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

WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE

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.

Making Sense of Sensei!


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


Defined fundamentally: a faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch; a feeling that something is the case; perceive by a sense or senses. Similar: awareness, consciousness, perception, sight, hearing, touch and taste, etc. 


One way to sense it, i.e., to look at it, is how it relates to common sense. One would find that they have "good sense and sound judgment in practical matters." It can be about having good judgement and wisdom especially when applying or acting on sensory input of one's environment and human situations. In short, for simplicity, to have sound and prudent judgement that is a product of one's perceptions of situations, environments and understanding of the facts of life. It is that sense that allows you to make both good and not-good judgement calls before actually taking action be they words or physical acts. 


If this is sounding familiar to the karate communities then think of how we teach, train, apply and experience those situations within environments that have conflict and violence where one's common sense leads to good judgement and finally sensible, safe and healthy acts be they avoidance or actual hands on actions to end the conflict, the danger and the violence often associated with this discipline. 


If one can accept these premises then one begins to understand the critical importance of those who would lead for those who would follow. In the karate dojo that responsibility falls on Sensei and if we look closely at the term we can see the sense in sensei. 


Expand that to the teachings in the dojo on subjects such as “awareness (situational, environmental, self, etc.).” Do we not use all our five senses in the dojo as well as in self-protection? 


Sensei



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


Karate Should Be Effortless

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

I recently read a posting by a well known karate-ka who said, as a lead in to a video of a leading Isshinryu sensei, karate should be effortless. It got my ole grey matter a churning and it came to the forefront on my thoughts that karate by its inherent origins and traditions is NOT an effortless discipline. 

  • Yes, power is about effortlessness;
  • Yes, force is about effortlessness;
  • Yes, efficiency is about effortlessness;
  • Yes, effectiveness is about effortlessness;
  • Yes, I can go on but you, my reader, get the picture - right?

Observing karate and its practitioners it becomes very apparent that karate as currently utilized wastes a great deal of energy in its application in training and practice.


Tai Chi Chuan is easily observed as effortless but it seems like karate-ka are trying to force their methodologies and I know from experience, mine and others, this to be true. 


Americans can be fixated on what they think, and therefore believe something looks and feels strong while actually diminishing and depleting energy and force and power within without maximizing the power and force necessary for self-protection for self-defense. This is a major fault in karate because the fundamental principles that govern the manifest of power and force in a conflict tells us, proven by professionals with experience in violence, the application must feel and is effortless. 


Don’t get me wrong, at one time so very long ago karate, called “Ti (tea), was used effectively, so we have been told because there is little to no documentation of fact to that belief.


Karate does have its uses for training the mind and body and spirit YET it has been proven by professionals who are experts in conflict and violence that karate, in and of itself as a discipline, is NOT an effective skill for conflict and violence regardless of what the leaders of the karate community say, believe and teach.


First and foremost karate would require major adjustments to become an effective tool for self-defense. It’s methodologies and methods, yes there is a difference, would need an overhaul few will do and dissonance along with biases as well as setting aside certain beliefs are huge roadblocks not to forget the commercial influences one would have to overcome to get karate where it becomes effortless for the benefit of self-defense for self-protection for the reality of conflict as well as its violence.


Karate is not effortless; it is not effective for defense and protection; it IS a form of entertainment much like membership at a gym for health and fitness. 


Going back to those two professionals, watching the video you see dynamic tensioning, etc., including that participants stand toe-to-toe while practicing and maybe movement forward and backward using unnecessary effort of muscling it to perform/practice the drill all the while explaining how it all must look effortless and failing while doing it. 


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

Training in Reality

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

In a recent posting on FB by Marc MacYoung he addressed some issues regarding one's training. It is how things differ according to what you do in your training involving what he references as, "Perpetual Students." I can't get to the original at the moment but will add into this post when I find it. 


I quote, "BUT when you move into the 'doing,' your emphasis on training changes. While you return to certain training you do it to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training. You also expand your training into different subjects, not just variations of the same type of training over and over again." Then MM goes on to say, "Constantly repeating the same kind of training isn't growing, it's a different form of stagnation while telling yourself you're growing." 


Both of these statements are telling, to my perceptions, of the model that karate uses, mostly, to train and teach students, well, "Karate." What I see herein, until more data changes my perceptions, is in fact a fact about how karate uses "repetitive training" and especially those who are a certain kind of traditionalist where deviating or diverging from the "exact way the master" teaches things like basics, kata, drills, etc., is blasphemy. 


I am an advocate of using the traditional forms as a basic entry level training model and emphasize strongly that once you get to a certain point, especially if for self-protection for self-defense, you have to let that form go in a way somewhat described by MM's quote, you have to use it for change, i.e., "to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training." 


Caveat: Listen, karate is a good thing when it emphasizes ONLY sport, competitions and a more philosophical "the way" types of practices and I strongly believe that for self-protection for self-defense you MUST diverge away from the traditional and into a reality-based created model that does what I said in the last paragraph, i.e., you must use it "to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training." Especially, in my view, when tested against the reality of violence and conflict with emphasis on any actual experiences you may have had. 


I also agree, in my own way, that the way many practice karate today, and in the past, have created a comfort zone of stagnation, as MM refers to in his quote, that presents and places limits, obstacles and obstructions of both body and mind on the practitioner for efficient and practical use toward conflict and violence… you know, out there, in the streets of life. 


Reading a bit more, I believe the quote in the picture of the FB post was the trigger to MM’s comments. The quote on a picture of Dan Inosanto was, “I train as many arts as possible. I’m constantly learning all the time. Once you stop being a student you stop growing.” Now, I have to do some fact checking because this quote may or may not be from Mr. Inosanto but let’s focus on the quote. 


I know a lot of folks who have collected large sums of black belts, systems mastered, and other things like trophies while tying it all to the belief that all of that makes them better or a master. I don’t believe that is true. 


I firmly believe that is all add-on’s motivated by the American perceptions of mastery as well as the industry that kept adding-on things to keep students interested and gratified along with paying the fees and staying a member in good standing of the dojo. Let’s not forget about coming up with stuff to teach and test for testing in its own right is a huge money generating part of the commercial dojo. 


It comes down to what I feel is meant by the quotes, it is about “the quality of what you know, not the quantity!” Ergo, to achieve the quality of knowledge and understanding means you focus on what matters and then you tweak it as you go along. In the case of principled and reality based self-protection in self-defense you have to not only maintain it over time you have to "to fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you didn't know existed while you were originally in training."


I know of another quote from MM that actually spoke of teaching self-defense through a short list of things you needed to do and it would not take all that long. It requires practice and tweaking as you go along but you can learn it fundamentally in one, fifteen minute, session. 


So, accumulate all that systems, styles, belts and techniques if you want because it is fun and interesting and challenging but if you truly want to achieve proficient and effective self-protection for self-defense then think, “Change-Improvement.” Remember, in part, Inosanto is right, I’m constantly learning all the time. Once you stop being a student you stop growing.


The learning process is key here and remaining in that mode is remaining a student of change and improvement. Improvement is making the changes, not just accumulation of things. Think, I train and practice by striving to "fix problems and figure out solutions to issues you (I) didn't know existed while you (I) were (WAS) originally in training."


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

Kumite or Sparring

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


"What is it good for or what is it NOT good for is a better question. Rory Miller is one of my go-to sources for understanding violence, especially the kind I would need for self-protection for self-defense. Along with Marc MacYoung and a dozen or so others these guys KNOW what they are talking about and what they teach so I suggest to my readers, "When these guys speak, listen-UP!"


Mr. Miller was asked, "What don't you like about sparring?" His response, "However, sparring has a bunch of bad habits, even for combat. And for self-defense, almost every aspect is a bad habit." - Rory Miller, Chiron Training on Patreon. 


Now, to know exactly what Mr. Miller’s telling us we would need to visit Patreon, join his group and then follow it up with the research on this particular subject. The true tragedy is that the mind-set of karate-ka tends to keep them away from these reality-based teachings for conflict and violence because of dissonances created over time in that same dojo environment. Now, if you teach and practice for philosophical or sport reasons ONLY then by all means continue on BUT if you are doing it or teaching it for self-defense, the legal stuff, etc., then you would want to reach out to Mr. M and Mr. MM, etc., to get a truer, reality-based and proper training regimen. 


In karate circles kumite or sparring is a major tool to train and you must ask yourself, "What is it good for, i.e., sport, combat, self-protection or something else. In my view I would say it is good for:

  1. Triggering an adrenal reaction.
  2. Teaching how humans deal with conflict.
    • Note here I am talking about how we do our best to avoid actual fighting and use such tactics to try and persuade the other guy to not fight through a type of posturing.
    • This is why you see the “bouncy-bounce” actions along with moving in and out, feinting, and trying to score points for what ever reason.
    • Also, although I used sparring as a part of the training in the dojo I never advocated it as being for combat, sport or self-protection for self-defense because it teaches bad habits for those skills. 
  3. It does provide aerobic benefits when two folks go at one another moving in and out trying to figure out how to score points.
  4. It is also a means to make contact, i.e., hitting and being hit assuming the dojo is doing self-defense and then tend to hit with effort, power and force up to a point. 
  5. It promotes movement skills so long as the proper type of movement is engaged and not just the forward-backward movement found in most dojo. 
  6. Teaches one to read others and act accordingly and this part also requires a reality-based feed rather then the typical back-forth bouncy-bounce tagging you find in most kumite or sparring. 

(Note: there are more things you can learn from sparring but as to its use, without considerable modifications, for protection and defense - not so much. 


It MUST be completely understood that sparring or kumite and both sport and “The Way (philosophy)” DO NOT PREPARE YOU FOR conflict and violence because that is a whole nother thing altogether. I refer to this side a bit more through my blog and tweeting, etc. 


If you really desire to modify your training to best handle self-protection for self-defense (legal term) then I suggest you start with the references listed in the below bibliography. 


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


Historically Speaking on Karate

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


Kinda, sorta and maybe historically speaking karate of Okinawa was referenced as a means of training, a prerequisite to weapons training, to teach fundamentals of empty hand before taking on the much more challenging training of weaponry. 


I quote, "empty hand was used to train the novice warriors of Okinawa to pass on fundamental principles so one could first and foremost master themselves, i.e., body, mind and spirit, as a requirement to train in sword, spear and other weaponry of the times." 


Much like our modern military where one learns the basics of hand-to-hand combat because there are always chances and times when weapons may not be there or available, for what ever reasons, so one must have the ability to combat the enemy with their bodies, i.e., hands, etc. 


It has been only in the last few decades that our modern militaries have embraced the martial disciplines to supplement and train the mind, body and spirit of a warrior as found in the more modern martial discipline of the Marines, i.e., the MCMAP or Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. 


In another reference to Okinawan history, proceeding the entry of Japan into WWII there was that effort to promote karate into the educational systems as a means of creating, developing and educating youth in preparation for military service. It was watered down to fit the young adult minds and bodies and was never meant to provide empty handed skills in combat but provided a more robust mind-set development that would help them enter into and endure the rigors of military service. A prerequisite within the educational systems in preparation for what was to come. 


In the brief reference of one historical document of early Okinawa there in was described an outdoor space or doujou if you will, where recruits would train their bodies and minds developing a military warrior spirit, if you will, that created a base or foundation necessary to take on weapons training. I believe that further research into the Greeks history will show that hand-to-hand was used not as a primary but a prerequisite development model leading to the more dangerous and robust training of weapons like the shield and spear made famous by the Greek 300. 


For those of us using karate as a means to train for self-protection for self-defense it is to be understood and embraced that empty handed defenses for protection is more a lead toward that discipline wherein one learns to master themselves to enhance the understanding and abilities to avoid dangerous violence prone situations and environments of the modern world. 


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

Handling the Mask People

Most of us can agree that wearing a mask is a good and beneficial and safe thing to do. 

When some folks do not wear a mask we can find ourselves in very uncomfortable situations and that opens the door to possible aggressions and even violence.

What I advocate in any situation when observing others to find a mask-less person you handle this the same way as any other possibly volatile situation - first, avoid!

Remember, it is about one’s beliefs and if the person is NOT wearing a mask you should assume it is because of their beliefs and NOTHING YOU SAY OR DO will change that belief, especially with strangers. If you confront them they will respond to protect and defend their beliefs JUST LIKE YOU are defending you position/belief by confronting them. 

I recommend highly the only action you can take in these volatile and dangerously stressful times is to avoid the person altogether. Do NOT confront them by words or negative body language and micro-expressions. Keep your social distance and check your mask to cover you face properly!

Let them go about their business because if you do decide to say something then you become part of the problem when they react negatively and pursuing it can lead to violence resulting in possible grave harm and even death.

Remember, nothing and I mean nothing you say or do is going to matter to this person and instigating a confrontation simply increases your exposure to the very thing you are trying to protect yourself from - CONTAMINATION!!!! Spittle is bad enough but other bodily fluids often present during violence is just plain STUPID!

Do not succumb, let it go and remain at socially safe distance till you or they leave that environment - IT IS THAT SIMPLE!