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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Cocking the Fist at the Hip

In martial arts, some anyway, there seems to be this “requirement” one cock the fist at the hip to apply most strikes. I have commented on this as a great teaching tool for the beginner but when applying principles of martial systems the cocking to the hips ceases for other more practical reasons including the important adherence to those principles. 

Then, reading or re-reading the book “In the Name of Self-Defense” by Marc MacYoung I came across a quote that gave me a “Oh really” type moment. He states that, “next to getting off line, getting people NOT to draw back is the second most difficult unconscious behavior to break. Cocking back is deeply embedded in our psyches and in some weird ways.” The weird ways explanations is this, “read the book.”

It then seems to me to explain why so many higher graded karate-ka tend to stay with those inefficient “cock the fist” type moves because it matches up with our embedded instinctual habit of cocking back or drawing back a fist to either warn of impending danger of violence or actually applying an overhanded punch to an adversary - usually in social monkey dance situations I think. 

Think about the cocking back to the hip then striking forward. First, can you say telegraphing. Second, can you say too much time to cock and then strike allowing you to move off centerline, if you have broken that embedded aspect of your psyche, and then applying your own, more appropriately applied principles of power, technique. 

I can also now see why it has been difficult for me to adjust to this paradigm but also why so many default back to this more instinctual way of humans to apply such things in violence vs. the fast, hard, close, surprise like application of immediate, direct and explosive action in a violent conflict. Can we say, “Doah!”


John Vesia said...

I agree that telegraphing a strike -- either out of incompetence or posturing is bad news. Clearly that's what MacYoung is talking about. This needs more context, though. There are other reasons for pulling your hands back.

If you're using kata as a primer for self-defense applications you'll know that when a hand retreats to the hip it usually has something in it. When it retreats to the armpit it's a rear-elbow strike.

Think of Seisan, Charles. (For your readers' edification this is the first kata taught in Isshinryu karate.) Open-hand (haito) grab-and-pull to the hip, and especially double-stacked fists on the hip are not preludes to strikes; they're the completion of a move.

The stuff that's taught to beginners in haste and what's understood properly at the higher levels tend to be vastly different. It needn't be that way.

Charles James said...

Thanks John, all good points but as to the striking aspect alone as a technique for self-defense my post stands. All that you present as you state are great teaching tools especially for the novice levels and taking it beyond that level when you reach a higher level of understand counts absolutely. I guess I am making a point that many don't move up to a higher level and distinguish such things as you eloquently present in your comment. So, thanks for adding it in, it does make things a bit clearer.