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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Sixteen Penny Nail

One of the legendary stories told about Isshinryu is one of the creator, Tatsuo Shimabuku sensei, driving nails through wood with his hands and feet. This is a story about demonstrating "chinkuchi [チンクチ]." I have written a bit on chinkuchi and this story can be found on the Internet but I want to question it as to a demonstration of anything that would translate to defense or combat or the fight on the street.

Granted, my experience level as to fighting outside of the dojo is limited. I fought three or four times a week in the dojo but my experiences in a clench, on the proverbial street, are far limited in comparison. I can recollect two attempts on my life and about three or four distinctive instances of defense against one or more adversaries - mostly in my teens and early twenties. 

I have a good eye in seeing things physical, better than most, but as to translation in experience in the fight I would have my own doubts. I do believe that what little I know and teach can be effective in defense.

Take a look at the many descriptions of chinkuchi and it comes down to applying physiokinetics, as in fundamental principles of all martial activities. You will find that it is about many things of which karada-kitae or body hardening is only a small part. I am not disparaging the need or abilities or effectiveness of chinkuchi or karada-kitae but, what is really being demonstrated by performing nail insertion into wood - really?

First, just because you can drive a sixteen penny nail into a 2 x 4 piece of wood does not equate effective karate or defensive or fighting ability. Yes, performing these feats can build self-confidence. Yes, performing these feats is a mental fortitude builder. Yes, doing many feats of strength, power and speed is a confidence builder. It also attributes to the mind-body effect where the mind is trained to resist certain effects of combative or fighting - such as the adrenaline chemical effects. 

Does it build the type of mind that will act when chemicals are dumped by total and complete surprise; will they counter the effects of that sudden and instant spike of the blood pressure and heart beat so that you don't succumb to the effects of such things in the fight? It may provide a path toward this ability but is it more "show" then effective in a fight.

No one is going to require you drive a nail to achieve success in either a social or asocial event. Much like breaking boards and bricks, boards and bricks don't fight back and they don't live according to the principles such as yin-yang and physiokinetics, it is more about overcoming physics.

Again, I believe chinkuchi is relevant and practical for the shu aspects of shu-ha-ri. It is a teaching tool but like many should not be construed as a means to the end by itself. It is a part of a whole tool box that gets you from "shu" through "ha" and into the "ri" stages of karate, martial arts studies. Like so many things it is a lot more than the mere physical as can be seen when you study the fundamental principles of martial systems. 

It also works well in demonstrating what is possible and that there are no limits to either the mental and physical but we should not assume that it is an end unto itself in karate training. Chinkuchi is a part of a whole that are principles applied also as a whole. Like makiwara, chinkuchi is about training to reach a strategic goal but not actually a fighting or defensive ability. You can strike the makiwara all day long but without all the other parts that make up a violent encounter along with those principles that achieve the goal in the encounter you just have strong hands and feet. If you freeze in the loop, your strong and resilient hand and foot ability is nothing but show. 

Let me emphasize, I have no clue as to Tatsuo-san's fighting prowess. Considering the time and place he grew up and learned karate I suspect he had more opportunity than us modern folks to find out the value of karate in an encounter. Even in the off chance he didn't, the fact that his teachers were well known for their fighting prowesses I would assume said prowess transferred into their teachings that were adequate for the times and places in which Tatsuo-san lived. I suspect WWII was a good teaching tool for experiences.

Regardless, the demonstration of chinkuchi, like makiwara, without all the other principles applied properly, adequately and effectively chinkuchi is just a demonstration of strength and body conditioning. I like to stress, for me, that chinkuchi ability is about bringing all the principles together, as to the physiokinetic principles, to achieve a totality that along with the other principles bring about the ability to handle violence successfully. 

Lets not forget that watching such a demonstration is pretty impressive and pretty darn cool. I would add that I do not recommend anyone of any level to try this feat without proper training and guidance. It is one of those rare demonstrations that require some patience and persistence because any misstep will result in medical and health issues that will at the very least stunt your growth in martial training. 

It has value, a very limited value in the overall practice and study of martial arts. Remember that karate has its value in a specific context and that is the only context. Anything outside that context means something totally different. 

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