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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The Cultural Metaphor

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

A recent study on another topic brought out a possible explanation as to why we tend to make use of cultural aspects of others for our own needs and requirements, etc. Often in martial arts we see slight references toward certain cultural use of Asian cultures and beliefs especially as they may or may not apply in martial arts dojo, training halls.

This usage in most cases is sporadic and interspersed with more English and American cultural beliefs. We use the karate-gi, we use terms and phrases with the assumption we know what they mean and their intent in training, practice and applications. We count in Japanese, we read and quote Asian morally driven “Meme’s or quotes” for inspiration often without knowing their true intent and meaning - we more often than not make assumptions and those are driven not by true understanding of Asian cultural beliefs but our own beliefs and perceptions and perspectives and so on.

When I read the following I actually said, “Wow, this could very well be true and explain it all.” The following italicized is that quote:

There is a concept that cultural studies theorist, “Bell Hooks,” termed “eating the other,” in which “the other” - the mysterious, the unknown, the exotic - is employed to add “spice” to everyday life. The goal is not true understanding or appreciation of the Other, but an enhancement of one’s own situation, an experiential vacation yielding the conceptual equivalent of a piece of mass-produced Indian pottery and slideshow to impress the neighbors. It’s bits of authentic culture recontextualized for a bored white mainstream’s use. 

The recent trends in the use of Japanese characters, i.e., such as printed on t-shirts, etc., are divorced from their original linguistic meaning and exploited solely for the decorative aesthetics. The Japanese also use English in their pop-culture signifying not a true engagement with American culture but a simulation of it. Borrowed currency in a solely Japanese exchange, a conversation that does not extend outside the countries borders.

What is happening here is a type of cultural artifact - organic expressions of a particular people, situated in a particular time and place - are being divorced of their meaning in order to be used as a metaphor for something else.

Americanized cultures of Martial Artis takes Asian cultures, takes each artifact, and strips it of its original meaning until it is just an object (“it doesn’t mean what you think”), which is used to signify something else entirely (often to suit the person or organization or an agenda, etc.) - into something, we are to believe, entirely new. Like America’s recent obsession with yoga (without the Buddhist spirituality), the result is entertaining but curiously empty. 

 This merging seems to be less between American and Japanese/Okinawan that it is between east and west in the broadest possible sense. As in many situations in which you lose the particulars, the result is a vague approximation of nothing at all. Again: pretty, but ultimately without meaning. What it does end up accomplishing - and very well - is a sense of difference. Use of Asian culture without context may be empty, but it works. It tells us that this world is different. 

Using what is “Other” as a metaphor for difference is not, in itself, wrong. Metaphor is an essential part of living, whether you are tired as a dog, happy as a lam or as honest as the day is long. It is healthy, vibrant, creative; it lets us make new connections and discover new insights. The metaphor sets the stage for a richly imagined social order, the difference it implies making it easier for us to see our own situation more clearly.  - Leigh A. Wright, Asian Objects in Space

This can be why so much of what is historically relevant as to the birth and growth of martial arts in all its forms has been created from each culture’s extraction of other cultural influences to create a true and “Different” form that exists and lasts simply because of its “Metaphorical Worth” to each successive group. Like Okinawan’s pulled in from the Chinese (and others), the Japanese pulled in from China and Okinawa (and others) to the Americans pulling in what they wanted from those early training years of karate, etc. to create what we now call “Martial Arts.” Where Martial Arts takes on a new and unique meaning at each iteration throughout its history.

What I like most about the quote is the last sentence the expresses the positive aspects of such approaches to furthering our martial arts, or cultural beliefs, prowess, knowledge and understanding. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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