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

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Social Conditions

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

Modern social conditions and that resulting conditioning of our species is reaching critical mass. Our modern society is being driven toward two conditions that if not restrained or even reversed will spell the doom of said society.
  • One, we are creating a social condition that is becoming too complicated for our species to understand.
  • Two, there are those in our society that are willing to take advantage of these conditions to distort it for fun and profit.
It is a fact that our species is great and our brains capable of many wonderful and extraordinary things but it has its limitations. It is why we have traits like our biases because when our brains, our minds, become confused we default to those biases so that we can simplify, especially stressful, things enough to understand. Mostly that works for us as a species because when it comes down to it all we have to do is two things, i.e., “Survive and Procreate.” 

Now, since my writing in this venue is about survival through martial arts, karate and for self-defense we have a dual issue that makes us resort to our biases to get-r-done and often with results of not so nice repercussions due to the distortions promulgated by the very industry who are more than willing to distort things and manipulate things for profit. 
  • First, we make the requirements of training, practice and application way too complicated in our credential oriented school type testing and certifications that also build on the complexities of validations toward rankings, levels and perceived uses of the very disciplines taught. 
  • Second, we also work hard to provide a perception of simplification by using meme’s that promote a one stop shopping this will always meet your self-defense needs symbolized by another complexity of warrior-like attitudes and efforts that in the end if use indiscriminately as advertised will ‘get you locked up, gravely damaged or even killed’ and that is not good. 
This issue of violence and defense is complicated and the program to avoid or defend is also complex and the training and practices to meet the requirements are complicated so the simplistic answers sold in the industry are not adequate but we can still work diligently - over time and with patience - to achieve a social and personal conditioning that embraces the very complexities that will let us avoid or deescalate or utilize the appropriate accepted defensive requirements to stay within the social laws, requirements and conditions that are self-defense. 

The simplest method is to create a social condition and conditioning that will foster, promote and validate an ability that will naturally handle the very nature of the human condition that is our natural inclination of survival and procreation in spite of human conflicts and possible violences. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

KSD: Human Rituals

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

In the martial disciplines, that include karate, it is easy to see, perceive and distinguish a ritualistic practice that literally controls the system/style. It has that connective construct that feeds the human natural tendency toward control, consistency and simplicity necessary to keep a psychological balance of the mind thus the body. 

As we all can detect from the following quotes on rituals it can be what brings about the way of things according to the perceptions, beliefs, cultural social conditions and conditioning, and distinctions of each individual. But, it often is about control for a dojo may require adherence to the ritualistic traditions of the practice as a influential manipulation hitting on our very instincts to adhere to the group under the survival construct often leading to a lack of creativity necessary to advance beyond the novice levels. 

Just take a look at the list that follows and you can spot those particulars that obviously apply to the dojo practices, culture, etiquette’s and beliefs:
  • Characteristics
    • Formalism: (as seen in the dojo formalities)
    • Traditionalism: (as determined by the familia type connections used in the dojo)
    • Invariance: (as perceived in the teaching of timeless repetitive practices)
    • Rule-governance: (as the dojo is governed by the vary ritual adherence to traditional ways)
    • Sacrifice
    • Performance: (performing basics, kata and drills in a repetitive way to organize, simplify the chaos of creativity toward conflict and violence and imposing a system to categorize meaning, etc.)
  • Genres
    • Rites of passage: (test for belt requirements, etc.)
    • Calendrical and commemorative rites: (the Asian marking of events such as new year cleansing, etc.)
    • Rites of exchange and communion: (to please, placate and sacrifice to achieve certain set goals, levels or grades)
    • Rites of affliction
    • Rites of feasting, fasting and festivals
    • Political rituals: (political as in power of control over members, etc.)
  • Anthropological theories
    • Functionalism: (a non-technical means of addressing anxiety about activities where dangerous elements were beyond technical control)
    • As social control: (a homeostatic mechanism to regulate and stabilize social institutions by adjusting social interactions, maintaining a group ethos, and restoring harmony after disputes.)
    • Rebellion: (maintenance of social dojo order)
    • Structuralism: (imposed on social dojo relations to organize them; to organize systems and styles; to organize control and testing requirements and so on)
    • Structure and anti-structure: (Rites of passage especially toward egoistic status of a group)
    • Anti-structure and communitas: (Rites of passage especially toward egoistic status of a group)
    • Social dramas
    • Symbolic approaches to ritual: (a "model of" reality (showing how to interpret the world as is) as well as a "model for" reality (clarifying its ideal state)
    • As a form of communication: (to release people from the binding structures of their lives into a liberating anti-structure or communitas)
    • As a disciplinary program: (a type of routine behavior, as required in kata forms, that symbolizes or expresses something, as is bunkai for fighting, etc.,. As a symbolic activity, representative of a traditional model and/or a way the leader or creator may or may not have intended but interpreted by the practitioner as so, it is no longer confined to religion, but is distinguished from technical action)
    • Ritualization: (universal characteristics of ritual … the processes of "ritualization" by which ritual is created as a cultural form in a society … way of acting that is designed and orchestrated to distinguish and privilege what is being done)
  • Religion
    • Ritual as a methodological measure of religiosity
As can be readily detected, A ritual "is a sequence of activities involving gestures (kata, basics & drills), words (terminologies and their meanings in Japanese), and objects (kobudo kata and drills), performed in a sequestered place (the dojo), and performed according to set sequence (mokuso to warmups to basics to kata to kumite to kobudo to drills to individual practice to group practice to end etiquettes, etc.). Rituals are a feature of all known human societies. They include not only the worship rites and sacraments of organized religions and cults, but also rites of passage (kyu to dan tests, contests, etc), atonement and purification rites (winter under water fall test of spirit, etc.), oaths of allegiance (dojo kun, kenpo gokui, etc), dedication ceremonies, coronations and presidential inaugurations (promotions after testing, etc), marriages and funerals, school "rush" traditions and graduations (black belt endurance over hours, etc.), club meetings (seminars, etc.), sporting events (tournaments, seminars, etc), Halloween parties, veterans parades, Christmas shopping and more.”

No wonder we have gravitated with gusto to the martial arts and all it brings and when you add in the training and competitive aspects, those in particular strike to the heart of combat and survival, you get a lot of the same benefits both personal and social, also about the nature of humans for survival and procreation, that is found in society through disciplines obvious as sports down to the not so obvious of work, etc.

“In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety; it is a symptom of obsessive–compulsive disorder.”

It was said, “The rites of past and present societies have typically involved special gestures and words, recitation of fixed texts, performance of special music, songs or dances, processions, manipulation of certain objects, use of special dresses, consumption of special food, drink, or drugs, and much more.”

“Ritual tends to support traditional forms of social hierarchy and authority, and maintains the assumptions on which the authority is based from challenge. Rituals appeal to tradition and are generally concerned to repeat historical precedents accurately. Traditionalism varies from formalism in that the ritual may not be formal yet still makes an appeal to historical.”

“The performance of ritual creates a theatrical-like frame around the activities, symbols and events that shape participant's experience and cognitive ordering of the world, simplifying the chaos of life and imposing a more or less coherent system of categories of meaning onto it.”

So, when you practice kata or other ritualized practices it is not just about martial arts and karate but about the nature of humans and social conditions the promote and support the very nature of mankind; to connect, to gather, to celebrate, to create strong bonding and to survive and procreate - all tribal survival natural human endeavors.

Enjoy the dojo, the rituals and the practices, ain’t it a blast?

Bibliography (Click the link)

Branches of Martial Disciplines

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

I think of this as, "Sport, Combative's, Philosophical, and SelfDefense."

Sport is the dominant branch that is both obvious and obfuscated to those who practice this branch. Many who practice the other three often are practicing the sport but through forms of dissonance assume and believe they are practicing one or more of the others.

It is important to make these distinctions because the do not translate effectively to one branch of another.

Sport is about competition, accolades, trophies and such.

Combative's in my mind are those hand-to-hand abilities those in the military, in combat, resort to as a last ditch effort of survival when all other means of combat are exhausted like being overrun and all ammo is expended, retreat is impossible and one must use those skills to survive or die.

Philosophical is, "The Way" of martial arts where it is about self-improvement using things like, "Buddhism (Zen), Tao Te Ching,” etc. through the body as a vehicle to train the mind for life. It is to be noted that this aspect of martial disciplines is a necessary component of all branches of this discipline but in this instance it dominates.

Then there is self-defense where two components dominate, if needed will involve society, the law, the legal system, grave bodily harm, and death! 

I perceive SD as unique because of social needs, requirements and cultural beliefs. In short, there are a great many rules involved way beyond mere kata, kumite, competition, and the technique-based physical teachings.

It's immenseness, complexities and dangers under civil laws and legalities often based on social influences make it the more critically important aspects of teachings, training, practice and "APPLICATIONS" one can experience.

Mistakes are the costlier with its obstacles of requirements and often most are missed or missing in the SD industry.

There is one perception that can transcend all branches, "The Principled-based Multiple-Method Martial Discipline," to which applies to all branches with out those branch distinctions. To take the focus off of the symbolic branches and direct focus onto such universal principle based methodologies you will discover participation in any branch is possible simply because you focus on applying principles manifested as multiple methodologies over specific inflexible technique-based applications taught specific to the branch studied.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Dojo Effects

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

In a more or less traditional sense the dojo has certain aspects that tend to unconsciously bleed over into certain area’s, like into self-defense. I came to this conclusion because in a dojo of a more or less traditional way we go barefoot, we wear a karate-gi and with that the proverbial obi or belt. 

In one scene, see snapshot below, a demonstration is given for a self-defense technique that appears to be based on using your adversary’s own obi as an instrument to say, pull them off balance to create a self-defense opportunity. Oh, but, do we in modern times wear our karate uniforms with obi on the streets? Not so I say because the karate-gi and obi are a clothing set that we wear in honor of those worn by our predecessors, sensei and senpai. 

This is the core of my article, when we fall into an unconscious and unquestioned way of doing things then we end up passing along false, incorrect and inaccurate ways to doing the very thing we strive to  do in self-defense karate-do. 

It is a bit like standing directly in front of your adversary so he can two had grab and choke you that is not an accurate representation of either a social or asocial type of violent physical attack. I personally have a smidgeon of experience in SD and never in that limited time have I seen that type of attack especially a guy-on-guy attack. It is unrealistic to teach that as it is unrealistic to teach a obi grab.

Now, the counter argument is that he was demonstrating a person grabbing another person’s belt but I don’t rely on that as effective or reasonable because in truth the belt is not even considered in self-defense either attack or defense for being that close and face-on opens the door to much greater dangers then merely grabbing one’s belt. It is possible but it is also possible to kick a knife form a knife-wielder’s hand when attacked but here again the probabilities of success is dismal at best and totally unrealistic in reality.

Even a socially driven school yard scuffle/fight is going to be more bare-bones simplistic hitting, kicking and spitting rather than training to overcome the natural to do something unnatural and remote in its effectiveness in a fight. 

All to often inexperienced sensei and senpai get, “An idea,” that is then translated into the bunkai and self-defense realm that is just fun, not realistically applicable in either social or asocial violent situations. 

Where is the reality of traditional dojo because most of what the professionals in violence see in the dojo is NOT reality ergo why many of them say that karate is not adequate for self-defense. 

If you desire to provide self-defense in the dojo there are changes necessary and distinctions to be made to make it realistic to reality of violence. In my last few years of reality-checked self-defense we took off the karate-gi, put our shoes back on and changed the environment in the dojo to try and reflect reality of outside the dojo to include actually taking the SD outside the dojo. 

Be creative, be inspired and let you imagination run wild, to a point, to create a more realistic way to teach karate self-defense. This will require a HUGE paradigm shift in the karate world. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Traditional Karate: Beliefs

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

This subject has and will always be a bone of contention especially when each person and group picks and chooses what they want to be traditional and what they don’t want to be traditional. We, all of us, cherry pick those things our dissonance and biases want to be traditional to confirm our biases toward our self-soothing personal and group belief systems. 

We humans suffer from a great many biases and dissonances all created by ourselves and influenced by others in the same fashion so it seems, to me, natural and expected. This is why I believe there are so many factions in the karate and martial arts communities and why I believe traditional aspects along with things like the dan’i system are always going to be in contention and arguable according to each system of belief. 

For instance, in what I perceive as tradition to martial arts, not necessarily karate of Okinawa, there are titles used indiscriminately in the Wast such as Shihan, Hanshi and Kyoshi, etc. that traditionally speaking are not used but in very narrow and certain circumstances. So, in a nit-pickin/cherry-pickin way those groups and individuals choose to use them traditionally incorrectly because those titles feed their belief systems regardless. 

They claim a traditional way but only follow those ways the suit them and their beliefs and call it, “Traditional.” Don’t get me wrong, at one time I did it too but in the last decade or so of study I have come to my conclusion that I do NOT practice a traditional karate or martial art simply because it isn’t. 

I do practice and train and study martial arts and karate that is based on and in a traditional way of those who came before me but different. 

I use a term that you seldom see, “Eclectic Martial Art and Karate Way.” Eclectic because what I study and train in is a compilation of experiences, knowledge and understanding influenced not just from a traditional way but one that is derived from ideas, styles, systems, and beliefs of a broad and diverse nature and range of sources. All of us at one time or another select and selected doctrines, beliefs and traditions from various sources from various cultures, beliefs and people (Sensei, Kohai, Senpai, etc). 

Setchū-tekina Karate-do [折衷的な - 空手道] Eclectic Way of Empty Hand!

Bibliography (Click the link)

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)