Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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Aging Martial Artists - Take Immediate Notice!

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

Things change, this is life for progress and evolution involve change and that change often is about survival. In this instance it is about survival in training as well as application in a real world environment, i.e., the dojo environment is often artificial in nature to adhere to certain rules for safety, etc.

As martial artists who started early we later find this distinction of youth vs. mature in regard to age as well as certain mental and physical states for both. It is best to remember, they are different. 

Youth: In martial arts there is often, to the detriment of the art as well as practitioner, a certain mind-set that focuses on strength, speed and technique.

Mature: In martial arts as one matures there is a shift, most of the time assuming certain traits are achieved, from a focus on strength, speed and technique toward a principled based application of appropriate forces as applied through multiple methodologies. 

If I could convince people of just "one thing" it would be to shift away from reliance on physical strength, speed for speeds sake and technique-based defense stuff toward a principled method-based application that does not rely on any one technique but a method appropriate and creative in nature to what ever one is facing such as, 

  • Can I detect this early on before violence happens?
  • Can I avoid aggression and violence?
    • If not, can I escape-n-evade the danger of the environment, situation and person(s)?
    • If not, can I communicate in such a fashion as to deescalate things from aggression/violence down to mutually beneficial face saving outs for all concerned and involved parties? 
    • If not, can I perceive, decide, act with appropriate and necessary force just enough to stop the attack, achieve safety and security while adhering to the social and legal requirements for self-defense defense, if it goes the distance? 
  • If physical intervention is required regardless of reasons, can I call on conditioned responses that are principled based methods tested well under adrenal stress-conditions matched with reality or as close as possible to reality? 

There in lies the truth of it, it isn’t a matter of strength although strength has its benefits. It isn’t a matter of speed as perceived by the young as faster fists or feet. It isn’t a matter of what technique is best for what kind of attack but rather a creative conditioned encoded response to stimuli of aggressive violent nature to stop it from reaching you. 

It is a matter of properly applying principled methods, i.e., physiokinetic natured principles, with appropriate force under legal and socially mandated methods to achieve true legal and morally set self-defense defenses that are unquestionable appropriate to any given situation. 

The art of self-protection through martial disciplines should not have a division when one can span the entire spectrum of youth-n-maturity into one definitive and effective model that is more effective that mere strength, speed and technique. Don’t assume because one group knows and teaches strength, speed and technique as the answer, the one true answer or the one and only answer to the problems. Do teach that a creative multiple methodology that is principled based will provide answers to any problem imaginable even if not taught or experienced in a training and practice environment. 

The true objective people need to see and take as gospel is that violence is still out there, always will be for humans and animals alike, and that effective appropriate responses of all kinds must be taught, trained and applied in order to achieve a safe, secure and healthy self, family, and social group against the very aggressions and violence that we may encounter in life. 

Try on the maturity mantel in your youth rather than waste and wait till you mature by years or aging. In the end you won’t have to make any shifts in training and practice at all because you will already be there. 

Note: Know and understand the distinction between hard training and training hard!
Note: Remember, I quote, “Training hard is a matter of focus and attention. Hard training is the bruising, bangs and knocks one takes in the dojo as well as simply exercising.”

Note: Also, remember and I quote, “Training hard is being sensible and intelligent, finding a way to understand the methodologies, principles and the creative process that encodes proper appropriate conditioned responses that are instinct-like for natural speed, etc.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Social Conformity

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

People will think, "Influence principles" on this one much in line with the others, i.e., reciprocity, consistency, liking, authority and scarcity that also work alone and feed one another including reciprocity. These psychological principles direct the way we humans behave and especially in regard to influencing us to do or believe or say or purchase something. It is a bit like what a resource predator might use to get something from you.

People tend to ask the question in martial social collectives, “What has this to do with martial arts, sports, or self-protection, i.e., the art of self-defense defense?” The answer is found once you consider how the psychological world views and interprets social conformity.

In essence, understanding what it is that drives humans both as individuals and a collective, i.e., social groups like families, tribes and clans, etc. Once you achieve the understanding then the lessons taught in self-defense defense models becomes clearer and such actions like awareness toward avoidance, escape-evasion and deescalation take greater importance in training and practices. 

In short, “Beware of Social Conformity” especially as it works under the influence principles that masters of the compliance profession use to influence all of us all of the time and through every venue possible that is socially driven and economically necessary for our very way of life today. 

One of the psychological influence principles is referred to as, “social proof,” that works something like this, and I quote, “Informational Conformity: usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for guidance. when a person is in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation and socially compares their behavior with the group. This type of conformity usually involves internalization – where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual. when in an ambiguous situation (such as the auto-kinetic effect), a person will look to others (who know more / better) for guidance (i.e. adopt the group norm).  They want to do the right thing, but may lack the appropriate information.  Observing others can provide this information.  This is known as informational conformity.”

Read that quote a few times, it becomes clearer as you contemplate how that works toward social proof, especially when influenced by the group dynamic influences that are the same yet are not. It involves a variety of different forms of social conformity as will be presented and quoted in the next paragraphs. I recommend reading the source article linked at the end of this works. 

Fitting in with a preferred group has some pretty complex/complicated influences on all of us, it is a part of our very nature and that nature goes back to the times we gathered in groups to protect, defend and provide for in the groups survival against natural predators of nature many, many hundreds to thousands of years ago. Theses traits, or instincts if you will allow some latitude, still exist in that deep survival place of our minds we laughingly refer to in self-protection martial disciplines as the “lizard.” That place that often triggers, as a base survival skill, the flight-or-fight process. 

Think of it like this, and I quote, “The term (social, etc.) conformity is often used to indicate an agreement to the majority position, brought about either by a desire to ‘fit in’ or be liked (normative) or because of a desire to be correct (informational), or simply to conform to a social role (identification).”

You see, as many folks already see, failure to conform to the group would lead to that groups destruction and those inherent feelings have not changed much in the time humans have walked, somewhat, the Earth. It pulls us hard and often long before the logical mind can take back the reins from our emotional monkey brain. The monkey brain will flood our minds with chemicals and emotions that will literally block the logical mind from doing the logical thing rather than flying about chattering and doing strange, bizarre and dangerous things to us. Another reason why we in the self-protection models MUST understand this and how it works. It is a modern survival thing. 

The following excerpt, quotes, are provided from the resource linked at the end to help you get motivated toward understanding not just, “social conformity” but also the “Compliance/Influence Profession.” Both work together and provide huge clues, concepts and abilities that can be leaned, trained and utilized in everyday activities but especially in regard to self-protection, i.e., awareness, avoidance tactics, escape-n-evasion strategies along with deescalation communications. People in the professions of aggression and violence all understand how important these are to understanding civil self-defense protection defense; social, civil, criminal and legal systems oriented, etc. 

Types of Conformity:

Compliance (or group acceptance): when an individual accepts influence because he hopes to achieve a favorable reaction from another person or group. He adopts the induced behavior because....he expects to gain specific rewards or approval and avoid specific punishment or disapproval by conformity' (Kelman, 1958, p. 53). conforming to the majority (publicly), in spite of not really agreeing with them (privately).

Internalization (genuine acceptance of group norms): when an individual accepts influence because the content of the induced behavior - the ideas and actions of which it is composed - is intrinsically rewarding. He adopts the induced behavior because it is congruent [consistent] with his value system' (Kelman, 1958, p. 53). involves public and private conformity. A person publicly changes their behavior to fit in with the group, while also agreeing with them privately. This is the deepest level of conformity were the beliefs of the group become part of the individual’s own belief system. This means the change in behavior is permanent. 

Identification (or group membership): Individuals conform to the expectations of a social role, e.g. nurses, police officers. It is similar to compliance as there does not have to be a change in private opinion.

Ingratiational: This is when a person conforms to impress or gain favor/acceptance from other people. motivated by the need for social rewards rather than the threat of rejection, i.e., group pressure.

Normative Conformity: Yielding to group pressure because a person wants to fit in with the group. Conforming because the person is scared of being rejected by the group. usually involves compliance – where a person publicly accepts the views of a group but privately rejects them.

Informational Conformity: usually occurs when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for guidance. when a person is in an ambiguous (i.e. unclear) situation and socially compares their behavior with the group. This type of conformity usually involves internalization – where a person accepts the views of the groups and adopts them as an individual. when in an ambiguous situation (such as the auto-kinetic effect), a person will look to others (who know more/better) for guidance (i.e. adopt the group norm).  They want to do the right thing, but may lack the appropriate information.  Observing others can provide this information.  This is known as informational conformity.

Non Conformity: Not everyone conforms to social pressure.  Indeed, there are many factors that contribute to an individual's desire to remain independent of the group. This means that they value being independent and self sufficient (the individual is more important that the group), and as such are more likely to participate in non conformity. In contrast eastern cultures (such as Asian countries) are more likely to value the needs of the family and other social groups before their own.  They are known as collectivist cultures and are more likely to conform.

Note 1: It may seem that this article points to the negative side of conformity, influence and compliance, but it is a two sided coin, think yin-yang principles, where the negative and positive feed off each other toward a balance. I liken it to thinking that aggressive sales techniques are a negative side; also thinking that much of our political side is also a negative. I then liken it to thinking also that when we all benefit and the influences, etc., end up giving us what we want be it resource or processes especially when we didn’t know that we needed or wanted that resource or process is very positive.

Note 2: It also may seem to the reader that this is something unique and apart from normal human existence and survival but it isn’t for each of us use these same principles and methodologies to communicate toward achieving our own goals and objectives, to “get something” from someone or some entity as a resource or process. 

Note 3: Please try to take all of this in the positive proactive light in which I intended because in and out of the dojo everyone benefits the knowledge and understanding of how the compliance profession works both in life as in self-protection. It is how humans interact and communicate to gain something be it resources or processes that contribute to our very group and individual survival whether social in nature for modern survival or literally a life-n-death survival if self-protection defense is needed, or even necessary.

Bibliography (Click the link)

What is a Black Belt?

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

A bone of contention within the martial communities. Not just in the West, but today in the East, it’s source or origins resides in the East, there is not one accepted bonafide and universal definition or understanding toward what a black belt is. In essence, it can be said that a black belt is:

“In East Asian martial arts, the black belt denotes a high competence in the martial art.”

What happens in essence is a muddying of the waters when you start to define, “expertise; high competence; mastery, etc.” As with most things of human nature, it mostly depends on a variety of ever-changing fluid answers to these questions. Literally, an individual belief that will differ somewhat to greatly between said individuals. 

To give you some idea’s let me state my, personal, definition:

“A Black Belt is a symbol, it symbolizes hard work, dedication, and discipline in a profession, discipline, that each person tackles from their own heart, mind and body to achieve and complete self-imposed goals, objectives and milestones that promote personal beliefs, experiences and accomplishments without hinderance from others yet though the guidance of others.” -cejames

I deliberately left out anything that might infer specifics that are arbitrary in nature toward a more restrictive economically driven effort. It is not about money; it is not about business; it is not about others; it is not about ego; it is not about status; it is not about expertise; it is not about mastery but it is about a wholehearted effort of the individual. 

It boils down to the individual, it is an accumulation of effort, sweat and personal accomplishment that one feels can be symbolized by the coveted black belt. There are not set, static, requirements or requisites but a feeling in the individual as to what they have achieved, overall, in their concerted efforts. 

See/Read also:

What is a Black Belt?
Symbolism - The Coveted Black Belt
Wearing the Black Belt - Comfortable?

Talisman Thinking

Bibliography (Click the link)


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

First, a word from our sources on the term, “Othering:” “The term Othering describes the reductive action of labelling a person as someone who belongs to a subordinate social category defined as the Other. The practice of Othering is the exclusion of persons who do not fit the norm of the social group, which is a version of the Self. Likewise, in the field of human geography, the action term to Other identifies and excludes a person from the social group, placing him or her at the margins of society, where the social norms do not apply to and for the person labelled as the Other.

In self-protection disciplines, as well as other professions such as the military, we use othering in order to suppress our natural human behaviors to not cause grave harm or death to our tribe, so to speak. Inherently humans to survive need to collect together as like-minded folks so we become stronger and those groups can only function well in small numbers such as social groups that make us tribal-like. 

Only by a process as described herein can a human cause sufficient damage or death to another human when said target is not a member of that person’s family or tribe, a collective of families who band together to survive through better conditions and resources, etc.

We classify that “other person” as “not one of us.” This can be critical in some modern professions such as the military who have to go face-to-face with other military folks not one of our military groups. In this profession we are mandated by our tribe leaders, in modern society that would be the governing body of that social collective, to dominate, hurt, damage and kill the other guys so we can achieve our objectives, often about some form of survival. For instance, our society needs oil based products to achieve our goals in survival and when others have what we need one avenue of attaining that resource is through force and othering them makes it easier to send off our military to cause harm and death on them. 

“Group cohesion was crucially important in the early days of human civilization, and required strong demarcation between our allies and our enemies.”

In regard to self-protection by any means, emphasis here in martial disciplines like karate, there is an attitude born from this drive to other, others, i.e., “‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us’ is a simple heuristic people often use to decide whether someone is part of their tribe or not. If you are, then you can be expected to toe the line in certain ways if you don’t want to be ejected; if you’re not, you can be dismissed and hated as an ‘other’, the enemy.”

We who train to self-protect need to understand this need to other, in one regard there are those who we encounter that are strangers to us and that compounds things toward aggression and violence until they become one of us or that we reject, in some way be it by leaving, avoidance, or through proper self-protection actions. Strangers are “others” simply by the fact that they are unknown to us. 

We have the ability through communications to establish the social status of a stranger where we may find connections, similarities in culture, beliefs, and other factors so they become one of us, even peripherally. This makes it less likely we cause friction toward some aggressive acts. 

One of many lessons folks learn in self-protection to achieve and maintain security and safety of oneself and those who are “one of us” is that deescalation means taking an attitude that the “other person” may have hidden qualities that we can seek to find then use that to create a connection that allows us to avoid violence and aggression. Understanding the othering thing means we have tools at our disposal that will allow is to see and feel a possible “way out” for us by connecting and removing the feeling that a person is “an other” bringing them closer to being “one of us.” 

If we can achieve this, then we can avoid conflict with violence resulting in all the ramifications that are found within these pages providing us and them with security, safety, health and survival. We provide ourselves solutions, when appropriate, and give the previous “other person” face-saving ways to remain intact in all ways.  

It is a common goal of people who teach self-protection that we must not FORGET, “If we’re experiencing guilt about our treatment of some person, or group, or class, and having trouble reconciling that guilt with our notion of ourselves as good people, our brains are extremely adept at resolving the situation by othering the people we feel that we’ve wronged. If we de-humanize someone, and distance our empathy with them, then we won’t have to feel bad about the shabby way we’ve treated them.”

Recognizing our very human conditions and behaviors both conscious and sub-conscious as driven by past experiences, social conditions with coping skills and nature’s way to survival even tho not as necessary in modern societies where that conditioning has yet to evolve to meet modern standards and practices will go a long way to allow training and practices to achieve avoidance/deescalation from the brink of violence from aggressive tendencies to either get what we want or to attain some resource we need. 

Let us not forget, “how readily we can be swept up in a group identity, learning to embrace only those of our tribe and reject the ‘others’, even when the difference is entirely arbitrary and meaningless.” If we cannot achieve this understanding and then use it to train and practice to overcome the tendency then we fail to teach self-protection of the modern man. 

Learn to recognize when we other, others, and then train to avoid othering except when necessary to step into the application of violence to remain safe, secure and healthy. This balance between self, othering and connecting others to self is a difficult path to follow and takes a great deal of effort especially to turn it off when needed but more so to “turn othering back on” to achieve self-defense defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

The Article

In a recent posting on facebook the following was presented and triggered my responses that are placed strategically throughout in bold-red. This article, in my mind and experience, is chock full of really great sound-bite-terms and phases that seems valid but when you dig deeper and apply actual physics, logic and research tend to fall short of reality. As I progressed reading and considering and responding it came to me that there is a lot of misdirection and suggestive influences possibly based on inexperience outside the dojo and that much is passed along from generation to generation without enough research to discover the reality of principles, etc., to apply teachings and skills in a reality that is violence. 

In short, sounds good but does't cut the mustard from my cheap seat!

Here is the article and responses:

The Three Powers of White Crane Karate

White Crane, I understood, was a Chinese boxing system referred to as “Gung Fu.” So, a bit confused why someone would refer to it as a form of “karate” especially since karate’s origins are Okinawan. Yes, I understand that Gung Fu had a huge influence on the development of karate on the island but hey, it isn’t white crane but a offshoot form that contributed to the creation of Oki-karate. 

There are mysteries all around us.  This one we can solve.  While we will all make discoveries over a lifetime of training there is nothing mystical or mysterious about the three kinds of martial power – ‘jins’ or energy-flows – that are used in Chinese, Japanese and Okinawan martial arts.  All three are useful in the dynamics of combat. All three are accessible to us.

Ok, being the stickler I am what I understand of power is that power is power especially in the application of physical power, and force, toward an aggressive physical manifestation be it sport or self-protection. In the second part it makes specific references to that power as used in “combat (not a true nor adequate descriptive term for karate in self-protection or even sport)” where the energy of the body, its mass in movement, is singular and specific to the body while not three separate kinds, that is impossible. 

Now, power in general in nature is also singular while the generation of that power comes from, “electricity; nuclear; etc.” while physical power manifested is about movement and mass applied in specific ways. It is literally impossible to detect and measure any separate and distinct forms of power generated that way regardless. Saying that the body can manifest and use three “KINDS” of power is “IMPOSSIBLE” and “MISTAKEN” in its use herein. 

For instance, define power: “the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality; the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events; supply (a device) with mechanical or electrical energy; move or travel with great speed or force; physical strength and force exerted by something or someone; energy that is produced by mechanical, electrical, or other means and used to operate a device; supply (a device) with mechanical or electrical energy; move or travel with great speed or force.”

No where, no where in that definition is there a kind of power, in three separate forms, can be defined in the applicant of said power generation by the human form through movement of mass to achieve a certain speed, direction and targeting of said traits to achieve force and power generation and effect to said target. 

Some claim that karate relies on only one kind of power, and that tai chi and other internal styles use another.

You can say this all you want but unless you can research it, test it, see it or feel it or some other way determine the true existence of it, it is just the imagination making a symbolic philosophical effort to describe the indescribable that comes from laziness and/or ignorance, etc.

Hard and soft, internal and external, are valid distinctions, 

No, they aren’t unless you provide appropriate data that makes them realistic and distinct stand alone concepts. 

and you have to start somewhere. But as you train you find that practical combative styles include both internal and external training, introducing a spectrum of “hard,” “hard-soft” and “soft” energy transmission techniques.

internal and external training - there is NO internal or external training, training is training and it can be mental or physical while in such disciplines as martial arts and karate it is both. Prove the existence of internal training because even to do that you need the movement of external. Now, visual imagery is effective in training but try defining “training or train or practice” and you will NOT FIND either internal or external in that definition. 

a spectrum of “hard,” “hard-soft” and “soft” energy transmission techniques. - Sounds good but take a few moments and contemplate this and you will find outside the imagination there is only one way to transmit energy and using dynamic tension or positive relaxation does NOT generate nor transmit that energy, it simply conveys what is generated at some level attributed not the tension or relaxation but to the actual application of principles such as alignment, structure, movement, mass, etc. into a target. It is simply either a stable or less than stable conveyance like the diameter of a wire that allows levels of energy or power to be carried from one point to another. 

Techniques in and of themselves do NOT generate power or force but like the wiring simply become the path that allows it to flow toward a point. In power generation of the human body it either drains it off to compensate for improper alignment, stability, etc. making it now powerful enough or it achieves proficient stability to maximize power so force maximized can be achieved when it reaches the target point. 

These three ‘powers’ are tools. Each has its use.

They are not mysterious. They are not secret. They are natural.

 Dig deeper, this type of information and presentation is just close enough to other more realistic realities that it seems true and correct and it sounds, sound bite training and practice, but realistically when applied under the stress of adrenaline action attacks it often fails to reach a true realistic objective of self-protection. It looks pretty, it looks great and it can be quantified in testing from a purely philosophical perspective but when the rubber meets the road in reality it fails miserably. 

Hard-Soft Techniques – When its Time to Go Ballistic

Hard-soft techniques are ballistic, 

Ballistics: Ballistics is the field of mechanics that deals with the launching, flight, behavior, and effects of projectiles, especially bullets, unguided bombs, rockets, or the like; the science or art of designing and accelerating projectiles so as to achieve a desired performance. Now, note closely that even in the manifestation of karate toward physical stuff it is about performance, i.e., the path of the body movement to the target and the stability of the body through physiokinetic’s  that create acceleration of the body and its mass to achieve a desired performance and thus results. Ballistics is more about firearms, etc., then karate but it “sounds good” and since everyone has some understanding of ballistics it seems appropriate and applicable in karate or martial arts while in truth people who understand more than sound-bits knowledge of the subjects in question will instinctively know this is incorrectly describing a desire in self-protective applications and methodologies. Ballistics even applies somewhat in a physical form of the human body has NOTHING to do with hard or soft no matter how defined. 

Even in the hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard maxim where you use the bodies softer parts to slap the harder targets and the bodies harder parts to strike or hit the softer parts of the target this is NOT BALLISTICS. 

that is they are thrown explosively, with minimum resistance in the opposing muscles. 

You are going to have to provide a more in-depth explanation because the act of throwing the arm out in a manner that one could call explosive in nature is not how we produce efficient, powerful and proficient methods. You cannot maximize or minimize opposing muscle groups consciously or through training and practice or even application in reality. Muscles are involuntary on that regard, when flexing one the other naturally slacks off to allow the other to work. This is a misnomer. 

They focus energy and intention at a single point. They use a sudden compression of the muscles on contact. 

This makes no sense to me, explain it a bit more please. Muscles either flex or relax, the don’t compress or cause depressions of any kind of which I am aware. 

This muscle contraction prevents the joints from hyperextending or collapsing, driving the power of the punch into the target. 

No, the ability of muscles to stabilize by the two opposing muscle groups stop action be it flex or relax and that is only effective when punching or kicking air. The only way to protect joints, etc., when applying any methodology in self-protection is to master distance, master other physiokinetic principles and ensure that when a target is “targeted” that your distance and the method don’t need the muscles to protect them because proper applications of multiple methodologies does not require the muscles, tendons or cartilage to protect the joint but to stabilize so power and energy are not lost once contact to the target is made. 

Joint alignment supports the target penetration from deep inside your body.

No, they don’t’ support, they stabilize along with alignment, etc. You may think the distinctions are similar or the same but in applications they differ. 

It is natural to use a hard-soft technique when you punch. 

No, yet yes, it all depends but hard and soft doesn’t really apply to the actual technique except to distinguish the targets armor capability to the vulnerability of the body used to apply any method or methodology. 

People in a confrontation – on the street, in a jail or in a school yard – will use an approximation of a hard-soft technique.

Maybe, maybe not, it all depends and it is best not to lump this into one thing because each, be it on the street or bar or school yard, is different requiring different applications of appropriate mind-state, methodologies and other requirements to achieve success while remaining in the legal self-defense defense square. 

Boxing uses hard-soft technique. When a boxer trains to ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ he is describing a kind of soft-hard technique. It can be applied to every attack, defense and evasion.  Boxers don’t use rigid arms or legs.

Sounds good to a novice but try it out on a professional boxer. Sounds good and it will trigger many of the influences through suggestion of others experiences to seem reasonable, plausible and reality-based but in reality - not so much. It is best to use meme’s, aphorisms and other sound-bite quotes as “lead-in’s” to convey ideas to follow in the actual extensive and comprehensive teachings simply because such things tend to let the individuals imagination think it something it is not. 

Training for speed in combative technique means shortening the muscle cycle – from soft to hard to soft and back. 

There is NO individual muscle that achieves speed, you have BOTH slow twitch and fast twitch muscles that allow for speed BUT, even those twitch muscles don’t make for speed for speed comes from that and other factors that make the target faster to hit or kick. 

Speed comes from economical movements and other physiokinetic’s that are supplemented by the muscles twitch factors, etc. Every human has both fast and slow twitch capability along with other principles that make for speed. That is why some folks, even with consistent training, etc., can’t achieve the speed like others. Can you say, genetics and genes?

Remember, few could achieve the same speeds that Bruce Lee did even when they all trained his training regimen. Those who studied and practiced with him all had speeds that were appropriate to their muscles, body and frame size and other factors. Then when it comes to speed there is the participants mind-state, positioning, distance and how they trained to process the OODA loop under the duress of the adrenal stress-conditions of being attacked. 

Here is where I stopped simply because there is so much within this article that simply caused my teeth to itch that it is becoming repetitive. Regardless, the person reading this with my comments may or may not agree with me but experienced people will see how this is questionable at the very least and completely ineffective to teach karate and martial arts for anything other than profit, a personal philosophical view and toward dojo-oriented use only. 

Then again, what do I know!

That is true whether we are firing a single explosive technique or a sequences of techniques.  While we increase the cycle speed we also increase the amplitude of the cycle – maximizing muscle contraction, then instantly releasing any residual muscle tension that might slow us down as we continue. Like ‘wind and lightning’. Or like automatic rifle fire.

In Okinawan styles we use makiwara training to condition the hands – especially the knuckles and knife edges.  Little by little that conditioning goes deep – into the arms and shoulders, chest and back, koshi and tanden, feet and foundation.  Full-arc “soft-hard” oscillation is one of the results of good makiwara training.

Hard Techniques – Dangerous, Not Difficult

It is a truism in Chinese and other Asian martial arts that hard overcomes soft, and soft overcomes hard. Hard techniques are a critical component of skillful combative. Hard techniques are useful in grappling and in ground fighting.  They are emphasized in naihanchi kata and appear in many others.

When a part of your body is immobilized, placing a joint at risk, we can use a ‘hard’ technique in response.  This is true in defending against chin na and in applying chin na grappling techniques. There are other uses, as in a bear hug, choke or other restraint and compression technique.

If your joint is locked at the limit of its range of motion, releasing tension under the opponent’s pressure can result in injury – to your joint, kyusho nerve point or cavity. Some responses require local hard response while the rest of the body is free to move. Like breaking an immobilizing hold on a wrist.

But a full body hard technique is different.  There, under pressure, we move while maintaining resistance in the opposing muscles – moving the body in a single, unified movement like a leaf spring, without ever completely releasing tension. This resembles the sudden movement of a carp in the water.

You can do the same type of movement using the koshi – (the center core helical motion), and compression – (the rapid shift between concave/convex position of the four points made by the shoulders and the hips around the tanden) – whether you are on your feet or down on the ground, to control the opponent’s balance point, distort his stance, weaken his posture and cause him to release momentarily, somewhere. That provides you with your opportunity to counter or to escape for counterattack.

The side-stepping techniques in naihanchi kata are an example of this, where dynamic tension is maintained while shifting position.

The carp movement is also used for soft and soft-hard techniques, for full-body energy generation.

We can use a hardened body – an earth-element posture and technique – while motionless, to absorb and transfer impact. At the other end of the spectrum: knee, hip and shoulder strikes can be done using hard energy.

When there is fist-to-arm or palm-to-arm contact in a kata posture – as in Pinan 1, Pinan 4, Wankan, etc., we can apply a hard technique.

The technique is ‘hard’ when we maintain muscle tension in a limb or in the architecture of the body when we contact the opponent.

Soft Technique – (Note: they don’t feel ‘soft’ to the opponent)

A boat is moving on the water. A wave comes up and turns the boat over. The water itself did not change at all. That is the same water the boat was floating in a minute before the wave appeared. The water itself did not hurt the boat. The energy moving through the water did. It was communicated into the structure of the boat and affected the boat’s position.  Rolling it over. Submerging it. Destroying it.

Then the wave was gone. The water itself was completely the same before, during and after the wave passed through it. Soft technique works this way.

Energy propagated through a medium – a wave in water, electricity through a wire, wind in a storm, sound through the air – is familiar to us.

Soft technique is used in most combative styles.

(Note: The chi kung, energy cultivation, components of our practice are not the ones I am describing here. I am describing combative soft-energy techniques.)

Soft jin requires an unimpeded flow of energy from the center of the body out to the target.  A wave from your root on the ground, generated by and through the central reservoir of energy at the hara, coordinated with the central rotating physical structure of the koshi at the pelvis and lower back, transmitting the energy out through the limbs to the target using the arches of the body structure, along the mechanical and energetic pathways which link the root, center and limbs forming a coherent whole.

Hard-soft technique is resilient; hard technique is rigid. Soft technique is a wave of energy moving along a whip.

The important component of the soft technique’s effectiveness is not the material it is made of – your arm, leg, etc., but of the wave of energy that passes through it. The key training challenge is to delete obstructions to the flow of energy.

It is not better to minimize the resistance in the muscles at all times in all combative encounters. But it has its place. In push-hands you can feel moments when only the slightest redirection of incoming energy will destabilize your opponent, even a strong and aggressive one, if their posture is over-extended or biased.

It is the same in combative: there may be a moment when you can redirect an incoming technique, sweep, pivot, body shift, continue an opponent’s overextension, retreat or use another similar movement, in which it is to your advantage to transmit your energy into the opponent’s body, redirecting his motion, or penetrating one of his soft targets.

Soft, whipping posture changes and strikes are featured in Pinan 3, Naihanchi 1, and Naihanchi 3.  Rohai, a White Crane kata, features multiple soft jin techniques, as do Gojushiho and Kusanku.

The soft strikes depend on an unimpeded wave of energy passing through your body to the target, and then reversing at high-speed, like a whip.

In a soft jin technique the part of your body that makes contact with the target – fist, fingertips, toe tips or whatever you are using – will transmit energy out of your body and into the target without stopping or slowing down. The feeling of reversing direction suddenly, like the snapping of a whip, will project more power than is apparent because your intent to reverse comes slightly ahead of the reversal of the extended limb, and your koshi reverses before the limb it is pulling. The limb is relaxed at the moment of contact, allowing for maximum speed and penetration before disappearing from contact range.

That makes it hard to grab; and if you are grabbed you can instantly apply a release technique or destabilize the opponent.

Beyond Blunt Force Trauma – Applying the Three Energies

You can hit anywhere, including nerve points or cavities, with hard-soft technique, and cause blunt force trama. If you hit hard enough every target is a weak point. But there are alternatives to overwhelming your opponent with soft-hard power. If they are stronger than you – you may need an alternative.

Everyone has nerves, and everyone has body cavities. No matter how big and strong they are they are vulnerable to high-speed low-mass strikes. Cavity and nerve attacks rely on simultaneous pressure and counter-pressure – a pincer motion –  at the target point to be effective. That is you have to stabilize the target in order to compress the point or penetrate cavity, otherwise the opponent will just move away.

However – the techniques in our kata that make best use of a soft-jin interpretation are cavity or pressure point strikes that do not need static counter-pressure.

Instead the soft jin cavity strikes depend on high-speed energy transmission into the target, taking advantage of the inertia of the target itself as the counter pressure.

This kind of application will work against a destabilized opponent, and is applied to weak target structures. That is how you can use deception and skill to overcome power.

There are many well-proven ways to develop all of these techniques, many of which you are using or are discovering as you go deeper into your art.

If I Were Your Sensei

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

I present a lot of idea's, theories and principles that some take in and a lot ignore because, simply, I am not there, your, Sensei. I pose this question to everyone who reads my stuff, "If I were your Sensei, would you listen?"

People can imagine things, imagine that what I present is something your Sensei would present. Imagine that what I have to say may have actual meaning and is simply a passing down information that may benefit you in your efforts to master your art of martial prowess. Imagine that, much like what Sensei would pass along as one experienced who came before you, what is passed is not, “written in stone, for the future is unwritten still” until you vet it out, work with it and then make it your own.

I am positive that people who practice the martial arts, and karate, all have heard from Sensei that as practitioners on the path to enlightenment and mastery, “must make it our own” in order to achieve the level of expertise that makes us professionals, enlightened and proficient - all hallmarks people realize that make us the best of the best, gives us the eye of the tiger and humbles us at the massiveness of what we endeavor to study, learn and understand. 

Imagine that everything read, viewed and observed first hand through practice and experience is something that is of benefit in one form or another and comes from Sensei, regardless of the sources. As people can imagine this opens the mind to more possibilities that may have passed us by but now becomes a part of our efforts to grow, mature and prosper as martial artists and karate-ka. 

If your Sensei were writing this is it something worth considering? You betcha! “In order to understand things, the myriad of things in the Universe, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.” 

“What matters is things are the way they are right now, in this moment. We are all in a position where, if we move carefully, if we think through and plan accordingly, we can make it better. No regrets. No wishing we can undo the past. We just look to the now for the future and work our butts off toward that goal.” - Unknown

" ... sooner or later you're going to realize, just as I did, that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." - Morpheus

"Its not the system directly that is important in karate, but the person using the system that makes it (in)effective." - Mario McKenna Sensei

Bibliography (Click the link)

Large Move(s);ments

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

People in the knowing of things, know that in the application of fundamental principles, physio-kinetic’s, the movement/moves must adhere to the sub-principal of economic movement.

People of a certain level of proficiency and competence also know and understand that to teach fledgling practitioners the need for larger and easily observable moves/movements are best to feel how one applied proper principles in an applicable way.

People who properly teach such things also know that once principles are conditioned they need to shift the conditioning to one of economically efficient moves/movements.

A good example is the use of clambering the fist for strikes where the novice brings the fist 🤜 back to the hip before striking again with a standard target of The adversaries solar-plexus. The goal is to achieve stability, structure and other principles then, later as one advances in their conditioning the shift goes from rooting the Stance and striking to, initially, drop-stepping with arms in an attack posture then, simultaneously, striking the target while all movement coordinates and delivers power and force from body mass movement and enhancing economical movement of a properly structured body to fist structure and alignment stabilized for maximum energy, power and five to the target.

People who properly teach such things also know that this is a simplistic example of a complex physical system meant to apply skills in a chaotic changing environment that is self-protection through martial arts and karate 🥋 

Bibliography (Click the link)