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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Isshinryu Dojo Kun

First, go to Michael Clarke Sensei blog and read his post on the "Dojo Kun." Then return here to read my thoughts on the subject.

The dojo kun for Isshinryu seems to have received the interpretation of a code of conduct for the dojo. When I consider the content of this dojo kun I begin to question its authenticity as to being inherited from the systems founder Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei. I say this for a few reasons.

First, references in the kun (short for dojo kun; brevity purposes) to budo, God and Faith, smoking and drinking tend to convey a more American and/or Military perspective. As far as I can determine Tatsuo Sensei was not a Christian or other religious affiliation that would teach about God. I can see where this might be perceived when he talked of such things as the gokui but wonder a bit about this point.

Second, it would appear that like many urban legends the composing of the dojo kun is or has a rhythm and feel of an American and/or Military influence. I know that Tatsuo Sensei actually composed copies, in Kanji, of the ken-po goku-i but as to the dojo kun in the honbu dojo I suspect that it was created and posted by the leadership of the deshi or senior military attendees.

The kanji provided at the top of one source of the below copy of the Isshinryu Dojo Kun if translated, working on this, may just be a title for the dojo kun or it may be similar to the terse kanji of the gokui (brevity again for ken-po goku-i).

Another source gives us a picture of kanji that is believed to be the dojo code of conduct, dojo kun. It is translated into English but since the snapshot of the kanji is difficult to actually read it is not easily verified as accurate. I also found the kanji for the gokui to lack accurate translation to English where a good deal of latitude was taken in its translation which I also question since those who filled in the holes are and were not so immersed in the culture of Okinawa, etc. that they could do so with any impunity.  In this source they go so far as to add a signature in typeface only of Tatsuo Sensei.

Please understand, I am questioning things for the sake of study. It is not meant to say that either source or anyone in Isshinryu is either right or wrong regarding either the dojo kun or the gokui, it is a matter of study and personal philosophies and perceptions only. Meant to inspire comment and thought.
The closest I have come to any kind of translation of "code of conduct" into Japanese is actually "kodo kihan" which translates into "code of conduct." This does not say that dojo kun is not actually coduct but the word kun does not show in the two translator programs I use.

Dojo of course refers to a martial arts training hall. I cannot extrapolate code or honor or conduct that translates from either word, dojo or kun or both together. When I run into this type of disparity I tend to doubt the validity but do so with a bit of caution and allowance for the greater disparity toward an ability to understand Japanese or Okinawan dialect, customs and meanings. Often kanji literally loses its original intent and meaning when absorbed by such disciplines and budo or martial arts or any art form. I have discovered this when I ask the Japanese business person I frequent to translate a word for me or a phrase.

This is why I felt something when I read Mr. Clarke's understanding as to the meaning of the dojo kun. I suspect his assumptions as to meaning being one that is not set in stone, rules, but rather open and fluid information conveyed from Sensei to his Deshi, if you will allow me those terms. Much like the gokui it is a primer, a key, a cornerstone that is associated with the dojo and with the dojo's master. If it inspires and leads then it has done its job. If it ends up as dogmatic doctrine, rules, specifics that control and stifle the dojo then it needs to be visited and studied many more times.

Could this also be the answer to the question, "why are there so many definitions of the kun and gokui?" As I travel this path I am of the understanding, for me, that this is true and in lieu of wondering simply study the one you possess and let it smolder in the unconscious. The unconscious will speak to you and let you find your philosophy of both the kun and the gokui.

The more I learn, the more I study, the more I investigate the more I see that Clarke Sensei hits the nail on the head. The differences as seen in the snapshot on this post indicate that it is truly a personal thing most often provided by the dojo, system, Sensei.

Click to see full version - it was a larger graphic created by C.E. James ;-)

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