Please take a moment to read this post first, i.e. "A Different Perspective," before diving into this blog. Your comments, suggestions and participation are greatly appreciated.

Please take a look at Notable Quotes, enjoy.

Please take a look at the bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

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.

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.

“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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Monday, December 5, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Secret Technique vs. Special Technique

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

This comes to mind simply because so many manipulation experts, in karate and martial arts, use the term “Secret” to sound and be perceived as “Fascinating and Mysterious,” when in reality it is more a sales manipulative influence effort to get folks to “Sign on the dotted line.” 

If you really want to be as truthful as possible with a whole lot more accuracy the term secret should to changed to, “Special.” After all, your goal is to teach something special to your students and if that teaching is unique to you, the sensei, and your system or style then it is truly special. If it is common among other systems or styles, etc., then it is NOT special, it is Ordinary and Common. So, you lose the term and find another way to make the sale. 

Regarding anything secret, if it is truly secret then that means very, very few are privy to that information and selling it or teaching it to anyone in your dojo, style or system therefore makes it no longer secret, it is public even if only in the dojo. Secrets are not something you want made public or provided to more than those who have a need to know that secret. 

To be secret it must be a piece of knowledge that is not known by more than a select few and when outed it must not be the same, similar or close to any other thing or piece of information. Saying a certain way to punch is a secret is ludicrous unless its overall effect and influence on some thing is unique in regard to any other thing or information.

Secret: Something not know or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others such as being classified, top secret, undisclosed, unknown or private as if under wraps. It is about keeping things to oneself or about something unknown. It can also be something not properly understood; a mystery. A valid but not commonly known or recognized method of achieving or maintaining something. 

My litmus test is, if it is being advertised to the public domain in any manner or way or method then it is not a true secret. Secrets are not advertised or spoken of or written about where anyone not classified as needing to know can see, read, hear or feel that secret or inference to being secret. In short, a secret technique is about misleading and misdirecting for a person or professional agenda. To let loose a secret inappropriately makes the secret, NOT SECRET!

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sitting Seiza in Karate

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

In a recent blog article by Victor Smith Sensei he talks about something called, “Suwari [Suwari Waza is the generic name for techniques performed in the seated stance in traditional Japanese (Koryū) martial arts.] and Tachi-waza [Suwari waza contrasts with hanmi handachi waza (a person sitting in seiza defending against a standing attacker) over the tachi waza (standing techniques, which comprise the stance in which the majority of standing techniques and training are performed in aikido, and where the attacker and the defender standing).],” and in that conversation he speaks to how most no longer kneel in seiza in everyday life. I wrote in comment the following:

“That is too bad because "traditions,” and "ceremonies" and other such things are all under the heading of "Heritage" and heritage is what all cultures of significance are built from and upon. Seiza, the actual process has its own shi-kata or form from Japanese, Okinawan and Chinese cultural influences. It is what connects and binds us to the heritage of karate and martial arts from that part of the country - too bad. 

I remember how difficult it was to sit seiza and perform mokuso at the start and end of dojo practice and training. I never truly got comfortable with it and I rightly assume it was because I didn’t grow up sitting seiza and didn’t sit seiza outside the dojo. Regardless, for many years that was what I did before and after dojo practice because, as I state, it was a way to connect in a direct physical way to the past, the heritage of karate from Okinawa. Yes, Okinawan’s sat seiza and I suspect they started it because of the strong connections they had with China and later, after the 1600’s, they also assumed and kept that piece of cultural etiquette when the Japanese took control. 

Many of the cultural heritage connections such as sitting seiza have been slowly removed from modern karate practice here in the West and I can only assume and speculate that it is because those who removed those heritage connections just didn’t understand, or even care, about the past. We in the West tend to have forgotten about our own past and heritage, as short as that is when compared to such cultures as the Chinese who have thousands and thousands of years in their heritage. Anyway, I digress toward distraction so back on the subject I go.

Sitting seiza is not indicative or inherent solely in the dojo for it is how the entire culture sat or sits even today (well, maybe not so much but some still sit seiza). I do understand that for many it is only about the physical challenges and attitudes and contests of karate and martial arts. I do understand that for many it is only about or in addition too the preceding, self-defense and I understand that for many it is only about the competitive aspects BUT …

Sitting seiza and for mokuso before and after have certain traits and concepts that support and build on all the above reasons why one takes to the dojo. It may not be readily apparent but with some effort and research one can find that connection and find benefit. I can only say that I recently got back into a art form that has competitions in it and due to the connections I made to the historic cultural philosophical principles of karate and martial arts I have progressed rapidly up and back almost into expert status and believe/feel that mastery is not as far away as it normally would be if I had not studied such things as sitting seiza.

You see, there is a kata, shi-kata, to approaching, standing, kneeling, assuming the seiza position, setting down on the heels and placement of hands, etc., just like there are kata that teach principles, fundamental methodologies, force levels, and so on to utilize in self-fense, etc. It is one of the myriad of things that connect us to our past and allow us the ability to analyze and synthesize our practice, training and applications for modern times, the present if you will, while maintaining the core principles developed and taught by the past and allowing for growth, progress and the natural evolution of the systems and arts for now and for the future. Think of it as a three-stage stack where we learn the past and practice it diligently then we synthesize appropriate aspects for the modern times of today and then finally we learn to synthesize new aspects, traits and ways to apply proper principled methodologies toward appropriateness of future systems, dojo and practitioners. I personally see it as how we take the past, learn from it and then take it into the future - creating a three-stage stack. 

Sitting seiza in karate or any martial arts may seem to be not beneficial or realistic for modern times but then again …

COMMENT: On the arts of suwari and tachi waza, although they may appear or seem or be perceived as something we would not encounter in reality, violent attacks, etc., they still hold lessons that will benefit the practitioner in a combative situation be it some socially driven monkey dance or other predatory type of resource/process attack. Skipping such training simply weakens one’s abilities in the end, don’t skip. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Note: the following graphics may or may not depict correct seiza, etc., do some research to validate or find
the correct shi-kata to sitting seiza ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A karate-ka’s greatest strength

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

“A karate-ka’s greatest strength is in observation, the more observed, the more the karate-ka comes to know. Such knowledge gives the karate-ka power, especially when others fail to see.” “The eyes must see all sides,” a ken-po goku-i meme as part of the whole that is the “goku-i.” Awareness is about seeing all sides or the myriad of things in the Universe. Our Universe is not just that of the vastness of the space that surrounds our Earth but the vastness of that space the surrounds each of us as if a micro-cosmic variation of the entire Universe.

To achieve such mastery of the seeing of all sides we must cultivate that which is observed more than merely seeing but to analyze all that we observe then synthesizing what we need to survive in our own Universes. It is truly our greatest strength and the greatest weakness of each individual karate-ka dependent on a myriad of things of which seeing all sides is but one. 

One, being the great “Tai Chi” that through the natural way of the Universe, i.e., Heavens, Earth and Hu-mans, is to divide into the four then the eight and finally into the sixty-four hexagrams that tell us how to travel the path of life as karate-ka. 

The more we can observe through the wholehearted efforts of education, training, practice and attaining of experience is how we accumulate the inherent knowledge necessary for mastery. Observation leads to education; education leads to knowledge; knowledge leads to understanding and understanding leads to analysis and synthesis of old, new and the creative - to see all sides of things. 

I would further add that “to hear in all directions” holds the same weight, i.e., as in “While a persons unbalance is the same as a weight” thus making a lack of observation leading to the end results null and void without the addition of hearing and weight and a loss of balance when these principles are missing or incomplete. 

To observe takes all the senses with the two of sight and hearing dominate, dominant sensory input processes that provide a wholehearted whole of observation and awareness, etc. This is one meaning attributed to the goku-i!

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Is Self-Fense Realistic?

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

In a recent blog reading it came to me that due to the disparities between each human, be they male or female, that trying to teach or sell self-fense to those individuals is just not possible. We, each of us, are unique and have individual needs and wants and other such stuff that is, fundamentally, different from all other of our species.

Yes, we have like things that are somewhat able to match us up especially in the survival mode all humans have to deal with but when you start digging deeper beyond those facades you find, once again, differences. Differences that often require each of us to set aside when dealing with others so that we can - “Deal with Others.” This is true even in families, i.e., between spouses, between siblings and between parents and children. We all have to compromise and shift and change, at least when dealing with others, on a face level minimum. 

In the Self-Fense (most call it self-defense but since I have done a bit of study of MM’s work on violence, as with RM too, I like to use self-fense) model of most vendors they are only able to sell that product if they can create a model that would span a large audience of individuals, all with their own unique needs and wants and requirements, etc. This presents problems that result in self-fense being - NOT true and reality based but generic to the degree it is often useless in reality. 

I have to wonder then, is the self-fense industry any good or realistic or productive or efficient in reality? In general, I have come to conclude that toward most who seek out such vendor supplied products it is more a ego stroking feel good effort over a real reality-based need to protect ourselves. Those who actually need realistic reality-based methodologies are those who work and/or live in violence based environments or jobs that work in violence based environments. Like Police, Corrections Professionals, Body Guards, Military, Bouncers (some) and other professions that expose the members to violence or possible violence. 

This tells me that most, almost, all self-fense programs are simply tools to sell a product and that is why I often shout out when I read their testimonials and web sites and ads are written or presented in certain ways as if their program, for instance, is the ultimate warrior based military proven way to provide foolproof self-defense. Yes, there are programs out there that are realistic and run by experienced violence professionals while the others are sold by using “Compliance Principles (Influence principles)” that make folks feel good about themselves and instill a confidence that they are safe and secure. These folks, like most in our modern times, will never, ever, encounter the types of conflict and violence that truly require true relative realistic self-fense. 

When I view or review many of the karate and martial arts self-defense programs, by attending in the past and by academic reviews today, I feel like they are more what I feel is reality rather than what they think, feel and believe to be realistic. 

As instructors they are forced, in most cases I believe, to use compliance principles to sell the product and sell the individual into believing they are getting something unique and useful, the principles are use every day and in every moment of our public lives to get us to do things and buy things we might not truly want or might not truly realize is useless but it does hit on those human fundamentals so that we feel good and believe that we are safer and more secure. It works and most humans go through their lives completely without the realization of reality for we create our reality in our minds so we can survive. 

Humans tend to not think a lot about stuff for no other reason than if we thought logically about every single decision, etc., we would be stuck in limbo unable to move, to live and to … you get the picture. We look for shortcuts, it is all part of our survival needs and instincts and allows us to use that to survive. When it doesn’t then the self-fense you are sold may or may not work but it too has to be a knee-jerk reactive or proactive model as well so that a need to logically analyze and act is bypassed, think OODA here, and that is why the education, training and practice along with reality-based experiences is needed to program those tapes. 

Self-defense, mostly, is not realistic in my book. We can pay lip service all we want to self-sooth and stroke our ego’s into believing we are gaining and learning all those warrior combatives like technique based programs that are cookie cutter programs that fit everyone while failing to fit each individual but hey, we won’t ever have to prove either’s legitimacy.

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PART I: Zendo (The Dojo)

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

It is often hypothesized that the dojo of martial arts/karate are based on the Zen Zendo. The following are excerpts of the Zen-do, the dojo of Zen Buddhism. It is believed that the MA/Karate dojo are where some train and practice the physical in balance with the philosophical/mental to achieve a balance in body, mind and spirit toward a way of life with the more physically violent aspects a side benefit toward self-fense. 

It is my endeavor to connect the dots between the Zen-do and the Do-jo in an attempt to better understand its humble beginnings and heritage tied so adamantly to the practice of what some term as, “Budo and Karate-do.” I will take the individual excerpts first and comment then provide my synthesized belief toward a more holistic and wholehearted theory at the end.

“The Meditation Hall (zendo) is where Zen educates its monks. To see how it is regulated is to get a glimpse into the practical and disciplinary aspect of Zen.”

As in the Zen-do, the dojo also is where one educates and masters it proponents, its martial artists and karate-ka. Like the Zen-do, the Dojo acquired, adjusted and synthesized the dojo in a regulated, etiquette and morally driven way and through its hierarchal governance one can get a glimpse into the discipline and practice of martial arts and karate all connected historically to the heritage of Zen Buddhism. As will be perceived as this article/post continues this is just one of many aspects that makes the modern dojo. 

At all the Meditation Halls the practitioners work, especially that which is commonly regarded as menial, is the vital element in the life of the monk; manual labour, such as sweeping, cleaning, cooking, fuel-gathering, tilling the farm, or going about begging in the villages far and near. No work is considered to be beneath their dignity, and a perfect feeling of brotherhood prevails among them.”

In the dojo, paying homage to this ethic, the practitioners also work hard and to pay respect to oneself, the others and the dojo there are certain menial-like tasks undertaken before and after the day’s practice and training sessions called, “Nitten Soji [毎日の仕事] The characters/ideograms mean ‘daily chores’.” It provides a connection to the very practices and principles of the Zen Buddhism in the Zen-do. 

“Muscular activity is the best remedy for the dullness of mind; The trouble with most religious recluses is that their mind and body do not act in unison; their body is always separated from their mind, and the latter from the former; they imagine that there is the body and there is the mind and forget that this separation is merely ideational, and therefore artificial.”

It has become an accepted, if not actually factual or accurate, belief that the Chinese monks who practiced Zazen Zen Meditations were taught physical methods to keep the body strong and healthy. It is also the belief in the dojo that one’s mind must be strong as well as one’s body in order to create a balance of both leading to the creation of a strong spirit. Zazen was instituted in the dojo to prepare the mind for the rigors of the physical activities to follow along with another zazen session at the end to allow the mind and body to feed the spirit in mindful meditative processes and thoughts. It is the dojo’s method to achieve the same goals as Zen and the Zen-do, to teach that there is no separation between the mind and the body; the mind leads the body and the body prepares the mind and both foster greater, stronger and more stable spirit. 

“The body kept busy will also keep the mind busy, and therefore fresh, wholesome, and alert.”

A basic tenant of the dojo believed to have be born from the dojo’s birth through the practices of the Zen monks in the Zen-do. It has born out in truth through practice as well as modern research that an active mind and body keep the mind busy so that the body is alert while the mind fresh,clear and aware. 

“Moral assertion ought everywhere to be over and above intellectual judgment; that is, truth ought to be based upon one's living experience.”

More of a philosophy and not actually directly connected in martial arts and karate yet it is and should be because the best intellect, the best judgments and the best actions come from what is learned by living and experiencing life itself. Truth should be based on what you live and experience because there are no falsehoods in such things for experience in the world is the best teacher and the best litmus test to truth based on the facts experienced through touch, taste, vision, smell, etc. In the world of martial arts and karate as it may be applied to self-fense, fighting and/or combatives it is hands on actual live experience that will best teach how to get-r-done. 

“They put into action whatever reflections they have made during hours of quiet-sitting and thus test their validity in the vital field of actualities.”

In the end, in the dojo and for all martial arts and karate it is about what you can do and how the doing relates, connects and validates knowledge and understanding. We sit seiza/Zazen, we contemplate and we analyze and then synthesize but until we take those reflections and test them in the fires of life and actions we cannot determine their validity and actuality. 

“The Meditation Hall, or Zendo as it is called in Japan, is a rectangular building of different sizes according to the number of monks to be accommodated.”

The moving physical meditation hall of martial arts is based on this premise, i.e., a practice hall where the number of adherents is only goverened by the time of day and day of week where one practices and trains. Often a small sized outside dojo, such as a home yard or garden, where practitioners come and go. The size and capacity of the Zen-do, as the dojo and as any home in Japan tend to work from the same plans, etc.

“The desire to possess is considered by Buddhism to be one of the worst passions with which mortals, are apt to be obsessed. What, in fact, causes so much misery in the world is the universal impulse of acquisition. As power is desired, the strong always tyrannize over the weak; as wealth is coveted, the rich and poor are always crossing swords of bitter enmity.”

This is also not directly related to dojo except toward the more philosophical teachings were ego and attitude govern how and why one enables and makes us of such skills. 

“Though the master or teacher of a Zendo is its soul, he is not directly concerned with its government, which is left to the senior members of the community, whose character has been tested through many years of discipline.”

This one may be connected indirectly because many a system and dojo look to the founding father and his heritage, beliefs and core teachings with a few first-generation students working as his staff in dealing with many students yet this also is about politics and humans buy into this wholeheartedly and that in and of itself tends to lead to changes, both appropriate and not. 

“The basic principle of the Zendo life is "learning by doing". They disdain soft education and look upon it as a predigested food meant for convalescents.”

At least in part, the learning by doing motto and process is definitely ingrained deep in the teachings of martial arts and karate even taking the use in violence out of the equation, i.e., as a means of life affirmation philosophy - the way - practice and study, the need to “Just Do-It philosophy” is required along with other stuff to make it work in reality. The disdain of soft eduction may be correct only in that a total and complete focus on that aspect is to the detriment to making it work but if you study just for the philosophy and knowledge, not so much. I look at the educational aspects as a necessary side to bring balance to the practice and study. 

 “The Zen master, who will often treat his monks with every manner of seeming unkindness.”

Yep, many accounts of Asian Sensei teaching with an unkind look, etc., is how that is done and not just due to the influences of Zen Buddhism and the Zen-do or Zen-dojo but also due to the concept of “Shi-kata.” It is in their culture and cultural belief system toward every day life etiquettes. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Contrary Views

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

“I believe any view that runs contrary to the established order of things is bound to appear offensive.” - Shinseidokan Dojo Blog Excerpt

Yes, I understand because any time one refutes or questions a dogmatic-belief the owner of said belief is going to take it personally, even when it is not personal. That is the species condition that is either directly or indirectly born of our very survival instincts-needs. It takes one of great strength and inner integrity to see past the dogma, analyze the incoming data and then synthesizing their beliefs accordingly. 

It is so because evolution is about having such survival tapes, click-n-whirr, but with one caveat that when the not so obvious becomes - obvious - the species assimilates it and over time encodes it into a tape used … wait for it … survival (tape=click-n-whirr). 

It took me almost fifty years to realize the truth in this and to allow myself, with constant due diligence along with occasional failures, to accept this fact and work with it. So much of my angst these last few years has come from this realization and the stresses that come from overcoming the tape and allowing the recording of a new tape. Then add in that it takes time and great effort to push the old tape into storage so that the new tape can assume its rightful place (see, this delay is similar to the evolutionary processes of our species). 

Communications has become a huge subject for me and it involves relaying such things often in the face of resentment and resistance. I did this the other day on a subject of importance and found myself attempting to communicate another perspective so that a person and group could analyze and synthesize a possible new view on that subject. It took me a period of time and efforts to realize they were trapped in their beliefs and I was wasting my time continuing the effort. Some times you just have to see that you must cut and run because waste not want not lives.

A karate-ka and blogger I have come to respect is stepping back from his blog efforts and I understand why, the “established order” of the karate community has dug themselves into a deep hole of egoistic economic power driven dogma simply because it feeds the ego-esteem of those who run it along with the blinders placed on by the income and potential income of the new product. It is not their fault but from where I sit I have to say that letting something change simply to feed the machine while killing its very essence, in my personal view, is just not proper or even legitimate to the heritage. 

Yet, things change and for the evolution of karate this change may be necessary or our art just may die on the vine and end up killing the entire vineyard. I am sure, and from my continued studies, that such things have occurred throughout human history and that many like me tend to feel it is a detriment only to discover much later that the changes was good and it evolved us so that we would continue with human survival. Then again, there are far more changes in regard to evolutionary processes that are not good and are discarded for the sake of survival, you just never truly know until much later. 

Meanwhile the species tape of contrariness and the comfort zone of the order of things has a strong hold on the community. Changes are difficult even in the best of times and with all the gratifications felt from the current state of affairs it will take some huge contrary thing to result in either good change or the death of the art. 

A good example are the recent current events regarding the election of the next President of the United States. As protests continue and the media becomes consumed by the effort to NOT CHANGE we see an upheaval of society at least on one side. Even tho we all did the democratic thing and voted along with the electoral system find that the change we actually wanted, as shown in the vote and electoral system results, we have a large faction whose beliefs are such they cannot accept this and move on and therefore are resorting to breaking the law and acting in a violent manner contrary to societal rules and laws that things remain - uncomfortable. If we are lucky, it will take a lot of time and a considerable effort to make those who are resisting - to change. 

Our community in karate is the same and like the above example it is a small number that resist simply because it disrupts the continued existence of what we have come to love but we are the minority so we should step back and allow those who are in the new established order discover the benefits and detriments that will be uncovered over time and will judge and adjudicate the continued existence or demise of karate and martial arts. 

Like in our current societal upheaval those who believe in the past and old ways must step back, continue our ways and allow our children to discover and come to change accordingly. I know this, there has been; will be; will always be a contingent of so called traditional ways and practices that the few, the proud and the traditional karate-ka will exist. It makes that form of the way, unique!

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Creating a Style

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

In essence all you need is a strong understanding of the fundamental principles that drive multiple fense methodologies using all the types of forces, i.e., spiraling, scissoring, carving, vibrating, and sheering, etc. This is a finite set of principled methodologies of force that are present and unchanged/unchangeable to every form of physical combative systems or styles.

I quote, “We humans exchange all sorts of information by the exchange of signals with each other, symbols we share in word form or in the nonverbal realm of eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, and gesture. It is an exchange of energy and information flow and it is this sharing that shapes how the flow is regulated.”

To create a style you merely have to put a unique personal spin on how you apply these principles methodologies of force to achieve your self-fense goals. You can add in unique terms and names and symbols that represent this uniqueness so that it appears and is perceived as something special, unique and different from what everyone else is doing. 

When I continuously study other Okinawan karate styles or systems I see differences yet when I look underneath I see exactly the same principles, senses and forces used to apply those different applications and techniques. 

If you want to win some competitive contest your gaol will always be, “To Win.” Yet, you may describe the strategies and tactics differently than your opponent yet in the end the underlying goal for both competitors would be, “To Win.” It is the same principle as I describe above, it is the creation of a book cover that is perceived and distinguished as “Different and Unique” but in essence the pages in the book all contain the same material or story. 

Humans want to be special, they want to be unique and they want that special uniqueness to help them stand out as to others so that they may achieve a higher status - all of this is about human species survival instincts and drives. In the end, there is absolutley nothing wrong with this but don’t fool yourself into thinking it actually makes you better, it doesn’t.

So, if you have a mastery of the fundamental principles of karate and martial arts self-fense, sport competition, combatives or just fighting along with the types and levels of forces and those pesky basic senses or sense systems to perceive, have ideas, perform idea/theory analysis to create through synthesis that cover page along with awareness, observation skills, accumulated creative action triggers and tapes so that you act appropriately to the facts of situations then go right ahead - create your own style!

Hat tip (Ritsu-rei) to <Shinseidokan Dojo Blog by Michael Clarke Sensei> as the inspiration for this post.

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Way or the Highway!

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

In a recent, and slowly fading blog site, article written at the Shinseidokan Dojo blog the blog author, Micheal Clarke Sensei, stated, “If you're not practicing <enter your style/system name here> the way we do it, then you're doing it all wrong!” Note: this quote is taken completely out of its intended intent in his article but I do this to express an opinion on JUST the QUOTE simply because I have heard this stated so many times it is no longer funny - especially in my core system of karate called Isshinryu. 

As Clarke Sensei mentions, breathtaking level of arrogance, seems to fit regardless of whether I present his original articles intent or my own for there is no conceivable way that humans can stay in exact accordance with the way someone teaches and practices a karate style or system. Especially when a Sensei, used loosely as a term or title here, starts to nick-pick the way a practitioner is doing something such as basics. 

Humans, according to the research I have studied on the brain and on how we use it and its memory processes, cannot truly record and regurgitate exactness, as in scientific forms of exactness, in either memory, spoken and performance of such things as karate. We can come pretty darn close but in truth that can always be contested. Our memories, regardless of what we think or believe, are not exact enough and for good reasons, it is how nature created our brains to work toward our survival. To become mired in exactness without some form or ongoing and instant creativeness when using such “Memories” we would still be on the plains of the Serengeti hunting and gathering in small tribes wearing close to nothing. 

It is very ability to create from teachings through analysis, an individual effort, and then synthesis, an individual benefit, in creating what works for us and  especially in applications that are the very reasons why I study, train and practice my karate. Even in a group, a dojo you can say, where the system or style is the same for all who enter the hall is always going to be influenced by each individual according to their cultural belief systems built over their lives that effect and influence how we learn and apply teachings such as karate. 

The only way one can actually “make it work” in reality is to learn the fundamental principles underlying all the manifestations of basics, techniques, drills, etc., in a creative spontaneous way because adherence to a particular, one way only, of how one person does it kills the creative side because that person or persons become so entranced and enfolded in anothers dogmatic pedestal  like group control dynamic they spend all their energy focused on the how of a singularly ineffective way of doing it “Right” over doing it effectively they get lost and suppress all creativity. 

As to other reasons why this seems to be of great importance is control, someone or something or some group create this type of practice and training under the guise and heading of remaining true to the master syndrome that they create a model that they need so that they can control the tribe, the group or the “Kai,” so to speak. Note: this is not always true because there are those who work to teach the basics, etc. in a way that keeps the style or system stable while promoting and mentoring the student toward a more creative expression of their interpretations of the system or style because that is a true way to study, learn and apply karate, etc. 

If I were looking for a dojo today regardless of the style or system I would look for one that fosters, promotes and encourages deviation from a rigid performance to a more chaotic creative free style form of application that depends on adherence to principles that are immovable yet pliable to the individual and their interpretations of karate, a living karate. Not a dead, plastic, controlled form of karate where any deviation is used to beat the practitioner down into submission in the name of staying true to a heritage that was not meant to be restricted, obscured or obfuscated, i.e., by its adherence to perceived clarity, complicated and honored adherence to one persons interpretation to the exclusion to all else, to the reality of karate practice.  

In closing, again taken out of its original context, I quote Clarke Sensei, “You can't gain height by pulling others down. You can't claim authenticity if you're worried what others think. You can't  apply karate if your head is full of techniques. You can't pretend to be a leader when you yourself are lost. You can't know the things you never struggled for long enough to learn. Short cuts lead to quick results, but none that last. Growing older is not the same as growing up!”

Hat tip (Ritsu-rei) to <Shinseidokan Dojo Blog by Michael Clarke Sensei> as the inspiration for this post.
The post in question I used can be read here: HERE

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Deep Mind

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

The deep mind that is older than language. Language is an overlay, so that it usually obscures or overlays all the ancient language in the human mind.

We trigger from sensory stimuli ancient deep mind activity that triggers language of the human mind to something simpler and understandable to our modern mind for understanding beyond nature's instinctual survival needs. Look at the overlay of language as a means of communications that enhances the survival of our species. Humans tend toward simplicity because it is this activity of the mind, as presented best by Colonel Boyd’s OODA loop, that uses terse triggers to get actions moving faster, faster than an adversary. If I had to use an analogy it is our human logical brain exchanging information with our lizard brain yet the lizard still receives data from that deep mind that spans back into the animal age of the cave dwelling neanderthals. 

Modern language is by far our greatest evolutionary process that allowed humans to adjust for progressively more modern ways of life. For instance, without the evolution of the brain toward a higher level of language our species would never have achieved the industrial to Internet revolutions that drive our lives today. 

As evolution began to layer, our ancient deep mind slowly ebbed and became part of the background noise, the air we breathe, gravity; it is just there and we have to learn to listen. 

The deep mind shapes us without our conscious understanding of how we are being shaped. This ignorance and growing disconnect is wreaking havoc on our modern way of life threatening to send our species spiraling back to our base beginnings. 

It is that deep mind, where a type of ancient language not of mere words resides, where our minds analyze and synthesize great arts and things that seem to come from mysterious sources.

It is our goal in karate and martial arts disciplines to reconnect our three brains, i.e., the human, the monkey and the lizard, to that deeper mind and that older language that is not a language as we understand and that is not the mind we perceive as our human mind. We want to go deeper than instincts, deeper than the lizard and we want to train and condition the three to communicate with our deep mind so as to speed up the loop even faster than the blink of an eye. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)