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
An Exciting Time
New black belts as a whole find that they seemingly reached the end of their journey. Soon, they will disappear from the dojo. This is one of those things that separates the cream from the milk. The cream is sweet and delicious but for the long term the milk is where it is at - a bit plain but nutritious.
I remember the time I finally wrapped the black belt around my waist. I remember distinctly the entire event. It is like Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island, you remember details even after thirty-nine years. The excitement was like being on a high that had complete awareness and focus on the time and moment, it was special.
I also remember that I felt this way for many years after Sho-dan. I was lucky that I had a view and perception that kept me looking, seeking and diving for more every single day. That first day as a yu-dan-sha has stayed with me all these years - thirty-three years ago on Okinawa. I can visualize the dojo at the Camp Hansen Gym, that little square room that we built our system from at the rear of the main gym floor where all the sport activities such as basketball, etc. were played. I remember the slight cheshire cat smile Henry Sensei used when he spoke to me before taking his obi off and passing it along to me.
Even tho this was not such a special act, giving me his old, worn, faded obi, it was significant as it put me into a place that in all probability resulted in my view for my entire career. It said, this denotes experience and proficiency - I had better get on the ball if I am to live up to this symbol from Sensei.
I have heard many such stories about the obi presented at Sho-dan and they all have meaning to the individual. It is just a wish that the time would inspire those who stopped training to have continued. Ahh, but that is not life and not the way. Like the Marines, if everyone could be one then it would not be the elite, the Marines.
If everyone could wear the meaning of sho-dan then everyone would be a sho-dan. It is nice to read the blog of the fledgling sho-dan. It is inspiring and it reminds those who have previously passed this way of the joy so long ago and it inspires those who are or are about to put it on the joy of what they will encounter long after that first black belt.
Tank said it well, "It is an exciting time."