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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Learn Just One Kata

One kata, not many. Many is fine once you learn the one. Learning one kata has come to mean learning the movement. The movement must be clean, crisp, and most of all pretty. I mean pretty like the performance in floor exercises in gymnastics or up on the rings or even the horse or beam. This takes great skill. In kata it means something is missing.

Learn one kata means to truly learn it to its fullest depth and breadth. Often I have posted that to learn one kata means you learn all kata. To spend time and effort on one will teach you what you need to then learn other kata in a shorter time period. Why? Because you know the depth and breadth of one kata. That one kata encompasses those principles that transcend kata versions as well as systems and styles be they hard, soft or a combination thereof.

Often the idea of many kata as many black belts for many systems or styles has become the goal, the marker of a master. Too bad, so much is missed because of this misconception of proficiency and ability. To score 9.8's and 9.7's for kata performance has taken precedence over kata to self protection, combat, fighting, or what ever is required for the moments scenario. Too bad ...

Spending all your time on many kata leaves no time to learn karate. Yes, you can do the form in its most rudimentary level - can you apply it randomly yet with direct application to the appropriate threat? Too bad ...

To learn one kata with all the fundamental principals of martial systems then learning what violence is and achieving the ability to recognize it and act accordingly overcoming all its adversities is a real challenge, does your kata do that? Too bad ...

If I had to lay claim to just one thing in all my years of practice it would be with pride I would say I learned one kata completely, thoroughly, deeply and to its greatest breadth much like gazing at the heavens and seeing no end or limitations. I would say I learned one kata this way and made it work.

When you have learned your first kata moves and your Sensei says your ready to begin the next, STOP, respectfully ask to learn all there is to learn on that one kata first - you have all the time in the world to add to your kata with meaning and purpose toward karate's meaning and purpose. Wouldn't that be great?

If your the offspring of the traditional, post 1900's implementation to schools on Okinawa and Japan, form of learning it is not too late. Stop, choose the one kata that speaks to you as the unique individual you are and then seek the knowledge to learn and practice "just one kata" to completion. You will enrich your training and practice and thus achieve greater understanding of all those other rudimentary kata. Sounds good to me ...


Sensei Strange said...

I think the learn just one kata idea is so right on. Yes correct yes.

When I was a kung fu man we were raced through katas and piles of techniques. No one could remember them all, or do any of the moves outside the most formal practice.

My Daito Ryu training was thirteeen movements over and over for three years. (paired kata)

My aikido training has largely been 16 years studying three katas (1 solo 2 paired)

Already i have more than I need and am trying to trim it down.

Yes especially for the beginner, say under 6-10 years focus on fewer things.

I am glad you brought this up, becausse as a teacher I tend to pile on a lot. Maybe time to reorganize my teaching strategy.

Brandon Holgersen said...

I only practice one kata at the moment. I find it harder and harder to converse with other karateka, because they just don't have a reference point for what they're missing. How do you explain to someone that the kata becomes a thing you do then becomes a part of you and then you leave the kata behind and it's just you.

Charles James said...

Brandon: don't try to explain, just tell them why you do what you do IF THEY ASK and then let that smolder in the back of their minds. Most will balk as such things until that day when lightening hits and they say, "Oh shit, that is what they meant!"

When they are ready, it will come.