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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Tori Gates

I have seen the "tori gate" on web sites, on training halls, and on certificates of rank but wondered if anyone was knowledgeable as to what a tori gate is. I have used it on occasion simply because I find them beautiful to look at. I have one I used for a graphic that now resides on the computer at work as a desktop theme.

I was inspired to post on this today as I read a chapter in a book that explained the tori gate with information I did not know. The tori is the gate that one passes through when entering a "Shinto" shrine. It is symbolic of Japan. Its primary function as I said is to mark the boundary to the shrine.

The tori gate also speaks in silence to those who pass under it, you are entering and now inside a sacred place and you shall behave accordingly. Traditionally that means to be quiet and behave reverently at all times.

If you visit Japan and take in one of its many attractions, a shinto shrine, it behooves you to find out the etiquette and follow it. Be on guard and diligently remain aware of the unspoken rules to keep within the countries etiquette and customs - remain respectful.

Also, you will note that the tori gate also has, often, two stone statues of  Korean dogs that guard one side and the other of the entrance. They are slightly asymmetrical, one with its mouth open, and the other closed. I don't know the significance of that part.

I am not totally sure if the tori gates are used elsewhere in Japan and/or in Okinawa. I wonder if they are used at either countries dojo entrances. I can understand if they are used that it might signify that one is entering a place they consider sacred in that a serious endeavor is taken on when you enter the dojo and that it marks the boundary of the dojo. It would also fit that when entering you must be quiet and respectful at all times, etiquette being what it is in Japan and Okinawa - of varying degrees and customary traits.

I am not sure if it is appropriate if used at dojo but I suspect it is not exactly what they are meant for when added to certificates and other such stuff. I did try my best to find information as to its usage beyond the Shinto Shrine entrance with no luck, maybe one of my readers can shed light on this. It does bring to mind that in my practice I might take a moment to consider this before using one for some purpose other than Shinto related respect for Shinto shrines. What is the etiquette for tori gates or rather what is the shikata for tori gate usage?

I did find someone's statement that said, "As I understand it the Asian tori gate represent a entrance to a sacred area, leaving the outside world and entering another... very fitting for MA." In our perception of the dojo and the act of "mokuso" it is a belief that one must leave all their outside world concerns at that point and are entering into an area of concentrated effort and study which is derived from Buddhist, Shinto and Zen origins - maybe.

Tori Gate to Meji Shrine Japan, click for larger view.
Addendum: I forgot, Shimabuku Sensei (Tatsuo that is) does have a tori style gate at the entrance to his honbu dojo. I also understand that some Sensei with dojo who are strict Shinto'ist, etc. tend to have one at the entrance as well although I am unable to confirm.

Note: It is a theory that since karate training is also performed at shrines and burial places that they naturally created the same environment with the torii gates, etc.

This one is remarkable as it is the only object that remains after either the Hiroshima or Nagasaki atomic bombing that ended world war II.


SueC said...

Fascinating. I find these tori gates very beautiful and interesting.

Rick said...

For more information about torii, check out this article:

I believe the reason one dogs' mouth is open and the other shut is a representation of inyo (yin-yang), but I could be wrong.

Sensei Strange said...

You keep cranking them out! Good stuff.