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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Learn from Kata

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article 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 article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.)

In a recent posting on a traditional karate Facebook Wall it was asked if one could achieve higher levels in black belt strictly from kata video’s with a base of “trained in a style for six years achieving sho-dan grade,” and the responses I provided are as follows.

Comment One: Personally, it would depend on what he was trying to learn and what he wanted to teach. As to the "Way" in a spiritual philosophical way it also would depend on factors not mentioned. Assuming that all the facts are presented then for the Way, No. 

Now, as to combative or self-defense, not even close because if I assumed that all he practiced and learned were presented in the above comments then he is missing "a huge amount" of knowledge, training and experience - he should not be teaching unless his goals and objectives were in line with what he knows and according to your example, not much. 

If he was presented sho-dan by a previous dojo, fine, I would accept that with a caveat that he had to demonstrate over time his knowledge and ability but he could still, if he chooses, wear his black belt. After all, so many today wear one that shouldn't even wear a white belt but that is another thread entirely.

Comment Two: Lets try this instead: Same hypothetical question but add in the following as well. He learned the movements of the kata from video then through training, practice and experience by either real-life encounters or through practice and training with friends and associates he is able to learn, understand, apply and incorporate all the underlying principles of martial systems that most call body mechanics but much more.

Then he attends various seminars and training courses that utilize realty-based no-bullshit training and drills to learn how to use and apply his stuff under the influence of things like the adrenal flood affects, being attacked both socially and a-socially, being attacked specifically by predator process/resource type attacks, how to verbally handle both verbal and psychological attacks, how to handle through conflict communications training toward both avoidance and de-escalation, how to handle fear, anger, surprise with pain, structure and balance disruptions from an aggressive surprise sudden fast hard and close attack and so on. 

Lets say he also studied all the materials that help him handle the before, during and after ramifications of the moral, social and legal arena when in a fight or forced into a self-defense situation starting from awareness to avoidance to deescalation to the physical manifestation in self-defense to the articulation of both JAM and the Five STAGES of the attack toward convincing the first responder and the prosecutor to accept your legal plea of self-defense, i.e., you broke the law but for reasonable and understandable reasons. Then his training also encompassed how to handle other repercussions such as his adversary’s civil law suit. Then lets not forget his training and practice toward handling the psychological and physical damage almost sure to be endured, i.e., the damage of the fight/self-defense along with how that will affect his family, his ability to earn and support that family as well as the legal fees, etc.

If they can then translate that kata into the type of concepts, goals and abilities to handle all of the above and a whole lot more then and only then would you consider his level to be adequate to a higher level than sho-dan? Note/Caveat: Lets also assume that what I present is just the tip of the iceberg and that reality-based no bullshit training for the full spectrum that is self-defense is dominate. Anything else is just play. 

In a nutshell my inferred answer to learning a system through video is, “No way, not even close.” Video’s are a supplemental tool for qualified instructors and practitioners. They are a guide that requires validation with a hands-on period of instruction by a qualified sensei. Now, as to that qualification of a teacher, instructor and sensei, that is a whole separate thread and ballgame altogether. 

Note: I have learned what I call the basics of a kata from a video. I have also used video to change and fix things I have or had incorrect as to kata - in the beginning. But, to learn, understand and apply principles learned through in-depth knowledge and understanding of martial arts via a kata took a lot more study and practice with another person who had that level. This after about twenty years of learning, practice, training, validation from my sensei, validation from others and so on …. I have now been in karate for thirty-nine years and yet there is still a lot I need to learn and understand toward kata and other esoteric things that contribute to training, practice and applying in karate. 

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