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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One Time, One Time Only (Dangerous - Potentially Deadly)

I count my blessing every single day of my life. One time, long ago in the dojo I ran, I did something stupid, really stupid. If it had gone bad I would be writing my blog from a state penitentiary. At that time I was mostly teaching a more sport oriented method with smatterings of talk about self-defense and I was challenged by a newly awarded sho-dan.

Before I continue I must speak to the reason I am coming out with this little tidbit of experience. I have since learned a lot more about violence and self-defense. I was teaching how to deal with more or less aggressive monkey dance stuff but since those days I have heard more and more about SD and violence with many speaking of it while thinking their current practice was meeting those needs.

I participated in a dojo locally for about a year around the start of this century. I was invited to participate in a black belt test, sho-dan, the very first for this dojo. I accepted even if deep down I was hesitant. The person testing worked out in my presence for that year so I had a good idea as to his abilities and proficiency.

Back to my historical story before I continue with the present one. The young sho-dan kept pushing the limits in kumite which normally is ok with me as it keeps me frosty. He kept mouthing off as to his prowess if he got attacked on the street. I kept saying that sho-dan was more a beginner rank and he had a ways to go to make Isshinryu work on the streets for self-defense. In the school yard scuffle or monkey dance if you will he would do ok but in a real attack by a adversary who had intentions of doing real harm, not even close.

He asked me to go for it to test his metal but I resisted. Today, I was not qualified to do that but you can guess where I am going with this anyway. He said it one more time and then I must have made the mental switch cause I let loose with one thing and he was on the ground in pain, unable to breath and totally mentally out of action. I walked around him telling him what I would be doing to him on the ground like this if I were a real live criminal intent on doing things bad to him.

It took him fifteen minutes to gain some breath and semblance of ability to get up and move around. This even tho I know he was practicing and using, as best as he could, sanchin ability or what we refereed to in the seventies "muscle and breath control."

Back to the present. The young fledgling Ik-kyu was coming up to his bunkai and kata presentation. He made up bunkai on the fly and did a mediocre kata. There were many things missing because as I suspected the basics and fundamentals were quickly glossed over in the beginning and rarely practiced and taught as time progressed. Then it came time for kumite.

I was not going to do anything other than observe and provide some input but a senior visitor wanted me to spar, if you will, with the young novice. My only mistake that evening was to acquiesce. I told him quietly to go slow and easy. We had never kumite together in the year I was present and during that year I had never observed him sparring with anyone, ever, and I attended all dojo sessions the entire time - no absences, not one that year.

I won't go into any descriptions as to what occurred but I held back a good deal and in the end he had a broken finger to deal with and other sprains, etc. The next day I was asked by a few dojo members why I was so hard on him when in reality I was really going as easy on him as possible. I never once took it to the reality, if you want to call it that, I did with my student of long ago.

The moral of this story is you have to really know what self-defense is and what it entails then find a way to safely train to handle as best as a training system is able to "get ready" and "to give yourself permission" to act accordingly. My early student should have had the mental mind-set to ignore the pain and go for it until I called a halt for safety. It is my fault I failed to take him there long before black belt levels.

As to the current person, I should have taken it to a point so that he would understand that what he practiced is a good thing philosophical and physically as to health and fitness but not to let him think he had the ability to defend himself on the street.

I failed in both cases and offer no excuses. I expect now in situations similar to these I would handle things a lot different but with a bit more restraint and control. After all isn't that part of a good Sensei?

My luck was always the Marine side along with my Sensei who took me to the limits and had the experience on the street as well as in combat, i.e. Viet Nam, which he wanted me to understand as a Marine with potential of going to combat. A smidgeon of street savvy and experience, very limited compared to many other professionals, and this training is what carried me but what I am seeing, hearing and experiencing in the last decade gives me pause regarding self-defense.

Ok, enough of the soap box crap.

1 comment:

Felicia said...

You are human, Mr. James. You grow through what you go through and I'm sure those experiences have made you the karateka and person you are today. Thanks for sharing that.