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 Human Cortex

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

It is a powerful perceiving and planning part of our brain and is organized by stacking six neurons on tope of one another and clustering these piles - or the, “Cortical Columns” - like an interconnected honeycomb. There is something familiar with the configuration of the cortex, it is how the hexagrams of the I Ching are created, i.e., six lines starting at the bottom and stacked upward. When you learn more about the cortex, you get the impression that their complexities are similar. 

When a human being plans a motor action, columns in our frontal lobe become activated. When we form an image of our mind or the mind of others, columns of neurons in the middle prefrontal area are firing. The flow of information through the cortical column is not just from input to output; it is not one-directional. Cortical column flow is bidirectional. 

Incoming sensory signals/data rises through the brainstem, enters the cortex at the bottom layer of neurons, and makes its way upward. This is referred to as the, “Bottom-up” info flow. 

If we have seen something before, historical data, a rich store of memories from similar experiences is activated by that stimuli. Prior learning sends related information down from the top layers of the cortex column to shape our perception of what we are seeing or hearing or touching or smelling or tasting. 

PERCEPTION is virtually always a blend of what we are sensing now and what we’ve learned previously

Visualize this: Sensory input comes in and starts at the bottom of the cortex column from layer 6 to 5 to 4 where the input meets the data from our memories that start at the top and move down from 1 to 2 to 3. The internal world memory has a dominate influence that include our present state of mind, our memories, our emotions, and our external settings. At the juncture of 3 and 4, the two data packets mingle and mix. What we end up becoming aware of is not what we sensed but what emerges from this confluence. 

Our state-of-mind/mind-state where the confluence of the external world conveyed by our sensory signals when it works with our internal world as conveyed from memory, etc,. is how we interpret the world. This efficient top-down filter is our filter to the reality of our world, external and internal. 

Mirror Neurons: When working properly it uses prior learning to determine the intention of an action. This is a corner stone to posturing and body language (threat/attack indicators, etc.) to determine the change from bluster to fighting for self-defense. 

Reactive Top-Down Filter: This is where our mind-state can distort perceptions as well. When our internal world data from experience(s) starts from the top and heads downward where some trauma will cause a more or less innocuous movement or action to be misinterpreted and misperceived from the reality of its meaning and intent. Your mirror neurons would distort your ability to see the action clearly and perceive it correctly. 

This is why the top-down filter dominates our end perception of the external and internal world perceptions, etc. Those left-over issues and unresolved trauma can create a reactive top-down filter

It is normal for humans to have different states of mind, even conflicting in nature. Our goal is to become aware3 when a given self-mind-state is reactive to the data from our past and not receptive to the present moment. It is also imperative one remember that when we go auto-pilot, our awareness “believes” what it perceives. There is then no mind-awareness and our state-dependent perceptions, emotional reactions, beliefs, and behavioral responses are felt to be justified, equated with absolute reality, not discerned as just activities of the mind. 

Top-down processes can shape what we think in the blink of an eye, distort the reliability of our instinctual responses, and challenge our most cherished sense of free will. 

State Integration: Where we are able to integrate our mind-states toward appropriateness in any given situation and moment. It is linking and understanding the three different dimensions of human existence. The “Inter-dimensional State of Mind” where we accept our multiplicity, the fact that we can have different mind-states in our athletic, intellectual, social and many other states. It is a collaboration across all mind-states. The second level of state integration  is the “Intra-dimensional state of mind” where we achieve an internal coherence to function, to achieve our goals effectively and without internal disintegration. 

Note: Dependent on experiences involving self-defense both in real life and through adrenal stress-conditioned training models the leftover negative baggage or inappropriate actions baggage is likely to sabotage your goals in self-defense. Not just any old training and practice and experience is going to make this less an issue but appropriate training, practice and accumulated experiences will go a long way to reach self-defense proficiency. 

There is a third state of integration that is more appropriate toward our health, mental fitness and well-being and so on, the we-dimension that involves who we are in relationship. If we added this to our self-defense it comes down to a we-dimension of awareness that would allow us to communicate and relate without conflict and violence or at least to achieve a we-state of perceptive meaning toward avoidance, deescalation or evade/escape responses. 

Is there a core mind-state? Our mind-states coalesce around specific activities: our expertise at a particular discipline, our master of karate, or a set of skills necessary for self-defense. Other states operate in our social roles: We lead a dojo, we find others to train with, or we make new connections with others. Some have come to believe that we all have a core self, mind-state or state of mind, that is receptive at heart. This state underlies the activities of each or our mind-states or self-states. This essential “You” that lies beneath the narrative and memory, emotional reactivity and habit comes from a place that we may actually suspend the flow of top-down influences/data and come close to what has been called, “Beginner’s Mind.”

Developing a beginner’s mind, a mind-no-mind state of mind, we come to see mental activities, including mind-states, as just the activities of the mind, not the totality of who we are. Resting at the mind-no-mind beginner’s mind, we can achieve a sense of our receptive self, opening ourselves to the world of new possibilities and create the underlying conditions for mind-state integration. 

Reactive top-down mind-state is controlled by the monkey brain; receptive top-down mind-state is controlled by the balance state of mind to the receptive mind-state, i.e., the mind that allows us to act appropriately and with a more logical effective means of handling conflict and violence. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

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