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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Information on Rank

Let me begin by giving you the source of this synopsis on karate rank. You can read the entire article, "How the Masters Got Their Ranks: Origins of the Karate Rank System," written on the site ( ).

In a nutshell, as you are already aware, on April 12th in the year 1924, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi, The "Father of Modern Karate," awarded karate's first black belt rank upon seven of his students. It was to be later understood that Funakoshi's own rank was of no consequence. It was to be assumed, by him I suppose, that the rank system was for students, not for the system masters. 

In Japan, the Butoku-kai, issued instructor's licenses. These were the titles of renshi, kyoshi, and the highest of the three, hanshi. Karate groups were called upon to register for official sanctioning sometime around the 1930's. A meeting called for in 1938 consisted of a group of masters who most had founded their own styles and therefore automatically assumed the highest rank that their agreed upon perspective of standards allowed. 

As for Okinawa, the dan/kyu ranking system did not take hold or start to take hold until after World War II. It was known of before that time, however, many individual karate masters didn't not make use of the dan'i system. In 1937, Miyagi Sensei, was awarded the title of kyoshi from the butoku-kai. They appointed him as their chief representative on Okinawa making the island a branch of the butoku-kai. 

At the end of WWII, on Okinawa, the surviving karate masters had to start over and because the butoku-kai was not a presence there, or even in Japan, they were on their own to do what the deemed prudent and necessary. Many of the dojo came together to form their own organizations. Each association during the 40's and 50's came to codify their own rules for ranking. 

It became a practice that any perceived higher authority resulted in those groups adopting their requirements resulting in the legitimization of their actions. Those actions included rank awards.

All these organizations, i.e. Goju-kai, Shito-kai, Chito-kai, Shoto-kai and Japans karate associations, set the patterns and are considered the original sources for today's ranking systems. Even so, it did not perceivably remove the veil of confusion over rank and awarding rank to present day. Back then the individual clubs would assume ranks for which they were qualified but that may have been strictly according to those head guys perception and perspectives. They were the ones actually writing their criteria for rank and their system or style. 

Ranking, i.e. the dan-i or kyu/dan system, only started to take hold around 1956, under the formation/new organization the Okinawa Karate Association. I quote, "Chosin Chibana, first to name his system shorin-ryu, was the first president. According to the historical data of the Shudokan (a Japanese group started by Kanken Toyama in Tokyo), Chibana and Toyama were officially recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education to grant any rank in the art of karate, regardless of style. Chibana helped organize the OKF, and it was then that the mainstream Okinawan groups, on a widespread basis, began differentiating their black belt ranks as other than simple teacher and student demarcations."

In a nutshell there were then created associations, i.e. AJKF (All Japan Karate Federation), the AJKF Okinawan branch, Okinawa Kempo League, All Karate Kobudo Rengo-kai, Okinawa Kobudo Federation. 

Richard Kim says the most significant regarding the use of the dan/kyu system was in 1964 when the FAJKO (). The FAJKO adopted a standardized rank system in 1971. Most groups are still tied to the FAJKO in terms of rank structure and sanction. Others that were not tied to the association still adhered or conformed to the FAJKO criteria and standards

In 1967 saw the formation of the All Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Rengo-kai by Seitku Higa sensei. This group adopted similar standards of the AOKF. It was this group who certified hanshi several karate-ka who had their own group or style that included Tatsuo Shimabuku of Isshinryu. It is this ranking structure that most Isshinryu practitioners regard as authorized but with some caveats.

First, the person who awards rank shall be recognized within karate's mainstream community. It shall be based on tradition, and linked to a body or sanctioned individual who is considered beyond question authoritative. The standards used to qualify for a rank must be recognizable, and conform to the Okinawan/Japanese martial arts hierarchy. It must be recognized and accepted by existing groups and organizations that provide rank legitimacy. 

As can be seen by this synopsis all of this still remains open to interpretations, perceptions, and personal perspective. If an organization becomes to restrictive in determining rank then natural instincts drive others to either go elsewhere or determine their own rules, requirements and legitimization's. If too loose then it drives others to award ranks that may not meet minimal requirements for proficiency, knowledge and expertise, etc. 

In the end it will still come down to perception as to skill and knowledge over ranking. It is the endeavor to achieve both skill and knowledge at all levers that is of greatest importance vs. the quest for rank. 

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