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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In a recent roundtable podcast one of the participants said something like, “Techniques learned by ROTE wire the wrong part of the brain.” It was also stated that the focus on making sure a technique “looks right” is not correct. The techniques must be about working right along with a knowledge of its depth and breadth along with its shortcoming. 

Does the instructor focus on such things as:

1. Whether you are doing the technique right? 
2. Do they work on how well a practitioner is doing vs. what they are doing wrong?
3. Does the instructor focus on how well a practitioner moves, how they feel the movement, etc.?
4. Does the instructor focus on how well the technique actually works. 
5. Does the instructor focus on actually practicing sparring, drills, etc. at the proper range or do they tend to test out techniques, etc. at a sport oriented distance for competition?
6. Does the instructor use a form of measure for testing where they correct and quantify toward a curriculum vs. actually how well it works in reality?
7. Does the training and practice have practitioners hitting or being hit, does it induce both fear and anger along with the adrenal stress releases, and does the training result in common injuries to that particular training, practice and applied techniques in paired practice?
8. Does the training actually cover all aspects of violence and force?
9. Does training actually train and practice avoidance such as seeing, detecting and then “turning and leaving” as a viable option in SD? Do they also reward practitioners when they use “walking away” from conflict and violence as an intricate part of training and practice?
10. Do the instructors provide training and practice in coupling judgement with skills?
11. Is the system trained under an “operant conditioning” model/system?
12. Does the training actually cover and train for the “experience threshold,” i.e. that in empty handed systems for SD often it takes up to twenty or so encounters before skill is finally coupled with training, etc.?
13. Does the training cover the “freeze” as to both benefits and obstacles in SD and MA?
14. Does the training and practice work toward utilization of the lizard brain vs. the thinking and monkey brain?
15. Does training and practice cover the disparities between the monkey brain and the lizard brain? 

This brings me to the subject of this post, kata being taught, trained and practiced in a ROTE manner. ROTE is a fixed, habitual, or mechanical process or routine that can describe how kata are taught and trained. This can come from the more sport competition side of martial systems where the look and feel of the kata carry more importance than that kata’s application in conflict/violence. 

Often kata becomes this form of practice that is done mechanically and repetitively so that it becomes habitual, i.e. ROTE performance. ROTE performance is not taking kata and other types of drills and combinations toward the ultimate goal in SD and MA. It is easier and a measurable that can be tested but the true test is when such things actually work in a stress adrenal induced chemical dump scenario/situation where your health and well being are endangered. 

Looking at the fifteen above, by the way an incomplete listing of questions on this subject, you must have this in your training and practice to even have something from that training and practice available to the lizard brain after the three to five and most often the twenty encounters necessary to achieve proficiency in both MA and SD. Does this make sense?

Can you ask and answer these and other questions as a part of an analysis and discovery process to ensure what you are training is what you are training. Luck can only carry you so far and for the professional it is absolutely critical as they are the only ones who will actually encounter three to five to even twenty encounters of violence in the performance of their duties. 

Marc MacYoung, and others, will tell you that it is what you don’t know that can really and truly hurt you. Do you want to be one of those? Then there is the before and after that can take that hurt into other areas other than the direct physical application of violence or SD.

Kata to be useful must address and consider all these things and when practiced must go outside the barriers ROTE places on them if they are to apply toward reality. There is a point where ROTE patterns must be broken, mixed and matched in a fluid way to achieve not only proficiency in application but to encode it so that it becomes a lizard function in the heat of the situation.

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