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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‘Secret Scrolls’ of Isshinryu

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

First, today the 30th of March in the year 2016, the first time I have ever heard of the “Secret Scrolls of Isshinryu.” Second, are you kidding? Secret Scrolls? What the …? Hey, what is a secret anyway?

Secret: not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others; fond of or good at keeping things about oneself unknown; (of information or documents) given the security classification above confidential and below top secret; something that is not properly understood; a mystery; a valid but not commonly known or recognized method of achieving or maintaining something; kept from knowledge or view [hidden]; working with hidden aims or methods (undercover [a secret agent]; not acknowledged; revealed only to the initiated; designed to elude observation or detection.

I have italicized, bolded and underlined definitions that would support having a secret as it applies to karate and martial arts (i.e., K&MA). 

Second, scrolls - really, that would be a supposition to instill in others that there actually existed some sort of written form, say parchment paper with a list of items, etc., that provide these “Secrets” that may or may not be passed on as would be indicated by the legends/stories told of ancient Japanese master’s who would authorize teaching certificates with those so called secrets in scrolls attached. Really, in Isshinryu, by Tatsuo-san? The only so-called presentations that were handed over to American’s during his years teaching Isshinryu he gave out a certificate of rank, the ken-po goku-i and the dojo kun. Secret, not actually because everyone got these or had them available so not so secret. 

Third, secret indicates something special and unique that is only allowed to the chosen few according to whomever created this secret scrolls of Isshinryu legend in their own mind. I have been associated with Isshinryu since 1976 and I have been exposed to all three major American teachings of this system, i.e., the Nagle version, the Long and Wheeler version, the Mitchum version, the Armstrong version and finally the Advincula version and none of them during those years, 76 to now, ever once stated there were secret scrolls of Isshinryu. Granted, they may have kept that secret too except to those few close special associates in their dojo - similar to the so-called, “First Generation” students of Tatsuo-san often assigned some special significance to those who followed in their footsteps - maybe through the “secret scrolls of the first-gen students of Isshinryu”

Lets focus on the quote, “Okinawan karate was a secret, not that it existed, but as it was kept to a very small group, those outside the group really didn’t know the particulars.” True? Maybe, the fact that it was deliberately held back as Okinawan secrets may have just been the perception of Americans looking for some mystique to attach to the training and practice to make it more exceptional and exciting - a mind-set of Marines from where I sit, I are a Marine after all. Okinawan karate from what I can discern from those who have studied and researched its history has never been a secret or has ever been studied in secret, that is just one of those legends/stories created and cooked up by those who just didn’t fully understand, fully study or even try to find truth and facts but it makes for a great selling point doesn’t it? 

In truth, the reasoning I find valid to why it was taught in small groups and the teachings held close, not secret, to those who trained and practiced is because each was held and practiced within a small group that was made up of close village connections and the differences were due to those cultural social connections stemming from nature’s survival instincts, traits and needs. Take a look around you even today, we humans all tend to gravitate toward smaller groups of like-minded individuals, we gather in groups at work with developers of code in one; systems admin groups in another; management and supervision group in another then finally separation of genders into sub-groups, etc. - all natural, all natures intent and all survival oriented groupings. 

Add in letting others, outside the group, know about particulars, well in essence that is social conditioning because to let out the what, how and why a group does things exposes them to allowing other groups to achieve a superior state and status that can and would be used to dominate and control the group - not going to happen. You naturally held close what you use and how you use things that are about survival, i.e., security and safety and continued growth and prosperity of your group. It isn’t about secrets but rather about separation of groups for mutual benefit and survival. 

As to the full teachings of Tatsuo-san, he did convey more to those who remained longer than the one year tour or to those who took the effort to return for further training. Remember that all karate and martial arts were changed and adjusted toward a more educational version implemented into the schools systems of Japan and Okinawa, i..e., more as a propaganda tool and health and fitness regiment to prepare the population for World War. Add in that to truly learn and become a student took more than one year of learning basics, kata, drills and kumite ergo why sho-dan is not a master of karate but simply an entry level educated student. Not secret but just the way things are and if those who created the so called secret scrolls idea had returned and studies longer would have learned without too much grasping for the so-called mysterious secrets of the masters of Okinawan karate - get real. 

In closing, just because you don’t know something or you don’t know you don’t know something does not make it secret. In my experience when someone says that is a secret for only the chosen few they are simply hiding the fact that they don’t know and they don’t know they don’t know. It is an elitist ego driven meme to make someone and some group feel special and unique and separate to all those other “ordinary” people. This is natural to humans and seems to dominate when folks resort to saying, “Secret Scrolls, etc.” 

Secrets DO NOT lie at the HEART of Okinawa karate, a total lack of documented history does lie at the heart of Okinawan karate except what has been recorded and transmitted in the early 1900’s to present times but that is not exactly historical - yet, time is passing quickly and soon a hundred years will have passed and “Whalla - history.” 

People, both Okinawan’s and all others around the world are working hard to fill in the missing gaps and spaces left behind by the educational implementations, the ramifications of WWII and the resurgence of karate after the war as a means of contractual economical viability from their association to the occupiers, the American Military machine. This effort to make karate in modern times effective in other models except competition and a philosophical self-help program are great and I am personally pleased with how well some have returned karate and martial arts back into what it once was as well as making it more than what it once was - historically speaking. 

As to the question I asked myself, “Is their actually a set of secret scrolls for Isshinryu?” Nope, no such thing and shame on those who think this is true and teach toward that understanding. It is this type of straying from the proverbial path that actually denigrates and pollutes the true nature of karate and martial arts ending in the uninitiated thinking it is what it is not. Bummer!

No secrets, no scrolls and no hidden teachings be they secret or just ignorance from improper and inappropriate teachings. There is just, “Karate,” and how you train and practice - nothing more; nothing less.

Bibliography (Click the link)

p.s. (dtd 30 Mar 16 at 13:00 hrs) The below snapshot was used for the source article and I have to wonder if this is just an article in kanji from a newspaper of is it something presented to the source articles author as a secret scroll of Isshinryu. Hmmmm …

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