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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Samurai Culture Alive and Well

Click for larger view.
The samurai culture is so deep and ingrained that it is what I see drives the culture of today. As I travel the path toward a modicum of understanding toward the culture and beliefs that gave us martial arts, karate in particular for me, it has been shown that the strength of the samurai culture of the feudal era in Japan is still alive and driving them in the direction they are going in today's world and all without the two swords in prominent display. I suspect that in many office and homes of those in power there sits the "dai-sho" in a place of prominence. ( )

Since karate is not a Japanese system some might say that this does not apply because the Okinawans are different. Yes, they are different but as with many different groups in Japan they too are considered different and the culture acts accordingly. The Okinawans have been a part of Japan for a long, long time and since the 1600's have been influenced by the samurai culture so much so that it permeates their prefecture of Japan, Ryukyu Islands. It is just like the strong influences of other Asian cultures with specificity toward China.

In reality both Okinawan and Japan are offspring of a strong Chinese cultural influence. Many of the same things, i.e. the customs and courtesies of the China aristocrat and court systems. In a nutshell we all practice a descendent of the Chinese system of boxing called Kung Fu. If you take it a bit further as to the martial arts we all are descendent of India martial systems if the stories told are to be believed true.

If it is important to learn of the cultures and beliefs then it warrants at least a cursory look into those cultures that were "before" and "influential" in the creation and practice of our system. It sometimes causes me to wonder why Westerners don't delve into it since by the way it is governed and practiced here has a stong tendency to speak of lineage. Why in Isshinryu does it "end with Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei?" I don't accept the answer, "because he created the system we practice."

Ahh, he did, your right BUT what he created if closely studied is merely some personal changes in how Shorin-ryu and Goju-ryu and Kobodu are practiced in those systems which are also manifestations of personal preferences from Shuri-te, Tomari-te and Naha-te or in general "Te or Ti." Why stop at TS-san?

Ok, your getting a bit tired of all the rhetoric on lineage and history and culture and beliefs. It does have influence on what, how and why we practice if we are considering that practice beyond mere "sport."

We would see this if we studied a bit deeper and upon digging into it we would find marital culture of India that influenced changes in Chinese boxing and this was adopted by both Okinawans and Japanese thus influencing that system of martial practice and application. In that the influences led to the creation of the samurai and their culture. Samurai culture and beliefs are based on Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Zenism which were adopted from ..... yes, you guessed it China.,

The samurai took control of Okinawa in 1600. So it would go to show that their influences, strong ones that if not followed usually lead to extreme punishments, would cause changes to the Okinawans which by the way didn't take them far off of what they believed anyway for they too were influenced by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Zenism. 1600 to 2012 means approximately 412 years where their governing dictated in such details that it changed the educational system of all Japan which means Okinawan. So much so that the indigenous language of Okinawan, comprised of adoption of Chinese, etc., Uchinaguchi ( ) is in danger of extinction.

Samurai culture permeates a good deal of all its groups and cultures which includes Okinawa. Can I prove this? Only if one were to study all the literature on the culture and come to a conclusions similar to what I have found to date (to date means I reserve the right to change as data keeps coming in).

One very important point, if you feel this to be accurate or even just possible then make sure you do the work before you decide to rename your dojo to some samurai type thing. Nothing more embarrassing than doing things without taking the time to get the details. Something Musashi Sensei said in the go rin no sho.

Chapter Eleven: Pay Attention to Details (注目の詳細を支払: Chūmoku no shōsai o shiharau: 注詳)

It is common for humans to gloss over the smaller details, especially when big projects or major programs are concerned. Agreeing to agree on principles first and then discuss the details later is often a recipe for failure, especially in Japan.

Present day businesspeople who do not understand the details of the business they are in, especially what really makes it work, they are not likely to succeed.

Note: There was a decline in the samurai way around the 1990's due to the economic bust they experienced but in the early 2000's their arose a new fervor toward the samurai culture, at least the more positive aspects. So much so that Mr. DeMente wrote another book on the subject.

DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "Samurai Strategies: 42 Martial Secrets from Musashi's Book of Five Rings." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2008.


Zacky Chan said...

I've been wondering the same things about the connections between Okinawa and Japan and its cultural implications. One can only know by going and seeing with their own eyes. Perhaps you may need to take a "research" trip.

Charles James said...

Chan-san: You have to be careful when you do this and look beyond what is presented because as a "guest" you are seeing a different view put forth by Japan, etc.

Once you get past the "guest" stage then you start to experience the real thing.

Many of the things we assume are representative of the culture in question is often a form for the "guest."

In Japan proper you have to visit some specific places to see and feel the real culture and even then your a guest so are treated and exposed to different things.