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

WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE

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.

Search This Blog

Karate-do (空手道) "The Way of the Empty Hand/Empty Hand Way"

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

Yep, you got it, another inspiration to write an article on my favorite subject, martial arts and in particular karate for self-protection. This time, as you can imagine, it's about the proverbial belief that one who practices karate, or any martial art for that matter, as a way of life. 

First, karate-do (空手道) as defined at tangorin.com is translated into an English definition of, "the way of karate; karate." What is, exactly, the WAY of KARATE? For every karate-ka in the martial arts communities there are as many different definitions and philosophies as to what the way of karate means. 

What does the "Way of Karate" mean, simple - it depends. Like all philosophical beliefs that philosophy depends on a slew of factors to each individual. It is something you already thought of but there are a slew of factors each of us will use to decide what it all means. 

To start, here is a link to a vBlog by Iain Abernethy Sensei on this very subject. It is short and to the point. And with everything Abernethy Sensei does, it is done well… you might say it is done with flair, personality and dedication and a love for the art and way that is karate, a martial art. 

Now, back to MEEEE, hehehe, I take a literal look at the phrase and ideograms/characters in that the way, the path of karate if you will is literally about the study, practice, training and application of karate or empty hand. There are no real philosophical concepts to the root practice because it is a physical endeavor that people involve themselves in for a variety of reasons with one that stands out. The ‘one’ is learning how to fight, how to defend and protect against an aggressive adversary bent on doing you harm, grave harm. 

It wasn’t till the time of Funakoshi Sensei and his compatriots in the world of Okinawan karate that a more philosophical aspect was born, i.e., late 1800’s maybe and surely the early 1900’s along with the educational versions being implemented for social and political reasons in a time of war or near war. 

All martial arts originally were simply a means to do harm to others before they did harm to you and add in all the ancient political and social reasons you can readily visualize the brutality and deadly need for such systems of martial skill and prowess. 

So, if that and other concepts are acceptable then we must ask the question as it relates not to ancient times but to modern times, times that began with Funakoshi Sensei and his morphing of Okinawan karate to Japanese karate. 

Funakoshi Sensei kept it pretty simple, “The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat but in the perfection of character of its participants.” Quoted in Abernethy Sensei’s Facebook vBlog presentation. 

No one really defines what is meant by perfection of character and how about personality that in my mind goes hand in hand with character for one is like the other making it like which came first, the chicken or the egg as a yin/yang conundrum. 

When we think of one with character and personality we as humans of modern times through social engineering will trigger thoughts of goodness, etc. and in truth the term character can be yin/yang as in either ‘good or bad’ in its development and application. We all know this to be true because we all have encountered karate-ka that are bad folks using skills for bad things as well as good folks using skills for good things. 

Like the way of karate, character and personality are also undefined and often left to the minds and assumptions and biases and dissonance of those who hear the term or believe they are practicing the way of karate. 

Mostly, the person who enters the dojo to study and learn karate, martial arts, has already established their character and personality and except in rare instances will that change except in maybe minor ways. All the karate practice and all the philosophical rhetoric in the world will never, ever change a person’s character and personality simply BECAUSE a person has to want it and want it badly. If they do, karate and martial arts will not provide the concepts or needs to change that person, it goes way deeper and further than any dojo or martial art has the capability to do and it comes from expertise that may be with a person who practices karate like a psychologist but as to the way of karate itself, not so much.

What karate does provide is a way to enhance and build things like self-discipline and self-confidence that are human traits that in and of themselves would contribute to the effort to change something within a person to achieve their concept and perception of a perfection of their character - again this can go either way as to good or bad. Note that good or bad is also undefined and most look to social realities to determine that concept. 

Karate is and always will be like any other discipline such as football or some other form that people use to try and convey a certain philosophical way to follow. It is simply a “TOOL” that one changes and uses to create and foster and enhance a philosophical way and that is why “philosophy” is a fundamental principle of the martial arts. It was added in during the early 1900’s efforts to foster what society of the times felt and wanted and would use as a compliance/influence model to change the way their youth thought and felt, especially toward an upcoming war effort. 

It is a tool like a hammer in the tool box used to drive nails to construct things, it is simply a discipline one can use to achieve certain objectives.

A Side Note: as to the philosophy of fundamental principles, it has nothing to do with character perfection and yes, it does provide certain philosophies to influence how one applies the martial skills be it in sport, combat or for self-protection. It is not about the character of the individual and is about setting a moral and socially accepted use of martial skills simply BECAUSE it has the potential as a violent aggressive discipline to hurt others. Take a look at the sub-principles that make up the fundamental principle of philosophy, i.e., “Mind [mind-set, mind-state, etc.], mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup.”

All these sub-principled concepts provide a dualistic symbolic way of perceiving things so the aspect of character and personality in perfection are still left to the individual in making the decision to be either good or bad. 

Ok, back to the track, the way of karate is to practice, train, study and apply the discipline and its inherently physical abilities to harm others in grave ways where the modern philosophies speak to influencing the practitioners toward the socially acceptable methodologies of proper application in its areas of sport, combatives and self-protection. The actual perfection of character and personality are the concepts and actions taken by each individual to achieve a goal where the tool that is the discipline of karate is a way to teach the body and mind the benefits or detriment of the choices we make.

To assign the product of character perfection to something outside the self, something that does not think, feel or contemplate that character and personality of socially and personal goodness and that in and of itself has no responsibility to achieve that objective or goal is ludicrous and a perfect excuse to blame our mistakes and missteps on something other than ourselves and our responsibilities regardless of how that goal is sought and achieved. 

In short, perfection of character is about how one develops that character dependent on taking responsibility for oneself totally, completely and comprehensively to become someone who is: 
  • morally and socially accomplished;
  • has a socially and moral humility;
  • morally and socially responsible to first, self, and then to others;
  • etc., etc., etc., …
Karate, like any discipline especially of a physical nature, does not develop and perfect one’s character and to perfect character does require self-awareness, self-discipline and self-confidence with smatterings of reality and intestinal fortitude along with truth through self-reflection; along with a strong sense of right-mindedness that comes from adherence and dedication to a discipline like karate or football or some other symbolic way found in sports, military-like endeavors or the very fabric and work of family and society. 

Now, here is where I send you back to the vBlog by Abernethy Sensei because he does address far more than I have herein, especially as to problems this creates as to influence and compliance principles like found in advertisements where the dojo and the sensei stand in a position of responsibility where they can influence and manipulate toward both good and bad. It is well worth listening and considering his concepts on the subject. 

In closing, to create a better character with associated personality first and foremost be independent, use others as merely a possibility or guide to research and analysis and synthesis of what YOU consider beneficial in enhancing your character and personality. Be self-reliant and listen to your inner voice and don’t allow others no matter how convincing, how expert and how their accomplishments as to wins and trophies and belts, etc., might influence you. Be yourself, be the very character and personality best for you, according to you and to how you assimilate and encode and create those characteristics that make you, YOU, and make YOU a better person for you, your family and your social cultural environment. 

“Karate is a great tool, but a terrible master.” - Dylan Tucker’s pastor quote

Oh, in closing, remember that ‘perfection’ is a great target and don’t forget that there is no such thing as perfection. Striving in an ongoing, consistent and concerted effort is key and that is a characteristic of one with character, humility and honor. 

空手道

These ideograms or characters if you will, are defined and translated into English to mean the following:
  1. : emptiness; vacuum; blank
  2. : hand; arm; means; way; trick; move; technique; workmanship; 
  3. : road; path; street; lane; passage; route; way; distance; journey; road (e.g. to victory); course; way (of living, proper conduct, etc.); moral principles; teachings (esp. Confucian or Buddhist); dogma; means; way; method.
  4. 空手道: When interconnected:  the way of karate; karate. 
The main concepts I focus on in the use of karate toward a more philosophical way, no pun intended, to achieve a better character and personality so that I may apply the skills learned in karate in a socially and morally acceptable way are underlined. Alone these characters/ideograms can convey another meaning and ideology that stand alone. When combined another and finally the last character used for “do (doah)” has a plathora of possibilities that each of us can take, contemplate and apply while in the dojo training and practicing. 

All of them can be used as tools to teach the mind and body to make the hard decisions necessary upon self-reflection with a goal of overcoming biases and dissonances so that one can see with clarity the very core of us, ourselves and our ego’s so that we may make an informed analysis toward the decisions necessary to change ourselves within knowing that no one can carry that load for us, it is our sole responsibility and therefore the key to achieving character and its resulting personality. 


p.s. here are those pesky “words” again…

For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)

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