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

Search This Blog

Lineage, Its Importance or NOT

(Note: I have compiled several posts regarding my philosophy as to lineage. Lineage has is importance but all to often it is attributed a status that tends to put its importance far above that which is valuable, relevant and applicable toward a full wholehearted learning, teaching and understanding of a martial system such as Isshinryu. I use Isshinryu because that is the foundation to my martial arts practice and disciplines but should not be misconstrued as anything derogatory to the system or its practitioners. As always, remember -

Caveat: This post is mine and mine alone. I the author of this post 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.)

In the martial arts community lineage seems to hold sway over a lot of how folks look at martial artists, especially sensei. Is lineage really that important and if so, why?

Iesuji [家筋] is about lineage; pedigree; family line. It has become important in westernized martial arts. It has come to symbolize a certain authority and proficiency in martial practices. Many feel and assume that being a student of the master of any system has special meaning. What the meaning or level of effective proficiency is questionable. 

I was a first generation student of seems to have some assumed meaning but when you try to peg down what that meaning is they often cannot tell you except it has something to do with knowing the culture and belief system of your system or style. 

Sensei Michael Clarke, Shinseidokan Dojo Blog, states, “A grasp of your martial genealogy is helpful when forming an overall understanding of what and why (but not how) you are doing the things you do.”

It seems to me to be like, “if you fail to learn from your history you are destained to repeat history - over, over and over again.” Mr. Clarke makes a good point when he states that your involvement means something as to whether you should learn about keizu of your system or not. If you are a trophy hound, a rank hound or a person who likes to fight in competitions then who, what, when, where, how and why of your system means little to nothing. 

In my view to gain a full and complete understanding of the “who, what, when, where, how and why” of things provide you with insight that promotes a mind-state that discovers not only old things but the creation of new things, insights and knowledge because to feed the mind as much data as possible about these things provides the mind a pool of data that they can extract from to not only provide answers but create answers. 

Inspirations come from the exposure of the mind to many things both within your immediate influences but also from influences normally outside your normalcy. It is that “out of the box” type knowledge, experience and understanding that provides the mind so it may create the state of mind with the necessary knowledge that allows us to act accordingly. The next step is to speed up that process by training, training, and more training along with practice, practice and more practice so the lizard can go directly and act quicker than the thinking mind. 

Again, as Mr. Clarke eludes too, this also teaches the martial artists that to adhere strictly to what your Sensei teaches can become limiting, stifling, and cause stagnation. It all is about stretching, reaching and achieving individualized understanding and application of any system regardless. It is about making the system your own so that your mind and mind-state can achieve what is relevant and pertinent to you and your life. This is especially important when confronted in conflict and all conflict exposes a person to physically, mentally and morally. 

In my system Tatsuo-san, the creator and master of the Isshinryu system of Okinawa, often expressed the importance of the Westerner to learn about the culture, beliefs and history of Okinawan. I believe he asked this of his American students because in assumed that we would want to achieve a full and complete wholehearted understanding and practice of his practice of Isshinryu. 

Mr. Clarke uses the word, “Blasphemy,” in his posting and I believe that it is apropos because it is blasphemy  when one uses lineage or keizu as a means of generating money while leaving the essence of lineage knowledge out as if a unnecessary byproduct. It seems blasphemous to use such important aspects of martial arts simply as a self promotion means of achieving egoistic pride driven gains.  

Shodai [初代]

The characters/ideograms mean, "First generation; founder." The first character means, "first time; beginning," the second character means, "substitute; change; convert; replace; period; age; counter for decades of ages, eras, etc.; generation; change; rate; fee."

Shodai or "first generation" is a term used often in my branch of Shorin-ryu, i.e. Isshinryu. It would seem to hold a high level of importance as to relational training and practice of those who trained directly under Isshinryu's founder, Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei. The argument, debate or illusion that somehow training directly under Tatsuo-san provides some mystical insight into Isshinryu or any other system of karate is ludicrous and distracting as to the essence of martial training regardless of the system, style or branch of practice. 

Many of the finest karate-ka I have had the privilege of training with over the years I found to be more rooted and earthly in nature than most so declared "first generation" practitioners as described here.

So, what is it that makes being a first generation student of the system founder so important? Is is something that is inherent in Asian martial disciplines or is it something made into an importance by western culture? Is it something that is driven by the ego and pride of importance that some seek to off set their lack of self-esteem? Is it something that provides for power over others? Is it an attempt to make a tribal statement so that one who holds that title is to be the undisputed leader of those weak minded enough to follow? Is it some proven level of proficiency that comes only from someone with a direct link to the founder making for a master karate-ka? 

These and many more questions come to mind when I hear that someone is to be held to the highest levels of respect and honor because they had the luck to train directly under the tutelage of Tatsuo-san, founder of Isshinryu. This seems to be a complete western concept because there seem to be very few Okinawans who actually recognize Isshinryu even exists. 

Is this an elitist mentality? Do those who profess that connection feel superior because of it even if they are just mediocre practitioners who hold dear a state that is only superior in the minds of themselves and their followers? Is this something that came into being from our instinctual need to belong to something special that “others” cannot because they are not a member? 

Or, is this just another bullshit elitist method to hold people under one’s influences for egoistic pride driven esteem building pedestal sitting money driven economical whatever?

What about being a direct student of Tatsuo-san makes that person a superior martial artists over others who have worked just as hard and often times much harder than the first generation student? Why do folks have the feeling that something unique and special comes from being a direct, first line generation, student of Tatsuo-san?

Am I just jealous because I am not a first generation student of Tatsuo-san or the first generation student of my Sensei who just happens to be a first generation student of Tatsuo-san even if not true or if true one who can only truly claim that Tatsuo-san was at least present when he trained and the honbu dojo? What says that it is something worthwhile and special if all they can truly say is that Tatsuo-san was present when they trained at the honbu dojo but in reality it was actually another military person or the second born son of Tatsuo-san or just another leading Okinawan student who actually trained them under the guise and guidance of Tatsuo-san’s presence?

Why can’t we all be proud to practice Isshinryu and give thanks to Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei for creating such a wonderful discipline art form that we all can enjoy and practice for our life times?

No comments: