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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The Golden Move by Rory Miller

First, read the article on the Golden Move, here.

Since I am and have been a MA practitioner for a long time one of Mr. Miller’s quotes came across as very beneficial, i.e. when I write or teach on the subject of “Shu-ha-ri,” I often speak to MA’s tendency to remain transfixed in the Shu and possibly Ha stages. I believe Mr. Miller’s quote speaks to this deficiency in MA training and practice (along with many other deficiencies such as teaching the full spectrum of SD, etc.). 

Rory Miller’s quote, “ … many martial artists learned to strike (injure the threat) or unbalance (worsen the threat's position); learned to block or evade (protect yourself); and learned footwork (better your position, sometimes worsen the threat's)-- but almost all learned them as three separate things.”

Let me digress a moment, I have found that Mr. Miller, along with others such as Marc MacYoung, have done us a service by exposing the glaring deficiencies in MA training and practice especially in regard to SD and violence. Quotes and comments such as the above have shown the MA world that all of us have some changes to do and distances to travel to achieve true proficiency in MA as it is practiced and trained toward reality, i.e. reality in the world of conflict/violence as it goes to self-defense. When you have trained a long time it is hard, very hard, to recognize such deficiencies especially when your Sensei and Sensei’s Sensei just “didn’t know.” Today, with the effort such professionals as Mr. MacYoung and Mr. Miller, to name just two of many, there is NO EXCUSE to not get it right. I am happy to say from my seat many have gone on to make the changes yet there are still many commercialized SD courses and instructors who need this that will not accept it simply because it cuts into their bottom line. Digression end.

This post in relation to Mr. Miller’s quote is going to focus on kata, for training in SD. Many martial artists truly believe that every single kata technique is relevant and absolutely the most complete set of techniques to defend oneself. In my opinion and view, this is a huge mistake. As can be readily understood from the above quote, and in my opinion relevant and true, the kata are simply too atomistic. Yet, to reach the “Ha and Ri” stages of training and practice a MA has to break free from that deficiency or rather limitation on kata training and practice.

As can be seen easily when observing kata there are a lot of fundamental principles of martial systems present and practiced but in a linear step-by-step separate and atomistic way. Consider this, as you observe the atomistic separateness of each move, i.e. step, stop, strike, stop, step and so on, that application of movement and application being separate and distinct adds time to the fight. That time is easily seen as “tells.” The idea behind defense is to “get the job done quickly and efficiently” and kata in the Shu stage does not get that job done. 

In kata we have a goal of achieving “rhythm, cadence and flow” when practicing. This is great as a teaching tool in the beginner and novice levels but to be efficient and proficient it takes a bit more similar to moving up and into “No Bullshit Reality Based” training models where you put all this atomistic training into a more “Holistic” form and application. You cannot get there with kata alone. You can begin to reach there with two person kata as long as you allow the body and mind to mold and morph that kata as appropriate but this is just a step up, not an end model. 

Keeping every thing separate is great for beginner and novice learning and practice. If your practice is about self-improvement, self-confidence and a more spiritual “way (do or doah)” then you are good. If it is about SD then it needs to be taken to the highest stage of shu-ha-ri. It needs to blend, flow and apply in a manner that allows you to “Get the job done quickly and efficiently” as possible. Then add in all the other SD stuff that keeps you, as Mr. MacYoung tells us in his book, in the SD square (I use a target circle but it all means the same). 

As Mr. Miller continues to explain, if you take three distinct separate moves, i.e. block then move to a proper angle then counter, you are taking way too much time and if the other guy is hell bent on doing damage they will sail through your moves and blitz you down and out. I am not saying that this type of stuff does not work in competitions but in reality, it might work and it might not, wanna gamble that with damage, hospital, permanent injuries, incarceration, court, costs, long years in jail and then the economic, social and psychological after effects to you and your family?

I like Mr. Miller’s Gold standard, i.e. “ … one move with four effects …” Now, the question is, “How do you achieve the Golden Rule?” I can answer that easily enough, “Find someone, if not Mr. MacYoung and/or Mr. Rory Miller, who can take you to the higher “Ha and Ri” levels in your MA and SD. I could give you my idea’s on how that can be achieved but I am not in a dojo with others training this today and you need someone who can teach it, train it and make it fun for you to learn while introducing you to the many other aspects of SD and MA, i.e. like that no bullshit reality based training model.

Oh, and if you don’t remember just go back and read Rory Miller’s post, “Expanding Lists,” because he mentions how you teach such things in a fundamental and non-technique specific way. He calls it, “Jeff’s Rules.” :-)

Then, ask yourself, “Does my MA have a Golden rule? or Does my SD system teach the Golden rule?” While you are at it, take the time and read their books, really illuminating to say the least.

MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.

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