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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Kengaku [見学]

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

The characters/ideograms mean, “Inspection; study by observation; field trip.” The first character means, “see; hopes; chances; idea; opinion; look at; visible,” the second character means, “study; learning; science.”

‘kengaku’ literally meaning to ‘look () and learn ()’ or perhaps better translated as ‘study through observation’.
Other meanings according to the characters used:

[建学] foundation of a school
[研学] Study
[兼学] Concurrently studying the teachings of two or more different schools or sects. 

In a martial discipline we study fundamental principles even in a philosophical sense such as the sub-principle of yin-yang. Yin is the softer side while yang is a harder side so that one trains, practices and studies both physically and mentally. In simpler terms one actually studies and learns from “Doing,” while on the more yin side one actually studies and learns from “Observation.” When you begin you will be provided a, “Dojo Kun,” and one of the precepts is about seeing all things in all directions. 

Kengaku from the ken-po goku-i is about seeing all things in all ways to include our studies of others while practicing and training martial arts. It is especially and critically important for the new student who first comes to observe then joins but then continues that observation “Seeing” so they continue to learn and grow, to improve.

One of the more cultural aspects of martial arts in Asia is the acceptance and understanding that in all dojo one is, “Expected,” to come to practice and observe even when unable to actually participate on the dojo floor. The concept in the Asian culture of, “Shi-kata,” is based upon such observations so that harmony may be maintained by avoiding such disturbances that can come from questioning things. 

Kengaku is about the observation of your dojo-mates be they senpai or kohai or sensei so that one may improve from understanding those perceptions and perspectives displayed through a physical manifestation in things like basics, kata, drills and even kumite. 

Kengaku is considered one of those mental disciplines that provides the practitioner a discipline uniqueness toward learning that involves or encompasses one sitting in a meditative state of mind alert and aware of what is transpiring during training even when not actually participating, an observer. This provides the practitioner with a study that is challenging and used to enhance and supplement hands-on tactile and visual study and practice. 

It is not about perfection but about improvement and this presents the practitioner the opportunity to also participate not just physically but through such observations of others while they practice. This is just one meaning from the goku-i when, “seeing all directions, etc.”

When I tell folks about Kengaku I instill in them that this concept is at the heart of practice, training and most important of all the actual applications. It is an attitude and mind-set/state toward constant improvement through observation: observation of self through media and mirrors; observation of others both senior and junior; observation of the actions and deeds as modeled in the dojo; observation of individual interpretations; observation of the application of the fundamental principles that are the foundation of all martial disciplines, etc.

Kengaku is another more esoteric terminology meant to convey a sense or essence toward study, practice and application of martial disciplines regardless of symbolism, system or style designations or even personal interpretations for to master a martial art is to make it your own from a diligent, disciplined and philosophical means. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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