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 (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
CFA Articles - Interesting Stuff
Brothers and Sisters
Okinawa is more of a horizontal society based on mutual respect and assistance. To symbolize this with a representation in the dojo the students don't line up but rather form a circle, including Sensei, and bow to each other as a sign of mutual respect.
I called this "ritsu-maru" where I called this out and everyone would then form a circle, all of us, and then go through our rituals before start of the session. I am glad to see that this mimics the customs Okinawa dojo are using - some anyway. Long ago while studying the ken-po goku-i, the I Ching and other classics I realized that the circle was a dominant feature in many explanations and it occurred to me that it put everyone, at least at the start and end of dojo sessions, on the same respectful level regardless of level, grade or rank.
It also supports my theory that the more regimented aspects came about due to military participation in sessions, i.e. Marines love discipline and regimentation as well as other military systems. I understand the Japanese Budo or Bushido influences when karate was implemented into the school systems which is a bit more regimented and disciplined also provided influences in this direction.
I remember my experiences in Okinawa along with those my Sensei presented me on one of our many discussions in Isshinryu where Tatsuo Sensei really didn't require much more than bow when you come in, dress if not already and just begin practice/training. You came and went on a as you could basis with no formal sessions with designated times and dates, etc. A lot less regimented ....
If you want to understand karate, you should study the culture that produced it. The genealogy of karate begins in Okinawa. Your karate family tree took root and is still growing in Okinawa.
This was the statement presented by Tatsuo Sensei when a Marine completed a tour and told Sensei they were leaving. Initially Tatsuo Sensei would create silk certificates of high dan rank, which changed as time passed, and when presenting to those recipients were told, "After fifteen years of practice you can claim this rank."
Kenkyukai: Meaning "study group." A good word to use in lieu of "forum."
This term, a new one for me, is also well associated with the Okinawan feeling of ritsu-maru. It would suit my dojo far better if I and all American dojo took up an attitude of being a study group that studies martial arts, i.e. Isshinryu or any system.
When you first arrive on the island of Okinawa you might say to your host, "I have come to learn from you. Please teach me. Please let me know if I am doing anything wrong. If so, I am only doing it that way because I do not know any better. Please correct me and do not hold back."
Dozo, onegaishimasu: The "u" at the end is silent here. This generally means "please, teach me." The above quote is a "Okinawa way" to first learn from their Sensei or when your arriving to a host's even in just a travel thing. When you visit and learn about their customs, as asked by Tatsuo Sensei all the time to his early students, you will realize that this exemplary politeness is indicative of their very nature.
The difference I see between the shorter statement used at the start and end of all sessions in the dojo and the longer and most applicable polite expressions are one is used initially upon meeting an Okinawan such as a Sensei for the first time. This is emphasized more when your arriving as an experienced karate-ka. Once done, it is done and the shorter version is appropriate to all start/end dojo sessions.
To my view other than learning the customs of our karate heritage we can learn a great deal about courtesy by this statement alone. It tends to speak volumes to the Okinawan peoples.
We can learn together. The basis for our relationship is learning and that come from one thing - training. You lean by training and by training you learn. To learn of the Okinawan culture you can say that your are "Okinawan by Affection."
Learning together does not equate dominating each other as may be perceived in American dojo, training halls or fitness physical martial arts centers. I liked the idea that one who participates in leaning the heritage of Okinawan karate can become "Okinawan by Affection" for it is a form of affection one meets when they get off that plane and are first introduced to the people of Okinawa. A humbling experience even in 1979 when I spent a year visiting all parts of the island with my friend, fellow Marine and Sensei.
The real shame of this is almost all Isshinryu'ists here in this country will never take the time to learn about a wonderful culture and people of Okinawa. They will instead remain doggedly attached to the inaccurate stories told by others.
Goodin, Charles C. "A Radical Approach to Karate." Classical Fighting Arts, October 2011: pg 9.