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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Open Sparring

First, what is it? “Open Sparring is about physical interactions of a more or less violent nature with no judges, no points, no time limit, and no stopping after a strike.” ~ (some additions in italics added by me) Marc MacYoung, Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.

I will continue with this in a manner that is more personal as to experience and implementation rather than the martial arts community as a whole. How I see this is from my personal experience and note that this occurred in a dojo type environment, i.e. a training hall, room or outdoor setting. This is how Henry sensei taught me to fight using karate. 

Open sparring is closely related to the concept of jiyu kumite or “as it pleases you to grapple by hand.” What is considered important especially in regard to self-defense is that it is a step up and away from the sport oriented type sparring. It is a natural step in martial arts heading toward a more realistic stress training regimen. Depending on the intensity it can cross the line whereby one or both participants can experience injury or injuries. 

If the participants can achieve a stress reaction during open sparring then they can achieve a closer relation to realism in a physical violent encounter, self-defense. 

Henry sensei used almost exclusively an open sparring regimen in the dojo, Okinawa 1979, and I followed that model as I began to teach Isshinryu after returning to the states. The idea was to hit hard, get hit hard and all the while avoid injury if possible. We depended on sanchin to create through that systems dynamic tensioning to build a body that would protect against such possible injuries. Add in the fitness of a Marine along with the attitude of a Marine you get a decent mixture of fighting capability. Even so, it still is not as realistic as you would need to truly train for stress situations that involve chemical (adrenal rush) type dumps and so on but it will be closer than a lot of sport oriented martial systems. 

Cracked teeth, broken ribs, pulled ham strings and groin muscles, knee stresses just shy of bad injuries, toes broken, foot bones bruised badly, hands/knuckles bruised and injured are just some of the frequent injuries from open sparring practice. As stated, not a true street violent type regimen but it does get you a bit closer to reality.

One of the reasons why Henry sensei would not let anyone open spar until they reached some level of proficiency and that meant, in most cases, the level of green belt or go-kyu. What we did was practice using real actual karate techniques from basics and kata in a drill type fashion, i.e. drills with one step, three step and five step controlled sparring. We considered it a natural progression to then move to open sparring at the go-kyu level as that pretty much was a good indicator that they could create technique on the fly.

This is pretty much a simplistic description to convey what it is I feel open sparring is and is about for the system of karate, martial arts, I practice and train in but the actual progression to really implement and apply martial principles is a bit more involved but this gives a good idea and a means to pursue it as a model of training and practice for the early kyu's.

Jiyu Kumite [自由組手]

The first two characters/ideograms mean “freedom; liberty; as it pleases you.” The first character means, “Oneself,” the second character means, “wherefore; a reason.” The next two characters/ideograms mean, “paired karate kata; wooden joints; belt-work.” The first character means, “Association; braid; plait; construct; assemble; unite; cooperate; grapple,” the second character means, “hand.” 

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