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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Martial Arts Terminology

Caveat: this post is my interpretation of readings and studies therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. It is highly recommended one fact check the data for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter.  

First, we are Westerners and we speak, write and use English. One of the draws toward martial arts is it Asian mystical traits that provide a sense of specialness. In that form westerners tend to gravitate toward the Asian terms and characters. In the sixties, seventies and even eighties it is doubtful that anyone took the time and effort to make sure that the terms in use were actually correct and proper in the usage made by American Martial Artists. 

Today, the sources are vast and detailed but still difficult to grasp properly and utilize because the variances in definitions and translations are convoluted and strange and difficult, even for Asians. I was told by a Japanese that often and due to variances even in Japan that people from different areas would need to actually draw out the characters when talking to make the word or term used clear so that it would convey the proper meaning according to the conversation. Yet, we Americans and without any type of actual training, education or experience will create and use Japanese/Okinawan/Chinese/Korean terms somewhat willy nilly and for our own purposes so that we may appear to the uninitiated as professional martial artists with connections directly to the culture and martial systems we practice and teach.

Another well known and proficient person in both martial arts and the language was told when he left Japan, by his sensei, that he should go teach the system/style in America as he would teach an American subject in American. I got this to mean that he should pretty much leave a lot of the extraneous stuff behind, in Japan, and translate it toward language, cultures and customs of the west to teach the martial system/style. 

Then again, many of today’s martial systems/styles may not have caught on if not for the Asian mystique we tied to our efforts when we came to the America states to pass on what we all learned in Asia. Add in the media industries push of the “B” martial arts movies from China, etc. i.e., think Bruce Lee here, this fed the demand for “Authentic Asian Martial Arts Training.” So, being the supply minded people we are, we gave them what they “Thought” they wanted and even today most cannot and will not learn whether what is presented is actually authenticated or just “Made up.” 

Personally, I have worked over the years to collect terminology toward martial arts but more as a teaching tool rather than a requirement in the training hall. If someone were to join my dojo today, I would not require learning or using Japanese or Okinawan terms, nor use of the karate uniform, nor the belts for grading/levels. Loose clothing, etc. along with English explanations would be the term of the day. 

I would present and use my version of the terminology as a teaching tool. An example is like the following, i.e., providing a term, in Japanese, and its associated characters/ideograms followed by definitions and martial arts oriented explanations of its usage to teach about such things as why terms in martial arts Asian languages and characters can and may be explained in a variety of ways.

My example to follow is the term, “Terminology.” 

ENGLISH: Terminology: The body of terms used with a particular technical application in a subject of study, theory, profession, etc.; the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words that in specific contexts are given specific meanings—these may deviate from the meanings the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language.

DEFINE: Strike: to hit forcebly and deliberately with one’s hand or a weapon or other implement. 

The english definitions are often pretty straight forward if the word is used and defined by the subject of study as in this case, karate. If we don’t know the usage then we could extend that toward, “a refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer.”

ASIAN: Terminology:

Goi [語彙]  

The characters/ideograms mean, “Vocabulary; lexicon; lexis; terminology.” The first character means, “Word; speech; language,” the second character means, “same kind.”

Yougo [用語]

The characters/ideograms mean, “Term; terminology; wording; choice of words; phraseology.” The first character means, “Utilize; business; service; use; employ,” the second character means, “word; speech; language.”

Jutsugo [術語]

The characters/ideograms mean, “Technical term; terminology; nomenclature.” The first character means, “Art; technique; skill; means; trick; resources; magic,” the second character means, “word; speech; language.”

Yougohou [用語法]

The characters/ideograms mean, “Word usage; terminology.” The first character means, “Utilize; business; service; use; employ,” the second character means, “word; speech; language,” the third character means, “method; law; rule; principle; model; system.”

Senmon’yougoshuu [専門用語集]

The characters/ideograms mean, “Technical glossary; terminology.” The first character means, “Specialty; exclusive; mainly; solely,” the second character means, “gate; counter for cannons,” the third character means, “utilize; business; service; use; employ,” the fourth character means, “word; speech; language,” the fifth character means, “gather; meet; congregate; swarm; flock.” 

Kouyoubun [公用文]

The characters/ideograms mean, “Official terminology.” The first character means, “Public; prince; official; governmental,” the second character means, “utilize; business; service; use; employ,” the third character means, “sentence; literature; style; art; decoration; figures; plan.” 

Senmongo [専門語]

The characters/ideograms mean, “(Specialist) terminology.” The first character means, “Speciality; exclusive; mainly; solely,” the second character means, “gate,” the third character means, “word; speech; language.” 

Now, as can be seen with the above there are far more interpretations and definitions of one word that can and do mean the same or something else without changing the romanization of the term but having different characters/ideograms of said word.

Here is where the characters/ideograms are necessary to achieve an understanding of a martial arts term. Even then, some terms and characters will mean one thing in general conversation but take on another when that same term is used in an environment such as the dojo or in a martial arts community gathering. One of the reasons when I first began my efforts I would present a term used in the training all to a Japanese friend/acquaintance  who would look at me as if I were nuts until I explained it further. 

As an example look at the above Japanese terms and make a decision which is appropriate to explaining the use and terms for martial arts. It is not so easy. Even then, you could literally take one then provide a meaning that would be adequate to the dojo but no where else and when explained properly in the context of a general conversation the person you ask will in all likelihood agree that it “Could mean that.” 

Personally, when used as a teaching tool and with adequate research that is only now becoming readily available via the Internet and apps for both computers an phones.  

So, in a nutshell, take terminology with a grain of salt. If your dojo requires you learn them then learn them, if not then use them as a tool to gain additional understanding as to what they may have conveyed in the culture and belief system you adopted your martial system from then ask and validate through other sources reputable in language interpretations. If you actually learn a valuable tidbit from this then it is good, if you don’t then “So what.” 

Just one last thing, don’t assume that because you use it in your training hall or that your instructor is an expert does not mean that the terms and meanings are correct or accurate. After all, your instructor is more of an expert in the physiokinetic aspects as to teaching than all the other Asian mystical meanings we assume and assign our martial arts (Note: even using the terms martial arts is open to critique, discussion and meaning, etc. 

Note: Even now, with each post I tend to put a caveat so that misunderstandings may be avoided, if at all possible. 

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