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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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Society is …

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

Society is about a collective of people that through communications and cooperation survive. Marc MacYoung wrote something about three years ago about moving parts. Society, the tribe, the clan and the family all band together for various reasons but none as important as both survival and procreation. The issues rise up when people come together because physics of psychology enter the dojo and it is called friction.

When I rub two sticks together in an environment that has a potential of flammability you get … “Fire!” Now, you might automatically jump to the thought that fire is bad and in a lot of cases it is, it burns. But there are times when fires are good such as controlled burning to combat forrest fires during dry fire seasons, etc., (you firefighters out there let me know if I got that right?). 

Human Conditions dictate the type and intensity of that friction and survival is all about how each individual and the collective groups cope with that to the benefit of the entire family to tribe to clan to the larger social structure (the larger social structure is a new modern thing). This is where the shift in the article comes in toward martial arts, karate and self-defense of conflict and violence. 

Unless an individual lives alone and in isolation assuming they can get food, shelter and provide a safe and secure environment, there is always going to be friction when encountering others even when direct blood family. There are and must be rules and those rules along with the group dynamics and rules both written and unwritten (mostly unwritten), are to be understood and followed or there are repercussions necessary to keep the group strong, safe and capable of survival and all that goes with it. Our species has this entire spectrum of things related to this in order to keep the species alive, productive and procreating. 

From the moment of birth, if each generation is passing along all those rules, requirements and other stuff, the person is exposed to all sorts of stimuli from parents, to brothers, to sisters and to the tribe or clan in which the family is a member. This social order and structure makes a society work and in the mirror of that we have micro-social groups the foster this social coping skill set in a system that transcends an individuals needs, rights and requirements. Survival and Procreation trumps them all and makes the foundation of the why our species does things.

Karate and martial arts dojo are micro-social groups where folks of like-mind gather for a singular purpose as is the case here to train, practice and apply proficient skills, multiple methods with appropriate force levels principled based, etc., to accomplish that objective. The objective is often referred to as self-defense or combatives in certain professions but in reality it connects silently to the core of species survival. 

The dojo has rules that bind with a hierarchal system demonstrating status and required services both given and received in a spirit of cooperation that teaches each individual the very social coping skills necessary for survival outside the dojo. We see similar objectives in other disciplines like the various sports such as football and so on. Without this, nothing works for long and often spells out doom to the group involved unless …

The one caveat is that the dojo environment and its teachings must adhere to certain social human needs and requirements that are sometimes symbolized by the dojo kun, things like bushido codes of honor, integrity, etc., that are positive in nature and create a level of harmony within the groups, etc.

The group dynamics of species survival has limitations imposed by nature herself that fit the current evolutionary stage of modern times. An example is a teacher to student ratio that if exceeded degrades and destroys the objective of teaching and learning. Society and its coping skills of survival and procreation requires cooperation and that comes from the moment of birth where that environment and its stimuli are input through sensory systems to our brains that teach each of us as individual how to survive - in a group. The ratio I am talking about in the teaching example has been found to be about four to one, i.e., four students to one teacher. In modern society it has come to be believed that the massive size of the entire society, the entire United States Population in this case, must and should and will adhere to rules and requirements that go way beyond the ratio’s of a family to group to clan where maybe in the clan/tribe one hundred and fifty would work. Our modern society consists of millions!

Like the teaching environment in schools everyone admits that once the ratio of students to teachers reaches a certain level it degrades the quality and productivity of that teaching environment but our current level of society population of students as related to that of teachers has taken that ratio and turned it into an ineffective, degraded and unproductive one where teachers today still accomplish much good but have to fight that ratio disparity because we lost control of our population and all that entails. 

Going back to the dojo, commercialism has driven the ratio out of kilter. To have a large dojo environment means it has to remain true to the ratio’s, i.e., one sensei for four practitioners so if the membership is up to sixteen then you really need  FOUR qualified and experienced sensei to make that work. In all honesty three to one works best. One Sensei cannot adequately pass along their knowledge, experiences and understanding of such a system or discipline without help and support. 

Consider this, in the military it takes four men (one of the four the leader while the other three qualify as leader just in case) to make one team that we call a, “Fire Team” in the Marines. Then you have a combination of thirteen where you have three fire-teams and the one squad leader. That squad leader leads the three fire team leaders who lead the three team members - the ratio over many centuries works and is why it continues. 

Four squads makes a platoon with a platoon leader and so on. In this environment and professions, as in life itself, it involves survival and can result in grave harm or death of the individual, his or her team members, the team leader, the other fire-teams who can and do work together to the squads and platoon. One major chink unfilled and corrected when broken in that chain spells doom for the entire platoon.

So, in that configuration and collective two factors are required to make it work. One, cooperation that is taught, trained, practiced and experienced with full understanding that further requires to make that work, communications. Communications requires understanding words, etc., and a cooperative endeavor to communicate and learn and teach one another when developing plans, implementing plans and then after the event discussing the plans in what some pro’s call the, “After Action Report, etc.!”

If those involved don’t know and understand the groups dynamics, hierarchal and status requirements, etc., then they cannot effectively communicate and therefore will fail in the cooperative effort to perform the mission, the plan. It is, a big example, like pulling tougher people of vastly different culture, beliefs and especially language and expecting them to survive. Yes, its possible and it can be done but not before working through obstacles and achieving certain objectives such as finding a common language, etc.!

Here is a dojo example: There are styles of karate; everyone believes wholeheartedly in their style and its superiority; everyone is acting in a species human way and is expected and natural; each has its own way along with culture, i.e., one is a hard style while the other is not, etc. and in that model it creates individual groups and dynamics that will not match with other styles. I know of one style that has become such a belief system that the style actually creates a state of entitled elitism where only students and members of certain groups are allowed to benefit from the teachings. 

If we wanted to remove the styles and create one system or group the only way to accomplish that mission is to teach a principled based multiple method realty-based system that actually lies under all the styles regardless of there individualized belief structures. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

It’s That Something

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

That something that triggers your spidey sense in that what you are experiencing or observing has something that sits just to the side of the consciousness leaving a puzzled look on your fact until suddenly like a flash of light, you get what it is. 

I observe and have observed kata practice both live on the dojo floor and via social media such as Youtube. I can watch and sense when someone is performing kata, performing kata ROTE and living the kata. What is “Living the Kata?” Well, being difficult to explain but it is a sense of spirit, understanding and intent within the practice and applications. 

Most know it when they see it even if they are unable to explain what it is they are perceiving. I say perceiving because that involves both the conscious and unconscious. When a true adept of karate practices there is something in the way they project their attitude, something in the way they move and something that is projected like the first morning rays of warm sunshine at dawn over a prairie with a backdrop of the majestic mountains of this wonderful world in which we reside. 

Another way to describe it is as if you were clairvoyant and can detect the tells that speak of something interesting, unique and spiritual but not religious in nature. It is like when you watch a couple in love you can perceive in their body language and the underlying aura that says to you they are truly in love or at least deeply infatuated with one another. 

Its’ that something similar to where you watch a group and you can feel, see, sense and even taste the connectedness that projects when the move together like watching military maneuvers especially those of spec-ops types, they instinctively know what each is doing and what they are going to do, etc. 

Likened to the Tao Te Ching or the I Ching, it is something that becomes instinctual in nature, a reflex that makes your eyes go wide and you intake a deep breath of surprise. It is that moment when you are in the wild and you come upon a predator stalking prey, the movement is likened to moving within the environment as if a part of it like the cool soft breeze causing the tall grass to move rhythmically. 

When I see kata today I see body language and facial expressions of boredom and ROTE, moving to meet a minimal standard of connecting various disparate techniques to make one long dance. It is as if one is merely moving haphazardly with no story, no intent and no meaning. It is empty, an empty shell of various individual movement to form a form, a form without substance as if copying a pattern onto material so you can take scissors and cut along the lines. 

As you can see it is most difficult to put labels and meaning on true kata being presented through moving meditative intent, purpose and substance. It is that something that you seek when you train and practice karate but can’t get exactly what that something is but with diligence, honor, consistency in training and practice, searching for more while absorbing deeply that which was found, and letting go of what must be let go then on that one day, that one hour and into that very moment you are suddenly thrust into understanding, a “Oh Crap, that’s it!” moment.

Karate is just a vehicle to get you to that something and it is your efforts that fuel karate until that moment, a solid valid beneficial and worthwhile wholehearted journey.  

Think “Living breathing sentient human vs. zombie Kata.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reframing to Refute (Martial Communications)

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

In a dojo, while assisting the Sensei, another yudansha approached me and said, “You're explaining too much.” In short, after a discussion to clarify is message and intent, he was saying that I talked too much. On one side I tended to agree and on the other side I tend to disagree and you ask, “How can you both agree and disagree?” 

It’s about communications, knowledge and understanding. First, I was trying way to hard to convey decades of study, learning, and understanding in one conversation. Second, I needed to parse the teachings down into what one media source would call, “Baby Steps.” Baby steps in that I should be more general in verbalizing a subject, etc., then follow up with more details as they progress in chunks that are more conducive to learning, and most importantly toward retention. A bit like giving a topic with a very short initial paragraph to cover the main points like they do in news stories or newspapers, etc., then expanding in the content that one can either read or not read as the moment dictates. At least the story is there for future reference and study if the practitioner so desires. 

Then, when warranted in training and practice as each moment presents some inspiration it could warrant another discussion of similar duration with follow up detailed discussion or written material or video, etc. 

Humans can only take in so much in one sitting ergo why lectures at University are often an hour where notes are taken, research is done as followup or homework, papers are written and reviewed with comments to direct effort and progression is achieved through this process. Over time, the practitioner/student will grow, expand and understand while building up a source of data they can rely on in their pursuit of martial and karate proficiency and expertise. 

In the art of, “Martial Communications,” as with conflict as well as social the techniques are the same while the discipline and subjects involved change, constantly. Humans are social and that social drive is about species survival through cooperation and evolving human communications skills are how we do that, survive and thrive. 

In martial arts as well as karate in modern times those who have come before are starting to recognize and realize how modern practitioners are now finding gaps in their knowledge, applications and understanding of martial arts and karate (emphasis on self-fense due to its inherent violent dangers).

It is because of this that I attempt to convey a new principle called, “Martial Communications.” Communications are about cooperation, i.e., in this instance about the exchange of information, theories, ideas and experiences to communicate what is needed and necessary to both evolve as martial artists and karate-ka but to survive in a world that still has conflict and violence (as I define it from a simply emotional discussion to the full blow all out wars humans endure).

The following notes are provided to present thoughts toward further research, study, practice and understanding. It is about presenting terse like information that triggers facts, ideas and theories you can study, analyze and then synthesize into a form of martial communications that will span not just the dojo floor but the world when applying martial self-fense skills in avoidance and deescalation, i.e., what professionals might call conflict communications (google conflict communications to learn about this). 


“Presenting facts that conflict with an individual’s worldview, it turns out, can cause people to dig in further. Psychologists, aptly, dubbed this the ‘backfire effect.' Learn how to communicate facts/information strategically.”

“In addition to presenting facts and figures, they appeal to emotions. This could mean not simply explaining the science of how something works but spending time on why it matters to the author and why it ought to matter to the reader.” 

“Communicators can be more effective after they’ve gained the audience’s trust.”

Refuting stories that deny martial beliefs by addressing each claim and explaining why it’s wrong is not that productive. In fact, it could be counterproductive: “If you repeat the myth, that’s the part people remember even if you immediately debunk it, she says. A better approach, she suggests, is to reframe the issue. Don’t just keep explaining why your view, theory, idea or belief is true and real - explain how your view, theory, idea or belief will harm and adversely effect practice, training and the practitioner. Communication that appeals to values, not just intellect, research shows, can be far more effective.”

INQUIRY: What is rhetorician? It is, “An expert in formal rhetoric; a speaker whose words are primarily intended to impress or persuade. The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques; language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.”

Create a model of, “Martial Communications.” 

Explain martial arts and karate strategically:
  1. Gain your audiences trust (be it many or just one).
  2. Don’t Refute, Reframe and present references to support your views.
    • Refuting stories that deny martial beliefs by addressing each claim and explaining why it’s wrong is not that productive.
    • Don’t just keep explaining why your view, theory, idea or belief is true and real - explain how your view, theory, idea or belief will harm and adversely effect practice, training and the practitioner. Communication that appeals to values, not just intellect, research shows, can be far more effective.
  3. Explain why it matters.
    • Explanations lead to curiosity and curiosity leads to study and study leads to connecting to others and conneting to others lead to communication and communication comes through cooperation and cooperation leads to evolving, growing and understanding of self, others and society. 
  4. Refrain from scientific like factual explanations and speak to the emotional side of the topic or subject under review/discussion.
  5. Don’t attack the belief system by reframing the subject, presenting the facts, explain how that hurts them and their practices and their beliefs, and appeal to values along with research, references and to intellect. 
  6. Use figures of speech and symbolism to persuade (compositional techniques).
  7. Be sincere and provide meaningful content.
Martial communications is many things but in short I would consider it as, “Communicative competence is a term in linguistics which refers to a language user's grammatical knowledge of syntax, morphology, phonology and the like, as well as social knowledge about how and when to use utterances appropriately.”

  • What is communicative competence?
    • Communicative competence is a term in linguistics which refers to a language user's grammatical knowledge of syntax, morphology, phonology and the like, as well as social knowledge about how and when to use utterances appropriately.
  • What is syntax?
    • the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.
  • What is morphology?
    • the study of the forms of words.
    • The study and description of how words are formed in language.
  • What is phonology?
    • the system of relationships among the speech sounds that constitute the fundamental components of a language; the branch of linguistics that deals with systems of sounds (including or excluding phonetics), especially in a particular language.
  • What is social knowledge?
    • The collective body of knowledge produced by your community or social circle is what is known as social knowledge. In a social or cultural context, social knowledge can be the collective knowledge base of small groups, like a family, or it can be a massive and constantly evolving body of knowledge, like Wikipedia.
  • What are compositional techniques?
    • In the visual arts, composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject.
    • Techniques and principles in composition? The placement, arrangement and proper collective creation of words to properly and accurately convey a meaning from one source to another. 
    • The act of combining parts or elements to form a whole; manner of being composed; structure; the act or process of producing a literary work.
What I am trying to do is create an atmosphere and dojo community that will foster and build a small group who come to understand the many myriad things that make martial arts and karate so fruitful, beneficial and provide us all the tools we can use not just for Self-fense or competition but in every day life itself. 

Becoming better people, better citizens, and better friends and neighbors is how we all survive; how we live in relative harmony with an enlightened sense of mutual connective social emotional maturity that helps us all, “Just get along.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

This article and my thoughts, theories, ideas, etc.,
have nothing to do with this book and I HIGHLY
RECOMMEND IT if you teach or work in a
profession that deals with conflicts and violence, etc. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Keiken soku (経験則) Rule of thumb (Empirical rule)

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

The rule of thumb is a vitally important physical signature of Isshin-ryū Karate gokui. The rule of thumb is a distinct key characteristic of Isshin-ryū Karate. Understanding its concept unlocks and locks one of the fundamental principle of Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei's teachings.
Passai no kamae. This kamae is in Sunsu kata.

It’s funny, I would venture to guess many wonder why I, “Question Everything.” Well, because it is the only way to fact find, fact check and understand what it is that people are trying to teach others especially in such a public venue like blogging or FaceBooking, etc. I especially question things that, “Don’t make sense; Don’t seem accurate; Don’t or Didn’t exist in the earlier days, for men anyway; Seem contrived; Seem something that tends to trigger the more academic side of me in logic and common sense.”

I admit, it is clever to use the Japanese terms and symbolically connect the meme, “Rule of Thumb,” to the symbolic connection of the thumb, as a rule, to a perception of the thumb placement, at one time considered unique to Isshinryu, on the fist as a direct connection to Isshinryu and its vertical fist. 

Long, long ago I wrote about the vertical fist along with the twelve traits of Isshinryu one of the Isshinryu Luminaries presented in those earlier years where the vertical fist and thumb on top as trademarks of Isshinryu. 

Read, if you wish, The Twelve Isshinryu Features

In short (good info in rest of article if you wish to read it);

10. A fist made with the thumb on top of the fist as opposed to the thumb being over the two fingers. Such a position, with the thumb on top, locks the wrist and serves to tighten the fist.

I will not address the exact physics of the thumb but will readily admit that even today this particular form of the fist and its use are still a distinctive feature of Isshinryu yet you will find that a good deal of today's Isshinryu dojo don't actually use it. 

11. A vertical punch, which increases speed and power. 

A vertical rising punch might be a bit more accurate. In reality when observing the use of the vertical fist you find that only in the rising punch does the fist actually remain vertical. In truth it shifts slightly to one side or the other depending on targeting and where that target aligns with the height of the person applying it to the person on the receiving end. This is pretty much truth to all forms of the punch.

Now, as to fundamental teachings this is a feature of Isshinryu that has since been adopted by many other systems except that most don't actually put the thumb on the top vs. down the side, etc.

You see, even with the above said along with the twelve features of Isshinryu, presented not by Tatsuo-san but one of his students upon returning to the States to teach, I still don’t get the connection it is the proverbial “rule of thumb” toward understanding all the aspects of the system that drives Isshinryu as a form of karate. I don’t see how it:
  • It holds a position of great importance as some physical signature (what does physical signature even mean?) of the ken-po goku-i or any other goku-i provided by Sensei? 
  • I cannot see how this proverbial rule of thumb is distinct as to any characteristic of Isshinryu except that its position seems unique in regard to other systems or styles who form the fist in other ways. Matter of fact, every fist formation has a purpose so they are all relevant but it may just be that Isshinryu practitioners are seeking out some unique thing that puts them and the system in a higher status but in the end, who knows?
  • How can understanding the thumb on top of the fist unlock or lock any fundamental Principle of Tatsuo-san’s teachings, i.e., what is unlocked and what is locked and what does that even mean and what principles because there are a plethora of principles in karate and martial arts that are and are not the first principles of physiokinetics, technique, philosophy, theory, self-defense and chemical adrenal stuff? 
    • Principles are what drive the fists and feet regardless of formation and applications, they are not dictated by any one physical physiokinetic sub-principle. 
    • The fist and thumb alone or even coupled with other structural principle based connection provides any holistic and/or wholehearted teachings conveyed by Tatsuo-san at least according to the research on those five luminaries of Isshinryu who brought it to the United States. 
  • The fist and any formation regardless is just one single entity of a huge collection of principled based multiple methodologies used in karate and martial arts so it eludes me as to how this one trait can be such a huge contribution to the overall teachings of any one Sensei or his system, style or teachings.
So, as with many of the Isshinryu Features the attribution of such importance to any one things is, in my mind, ludicrous and misleading. It does not promote a system of effectiveness and proficiency but smacks of the, “Twaddle Tendency, Information and Confirmation bias, etc.” 

Then I would ask, “What is the Rule of Thumb?” What I found is this, “The rule of thumb is a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory.”  It is also stated by some sources as, “A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or for making some determination.”

Granted, there are many things within the teachings of Isshinryu or for any karate system or martial arts system that fits the bill of being a rule of thumb but to generalize it toward an “iffy” reference of Tatsuo’s teachings leaves a lot to be desired. Does the person advocating this believe it and how do they explain it adequately to themselves let alone to fledgling students? Or is this one of those things where they assume everyone will understand because,”That is how my Sensei told me so it must be true!” 

If one truly wishes to understand then it is best for them to look for, “just because or should, etc.,” in the explanation or for vagueness or questioning faces saying, I don’t get it but I ain’t going to ask and look the fool, type thing. You have to ask questions, you have to get answers, you have to fact check those answers, you have to analyze it and then you need to synthesize it into your own. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Morality in Karate?

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

In my many years of study toward a better understanding of my marital arts and karate I have come to the tentative (because things are in a constant state of flux) belief that many of the more esoteric aspects not being defined to a mutual understanding and acceptance are left to the individual whereas that understanding is of questionable nature due to the human frailties of perceptions, distinctions and beliefs, etc.

Lets take the belief or ideology of, “Morality.” We all assume we understand it but do we truly understand it and does it actually fit the criteria of a first principle that transcends individuals and ideologies and cultural social influences but rather sits underneath them all providing support? 

Generally speaking morality is defined as, “Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior; a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.”

“Morality (from the Latin moralis ‘manner, character, proper behavior’) is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper. Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion, or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with ‘goodness’ or ‘rightness’.”

I have a feeling that we all can accept that the two quotes give a good basic academic presentation of what one in our society would consider a basic meaning of morality. So, if that were true then why does it diverge, often drastically, when it is asked of individuals and groups?

In karate and martial arts the term morality is often coupled with philosophy so I asked myself if this were appropriate and good enough and the following is my tentative understanding.

Moral Philosophy: A branch of philosophy concerned with ethics. Ethics being defined as, “Moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity (the moral correctness of specified conduct); the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. Now we have to add in moral principles because it may or may not relate directly to morality or moral philosophies.” 

“Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is the branch of philosophy which addresses questions of morality. The word ‘ethics’ is ‘commonly used interchangeably with 'morality,' and sometimes it is used more narrowly to mean the moral principles of a particular tradition, group, or individual’.”

“Moral principles are driven by the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group; a rule or standard especially of good behavior; the principle that conduct should be moral; (rule of personal conduct; the moral principle that behavior should be determined by duty).”

It is also of the belief that human morality is not innate nor gene driven but derived from influences one encounters from the moment of conception, i.e., if you believe that external stimuli the mother experiences is also experienced to a degree while in the womb, or birth from the environment, etc. As we develop and evolve, in that evolve meaning what we learn and absorb and understand each moment of life experience, we change accordingly and some where in all that stimulus we learn, develop, become aware of and follow our own moral beliefs, philosophies and understandings of morality. 

There is another theory and belief supported to a degree with research that can be read at the following reference, i.e., “Why Conservatives Can’t Understand Liberals and Vice Versa.” The article is about a set of political views but the underlying information of morality drives the article and that is the focus of the reference to this article. 

I provide a quote of the five primary categories of moral foundation in humans for emphasis:
  1. Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
  2. Fairness/reciprocity: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
  3. Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."
  4. Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and follower-ship, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
  5. Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions). 
For me, as a side note, I find it difficult to believe that we somehow have gene’s or instincts carried down through the generations that say we will naturally to care about others except maybe toward the learned primal conditioned ability to form into groups for survival where that survival depends on cooperation, etc. I can see that over time, as to group dynamics of survival, humans learned how to care and protect and secure one another. That would be passed along from generation to generation but I don’t believe, so far, that we have gene’s or instincts (instincts of this level would hinder evolution and survival as current theories and research would indicate) that we trigger somehow when we reach a certain stage of development, etc.

This goes to say the same as to the other four categories where I can see and perceive that all five come from the developed need of humans to band together for mutual benefit and these traits or principles were learned quickly to survive. 

The issue with morality in the dojo and in the application of martial arts and karate toward a socially and individual safety and security model called self-fense is that, “The human inclination is to believe in one’s own understanding of morality, and many people will live their entire lives without seriously attempting to understand their ideological counterparts.”

Here is where the divide come into play and individual dojo, like individual human collectives called social groups, come together in small groups to achieve a balanced and mutual beneficial survival and safe/secure group. This is why, I believe, we have such diverse differences in things like morality, philosophies and beliefs, humans were not meant to exist, survive and evolve in such large diverse collectives inherent in modern societies. Ergo, why martial arts and karate communities tend to exist in small groups often symbolized as unique due to the naming of its system or style regardless of the fundamental (first) principles and methodologies that exist regardless of style or system or dojo affiliations, beliefs or symbolized naming, etc. 

This therefore begs the question, “What is your moral code to the belief, understanding and application of martial arts and karate?” I ask, because even in the sport oriented practices of martial arts and karate a moral heart is required if it is to be applied in a manner conducive to its evolution along side that of the human species. 

Like many group dynamics starting from the family unit to the neighborhood, city, county, state and country we find that, “Even many intelligent and reasonable people, after all, will have a difficult time agreeing on anything if they view the moral underpinnings of society through vastly divergent lenses.”

That adds thoughts of, “Can such a diverse and divergent understanding and belief of a moral fortitude contribute to a larger group dynamic such as the larger country group lead to a moral existence without the more egregious conflict and violence of such things? Are humans, due to their very nature (what ever that may mean) able to coexist in such lager confines with such diverse peoples along with the natural friction between each that tends to lead to conflict and violence?” 

It comes to my mind that this is why martial arts and karate leans heavily toward styles and dojo entities because those tend to be in sizes that are more conducive to human group dynamics of a more positive, safe, secure and morally defined groups. 

In the end, moral turpitude is something that results when groups fail to live by and survive under a sense of justice, honesty, or good morals but end up in a state of moral turpitude, i.e., “An inherent quality of baseness, vileness, or depravity (the extremes of turpitude) with respect to one’s duty to others and to the group and to society.” We see this example in the best of cases microcosmically represented in dojo membership and members. 

Thinking of this from a stricter marital karate perspective where one assimilates a code much like the Bushido Code of Japan, the modern one since the ancient one really didn’t exist, where I personally see each of the seven virtues is what many would believe and assume are the very principles underlying a moral right of a martial artist and karate-ka. Take a look, don’t these eight virtues fit into the above definition, basic, of a morality toward the practice and application of martial arts and karate as well as life in general?

One of good moral fortitude is a person of courage with a strong sense of benevolence/mercy who is polite, honest and deals with the group and others with sincerity, honor, character and self-control. A person of considerable loyalty to self, dojo, dojo-mates and others. This seems to support a moral code that drives a person and groups morality in the dojo as well as in life. Without such a moral code it is too easy to have such aggression driven physical and mental and wholehearted use and applications to go down the deep and dark hole of morally questionable actions and deeds. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, March 30, 2017


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

Satori-wo-hiraku [悟りを開く] to achieve enlightenment; to attain enlightenment. First character/ideogram translates to mean, “enlightenment; perceive; discern; realize; understand,” while the second one translates to, “open; unfold; unseal.” 

The ultimate goal of our pursuit of the disciplines of conflict and violence, i.e., karate and martial arts, is to open the mind, to unfold the mysteries of the three levels that take us from the technique-based basics all the way up to the chaos of creativity that spans beyond technique into the realm of conditioned reflex responses of multiple principle-based methodologies that would transcend the mere logical thinking process into the realm of the mystic-like responses according to the situations, moments and times where we are confronted with and by obstacles of conflict and violence regardless of levels and severities, etc.

To unfold our potential and allow the full range of possibilities within us that blossom into great oak trees of discipline, confidence and ability beyond what our initial open minds can comprehend without the experience, knowledge and understanding study, analysis and synthesis can produce. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Variations in Performance

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

In all disciplines, I mean all, humans will experience both extreme performances interspersed with less extreme ones. Humans, simply because we are human, will not achieve the same top results but rather a system or state of, “Variations in Performance.” It is a matter of, “The mean,” meaning, “the average of both extreme performance and less extreme.” In truth, it is a matter of timing where one who enters a match does so with the thought and intent to reach the higher level of the mean, extreme performance, so they can do their very best and succeed to the top spot in that match. We will call this one a milestone where the practitioner works to achieve his extreme performance level at the exact same moment they participate in a match, contest or competitive endeavor. 

The way to achieve this goal is to train and practice with a system that embraces the upper, mean and lower levels of the performance with a milestone of elevating the overall performance to levels where the lower end is less of a lower end, elevating the entire system so when the actual less extreme performance level exceeds the higher performance level of those who are competing with him or her. 

To ignore this regression of mean can lead to less than optimal consequences. When you hear someone say, “I threw bad darts but after I practiced for five hours over the weekend my Monday game was spot on.” In reality, the practice may have exceeded the optimal practice interval for true progress and the person merely traveled the path back into the upswing of his performance level to extreme performance. Often, such marathons of practice are more a feed into this fallacy of regression of mean. 

What this means is the practitioner of any discipline where performance be it mental or physical or both is about understanding that we all have this system the travels the path as if a set of waves ebbing and flowing with upside waves we ride like a surfer and the downside waves that literally throw us under the water and willy nilly to the shoreline. You can’t ride the perfect wave on top all the time, you will always slide down the front and endure the cascade of the wave top tumbling you down as if you were a novice surfer. 

Variations in Performance are like breathing, it is what humans do naturally and according the nature and its physics. Like being full of energy during the early hours of a day, and early  energy person, then slowing down in the afternoon, not a late day person, until your energy level is at its lowest. The Chinese medicines all teach this diurnal system of the human body, i.e., patterns of the body and mind from full energy to falling and into resting energy toward recharge, etc.

We call this the, “Circadian Rhythm,” where the bodies biological processes oscillate during a twenty-four hour span much like the ticking of a clock. These circadian or diurnal rhythms are set according to the environment in which the human lives to included its weather, etc., such as light, temperature and other effects. Add in the environmental effects of the tribe, clan or social order along with culture and beliefs then you get a system that dependent on other factors to the individual provides a clock where you may be at your best at 8am and worst at 8pm. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Evolution - It’s a Group Thing

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

It consists of cooperation, amiability, learning, etc., all involving an efficiency that starts with the group, the tribe, the clan or whatever group and family designation one uses according to the groups cultural belief system. 

When anthropologists look back over human history and trace, as best as they can, human evolution from the humanlike ape, to apelike human, and finally through the various stages to the state of humans today, the anthropologists were struck by an important realization: that cooperation and competition both are responsible for our evolution, our very existence. This, and other factors, puts a new spin on our competitive nature of today. 

One must note, as expressed by those same anthropologists, is that evolution of man from what ever origins such as animals is that the process of evolution is gradual, continuous and very, very slllloooooowwww. This gradual process did not proceed in straight lines or in some arborizing fashion as believed but rather resembles a reticulum in which there were lots of crisscrossing along with new developments. There is some evidence that humans evolved faster that generally believed/supposed.

Here is where I feel group dynamics is explained, i.e., it is now recognized that the evolutionary process is a result of whole populations of humans who changed over that period. Evolutionary processes took place within groups sometimes widely separated from each other. 

Our evolution involved a need to adapt to many different and changing conditions, accidental genetic mutations useful to our survival according to specific places at specific times that were retained, learned patterns of behavior that were to become a part of the culture that are then transmitted from generation to generation. Then we add in one more item, chance (sometimes luck too). 

In such groups there had to be cooperation and mutual aid. If not for those two it is believed that humans who, as many thought, depended on competition and mutual hostility that our species would never have evolved to a state of humanity. Had we been natural born killers with an innate aggressive and hostile ‘instinct’ then we would have had a much harder time surviving. 

It is because of cooperation and mutual aid, to provide necessary services to the tribe or group, humans would not have developed the physical attributes and the intelligence to cooperate with each other, they might well have been killed off by other predators. It is a required attribute of our species to evolve through cooperation among individuals; without it we would not have evolved.

Ever wonder why we have both eyes in the front of our heads vs. one eye on each side? This type of vision is called, “Binocular.” It is a type of vision that makes it possible for us to see in three dimensions, and that means the ability to judge distances and depth. Ever hear of, “Arboreal?”  Since we are believed to come from a type of man-ape and that our ancestors came out of the trees it is, “Us, living in trees.” Such a life was good regarding brain development: it was a life filled with surprises, every surprise called for quick response, the reward for correct response was living to another moment and incorrect response could possibly mean a fatal penalty. 

In short, the ones with the quickest response (OODA :-) ) and the greatest ability to make correct decisions and to survive incorrect decisions is the one creature most likely to live long enough to pass on those genes and that comes from the development of our brains. 

A side note: primates are either or not our ancestors but it is believed that among those very primates were the “Australopithecines,” what some believe are our close relatives if not ancestors. They were what I have already termed, from the anthropologists, etc., who did this study, ‘ape-men. Ape-men that were men non the less who were about four feet tall, with a brain larger that that of present-day chimps and they may have had the power of speech. Primarily vegetarians - fruits, nuts, seeds - who on occassion also ate birds eggs when they came upon them, and the experts say we can add small slow moving animals to their diet. 

Since these Australopithecines were considered more than apes, they stood up and moved about on their hind legs, etc., which gave their ever developing hands freedom to explore, to hold things, to poke, to squeeze, to reach, to grab, and thus to feed the curiosity that even then was becoming an important tool or mechanism for “Learning and Understanding and Adapting.” 

Now we can look at another important mechanism that fed the evolutionary process, “Sociability.” It is believed and understood that one of the major reasons we have survived and evolved is our group dynamic of sociability. The dual concept is, “Sociability and Amiability” because they, like a yin-yang thing, go together often. Humans to survive live in groups, spend most of their time in groups, and carry out almost all their projects - eating, copulating, raising young, and protecting the group from predators - in groups. 

Humans being of this nature tend to apply punishments short of death that maintain the order and discipline of the group by meting out the worst possible punishment of our species - put in solitary confinement. Loneliness is widely considered the most severe malady one can suffer, we all have an emotional reliance on one another. This characteristic has had great significance for the evolutionary development of our species. Evolution would not have been possible in any form like it did without emphasis on cooperation and mutual aid. 

Example, Hunting: To hunt could never have developed without a high degree of cooperation among members of the group who were working together for the mutual good. Groups that hunted together and shared food were healthier; the individuals in these groups tended to live longer than individuals who went out alone, and groups that did the best job all around tended to prevail. 

The same principle - that groups are better than individuals - applied when it was necessary to protect themselves from other hunters. A group is clearly better equipped to stand off predators than a single individual. 

Speaking of flight-or-fight, etc., fighting among australopithecines is unlikely to have been any moe frequent than it is among apes because they had already developed the ability to ‘FLEE’ from dangerous situations and flight rather than fight would, in many cases, have been to their advantage. Flight of a group is safer by far than flight alone for each individual in that group. This brings us to a mainstay of this article, “Learning.” 

LEARNING: “The most important function of the tribe, the group, in the evolution of early humans was in the area of ‘learned behavior’.”

It is possible to learn alone, by trial and error, but it is much easier and faster to learn from ‘watching others’. Often times, learning by trial and error is way to slow. There is no question that learning from other members of the group is an important component of evolution and survival. 

When threatened by lions, fleeing to trees is good and such behaviors obviously represents several kinds of learning - from observation, from adult to adult, from adult to young. The advantages that accrue when many learn from a single experience is evident and obvious. It is also understood from research and studies that long before the emergence of the first true human beings, the patterns of cooperative living had been established and individuals were helping each other survive. 

Remember, evolution depends upon circumstance and environment, upon the challenges met and surmounted, and upon chance mutations in the genetic material in each group. As we now understand as to our history, the development of hunting among early humans and it later extension to the hunting of large animals probably served to intensify the importance of cooperation in the lives of the group. Cooperation enhanced their chances of developing and evolving and eventually becoming something more. 

Side note: The whole question of division of labor, i.e., hunter-gatherer where men hunted and women gathered along with caring for young, etc., between the sexes evidently goes back to our earliest days as humans. During prehistoric times such an arrangement was necessary for survival. Natural selection, in fact, greatly favored those individuals and those groups who cared for their young for extended periods, and whose tribal lives were organized on the highly cooperative principle of mutual support between men and women. 

Bibliography (Click the link)
Montabu, Ashley. “The Nature of Human Aggression.” Oxford Press, New York. 1976, 78.