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

“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

“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

Search This Blog

What is Self-Defense?

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

I asked this and a couple of other questions the other day to a group of martial artists. I asked, 
  • Do you teach self-defense?
  • Do you teach MA/Karate self-defense? then I asked,
  • Define self-defense aline and on context with the first two questions.
So far, I only received four responses from two major MA/Karate groups. I have yet to ask the questions of other MA/Karate sources but hope that I can get some responses just the same.

I have to say that the first responder did present their perceptions of the above pretty much as you would receive answers from most karate and martial artists who teach including a curriculum of self-defense. Since one provided a perspective from their style as follows, “Also, , produced his style for real combat, so self-defense is a given.” Sigh!

I even had one professional who also spoke up about how they took a number of most basic attacks  and provided their students a variety of defense moves where they must know them all and ‘perfect’ (my emphasis with quotes) at least one. Then another simply stated the canned response of, “Goshin is in the kata.” They emphasized that understanding the kata application in real world scenarios is paramount … for self-defense. 

Then another reply spoke of, “Locks, chokes, restraints, takedowns, and knockouts and … , ‘KILL SHOTS’ (single quotes and all caps mine) as being in the kata for self-defense. 

Yet, there is still hope because the next comment came with some really decent and relevant information regarding self-defense so that when certain points were made that caused me pause (my unqualified perceptions here) I overlooked them because this person’s comment got the gist of it at least at a basic start level. 

Although he brought up excellent points involving a better perspective os SD he or she then dropped back into what I call, “canned,” response that goshin-jutsu is in the kata and why we train bunkai. 

Now, for my view, not one spoke of self-defense in ways the encompassed a full spectrum of understanding as to self-defense other than the physical parts with basics, techniques, and canned drills for responses to set attacks, etc. 

Let me say this, “I am not qualified with experience in violence other than what most guys like me experience, as I am an old fart, in limited ways in comparison to those who live a life in violent cultures or those who deal with violence as a profession (even tho I are a Marine with ten years experience as a Marine).” But, to my teachings of karate as self-defense I readily admit wholeheartedly that what I taught in the twenty years of karate teaching was NOT self-defense but “Fighting and a smidgeon of combative aspects.”  

Why ask the questions then, because in my studies of the materials from professionals who have a vast amount of experience dealing with self-defense and violence matters it has come to me that the industry is wholly unprepared and unqualified to teach self-defense. 
  • Self-Defense is a complicated mess.
  • Self-Defense starts in the classroom!
    • Why? Because there is much you have to know and understand to know what you don’t know about the subject.
    • Starting with NNSD, No Nonsense Self-Defense by Marc MacYoung. ( )
    • Continuing with “In the Name of Self-Defense” by Marc MacYoung sold on
    • More listed in my bibliography.
  • Martial Arts and Karate have great value in teaching physiokinetics but fall way short of providing a full spectrum of self-defense knowledge, understanding, ability and application of methodologies, etc.
  • Most MA/Karate SD is relying heavily on students never being exposed to the true reality of violence, most will only, if ever, be exposed to social monkey school yard fracases rather than predatory process/resource attacks. 
There is much more but my intent is to first, discover for myself from responses of those in the MA/Karate SD trenches, i.e., teaching it on the dojo floor, to better understand the teachings of all those professionals listed in the bibliography. The shame is that most will not get this far and will vehemently deny and flame war my efforts because it goes directly against their current belief systems and for those who teach it commercially it means, no students and no income. 

I find this to be a crying shame and know that once you reach a certain level of social association with students that outside the physiokinetics those students could be exposed to SD full spectrum in seminars, etc. and that teaching karate and MA as is outside the realm of SD/Combatives is still viable while adding in the academic part of SD the follow-up with realistic SD is possible while maintaining enrollment is POSSIBLE and PROFITABLE!

Bibliography (Click the link)

A Good Foundation

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

It was once quoted, “It all starts with a good foundation,” while a young white belt stands in a stance. It is the first step in many to find out what exactly is a foundation in karate and martial arts as to combatives, fighting, and self-defense. You DO have to have a solid foundation in order to learn, study, and understand a martial art and karate system.

The foundation is made up of many things far and removed from just learning how to assume a proper rooted kamae. A good foundation comes from a many faceted endeavor that will make up a personal system that allows us to learn, change, adjust and believe not just in the system but in ourselves as well. 

A good foundation starts long before learning how to make a fist; learning how to assume rooted stances; learning how to perform upper and lower basics techniques; learning how to form and study kata; learning how to learn from two person drills in basics, kata and kumite. You have to have all the right, correct and relevant materials to achieve a, “Good Foundation.” 

Foundational Materials:
  • A moral compass.
  • Social coping skills - basic.
  • Emotional Intelligence.
  • Visual Intelligence. 
  • Logical Intelligence.
  • Common sense.
  • Rational Intelligence.
  • People Skills.
  • Balance in mind, body and spirit.
  • Curiosity.
  • Confidence.
  • Maturity.
  • Character and Personality, not mutually exclusive but mutually supportive, etc.
  • Adaptability.
  • Flexibility.
  • Social Intelligence. 
  • Positive Attitude.
  • etc., etc., etc.!
Another aspect of attaining a good foundation is the ability to seek out knowledge and understanding and then use analysis and synthesis both as an individual and then in connection with others in a social professional sense. This could continue on until a large book is filled only to leave many important materials to build a good foundation but the idea here is to instill and trigger your curiosity so you seek it out in detail. All part of the journey. 

Bibliography (Click the link)


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

In general, within the security discipline and industry at its most basic, security always consists of trade-offs. In Self-defense your security and safety are at the top of most lists as important to survival in conflict and with violence. The goal is to create a balance, achieved between two desirable but incompatible features; a compromise.

You can say that this is another aspect of the yin-yang, i.e., when you lose one quality or aspect of something you gain another quality or aspect. If something increases, some other thing decreases. Where the SD discipline comes in it is critical for the practitioner to understand, “The idea of a tradeoff often implies a decision to be made with full comprehension of both the upside and downside of a particular choice, such as when a person decides whether to participate in a conflict (more risky, with lower potential of safety and health, etc.) versus walking away (generally safer, with higher potential returns).”

A good place to begin understanding all the trade-offs in the martial arts, karate and self-defense disciplines is to lean about both conflict and violence in all its forms, start at the no nonsense self-defense site by Marc MacYoung. Step into his book on SD then take a look at another perspective through the efforts of Rory Miller, another professional on the other side of the yin-yang coin. 

One example is when you are doing your thing when something or someone triggers your spidey sense or you observe something hinky as you start to travel into an environment where you have to decide to continue or turn around and go another way. One is about avoidance while the other is about exposing yourself to possible dangers. If you think about the pro’s and con’s of both decisions then you can decide which benefits you as to your personal safety, health and well-being. Your decision will therefore involve some trade-offs but for me the decision is moot, turn around and all because I took the time to study the recommended material and so on. 

Morally speaking which is the best trade-ff between the harm prevented and the harm caused. This is called, “The trade-off interpretation of the requirement of necessity.” What option would result in the least harm to you, to bystanders and even your attacker? What, if you had to go hands-on, would cause the least harm while accomplishing the objective of stopping the attack among your defensive methods and force levels so that you achieve the highest probability of successful defense that includes actually meeting the standards of self-defense legal requirements. Don’t forget the rule of proportionality on the grounds of necessity, etc.

As can readily be perceived such trade-offs are also intricate to study, training, practice and application of various modes and methods of self-defense and that begins here, reading and studying along with a good dose of analysis, hypothesis and synthesis to achieve a self-defense model good for it and teaching and learning and most of all, “Understanding!”

Bibliography (Click the link)

People Skills

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

I found one short or brief description of people skills I felt were adequate for this article. A person with people skills is one who:
  • has the ability to listen, actively listen;
  • has the ability to communicate and relate to others;
  • has the ability to communicate on a personal and professional level;
  • has the ability to problem-solve, especially on the fly and under the effects of the chemical dump;
  • has empathy for others;
  • has a huge reservoir of patience;
  • has a huge reservoir of tolerance;
  • has a reservoir of trust for others; 
  • has the ability to use good judgement;
  • has the innate ability to be flexible;
  • has a persuasive ability;
  • has an open mind;
  • has an honesty easily perceived by others;
  • has the willingness to work with others toward a common goal (conflict resolution, etc.).
In this case, the goal or objective is to avoid a conflict and avoid escalating things to the level of violence. Not the all-encompassing objective you may need to have in self-defense but a good one just the same.

It can be readily perceived of this list those qualities that lead to a person of both character and personality conducive to avoidance and deescalation that can be taught, taught by a professional often not found in the world of self-defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Why I Read A LOT!

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

Study is that something that builds knowledge while utilizing that knowledge in applicable ways builds understanding of said knowledge. The two lead to a sort of enlightened application of things appropriate, if you do it right, for environmental situations both normal and abnormal to living and surviving. 

Here is an add-on to the statement or question of why I read a lot, I don’t just read things once but several times. I will use Marc MacYoung’s book, “In the Name of Self-Defense (I also highly recommend visiting his NNSD web site “frequently”),” in that I have read it at least four times to date and have the kindle edition ready to start the fifth. 

When I was reading his NNSD site today on some of his newest additions of a psychological nature I realized once again that I had read it once before but reading it again not only brought out stuff I missed but made me realize that even tho it was a repeat it was also new. New in the fact that each time Mr. MacYoung presents, in written form, both new and old stuff the mere fact he wrote it again in a different way opened more doorways to knowledge accumulation toward a better understanding. 

I have a great deal of experience in this form of study because there is no facet of my life, my education, my knowledge base and my experiences that have not benefited from the art of reading, a LOT! 

My wife often chides me with, “Why are you saving all this stuff?” To which I respond, “Because I am not done studying it yet!” She then makes the obvious perception that with all the stickies and hi-lights in the book it is apparent I have read them thoroughly but as you can see here my response was that I haven’t absorbed it to a full understanding YET. 

I may never achieve a full understanding ergo why I read A LOT. I, as a semi-retired practitioner of martial arts and karate (semi in that I still practice but don’t teach or attend a formal dojo), who writes on the subject especially as it may apply to self-defense I find that even when I feel good about my understanding that many of the sources and references I come back to time and again simply present something new, something different and different ways of saying the same things as well trigger my firm understanding that there is much, much more to learn and understand. 

I remember once in a flame war on a subject where cognizant dissonance as with many other bias led to a statement that, “I was busy actually training on the dojo floor so I couldn’t respond to your wrongness.” I didn’t respond because at that stage no matter how I put things and no matter the right or wrong of it all that person was in a state of mind that said he or she would not accept or believe in anything other than his position on that or any other subject.

Here is the crux of it, yes it was wonderful that people step on the dojo floor and train BUTTTTT, what is the content and intent of that training, practice and possible applications? Many of the professionals whose stuff I read a lot and study a lot have said time and again that much of what is taught in the self-defense industry is inadequate to the reality of self-defense. Just go visit NNSD and read that ton of information and then realize that it barely scratches the surface, his beliefs not just mine and mine come from the acceptance of his beliefs. 

Then I have to address, as I have before, the content of that dojo floor training as it comes form sensei and sensei’s sensei. If the entire line of sensei to sensei has the content and intent missing parts of the reality of self-defense, for instance, then the entire line of descendency is faulty to the danger point. 

The entire community and business of self-defense be it martial or karate by nature must achieve an open minded perspective in order to change and adjust according to the present moment situation and that starts on the dojo floor, for martial arts and karate self-defense. A good starting point if you have not already started is his article in NNSD, “Psychology of Self-Defense.” I stress this because since it is on the subject of psychology and we can all agree wholeheartedly that martial arts, karate and self-defense all rely heavily on the mind, the mind training is where one should begin. Oh, we call this mind-set and mind-state!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Estimating our Martial Knowledge

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

Humans commonly overestimate knowledge rather than underestimate it. There are exceptions because I am always doing research that occasionally leaves me feeling I am way behind the curve in regard to martial arts, karate and especially self-defense.

In short I don't feel like I suffer from over estimating and over stating my knowledge of Self-Defense Karate.

I often wonder how humans survive and progress especially if the research is valid, I.e., we consistently overestimate knowledge. I am sure there is some natural way nature uses this to ensure survival - a simple complexity.

Maybe that is why I do what I do, question everything. It was said, “I think of myself as a translator whose job is to interpret and synthesize what I have read and learned - to put it in terms others can understand.” - Rolf Dobelli

It might better serve the martial arts/karate world to say instead, “I think of myself as a translator whose job is to interpret and synthesize what I have studied (read; observed; viewed as video’s, etc.; wrote, etc.), learned (academic + trng/practiced + experienced [hands-on], etc.), understood, and experienced - to put it in terms others can understand.”

In my personal case in my early years of practice and training I spent most of my time on the dojo floor because that is the way we did such things in those years. Not to say that still does not happen but as I grew older in karate and martial arts, as is natural, things changed, evolved and became different. I spent about half my time on the dojo floor and the other half studying, interpreting and honing of both physical and mental skills. In the last decade I spend about 20% of my time in personal training and practice and the other 70% in studies where I developed more of the philosophical and academic understanding as built on all my accumulated experiences both in the dojo and in life. 

Now, I spend a lot of time researching, studying, analyzing, hypothesizing and then synthesizing things based on it all, although I don’t spend much time at all with other martial artists and karate-ka honing skills as a group through cooperation and communications, etc. I found in the last decade that my focus on JUST the DOJO FLOOR physical parts was NOT ENOUGH to fully understand and understand the full spectrum of such disciplines. It became a time I stopped giving lip service to things like the code of bushido, the philosophical as in relating the various influences of martial arts and karate through the ancient classics, etc. 

Now, there are a lot of readers who will get to the end of that last paragraph and say, “What a conceited egoistic blow hard, he thinks he is better than us and has reached enlightenment!” Well, if you said that or something similar then, first, you are wrong in your assumptions. It isn’t about ego, superiority or enlightenment but rather a recognition that what I was doing was not enough - at least for me and my efforts to understand myself, my karate, self-defense and my beliefs and philosophies spanning all of it, i.e., home/family, work, social connections and martial arts/karate, etc. 

I come back to what I first read from an article by Marc MacYoung when he said something like, “Knowing what you know, knowing you don’t know some times and knowing that there are things you don’t know you don’t know” (something like that anyway). I know there are things I don’t know and don’t know I don’t know (yet) so that is the focus here, to search out the many myriad things of life and the universe and come to recognize them, hopefully accept them and then try really, really hard to live right by all of it. At a stage I call my winter years I am just beginning to realize such things and am grateful I did so before my time ends. Now, what I do with that is something else altogether. That mountain is getting bigger and bigger and I barely got on the path up. 

Now, the the crux of this effort, “When we say we are knowledgable and experienced martial artists, where does that knowledge and experience originate?” In our minds, of course, but, still, were we just born with this innate knowledge, understanding and skills? As I said, as we are born we have certain instinctual genetic switches that allow is to achieve certain things. There is no martial art or karate gene or genetic trigger. We are not born with such knowledge imbedded in a gene somewhere just waiting for some trigger to let it out. 

In truth, everything we know, understand and experience comes from someone else or somewhere else or from some source to which we are exposed in our environment as to sensory input of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Someone else somewhere had to have this knowledge to pass on to you. Many tell of how much they know while others try to dissuade, deflect or simply say what you know and understand is not you or yours but someone else’s as if that weren’t true of everyone. Today’s masters all had to stand on the dojo floor with a white belt until enough stimuli is processed to build on and add to our memories, etc. I was not born a black belt. 

Truly, to estimate the sources of your martial prowess and skills you have to first look to others who came before you (sound familiar). Even your master was a student who absorbed data from others so in truth no matter how long you train and practice your accumulated understanding and experiences are not yours but a process of data you acquired from someone else, from others materials and from other social influences of cooperative endevor. 

I consider myself a very knowledgable karate-ka and martial artist and I readily admit that all of it regardless of its form, form in that it seems mine but not mine, is from other sources outside myself. Everything that I am and will be is from outside me and becomes mine by the input of stimuli and the ability of my brain and mind to synthesize into my belief system regarding karate and martial arts. 

I was once told that nothing I put out on the blogs, etc., was my own and that I should attribute my writings to the sources to which I took it. I do that when it is a direct quote, mostly for I miss sometimes, because all the writings are my synthesis of all the others input be it personal or via other media like books, etc. 

No knowledge is encoded into our gene’s and we don’t just suddenly become proficient and skilled in any discipline but through cooperation and social environmental influences we learn, process and change things to suit us as individuals according to cultural belief systems of family and society. 

So, every single bit of my knowledge and understanding comes from diligent study of external sources and stimuli that my brain processes in its own way to construct the reality of my world be it at work, at home or on the dojo floor - even on the electronic screen in front of you where you and other read my stuff. 

Can we truly estimate our personal martial knowledge? Yes, but it isn’t what you might think. About 10% of anyone’s skills come from the other 90% of processes and data found and fed to us from external sources. So the reality is that what we assume is ours isn’t and what we have is sourced from other than ourselves. It’s complex …

Bibliography (Click the link)