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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Karate Saved My Life

Actually, karate cannot save anyone's life but the person who may practice karate saved their own life. This is a bit like saying, "Guns kill," when in fact it is not a gun that kills but the person using said gun that kills. 

Karate is a Way of Life. 

Actually, it is not a way of life but rather a means to improve things that would assist a person to change the way they live their lives. It is just another endeavor that one takes up that makes their lives better in some way by the benefits of its practice like health, fitness and well-being. 

In recent readings on my end here in Berkeley I came across a statement that said "teachings of karate provide enjoyment and access to a harmonious lifestyle." First, yes you can gain enjoyment when you practice karate yet you can do the same with about any discipline such as baseball, football or playing the piano. Where I tend to question things is when one says that any discipline gives you access to a harmonious lifestyle I say, "No, it does not give you any access to any type of harmonious lifestyle." You, the individual have to have a foundation that has been instilled in you through family, society and self-actualization for the traits that will allow you to seek out a harmonious lifestyle. The spiritual, not religious, aspects of any discipline give you the tools and means to seek out that harmonious lifestyle. Yes, you can give something its due recognition but it does not give anything to you but is just a tool used to seek out what it takes to live a harmonious lifestyle. 

Karate, Kung-fu, Aikido, etc. all are awesome disciplines when studied and practiced correctly but, I stress but, they are not capable of giving you access to anything. This is not the way as is traditionally understood. I have witnessed many who do not live harmoniously with life or with others but they practice the martial arts. If the arts give you access to a harmonious lifestyle then why do these folks not get it? Why do some folks use and live violent lives? Why do some folks use and live lives as bullies, control freaks or simply to make money through the system? 

I may be nitpicking but I feel, especially when talking to novices, etc., that they tend to perceive things as explained and it is important that they don't arrive at some misconception of what it is they do and what they will get from it.

Like, karate will help you defend yourself against attackers? This statement while it may be true in some instances is more often not true in most. When someone hears or reads that karate or any other system will teach you the absolute best foolproof methods of self-defense we are lying and it is a disservice to people everywhere giving false sense of hope and security. 

Are we not as martial artists as well as teachers and mentors obligated to make sure everyone gets the right, correct and true message? Is it not an obligation that when we take this role regardless of the discipline we make sure we pass on knowledge accurately as possible?

In my early years I failed to do this properly and feel blessed/lucky that none of those who trained with and under me ever had to prove that what they were taught would work. Isn't this part of the problem that many will never have to prove what works and does not work in a real life violent encounter? 

Do you as a black belt, as a teacher and as a human being ever ask yourself these types of questions before stepping out on a training hall floor to teach anything? 

My only wish is that all of us in positions of leadership, i.e. teaching, etc. is that we try to do our best and when it fails we try to correct things for the benefit of others who may follow our lead. Isn't this one of the most important traits of leadership, i.e. sensei, teachers, mentors, professionals, leaders, etc all should have this as a primary obligation don't you think? Isn't this what we assume when we hear sensei or teacher or expert or master? Do those who you train under now fill that bill?

Karate did not save my life or anyone's life, it was that person's discipline and spirit that allowed them to prevail. They may or may not have used karate, a tool, to achieve success but it was themselves who actually saved their own life. 

Karate is not a way of life, it is that person's awakening of what is already within and instilled by their family, friends, teachers, and society that built that way of life. They may or may not have used the discipline of karate, a tool, to achieve their way of life but it was themselves who actually created their own way of life. 

1 comment:

Kamil Devonish said...

Great blog, have followed with interest for some time. However I can't help but disagree. I think it is a dire mistake to separate the discipline of karate from the practitioner. Karate is a way of thinking. It is the discipline of seeing clearly and knowing when to make peace and when to wage war. It is when Jutsu - the methods or waging war and Dou - the methods of keeping peace are united that Karate becomes a Way of life. To say that in those desperate moments of peril that 'you save yourself but karate doesn't save you', that it is a tool, nothing more, is to separate yourself from the practice. It is when karate becomes separate from you that it is most likely to fail you. You can't be in that desperate moment and say "I must use my karate now." The training has to cause you to act without thought - thought of no-thought, mushin. Karate lies in the union of thought with action and this is something that you slowly become. If you are slowly becoming karate and it is seeping into you with every punch and kick, to say that karate didn't save you would be the same as to say that you did not save yourself. But this is my opinion alone.