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
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
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
“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
“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
What to Believe
With so much being written, filmed and taught today in martial arts how does one determine what is truth/fact and what is not truth/fact? I realized last night in meditation that we have available to us a lot of information that was nonexistent in the early years of martial arts, specifically karate from Okinawa. We had early translations from early American martial arts pioneers but that also must be tested as to translations especially since translating Asian characters/ideograms is most difficult even with the best western minds translating.
Translations have gotten better when the translators get Japanese, Okinawan and Chinese academics to assit in checking and validating translations. Then you still have to consider the expertise on the subject as well as the personal perceptions and cultural belief influences of those individuals.
Take this example, in the last publication of the classical fighting arts magazine there was an article on the Isshinryu style that was considered by some as inaccurate and inflammatory with prejudice against those who created and practice the art. Yet, the publisher in all likelihood felt the article was accurate so if the publisher is right then a lot of others are mistaken then again if the publisher was incorrect in their assessment of Isshinryu then we have to ask ourselves at every publication "what do we believe?"
It is important that we discover the past for a lack of knowledge tends to diminish the art itself. This does not mean that we have to adhere to that past knowledge but rather simply understand it so that we can use that past to create a better today and stimulate those who follow to crete a better future for the system, style, or art.
I ask myself more and more each reading of any information regarding the martial arts as well as self-defense and violence what should I believe and what should I discard. In this arena it is most difficult since many who may or may not actually be professionals and experts will still promote themselves and their systems as the best of the best. This is an issue that haunts all those who seek such knowledge and expertise.
In the end what to believe comes down to how much work you, the individual seeking knowledge, put into your research. It also comes down to non-acceptance. Non-acceptance only in skepticism in what you learn and know leaving an open door to change as more knowledge comes your way. You accept what you perceive as factual and correct until you encounter a change that says the last needs modification. It does not mean it or you were wrong, it just means things have changed and you need to change your data.
A good healthy bit of skepticism is always good. Your continued diligent efforts toward validation is always very, very good. Even if something is factual and accurate it still, in martial arts or self-defense, etc., does not mean it will work for you but with effort, training and practice it will, it might, it just may or may not work. All part of the process, validation - validation - validation.
You might say, "the author or expert has provided a solid resume as well as supporting documentation/information so why should I doubt it?" Experts are not always experts. We provide that title to many disciplines and usually because of a large quantity of knowledge in academic form. Academic forms are great but they lack, sometimes, that essence or sense or common sense aspect that actually validates said data.
How many training sessions have you experienced in your life that when taken to the streets where reality and chaos change the dynamics turned that training on its ear. I have taken considerable training while in my military and civilian service for both the Marines and the Navy jobs I have held. The training is a solid introduction but you learn early on that it is just an introduction and that much of what you learn will need adjustments to work in real life scenarios. It is just a fact of life.
Even our perceptions that support our belief systems sometimes when confronted with reality don't hold up well. I believe this is how some people are subjected to such horrible changes psychologically when they encounter violence. It takes their belief system and turns it upside down and inside out. When your belief system is subjected to such trauma sometimes you experience lots of pain and anguish. This is very difficult to overcome if you are not open and trained for change - constant, continuous and sometimes radical change.
Sometimes you have to take what you believe on faith. This is part of life as well but still means validation. This is important in martial arts and especially self-defense. When you take training you will want to validate it but in some form that will not actually put you in harm's way unless you work in a field that requires you to go into harms way. Hopefully the training and practice will be real enough to get you through the introduction to violence, etc.
Look at it like military training for combat. You will train, train, train and you will practice, practice, practice so that when you go into harm's way you have a fighting chance of learning, changing, adjusting and gaining real life experiences to supplement further training and practice and training and practice. Does this make sense?