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.

IKENSHO: Human Body and Mind

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

Yes, I know you already know this because we all took biology class in school and yet it does no harm to revisit this with a bit more focus on how it will enhance our abilities in applying skills in the martial disciplines, yes?

Although in my personal case this subject became important after, rather than before, it holds a lot of information and understanding that would have contributed to a greater understanding of the martial disciplines, like karate, for self-protection. 

When you understand the underlying systems, concepts and principles that make things work the way they do it allows one to reach certain objectives and goals much earlier and quicker than doing it the hard way. 

What I would do today is provide relevant information to set a foundation of understanding our bodies and minds especially in regard to such a physical/psychological discipline found in the martial arts. Learning how the body and mind work allow us to make connections in our studies that actually make learning easier, faster and more apt to be retained on another level used by our instinct-like abilities in survival thus in self-protection through martial arts. 

First, we need to learn how the body works; second, we need to learn how the mind works; and third we need to learn how the mind leads the body and how the body influences the mind. This is a yin/yang principled based concept that carries the weight of years and years of practice basically floundering around until one achieves some oh-shit insight. 

First, a list of the human body systems:
  • Integumentary System: the skin, hair, nails, and holder of the many, many sites of sensory receptors used to gather in sense data for our minds to utilize. 
    • Sensory information must come first from knowledge and understanding then it can be translated into triggers through training to achieve the can-do actions when those very senses detect something requiring action - either or the type to avoid or handle situations including those that become gravely harmful.  
    • Pressure, direction and environment all come into play with our sense of touch, or rather our sense of sense, we feel with more than our fingers and hands thus in certain environments and situations one touching us from behind, for instance, can convey a lot of information, if you understand and know things, about that touch as to its intent. 
  • Skeletal System: made up of the bones that maintain our structure of the entire body to which all else are attached, etc. 
    • this is where we focus to learn how that compilation of bones, tendons, cartilage, etc., achieve efficient and effective work. 
    • knowing its function and its most efficient abilities along with how things link various joints, hinged vs. ball for instance, work and later coupling that with the muscular system speaks to how we should train to maximize the efficient application of movement, etc., to achieve martial self-protective goals and objectives. 
    • The six types of freely movable joint include ball and socket, saddle, hinge, condyloid, pivot and gliding. []
    • Example: Flat bones of the body provide protection, like a shield, they also allow larger muscles an attachment point in the body. Think of the two, the larger muscles that attach and the flat bones as the natural armor of the body. This is our protection and if we give due attention to those then we create a stronger protection of the body, mostly. [][]
    • Proper structure and alignment of the skeletal system is the first step in understanding how to achieve a solid structure necessary to generate stability, grounding and efficient movement thus producing power and force. It is also about how that transfers to a target because, example, if the elbow is cantered out of alignment then structure suffers and the power and force bleed off compensating for that canter. 
    • Not correcting skeletal structure in one area often means one compensates in other areas trying to correct and improve ergo needing to understand how the body works. 
  • Muscular System: a system of muscles that allow us to manipulate and move the very skeletal system that also contributes to that systems ability to maintain structure, alignment, etc.
    • A over-lay, if you will, of the skeletal system that allows the two systems, think yin/yang here, work in tandem to achieve martial protective goals, etc. 
    • In the muscular system, muscle tissue is categorized into three distinct types: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Each type of muscle tissue in the human body has a unique structure and a specific role. Skeletal muscle moves bones and other structures. Cardiac muscle contracts the heart to pump blood. []
    • Once proper structure and alignment, etc., are achieved in the skeletal system then the muscular system becomes productive, i.e., the muscles contract or expand accordingly giving support and stability to the skeletal system, the tendons and cartilage, etc., provide their support and stability and connectivity of the muscles to the skeletal system and when all aligns, builds proper structure accordingly and moves efficiently and appropriately we have power and force then how the muscles relax, for speed for instance, then contract, when connecting, you achieve certain principled effects that achieve your objective in applying the physical in self-protection. 
    • knowing the difference between fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles is beneficial and knowing that the muscle itself is comprised of both and is limited in a yin/yang way will help determine which is enhanced in training and how it is trained. 
    • knowing that muscles also mean stability and that how that manifests is critical to keeping alignment, structure and impact survival is helpful BECAUSE those fast-twitch, slow-twitch and strength-n-speed muscles are the SAME muscles so balancing that out is critical to achieve goals and objectives. 
    • muscle development is limited and going beyond those nature-natural limits means sacrificing some aspects of the muscles for that objective, i.e., stronger muscles for bigger muscles beyond the bodies natural limits may result in less fast-twitch, less stabilizing ability and bulk only beneficial for body mass leaving other aspects at a lower level of efficiency. 
  • Respiratory System: lungs, etc., used to pull air in and exhale carbon dioxide out so the body can absorb oxygen, a fuel for the body, and remove contaminates such as carbon dioxide, etc. In particular the sense of smell contributes a good deal to the mind/brain in martial disciplines even tho it is an under-appreciated sensory system. 
    • "Through breathing, inhalation and exhalation, the respiratory system facilitates the exchange of gases between the air and the blood and between the blood and the body’s cells. The respiratory system also helps us to smell and create sound." []
    • muscles cannot perform at maximum efficiency without air and what the provides along with other systems and factors toward efficiency and effective action or non-action. 
    • Smell begins at the back of nose, where millions of sensory neurons lie in a strip of tissue called the olfactory epithelium. The tips of these cells contain proteins called receptors that bind odor molecules. The receptors are like locks and the keys to open these locks are the odor molecules that float past.
    • People have about 450 different types of olfactory receptors. (For comparison, dogs have about two times as many.) Each receptor can be activated by many different odor molecules, and each odor molecule can activate several different types of receptors.
    • This neural code begins with the nose’s sensory neurons. Once an odor molecule binds to a receptor, it initiates an electrical signal that travels from the sensory neurons to the olfactory bulb, a structure at the base of the forebrain that relays the signal to other brain areas for additional processing.
    • The olfactory system is critical when we're encountering someone, for example, approaching from behind because a seemingly mystical ability triggers when certain smells hit is that would trigger a spidey sense telling us an unfriendly is approaching, from behind. It also comes in handy when surprised because smell can tell you a bit about who, what and why this attack occurs including how to handle it all dependent on the smell you encounter thus using it with the touch-sense-receptors in our skin, etc. can lead to success rather than failure in a self-protection event.
    • When we detect a smell the system, the thalamus, sends smell information to the hippocampus and amygdala, key brain regions involved in learning and memory. Also, the amygdala is already known by most in martial arts used to trigger a more lizard like encoded response if training and practice are accomplished efficiently and accurately. 
    • Pressure, direction and environment all come into play with our sense of of smell. Like that of touch, if someone comes up behind you and touches you they are close enough that you can smell them and that smell can also tell you volumes about who and why a person is behind you entering into your personal space. The smell with pressure along with direction and the environment dictate interpretations. 
    • knowing how to breath as to depth, breadth and application means the difference, example, between endurance and success or lack of endurance and failure, i.e., lose endurance quickly causing weaknesses that spell losing the ability to self-protect even in a situation lasting moments. 
  • Cardiovascular System: circulates the blood by way of a pumping heart, the arteries and veins, etc., delivering oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, organs and cells while carrying away the waste products as a result of efficient work. 
    • when many consider this system many contribute it to the concept, symbolism, of “ki or chi” or that energy that circulates throughout the body giving is the force and power, physically and spiritually if you will, to get-r-done. 
  • Neurological System: Utilizes information from the sensory systems via nerves and the brain telling the muscles to contract and relax, etc. to cause physical actions. 
    • All the sensory systems carry all the reality of the outside world into our inner worlds of the mind. 
    • Sense of sight; sense of hearing; sense of touch; sense of taste; sense of smell are the only way external stimuli of our reality reaches our inner worlds of the mind. It comes down to perceptions of that stimulus data to create what we believe creating the reality of our lives. 
    • The nervous system must receive and process information about the world outside in order to react, communicate, and keep the body healthy and safe. Much of this information comes through the sensory organs: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Specialized cells and tissues within these organs receive raw stimuli and translate them into signals the nervous system can use. Nerves relay the signals to the brain, which interprets them as sight (vision), sound (hearing), smell (olfaction), taste (gustation), and touch (tactile perception). []
    • The Eyes Translate Light into Image Signals for the Brain to Process;
    • The Ear Uses Bones and Fluid to Transform Sound Waves into Sound Signals;
    • Specialized Receptors in the Skin Send Touch Signals to the Brain;
    • Olfaction: Chemicals in the Air Stimulate Signals the Brain Interprets as Smells;
    • Home of the Taste Buds: The Tongue Is the Principal Organ of Gustation.
    • this same system as the yin/yang principle explains becomes a target of the adversary as proper applicable methods tend to cause instant immobility when properly applied pressures are used. 
  • Digestive System: system that absorbs nutrients and removes waste via the intestinal tract that includes the mouth, stomach, and intestines, etc. 
    • fuel, that which is necessary to achieve the most efficient and effective physical and psychological running machines that are the very cornerstone of our realties. 
    • think FUEL, ask yourself, “do you use premium in your high performance auto?” Then why would you put low octane fuel in your tank. Your are what you eat and by extension your actions are a result of the fuel you put in your tank!
  • Endocrine System: here lies our adrenal systems or the hormones often discussed as the go to chemicals of human survival. 
    • the chemical dump; those chemicals triggered in situations requiring our actions and thoughts toward the very survival of self and species. 
    • The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol. []
    • to learn all about this aspect of cause and effect when stress and danger present itself see the bibliography especially those for Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung for their explanations really spell out how important this is to self-protection and life matters in general. 
There are a few other systems but for brevity and considering how those are not directly related to this articles objective; to understand how the body works; to make use of the mind and body along; with the spirit to achieve ‘get-r-done’ processes; to achieve mastery of martial disciplines, especially in self-protection. 

This is just the TIP of the iceberg, visualize your mastery when you take the time, effort and considerable work to study these things and manifest that into your training, practice and application of martial disciplines!

Sanchin, it is the kata spoken of in karate circles and is not as understood as one would imagine and yet it does convey a lot of understanding to those who make it their primary study tool. It teaches us a lot about our bodies and therefore our minds. It is one of those kata tools that teach us principles with emphasis on how the body works when manifested. It is sanchin-shime, if understood and practice properly, that one can check the control exhibited in the body through the various manifestations of said body functions demonstrated in the sanchin performance. The main characteristic of sanchin is not always taught and trained and exhibited in its performance where things like dynamic tension and the ability to sequentially lock and sequentially relax are taught, applied and tested. It is in this one kata that fundamental principles like breathing, posture, alignment, structure, axis, etc., are taught, practiced and once understood applied in both controlled drill format and into the chaotic creative free-flowing types of practice and training that embrace the adrenal reality-based concepts. 

Kata, sanchin, are tools that are transcended at certain levels or stages of training and practice in order to apply those principles for self-protection under the duress-stress environments of conflict and violence. Learning about the body and how it works connects the dots and makes sense once you apply the strategy to your lessons. 

The Brain:

The Brain: The Cerebellum Fine-Tunes Body Movements and Maintains Balance; The Thalamus Mediates Sensory Data and Relays Signals to the Conscious Brain; The Hypothalamus Manages Sensory Impulses, Controls Emotions, and Regulates Internal Functions; amygdala is a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions; The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol... []

Then there are the more creative free-flow thinking, analysis and creative aspects of the mind that one must develop through study, training, practice and a myriad of applications both reality and reality-based that make one a master of themselves and the disciplines. 

In order to master our bodies we must master our minds and only through an academic study of a huge myriad or variety of subjects used in reference can one achieve that goal for that reference material encoded in the mind is what the mind searches and creates and inspires both in training and in a clench to get-r-done. 

Since the mind controls the body and the body teaches the mind it is understood, as you already know, the mind must be trained and understood so that the body follows the correct path of the mind. Concepts and principles like philosophy, mushin, yin/yang, zanshin, empty cup, non-action, etc., are all of the mind that when properly applied in training feed the body so the body acts when the mind comes under attack and this dynamic ability is how we avoid, deescalate and then use escape-n-evasion to our benefit yet if necessary triggers those actions necessary for self-protective survival. 

Charles James  “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

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

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