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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Learn the Culture

Often spoken when Isshinryu practitioners refer to some of the thoughts and quotes attributed to Shimabuku Tatsuo-san. Shimabuku Sensei, Senior and not his son, often mentioned the importance in learning the culture and beliefs of Okinawa. In that light Westerners immediately and mistakenly thought that the arts and crafts along with holiday celebrations, etc. were and are learning the culture of Okinawa and Okinawans.

In reality the arts and crafts "reflect" culture but do not create it and do not transmit it. It is said that you can view, collect and study the arts and crafts, etc. of a culture, i.e. similar to participating in those celebrations as well as practice the art of karate, etc., all your life and you will NOT become FULLY conversant with the cultures that crated them. It just ain't possible.

You can get a fundamental understanding of said culture but in order to actually know the culture you have to have been born to it and lived it as a part of your life. Even then, depending on the peoples whose culture you seek, it may only get you part way there for to be a part of that culture you must be that people, not just a visitor or guest.

It is still a good idea to try and learn as much as you can to be able to at least fundamentally understand a culture if you practice one of that culture's arts, i.e. karate-jutsu-do. It does mean you have to go beyond simply observing and even participating in the arts and crafts of that culture, the celebrations of that culture and the systems of belief for that culture. In my limited and fundamental understandings of the cultures that drive my practice and training I would say that not taking the effort to at least gain a fundamental state of understanding is like trying to create fire by clapping your hands and stomping your feet, it ain't going to create the fire - period.

My efforts at the Autumn stage of life is to gain an understanding by the study of the cultures that led to karate-jutsu-do which is Okinawa, Japan and then China. They are all interconnected and influential to that end. In addition when the time comes I would also add in the culture of India.

What could be a greater path toward understanding a culture is one posed by the author Mr. Boye Lafayette DeMente through the cultural code word approach.  I can say that his books on both Japanese and Chinese cultural code words I have discovered a greater understanding of the many aspects underlying the art of karate-jutsu-do, which includes all Asian Martial Arts as well, and that of the cultures that drive the arts and crafts of Okinawa, Japan and China.

DeMente Sensei states in his book, "Language are, in fact, the repository as well as the transmitter of cultures. Languages contain the essence, the tone, the flavor, and the spirit of cultures, and serve as doorways to understanding them." Part I, page 23 of "The Chinese Mind." by Boye Lafayette DeMente.

As I study this and his cultural code word writings I also find that the characters of the language, i.e. kanji/kana of Japan as derived from the Chinese writing characters is a support or foundation of this same thought. In China there are many dialects and the one binding force that allows all of them to communicate effectively is the Chinese characters which transcend those dialects that are translated in spoken word by varying tones, etc. This is a common dominator in the Japanese language tone and quality whereby clarity is achieved by the kanji/kana.

In closing, I am absolutely amazed at the similarities between Japan and China as to language and the ideographs used in writing. As I read the cultural code words, etc. of both I was struck repeatedly with the similarities of the two cultures. Shimabuku Tatsuo-san's treatise to learn about the culture and beliefs takes new meaning for me as I continue to study.

DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Chinese Mind: Understanding Traditional Chinese Beliefs and Their Influence on Contemporary Culture." Tuttle Publishing. Rutland, Vermont. 2009.

DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Chinese Have a Word for It: The Complete Guide to Chinese Thought and Culture." McGraw Hill Publishing. New York. 1996.


Rick said...

"My efforts at the Autumn stage of life is to gain an understanding by the study of the cultures that led to karate-jutsu-do which is Okinawa, Japan and then China"

A worthy aspiration.

Yes, Japan was heavily influenced by China, yet the Japanese have a way of taking whatever it is they're importing and making it their own.

Charles James said...

Hi, Rick: I agree that the Japanese do make things Japanese but the flavor or the fundamental core is the same across all three, i.e. China to Korea to Japan; China to Okinawa; Japan to Okinawa.

When you look into them all, i.e. Oki is a bit iffy because there is so little available, the theme and fundamental principles are the same but the implementation is unique to the culture.

In karate there is only one system, open hand, but there are many unique interpretations that I would call styles or branches. It is all fundamentally the same but different.