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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Isshinryu and Self-Defense

I am going to piss off a lot of Isshinryu’ist with this post. I am going to literally undermine their belief system about Isshinryu. It is important to “KNOW” that this is not a blanket statement about Isshinryu but rather a personal perspective as to my personal perception as it came to be from the training I received from the Instructors I trained under. It is going to be about a belief system based on assumptions and misinterpretations over these many years. The reason I am saying it will piss off a lot is because they will immediately jump to the Monkey brain side and assume I am talking about their Isshinryu, not true. This is about my Isshinryu and my perceptions from my Isshinryu cultural belief system. Sound confusing, maybe it will become clear as I write. Oh, if you stick with me on this then thanks and congrats for working toward an open mind. 

First, my original reasons for taking on a martial art was because I grew up as a slight person up to around the age of fifteen. Because I was small and an introvert I believe that made me an easy target. 

Second, because of my introversion and pension for being a loner along with my being such an easy target I endured some socially driven status type dominant type focus from others especially the football team who thought I made a good football. I, naturally, looked for some way to handle this type of stuff but, HONESTLY, I had no role model to follow. My father was, to my mind, useless. My older brothers, one who was just too busy with his life with a larger span of years separating us was a good guy but didn’t fall into that big-brother type role model. Nothing I could identify with and often both he and my next older brother, especially the next older brother, were more an obstacle than a mentor or guide or role models. 

As to the next older, I endured things like his testing to see how easy it was to break someone’s jaw to chasing me off the baseball field with a bat type thing. I actually think about it and was on the receiving end of his abuse more than almost all my other encounters, those few I have written about before, as a whole. At least it feels that way. 

Third, and the point here, is that all this along with “No role models,” led me to finding my own way and, as many have probably done at my age level, my first idea was created by exposure to “Bruce Lee movies.” So, on my own I sought out trying to find a way to learn. No martial arts in my area so I went to the gym to learn boxing. Then later, I tried to learn MA from books. Yadda, yadda yadda the same ole story many marital artists from my era have told as it seems that being bullied and other such drivel tends to be the defacto story of MA practitioners. Maybe it is true for all of us and maybe not.

I am digressing. Back on topic. Needless to say that without a good role model and no roles I could find with those in my neighborhood who stood out as “Tough guys,” as my only sources I almost, almost, ended up on the criminal side of life and yet something, something innate within me, resulted in my making the decision that maybe I needed a different role model. Jack Webb, The DI, Jan Michael Vincent, Tribes and finally First Sergeant Jeff Yates, Marine Corps Recruiter led me to joining the Marines. 

I was exposed to many sources of handling conflict and violence but here is where I get back on track with the topic, those lessons on handling conflict and violence were NOT about Self-Defense. They were more about fighting and interspersed with what was thought of at that time as combatives. You know if you did military time, the hand-to-hand, at that time, was in sufficient to get the job done so as a good Marine who wanted to be prepared for any eventuality, especially if I was going to be sent (I wasn’t sent tho) to Viet Nam. Note that a lot of my exposure to conflict and violence in the first four years of serving actually came from other Marines in the Barracks and at Liberty. We lived in open bay type barracks and the social times split those area’s into sub areas or tribes of culturally and belief different groups. 

Anyway, in 1976 I was also exposed to Judo and a form of Karate from Hawaii. Neither of these were about SD but rather how to be an aggressive fighter and as most today are finding, that ain’t the way to true Self-defense.

Ok, enough background as I may be entering into the world of, “Hey dude, get to the point will you.” Well, in 1976 karate became a focal point for me. The Samoan who worked with me using me more as a punching bag opened my eyes to many things including getting hit and getting hurt. When I was finally sent overseas, to Okinawa, I was primed for something a bit more structured so I could learn, practice and train.

Fourth, I was stationed at Camp Hansen, Truck Company, located just inside the Camp Hansen main gate across the street from Kin Village. I was informed that this, Okinawa, was the place to learn karate. This is where fate, luck, and good karma came my way as the last three years were difficult in many ways (think big city and working the projects as a Marine recruiter), came my way in the form of a fresh First Sergeant arriving about a week after my arrival. FS Warner Dean Henry as our company First Sergeant came to me to see if they had a karate dojo on base. When he found the Hansen gym had none he told me he would start a dojo teaching Isshinryu. Yea for me, I was his first student and that was the beginning of a long history of friendship, mentorship and study of Isshinryu.

Isshinryu and Self-defense, I was taught that Isshinryu was the “Perfect self-defense system,” as well as a perfect combative system to supplement any training the Marines provide in hand-to-hand combat. Not really true. Let me explain.

First, again, only because of my exposure over the last decade has it become apparent that a lot, mostly, of what is taught as self-defense is not self-defense. The physical teaching called self-defense was actually about combatives in the form of Physical techniques that are aggressive and geared to, as they often said in the training, take your adversary or attacker out. Even then, what was taught, as I am becoming more aware of today, what was taught was more in line with mostly social conflicts with the monkey dances, etc. against opponents less trained and often geared heavily toward a more competitive form of application, not self-defense even if they spouted off that it was the best SD in the world. 

Second, again, although my sensei actually took our sparring sessions more toward close in-fighting scenario’s it was still geared overall as a sport or educationally geared format or model and that is not all inclusive toward a SD world. We had a lot of fun, we scrapped and hit hard and got hurt and really worked toward a SD but did not get there.

Third, again, Isshinryu had everything we needed to become good at self-defense but it came with obstacles and handicaps. The only reason even a little of it became good regarding self-defense is because Henry Sensei, having tested his skills in bar brawls, fights on the streets and some hand-to-hand in Viet Nam provided some of his insights to his sparring sessions. That was luck, to a degree, on my part.

As to Isshinryu it was taught to Henry Sensei, and thus to me, didn’t contain the skills or techniques relevant to close in-fighting for self-defense and didn’t even translate, as bunkai, to application of adequate techniques that would “Work,” in a type of encounters that would span the entire spectrum of violence under the heading of applying SD, etc. It never applied truly relevant violence in a way that could be countered by the techniques within the system because I find that as it was taught it was the “Educationally watered down system” as applied to the Okinawa and Japanese school systems. 

Granted, as to various fundamental principles, of which I could not actually name because in that time explanations were deferred and we were expected to assimilate it by hands-on practice and training, underlying Isshinryu we still learned a great deal about what is often called “Body mechanics” , etc., and that is always good but the caveat here is when taught to apply them we were taught the wrong applications. 

Take a look at physiokinetics for the principles taught. We were left to create our own bunkai, so to speak, for SD when our mind-set/state was not actually SD oriented. 

Granted, as Marines we were actually more inclined to learn what would be considered combatives by today’s descriptions but actually would they have been good toward hand-to-hand in combat. Since I didn’t serve in combat and didn’t have to apply what was taught in combat I cannot say for sure yet Henry told me that he used his knowledge a few times but those encounters were not against combatants in Viet Nam but encounters with attackers while on leave in the local villages, etc. In other words more of a social nature with many having the type of “Perceived Intent” to kill over just as either a process or resource goal. 

In a nutshell, Isshinryu has the potential, with adequate changes, to achieve a goal of self-defense. Because of its original creation as a close in type system as explained by its core traits it is a great close in system and many of the things one needs for SD are there to use with one issue of a magnitude of huge proportions, it is not taught that way. 

Finally, another huge issue is Isshinryu is not taught completely in regard to the five principles of martial systems, i.e. it is missing the principles that make any system effective in SD. It is and still is missing that one principle that I added to the fundamentals, the principles of self-defense, i.e. “Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence, Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Social and Asocial, Predator process and predator resource, Social Violence, Force levels, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”

Isshinryu is a great traditional form of karate. Isshinryu is NOT a self-defense system as it is taught today. Isshinryu DOES have the potential for being a great SD system as far as the striking aspects are concerned. Isshinryu is a great system to incorporate all those other forms necessary to round of the system toward a more complete and comprehensive MA for Self-Defense. It has one psychological obstacle that must be overcome to achieve this goal, the mind-lock toward the belief that the system MUST remain original and intact with the creators original forms taught so many years ago, i.e. late fifties and early sixties. If Isshinryu’ists can remove the blinders created from such mundane and obsolete beliefs, create more open mindedness and “See” within the system and “Change” that system toward its actual roots from the Okinawan ancient practice of Ti they can find all the necessary components for self-defense. 

One of the reasons I have decided to drop the name of Isshinryu in my personal practice is because I am, slowly, changing my perceptions and mind-state/set toward those things I feel will be beneficial toward utilization as a SD-MA are being done. It is still Isshinryu and still the essence behind my efforts but to achieve a SD posture it has to change. 

For me, for my practice and for my efforts trough the art of writing I am trying to convey the ideologies, theories and results of my efforts so that others can contemplate, consider and vet out for themselves such things that will, hopefully, result in changes that will teach their students the full, complete and comprehensive martial art of self-defense. 


Note: This is not comprehensive simply because I was not tracking my sources until someone was kind enough to point out its importance. I started to gather the list so that others would realize that although it may sound as if I am the all wise martial artists and MA philosopher it is actually a compilation of other sources along with my own thoughts, ideas, theories, and knowledge

I apologize to those who came before me if I have forgotten you and your material, which has contributed to my search for knowledge, and hope that if you recognize something and don't see your sources properly acknowledged you will let me know with kindness and understanding.

Advincula, A. J. The Naming of Isshin-ryu: In the beginning there was the one. Isshnikai:The Official Website of Sensei Arcenio J. Advincula. 2009
Advincula, A.J. Isshinkai Yahoo Group. 2010
Advincula, A. J. MSgt USMC (Ret.), Isshinryu Sensei. "His writings and postings of Isshinryu and Kenpo Gokui on Isshinkai. California 2009.
Advincula, A.J. "Chinkuchi". Isshinkai Group Thread: February, 2007
Advincula, Arcenio J. Isshinkai Yahoo Group; April, 2007
Advincula, Arcenio J. Isshinkai Yahoo Group; May, 2007
Advincula, A.J. "Chinkuchi". Isshinkai Group Thread: February, 2007
Advincuala, A. J. 
Advincula, A.J. "Isshinryu no Gokui." Online Posts. 13 April 2001 to present date. IsshinKai Yahoo Group. 

Bolton, Robert, Ph.D. "People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts." Simon & Schuster. New York. 1979. 1986.
Boyd, Charles. Kenpo Gokui. Isshinkai Yahoo Group Post 2009.
Breed, George. "Embodying Heaven and Earth: A Radiant Model of Transformation." Publication: International Journal of Humanities and Peace Publication 2003

Chu, W. K. and Sherrill, W. A. The Astrology of I Ching. New York. Penguin Books. 1976
Chu, W. K. and Sherrill, W. A. An Anthology of I Ching. London. Routledge and Kegan Paul. 1977.
Clarke, Michael. "Shin Gi Tai: Karate Training for Body, Mind, and Spirit." YMAA Publishing. New Hampshire. 2011.

Davies, Roger J. and Ikeno, Osamu. "The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture." Tuttle Publishing. Tokyo, Japan. 2002.
DeMente, Boye Lafayette. "Japan's Cultural Code Words: 233 Key Terms That Explain the Attitudes and Behavior of the Japanese." Tuttle. Vermont, Tokyo and Singapore. 2004. 
DeMente, Boye Lafayette. "Kata: The Key to Understanding & Dealing with the Japanese." Tuttle Publishing. Tokyo, Vermont and Singapore. 2003
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "Samurai Strategies: 42 Martial Secrets from Musashi's Book of Five Rings." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2008.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Origins of Human Violence: Male Dominance, Ignorance, Religions and Willful Stupidity!" Phoenix Books. Kentucky. 2010.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Japanese Samurai Code: Classic strategies for Success." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2004.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Chinese Mind: Understanding Traditional Chinese Beliefs and Their Influence on Contemporary Culture." Tuttle Publishing. Rutland, Vermont. 2009.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Chinese Have a Word for It: The Complete Guide to Chinese Thought and Culture." McGraw Hill Publishing. New York. 1996.

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 Self-Defense at Work." New York. Prentice Hall Press. 2000.
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
Elgin, Suzette. "Staying Well with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." MJF Books. 1990.

Gladwell, Malcolm. "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." Bay Back Books. France. 2007.
Goleman, Daniel. “Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition].” Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Gunaratana, Bhante. Mindfulness in Plain English. Wisdom Publications; 2nd edition. September 2002. 

Hall, Edward T. "The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time." Anchor Books. New York. 1983, 1984, 1989.
Hall, Edward T. "The Hidden Dimension." Anchor Books. New York. 1969, 1990.
Hall, Edward T. and Hall, Mildred Reed. "Hidden Differences: Doing Business with the Japanese." Anchor Books. New York. 1987, 1990.
Hanson, Rick and Mendius, Richard. The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha's Brain: Happiness, Love & Wisdom. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. 2009.
Heath, Robin. Sun, Moon, & Earth. Wooden Books, Ltd. Ontario Canada. 1999 
Hayes, William R. Major USMC (ret.) Shorin-ryu Karate-do. "My Journey with the Grandmaster: Reflections of an American Martial Artist on Okinawa." Morris Publishing, Kearney, NE, 1997/2009 ISBN: 978-1-575-02-554-4
Huang, Alfred. "The Complete I Ching." Inner Traditions Rochester, Vermont. 1998 
Isshinkai Yahoo Group, "Re: [Isshin Kai Karate] finding Personal hexagram Okinawa History & traditions" dtd Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 1:13 AM
Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing. Crossroad Publishing New York. 2010. 

Kaiguo, Chen, Shundhao, Zheng, Cleary, Thomas. "Opening the Dragon's Gate: The Making of a Modern Taoist Wizard. Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 1996.

Lowry, Dave. "The Essence of Budo: A Practitioner's Guide to Understanding the Japanese Martial Ways." Boston & London, Shambhala Publications. 2010.
Lundy, Miranda. Sacred Geometry. New York. Walker Publishing Company. 2007

MacYoung, Marc. "Violence, Blunders, and Fractured Jaws: Advanced Awareness Techniques and Street Etiquette." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1992. 
MacYoung, Marc. “In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It.” Marc MacYoung. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
Matsumoto, Michihiro. "The Unspoken Way, Haragei: Silence in Japanese Business and Society." Kodansha. New York. 1988.
Meadows, Donella H. “Thinking in Systems.” Chelsea Green Publishing. Vermont. 2008.
Miller, Kamila. "Campfire Tales from Hell: Musing on Martial Arts, Survival, Bounding, and General Thug Stuff." CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014.
Miller, Rory. "Violence: A Writer's Guide." Pacific Northwest. Wyrd Goat Press. 2012.
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.
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

Newberg, Andrew MD and Waldman, Mark Robert. "Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth." Free Press. New York. 2006
Nylan, Michael. "The Elemental Changes: The Ancient Chinese Companion to the I Ching." Albany NY, State of NY Press. 1994

Okakura, Kakuzo. Dover Publications. New York. 1964.

Pease, Marshall. The Aquarian I Ching. Brotherhood of Life, inc. Albuquerque, NM. 1993.
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Volk, Steve. "Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain the Unexplainable - And Couldn't." HarperOne Publishing. New York. 2011.
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Wilhelm, Hellmut and Wilhelm, Richard. Understanding the I Ching: The Wilhelm Lectures on the Book of Changes. bollinger series. New Jersey. Princeton Publishing. 1995.
Wilhelm, Hellmut. "Change: Eight Lectures on the I Ching." Routledge & Kegan Paul publishers, London. 1961 and 1970.
Wilhelm, Richard. The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life. New York. Harcourt Brace and Company. 1962.
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Wilhelm, Richard and Baynes, Cary F. "The I Ching or Book of Changes." New Jersey: Princeton University Press; 3rd edition. October 1, 1967. ISBN-10: 069109750X
Wilhelm/Byrnes, "The I Ching". Princeton University Press. 1967
Wilhelm, Hellmut. "Heaven, Earth, and Man in the Book of Changes." University of Washington Press, Seattle and London. 1997 

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1 comment:

Charles James said...

Isshinryu is an awesome system of karate. I love the system very much. It has been a huge part of my adult life, over thirty-eight years. It has many of the necessary components for SD but it is also missing many critical components/aspect necessary for modern self-defense. It is like may SD programs and many SD martial arts programs, it is believed to have them all but it is actually missing more than those would readily admit or even realize. It is about seeing what you think you know and seeing what you don't know you don't know. My effort is to learn and then influence others to learn. I am of the outgoing older generation of MA's and this learning, teaching and changing needs to be embraced by the younger generation so they can "Get out there, mix it up, sweat it out in fun and then teach, train and apply it for the coming generations." Don't forget that critical part about reality, stress, adrenal influences, etc. to make "IT WORK!"