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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Backyard, Home, Garden Dojo, Oh my!

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. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding.)

The Home Dojo: Today, Michael Clarke of the Shinseidokan Dojo, wrote about the home dojo or what some refer to as the “backyard dojo.” It is a great article so go ahead and read it first then come back. "At Home in the Dojo"

…. dee dee dum dee dum (think elevator music while I wait for you :-)

Ok, all done, great and welcome back or should I simply say, “thanks for returning.” First, my best times teaching, learning and practicing karate have been in and out of my home dojo. I taught a lot out of my garage after I left the Marines and before I went to work for the Navy as a civilian and I also taught folks by teaching in their garages or back yards. One of the best back yard dojo’s I have seen (via the internet, have not personally visited said dojo on site) is Advincula Sensei’s “Garden Dojo” in Southern California. 

I have to wonder as well why the home or backyard dojo is not more prevalent than it is here in the United States. Maybe it is but we just don’t know about it because those sensei tend to be more private about it and tend to remain out of the limelight that a lot of the more commercial oriented shopping mall karate studio’s. For all we know there may be thousands of backyard, home or garden type dojo out there teaching all kinds of martial arts but remain unknown because they adhere to a code of teaching that leaves the ego out and keeps the core of what karate means inside. Like Clarke Sensei says, “maybe because it is more about what you bring to your karate that actually provides you with what you get out of it” that truly matters. 

Michael Clarke, like many other karate-ka, teachers and authors says things that make sense and are of value to learning, studying and gaining experience, knowledge and expertise in this, to me, most unique of disciplines. Take a look at his back yard, kind of, dojo on his blog site, totally awesome. While Advincula Sensei’s is outside in a garden environment without walls Clarke Sensei’s is surrounded by a garden, walls and the dojo proper similar to those you might encounter in Okinawa. So cool. 

Clarke Sensei reminds me that when searching out a karate teacher it might be that we should add to the list or requirements whether they are a back yard dojo kind of sensei or a shopping mall karate studio model. In my mind it does make a difference but would it make one in finding a solid sensei? 

I have to admit, once again, my preference because I am most and have been most comfortable in my and others backyard dojo environment. 

In the defense of studio dojo I can understand that in most states such endeavors require licenses and a pretty large investment to get one going then you find yourself tied to economic pressures and if you are not business oriented the obstacles can be oppressive yet doable. Also, in our country almost all of us have certain perceptions about when, where, how, who and what is taught to us by providers such as karate sensei. We are influenced by societies perceptions of the martial arts, we are influenced by the media’s perceptions of the martial arts and we are all influenced a great deal by the fad driven media displayed sport oriented type television and movie driven perceptions of the martial arts. 

More often than not the advertisements will drive what folks perceive and accept over any valid qualifications a sense might possess and by the way that ain’t much in today’s view of martial arts since it is like the wild west; ungoverned, not controlled and not monitored for truth not only in advertisement but as to credentials, etc. to which all of us have expectations of. 

Personally, I tend to think that unless the area, i.e., city, county or state, has requirements under the law that there are many, many backyard, home of garden dojo’s out there but are keeping a very low profile. After all, what we are most exposed to are those entities that project an expected kind of model that attracts consumerism blocking the quieter low profile sensei from the public eye and attention. 

The moral of this post today is that the home dojo may be one of those hidden jewels that a true searcher of true martial art discipline will have to discover for themselves and make the effort to find that sensei let alone gain entrance to learn, study and practice. It may be like the old stories of the sensei who would require personal servitude effort as proof of character and personality deserving of the sensei’s attention.  Then again, maybe not. 

Tatsuo Shimabuku Sensei, created the Isshinryu Karate system and taught the Marines stationed in Okinawa starting in the fifties and continued up to his death in the seventies. This shows his yard dojo with makiwara and Sensei practicing a sai kata for the camera. His dojo was his yard, the wall seen here was built by Marines who studied under his tutelage later and after that it remained pretty much in this state until his death. Take a moment to google Okinawa home dojo from the fifties and sixties, etc. and many will be similar to the photo above. 

1 comment:

Rick Matz said...

I am of the opinion that if home dojo were the norm rather than the exception, martial arts would be practiced at a much higher level than is apparent.