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 Physics of Karate

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

Victor Smith Sensei recently published an old article on his blog about the physics of karate. The title goes on to say, “A close examination of how the karate expert can break wood and concrete blocks with his bare hand reveals the remarkable capacity of the unaided human body for exerting physical force.” Needless to say, I have my doubts about the article.

He is right that it involves physics, both for the human body and the materials used in such tameshiwari demonstrations that have been used to sell karate as a powerful system of fighting, combatives and self-defense. Tameshiwari is that system or discipline called, “Breaking.” 

Tameshiwari [試し割り] These characters/ideograms mean, "Breaking bricks, etc. (martial arts). The two kanji have a kana character attached but the two kanji have meanings in my source translator, the first character means, "Test; try; attempt; experiment; ordeal," and the second one means, "proportion; comparatively; divide; cut; separate; split."

But where I kind of diverge on this topic is its ideal that the demonstration indicates the application of physical force. After all, you can’t just pick up any old piece of wood and break it with your hands or feet, the material has to have certain characteristics to be breakable regardless of how powerful you think your technique is and how forceful it is.

I am going to read the article and choose those important pieces of data and address them accordingly in an attempt to eek out some truth and some facts that can be supported. 

I quote, “The maneuver is so extravagant that it is often dismissed as some kind of deception or illusion, but the fact is that there is no trick to it.” 

My Comments: First and foremost, a blatantly incorrect statement. There is in fact a trick to it, the trick is the choice of materials and the way those materials are set up to make the breaks possible. Sensei Ed Brown was considered a leader and master of breaking back in his day. The interesting thing is he would not let anyone inspect his bricks before the demonstration and often cleaned up before anyone could inspect them after and in my view that was a waste of time since most, if not all, had no idea of the physics involved in choosing materials for tameshiwari.  

Second, as to the possibility of some sore of deception or illusion, well that is true as well. It is not a deliberate deception but just the same when you consider that it takes certain material choices and other “Set-ups” to make a breaking demonstration work then the viewers are missing critical information about tameshiwari. For instance, those who performed breaking in those days promoted that demonstration as a sure fire explanation and proof that karate is and can be a dangerous and deadly system. The two actually are a deception to the uninitiated. 

Third, once a karate-ka is trained and involved in the dojo for a period of time they become connected in a social and group commitment along with a certain emotional and psychological investment in the dojo, the Sensei and the dojo-mates. Such group dynamics use also the hierarchal system where rankings and levels designate those who lead and those who follow, all traits used to induce the group to act and believe in a certain way. It is the same traits that the military use to create a brotherhood that transcends many human traits such as the adverse feeling that comes over a person when required to hurt another of their species. 

I quote, “We (the authors of the article) have investigated in detail how the bare hand can break wood and concrete blocks (and by implication do similar damage to other targets) without being itself broken or injured.” 

My Comments: Cough, cough, bull-cough, cough: Did they test this out in actual fights, not sports, and in self-defense, not fights? When you stage tameshiwari the controls are like rules, as long as you live by those rules you can achieve seemingly awesome feats that appear powerful, forceful and dangerous. I doubt that they tested these theories out properly and by scientific means in a real life combative defense situation where chaos rules. Remember, if this study and findings are to be valid the one’s testing it must not have an agenda and an agenda is just what they had. To sell karate as this dangerous and most awesome fighting system but in truth, not so much. 

It is easy to test for velocities and express impressive meters per second data but where did that data come from and was it actually tested in all aspects of karate applications? If they focused on tameshiwari where the objects hit are often stationary and fixed or grounded then they missed the boat because in real life targets move, a lot. When you add in your movement, stability, balance, structure and other physiokinetic principles and compound that with a moving adversary also subject to those same principles you have a huge variety of variables that can either create a lot of force and power and just as easily, easier as a matter of fact, bleed off the power and force even with hardened hands and feet from makiwara training, etc.

Enough, barely getting through the first couple of paragraphs I cannot honestly and truthfully say that this article is factual or even valid. Of course there are statistics that are valid, in a way and under certain controlled agenda driven settings but as to a scientific study and results that are factual and valid toward the agenda driven topic of the article where little evidence to the contrary of the goals in the article are even presented, a flaw of glaring quality that is in this article. There are way to many untested assumptions used and made in this presentation.

Overall, I grade this article below the lowest grade possible because in my mind it is patently false and it caters to a certain group dynamic and toward an attempt to sell karate as something it is not. 

This brings up the often spoken words that karate is a great self-defense system that has been refuted with facts as not being great for self-defense. It is wonderful in teaching certain principles that are pretty important and capable of self-defense but karate in and of itself, not so much. Those professionals who make such statements are quick to admit that karate and other martial arts have the potential to be good for self-defense but few teach, train, practice and apply them adequately for them to qualify as good for self-defense. 

The authors were really good at “Creating” the evidence they used to validate their hypothesis of karate physics but to my mind it was limiting to fit a model predisposed before the test and study even began. It is like asking a baker to judge his own efforts in baking a cake for a scientific study. Yes, you need some input from someone who has background, knowledge and understanding of the subject but then you pass over the test and study to others who have experience and understanding of scientific studies, testing and finding results that have meaning and validate the effort. 

In closing this article, I have to address the title, “The Physics of Karate.” There are physics involved and they are best described in the study of the fundamental principles (Theory, Physiokinetics, Techniques and Philosophy) of Multiple Methodologies of karate and martial arts for self-defense (principles of self-defense and the chemical dump). 

PRINCIPLE ONE: PRINCIPLES OF THEORY (Universality, Control, Efficiency, Lengthen Our Line, Percentage Principle, Std of Infinite Measure, Power Paradox, Ratio, Simplicity, Natural Action, Michelangelo Principle, Reciprocity, Opponents as Illusions, Reflexive Action, Training Truth, Imperception and Deception.)

PRINCIPLE TWO: PHYSIOKINETIC PRINCIPLES (Breathing, posture, triangle guard, centerline, primary gate, spinal alignment, axis, minor axis, structure, heaviness, relaxation, wave energy, convergence, centeredness, triangulation point, the dynamic sphere, body-mind, void, centripetal force, centrifugal force, sequential locking and sequential relaxation, peripheral vision, tactile sensitivity, rooting, attack hubs, attack posture, possibly the chemical cocktail, Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat]???see below)

PRINCIPLE THREE: PRINCIPLES OF TECHNIQUE (techniques vs. technique, equal rights, compliment, economical motion, active movement, positioning, angling, leading control, complex force, indirect pressure, live energy and dead energy, torsion and pinning, speed, timing, rhythm, balance, reactive control, natural and unnatural motion, weak link, non-telegraphing, extension and penetration, Uke. Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, are best for stopping a threat])

PRINCIPLE FOUR: PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY (Mind [mind-set, mind-state, etc.], mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup, inner peace.)

Principle’s One through Four: 
Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: PRINCIPLES OF SELF-DEFENSE (“Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence (Social and Asocial), Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Predator process and predator resource, Force levels, Repercussions (medical, legal, civil, personal), Go-NoGo, Win-Loss Ratio, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”Attitude, Socio-emotional, Diplomacy, Speed [get-er done fast], Redirected aggression, Dual Time Clocks, Awareness, Initiative, Permission, multiple attack/defense methodologies (i.e., actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat)

Principle Five: 
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

PRINCIPLE SIX: CHEMICAL COCKTAIL: (Attacked Mind, Train It, Breath It Away, Visualize It Away, Sparring vs. Fighting, Degradation of Technique/skills, Peripheral Vision Loss, Tunnel Vision, Depth Perception Loss/Altered, Auditory Exclusion, Weakened legs/arms, Loss of Extremity Feeling, Loss of Fine Motor Skills, Distorted Memory/perceptions, Tachypsychia (time slows), Freeze, Perception of Slow Motion, Irrelevant Thought Intrusion, Behavioral Looping, Pain Blocked, Male vs. Female Adrenaline Curve, Victim vs. Predator, The Professional, Levels of Hormonal Stimulation, ???)

Bibliography (Click the link)

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