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.

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“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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Tatsuo-san’s Kumite for Isshinryu

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.

Andy Sloane Sensei has written an excellent description of these “kumite” from Tatsuo Shimabuku Sensei. As an example, most of us believe we know that kumite means, “sparring.” He presents the meaning as, “grappling hands.” He, apparently, meant it to mean a specific set of two-person training of combinations/techniques used by Uke and Tori to learn applications for specified types of attacks (my interpretations, not Sloane Sensei’s). Here are some examples:

Where I come in is that these “kumite” are meant to be self-defense scenario’s. I expect some might simply say that these are common, in Tatsuo-san’s time, fighting situations a karate-ka needs to learn for self-protection. I must note that these theories are simply that, theories, that are unsubstantiated by any known historical facts other than as transmitted as kata and/or “kumite (as defined by Tatsuo-san).”

When you view these or if you are a practitioner of Isshinryu who learned and practice Tatsuo-san’s kumite you may have accepted them as solid self-defense kumite or you may have simply learned, practiced and taught them to maintain the historical origins of Isshinryu.

Here is where if stray from that seemingly necessary connection for historical preservation. I don’t believe we must remain steadfast and dogmatically glued to these kumite because most, if not all, are not really realistic to modern self-defense or even fighting, i.e., as protection against violence. 

If we are to study violence and self-defense then we have to believe that almost all non-socially monkey dancing school yard fights are actually composed of “surprise-fear-pain” triad of violence. Except for the monkey dance a good deal of violent attacks are from complete and utter surprise with a large doze of both fear and pain. It happens quickly, ergo the surprise and it involves the attacker situating the attack to avoid or at least limit their own damage as well as to accomplish their goals.  

Take for instance, no violent attack be it for reasons of robbery or simply to hurt a person seldom does the attacker attack by application of such things as the “full nelson” or the “wrist grab” and so on. This may, may, occur in the school yard scuffle or the monkey dance at the local bar on football night when you friend gets pissed because you are giving him hell over his team losing, etc.

Granted, these kumite still serve a purpose as long as the mind-set/mind-state is such that the practitioners understand the disconnect between them and reality. If you are using them to teach self-defense then they are lacking. If you teach them from combatives, then they are lacking. Lacking a reality toward what combat is and what violence is as applied both in combat and in self-defense. 

Add in a certain level of complexity that goes against any professionals view of what works vs. what does not. It is about using them for what they can achieve, i.e., some of the physiokinetic principles, vs. what they will not. 

Tatsuo-san’s kumite, historically and for preservation of his legacy, are great. Tatsuo-san’s kumite, for fighting, combat and/or self-defense, simply will not get you fully and completely there. This is not to disparage his teachings but to convey that as time passes and society progresses things change including violence and how to defend against it. If you fail to change to meet those changing challenges of the current times then you allow yourself to fail when you need it most. 

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