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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Open Hands

Caveat: This post is mine and mine alone. I the author of this blog assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this post.

When today’s martial community speaks of Okinawan Ti they use the term, “Empty Hands.” Yet, how often do we actually train using those empty hands? What I mean is how often does karate utilize “Open Hands” in their applications. This may be more relevant when teaching, training and learning a self-defense oriented karate system. 

This post is about the maxim, teachings, of the hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard application of those empty or open/closed hands. When we talk about karate we tend to lean very heavily toward the striking aspect of karate, the fist. The fist has its uses but is it actually the best tool to use in self-defense?

When self-defense is involved in the teaching of karate, that system of karate “MUST” adhere to the “hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard” maxim, i.e. using the fist against softer targets while using the open hands on the harder targets. Effective techniques are based on targeting along with both the timing of that application toward that specific target and both targeting and timing as they apply to effective power generation. 

“Effective techniques are based on targeting, timing, and power generation.” - Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence. page 107-108, Chapter 5: Training, Section 5.1: the flaw in the drill

I was not consciously aware that the open-handed application of technique may actually be better suited to self-defense then the closed fist, a fist that dominated the practice of Isshinryu karate. I am not saying other Isshinryu practitioners didn’t teach and use open handed techniques but fists did and do tend to dominate the teachings. This comes from what I now believe is a misinformed karate community that “Empty Hand” means the fist. 

When a practitioner says they practice karate, most will automatically assume a striking art that depends on the fist. There are some that even take this a few steps further by adhering to just one type of fist application, the vertical and/or twisting horizontal type fist. Maybe the original creators of Ti and China Hand (toudi) and Karate (empty hand) actually meant the open empty hand. Example:

“An open-handed strike can do as much or more damage than a fist with less risk of injury to you.” Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence, page 108, Chapter 5: Training, Section 5.1: the flaw in the drill

There are other professionals with extensive experience in conflict and violence that will also agree that the open hand or the “hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard application” are at least very, very effective. I extrapolate also that the open hand applications in self-defense would, could and should be perceived less aggressive toward staying in the self-defense square (SD Square per INoSD by Marc MacYoung). The open hand in a physical conflict would, I feel, send the message that one is trying to resist the natural tendency to hit with the fist, an aggressive view, by using the open hands to deflect and apply less, perceived anyway, dangerous and aggressive application of techniques. 

In addition, if Rory Miller and others are correct and I don’t have any reasons to doubt their expertise, the open handed applications would better suit the self-defense model of martial arts. At least as perceived by the general public. 

This also gives credence and stronger validity to the original and indigenous system of Okinawa martial art, Ti (pronounced Tee). 

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