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
Aimai - Ambiguity of Japan
It has come to my attention today that one of our chief issues with martial arts terms and such is that the Japanese live and breathe "aimai" or "ambiguity." Aimai is a state in which there is more than one meaning intended when speaking and writing Japanese. It leads to a type of obscurity, indistinctness and uncertainty - this is deliberate/intentional.
This type of communications is expected in Japan. It is a Japanese virtue and it can drive Americans nuts trying to figure out if they have a particular and exacting meaning. Talk about confusion.
What this means is if we try to use terms and language in instruction we may have to attempt to learn about aimai and also try to use it. Where this comes to an impact in American dojo is we are not Japanese and neither are our practicing students. Even if we are able, as Sensei, to achieve aimai if all our practitioners are not also of the same mind and way we will still lose a lot in translations.
It is no wonder why American businesses find it difficult and frustrating to deal with Japanese businesses and business persons. It also explains a lot as to why we find Asian martial instruction frustrating and confusing. It may also explain why visiting Americans who have not bothered to learn and understand aimai and other traits/characteristics of the Japanese are tolerated and come away disenchanted.
In the end, Americans, must take it all in stride and accept that regardless of who and what is translated in either character or language it will always be "aimai."
In the dojo on Okinawa many times questions asked of Tatsuo Sensei met with silence. This is not how Americans do things and is understandable yet due to a lack of understanding many thought Tatsuo's silence was a form of "yes." In Japanese thought this is incorrect. His body language or natural communications were often conveyed with out words. Often Japanese avoided expressing ideas clearly due to the need to live in harmony for the groups benefit.
In a nutshell, if a person really wants to say "no" they said nothing at first, then used vague expressions that convey a nuance of disagreement. In this manner they conveyed aimai or a variety of meaning. This, of course, is completely foreign to Americans. We have absolutely not concept of this because we tend to be definitive in all we do, mostly.
Another way to "see" aimai is the stories we have in martial arts where when people meet or try to enter a dojo, they often refer to rank or status, i.e. new perspective students would only be accepted if promoted by someone of note to the Sensei. Japanese try to determine the group, i.e. in MA the dojo, and the status of said person within that group, rather than personal traits.
Communications of Japanese depends greatly on the group, on human relationship. Aimai is critical to harmony in Japanese life, where it has the quality of compromise. They, unlike Americans, learn to become aware of one another's thinking and feeling instinctively. There is no need to speak clearly as long as the other person is knowledgeable. It becomes somewhat insulting to express oneself clearly as it conveys that the other person knows nothing.