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
The Do in Karate-Do
Look at the word and character for a bit of clarity and of course change your upbringing, customs, and courtesies so you will actually have a reference point similar to those who first coined the term with martial systems at the time, place and belief systems of that person.
Ok, now, take a look today. Way is also referred to as a path, a road, a direction, a way of, care of, a street, an alley, a means, a moral principle, a route, etc. If one takes the meaning of the character then to follow the way of the empty hand means to practice it wholeheartedly.
Karate, traditionally and as originally intended, did not have some special philosophical spiritual meaning to its practice. It was assumed that the natural beliefs and morals of the people of Okinawa, i.e. as referenced by the way they interpreted the honorary title of "bushi," was a part of the person who happened to practice the Okinawan system of Tou-di.
This seems to me much like the practice of the formalities of the dojo. The dojo, in Japan, didn't require it because it as assumed a natural act in every day life that simply carried over into the dojo. We, Americans, assumed. I would extrapolate that into a reason simply stated, "We never took it beyond the dojo walls and studied the customs and courtesies and beliefs of the people of Japan and in the case of karate Okinawans.
Karate is karate, an empty handed system of fighting that has progressed into an economical sport oriented system of physical fitness that can be combative or a form of protection but depends on the intent of the practitioner and their ability to go outside the box currently taught.
If we assigned some spiritual meaning to the reference of the "Way or Do" that is ok. It should not be assumed that adding the suffix of ".Do" gives some special and possibly specific meaning to the practice of any martial system including the Okinawan system of karate.
Those who practice my system might find that even the inference provided by the ken-po goku-i is not even a way but simply a reference point to help us understand the Okinawan peoples even if it may take us to such ancient writings as the I Ching, Bubishi, and Tao-te-ching, etc.
What would be the most appropriate way to describe the core fundamental and traditional form of Okinawa empty hand? Charles Goodin provides that answer in his post, "No 'Do'," "In fact, it was more common for karate to be written as "karate jutsu (art or skill)."
Isshinryu, my system, more accurately as I try to practice is karate-jutsu with ken-po goku-i as a guide to the esoteric traits taught "separately" from the ancient classics of China.
Other quotes I liked in Goodin Sensei's post:
"Karate students should be aware of what they are learning, and that Karate instructors should be clear about what they are teaching."
I like this because it lets you know what is important. This lack of communications that provide accuracy in truth is critical to anyone taking up the martial arts.
"You will not become skilled at Karate by acting Japanese or Okinawan."
This one makes me laugh because so many actually feel that to be a karate-ka, a martial artist, one must use all those terms and etiquette's or reishiki. It might be fun but it ain't a part of it and it must be understood that one should practice their martial art according to their customs and courtesies. I am not saying that those who use the Japanese/Okinawan connection as wrong but it might work a whole lot better if they actually know and understand the Japanese and Okinawans. Even some Japanese born there don't really understand and know Japanese, or so I am told. ;-)
"You will only become skilled at Karate by training hard and for a long time."
You can become skilled in fighting and never spend one moment in a training facility for the fighting arts of Asia, i.e. Okinawan Karate. You can become skilled in a short time BUT to remain skilled in fighting, etc. means dedicating the time and effort to remain skilled. If you stop, you lose it.