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
Customs, Traditions, Cultures and Beliefs
I have no way to know for sure if this was intentional on Tatsuo Sensei's part of just a huge chasm between the cultures of Okinawa and America. It is known that humans create a world through the perceptive filters created by environment, culture, customs, traditions and beliefs of family and the society to which the family is a member. Experience as we travel through life adds, supplements, modifies our perceptive filters thus changing the world we create by our mind. Those filters provide us the knowledge and experience to either take the red pill or the blue pill.
Our own customs, traditions, culture and beliefs drive us and it can be difficult to observe and learn of other customs, traditions, cultures and beliefs if any of the data causes stress as it may or may not relate to our own - cognizant dissonance occurs and creates cause and affect to the perceptive filters of our mind.
The greatest challenge to the transmission of a system such as Okinawa Karate, i.e. Tatsuo's interpretation of karate in Isshinryu, is that our preceptive filters tend to cause changes thus changing the traditional beliefs of the original system into something unique to the individual, the individuals family and the individuals tribe/society where they reside. Classical training takes precedence when a practitioner works diligently to remain as true as humans can to the original intent, training, customs, traditions, culture and beliefs of the creator - such as Tatsuo Sensei and Okinawan Isshinryu.
This becomes a conundrum to the practitioner of the systems of karate or other martial systems. It is believed that once a human intervenes in an experiment that experiment is thus tainted unintentionally. That unintentional intrusion that causes a distinct effect to the experiment taints any chance of an unbiased result.
As today's practitioners take on the mantel of Isshinryu and martial arts generally they influence that practice intentionally and unintentionally. I believe that a true practitioner of a martial art cannot avoid this shift due to the personal perceptive filters created over our life time.
The most difficult aspect of my practice of a martial system is learning to see past some of my filters with a mind that this also is tainted by those same filters. This is a truth that colors our world where clarity over rose colored shadows can lead and mislead. This is my belief in the disparities encountered between various Isshinryu houses. They all have a distinct blueprint that manufactured that home or dojo. Changes are not impossible, merely difficult if approached from a path foreign to the belief system of that dojo.
It is my hope that I can inspire a very small view that transcends the view currently held in each dojo of Isshinryu. To inspire a change. A change that benefits the system and promotes the core belief of its founder to learn of his customs, traditions, culture and beliefs which will promote a better understanding of all customs, traditions, cultures, and beliefs - all of them.
Let me close this post by saying that I understand a bit more why Tatsuo Sensei asked his American practitioners to embrace this study. It does seem to enrich the practice and the system itself overall. It also promotes my personal belief that taking this intent places its importance within those fundamental principles of all martial systems. It fits to how we interact with other tribes, other societies, and other nations.
Customs: accepted or habitual practice; a specific practice of long standing; Frequent repetition of the same act; way of acting common to many; ordinary manner; habitual practice; usage; method of doing or living; a specific practice of long standing, etc.
Traditions: A long-established custom or belief that has been passed on in this way; An artistic or literary method or style established by an artist, writer, or movement, and subsequently followed by others; an inherited pattern of thought or action; a specific practice of long standing, etc.
Culture: The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively; The attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group; The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group; the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group; acculturation: all the knowledge and values shared by a society, etc.
Beliefs: An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction; Trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something; impression: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed; any cognitive content held as true, etc.