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
Work of Art
It is taking many individual parts and making them "one" whole. To achieve balance in the life we live we have to achieve an equilibrium of the mind, body and spirit, i.e. Heaven, Earth and Humanity. Humanity is that which makes us "human." Equilibrium of the mind, body and spirit is that perfect blending where one cannot be discerned from the other - a challenge.
I read the following quote in a book on writing. It seemed that writing fiction can be a good metaphor for the art of martial practices. This quote speaks of the connections in metaphor.
"The work of art is always produced by a certain man in a certain time and place, and it is always related to its author's other works, his contemporaries, his sources and traditions, his intellectual, political, economic, and aesthetic climate. Background materials that can help the modern reader grasp the ideas or catch the flavor of a literary work of the past serve a valid and necessary purpose." - Damon Knight, "Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction."
As I contemplate my studies and practice I realize that this quote speaks volumes as to things like "kata." Kata are those collections of techniques that those who created them used to save their lives and possibly the lives of others. They worked and they wanted us to learn from them. This is exactly how the "Greek Warriors" passed down knowledge and experience to their descendants. The Roman Warriors also used kata like drills to train their soldiers and they. like the Greeks, were world known and world feared as warriors - this says something, yes?
We as martial artists must remind ourselves and remain aware that although our systems may be born of a person of a certain time and place, of his works, his contemporaries, his sources, traditions and customs, his intellectual, political, economic and aesthetic climate/environment. His idea's and work for that past era are relevant and must be "changed" to fit our world today. Even in those early years, 1900 to 1960's those professional martial practitioners were changing and adjusting technique and kata to meet the needs and demands of that day, time and place - we should do the same.
Even those who participate in MMA, wrestling, boxing and other combative endeavors could benefit from using kata to pass along what is effective and what works. This type of method could make available to the non-MMA participants those aspects that could be translated into self-defense and such.
It is worth the effort to remind ourselves, martial artists, that what we practice is good. It is also worth the effort to remind ourselves that it may need to change to meet the needs of the current time and place, the current moment, the now.