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
“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
“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
Traditional Okinawa Dojo
When I studied on the island it was at the honbu dojo for Shimabuku Kichero Sensei. He geared his dojo to model after Japanese styles which are not "traditional" Okinawan dojo. I can only go back as far as the early nineteen hundreds. Most of what I believe are simply guesses because there is not documentation or history written on the subject - it is subjective as to pre-1900's.
I suggest it might have been much like it was up to the seventies and this is also spoken too in Mike Clarke's book, "Shin Gi Tai." I have photo's from my Sensei as well as other photo's that many brought home with them from the fifties and sixties.
First, they did indeed work out, study or train in either loincloths or the zubon/pants used for the karate-gi in the fifties or later. Due to the heat they wore little else. There are several historically oriented photo's of those early times.
As to the traditional dojo on Okinawa, as stated in Clarke Sensei book it was indeed the courtyard or yard or garden type area around the Sensei home. Urban legend's and such rose up out of those dojo such as the one about Tatsuo dreaming on a water hole, well or tank - pick one.
The Marines in the fifties also wore only the zubon and obi. It was just to hot and humid. Today I believe the Okinawan dojo are more in line with the Japanese style dojo layout.
As to the shomen, etc. and where students lined up and trained I can only say that in the courtyard for Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei there were no line up and group training. Every person came in and left on their schedule through out the day, every day. Usually the Sempai of the time and day assisted Kohai. Note also that these terms to include the term Sensei were not used at that time, i.e. fifties. Shimabuku Tatsuo was greeted and addressed as "papasan." The students greeted and addressed by their names. It wasn't until sometime in the sixties when a Marine started to insist students refer to Tatsuo as Sensei.
I also doubt seriously that anyone used Sensei earlier either. I suspect that any terms used were of the cultural nature indicative to Okinawans in general and not specific to karate, etc.
Tatsuo did have a place inside his home that held a type of shrine per Okinawan custom but it was not out in the courtyard dojo. He did have a trigram, I Ching trigram, on a post in the dojo area. Tatsuo Sensei sat on his porch, drank tea, smoked and observed the goings on letting his more senior students teach unless he wanted to do something specific himself, etc.
This is what I told them, generally, as to my view of a traditional dojo. I could see disappointment on many of the faces as this particular dojo assumed and utilized the more formal dojo aspects of a Japanese dojo which is also up for debate.
Oh, and we could get into a huge debate as to what constitutes a "traditional dojo" as to defining traditional. Oh well, the debate will go on.
Note: the entrance was adjacent to a small wall standing alone. Many times the Marines would hang a tatami mat over the wall then use it as a makiwara for kicking. Also, on the right side that post coming out of the ground is a four-by-four makiwara. Tatsuo put them in to keep the local youth from continually breaking the standard makiwara boards. The cement wall was a new addition sometime in the early sixties, I think, done by the Marines to enclose the dojo from the neighbors, etc.