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
Dojo Etiquette - Sitting Structure
First, it is not exclusive to the dojo and is actually the Japanese culture and custom. It deals with historical aspects that drive "rank" in Japan. The Japanese culture and customs seem to be derived from the feudal era that created a hierarchical structure where rank, i.e. superior-inferior status, drives the society.
Japan's feudal era worked on this vertically structured hierarchical society and became extremely sensitive to a person status or ranking. This resulted in the kata-ization of many aspects to life in Japan to include where one sits.
In the dojo, as in the structured hierarchical system of Japan, every room has a "head or power place." The highest ranked person sits or stands in this place. The power place/seat is called the "kami za (kah-me zah)." Sound familiar? It is the upper seat in Japanese.
The kami-za is closest to the tokonoma (toe-koe-no-mah). The tokonoma is the "beauty alcove" in the space that has the display of flowers, scrolls or other works of art. Sound familiar?
It comes to my mind that it is "important" to understand "why we do things" in martial arts if we are serious in our studies. I can say, for me, that I never truly understood why it is some dojo performed such "shikata or kata" in the dojo or when I observed it I "assumed" it was specific to the dojo and to martial arts. Not true .....
Where students, kohai, sit in relation to both sempai and Sensei is structured this way due to the reasons above - not exclusive but rather a key to more study. I can say that this is not the complete explanation so hope it inspires one to "learn the customs and culture" of the system they study. You will be pleasantly surprised at what it tells you and what it can teach you.
I like the depth and breadth it is giving my understanding and study of my karate. Remember, "The Japanese society was divided into distinct classes that were arranged in descending order of power and privilege. As in most feudalistic societies, classes in Japan became hereditary and were eventually fixed by law. Strict hierarchies are still a fundamental part of virtually every Japanese organization today." - DeMente, Boye Lafayette
DeMente, Boye Lafayette. "Japan's Cultural Code Words: 233 Key Terms That Explain the Attitudes and Behavior of the Japanese." Tuttle. Vermont, Tokyo and Singapore. 2004.
DeMente, Boye Lafayette. "Kata: The Key to Understanding & Dealing with the Japanese." Tuttle Publishing. Tokyo, Vermont and Singapore. 2003