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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Why don't all dojo have fundamental stance/movement basics/warmups?

In Aikido they do something referred to as a walking kata. It teaches footwork, posture and body movement. In karate, my system in particular, does not focus directly on such fundamentals. It seems to promote all the proper fundamental principles of martial systems as given in the book of martial power and considering the importance of such things in the overall scheme of martial arts, combative arts and/or self-defense I wonder why it does not exist.

Take a look at the post over at Patrick Parker's blog, "Mokuren Dojo." 

When I viewed his video I began to wonder why this is not, in some form, a part of the fundamental basics, i.e. in Isshinryu they use the upper and lower basic techniques as a warm-up/training for those basic techniques that are supposed to train a karate-ka in things like proper stances, transitions when done in a movement or walking manner, and kamae, etc. I just wonder since things like posture, body alignment and movement, etc. are so important that karate communities/dojo's don't focus on the assumption, movement and transitional aspects of just the stances along with incorporation of the fundamental principles before going into basics such as hand and foot techniques. 

Consider this theory, the assumption (although very brief in delivery of combinations, etc. and often on the move type stances) of stance or kamae while applying various techniques seems to detract from the importance of said stances. I feel that the stance and the Earth contribute a good deal to the transference of power to the adversary. 

Then I think of those maneuvers that require us to move, out of the way or off center of the adversary, while applying appropriate principles/techniques are not given more due diligence at the novice levels. I watch the walk, Aiki Tai Sabaki in the video, and can see how that would be of benefit in laying out a solid foundation for the art as well as for self-defense principles. Watching this video shows me movement beyond what most karate dojo practice in basics, i.e. the forward and backward straight line model. Is this why many karate-ka get stuck in that straight line model vs. something more adaptable to self-defense?

In my later years as a teacher I did move toward adaptation of stances, movement, etc. without hand techniques to keep the novices focus on proper stances with applied principles of martial systems because in my previous years observed many students lose site of proper stances, etc. and having to struggle with it later when changes are much harder. 

Some will speak up and say, that is what the basics are for as well as the kata but I find that so many are caught up in other aspects, i.e. applying hand and foot techniques, that they lose site of this part and then struggle longer to gain a modicum of proficiency. Over taxing the mind seems counter productive to me and when someone is learning the martial arts as a novice, i.e. absolutely no previous experience at all, then it seems to end up confusing or more difficult then it has to be. I attribute this to expediency vs. slow deliberate progress. 

It is great when you finally get to the "more fun stuff" in martial arts but without a solid foundation in principles/techniques you end up with useless stuff that may look good but may not work especially in the fight. 

What do you think?


Patrick Parker said...

i agree. in my mind that set of taiso forms a foundation not only for aiki and judo, but also karate/kenpo. While most aiki systems have some sort of taiso like this, that particular set is an artifact of sensei kenji tomiki, who had to figure out a way to practice some of this stuff while interred in a pow camp in manchuria.

Charles James said...

Thank you sir, for that piece of history added to your comment. Much appreciated.