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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Symbol Triggers

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

In karate as well as other martial disciplines the West has adopted what I would think of as symbols of the disciplines but those symbols trigger a deeper drive in us and in humans that may give greater meaning and understanding of why those symbols have become such important trappings of the martial arts community. 

In nature humans have this basic need, survival. That survival drive influences every aspect of life even in our modern times and even tho the ability to avoid death exists. Survival means gathering into groups bringing together all those traits and abilities the group needs to survive, everyone is a contributor and the entire process creates a group hierarchy where status and authority of various levels and requirements must exist to - survive. 

In this natural/nature driven survival drive there exists various levels of status and authority. It is the status that allows authority to achieve the groups goals in survival and failing that results in the groups death or the removal of the person or persons not complying with the groups survival needs. Authority must appear authoritative to the group so the group through the status effort may have, “Titles and/or Clothes and/or Trappings” that symbolize the status and authority of those within the group. Take a look at the military to see the most obvious representation of authority symbols, etc.

This quote provides the gist of what I am trying to say in this article, i.e., “Due to social conditioning, humans have an extreme willingness to go to almost any lengths on the ‘command of an authority’. Whenever humans are faced with a potent motivator in human action, humans naturally expect that good reasons exist fo the motivation. We live under a multilayered and widely accepted system of authority that confers an immense advantage upon a society (remember, keep in mind societies and humans all collect together for the base need of survival). It allows the development of sophisticated structures for resource production (necessary for survival), trade (necessary for survival), defense (necessary for survival), expansion, and social control (necessary for survival) that would otherwise be impossible.”

When one dons such trappings such as titles, i.e., Sensei, Master, Grand Master, First Generation Student and others, this conveys both directly and indirectly that the wearer of such things, at least by association, is an authoritative figure in the discipline. As with other symbols such as the belt systems the color provides a hierarchal system with status set according to colors, etc., i.e., white belt being at the bottom and all the levels of black belt setting levels of knowledge, understanding, experience, etc., of Sensei/Yudansha, etc.

The very nature of such titles, clothes and trappings of the dojo smack seriously and trigger deep seated instinctive drives and mechanical automatic click-whirr responses that solidify connections, mostly unconsciously, to the symbols. 

In another quote one can perceive and believe how this works and why it has become so important to people, i.e., “We are trained form birth that obedience to proper authority is right and just and disobedience is wrong and unjust. The essential message is formed toward social conditioning from parental/family lessons, school house rhymes and school yard dynamics, stories, and songs of childhood that are carried forward to our societies legal, military, and political systems we encounter as adults. Notions of submission and loyalty to legitimate rule are given a great deal of value and the repercussions of failure to live to these are often very high.”

We are actually left little leeway in deciding how and why and when we come to accept and believe such things that automatically become a part of our belief systems because it is so deeply ingrained. I bring this up this way because it lends understanding to why we all, I mean all of us in the dojo, believe and are attracted to such trappings, it is our nature and it does double duty by pulling us in from being a mystical mysterious way of the Asian culture and beliefs bringing with it heritage, history and connections to something much greater and a contributor to our very past, present and possible future. 

Symbols that trigger Authority; Titles, clothes and trappings of authority:

Titles: the most difficult and the easiest to acquire; to adopt a title automatically provides automatic deference; actions are frequently more influenced by a title than by the nature of the person claiming it; authority status affects perceptions; humans see size and status as related; outward signs of power and authority frequently may be counterfeited with the flimsiest of materials; 
Clothes: In chameleon style, people adopt karate-gi, belt of black, uniform patches, or a collection of trophies and certificates of completion and association membership papers that the situation requires for maximum advantage. etc.  
Trappings: As with clothes, patches and such; owners of prestigious relations to luminaries both real and perceive receive a special kind of deference from people, etc. 

So, it becomes apparent that such trappings and the dan-i system, associations and seminars with perceived masters of martial disciplines will and always will attract and associate others for the purpose that seems to create a perception of authority, professionalism and expertise in martial arts. The lesson to learn here is that because of a total lack of control and the  ability to validate the more nefarious compliance oriented people will continue to use such symbols and trappings to trigger, click-n-whirr, automatic mechanical unconscious actions that will bring in customers and fleece, opes sorry, take in monies to run their dojo (Note: What makes this so difficult, so hard, is that legitimate sensei and dojo suffer repercussions from such nefarious folks and actions). 

No wonder the quote, “Buyer Beware,” holds so special and critical sway over all of us in dealing with professional economically driven compliance professionals (think ad-men and the like including resource/process predation). 

This is enough to still the ongoing conflict of the value of the belt system, etc. because “we can’t help ourselves!” Sigh, at least it gives reason to the conundrum of karate/martial trappings. 

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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