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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On Stances of Karate

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

A karate professional once said, "One of the most misunderstood words of karate is 'stance.'" This, to my perception, is true and it took me many, many years of study to discover that what I was taught about stances was, "both correct and incorrect." 

What is stance, both generic and karate definitions?

Stance (generic): the way in which someone stands, especially when deliberately adopted (as in karate, martial arts, baseball, golf, and other disciplines); a person's posture. 

Karate Stance: (Note: there are no real definitions of karate stance for what is found goes directly in to the names of karate stances and how they are assumed dependent on style of system.) A positioning of the legs into body postures to manifest certain methods or techniques. It is a position taken that changes according to how karate is applied be it:
  • Taking a karate stance (stances vary);
  • Taking a karate stance to perform karate basic techniques;
  • Taking a karate stance that varies to the point within a kata being performed;
  • Taking a karate stance appropriate to a drill, such as for self-protection, that changes according to the techniques performed by paired karate-ka, called "uke and tori." 
  • Taking a karate stance appropriate to situations where physical violence is applied toward self-protection against a committed attacker or adversary. 
As we can readily perceive karate stances are easily misunderstood and misapplied in training and practice. Misapplied because many karate dojo teach stances as a static type of positioning that is believed to deliver the appropriate power and force to stop an attack. This is with the teaching intent, practice intent, of sensei and student for self-protection.

One reason people misunderstand and misapply stances is when it is taught in a competitive environment where stances and kata are examined and critiqued toward a more expressive dance-like competition where judges look for stances assumed in a static way to assess variables of that stance once assumed, etc. A more aesthetic application like the floor exercise in gymnastics, etc.

Karate-ka, initially, learn to assume and stand in a static "karate stance" to learn, especially learning about physiokinetic's, a fundamental principle of martial disciplines in its purest form. Where many people go astray is failing to learn, be exposed to and lead toward the next evolutionary step in learning karate where stances are no longer those static stationary-like stances taught. Where things become more, complicated and complex - at least in teaching, practicing and apply stances properly for self-protection. 

Stances are and are not "fixed and static" when applied in reality to self-protection. They are merely a breakdown of pieces chained together to form a fluid holistic movement of body, mind and spirit to achieve proper applications that are powerful and forceful in stopping a violent aggressive attack and attacker. 

The confusion is compounded because our society through its educational system are taught that to take a stance, to stand, is to assume a preset, unchanging and static position or viewpoint. Where life, especially in regard to aggression and violence, is anything but static and immovable. Life, as aggression and violence, a moving fluid and chaotic mess that we humans have to perceive, interpret and act on in each chaotic fluid moment. 

But, also, humans need to break down things into their purest, simplistic and atomistic form, to understand it, encode it to memory, then analyze and synthesize it so that we can condition the answer of word and action to handle things. 

This is true of karate, we need to break things down to its simplest forms to understand and see and feel and taste and touch things so the mind can later choose a properly conditioned memory toward a properly conditioned response according to the stimulus that our sensory systems encounter in every movement of life - emphasis on karate self-protection. 

Once the stances and positions and differences are learned and conditioned then it is our objective to ensure that we take the next step to ensure that we are no longer static but in constant motion. One of the objectives of stances when added to kata is movement and the type of transitional movement that takes karate-ka from one stance to the next according to the kata, to start, and later according to the situation dependent on actions taken by a partner and later by an adversary. 

Body mass shifting between stances is critical to maintain physiokinetic's such as posture, alignment, structure and so on - all necessary components of movement first, energy conservation second, proper positioning third, proper movement of body mass fourth and application of powerful and forceful methodologies to end aggression and violence as quickly as possible. Note: notice how I numbered the steps; those steps are meant to be a holistic whole but to understand it is broken down, just like stances. This is where things like space or void come in. It is that space where we add in transitional structures and movements that make it all work.

Example, one of the most used teaching methods for power and force is the boxer's "drop step punch." I use it to teach students how to generate power and force by body mass movement and the boxing drop-step is easiest. 

Natural body positions is a phrase used by one karate luminary whose articles inspired me to write this chapter. It comes from a translation of Funakoshi's precepts, i.e., "Stances are for beginners; advanced students will use natural body positions.”

I feel the use of natural and positions is like, "taking a stance in karate," where once again a feeling and idea of something static, a position taken like standing upright and something that is stand alone. It comes down to defining the word "natural" when it comes to body positions. 

In my mind, body positions often assumed during a crises involving aggression and violence such as self-protection using physical means is not natural. It is anything but natural and yet, with my limited experiences and understanding of karate, I get the sense that natural is more inclined to be a body positioning that best manifests fundamental principles in ways that maximize the efficiency of the body so certain methodologies of physical nature can be applied in unique and unnatural positions while ensuring the most force and power are available to be applied. 

Yes, that is a mouthful but here is the goal I have, to ensure the best meaning and understanding is achieved especially when it is presented and discovered by others without the guidance and demonstration from a qualified and proficiently knowledgable and experienced teacher. 

I also believe that natural also means that one assumes that is either exact to the natural way the body moves, its physiokinetic processes, or a close proximity that allows us to utilize principled based methodologies to achieve our goals and objectives. 

As example, and as example of predatory attacks in general, we must be able to use principled based methods that can achieve results especially when our bodies and minds are forced as far away from natural as the attacker can achieve, i.e., when they surprise you completely; when they disrupt your balance totally; when they destroy your natural body structure beyond experiences; and when they are totally destroying your minds ability to orient and make decisions let alone act appropriately to end the disruption of mind, body and spirit. It is about taking unnatural steps to reorient and act in a naturally semi-natural way to stop the damage. 

A major difficulty of most karate people is the assumption that how the stances in karate are currently taught, a first level novice basic form, is the totality of how karate is taught, learned, trained, practiced and applied. It is truly the "educational form" of karate developed and taught to young adults in the Okinawan and Japanese school systems circa early 1900's of WWII era. 

Here I recommend that people seeking a better understanding of this subject do some heavy research of others who are professional and knowledgable teachers of traditional defensive and protective karate, as well as other forms, on things like, "stances; kata; blocks; and other" aspects of karate. As learning tools we humans take an atomistic simplistic position so that we see the basics so later, we can start to evolve, morph and collectively combine in any number of ways those simplistic atomistic understandings into more simplistic yet complex combinations that are conditioned to be triggered in memory during the OODA processes. 

Read also "My Stance on Stances" by Iain Abernethy Sensei 
Read also "Function of Stances" by Iain Abernethy Sensei 
Read also “Stances: An Observation
Read also "Deep Stances"
Read also "Shizen dachi"

Bibliography (Click the link)

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