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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Karate Instructor vs. Sensei

I was reading a post by Michael Clarke Sensei, at Shinseidokan Dojo blog, and the two seemed to beg for attention, “Karate Instructor vs. Sensei.” I believe he was trying to make an distinction and that spurred me on to write a post about it because in my view it is an important distinction. 

Many can say they are karate instructors but few, in my view and perception, can say they are Sensei. Then the question arises as to what constitutes a karate instructor and what constitutes a Sensei. Karate instructor is a label that speaks to an apparent ability to teach and a subject of karate much like a high school subject - math. It holds a hollow meaning form many more traditional type practitioners. At least from my seat on the dojo floor. 

I tend to associate a karate instructor with a commercial view. It tends to be limited in what it gives yet it wants to pull in a lot of money in return. It is like a barter system where one person comes in and asks if you have this particular product, you say, “Right here,” and they ask, “How much?” You state a price and then the deal is done. It is about a set of criteria that is balanced against a monetary amount that makes the person feel like they are getting something for their hard earned cash. A karate instructor may provide just the provided product, no more and no less. I am not saying all karate instructors are like this but I would bet most are and they fall into that category.

Then there is the karate instructor who opens a dojo (a store) with minimal knowledge, ability and expertise. This is often those who took the above instruction from their karate instructor after attaining a black belt for completing successfully the stated criteria, passing the required tests and demonstrating a fundamental knowledge of the physical manifestations that make their karate appear authenticate. There is, from some perspectives, no substance to their karate, no substance to their instructions and they tend to fit a specific structure and form that makes for a karate class. Even the word, “Class,” intimates a school oriented type endeavor. Maybe this is because most of today’s karate comes from the karate formed for the Okinawan and Japanese educational system implementations in the early 1900’s/

This is by far not even close to a full disclosure as to what constitutes a, “Karate Instructor.” 

Sensei, even the characters/ideograms for the term don’t do it justice. First, understand that the term is used in all facets of Japanese and Okinawan culture and life. It can be defined as an, “Oath or a Pledge.” It can refer to an “Ancient Sage regarding Confucius.” It is used as an honorific title for teachers or doctors, etc. It can even have meaning toward the game of baseball, i.e. head start (of several runs) (baseball).

In the dojo it can mean, “Teacher; master.” The most common characters/ideograms used to denote a dojo sensei are, “先生.” Those characters/ideograms mean, “: Before; ahead; previous; future; precedence and : life; genuine; birth. In many circles one can make the assumption that it means, “One who comes before.” It is like referring to one who has been around longer, who has attained a higher level of knowledge, experience and ability. Yet it does not truly, as a defined term, characters and ideograms, convey the true meaning in the traditional dojo for the head of said dojo, the Sensei. 

The traits and character of Sensei can be described with many descriptive words such as, “Honorable, Loyal, Honest to a fault, Truthful, reticent (stoic), benevolent, a person of honor and valor, of great wisdom, enlightened, humble, of unquestionable great character, a mentor, a guide, an active listener, articulate beyond normal, accomplished, leader, patient, emotional intelligent, knowledgable, energetic, postivie in attitude, demonstrates through deed, action and word the true essence of budo, moral, and so many other descriptive terms. 

Sensei allows you to discover for yourself your true path in a discipline that transcends many other more sportive ones. Sensei allows the individual to grow, learn, and discover. It is a title that describes one who is devoted to his efforts to lead, teach and train practitioners in the chosen martial system and way. 

It is not to vilify any one individual or to put them so high on a pedestal they forget the truth of the way of a Sensei or Karate. It is what separates people from true visionaries of the martial arts. It is almost indescribable  and must be sensed without subverting those who would follow from being their own persons and going their own way. 

Sensei is normal yet special so it makes it very hard to describe let alone achieve otherwise they are just, “Karate Instructors.”

In closing, I feel I may understand Clarke Sensei’s feelings regarding a sensei vs. a karate instructor but I am not him. To me, a karate sensei is something unique in all the physical disciplines if for no other reason it is one of a few that actually takes in a life path model as a part of its teachings, i.e., in the fundamental principles of the martial system. Very personally, I don’t want to be just a karate instructor but to be a true, complete and sincere Sensei, that is something worth shooting for, don’t you think?

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