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, September 30, 2015

Sport or Not Sport, That is the Question …

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

Why are all martial arts endeavors listed as, “Sports?” What is a sport? It is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. It is also about how one might amuse themselves or play in a lively and energetic way. 

A key word here is, “Entertainment.” Sports are all “forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators.[2] Usually the contest or game is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other.”

Martial Arts of all kinds tend to be classified and listed under the heading of, “Sport(s).” Just to give some additional credence to the definition provided above take the word, “Sport,” as its origins come from an old French word, “Desport,” meaning “leisure.” Add in the oldest definition in English that can be traced back as far as the 1300’s as, “Anything humans find amusing or entertaining.” 

According to “SportAccord” the following determines what a sport should have:

  • have an element of competition
  • be in no way harmful to any living creature
  • not rely on equipment provided by a single supplier (excluding proprietary games such as arena football)
  • not rely on any "luck" element specifically designed into the sport

the various ways a sport is participated in is also about being a physical, mental, primarily co-ordination, or motorized and/or animal supported endevor. 

It does not say that as a philosophy driven practice that it is a sport nor does the enlightenment, self-improvement and self-disciplined benefits of the practice of martial disciplines that it is a sport and so on. All benefits of practice, training and applications yet every single one is thought of, considered a part of and listed under the heading of, “Sport(s).”

Once our society was exposed to the practice of martial arts where perceptions were influenced by our enthusiasm of sports such as football, basketball and rugby, etc., it is easy to see when folks participated in a competitive manner with trophies and other such accolades and awards one can see how easy it is to find martial arts or disciplines being lumped up in sport along with all other sports already a part of our society. 

I will go one further in admitting that, “Martial Arts are Sports Oriented Disciplines.” I will go another step to also say that, “Martial Arts are NOT Sport Oriented Disciplines” when considering their true nature and origins, i.e., what some might refer to as “Classical or Traditional” disciplines. In essence origins indicate that martial arts are combative (using a generic all encompassing term that would include fighting as well as modern self-defense) in nature where grave bodily harm or even death are the objectives when encountering enemies and adversary’s. 

Yes, martial disciplines use a certain competitiveness in training and practice. Yes, martial disciplines involve physical activities to practice, train and apply. Do martial disciplines provide entertainment to its participants? Yes, but not as a primary means of practice and training but rather as a way to train and practice whereby the participants have “Fun” so that the training has a greater chance of being absorbed, encoded and finally utilized in a combative way. 

Are the training models of drills and sparring about competition? No, such endeavors are about an exchange of experiences, knowledge and understanding that is meant to transcend competitiveness because in a fight, in self-defense and especially in combatives one does not compete, one must reach a goal of stopping damage and the threat from an enemy and adversary. An enemy has a sole goal of causing grave bodily harm thereby removing your ability to continue the fight or causing your death thereby removing you from combat utterly and completely. It is not about dominance, status and ego but achieving a tactical and strategic goal in a fight and combat. If combat were a sport it would not refer to combat as war but as a competition where no one gets hurt.

Are martial arts or disciplines about not harming any other living creature? No, in essence the goal to martial disciplines are to hurt, damage and disable or kill another human being. In sport the objective is to avoid such damage as much as any physical endeavor can, where injuries occur but accidentally but true martial discipline application is about causing injuries, damage and harm in stopping the enemy or adversary from causing you grave bodily harm or death. 

Yet, martial disciplines are thought of as and are practiced as and are often applied as “Sport.” Yes, martial arts can be trained, taught, practiced and applied as a sport. They can be trained, taught, practiced and applied as any number of different and distinct disciplines such as, “Sport or Combative or Fighting or Self-defense or Enlightenment or Improvement or Exercise Program for health and well-being or a philosophical mental and physical conditioning program and so on. It can and does span a wide range of disciplines … yet, it still gets lumped under one heading, “Sport(s).” 

Herein lies my constant struggle to convey a need to determine the distinctions you may or may not use when training, practicing, teaching and applying martial disciplines. In most cases that distinction matters only as to defining what you do but in a very few cases it actually matters as to either receiving or giving damage, grave bodily harm or even death to another human being for defense, civil and combative (also two distinctly different applications, etc.).

When taking up martial disciplines it is best to ask yourself what your goals are, “Is it sport? or Is it not sport?” Once you determine this and other questions of distinction (i.e., what are your goals in the study of martial arts?), then and only then can you search out and find appropriate training for your intent in the study of martial disciplines.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Nature of Your Discipline

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

It came to mind today, like many other days, that there are many iterations of practice under the generic title of martial arts. I prefer to refer to them all as martial disciplines simply because most must exercise discipline to enter into and practice continuously those same disciplines. One obstacle to understanding it all is “Labeling,” where labels are mistaken, misunderstood and misused by all the proponents. Acceptance of those who have come before tends to propagate the mistakes, misunderstandings and misuse of such things.

I have written time and again about the, “Distinctions,” involving the practice and study of martial disciplines. We have the following distinctions, as to my perceptions, of martial disciplines:

Main Categories are, “Japanese, Chinese, Okinawan, Korean.” There are others but like some systems and styles they are lumped under these four categories for martial disciplines. The rub comes from a “Fact” that martial disciplines go way beyond the Asian connections that seem to dominate the martial arts communities. Some are even lumped under and thought of as those same martial arts, i.e., Krav Maga, Brazilian Jujutsu (some believe a direct descendent of Japanese Jujutsu) and many others. Of course this adds a lot of confusion to the whole concept.

Under the main categories we have many, many, many systems and styles that are, simply put, renditions of one system or style that presents a unique perspective of an individual Sensei that ended up being named and declared as a style. Remember, in essence all martial disciplines are actually and simply demonstration of perception and application of principles of martial disciplines, i.e., principles that transcend attempts to cubby hole said principle applications toward systems and styles that on the surface appear different but underneath exposing those principles are all the same. 

Using my own form of martial discipline as an example, “Isshinryu, an Okinawan form of practice of karate or empty hand,” where Isshinryu, by some, is perceived as a child to the style or system of “Shorin-ryu,” that is also perceived, by some, as a child of the three main communities of Te or Ti in Okinawan dialect, as Tomari, Shuri and Naha “Te.” Those three are also children of the indigenous single, or one wholehearted, system of simply, “Ti or Te,” that was Okinawa’a empty handed or hand-to-hand form of self-protection and self-survival system when weapons are not available or lost. 

Now, with that slightly more clarity of martial disciplines or principles we come to the real meat of this article, “The nature of your discipline,” in that you train, practice and apply your studies and practices for, “Sport or Combat or Self-defense or Self-enlightenment or Business (using one or more of these distinctions or nature of practice).” 

Let me say that when distinctions and practices are discernible, distinct and drive your intent you can practice, train and apply more than one way of martial discipline. It is difficult if for no other reason that one who practices a long time can become complacent in their effort to discern and separate that training. In essence, for me, making the primary nature of your discipline your main focus of study and practice becomes critical when it involves fighting, combatives and self-defense dependent on how you perceive and distinguish one or all three. My entire life in martial practice was for its applications as a professional, a Marine, then became about self-defense as a civilian. The way as for self-enlightenment and self-improvement naturally came to being as I progressed over the years if for no other reasons that my focus on the underlying fundamental principles of martial disciplines applications in self-defense where, “Theory and Philosophy,” became critical to the practice and application of, “Physiokinetics, Technique, Self-defense and the Chemical Cocktail,” for self-defense. 

The very nature of your discipline truly matters if you want it to work. It matters even more to have such distinctions when it involves conflict and violence in self-defense or more importantly in your work if you are that type of professional, i.e., police, corrections, military, etc. Getting trapped and caught up in a tidal wave of commercialism, meme’s and other monkey dancing ego self-soothing type behaviors and beliefs may just expose such a person to things like grave bodily harm of self and others let along death of self or others. 

The nature of your discipline, “Matters!”

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Karate as to Theory, Law and/or Facts

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

A fact, generally speaking, is a piece of information that is derived from some indisputable observation. It is often used as evidence of proof, i.e., proof being said evidence or argument that establishes or helps to establish a fact or the truth of a statement. Often to validate and substantiate a fact one must support that fact with fact-checking for verification, corroboration, authentication and confirmation. What is acceptable to the larger audience is how they perceive and distinguish those facts as described and defined herein. 

One person’s “Fact” may be another persons, “Fiction.” Fiction being a fabrication that seems factual but turns out under scrutiny to be an untruth, a falsehood or just plain nonsense. It becomes a belief that is actually false, but is often held to be true because it is expedient to do so and tends to fill out the agenda of the believer(s). 

The process of analysis and self-analysis becomes critical therefore promoting questioning of fact to either disprove or caste reasonable doubt or to provide such supporting evidence to make the fact, “Indisputable.” Seldom is a fact actually indisputable simply because time causes change from new knowledge, experience and understanding. Then the fact is no longer indisputable until it travels through a rigorous process to validate, etc. 

What about theory and law, after all the community spouts off about the “Gokui” or ken-po goku-i, i.e., 

Ken-po Goku-i [拳法極意]  

The characters/ideograms mean "first law essential point or conclusion idea." The First character means, "fist," the second character means, "law; rule; method; principle; model; system," the third character means, "conclusion; end; highest rank; very; extremely; most; highly," the fourth character means, "thought; desire; care; liking; heart; mind; idea." 

When combined they refer to the ken-po goku-i or the essential points of the law of the fist. Each system, style and branch from the Okinawan systems of karate use the ken-po goku-i to teach the more esoteric or what I perceive as the culturally driven moral side of the mostly physical practice of karate-goshin-do.

First, It would appear on the surface that the definition is more convoluted, i.e., it is more about establishing a point or conclusive idea of a law governing the fist method, i.e., “Karate or Empty Hand.” 

After all, an idea is just a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action be it physical, mental or spiritual and so on. It is a means to provide one something to aim at or for or to establish purpose and that seems to fit most definitions but to call it a “Law” as defined fundamentally gives it validation that is not valid. 

Yet, if you extrapolate a partial definition, i.e., “regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties,” it can then be defined as a set of laws, more rules that actual law as modern society perceives, that regulate the actions of the practice of martial arts such as those fundamental principles of martial disciplines that span across all cultures, beliefs, systems and styles as currently understood. As to the imposition of penalties that is less some external punishment of the tribe or group but actually a type of self-imposed punishment such as if one defies the principles of structure and integrity they lose the power and force flow resulting in an inability to stop a threat and therefore receive damage, grave damage or even death when violating said law of principle of marital discipline, etc. The imposition of penalties when violating the gokui is more an esoteric enforcement taken out of the hands of individuals except the self and removing influences of others or other groups, i.e., in modern times the Sensei, the dojo, the Senpai and Associations, etc. 

Look at the law of the fist as a self-imposed and regulated system of law, or rule or enforcement, that comes from the mental and physical practice, training, and pursuit of knowledge and understanding that makes it a product of adhering to the ken-po goku-i.

When discussing theory in martial disciplines we discuss individual and group hypothesis that is meant to teach, learn, train and ingrain both the old and the new that makes such endeavors work in things like self-defense or self-improvement, etc. It is that which promotes communications across the spectrum of knowledge and experience toward the growth of, the depth of and the breadth of such knowledge, understanding and experiences. It is this part that contributes toward the philosophical principles the promote “Shu-ha-ri,” and so on: “Philosophy: Mind [mind-set, mind-state, etc.], mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup.” and “Theory: Universality, Control, Efficiency, Lengthen Our Line, Percentage Principle, Std of Infinite Measure, Power Paradox, Ratio, Simplicity, Natural Action, Michelangelo Principle, Reciprocity, Opponents as Illusions, Reflexive Action, Training Truth, Imperception and Deception.”

Notice that for both principles of theory and philosophy much room is available to discuss, argue and conclude to many different ends while over all the law of those principles remains unchangeable and indisputable. Both hypothesis and theory are available to the practitioner whether novice, student, or teacher with room to grow and prosper while maintaining the rule or law of principles. 

Keep in mind the following as a guide in the pursuit of “Truth!”

A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation. Hypothesis: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation; a proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of its truth.

A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it. Therefore, theories can be disproven. One definition of a theory is to say it's an accepted hypothesis. Theory: a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained; a set of principles on which the practice of an activity is based; an idea used to account for a situation or justify a course of action.

A law generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them. One way to tell a law and a theory apart is to ask if the description gives you a means to explain 'why'. Law: the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties; a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present.

Facts: a thing that is indisputably the case; used in discussing the significance of something that is the case; a piece of information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.

Truth: he quality or state of being true (veracity, truthfulness, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty, etc); that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality; a fact or belief that is accepted as true (fact, verity, certainty, certitude).

Bibliography (Click the link)

Truth - Necessity - Kindness

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

Verbal Violence, the precursor in most cases toward the various forms of violence and conflict. Buddha has been inaccurately quoted on this subject, i.e., it wa believed to have been said, “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, it it true, is it necessary, and is it kind?” Research and reality tell us otherwise for the true statement is, “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, it it true, is it necessary, is it kind, is it helpful, is it conducive to harmony, and is it spoken at the right time?” 

“Being honest doesn’t mean you say whatever you want, whenever you want. It means that whatever you choose to say is true. Honesty is not about speaking every word you want whenever you want regardless of the justification. Honesty is about making the appropriate choices in the words you use regarding the feelings and the respect toward the recipient. If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind, is it helpful, is it conducive to harmony, and is it spoken at the right time. Truth is rarely necessary and kind but kindness may take prominence in all conversations, discussions and arguments.” 

Communications are critical to coping with and handling conflict and violence. It is the most important conflict tool in all of human interactions. Buddha’s meme or maxim holds relevancy in human interactions because if we all took a moment to consider what is about to be said, communicated, regarding truth, necessity, kindness, helpfulness, harmony and timing toward how it may or might be received as to how it will influence the exchange between humans then it serves great purpose in conflict and violence. 

C&F are about communications, a form that has been a part of human existence and survival. We cannot just turn it off because we want to or because we have been conditioned toward a distinct distaste to violence, it takes centuries of evolution to achieve such a wondrous state of being human. The best and surest way to achieve that goal is to educate and train toward a comprehensive understanding with self-development of proper coping skills so that the higher levels of conflict and violence can be avoided. 

I quote, “The Canonical Quote on Right Speech:”

“Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five? It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will. A statement endowed with these five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people.”

Then there is the quotation from the suttas:

“Monks, speech endowed with four characteristics is well-spoken, not poorly spoken — faultless & not to be faulted by the wise. Which four? There is the case where a monk says only what it well-spoken, not what is poorly spoken; only what is just, not what is unjust; only what is endearing, not what is un-endearing; only what is true, not what is false. Speech endowed with these four characteristics is well-spoken, not poorly spoken — faultless & not to be faulted by the wise.”

Then there is this final quotation:

“Do I speak at the right time, or not? Do I speak of facts, or not? Do I speak gently or harshly? Do I speak profitable words or not? Do I speak with a kindly heart, or inwardly malicious?”

Seldom, if ever, do folks take the time to ask themselves these questions so we tend to head directly past go and right to escalation of conflict and violence until we reach levels resulting in grave bodily harm or possibly death. 

Try this miscellaneous poem by Mary Ann Pietzker:

Is It True? Is It Necessary? Is It Kind?

Oh! Stay, dear child, one moment stay,
Before a word you speak,
That can do harm in any way

To the poor, or to the weak;
And never say of any one
What you’d not have said of you,
Ere you ask yourself the question,
Is the accusation true?”
And if ’tis true, for I suppose
You would not tell a lie;
Before the failings you expose

Of friend or enemy:
Yet even then be careful, very;
Pause and your words well weigh,
And ask it it be necessary,
What you’re about to say.
And should it necessary be,

At least you deem it so,
Yet speak not unadvisedly
Of friend or even foe,
Till in your secret soul you seek
For some excuse to find;

And ere the thoughtless word you speak,
Ask yourself, “Is it kind?”
When you have ask’d these questions three—


Ask’d them in all sincerity,
I think that you will find,
It is not hardship to obey
The command of our Blessed Lord,—
No ill of any man to say;
No, not a single word.

This is the truth about the Buddha’s communications mantra, and now it is complete:

“If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, it it true, is it necessary, is it kind, is it helpful, is it conducive to harmony, and is it spoken at the right time?”

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

OT (Off Topic): Seeking "Serenity Atlas of the Verse, Volume 1"

Looking for a very clean copy of, “Serenity Atlas of the Verse, Volume 1, by QMx” If you have one and are willing to part with it contact me for pricing and shipping. Email me at, “isshin do karate <@> gmail com” 

Kicks - Above and Below Our Center/Waist

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

The following is “Strictly” my thoughts, theories and feelings and are not meant to represent any other system, style or practitioner. This is about principles as applied to such kicks as well as kicks used toward self-defense, not sport or competitions. 

First, my style of practice when I began seriously the study of karate in the mid-seventies was Isshinryu. My Sensei was taught and taught me that to kick above our centeredness, i.e., the waist line where many are taught that our center resides about two inches below the navel, etc. I was taught two distinct principles of kicking. First, is effective kicks tend to be to targets that appear below our centers or waists. Second, kicks are not meant to be used toward self-defense as a part of applied techniques but are strictly “Finishing Techniques” in fighting. Notice I said, “Fighting,” and remember that fighting is illegal so why I didn’t say self-defense. 

Let me give you a bit more to remove some of the possible confusion in that last paragraph. Effective kicks below our center can be used in self-defense but you will find that to be more about the monkey dance socially driven type conflicts. This means it is very iffy if it will be viewed and determined as legally applied self-defense. In reality and as to what I understand to be an attack, not the social monkey stuff, means in all likelihood it will be so close that the use of kicks may often not be available. This brings about the so-called “Finishing techniques.” Many martial arts self-defense models teach such techniques that from my view would be determined by the authorities as a lead-in toward the use of deadly force. If someone who attacked you is put into a position where one can apply a finishing technique you have to consider that to remain within the self-defense square you may better serve your survival and security by leaving over finishing someone - a finishing techniques speaks to me of a socially driven emotional type, “I will make sure this asshole knows he messed with the wrong guy,” attitude and that attitude means it ain’t self-defense. 

When you accomplish your goals of stopping the attack and the damage you leave, you don’t finish it. Think about that one. Now, back on topic as to kicking above and below our waists. 

Originally I was taught that when using kicks one must adhere to the fundamental principles of martial disciplines because otherwise such kicks as above th waits place you into greater positions of vulnerability. When in the fight against an attacker one of the principles that is critical to achieving a goal of self-defense is, “Balance, Structure and Alignment, etc.” If you raise your leg over the waist you violate those principles along with some others such as, “Economical motion, Heaviness, rooting and so on.” 

Example, economical motion means you remove as much wasted motion as possible where the extra distances necessary to achieve higher kicks is pretty much wasted and provides too much time for an adversary to Observe IT, Orient toward IT, Decide to exploit that time and space, etc. and finally to Act by using attack methodologies to disrupt your heaviness and use it against you, your stability of structure and balance and others to achieve his goal. 

Below the waist kicks, if possible or available for appropriate use toward appropriate levels of force, are faster, more economical and harder to defend against and even detect. This is just off the top of my head too!

Isshinryu as originally named and created was taught to me regarding kicks was to keep them below the waist and make them techniques used when distance is available to keep the attacker at a distance or to cause the attacker to reconsider things like, “Don’t attack me, it will cost you too much so leave,” type thing. 

In Isshinryu teachings the higher kicks were adopted because they became popular and therefore were easier to see to award points as well as in competitive full-contact type matches are powerful toward knock outs (That my make it seem like that means they are good for defense but that, in most cases, simply is not a valid assumption and theory).

Another misconception about Isshinryu in particular is the old saying it is made up of equal hand and foot techniques in kata but this is not accurate. You will note a considerably higher level of hand techniques over the feet/legs and there is a reason why this is so. In karate, which is actually the Asian hand-to-hand form of defense, is more about using the hands to defend. Not just the striking aspects associated with karate but those attack methodologies best suited to self-defense, i.e., “Impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc.”

In closing I will say that kicks are effective but how they are used type distinctions must be made. In one thought many tend to lean heavily toward kicks for many reasons of which one is a human instinct to keep distance from an attacker. It is a natural use of our first hand or foot-to-attacker weapon that explains why in most conflicts with the type of violence levels such as combat it is preferred to use a greater distance where weapons are preferred. This was how karate was used on Okinawa in the earlier times where its practice and training were more a prerequisite toward training with weapons, i.e., swords, spears, canon, etc.

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gripping or Hand Strength in Martial Arts

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

Like hitting with the hand, the ability to grip effectively has to deal with a lot of slippage, i.e., the flex found in the hand that affects our gripping ability and also the effectiveness of gripping in self-defense. The hand as readily discernible has to deal with a lot of bones, tendons, cartilage and ligaments, etc. The overall strength and weakness lies in these parts and depend heavily on their stability along with the strength or lack thereof in the wrist and forearm, i.e., as to direct strength and stability as dictated by those body parts. It is ancillary to these that the affects of the elbow, the upper arm and the shoulders/shoulder girdle also have an immense effect and overall strength and power as they too contribute to the application of gripping models of technique as can be seen readily in systems like, “Chin-na [擒拿].”

Since self-defense relies on a compilation of methodologies to get the job done, i.e., “actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat,” one can detect a need for strong hands and associated support strength and stability to achieve successes with pulls and twists, directly, and takedowns/throws and compressions, indirectly, to achieve a self-defense goal.

Because of its inherent weaknesses to bleed off power one needs to achieve stability and strength whereby the whole or holistic goal is achieved, i.e., a combined strength and application of techniques and principles with a strong strength of muscle enhanced by the structure and alignment of the shoulder girdle, the arm with elbow and wrist and finally the weakest link of that chain being the hand, i.e., the many complexities of hand structure with its hinge and gliding joints.

Consider that the hand strength is very limited therefore in conjunction with hand strength it must also be enhanced by the wrist, arm, shoulder and then body with the spine, hip girdle and legs achieve stability, balance and force by their structure and alignments and strengths as applied toward manipulation with hands against an adversary’s body. 

Add in a solid knowledge of the principles of joint manipulations to disrupt structure and balance of an adversary to achieve the goals, the many goals of self-defense. In short, know the weaknesses of the body along with the strengths in applying such forces with strength of your body toward the weaknesses of an adversary’s body, etc.

Add in another aspect that to use and/or rely on hand strength alone or hand strength as supported and enhanced by other principles leaves out other methodologies necessary to achieve success in self-defense. 

The truth is one who demonstrates incredible feats of strength using the hands is actually demonstrating an exemplary understanding and application of fundamental principles. Like generating power in a strike by the movement of our mass and enhanced by those bodily applications such as structure and alignment generates great power all things considered. Because the focus of attention is directed on handling an adversary with the hands while manipulating weaknesses of the body as well as the mind makes it appear that the hands are demonstrating incredible “Gripping skills.” 

This is simply not accurate. Another point to grip or hand strength is that its development usually comes from the strengthening program used to build strength in the entire body. The hands therefore become a controller and stabilizer of an application such a those demonstrated in joint locks, manipulation and the art of Chin-na. It is like the hands representing the the ring spanner while the arm/shaft acts as the forearm, etc. so that when pressure and torque are applied the hand itself twists and rotates, etc. while holding tight to the target area. I can grab and twist just the hand with little or not impact to the adversary but when I add in the arm, shoulder, body and grounding, centeredness, structure, torque, etc. as a whole I am able to manipulate the adversary’s weakness, physical and mental, to my choosing - mostly. 

Finally, having strong hands are a preventative against injuries, etc. when using them for self-defense. A strong hand clenched tightly leaves little room for an adversary to manipulate, twist or pull a finger and joint in a manner that causes you to lose balance, structure, etc. in fight for self-defense. 

A good grip is a solid tool in martial arts and/or self-defense and it is good to know how it fits in that model but one shouldn’t spend any more time on its development as a singular unit over a combined one of whole body applications. Usually the hand and its strength, etc. will come from the hands use in training, practice and applications be it sport or self-defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Social Conditioning (Brainwashing)?

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

Here is one of the definitions on this, “Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. The concept is stronger than that of socialization, which is the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies.”

For the sake of this article lets assume this is correct, fact. Humans need to socialize, it seems to be intricate to the survival instinct. It is about accepting a group and being accepted by the group then assimilating that groups norms, customs and ideologies. It is not about conditioning since both parties desire to create a connection for what ever reasons, reasons of the individual and reasons of the group.

In socialization, to my mind, one has already been conditioned socially often by the family and its immediate connections to other family and friends whether a part of the group entering or not. Yes, in this instance there is a process of training but it comes from an inheritance of an accepted social cultural belief of a particular social construct. It is not about training and teaching one how to respond in any type of manner but simply presenting what norms, customs, ideologies, rules and requirements a person needs to accept and live by to be a part of the group - there is free will involved to an extent.

Social conditioning is one that does not necessarily allow for free will but more about presenting and requiring an agenda oriented mandate that often when conditioning indiscriminately results in a “Brain Washing” model through verbal influences along with other more violent methods without resorting to actual physical violence yet in some instances that physical violence is and can be very much on the table toward such social conditioning. 

One significant difference between conditioning and socialization is one programs and one teaches. One removes free-will and one allows it. Then there is provision and allowance of information and knowledge that encompasses choices with the socialization part being a segment, i.e., in other words providing all pro’s and con’s and viable choices so that the individual can choose while social conditioning, like brain washing, tends to force feed a social agenda on the individual. 

It is providing a full, complete and comprehensive definition, meaning and intent toward a way of living over a pre-programmed dogmatic and unchangeable doctrine to control behavior rather than simply to inspire and persuade change from within the individual toward a common good.

Socialization recognized the human as a person while Social Conditioning only recognizes the process in achieving a specified goal often common to the good of a few rather than that of the whole. One leaves no room for discussion, argument or change while the other promotes and supports discussion, communications, argument and change when needed or necessary for the common good of the tribe. 

In a best case living society there are always balances and toward socialization vs. social conditioning both can be of benefit to the social group, a balance that is hard to achieve and hold yet bests suits and serves the social construct, the group and the tribe. 

Know what you need to know; learn what you don’t know; seek to learn that what you don’t know you don’t know; become open to possibilities to what you know, what you don’t know and what you don’t know you don’t know - Actively Listen and assume what is said is true and find what it is true of. 

In the martial art self-defense world, its communities, it is a critical distinction for those learning, those teaching and most important to those who apply it in self-defense. It becomes a means to handle all types of conflict and violence in and out of the dojo. It brings us the understanding necessary to balance it out in a modern socially conditioned society that has almost lost its true socialization. 

The social conditioning of the atomistic that includes the laws, rules and requirements of a society ends up creating the type of social conditions that hide reality of socialization making for a controlled and unfree culture and society based on fears without understanding and reason. 

Even the micro-cosmic world in the dojo uses social conditioning to teach self-defense, i.e., use this technique to do this in self-defense without regard to all the other factors of conflict and violence because it will make you feel safe and secure in the knowledge presented. Use these principles in self-defense with regard to conflict, violence and the social laws, rules and conditions because it WILL provide you the safety, security and ability to properly learn, understand, train, practice and apply them with regard to conflict, violence, and the social laws, rules and conditions that govern self-defense. 

Brainwashing (a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas; persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship; a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.): A process of indoctrination, conditioning, persuasion, propagandizing and forceful adoption of radically different beliefs through the process of a systematic and often forcible pressure. 

Focus on forcible pressure similar to the violent actions of those who want us to believe that all police are bad and all police actions are unjust and that police are there to apply violence to the masses, etc. There are many socially driven actions meant to condition folks toward a specific agenda that is about self-soothing a small group so they can feed the need of their egoistic emotionally driven monkey brains toward that agenda over the needs of society for a common good of all. The FEW are brainwashing the MANY for the benefit of the FEW!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

gi-popping crispness

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

A mark of the performance of kata competition at karate, martial arts, tournaments and this particular aspect of modern karate practice rears its head from time to time. I have written about it before but have a new perspective on it for this article.

In all the quotes I will be commenting on in this article they will allude to how snapping the karate-gi sleeves or legs indicates power but for my article today defining that power becomes critical. In essence the ability to snap a punch does “Contribute” to the generation of power but relying on it exclusively is a mistake.

First, hitting with the fist is choke full of issues as to effectiveness even when full power (full as in energy not bleeding off more than the physics of the application in the moment is at its maximum) is applied. Marc MacYoung explains hitting and getting hit well in his series on “Writing Violence.” There is a belief postulated that actually the open hand is superior to the closed fist method of striking. Actually, that is simplistic and after reading his book martial artists will become aware of the complexities involved that go way beyond mere strikes with our fists. 

Second, snapping the punch is what I would refer to as an “Enhancer” in generating power much like the slight twist of the hara or mid-section that is also an “Enhancer” for proper power generation. To assume and allude to the snap punch as demonstrated by snapping the sleeve of the karate uniform would be misleading to say the least.

Third, when snapping the uniform sleeve the physics involved are not the same as those when snapping a punch into a target such as the human body. Try this experiment, snap punch the air to demonstrate the snap of the uniform. Now, try the snap punch to the heave bag, notice something different in the feel of it throughout the body. Add in movement of mass, the hips twist and the proper structure and alignment of the hips to the spinal alignment to the shoulder girdle to the shoulder to the upper arm to the elbow to the forearm to the wrist and finally to the fist and target. Try this experiment many, many times both to the air and to the heavy bag.

When in the fight using the fist there is also the maxim/rule of hard-to-soft and soft-to-hard that is also explained well in Mr. MacYoung series writing violence. In case you wonder, “Writing violence?” How does that apply to reality? Well, Mr. MacYoung feels to adequately and realistically write violence into fiction it should be as close to the reality of violent fighting as possible. 

My direction and intent herein is to provide another perspective and perception as to my experience and understanding in the applications of martial arts toward the reality of self-defense so that others may make an informed decision as to reality, relevance and applicability. Since karate and other martial disciplines is originally and traditionally about conflict and violence in self-defense it seems critical to me that the understanding is realistic since one may someday have to use the skills learned, trained and practiced for real. 

Comments to Quotes Section (Caveat: my comments are not about right or wrong but rather clarity. I present these comments as possibilities one should consider to gain a greater understanding even if you dismiss the comments completely):

Quote: “Some schools can produce an audible snap when they punch while others cannot.  Some use special materials to get a snap while some use the inexpensive standard cotton uniforms and some make the sound of a gi snapping with their mouths.  Sound, while rationally an effect of energy and will be dealt with later, is a manifestation of power but there are other factors of that.” - Our Dojo:

Comments: First, I do not believe sound is a manifestation of anything other than sound. Yes, sound does come from a generation of a type of energy created by the vocal cords but as a “Manifestation of power,” not so much. Yes, making a sound while using a breathing method does enhance the power chain in karate, that I accept readily until someone provides a good argument against that theory but overall I would stand by this one. As to the use of heavy material on the sleeve or making the sound vocally that is more for performance sake in kata competition where said performance is similar to dancing or gymnastics with judging geared toward form, rhythm, cadence and so on but as to power and energy in a self-defense situation - not so much. 

In addition, there are the physics of power generation through application of fundamental principles. One of those principles is about energy generation flow into the target. It can be found in principles of theory, i.e., control; power paradox, simplicity, natural action and so on. You can gain some more about this from other articles in my blog or read the following:

Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006

Overall, snapping has its uses and contributes toward power to the target but by itself it doesn’t present much of an advantage in self-defense and if relied on solely as to power source in the fight the practitioner will find themselves limited to a critical level of exposure to grave bodily harm or even death. 

Quote: “Immediately it is obvious that the velocity of the punch is more important than the mass if you want to cause damage.”

Comments: Velocity vs. mass, depends on how that is explained along with this quote. I am left feeling that information is being left out under the assumption the practitioner already understands all the principles and concepts that make up power toward application of damage to a target.

Velocity is speed and speed is actually another enhancer to the generation of energy and power. Velocity does not trump mass, mass movement is the biggest power generator while velocity contributes, often significantly all other factors being equal and at maximum efficiency, to that power generation. Another factor often not even acknowledged toward power generation is “Gravity” as it is applied to the movement of your mass. 

As can be seen, the articles that explain this snapping thing seem to have assumed the reader is already in understanding toward the overall aspects of power generation. I would have put movement of mass at the top of that list with all the others as simply power enhancers, those small things that help you create power beyond what you mass can achieve through movement along with movement distance, etc. that also act to enhance power and energy toward the target. 

Try all this out on the heavy bag vs. air punching and kicking along with the proper use of the makiwara and find out for yourself what works. Oh, add in the “Adrenal stress conditions of a reality-based training scenario” to really find what works and what doesn’t - for you (all this works uniquely for each practitioner so test it out yourself regardless of what I say or write and what others say, write and teach, you will be glad you did.

Quote: “The faster an object is moving just before the time of collision, the more energy that is transferred.”

Comments: Yes, but to assume that because you can snap your uniform sleeve as proof may be a bit limited. Test it out and feel it through other practices. Don’t assume because this statement is true, limited truth, that it is how it will be in reality. 

Quote: “It is overtly clear that the faster something travels the faster that it will transfer its force.”

Comments: I contest the transfer of force herein but overall as your mass velocity increases and as all other aspects and factors arrive simultaneously at the exact moment of impact will create more force. The types of applied force change according to any number of physiokinetic principles applied to get the job done. Any one or several if not exact enough will bleed off that energy and power as it travels through the chain that makes up applications in a fight or self-defense. 

Simply put, it ain’t as simplistic as things might be perceived in such articles. One of the reasons I put in the caveat in all my articles and then emphasize additionally within the article itself, don’t assume anything; take each thing and test it wholeheartedly then accept what works for you. 

Quote: “It is self-evident to even the least educated that the kinetic energy is lost in different ways, friction, heat and sound.  It is also obvious that the kinetic energy of a punch must go to one of these three when used.  The sound is the most obvious especially as friction will produce both heat and sound.“

Comments: Nothing, especially to the uninitiated newbie student, is self-evident. I have been practicing for over thirty plus years and I have to say that  a lot of what I now understand in this discipline came to me in the last five to ten years of study and practice - I ain’t no novice and I ain’t no master either. Yes, energy is bled off due to a variety of issue but as to sound and heat, not so much. Physics do attribute energy loss to heat that is often generated by friction but that pretty much comes from the physics of things like engines, etc.

Karate or martial arts, not so much but bleeding of energy does come from things like structure, alignment and power generation through things like mass movement, etc. One of the biggest bleed offs is the shoulder, arm and hand/wrist section. Just a slight off set of the elbow in a particular application of a strike with the fist will reduce power to the target significantly (read Mr. MacYoung’s series no. III for more). 

Quote: “if one is able to produce a snap using the inexpensive 100% cotton light weight uniforms, it becomes elementary to understand that the snap is a sign of power.”

Comments: Yes but how much power is the question? How that relates to a uniform sleeve snapping and popping to the power necessary to stop an attack in an adrenal dump charged defense of a predatory type attack? Remember, if I have not stated it remember this is about power generation in a fight or self-defense, not a demonstration for higher point values in a performance for a trophy. 

Quote: “ … if you learn how to mimic a whip with your body, you’ll be able to generate massive amounts of power without the need for excessive strength or tension.”

Comments: This one is iffy for me, alluding to the whipping of the body without giving due application for those other factors “Required” for power is a bit misleading for my perspective. Whipping the body is a way to explain a combination of things like, “The drop step, mass movement, hip rotation, spinal alignment, structure overall, shoulder girdle alignment and rotation, structure and alignment of the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and clenched fist (note: improper fist formation allows bleed off and broken hands/fingers, etc.). 

Quote: “three vital components have to be present in your technique to generate maximum power with minimum effort.

“three principles of optimal technique”.

Speed – the ability to move quickly when initiating, accelerating and stopping your techniques. This requires an understanding of how to adjust your physical and mental a) relaxation b) tension/pre-tension in the right body parts.
Timing – the ability to dictate interplay (start/stop) between a) upper/lower body, b) right/left body half, and c) posterior/anterior kinetic chain, i.e. timing between foot/hand when stepping, hikite/striking hand, kime etc.
Balance – a natural instinct, hardwired to circumvent many motor skills, and hence of utmost importance to control in order to avoid draining energy from other parts of your system. Balance implies both your stance, posture, trajectory of movement, end-positions and being physically/mentally centered.

Together, these three principles will give you…POWER. Which is then expressed through the whip concept.” -

Comments: Here again, a misnomer that assumes all the answers and aspects of power generation are within the use of speed, timing and balance. Yes, emphatically and absolutely, speed and timing and power are huge in power generation but even if done correctly without all the other factors and aspects they may or may not get the job done. 

Let me add as well that even if you are fast and you time your strike to the target flawlessly and you remain and maintain your balance that if your structure and alignment is off you will just bleed off all the power you attempt to generate making it a slap or a push rather than a powerful strike or slap. 

Things, as I have come to understand a lot better in the last decade, are not as simplistic or as complete as one might assume when studying the discipline of martial arts especially if it is for self-defense of conflict and violence. 

Quote: “If you want to have “snap” in your techniques, you first need to focus on correct technique (speed, timing and balance) in order to generate enough power to crack your body like a human bullwhip.”

Comment: Yes, true as it is written but do NOT assume that the power generated to achieve a solid and loud snap of the uniform as power sufficient to achieve your goals in self-defense because you just might find the attacker smiling at you after your best efforts while he cleans your clock then goes that extra distance to teach you a lesson as to why you should not have fought back, think injury and time in the ER. 

My goal here is not about right or wrong but completeness, you have to have the whole picture. Those who provided these quotes are all outstanding teachers and mentors. When writing about such things even for experienced authors it is extremely difficult to convey the right theories and philosophies so if nothing else noting the need to take all articles onto the dojo floor would be appropriate. 

So, take what I say here with a smidgeon of salt, take it to your Sensei and take it out on the dojo floor for a comprehensive testing over time and with considerable effort so you can be sure it will work when you need it most - when the shit hits the fan!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Karate Body - MORE …

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

Recent threads are a flamin away on the belief of the “Karate Body.” The original comment was as follows, “This body development is caused by performing and training in Shorinji-ryu Seisan kata as taught by his teacher, Nakazato Joen Sensei.” This was presented by A. J. Advincula Sensei on his Facebook Wall. 

I commented through the sharing process, because AJA Sensei dumped me off his friends list because, “Because you keep jumping on me.” Or something very similar to that quote. First, I am not jumping on people, at least not intentionally. I do regret he takes it the wrong way because from my perspective it is about learning. No matter how long one practices and studies any subject; no matter what level they are; no matter how much they are expert in the subject matter or are considered as expert; no expert no matter how much they know, think they know and how much they believe they know they are always subject to being questioned. It is all to common for some to achieve high levels of expertise, knowledge and proficiency in a discipline to “Make Assumptions” they know it all and should not be questioned. Honestly, if Tatsuo Shimabuku Sensei were alive today and made such a comment I would be questioning him just as much as I do experts like AJA Sensei and many other highly respected, as I do respect him and his efforts and his knowledge and his ability, martial artists. 

Now, as to this karate body as it was commented as a product of training in a kata, not going to wash as represented in the photo used as an example. Why, because there is not such thing as a “Karate Body.” Our bodies are already a creation set forth by the very genetics of our family histories as passed down from generation to generation through the genes of our parents. Those genetics are pretty much set in stone and any modifications beyond the natural and in accordance with physics and the rules governing life and the universe are set pretty much in stone. 

I say this because of the perceptions and distinctions a reader, “May,” assume when reading such a short, terse and exact statement. If the statement has said something like, “Our bodies are shaped by the process of practice and training in karate where in that training regimen one of the kata, Seisan from shorinji-ryu, has a considerable influence in adding musculature, strength, endurance and muscle mass, etc.” Even that more descriptive comment could be questioned and it is through such questions regardless of the sources that promote knowledge, growth, depth and breadth toward a fully and more comprehensive, “Understanding,” of karate, martial arts and its influences in our health, fitness and well-being. It is just a shame that folks take homage when something they believe in wholeheartedly is questioned. If the communications were more forthcoming and open to discussions it make just validate that belief more or it may bring it into question where it becomes, “More!”

Now, although presented with a bunch of qualifiers the comments that followed on the Wall, where I am unable to participate because of a feeling of being jumped on, present some very good questions and comments that warrant more than the simplistic comments made that started this thread.


After reading the original comment and previewing the photo used to demonstrate a “Karate body” by the musculature of the practitioner a comment was made, “holy - those are some serious traps!!” Well, as stated before, there are two reasons why those traps would gain some prominent example. First is through weight resistant and bearing exercise and/or two, due to genetics whereby some folks naturally will develop larger musculature when exercising. 

It is well known that kata, kata with dynamic tensioning (think isometrics here), does not provide such weight bearing resistance that forces muscles, tendons and such to increase past the size set in a persons genetic makeup. Most of the dynamic tension used in kata is about resistance of muscle through the dynamic tension of both the contraction and expansion (not sure this term is correct, maybe flex-n-relax …) done with the muscles being flexed throughout movement, at the same time. A key point here is that unlike isometric exercise where the body is flexed through resistance of muscles only such as pushing the fist into the hand while moving the arms, hands, shoulders back and forth, etc. See the isometric exercise still sold today as a means of muscle development.

Regardless whether the tension process is stand-along or against other parts of the body, without additional resistance from heavier weights the muscles will build only to the point genetics allows naturally. In the body building world this can be seen and detected between the standard competitor from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s day to modern “natural body builders” of today. The modern natural body builders just, “Cannot,” achieve the larger muscle mass without at least two things, first is weight resistance through heavy weight lifting and two, through the consumption of food and other chemicals necessary to “Force the muscles” to increase in size. Note: this is an extreme but still, even the natural body builder may take his musculature beyond genetics but never to the increases Schwarzenegger and others did in those early days.

Also, when flexing the traps to make them appear bigger one tends to rotate the shoulders causing the shoulder blades to rise and push the muscles up into a display position. Just another way to make it seem like muscles are bigger than they are. Body builders who don’t have good genetic structure will over develop parts of the body and then pose to hide deficiencies, etc. 

Now, the reason I say what I say is because of my experience in both body building, weight lifting and martial arts because as an example I can say emphatically that dependent on certain factors you may or may not develop larger and stronger musculature accordingly.

First there is body and frame size, smaller frames vs. larger will handle musculature different. Then there is the small person vs. the larger person where that same musculature comes into play. In the end, it is all meaningless unless the person regardless of  strength, mass, speed and ability may or may not actually achieve success in karate sport bouts or self-defense because larger stronger muscles are only a very small part of the entire spectrum.

In the end that is the real point, you don’t achieve proficiency and understanding of the applications of martial arts simply by participating in kata, homo undo, weight training at the gym, etc., unless you can apply said properties using principles.

For instance, take a small stature healthy, strong and fit person agains a larger muscular strong, healthy and fit person. Say the smaller person applies their principles and the larger person relies on his size and strength (as many larger and stronger tend toward), the smaller person will dominate and attain their self-defense goals. Now, add in that the larger person also knows how to use principles and does so then naturally the larger stronger person will prevail. In that the principles will dictate every time success regardless of size, strength, fitness or having a “Karate Body.” 

Charles Atlas sold isometric exercise programs in the sixties, for me as that was my time, and I will say emphatically his programs helped me get healthy, stronger and fit but as to muscle size or mass, not like he shows in his pictures in the ads. Example: my brother bought Mr. Atlas’s program and used it and by association, he is my brother, I used it too. Both of us were unable to achieve the body we believed would come to look similar to Charles Atlas.

Later, we were introduced to weight training toward body building. We both hit it almost identically. As a good example toward individual genetics even when all else was pretty much the same, my brother was able to build arms that actually peaked like the top of a mountain while my arms was more rounded in flexed position. 

George had better genetics as to body building. I actually copied his efforts thinking I could achieve the same results but due to genetic makeup, not going to happen. I even felt I was stronger and bigger overall and without supplements. Anyway, genetics is a huge part of it. 

When we attribute something to such a discipline we make assumptions the results are about that discipline and therefore may gravitate toward saying it created my “karate body.” Symbolically that may be true but realistically not so much.

You might ask, “Why is this important?” It is about distinctions and false ones can lead to deadly and dangerous results because karate and other martial arts are about combatives be it sport, combat or self-defense oriented and false distinctions that lead to false beliefs can result in grave bodily harm and even death. It matters to make sure you are not assuming something works when it won’t or can’t due to missing components. 

The comments that followed on the Wall in question presented another picture of Uechi Sensei as example yet it is a distinct and different person but as I understand it still does not prove that, “One kata, seisan, can achieve such results” alone. Remember, I have yet to discuss beyong genetics and weight training, “DIET!” The Okinawans live a very, very ling life and a lot of that comes from diet. I suspect, cannot prove, that Uechi Sensei not only got his strength, etc., to include the muscle-cut body through karate practice and training but with not just the kata but also the hojo undo Uechi-ryu karate uses. It is a culmination of things karate, not just kata, along with genetics and diet and lifestyle.

Lets add in another aspect, that of mind-set and mind-state. What trumps all that is discussed is the mind-set and mind-state for it is that which leads to such extraordinary accomplishments in the disciplines be it karate, martial arts (other than karate), football, golf and other physical disciplines all that produce a kind of body presentation that is a part of how the exercise, practice and training achieve body presentation. 

Also take a look at the other pictures presented to support the original statement, they all deviate from the reality of what was said and that was, “Our bodies are shaped by the process of practice and training in karate where in that training regimen one of the kata, Seisan from shorinji-ryu, has a considerable influence in adding musculature, strength, endurance and muscle mass, etc.”

Those additional photos show the practitioners flexing their muscles with the sanchin jars, a weight bearing and resistance exercise. 

Here is an article I did on prolonged dynamic tension as more reading:

CLOSING STATEMENT: Karate bodies are a nice symbolic name to point people toward what it is you do to be healthy, fit and strong. In truth our bodies and their shapes are derived from genetic coding in DNA that comes from parents to children and a lot from our ancestors in the genetic codes nature manipulates as each generation is born. We have limited control over our bodies but in essence there are limits set by the genetic code or if you prefer nature and the universe. As I stated in my last comment, “I had a football body when I was a teen; I had a Marine Body when I was a Marine; I had a body built by weights when I was a body builder; I had a karate body too because when I was a weight lifter I also practiced karate; I had a Tai Chi Body because I also practiced Tai Chi; I had a sugar body because at one time I got a bit overweight from eating to much crap … yadda yadda yadda …. “

FINAL STATEMENT: Here is why I go through this process and question everything that sticks out and everyone who makes such blanket statements often without any real thought or research, reading the statement in question over and over and over again along with, “Discussions such as this thread,” I finally realized one key term or element was missed, I missed it, and that was the term, “Considerable INFLUENCE.” Now, I readily admit that once I came to realize the term influence was there then the statement becomes acceptable and true because Seisan kata along with dynamic tension on their own does “Influence” the addition of muscle, strength, endurance and muscle mass (I stick to my guns here, genetics will dictate but since influence is used I would now assume it goes with other practices such as hojo undo, etc.) The ONLY way I came to this conclusion since not many other comments actually detected this and presented it to refute my comments, was through this questioning, comments and thread overall, to which I again would have participated directly if not for the perception of jumping on anyone. 

So, in a nutshell, karate body can still be challenged but overall that is about labels and symbolism therefore open to individual interpretations and philosophical understanding as long as blanket statements assigning meaning for everyone is not used to explain it. Example comes from the qualified statement made in comments, i.e., He's out of touch if he thinks that kata, without weight training, doesn't build a certain body type or increase muscle mass.” I will respond without qualifiers, no where did I State that kata without weight training does not build certain body type or increase mass but I did say that the mass size such as pictured most often does not come from kata alone but genetics and or weight training. In the end, like the original statement, it needed clarification and because of this comment and others I wrote all that I wrote but it should be noted that through this process I discovered more to that and this process I am grateful.

So, thanks to all of the participants for your efforts provided me a path that allowed me to see that which I didn’t originally catch regardless of the final analysis and outcome. In part I got it wrong, in part I got my opinion and in part I got it right as well. Very Cool! OH, and thanks for reading my stuff you guys, I would have thought since I was not a member or friend that no one would bother even visiting my stuff to read it. It is nice to know that regardless of whether I am “Out of touch” or “I want to stir the pot,” the results are the same - something was learned, something was taught and a goal was achieved regardless. 

Bibliography (Click the link)