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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Snap Punches

In recent postings the statement "There are no snap punches in Isshinryu" rose its ugly head whereby I felt the need to step in and speak up. I practice the Isshinryu system and I was taught to use a snap punch for various techniques. I was also taught how to use a thrust punch as well as form the fist in a variety of forms depending on the technique. I use the thumb on top form for a lot of my Isshinryu but I don't restrict it to just what someone believes is strictly Isshinryu or strictly NOT Isshinryu.

First, when anyone speaks up and makes a blanket statement such as "there are no snap punches in Isshinryu" or anything else similar I take a quick double take. Maybe as originally taught to some early pioneers Tatsuo-san didn't teach snap punching. Then again, Tatsuo-san vacillated between the vertical punch and the twist punch for years which means some Isshinryu practitioners use the vertical fist and some the twist punch and some both but that does not mean they are or are not Isshinryu. 

There is at least one or two first-generation (another topic of heated discussion as to what this means ;-) students of Tatsuo-san who were taught snap punching can speak up and say that this is what Tatsuo-san taught them and you know what .... I believe both sides of this discussion. I believe depending on the time of study that one may or may not have received the same instruction from Tatsuo-san and his leading assistant instructors be they Shinsho, his second son, or those Marines who ended up doing most of the teaching for Tatsuo-san. 

The snap punch has it uses much like the hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard maxim. If you take your karate, or Isshinryu, out of the closet and into the light, i.e. beyond the basics, you will find that depending on the moment, the situation and the applications your punching, kicking, elbowing, etc. will differ from some strict cult like rule saying you can't change the original Isshinryu that Tatuso-san taught. 

Take the vertical punch, depending to the size of opponents and the targeting not to leave out positioning, etc. it can be effective and it can be ineffective. As a basic teaching form for novices it helps explain many of the principles involved in applying speed, power and force when punching/striking but once you leave that arena all bets are off in the fight for defense on the streets. If you remain cultishly stuck in using the vertical fist because it was taught that way you just might get your assed handed to you by your adversary. 

To remain true to a traditional form of karate is fine as to the more esoteric meaning of practice but to keep it practical and relevant to modern day defense you have to have the flexibility to change according to the moment and that means chaos in reality training, etc. 

Then, if you are in karate, Isshinryu, for the more sportive aspects then the snap punch will work just fine to get that point to win that trophy but it also has its use in the fight. 

Then you have to consider its usage for the type of defense. Take the differences in violence in either social or asocial situations. You have to work this stuff out to see if anything is effective in either or both types when avoidance and deescalation fail to get the job done. 

Finally, analyze the snap punch in its various applications according the the universal fundamental principles of martial systems. If it does work and it fits within the realm of principle application, effective principle application, then it works. 

I also tell folks who are told, "it ain't in Isshinryu," that if this is true then all those bunkai developed over the years by luminaries like Harrell Sensei are not Isshinryu either. Depending on when you trained with Tatsuo-san then the vertical fist is NOT Isshinryu either. 

Practice and use the snap punch if it works for you and if it does and you practice it within the realm of Isshinryu karate, then it is Isshinryu karate. 

Note: one such technique is to strike the neck at about the carotid artery area where a snap punch with controlled power works vs. a hard blow that could kill. Notice that this technique regardless of the strike used is dangerous and could lead to death of the adversary. Remember that fighting is illegal and causing death without justification in self-defense is illegal but you get the drift, right?

Addendum dtd September 10th, 2013: Think of the snap punch vs. the thrust punch, i.e. dead energy vs. live energy from universal fundamental principles of martial systems. Dead energy is more a push or thrusting energy while live energy is manifested in a punch like the snap punch. When we snap a punch we conduct wave energy, focusing an instant moment, sharp, of live energy against the target. By snapping we focus most of the force in that small contact point so that point will bear the full force of the punch, i.e. the rooting of the body, the body mass movement, the sequential locking process with alignment and posture, up to the wave energy conducted into that one small point or target causing damage. Often the snap punch is supplemented with dead energy due to variations in applied principles but the idea is to do damage while not moving the adversaries body and with full dead energy we penetrate and move the mass of the body with the mass of our bodies along with other principles and variables to do damage. In other words, both have value and are used according to the situation, technique and targeting, etc.

I quote, "We must snap the full weight of our bodies in all techniques and yet remain in enough control of that energy to apply it appropriately given the technique and its context." - Steve J. Pearlman, The Book of Martial Power, chapter 54, page 212.

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