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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Passing a Legacy

"All that can truly exist with any hope of permanence is the legacy the master leaves behind in the generation of his students." - Dave Lowry, "Ittosai's Test: Part 1,"

This is a great article by Mr. Lowry and I enthusiastically read it the minute I saw his name as author. His works are very informative. It made me think of the system I practice, the Okinawan style of Isshinryu, a branch of the Shorinryu family. I wonder what Tatsuo-san's legacy is and is it what he would have hoped for when he passed it on to both the Okinawan and Western practitioners. 

Are the successive generations of practitioners (students) actually living up to his intentions? I wonder because I find such disparity and division in the Isshinryu community. I wonder if this disparity and division is individual ego driven or actually the individualistic essence within all martial arts. The sides are separated by a thin diaphanous barrier. 

It is easy to see, hear and feel the differences and is Isshinryu actually holding on to the essence of Tatsuo-san's teachings, that is my question for this post/article. 

As mentioned in the article by Mr. Lowry, a master such as Tatsuo-san can only leave us with only so much evidence of his work and practice. This is especially true since the only written documentation he left us was a copy of the ken-po goku-i and the certificate of grade awarded to his departing students. This can extend back to historical knowledge since the Okinawan's did not document their history and especially the history of karate. Karate history from that part of Japan is then left to perceptions as each generation learns and carries forward the systems, styles and branches of karate-do.

If the Isshinryu system had actually been properly documented and if at the time, late fifties and early sixties, we had the various mediums we have today then this would in all likelihood not be an issue. But, we didn't and the essence of Isshinryu was left up to individuals who were and are influenced by the sport aspects and individual perceptions as governed by cultures, beliefs and environments, i.e. "the time, the culture and ethnic groups, the power relationships, the perceiving person, the sensory input modes, the perceptions of perceptions as to truth and accurate facts, and both the internal and external environments and now we add perception of movement; perception of body language which includes facial expressions, etc."

Tatsuo-san's legacy in my mind and my perception is in question. It may be lost and unrecoverable even with his aging early Okinawan students still passing along their interpretations and perceptions - often to the detriment of history and convoluted nature of communications. 

Lets take a look at the natural evolution of martial systems as dictated by Asian culture, the passing of the style or ryu to the eldest son. Lowry writes, "in many martial ryu, head-mastery was automatically conferred upon the eldest son of the school’s master. This conveniently narrowed the choice for the ryu’s successor. And if, as it sometimes happened, the son was not terribly impressive or skilled in his father’s art, the father would make certain to have a gathering of the school’s best exponents around his offspring. They served in one way or another as unofficial leaders and instructors, thus maintaining the school’s reputation.

Did this actually occur, that is also questionable. It is perceived that Tatsuo-san's eldest, who was often thought as even having a negative feeling toward karate, was not very proficient. It is said that he even avoided lessons as a youth and actually didn't start training in Isshinryu until his return from the University. His level or grade at the time of his fathers death would indicate he was not at the level warranting Ju-dan and that Tatsuo-san's seniors actually left Isshinryu due to a disparity between the eldest son and those seniors. All this is, of course, speculation since none of this was adequately documented and validated. This is the point, it has been and always will be a contention that is mere speculation. A fodder for kenban-bushi practices.

Isshinryu's reputation therefore has suffered greatly among Okinawan martial arts circles even with the level of respect Tatsuo-san earned when he was fully active in its teachings - long before the eldest son insisted he be made the master of Isshinryu. It is only recently that it had gained more respect and acceptance, as a branch of Shorinryu, and this is not due to the eldest son's efforts but another practitioner of Isshinryu. 

I then wonder, what is important - the technical or the metaphysical? The technical in that there is a tendency to dogmatically adhere to what is often incorrectly perceived as the way Tatsuo-san did it and wanted it practiced. The metaphysical in that there seems to be no "way or do" of Isshinryu since few seem to have a grasp on his intent, i.e. as indicated by the presentation of the ken-po goku-i. 

Is the technical adherence to exactness of what Tatsuo-san taught actually the essence he wanted us to practice and teach? Did he mean us to remain frozen in a form and function he taught or did he mean for us to come to understand through the study of the gokui that we were meant to take that initial physical technical form to a higher individual artistic and eclectic form more adaptable to actual fighting or combat?

We will never truly know and we will always and only be able to "speculate" as I do here in this post. It would have been great to have Tatsuo-san's system and culturally driven beliefs properly documented and recorded, i.e. written and filmed, for reference and future adherents to use as training supplements. But, alas, that is not to be so speculate but enjoy the way, the wholehearted way of the one heart/mind/spirit of karate-do that Tatsuo-san built.

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