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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Dan-Sha Certificates - English vs. Japanese English/Kanji Mix

Example only.
In the early years of my practice I felt that a valid rank certificate should reflect the culture by it being written in Kanji/Kana + English or often just plain Kanji/Kana. It looks really cool when done with an artistic flare. I can tell you that the Japanese tend to create such things as if it were art, long ago. Of course now all of the kanji/kana can be created by machine. It still looks pretty darn cool.

I remember when I got a dan-sha certificate of grade it was all English with a nice graphic and border. It turned out to be those certificates sold in the U.S. that were bought in packages of hundred or so that you put in a typewriter or simply printed a name and grade on it. I remember taking my Sho-dan and having it laminated onto a plaque.

Anyway, I digress again. The question really is, "Is it actually worth anything and is it received/perceived as something of value?" I once again have to answer the question with a "yes and no."

It depends on you, the individual, and the value you place on it. It doesn't have to have any value with anyone else except you. All the physical stuff you get; belt, stripes, patches, certificates, etc. have no value even for the material used to construct them. The true value resides in your heart. The presentation is simply a ceremony to allow a Sensei to present you with a token of his or her faith in you as a martial artist.

The presentation of my Sensei's black belt as it passed from his hands to mine meant more than the belt itself. I have since lost it and the feeling when I remember that moment still feels the same today as it did in 1979. I can visualize it with clarity, cool.

If you allow such materialistic accouterments sway your emotions and beliefs you will one day end up disappointed or stop training and practice altogether. That would be a shame.

Yes, I did feel an attachment to such things but in the last ten years I could really care less. I went through a year of self-examination in a local dojo where I came in with one rank, moved up to another and finally another but when I got to the end of that year it really meant little - it was a fun journey but in the end, nadda.

I go every single day down to my work dojo and practice. I train as far as possible without a partner but that is ok with me cause I did all that a while back. I am adjusting to a new age for me, cool too. I go down in my street cloths, do Chi Gong/warm up stretching, kata and then shadow kumite. The process provides me a lot of contemplative time where a lot of idea's and changes occur to me - up from the subconscious mind.

English, Kanji or any mixture thereof only has the value you the individual put on it. If you join a group that says it doesn't count, that is ok too but two things, consider finding another dojo cause making a comment like that says things to my mind or just ignore it, put on whatever belt that say and get out there and learn then allow them to "see, hear and feel" your grade on the floor.


Rick said...

Good post. Thanks.

Charles James said...

Thanks, and thank you for reading them.

Charles James said...

Oh, and I like your avatar too :-)