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 Absolute and Only True Definition

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

The term I want to define is, ‘karate’. We always get a plethora of definitions and most are based on a personal perception and belief. We all succumb to the human trait of ‘confirmation bias’ when we define something that is often so very close to our hearts and beliefs. Here is where I remove myself, hopefully, from that bias to define karate finally, completely and forever.

Karate must be defined from its historical beginnings by using the very characters and ideograms from the sources where karate began. The issue today is that karate itself began on Okinawa so one would assume that their language would be used but that is actually not true. Karate is a modern term created somewhere in the late 1800s and/or early 1900s and the characters/ideograms used were, ‘[空手 · 唐手]’.

Those very characters translated into English, per just one of many sources, means, “Karate; empty hand.” The first character of the first pair is translated as, “empty; sky; void; vacant; vacuum.” The first character of the second pair is translated as, “T’ang; China.” Since we are concerned only for the more modern translation the second set of characters are moot, they are of historical significance only.

So, the actual definition of karate [空手] is, wait for it … ‘empty hand’! Nothing more and nothing less and to assign any other meaning is not a translation and factual meaning but those theories, beliefs, philosophies and biases of individuals and their associations and groups toward some sort of understanding that supports their particular belief system such as saying karate is ‘a way of life’ or ‘a competitive, now olympic, sport’ and so on. This definition also does not mean that karate is or is not a form of budo or self-fense system but just  symbolic way of saying ‘empty hand’. 

All those things that many add on in attempts to give meaning to the term and make it more exciting, dramatic and symbolic of some other more warrior like combative discipline is simply a form of what is called, “Confirmation Bias.” We want our efforts to have meaning to us and to support our values and beliefs both in the practice as well as other aspects of our egoistic human lifestyles especially for the male gender since we work so hard to find ways to express our very aggressive human violent natures as hunters-gatherers. 

Karate is not a way of life, it is not about self-fense, not a philosophy and not some mystic Asian system like Zen or Taoism, it is simply a means to express the use of empty hands for something. That something is then assigned by the cultural belief system of some individual and is then accepted and believed by the group and all of it still falls back on human survival necessities of human nature. Every thing else depends on who, what, where, when and how the individual and group feel and believe it should mean to gratify, support and validate that belief definition. 

Karate, to me, is about something involving my body and mind without anything other than my body and mind, i.e., why I refer to it as practicing physical effort with empty hands as a symbol that I use nothing other than my body. Even that is more than the definition actually means. Empty hands is not actually true and accurate because in apply such principles and methodologies along with types of force whether by hands or feet, etc., takes the literal definition of empty and hands truly out of the realm of realistic definition. Once I apply some principled based method of some level of force my hands are no longer empty, they are manipulating some natural phenomena of our world, our universe, to accomplish some goal. In this case I may be using an adversary’s body and clothing to manipulate them into a position where nature, call it gravity in this case, takes over and does enough damage that I return to a state of security and safety. 

In truth, karate as a term has to become a symbol and it is that symbolic nature that leads us to describe it toward a belief that suits and fills our needs as either an individual and as a group dynamic toward group/individual survival be it in conflict or especially in violent conflict. 

So, in closing, the one true and definitive definition of karate is, ‘empty hand’. All else are human efforts to make the term fit our agenda’s and overall everything humans do, they do for their very survival. Karate itself is not all that big a deal. Add in the human and their needs, wants and desires; add in their natural instincts of survival and you have something else and herein lies the lessons and hear-in lies the ongoing conflict of attaching meaning under the biases of many different and unique individuals and groups (call them styles, systems, associations and dojo’s).

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

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