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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Do I Still Need Shugyo

I am sixty years of age. I have practiced karate wholeheartedly since 1976, i.e., about thirty-eight years. I am a Marine and managed to successfully complete ten years starting in 1972 at Parris Island Marine Recruit training. I look at boot as my first real challenging shugyo. 

Although I don’t perform training and shugyo at the same intensity as I did when much younger I still give myself some challenges to keep a hand in but I don’t expend the energies I once did and that seems normal. After all, as we age we must adjust things accordingly. 

Recently I suggested to those who read my blogging that a form of shugyo that they may want to experience is the “Spartan Race.” I had never heard of this challenge until my nephew and his father spoke of it when they came to visit recently. The race they ran while here was in Monterey California. 

I have to say that when I observed a small portion of the race I was intrigued. I guess after a ten year stint on active duty as a Marine I was once again inspired by the challenge found in that race. I spent some additional time researching how this Spartan thing is run along with the levels and the obstacles found in the race. 

You see, it is a race of miles with a lot of obstacles and challenges provided as you run the course. It is a variety of physical and mental challenges that are derived from the military except this one is a collection of those challenges and obstacles combined to put a lot of physical and mental stress and strain on the runner. 

Then as I understood those challenges and the unknown aspects of each race, i.e. you never know when, where and what obstacles will be placed on the route along with environmental challenges such as steep hills, etc. Unlike the military tho these races are one day events while the military challenges the individual, in boot camp, for nine weeks or more. The military will continue throughout your tour(s) of duty provide challenges not to forget the ultimate challenge of combat - if you are selected to participate in combat during your time (I was not selected for combat during my time). 

As a subset of those challenging days in my life, i.e. from 1972 till I retired from civil service and teaching karate in 1999 (I came back to teach for a year in the early 2000’s) where ten years of it as an active Marine I taught and practiced martial arts with its own subset of challenges and shugyo’s. It was a great time but now I have to ask myself why I am intrigued by possibly taking the Spartan challenge.

Is it because it is “loosely” connected to the symbol of the greatest fighting force in history, the Spartans? The Marines are considered the worlds greatest fighting force in modern times (excluding any special forces types, etc.) but still the Spartans have this mystique about them in history. 

Is it because I can sense the down grades and changes as I age and I want to try to reclaim some of that youth through a Spartan challenge? Is it because family are involved and my instinctual need to relate and be a part of that family endeavor sparks a desire to take the Spartan challenge? Is this one of those second childhood things you hear about from men who are aging? 

I am aging really well and I am just entering my winter years, i.e. the years after the age of sixty. My health and age according to the “Real Age Makeover” system indicates that my true age is late forties or early fifties while my chronological age is sixty and that is pretty good. 

I do have some physical challenges in my winter years starting with the aches and pains from the abuses I endured in my earlier years. I have some injuries such as both shoulders have either torn cartilage or the rotator cuff injury I got roller blading. I feel the effects of aging with a history of polio, i.e. I had polio or so I was told by my mother when I was but a couple of years old. I have the shattered elbow from when I was just approaching my teen years. Then there is the aches and pains and restrictions due to stress fractures endured in Marine Boot Camp in the early to mid seventies. Oh and I can’t forget about two years ago falling to the vertigo issue that plagues me even today. They refer to it as meniere’s. 

So, as you can see I have to really contemplate and consider the why’s of taking the Spartan challenge. I should make sure the reasons are not ego driven along with the pride building I might feel due to my aging. Challenges are a good thing. You should challenge yourself daily but the intensity and degree of that challenge should also depend on your free will and the condition of your body and mind at the moment, i.e. at age sixty and over - the winter years. 

Yes, the few described physical challenges are not really all that limiting and with any challenge you have to weigh the good with the bad and then decide whether to take the challenge or not. 

I am training all the time but training for the Spartan challenge or any physical and mental demanding event should be tempered with consideration and prudence. 

I suspect that if I did take the challenge that I would be able to complete it. This is what Marines do after all but even a Marine must evaluate the strategic and tactical obstacles and take a course or direction that will endure success and victory. 

What would be the reason for taking the Spartan challenge and what would be the short and long term effects of that challenge? Many, many questions must be answered and while I take on a bit higher training just in case I go for it those answers should be logical and beneficial for me without ego and pride driven reasoning.

To take the challenge or not to take the challenge, that is my question?

1 comment:

Rick Matz said...

For me - I'm training for a half marathon and I've been taking up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I am by far at the age of 56, the oldest one in my group. Wrestling with 20 year olds is quite a challenge!