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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Thursday, July 30, 2015

What is a Ryukyu Martial Art?

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Easy question, right? In essence a Ryukyuan Martial Art is any system or methodology that involves martial discipline, i.e., Martial referring to military methodologies in defense of the island and/or its people, etc. It actually spans from the empty hand to the various weaponry used in that defense and/or offense solely dependent on the mandate of the Okinawan government, past or present. 

Where things get a bit sticky is the reference to “Art.” As it may pertain to the indigenous system or methodologies as described it may be about military prowess regardless of how that is applied or practiced. It also may be about both artistic and technique performance oriented skills toward a more combative, fighting and defensive applications. You will hear about skills, technique, craft and performance or better yet applications. 

Most often in our modern times when asked most instantly as if by reflex will yell out, “Goju-ryu or Uechi-ryu or Shorin-ryu or Isshin-ryu,” and so on because most of us know those particular styles as offspring of the indigenous system of Ti, sometimes referred to as “Te or Toudi.” This is pretty limited in understanding what is a Ryukyu Martial Art.

I prefer discipline because that term encompasses both the jutsu and the do of Ryukyu, i.e., those principles involving both theory and philosophy as it might come from Okinawan cultural beliefs. Isshinryu for instance, the creator of that particular style is believed to have created it from his belief system that incorporates some of the Chinese ancient classics and practices such as divining the future through the I Ching, etc. It really is about the eclectic embodiment of martial prowess from experience and the absorption of other cultural belief driven disciplines of all the surrounding cultures the Okinawan encountered over their history like China, Japan, Korea, etc. 

Also, Ryukyu is absolutely in reference to Okinawa, i.e., as referenced in the above. In essence, an Okinawan Martial Art must therefore be any and all martial disciplines born of Okinawan methodologies for fighting, combatives and defense of both empty-hand model and weapons model. Ergo, the modern name given as “Karate and Kobudo.” 

I don’t see any designations that say the more modern systems/styles created in some specified span of time from the present backward to those early years of Ti or Te or Toudi (the references to the more indigenous forms of empty handed disciplines the Okinawans themselves use today).

Here is the crunch, the historical data other than hearsay, etc., pretty much is non-existent prior to the early 1900’s and even that material is iffy at best where a lot of assumptions and speculations are involved in determining its historical origins, etc. It is so muddied that even the Okinawans cannot prove karate’s historical background. 

We can probably assume with a bit of authority that discussions in the realm of Ryukyu (Okinawan) Martial Arts will involve those systems and styles directly associated with Ti, then Naha; Tomari; Shuri, and finally Karate but we can also assume that any subject that is, was, can be or could be derived from the practice of Ryukyu MA would be acceptable topics of discussion even if they don’t directly refer to any one or group of systems or styles.

Example: Fighting, defense, fundamental principles, etc. are all present in every single form or type of martial discipline whether it originates from Okinawa, Japan, China, Korea, the United States or any of the European Union members. I would not say that medieval sword arts of the English would qualify but any principles that support that system would also support the Asian methodologies, i.e., its martial disciplines. Therefore the discussions on those principles would be acceptable in a discussion of Ryukyu Arts but the actual sword methods of the European discipline - not so much unless there can be established some connection between say, swordplay of Europe and Kobudo weaponry (which ever one that would parallel the techniques and principles of that swordplay - the distinction should be both presented or at least implied to qualify. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


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

The next term used to try and demonstrate the superiority of one form of fighting over another, i.e., the street-fighter vs. Amateur MMA Fighter. Not really able to determine what it is they are trying to prove but a good guess is an attempt to show that an amateur MMA fighter is superior to a street-fighter.\

Well, lets try to find out what a street fighter is. When you try to define that term, i.e., street-fighter, you come up with defining sites for a game. If yo separate the two words you get more of the same. Apparently the game industry has a monopoly on that term as far as Google searches are concerned. I also have a feeling I am one of the few in the world to attempt to find a definition that works for what self-defense often calls street fighting. 

Now, when searching street fighting, with the “ing,” you get, hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people. Unlike sport fighting, a street fight might involve weapons, multiple opponents or revenge and has no rules.”

A pretty good site to check regarding this term is the “No Nonsense Self-Defense” site created and maintained by Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung and Dianna Gordon MacYoung.

The following quote comes from the site at No Nonsense Self-Defense, it is well worth the effort to read the entire article. “ … a street fighter, it means that I was a vicious, self-centered, misbehaving drunken, stoned thug among other vicious, self-centered, misbehaving drunken, stoned thugs. We were the worst kind of savages. Man to man, mano y mano was bull. Numbers and weapons were always used to increase our odds whenever possible. Once you realized the other side could and would shoot back, you did everything in your power to make sure he never got the chance. You always stacked the deck in your favor. You hit first, you hit hard enough to make sure he didn't get up. You ran as often as you hit, and you hit from behind as often as you could. The blood, the bullets and the knives were real. In the streets, life and death were determined by whims, pride, intoxicants and sheer stupidity. It's a way of life (and often death), and it's constant. It's living with being the hunter and the hunted every day and night.“

My personal thoughts on the matter are as follows:

First, there are various levels of what I would define as a “Street Fighter.” It is a full range or a gradient between the most extreme that I would classify Mr. MacYoung at then there is the opposite end of that spectrum that is at its most opposite. It would be hard-core to that level of soft-core with many levels or gradients that flow across that spectrum.

Hard-Core: Look to Mr. MacYoung’s quote above then read the following and it should give you an idea of what a full-fledged all-out street fighter would be, i.e.,:

"I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung"

In my mind if you can claim that you have lived and experienced the above then you are a street fighter. But, when you start to look at what most actually believe are street fighters then you begin to see why there is such a disparity.

Folks who have had a couple of fights in the local school yard tend to think that is street fighting. Then those who have had a couple of fist fights in their neighborhoods because it occurred on or near a street think they are street fighters. Those monkey dances in local sports bars when too much alcohol is consumed and testerone rises and two guys go nose-to-nose they assume they are street fighters. Well, actually bar-fighters but that as well is far from reality and that is why some seem to refer to those encounters as the “Monkey Dance.” 

I believe that at the hard-core level and a few gradient levels below that, no where near the balance point of that spectrum, you can say a participant is a street fighter. When you get to the other lower levels, not so much. Fighting out in the street does not make one a street fighter. I consider the title one that you would attach to someone who lives a life where conflict and violence are in integral part thereof where they have to fight for survival. 

All the media drama monkey oriented forms we see today referred to as street-fighter are actually sport oriented endeavors where the use of the term is simply a sales tool that also works as a self-soothing form of making ourselves feel something that we can only feel if we lived a life of conflict and violence, etc. Remember for a street fighter there are no rules and anything goes to remain alive and to survive. 

Now, to make sure my readers don’t mistakenly assume I am a street fighter, I am NOT. Yes, I have had a few fights in my life and yes, I have experienced a very, very small amount of violence but most men do at one time or another - THAT DOES NOT MAKE A STREET-FIGHTER!

Most males in these modern times are doing the monkey dance. A form of fighting that involves attack postures, attack indicators, a LOT of verbal violence and a LOT of indicators that say, I will get physically violent if you don’t I will attack but in reality even if the attack comes it comes from the use of hitting and getting hit, and that is not the end all violence we all assumed it is or was. 

When I originally read a post on a FB Wall about a competition between a “Street Fighter” and an “Amateur MMA” guy I immediately thought, “Who says the guy is a true to life real street fighter? How would they or could they know? Are they using the media driven version of what it is to be a street fighter as depicted by sport oriented labeled street fighter crap or the video games also labeled the same?” 

From where I sit today, NOT even close. When I watched the actual video and didn’t observe a predatory like attack by the labeled “Street Fighter” against the Amateur MMA guy, I kinda figured it was a media oriented drama-esque type effort to gain our attention and to sell something effort. 

Come on reality, where are you?

Bibliography (Click the link)


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

the whole concept of what people think “power” means; the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality; the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events; supply (a device) with mechanical or electrical energy; move or travel with great speed or force; physical strength and force exerted by something or someone; energy that is produced by mechanical, electrical, or other means and used to operate a device; move or travel with great speed or force.

Of these only a few will apply toward martial arts, i.e., the ability to do something or act in a particular way; the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events; move or travel with great speed or force; physical strength and force exerted by something or someone; move or travel with great speed or force.

Then there is the psychological powers such as, the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events; political or social authority or control, especially that exercised by a government; a right or authority that is given or delegated to a person or body; the military strength of a state; a person or organization that is strong or influential within a particular context; used in the names of movements aiming to enhance the status of a specified group.”

As the author of God’s Bastard blog writes in a blog titled, “Power & Leadership 1 & 2,” power is significant when it comes to groups, survival and hierarchal control through status, etc (my take on her article that is). As she states and I believe is a large part of our responsibility in teaching martial arts for self-defense is the, “Live-or-Death” situations that any human may encounter in life. 

In MA-SD, the instructors tend to lean toward such “Codes of Conduct” as they interpret from such foreign terse teachings such as the Ken-po Goku-i or tomes like the “Bubishi.” Seldom do practitioners or instructors take the time and make the effort to study such things and question them but instead assume their meanings as they perceive them accordingly and make them the defacto leadership rules with any power concepts that are assumed and derived through the teachings of a particular dojo and its head instructor. 

Power in and of itself with all its variations can be cut and pasted to accommodate any one persons perceptions toward often biased goals that usually benefit that individual where such other teachings mentioned tend to insinuate unbiased goals of the group as a whole. We can even detect the human survival model in that last statement because it is the hierarchal status driven model of groups or tribes to survival of that group or tribe in relation to, “Others,” who may be competing against that group or tribe for something that often equates to “Power.” 

Power as with almost any other concept of this nature and for this type of discipline is another one of those things that instructors must study and embrace for a teaching model that is meant as a goal of martial art self-defense as it relates to the whole that is a social construct toward survival of that society comprised of many groups or tribes. 

Any one or combination of power definitions can and often do skew goals in regard to power as perceived toward any particular distinctions made by individual or group.  

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Building a Foundation

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Our most powerful weapon for
Many times I have professed that anyone wanting to become proficient in martial arts first should create a foundation from the study of one system or style then branch out. In truth, the foundation in question does not depend solely on one style or system bur rather a foundation involving not only principles of fighting but rather a mind-set and mind-state that comes from either training or experience where experience trumps all forms of training be it martial arts or some other model. 

What I am saying is a person who has spent time gaining experience in real life conflicts and violence will have a better foundation than one who trains and practices in a martial art or other combative/fighting model. If you have that foundation then you can branch out and build on that experience by studying any number of martial arts, etc. and you don’t have to worry about achieving any particular level or rank in any of them. Your foundation will hold a superior support of all the possible applications from any number of systems, i.e., those that will give you more tools or more methodologies applicable to your foundation and applications in fighting, combatives and self-defense. 

When I hear about folks who ask, “I was practicing so-n-so martial art but I moved and cannot find it where I live now, can anyone make a recommendation?” I first would ask, “What is your experience and what are your goals for your choice of martial art?” How they answer will dictate how a recommendation is presented. 

Honestly, those with actual real life experience in conflict and violence more often than not will not ask that question because they more often than not have that instinct that tells them it really doesn’t matter - simply find a place to train and train. It seems, on the surface to me, that one with experience is not going to get caught up in the trappings of rank, levels, status and other such things - especially if they study and practice toward self-defense, fighting and/or combatives (thinks of distinctions in training and practice).

As Alain Burrese states, “Teach the skills to become a complete martial artists and be able to defend yourselves if you ever have to.” What a complete martial artist means to me, as a striking practitioner, is become a martial artists who can draw from a variety of fighting methodologies, i.e., those that take into consideration, “proficiency with applying impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns, throws and compression to achieve your self-defense goals,” while adhering to fundamental principles of all combatives, fighting, self-defense martial arts disciplines, etc. This will then already encompass your abilities to defend yourself if you ever have to. 

Herein lies the importance of building a foundation, a foundation built on actual experience trumps all others. Regardless, if you don’t have that experience then the training and practice you seek out and use must achieve a certain amount of reality and that reality will be based on the instructor. If that instructor does not have either experience or training from an experienced combatant then seek out reality-based adrenal stress conditioned training from an instructor who has the credentials, experience and abilities necessary. Not an easy goal!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Making Distinctions

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In many of the articles I wrote I mention distinctions, a lot. Then the question came up, if you train in sport, combatives and self-defense won’t that hinder you in actual self-defense, combatives and sports? The answer, to my mind, is simply “Simple yet not.” 

First, when it comes to distinctions it is not about the training model itself but training of the mind-set and mind-state. If your realize the differences between each and maintain a proper mind-set and mind-state in practice, training and most critically in application then distinctions through proper mind-set and mind-state will carry you through successfully.

Second, your mind-set is about commitment and goals regardless of the distinction on how you practice along with what you practice. You will have a particular trained mind-set in sport competition - it is NOT the same with fighting and defense and combatives. You will have a particular trained mind-set in combatives, i.e., if you are military and required to utilize your hand-to-hand skills as a last resort to achieve military goals. This also applies to combatives necessary as professionals such as police and corrections officers, etc., but a bit different because in a socially driven civil arena you have different rules of engagement, etc. You will also have a particular trained mind-set in self-defense, i.e., you are a martial artist or just some person who faces a violent attack in the streets. 

The mind-state is that state of mind that allows you to follow through with your goals in all three models as presented herein. You have to set your mind and maintain that state of mind until the threat ends and you achieve relative safety and security. Police and corrections officers when you are cuffed and the environment is safe for them, the prisoner and the public as applicable. In sports it is about when you are declared the winner and/or when your opponent taps-out, etc. In self-defense is when you achieve your goals while remaining within the self-defense square (as defined in, “In the Name of Self-Defense by Marc MacYoung).

Making such distinctions in your training and practice will make your mind-set and mind-state aware of and able to apply the appropriate set/state depending on any given situation necessary to accomplish your goals. This also explains why I present the distinction of mind-set vs. mind-state. You can set your mind for something but to achieve a mind-state, state of mind appropriate to any  given situation especially regarding conflict and violence, you have to train, practice and apply your mind-set accordingly to those distinctions. For instance, just telling yourself that you will and must hit harder in self-defense when your SD training is practiced does not equate doing what you need when the reality of self-defense applies, i.e., the difference between mind-set - you will hit harder, vs. mind-state that you not only hit harder but apply hits and strikes with other attack/defense methodologies. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Impressions Matter

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Impressions of one another come from our perceptions of those folks. Perceptions and impressions are a fact of life and while in most teachings of the “Way” say that we must cast off our ego’s and pride driven attitudes it is still a fact of life that others will always make judgements dependent on their impressions and perceptions governed by their own personal private and socially driven belief systems. 

Take a look at a lot of what is happening in todays media deluge, i.e., take the most current about the confederate flag. What is driving this effort is not actually the flag itself but our perceptions and impressions to what we think it represents and that was driven by its presence when some innocent folks were killed in a souther church not long ago. 

The confederate flag holds a lot more symbolic history of our country than simply slavery. The flag was not just created when we went to war between the states, right? This brings up the fact that many misunderstanding occur due to some “Stigma” attached to some thing or event because it was related to that same thing or event at that time of occurrence. This also comes from socially emotionally ego pride driven beliefs from misguided, stunted and incomplete perceptions and impressions humans tend to go toward in an “Instance of emotional outcry” usually attacked to some singular stigma assigned to some thing or event. 

This carries over into martial disciplines. This carries over into martial arts self-defense. We make assumptions from our impressions and perceptions often driven through media such as movies, fictional books and television - to name a few cause Youtube, twitter, etc., all have to take some responsibility for the misconceptions and stigma’s that are assigned through media framing to gain viewer attention, etc. 

Martial Arts is about perceptions and impressions. Lets’ take the coveted “Black Belt” as an example. After its implementation in Judo so long ago along with its adaptation to karate and other martial disciplines it became a symbol of proficiency, expertise and mastery. It didn’t get there by some defining definition held to higher standards, at least not at first because it was exclusive, as to the dan-i system of judo, to that discipline. It had meaning in that discipline that was understood by those students and instructors. It didn’t start to come to symbolize anything outside that system until it was adopted and adapted to other systems of martial discipline. 

Since no one actually put forth a defining definition with specific attributes, principles and goals in achieving black belt status it was then the individual systems, styles and instructors to define the meaning of the system. It was then a matter of perceptions, knowledge, understanding and experiences that became each persons perception and impression as to what it means to be a black belt and that often came about from lesser and lesser transference of knowledge, experience and teaching of original higher standards. (can you begin to see how convoluted and complex this becomes when something is left without some overall pre-requisite valid levels of meaning, etc.?)

Add in other influences such as a need to see or get something for something, i.e., rank and title for the amount of money invested, and then instant gratifications along with perceptions and impressions as to what constitutes black belt along with criteria that will set a time and duration to achieve such a goal. This, along with many other factors and issues, led to the denigration of ranking systems along with testing, etc. 

Lets get back on track with why even in martial arts impressions matter. All of us tend to look for some validations to ensure that what we see, experience and often pay for has the value we personally perceive makes it worth our effort and makes the overall end product worthwhile to pursue. Humans look for something or some sort of credentials that say, “This person is an EXPERT!” At one time making the first black belt meant that the recipient was a dedicated novice and ready to become a true student, a beginner. Now, today, most believe incorrectly, to my view, that to be a first level black belt means you are an expert and master of your system or style. 

Now, as time has passed and many, many changes have occurred - some good, some bad - that black belt status has fallen far from the tree that says one is an expert, now the higer levels have to be attained to validate in many minds that one is an expert. Example is the thoughts, i.e., impressions and perceptions of many, that to be a master expert in martial arts one must have attained many, many black belts in many, many different systems or styles. They must have participated in many, many tournaments; have trained with and under many perceive luminaries in martial arts through seminars; have won many, many varied sport oriented competitions with many, many trophies and so on. In one instance of personal experience when seeking a place to teach the organization wanted teaching certification from that state, a college/university degree in physical education and many other perceived credentials to qualify me for teaching at their organization. 

When one such organization talked to me about teaching martial arts they wanted to know what level of black belts I held in various forms of practice such as ju-jitsu, karate, judo, aikido and others as a minimum show of expertise and ability. Then the level of said black belts also was necessary so you had to have a level of fifth grade or higher. The part that surprised me was no one verified such credentials and grades and ranks, the accepted that as their perceptions and impressions from media driven information said that was what made for an EXPERT. 

At one time if someone said they had a black belt in karate the impressions and perceptions of those not in martial arts automatically went to the thoughts of expert and master of fighting. In reality it could not be far enough away from the truth. 

Impressions count, in order to even have acceptance in martial arts those who look to you must see what they believe makes you the expert and more often than not that involves credentials along with a resume that may or may not actually be true, valid or even verifiable. As long as the other person perceives that you are an expert, then you are an expert.

Going back to the flag thing, because of the stigma assigned to the flag and because no one will listen and because now that the momentum has snow balled to such a frenzy of emotional bull the flag is close to being wiped away from American history as possible simply because a small group with a lot of pride driven emotional movement has declared by their personal inaccurate understanding and knowledge that this flag is symbolic of racial discrimination and murder. The momentum and belief system has taken such a strong hold in our social emotional realm that no matter how factual and accurate the counter argument the flag now holds only that small assigned stigma of racial stigmata that it will be gone and forgotten in only a few years. 

First impressions do matter in human nature. Whomever, be it an individual or group, who comes out with their impressions and perspectives with the loudest and most dramatic version will be the impression, perception and BELIEF accepted by the whole, the group. Once it gets its hooks in us seldom with truth, reality and knowledge be able to overcome and change that belief, perception and impression. 

Back to MA, this is why you will continue to see various forms and accouterments of martial system take a dominance in the discipline with colored belts, unique and varying uniform styles and lots of drama media driven forms of entertainment and sport.  It is why acceptance and validation of expertise will be geared more toward credentials as to how they fare from the perceptions and impressions of non-martial folks as they see them from a media commercial driven entertainment source. 

The true essence of what is considered as traditional martial arts without all the symbols, stigma’s and other accouterments they entail will be practiced, trained and taught by the very few who in all likelihood will be viewed as cult-driven like followers who just can’t see the truth of marital arts. 

Bibliography (Click the link) [As a good example, watch the following]

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cult Like MA-SD

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Martial Arts are just like any other discipline be it football, hunting game or providing services in the Information Technology industry. They often form tribal like groups where jokes and comics make a living using that cult-like system to make fun. We all have by now heard the joke, sometimes not so much a joke, term used of, “McDojo.” 

The other form of this cult like tribal group forming is the particular and individual style or system of martial arts. This drills down to a point where a single training hall with a particular Sensei becomes identify with its members where they become somewhat “Comfortable” resulting in all their training time and efforts are spent. The costs are students failing to reach full potential especially in the self-defense models. To reach potential in self-defense martial arts means diversity, a type of diversity only achievable through exposure to other ways and teachings unique to other systems, styles and most of all, “Instructors.” 

A driving force in this type of model comes from various human issues such as the logistics necessary to train, travel and the correlation toward convenience. Things like this either directly or indirectly influence the decisions made when seeking out martial arts and self-defense. When it comes to a defense for conflict and violence one must achieve proficiency, at least physically, with a wider spectrum of methodologies, i.e., applying impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns, throws and compression to achieve your self-defense goals. We are talking about cross training and not just any cross training but the kind meant to teach defense.

A goal in self-defense especially when it involves martial arts is the development of a comprehensive set of methodologies that cover self-defense with extra emphasis on the critical thinking that must be coupled with the physical applications and so on. 

These cult like MA-SD schools also feed off of and/or fall prey to students who have the type of connections where the chance of offending or being disloyal prevent them from branching outward to encompass all that they need to achieve higher levels of ability with self-defense. 

As an aside, this concept of the cult like MA-SD or just MA also presents problems when the leaders and members both fall prey to their beliefs of the system as well as the proficiency and abilities of that same system. Kind of like a human nature thing, i.e., where it becomes so deep seated and ingrained they fail to see and accept others or other concepts or other ways and so on. 

It all is a very dangerous slop that tends to be icy slippery and practitioners and instructors alike must remain self-aware toward maintaining a balance between camaraderie and cult like effigy pedestal blindness.

Lastly, no one single school has all the answers, no one single instructor has all the answers and it takes a holistic melding of many things to achieve proficiency, mastery and a full and complete and comprehensive knowledge, understanding and ability to apply in life those things that make up a martial art and one that teaches self-defense.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Psychological -n- Physical Game Changers

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Which would cause you to give up and how the physical can affect the psychological causing a person to quit or give up. If your body, the physical, stops because of some physical obstacle, i.e., for instance if the central nervous system is disrupted from say enough blood loss, etc., than that is a physical game ender for the person whose CNS was disrupted, etc. (Even then some can still continue until the body just stops too)

The spots that would result in this type of game ender are not easy to attack. If the attacker does not suffer from those physical game enders and they stop the attack then that is most likely a psychological decision, i.e., they changed their minds and stopped attacking or you hit on some psychological issue that made them stop. 

When humans are in the fight regardless of social or asocial they suffer from the adrenal stress conditions that make targeting such physical targets that will stop the threat very difficult. It also makes application of methodologies used in a fight to stop a threat also very difficult to apply. We don’t have that much control and even with adrenal stress conditioning reality-based training scenarios we don’t really overcome those obstacles, we just become capable of handling them a bit better than being untrained, etc.

It reminds me of the difficulty the striking arts has when applying strikes and punches with force and power. There are many principles involved to achieve maximum effect that also if not applied exactly bleed of that same power and force resulting in strikes and punches being less effective. This is one reason why professionals teach that it takes a combination of fight methodologies to stop a threat and striking/punching is one and not one that is high on the effective techniques list. 

A professional wrote in one book that a lot of fights end because one or the other combatant “Quit” vs. actually suffering from some physical game ending application or combination of applications. It reminds me of when it was written that in social encounters it isn’t the fight itself that cause grave bodily harm or even death but actually, for instance, the fall of one or the other combatants where gravity takes over and, for instance, their head hits a very hard object, say a cement curb, where the head injury results in death. 

This brings us back to the all important, and I feel critical, mind-set and mind-state where the practitioner trains to create a mind-set and mind-state removing as many mental/psychological road blocks that would result in quitting. This type of mind-set and mind-state leads to one that when various levels and types of pain are involved the practitioner can pretty much ignore that and continue until the threat is stopped. It is a “Do or Die” type mentality, mind-set/mind-state, one gains from involvement in such disciplines. 

It involves exposing yourself to as many psychological obstacles as you can, exposing yourself to pain and exposing yourself to the adrenal stress conditions so that you build up that confidence when pain hits, you keep right on going and so on. 

Look at it this way, “If you are attacked you WILL reach your goal of survival, you WILL reach your goal of stopping the threat, and YOU WILL remain within the self-defense square regardless!” Regardless of the pain, the injury(ies) or any perceptions of physical fight ending damage. There is nothing that will stop you from your goals. Pain is nothing. Fear is noting, use it to your advantage along with the adrenal stress conditions. 

I remember a lecture by a Marine Drill Instructor one day after a long, hard, difficult run in combat gear. He asked everyone what they would do if they got tired having sex, would they stop? Then he asked why getting a bit of laughter (although short lived after all this was boot camp and recruits don’t laugh without permission). You don’t even let fatigue, tiredness or any other physical or mental obstacle stand in your way to achieve that goal, right? It is the same with discarding fatigue, tiredness and both physical and mental obstacles in a run, in a obstacle course and in the combat training field operations, right? (Hey, it made sense then and sounded right then and yea, we were all testerone filled young males back then and sex was everyone’s goal regardless of fatigue, tiredness or any kind of mental or physical obstacle, right? Hey, mind-set and mind-state, right? It all comes down to how you look at things, how you perceive things and how you react to things - train the mind. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Skill -n- Critical Thinking/Skill OR Critical Thinking

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

Martial Arts self-defense almost exclusively teaches the physical technique drill form or model of self-defense. Rarely, if ever, do they take into consideration the additional teaching requirements of self-defense, “The Critical Thinking of Self-Defense.” 

MA-SD has a narrow focus of repetitive practices toward the development of what many refer to as, “Muscle Memory.” We fail completely to teach, train and practice those mental/psychological necessities toward the seriousness and gravity of the defend/don’t defend, the action/stop action decisions that keep MA-SD applications within the self-defense square. It appears that MA-SD falls prey to the easier repetitive muscle-memory training and practice for more economical needs over the needs of that person when confronted, on the street, with conflict and violence. This deficiency exists in society as a whole but becomes critical when involving self-defense. 

MA-SD seems focuses on what will get them promoted, what will get them the win in a tournament and what will get the training hall more students and greater economic gains. The critical thinking process as to training then applying in the adrenal stress conditions of violence is difficult, not fun per se and means humans have to see and accept the nature of humans toward the use of violence and conflict. They fail to recognize that self-defense processes are both intellectual (first and foremost) and physical in nature. The models in MA-SD need to provide those intellectual and emotional tools and training for appropriate application before, and when no other choice is left, the physical applications of violence in self-defense. 

It is why I believe wholeheartedly in the model of training the whole, the mind, body and spirit. I mean that we teach a philosophy appropriate to the discipline, the psychological appropriate to the discipline, and the mental critical thinking and decision making processes to apply self-defense according to all the rules, laws and social necessities. In other words, to remain steadfast and legally within the self-defense square. 

Lets just say that humans tend to go the easiest and safest route to a goal. There is nothing wrong with that as long as that decisions is made with a complete picture of the situation. When we go looking for SD we tend to look for something, “Tangible.” Applications based on physical combinations of techniques is a tangible things we can feel, see and understand directly but the intangible teaching of the philosophical and psychological critical thinking process can’t be seen or felt visually or tactilely. Look at it as software in the hardware, i.e., critical thinking software in the physical body manifestations of hardware like hands, feet, elbows, etc. 

The intangible has always been the most difficult product to sell while a bird in the hand is easier. Trying to sell both as a pair tends to make people uncomfortable and that often leads to them leaving and looking for the easier answer route. 

Critical thinking in self-defense be it martial oriented or some other form is absolutely critical to applying it in real life, not just playing in the club-dojo.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spectrum of Self-Defense

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The spectrum involves self-awareness, awareness, avoidance then those methods or methodologies that result in proficiency with applying impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns, throws and compression to achieve your self-defense goals. It is NOT about technique training or even those physical teachings found in most self-defense martial arts programs. It also involved such things as, “Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence (Social and Asocial), Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Predator process and predator resource, Force levels, Repercussions (medical, legal, civil, personal), Go-NoGo, Win-Loss Ratio, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”Attitude, Socio-emotional, Diplomacy, Speed [get-er done fast], Redirected aggression, Dual Time Clocks, Awareness, Initiative, Permission, etc.”

Lets focus on the first part. 

Self-awareness begins with each person’s perception and perspectives of their beliefs and abilities along with a strong view of how they interact with the world at large. Self-awareness also encompasses how you see yourself and what you are willing or not willing to accept, understand and do about life’s little curves and obstacles especially when it involves conflict and violence. 

Self-awareness continues on with our being aware of our abilities and our commitments toward self-protection/defense. It is that awareness of our mind-set and mind-state from understanding the world, accepting both the good and bad and then giving ourselves the permissions necessary to do what is needed to achieve goals, i.e., stopping the threat in violence for instance. 

Self-awareness is also about knowing what we don’t know so that less and less obstacles of the mind will result in our failure to protect and defend. Being aware that there is more than just physical answers to issues, problems and obstacles in life’s ways. 

Awareness begins with the awareness spectrum that provides each and every person the tools, knowledge and abilities to embrace the path that leads to conflict, violence and violent conflict that will allow us to become aware of the danger life presents in all its forms thus allowing time and distance to come up with an appropriate response to any given situation so that one can avoid, deescalate or apply the mental and/or physical actions necessary to achieve a goal, especially in self-defense. Think environmental awareness, situational awareness, physical/body awareness (yours and your adversary’s), dynamics awareness such as attack indicators or pre-assault indicators, etc., criminal and legal awareness, danger awareness, and mindful awareness to name just a few. 

Avoidance begins with awareness and awareness is all about avoidance, avoiding conflict and violence and all the surrounding things that result in the type of repercussions that enhance the damage one might endure in any physical defense process. Avoiding the monkey in all of us so that it does not take over and drive us faster and further down that road toward physical damaging violence. Those things that allow us to choose to take the first and best exit off that highway resulting in avoiding the more damaging aspects of the self-defense spectrum. 

Then we, as a last resort, have to fully understand, be aware of and apply those various physical aspects in self-defense toward ending the violence fast and remaining within the self-defense square. No one system or style of martial self-defense is adequate by and of itself to achieve the goals of self-defense.

Developing those tactics and strategies that use the fundamental principles of martial disciplines that span a range far and above any one system or style to achieve the proficiency and application of tactics for the use of attack methodologies such as those that produce impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. built upon one another in no specific order or need that are best for stopping a threat. Those that allow you to work a threat from a distance to mid-range to close to hands on skin-to-skin that can go to the ground and so on. Those methodologies and principles that will allow you to end it quickly and decisively while maintaining the ability to articulate your needs and actions in self-defense - remaining within the self-defense square. 

Note: I doubt I actually covered the full spectrum simply because I know there are a lot of books out there on the subject meaning the full spectrum of self-defense is actually an encyclopedia britannica set of volumes on the discipline that still don’t cover it all. So let me have my fun, k? Note II: Just check out the bibliography if you don’t believe me :-) Hey, I am still trying to work it all out for me!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

“Truth is a Matter of Perception.” - King Tut’s Advisor :-)

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

Our perception is a matter of our memories. Memories are a matter of a constructive process. Memory constructions is a matter of what we succeed or fail to encode and what we forget over time. Memories are about what we record over time as to what we encounter through the “Lens of” our motivations, our beliefs, our expectations, and our experiences.

Memory construction is a process likened to the creation of a collage: we piece together fragments of memory that are retrievable and tend to fill in the missing components, patching, with background knowledge, desires, emotions, and beliefs until it forms something that is complete, usable and acceptable to our way of thinking, thinking that is biased. 

Memories are about searching and arranging to form a preconceived image of what we want. It is our biased presentation of an event where we may actually include things that we never experienced or saw but were created like one creates fictional things. 

Memories of a false nature can be highly specific feeding the mind to think what is not reality is reality. It makes them believable to ourselves and to others. False memories can be composed of things we expected to happen or “Want” to happen leaving out facts and logic. 

Memories are perceptions and perceptions are memories making them questionable. This only touches on a very narrow spectrum of perception and memory, it becomes even more complicated and convoluted. When you consider such things it makes it interesting when we rely on memory and perceptions to seeing, hearing and feeling truth. Truth often derived from emotions over facts and sometimes pushing facts out of perception leaving the subjectiveness of emotionally charged perceptions in making memories.

Think of this like, “The Matrix.” Is it memory or is it the matrix?

Bibliography (Click the link)


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

Hyoban [評判] the characters mean, “Fame; reputation; popularity; rumor; talk.” The first character means, “Evaluate; criticism; comment,” the second character means, “judgement; signature; stamp; seal.” 

To have a reputation, rep as a movie based dramatic term used by street professionals, is a belief or opinion held by someone or some group of people that becomes widespread that the someone of some group has a particular characteristic that causes a widespread beleif. Synonyms that help to describe reputation are, “A good name; character; standing, stature, STATUS, position, esteem and prestige to name a few.” 

Then it comes down to what it is that denotes the overall quality or character as seen or judged by others that awards such a status to a person or persons. What is it that makes the belief system of one or more persons to recognize another to have some characteristic or ability whereby they create within themselves a belief that the person’s reputation denotes some knowledge, ability or both toward some particular characteristic that would give them the level of status or reputation, etc.?

I believe that first their must be some trait or discipline or some belief that is accepted by a  group of humans whereby they look up to another for leadership, guidance and as a mentor to achieve some higher level of esteem often leading toward the increased status or reputation of that group of humans where either economically, psychologically or physically the benefit under the heading of group survival. 

When I think and contemplate martial arts or self-defense or martial arts self-defense toward proper survival of conflict, violence or violent conflict the important of the substance behind a reputation of subject matter professionalism I think and contemplate their level of knowledge, understanding and experience in that discipline important or even critical. 

No where else do I see the importance of verifiable, validated and authentic experiences than in a discipline toward handling conflict, violence and violent conflict where its members may have to put their health, well-being and lives up on the line in a critical status as to reputation, i.e., status in that field - professionalism. 

When a person or persons of true status with a reputation that is true toward the discipline speaks, writes or teaches I tend to listen. It does not mean that I accept blindly if for no other reason than I understand that what works for one, even a respected professional, may not actually work for another, as a unique human, is also critical in conflicts, violence and violent conflicts. 

This is the essence in finding a reality-based adrenal stress conditions training for martial arts self-defense. As each professional puts forth information one has to be wiling to commit, accept, evaluate and apply said information and teachings with full heart and soul toward making it work, making it your own and then applying it in each unique moment for each unique situation. 

Why it is critically important to have sources of respect and good reputation especially when the person and persons learning have not experience in conflict, violence and violent conflict(s). 

Note: As long as the individual with said reputation does not let that go to their heads ;-) 

Where reputation becomes a bit muddy is when no one can perceive, determine or make distinctions between reality and those beliefs based on emotions, ego, pride and a huge amount of inexperience in the actual discipline. In MA-SD that permeates most of the schools and teachings. Assumptions are made based on perceptions and feelings from sources that appear, feel and seem true but are often about how we perceive things like power and force as displayed by observations without a basis of reality that seem, feel and appear forceful and powerful when in truly the bleed off real force and power. 

Many persons with considerable reputations are found to be truly lacking once reality is presented with valid information and experiences, etc. Then again, there are some with stellar reputations in this discipline that are often scoffed at and slammed by those whose belief systems come under attack, as they perceive it, and close scrutiny not to mention “Time tells all” as over time the truth and fallacies of some reputations bring the falsehoods to the top for time tells all, over time.

Example: I came across what I perceived as a person of high valued reputation in the study, practice and teaching of a specific system of Okinawan karate. Over time that reputation held up for me until I began my exposure to actual self-defense (those proficient and experienced in conflict, violence, violent conflict and self-defense of same) professionals. I also found another person of perceived reputation as an expert in principles, i.e., fundamental principles of martial disciplines that was later validated by those professionals in self-defense, etc. Over time and by accumulation of many sources and materials I began to find that many aspects of the person of high valued reputation in the study, practice and teaching of that specific system was actually deficient in the area’s regarding self-defense. In its very essence in regard to a more cultural study along with a distinctly health, well-being and philosophical/historical study was present and held in a higher status building on that smaller part of the overall reputation. His or Her teachings, studies and applications were less viable in a true self defense conflict and violence oriented and more applicable in the “Historical, philosophical and self-improving” way. 

This cannot be emphasized enough that the “Distinctions” as they relate to the actual application must inter-connect appropriately in order to sustain a high level reputation toward that understanding, teaching and application in a reality-based way or model. Any missing component diminishes that effort and without the appropriate labeling, etc. can lead to dangerous misunderstanding and therefore dangerous beliefs. 

In the MD-SD communities it is imperative that a reputation be based on reality-based experiences and/or training methods where all of the components are present and all the teachings cover a wider range or spectrum of conflict, violence, violent conflict and self-defense. Giving the illusion of things like warrior-hood, self-defense physical applications and the mind-set and mind-state necessary would be dangerous. 

Once you find a professional source with the appropriate reputation you mind-set must maintain that for that source things can change at any time as further research, study and practice are done. It is on ongoing process where failure to continually assess sources such as describes can lead practitioners further away from the actuality of such training and practice toward that which is based on assumptions and conjecture of a dangerous kind. It can lead to a type of group mystique placing its leadership high on a pedestal type belief that can be - bad. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Various Disciplined Professionals

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First there is the guy who actually lives with violence then goes to work handling that violence in professions like “Bouncer.” Second there is a guy who works closely with criminals in a very close, controlled and restrictive environment. Third there is a guy who gained experience wearing a uniform and becoming someone with special skills above and beyond the normal combative soldier, etc.

The one common denominator in all these various and diverse professions is they all present and teach pretty much the same things in handling conflict, violence and violent conflict. There perspectives are different due to the disciplines, professions, they worked. They see a variety of violence and give a unique perception of it and how to handle it but it still drills down to the very same fundamental principles where “Mind-Set” stands supreme. 

In the self-defense world where it goes physical you must be physically fit to handle the onslaught. Your mind must be set toward goals and commitment to get the job done, stop the threat. In the self-defense world you have to have certain skills to supplement that mind-set such as handling various forms like distance to mid-range to close-in to on-the-ground abilities maintaining balance and structure and so on.

Then they all have to know, understand and handle the various types of violence involved in their particular professions utilizing the same principles alluded to in the previous paragraphs. You just can’t expect to get the job done with just striking; you just can’t expect to get the job done with just joint manipulation and you can’t ever expect to get the job done using just ground techniques. You really have to work a full spectrum to get the job done.

Regarding martial arts it was once thought that one had to dedicate themselves to one style or system to achieve mastery or even proficiency but the recent efforts of such diverse professionals has proven through actions and experience that it takes a lot more than just that one thing. It has even come to light that in some systems the classic practice and training once included these variations in handling violence and are just now coming to light as a necessity. A good example is karate, a striking system or art but it now has come to light that originally karate or te/ti actually encompassed striking, joint manipulations, grappling, ground work and so on making its origins more appropriate to defense. 

The greatest challenge with the modern mixture of these types of disciplines is distinguishing between play, competition and actual real life violence. Then add in adrenal stress conditioning along with a fully and more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of self-defense in a modern legal and litigious world. 

Therefore for self-defense it is best to gain a wider range of knowledge, training and experience to achieve a good defense and thereby remain well within the self-defense square. 

The idea, the required study and training, therefore must come from experienced professionals with a diverse background handling conflict and violence because in self-defense you never truly know what you will encounter until you encounter it. Doing one thing and trying to spread that over the many things of self-defense will fail. 

What say ye? 

Note: Although not set it stone I still believe that a practitioner of martial arts, with or without the self-defense aspect, should focus on one system until they achieve a certain level of proficiency. Reasoning is each practitioner must have a strong foundation in the principles and if you are jumping from one system to another your focus will be on the external stuff in lieu of the fundamental principles of martial disciplines. Once a solid base is established then branch out to encompass those other aspects that teach things like, “Actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat.”

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fair, Fair - There Ain’t no Stikin Fair in a Fight

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Add in attacks as well, if attacked you can pretty much bet that the guy already knows he is going to win before you are attacked. Don’t take my word for it, see my bibliography.

If you are saying things like, “If he had fought fair I would have beaten the crap out of him,” type things then you are fighting in a sport contest because in a real street oriented fight, especially social violence types that are most fights, there are no rules and fairness doesn’t even rate even the most limited considerations. 

Fair is ok for games and even then most humans will naturally cheat if they perceive they can get away with it. Yes, human nature regarding cheating is more about, “Can I get away with it,” and “Will the consequences be acceptable,” type thing. Fairness is one of those subjective things when it comes to humans and their interactions. 

Fair ain’t exactly fair in a fight. When most self-defense professionals teach they address that mind-set and that mind-set is not about fairness. It is about survival and there is no other or better defense than avoidance. 

Remember, arguing about “Fairness” in legal terms is not going to support your self-defense claims. When I hear about fairness complaints often it is from a mutual form of fighting. In other words, both parties participated and therefore both broke the law, fighting is illegal. It was a person-to-person socially driven violence, mostly. 

Life ain’t fair, there is nothing fair about it and that brings us back to fair being subjective. Humans will actually break the law if they feel that the repercussions will be acceptable. If they don’t get caught, they have not broken any laws. A bit like the old adage, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” If there is no one there to hear it …..

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Good Strike; A Good Punch

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A strike/punch needs certain principles in order to achieve a goal of striking/hitting with power and force. First, your body mass. Your mass moving in the right direction along with the effects of gravity creates the mainstay of your power and force. Second, your velocity contributes or enhances the power and force that comes from movement of body mass, i.e., the speed and direction of that force and power. 

Now, there are other principles that are involved that are under the heading of, “Physiokinetics,” such as structure, alignment and so on. Another enhancing set of principles are the twitch of your hip girdle and shoulder girdle of just a few degrees of rotation. 

Now, since this is a strike we have to address the arm, i.e., the shoulder, the elbow, the wrist and the fist. Remember, if you are relying on the musculature and skeletal system of the arm for power and force alone you are muscling it and the results will be disappointing. The term chinkuchi, an Okinawan dialect term, translates into bone, sinew, and muscle or what I use, “Ligaments, muscles, bones, joints, tendons.” All of those act more effectively when properly structured and aligned with the muscles, tendons and ligaments along with properly aligned skeletal structure as a stabilizer so that power and force don’t bleed off. 

Then there is the principle of, “Timing.” This is the ability to bring about proper application of principles through the movement of mass moving forward and using that rotation along with the arm where they coordinate according to certain physics so that they all arrive at the target - at the SAME TIME.

Remember, in karate they often teach and practice to apply a technique where they step forward, stop, root, then rotate and strike. The stop itself breaks the power chain and if any other principle and factor misses such as improperly aligned elbow, etc., will bleed off a lot of power and force making for a bad strike or punch. 

So many karate dojo lose site of what actually makes for a powerful and forceful strike and/or punch. One way to overcome so many variables that could, may or might not get the job done is to remove the strike and punch themselves and use either the open hand form of strike or, better yet, the elbow strike. The dynamics of application take out some of the potential bleed off aspects. 

The power chain is critical to achieving a solid, forceful and powerful strike and/or punch. These principles described along with proper application of the physiokinetic principles will achieve that goal except for one more very small yet very important, critical actually, aspect - doing all of this under the stress and chemical dump you will be experiencing when attacked in a predatory way. 

“When attacked on the street at its very worse you will be completely and totally surprised, you will be experiencing pain and fear, it will be hard and fast and close from a direction least expected such as the back or back-side, and it will be a flurry of techniques that will result in your freeze and/or the OO bounce of OODA along with the loss of your balance and your structure being totally disrupted.”

Another important factor to striking/punching with power and force is the, “Optimal Effective Zone.” Even when all things come together in the power/force chain the absolute best zone to apply maximum force and power may span a mere two to three inches. This zone can be described using a auto engine power stroke metaphor. The stroke of any piston in that auto chamber at one point along that cycle produces the greatest amount of power. The arm, i.e., the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand as they cycle from the start to a finish there is this zone where maximum power and force is achieved when it reaches, penetrates and retracts rapidly. Each of us as to body configuration has a different zone. Each of us dependent on the application at any given moment to any given situation will have a unique zone of power and force. This, of course, adds to the complexities and helps explain, with all the other principles, etc., why striking/punching is not the end all that many karate proponents lead us to believe. Remember it is the coordinated build up of things that get the job done, not just striking and punching or even kicking, etc.

“In the midst of a chaotic two-way fight it is really difficult to keep these elements and principles of a good strike in control and hit with great force. This is why fights seldom result in injury and can go on for a long time.” - Marc MacYoung, Getting Hit and Hitting

OH yea, I almost forgot, another enhancer to power and force is also under timing, i.e., Time. Time as in the transfer of energy for to transfer that energy in the shortest amount of time creates a greater, “Impulse” and the greater the damage. Longer time = less impact = less damage and it makes it hard to stop the threat as well as articulate how you were not engaging in a mutual fight, i.e., the longer it goes on the more it is perceived as a mutual fight. 

The TIME issue equates how the strike arrives, i.e., it reaches the target, passes into the target a certain distance then snaps back as fast as reached its target. You want your adversary to stop, i.e., he collapse instantly, folds and falls or collapses a bit - staggers some trying to recover. You just gained time, time to stop and leave to safety, etc. or whatever is required for that specific situation. This type of strike/punch is called the “Snap Punch” in karate communities. Look toward “Coordinated Actions” that build like a crescendo, i.e., a snow ball rolling down a hill building upon more snow as it passes. One action that builds on a previous action until the threat is stopped - then you stop, right?

Bibliography (Click the link)