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

I am not a leading authority on any one discipline that I write about and teach, it is my hope and wish that with all the subjects I have studied it provides me an advantage point that I offer in as clear and cohesive writings as possible in introducing the matters in my materials. I hope to serve as one who inspires direction in the practitioner so they can go on to discover greater teachers and professionals that will build on this fundamental foundation. Find the authorities and synthesize a wholehearted and holistic concept, perception and belief that will not drive your practices but rather inspire them to evolve, grow and prosper. My efforts are born of those who are more experienced and knowledgable than I. I hope you find that path! See the bibliography I provide for an initial list of experts, professionals and masters of the subjects.

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What makes an Expert/What makes a Master

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

I have touched on the subject of expert and/or master especially as it pertains to the martial arts, karate to be more specific for self-defense. In this article I want to touch on validation as to knowledge and understanding. When we seek knowledge what is it that tells us that the knowledge found is valid, often it depends on the source of that knowledge or information. It means, to my mind, what is it that tells me that something is factual, true and valid so that I may depend on it for future endeavors that may require that same knowledge toward actions and/or words that would mean something to me and to others?

Here are the very basics of what is considered an expert or master level source of any knowledge: 

Expert: a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area (specialist, authority, pundit; adept, maestro, virtuoso, master, past master, wizard; connoisseur, aficionado; informal ace, buff, pro, techie, whiz, hotshot, maven, crackerjack); having or involving authoritative knowledge (skillful, skilled, adept, accomplished, talented, fine; master, masterly, brilliant, virtuoso, magnificent, outstanding, great, exceptional, excellent, first-class, first-rate, superb; proficient, good, able, capable, experienced, practiced, knowledgeable; informal ace, crack, mean)

Master/Masterful: a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity (expert, adept, genius, past master, maestro, virtuoso, professional, doyen, authority, champion, record holder; informal ace, pro, wizard, whiz, hotshot, maven, crackerjack "a chess master”); having or showing very great skill or proficiency; acquire complete knowledge or skill in (an accomplishment, technique, or art); performed or performing very skillfully.

When we encounter someone who is or claims to be an expert or master of knowledge how do we know that they truly are what they say they are and what do we accept in that regard as also valid information to validate that knowledge in order to allow us to accept the original knowledge as presented by the so called expert or master. A conundrum to say the least that is really a plague on the martial arts community.

Some will assume an expert or master is someone who has a lot of what the military call, “Time in Grade,” or years and years along with age in a particular discipline as an expert or master but is that actually true and by whose valid requirements, etc.? Time in grade about the time spent diligently and continuously practicing, training, studying and experiencing a particular discipline like martial arts. That time point being what any one individual and/or group accepts as the point where one becomes an expert or master. Again, who; what; when; where; how and most importantly why that is valid and by whose standards, etc.?

When I read something I tend to rely on what kind of gut feeling it gives me or what kind of interest it peaks in me from my past experiences, studies and understandings as to whether I pursue additional validation from the proverbial expert or master level sources along with my analysis abilities and synthesis capabilities all changing as each grain of knowledge and information is found, discovered or presented all from sources that trigger my spidey sense or some other sensory input stream. 

So, when an expert or master of martial arts is presenting their knowledge, understanding and experiences what is it that lets us know we should listen and even if that person does not reach those levels are their factors, etc., that would say we should listen all the same in case it is a masterful expert discovery? Even students at even the lowest levels can achieve epiphanies that even the most expert, experienced and masterful martial artists can learn from, right?

Labels are often assumed as indicators of expertise or mastery of knowledge, understanding and experience. Then you have to ask; well, what kind of knowledge and at what levels, what kind of understanding and at what levels and finally what kind of experience and at what levels? Is there some magic number or other ideal that speaks to this? Not so much because as humans and individuals it all depends and that too is a conundrum to this subject.

We all, humans that is, use a variety of perceived status of expert and/or mastery to determine what it is that we would accept, listen to and heed as solid factual knowledge to analyze and synthesize into our knowledge base. A true conundrum and a bane of human connectivity for such knowledge, understanding and experience can lead humans both ways, to the benefit and to the detriment of all involved.

In martial arts we might assume that someone who has won a lot of contests and has a lot of trophies as an expert or master but, is that really true and is that really a valid indicator? We might also assume that someone who has experienced and succeeded in dealing with a great deal of conflict along with a good deal of violence to be an expert or master but, is that really true and is that really a valid indicator? So many questions, so many sources, so many changes that occur naturally in every moment of human existence that to find a set of indicators that themselves remains static and valid also create a slew of questions as well. 

In my mind, the indicators are also those things that are subject to change through analysis and synthesis but the best way to achieve that is by consensus of a group of like-minded folks who gather, discuss, analysize and agree to the mutual benefit of changes that would stimulate evolutionary changes to the discipline/subject on the table. How do we do that, by our connectivity even through articles and comments blogged like this one.

Experts are those who have gained a considerable amount of knowledge, understanding and experience who also recognize and accept the fallibility of that expertise through present moment influences resulting in the necessity of change in order to remain expert and masterful in the discipline, knowledge and understanding involved to be an “Expert and/or Master.” 

I have studied, tried to understand and gained a modicum of experience from a variety of avenues going on forty years, does that make me an expert or master of the discipline? Does that make me an expert or master even if I narrowed down the martial arts subject/discipline to a very narrow form? What would constitute expertise even as I write this article and is it attainable? How can you reach a point to be that expert or master when the very nature of human existence involves a constant change in all the myriad things of our existence? Can I truly hold an expert or master label when what I know and understand will change in the next moment? In lieu of expert or master maybe it should be about being knowledgable in a particular discipline and subject leaving the labels expert and master aside as frivolous egoistic titles to fulfill some self fulfilling thing. Yet, humans are a cautious lot and will not accept most things without some form of validation so we add all this so that we feel more comfortable accepting things.

Yet, we also tend to accept things even without expert or mastered sources simply because of the human condition of emotional stimulus that tends to send our monkey brains into the fray of events. Hmmm, interesting, but why is it in our modern times those dramatized emotionally driven information and sources tend to hold powerful sway over our reactions and actions often to our or someone else’s detriment. 

Mindless meanderings so that one can think about things! If you just remember this, “Experts can and are often wrong; masters can be and often are wrong, so how do you validate if the tendency is toward incorrect knowledge, understanding and experiences?” 

Ask six experts/masters the same question and you will get six different answers and if you do that in the same room you get a lot of conflict at a variety of levels, right? Try it and see because no where else have I ever encountered as many experts and “masters” then I have in martial arts and see what happens when you get the answers either separately or in a group, experts and masters. 

How do you know?

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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