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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Mokuso in the west is most often reminiscent of martial arts dojo or training. It goes beyond the martial arts into every day life of Asian's. In particular this term is derived from Japanese influences on martial arts training. Like other such cultural models of Japan it goes way back to the early feudal times with a Zen Buddhism influence. 

Most martial arts dojo sit seiza when performing mokuso. Meditation is not just clearing one's mind or warming up the mind for the coming shugyo like training and practice sessions but a means of training the mind. When you take into consideration other terms that are also about training the mind such as the fundamental principles of martial systems, i.e. principle of philosophy (mushin, seishin, oneness, zanshin and being, etc., you start to get the fuller concept of the reasoning behind mokuso. 

It is interesting to note that mokuso was not practiced, at least in the fifties and sixties at the Isshinryu karate honbu dojo, where practitioners would show at all hours of the day and night, change into the gi, warm up, do basics and kata and then take lessons from senpai, etc. It was very informal or so most who experienced that will say and mokuso was discovered and implemented later from, again, Japanese influences. This is not to say that other systems or styles of Okinawa were not using mokuso.

When I think of mokuso it is about trianing the mind to remain in the present moment leaving all other distractions and mental gymnastics of the past and the future outside of the mind so that full and complete concentration can be attained in training, practice and application. This becomes even more difficult as one trains rigorously and diligently because stresses are introduced and limitations are reached and exceeded  such as physical abilities, etc. along with as much adrenaline like effects are encountered. To achieve present moment mind, i.e. mushin and zanshin, etc., in combat, fighting or self-defense can make it a matter of survival or extreme damage up to and including death. 

It must be remembered that everything done in the dojo has far reaching benefits and effects to our every day lives. My Marine training along with my long life in karate, martial arts, has be instrumental in my successes in life as a person and in my work as an employee, staff member and leader. 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg in understanding and practicing "mokuso."

Addendum dtd Tuesday February 25, 2014 09:20 hours

Notice that the hand position in mokuso forms a circle. The circle has significance in Zen Buddhism and therefore martial arts. The circle represents infinity and also symbolizes that all things have a beginning and an end. When a Zen Buddhist practitioner wants to practice they sometimes draw a circle, enso [], with one stroke to express that singular moment when the mind is fully and completely present, free so that the body can create. It symbolizes, also, a state of enlightenment, strength and the void. It also represents a mirror, one of the three jewels of the Japanese cultural buddhist zen like belief. The stroke to achieve enlightenment must be one fluid, expressive stroke representing that individuals presence in that moment with a empty, void, mind. 

Therefore when sitting seiza and performing mokuso some adherents will form that circle with their hands holding them at a point representative of the center of one's body training the mind toward a state of centeredness. In addition, as quoted from the Wikipedia Enso entry, i.e. "Ensō exemplifies the various dimensions of the Japanese wabi-sabi perspective and aesthetic: Fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularity), kanso (simplicity), koko (basic; weathered), shizen (without pretense; natural), yugen (subtly profound grace), datsuzoku (freedom), and seijaku (tranquility)."

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