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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PART II: Zendo (The Dojo)

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

“The merciless tide of modem commercialism and mechanization is rolling all over the East, so that at most no comers are left for a quiet retreat, and before long even this solitary island of Zen may be buried under the waves of sordid materialism.”

Wow, when I read this one I just had to laugh because I had just wrote an article on the commercialism and denigration of modern martial arts and karate as it would apply to those whose belief and mind-state think of these disciplines as, “Traditions and/or Classical,” in nature. Materialism along with the latest revolution, “Technological,” it would seem that all of us being inundated and overwhelmed need a more classical Zen-like environment and discipline to alleviate the building pressures of modern times.  

“A period in the monastic life which is exclusively set apart for the mental discipline when they are not hampered by any manual labour except such as is absolutely necessary. This period is known as sesshin [接心].”

This has been adapted and adopted in the dojo in two forms as well described in the next quotation, i.e., what is called shugyo as well as sitting seiza for zazen before and after dojo training and practice. 

“It takes place a few times, each time lasting a week, in the season known as the "summer sojourn" [ge-ango), and again in the one known as the "winter sojourn" (setsu-ango). Generally speaking, the summer sojourn begins in April and ends in August, while the winter one begins in October and ends in February. Sesshin means "collecting or concentrating the mind".  Note: Are these the precursor to karate’s (MA 2) those special times of the year when they celebrate and train and practice?”

There is a term that describes, at least the annual one done in January - I think, that talks about this type of activity. It is in all probability a derivative of the Zen Buddhist Zen-do. 

“There is a "lecture" (koza or teisho) every day during the sesshin (meaning thought collection [接心]).”

I also think of this in terms of what we use today called the, “Seminar,” where such gatherings and discussions abound not to forget the gathering that occurs after dojo practice with drink, food, merriment and discussions to all things martial and karate. 

“During the sesshin, besides the lectures, the monks have what is knonn as "sanzen [参禅]“. To do sanzen is to go to the master and present their views on the koan they have for the master's critical examination.”

Note: Notice how the term, “sesshin,” is pretty darn close to the English term, “Session?” Group sessions often are about such discussions that bring about thought, discovery, creativity and growth - all hallmarks of learning, understanding and applying things to the arts as well as to life itself. 

“In fact, we are all living under many casings of illusions and insincerities which really have nothing to do with our inmost Self. To reach this inmost Self, therefore, whereby the disciple gains real knowledge of Zen, the master often resorts to methods seemingly inhuman; indeed, far from being kindhearted to say the least.”

It may be said, by some anyway, that the goal of karate and martial arts defense begins with the battle we have with ourselves, our egos. Listen, it may be important to at least recognize this and understand that this is pretty much a normal function of our species, i.e., we live and breathe illusions, insincerities, insecurities and other cognitive dissonance misdirections so we feel comfortable. Listen up, because in truth the only true goals of the species is to survive and procreate so by surviving we have a change to procreate and when we begin procreation we are enabling the species to survive - everything else is about ego. 

“To become a qualified master, mere understanding is not sufficient. A period of time must be lived, living a life harmonious with the understanding to attain a thorough knowledge of all the mysteries of the art; what he has gained in the Zendo is after all only the pointing of the finger in the direction where his utmost efforts must further be put forth; intellectual attainments must be put on trial by coming into actual contact with the world. There are no prescribed rules for this "maturing". Each must act under his own discretion as he meets with the accidental circumstances of life. The idea is the "maturing", as has been properly designated, of one's moral character.”

Ahhh, our modern times have so many masters and you have to wonder where and when this apparent disconnect happened. In Zen Buddhist Zen-do this is critical and it was adopted and adapted to martial arts and now karate. This speaks to the philosophical principles of such disciplines and can often be missing in most modern dojo. This form of study and practice works in Asian dojo but not so much in the West because their entire being and culture is already set and has endured for centuries so that one can perceive and correct apply things while the West requires every single thing explained, in detail. Yet, to master something does require a lot of these traits and principles and the only method of maturity is time and experience - if you are lucky. I see a need for a dojo to teach more in this arena as guidance, i.e., to point the finger, provide some insight then allow each individual to seek out knowledge, analyze it to synthesize an individual way and then live it with honor so that it matures the person and becomes that person. 

“The Zendo’s guiding principles, such as the simplification of life, restraint of desires, not wasting a moment idly, self-independence, and what they call "secret virtue", are sound principles of the dojo and the arts and ‘secret virtue’ means not to waste natural resources; it means to make full use,economic and moral, of everything that comes your way ; it means to treat yourself and the world in the most appreciative and reverential frame of mind. It particularly means practicing goodness without any thought of recognition by others.” 

One word, “Honor.” 

“All the training of the monk in the Zendo, in practice as well as in theory, is based on this principle of 'meritless deed". Poetically this idea is expressed as follows:”

The bamboo-shadows move over the stone steps 
as if to sweep them, but no dust is stirred; 
The moon is reflected deep in the pool, but the
water shows no trace of its penetration.

A way and method through contemplative seiza zazen before and after as adapted and adopted from ZBZendo so that each may, over time, come to realize their true nature and path - lofty and doable ideology don’t you think? 

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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