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



“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

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Trade-offs

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)
http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/psychology.html


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)



OPINION PIECE: narrow view of strategy

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

I recently stopped by a local magazine and newspaper stand to take a look at the BB publication especially for the editorial/article by Dave Lowry. I always find inspiring things in his works, often illuminating as well toward the martial arts - in general. As I do with many of my studies I take extracts of things others present then go off on a tangent about the extracted quote (I write on the quote as if it had nothing to do with its origins in the article or the author’s work). Such things make me think, hopefully, outside the box that is my experience, perceptions, distinctions and beliefs. 

Today, I write about a view on strategies as I perceive the quote if it were applied to modern karate and martial arts. I think of strategies as those actions taken by a person in defense of self and/or others toward some form of conflict and/or violence. I see the following as a major ignored problem when it comes to applying martial arts and karate toward a very narrow aspect of the discipline, i.e., self-defense. Here it is:

“Many martial artists [and karate-ka] do not understand strategy [at this level]. They think of strategy only in contests. They think it’s nothing more than coming up with a plan for a fight or a violent encounter. This is a narrow view of strategy.” - Lowry 

Those who, in my humble opinion based on nothing at all, take this perspective of self-defense utilizing martial arts and karate self-defense technique-based models are putting their very lives on the line based on things that are not fully explored, trained, practiced and understood. Just read Marc MacYoung’s basic treatise on self-defense found here. He and other luminaries on conflict communications such as Rory Miller have tons of documents, books and video’s etc., on the subject one can study to one’s benefit (see my biblio link below). I am about to begin my fifth go round reading that book and have done the same for the other’s as well. 

The forthcoming arguments will be something like, “I have had self-defense encounters and I won so what you say is not true (I’m being kind in this statement for many will vehemently with colorful euphemisms would say something more colorful) but a bit more honest self-analysis would teach us all that every form of martial arts and karate or other discipline of the same goals will work, when they work, and will NOT work, when they don’t work. The issue in this article is, “Do you want luck to rule your health and life in such encounters simply because it works in competitions?” 

I don’t say this from personal experiences although those few self-defense encounters were successful but from the personal accounts of those who a violence professionals who encounter violence almost every day of their jobs. It is only such intense ongoing experiences that one can truly expect to understand what works and doesn’t and what might or might not work and how much is luck. In short, almost all of us including me have benefited from a good deal of luck by not encountering situations that led to grave harm, death or legal/moral/economical ramifications from using our martial prowess in the name of self-defense (pun and inference meant). 

Don’t believe me, don’t assume I know what I am talking (writing) about and still assume some reality and benefit exists in my efforts if for no other reason then getting you  to research and hone your skills to include such things - you won’t regret it!

Bibliography (Click the link)



A Matter of misdirection/Deflection

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

Ever notice when presenting a set of facts, or theories or ideas with associated reference to show how you got there those who disagree, especially from emotional positions, avoid the subject and content and go for emotional responses that have nothing to do with either the subject or content solely  as misdirection/Deflection so their beliefs take center stage?

Notice how, if you fail to see it coming it leads to something else to further their agenda?

When you finally get off the monkey 🐒 train 🚂 and begin to contemplate the events you realize you fell prey to misdirection/Deflection and not once did they address the true nature of the subject and content until they got what they wanted to begin with, there own generated evidence to justify their agenda and a way to solidify their beliefs so they remain safe and secure.

Humans do that especially when it seems to refute there beliefs or seems to reflect negatively on them, their beliefs and especially their tribe, clan or group or status, in say the karate community, in which they are members while you as the article author are an, "Other."

Did you see how they generated emotionally charged counter arguments that cannot be fact checked or argued logically that due to their state always leave any counters as mere fuel for more unfounded emotionally irrelevant rhetoric?

It is like a loved one who says, "If you respected me you would not leave the toilet seat up!" You respond by saying you put the seat down all the time but that is not the true subject but misdirection/Deflection fueling more of the same with the lid changing to taking out the garbage and so on. The true subject being, "Do you love her?"

Using misdirection/Deflection is a way to foster aggressive responses to move away from the true issue to one the other can argue and win.

To say you have ten years of experience for a discipline that takes up only a small part of your life is first fooling yourself, and then it is fooling others to present it as truthful and factual is not right.

I write an article on karate so a disgruntled reader reacts emotionally and says, “If you know karate, if you met the master, you wouldn’t write crap.” Since the last statement takes a dominant position in the mind you, especially when it triggers your emotional monkey brain and the adrenal rush hits, you will address it first by saying something like, “I don’t write crap, it is fact based … yadda yadda yadda.” If you don’t or are unable to catch yourself and back it down this can go on forever. Their focus, deflection, toward their agenda, i.e., you don’t know karate and you don’t know the master, is a total misdirection as that has nothing to do with the subject of your article and assigning personal emotional traits to it, i.e., you are disrespecting … yadda yadda yadda, the truth and true exchange will never materialize.

Now, in their defense I would, hopefully after backing it down a notch, reflect on what they said/stated and find the true problem on their end then correct that especially if I made a mistake as long as I am able to keep my articles core intent then I would rewrite it along with regrets or apologies as necessary to reconnect and work the communications process again.  

Literally, the time and effort to do this has another effect, it allows the other side of the discussion to also cool down, back it down a notch and then approach the next phase with appropriate caution and open eyes then there is a chance communication lines can be reestablished. Both of these are rare especially after the cat got loose and the monkey began his or her dance under the light of the moonbat. 

I speak from experience because I too have fallen prey to such things. It seems humans avoid this type of recognition so when it does become apparent it is a bit disconcerting to say the least.

I would add, as additional reference, taking a look at the bibliography for the books, “The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense” series for all the attack methods used can be found within the good Doctor’s pages. 

Oh, heck, here they are:

Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.

Example:

Satir Modes

These 5 communication modes were first described by Virginia Satir in her book People-making.

Blamer: This mode comes out of a need to feel powerful. Blamers act like they are in charge, and whatever's wrong must be somebody else's fault. Blamer-mode communication often sounds angry.
"Why are you ALWAYS DOING things like THAT?" or "Only an IDIOT would leave the door open on a hot day like today."

Placater: This comes out of a wish to avoid conflict, and a fear that everyone will abandon the speaker. Placaters insist that things are all their own fault, and that they'll go along with whatever the other person says. Placater-mode sounds frightened and desperate.
"Oh, you know I don't mind. WhatEVER you decide is okay with me" or "WHY do these things always happen to ME?”

Computer: This comes out of a fear of showing one's real feelings. Computers try to avoid saying "I", and sound very formal.
"That is a perfectly normal reaction to this crisis" or "One must remember always to close containers after they have been opened."

Distracter: This is a confused blend of other modes. Distracters are panicked, and jump between modes.
"Don't you talk to ME like that, young lady! I'm sure any rational person would be calm right now. Please, just settle down; I'll be quiet if you will, okay?"

Leveler: This is just what it sounds like—someone who's telling the straight truth about their thoughts and feelings. However, there are phony levelers, who've learned to act like they're being truthful and telling just their plain feelings; these are the hardest to spot, and the most dangerous. (Tony's statement in the sample story is an example of phony leveling.)
"I hate it when you tap your pencil like that" or "I'd rather skip the movie and catch up with you later."

Oh, and these references were found from a book written by Rory Miller and his stuff is most excellent as well for study (this article has nothing to do with Rory’s work except as the source of the above references).

Bibliography (Click the link)