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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Women vs. Men in Martial Arts

I recently read a forum post that is for women where one comment, taken away from the context, gives me a discussion or post. The comment was on strength, mens vs. women's, in training. I began to wonder why and have this theory that maybe the training is geared toward development of strength. The woman stated that when she looked around she noticed the other women in the hall struggling. The epiphany for this person was the discovery that karate, martial arts, is not about strength yet it appears that the competitive atmosphere was unconsciously pushing the women to compete with the strength of the men.

Why is this? I suspect, my theory, that it speaks to the western culture of sport and competition. I also might step into the danger zone by saying it may be due to the movement where we speak of equality. I agree with equality but with the differences of the person's as an intricate part of that maxim. Don't go flaming me out because I am not being a sexiest.

Women and men are different yet should be viewed as equals. It is not a bad thing to provide training suited to the individual be they male, female, large, small, strong or not so strong. It comes down to training and practicing the traditional martial arts where strength is not paramount and of considerable focus. The focus should be teaching and practicing with the individuals strengths and weaknesses, a whole person concept where strength and how it is applied are governed by martial systems fundamental principles, not strength alone or as a dominant feature.

Men rely heavily on strength and women don't. Women, truthfully, have the advantage here and we can learn from them to attain true budo proficiency in applying all the martial principles. After all, most men quit when the age and strength diminishes thinking they don't have it anymore but those who do have it wholeheartedly can keep on going until late in their winter years.

I see it as an advantage for women to gear their training and practice toward utilizing the full spectrum that is the fundamental principles of the martial systems where strength is not an issue but the mind-body principles are applied.

It speaks to why some smaller and not so strong antagonists can and do defeat the protagonists in conflicts and/or sparring, etc. They learned to apply the principles of martial systems as a whole and let go of the ego driven desire and need to be "strong." Take it as a strength of a different type that does not rely exclusively on muscles, size and aggressive attitudes that males seem to naturally drift toward in life.

In closing, if this seems sexist it is not my intent but if you feel this post could improve to remove any misunderstandings let me know in the comments.

Focus on the fundamental principles in practice and training and forget gender; forget strength; forget not so strong; forget size; forget weight both large and small - focus grasshopper!


Felicia said...

I agree - in theory (as I think it was my comment you were referencing). In a perfect world, the focus would "be teaching and practicing with the individuals strengths and weaknesses, a whole person concept where strength and how it is applied are governed by martial systems fundamental principles, not strength alone or as a dominant feature" but, sadly, it isn't always. And that's really a shame.

What I mean is martial artists as students can only learn from that which they are taught. If strength as the be all/end all is what is served up class after class, then it will be all you know. And when you begin to struggle with the strength part, you will probably feel a bit inadequate in a "why can't I do this?" kind of way. You'll think it's YOU.

There is lots of ego and toughness inherent to western martial arts. Think about how many black belt tests you've heard about that were hours (or even days!) long and more about surviving than demonstrating skill and proficiency. That's mostly testosterone-driven, straight bad-a$$ (pardon the language) stuff right there. The "art" part kind of gets lost in the shuffle without a conscious effort to keep it as the focus.

But everyone thinks they are teaching it as it should be taught.


Charles James said...

Felicia: Outstanding comment, much appreciated!

Glenn said...

Whilst I agree in part with the above comment I think the point re black belt gradings may be miss interpreted. I'm sure there are some driven by testosterone however many black belt test that run hours do so to test the students ability to perform their art under pressure as they would be tested in a real world encounter. Pressure testing of our arts are what allows us to develop confidence in our skills and abilities - being able to perform under stress is essential - and whilst we can't replicate true attack pressure the ability to perform whilst tired and stressed can partially replicate this. Also performance under fatigued conditions demonstrates technique as strength is taken out of the equation. Just my opinion of course.

Charles James said...

Hi, Glenn: I agree with some reservations. The pressures encountered in testing are false one's to rely on in a predatory attack or even a social/asocial one. I say this because in the back of the mind there is still the knowledge that one is not going to die here in a test. The mere fact that it is labeled a "test" promotes a deep seated knowledge that one is not going to die or suffer any of the long term results of a fight, attack or predatory assault.

One of the reasons I applied my Sensei's method of running training sessions that are Shugyo oriented over the whole of the way of karate. It stresses and stretches the practitioner but the mind-set is applied that it is NOT combat, fighting or predatory assaults. Even those reality based methods still have to deal with safety and "rules."

The quote I like from the Jesse Stone stories is one where a young girls asks Jesse, "Do you box?" Jesse says "No, I fight." She says, "What is the difference?" and Jesse rightly says, "Rules."