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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Cookie Cutter Karate

In some recent postings by Michael Clarke I got to thinking about another perspective regarding modern karate. Add to that a post at Martial Way with a video of questionable karate I had to make comments if for no other reason then to get thoughts strait in my own head.

Most of what I see today of karate is that it has become "cookie cutter karate." I don't often see karate with an individual branding, if you will allow, to it. We have such a concerted effort to keep a style or system in its exact form as taught by the master according to that master's way we lose site of what karate is supposed to me according to my perceptions and beliefs.

It is alright to learn the system as it was originally intended. It is alright to have the knowledge of what was taught from the system or style's inception. It is a part of the karate system or style's heritage. It is not alright to allow it to remain so steadfast in the past that it becomes stagnant and causes the karate-ka to become less then possible. It is not alright to block out the potential of the individual's karate to honor an often dead past master who created and formed a system or style to accommodate their current times and environment, etc. for combat or defense.

Although there are aspects that change very little, i.e. a punch is a punch and a strike is a strike, the current times, environment and cultural aspects tend to change just how those strikes and punches are applied. In the early days with few having knowledge, proficiency and experience with karate the techniques, tactics and strategies were such that it often was used against less skilled adversaries even if they were soldiers or brigands who robbed and hurt others.

Today, there are very few who have not gained some level of proficiency in the martial arts be they Asian or European, etc. This means the karate of yesterday may not be enough for today's self-defense or combative environments. It is critical to take your cookie cutter karate outside the box and learn to apply it, to change it and to adapt it to today's individual.

Cookie cutter karate is also influenced by the gradual move toward larger and larger group learning. The distance between the teacher and the student has grown significantly since the days of the early pioneers who often trained and practiced one-on-one with their teachers. This is not the rule it is now a infrequent aspect of karate.

When you have that kind of distance with out all the connections necessary in karate then you end up training them according to some plan that is generic and does not conform to the individual. You have specific lesson plans with specific requirements that are testable in a mass test environment. Karate to be complete needs an individualized model that tests according to an individual and the relationship that results from a one-on-one environment. At the most a one-to-three ratio at the most so that individualization is still achievable. When you have a ten-to-one or thirty-to-one ratio the individual has to deal with mass teaching and they lose that individuality.

In another view it also lowers the standards so that those hidden within the mass group lose that level of learning, doing and achieving of karate. It also makes it easy for an individual to achieve some perception of proficiency simply by hiding with the group and doing only what is necessary vs. what is needed.

Get rid of cookie cutter karate and take it to the next level. Thanks to Mike Clarke for todays post inspiration.


Kamil Devonish said...

This is a great point. Sue over at Road to Black Belt brought up the point about how much of karate seems suited for a man and not a woman (

Mabuni sensei in his book "Empty Hand" writes that especially in tournament karate the rules force an unnatural conformity upon the fighters so that individual expression is stifled and you can't tell what style each fighter comes from. Karate is supposed to have individual flair. But as the move is made to mass teaching and sporting concerns invariably karate loses its intimacy and its individual expression.

Charles James said...

Hi, Kamil: I like the inference to intimacy and individual expression .... nice comment, thanks.