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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Friday, January 29, 2016

There is always room for JELLO

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

I have made a lot of statements and comments and OPINIONS about the various kinds of karate and martial arts there are but I have to say with a strong conviction that regardless of my thoughts, comments, statements or OPINIONS on those different types, “They all are great, they all serve a purpose and as long as they all meet the goals of their participants - IT IS A GOOD THING!

I may be of the mind that karate is a civil model and system for self-defense and I may not feel other models or systems do or do not meet that standard, which is my standard, but in truth and regardless of history, intent, essence, etc., Traditional, Classical, Modern, etc., Karate is all good, very very good.

In my rendition of the meaning behind Tatsuo-san’s statement of, “All bottles are good.” …  “All of them serve a purpose, to hold what they were intended for.” Applies to karate past, present and possible future. All bottles (forms, models and systems) of karate are good. All of them serve a purpose, to do what they were intended to do. There is no best bottle, karate, all bottles, karate, are good.

There is always room for karate, all kinds of karate and all kinds of martial arts. They server a purpose and just because they don’t match up with my view of karate does not diminish their purpose and benefits, we all benefit from such a wide range and variety of karate practices and martial arts practices, regardless. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The State of Chivalry (Gallantry)

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

Chivalry is, “A medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code; the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak. Over time, its meaning has been refined to emphasize social and moral virtues more generally. And the Code of Chivalry, as it stood by the Late Middle Ages, was a moral system which combined a warrior ethos, knightly piety, and courtly manners, all conspiring to establish a notion of honor and nobility.”

The "ancient code of chivalry" of the 11th and 12th centuries derived from the military ethos of the crusades which would evolve into the late medieval notion of chivalry. The Ten Commandments of chivalry are:

  1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions (Believe the Church's teachings and observe all the Church's directions).
  2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
  3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
  4. Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
  5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  6. Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
  7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  8. Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
  9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
  10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

From the Early Modern period, the term gallantry (from galant, the Baroque ideal of refined elegance) rather than chivalry became used for the proper behavior of upper class men towards upper class women. In the 19th century, there were attempts to revive chivalry for the purposes of the gentleman of that time. Kenelm Henry Digby wrote his The Broad-Stone of Honour for this purpose, offering the definition: 'Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world'.

Gallantry is, Courageous behavior, especially in battle; polite attention or respect given by men to women.”

The focus of today’s article is on gallantry or what many state as chivalry, but not for it is actually gallantry, as to that polite attention or respect given by men to women. When coupled with such military gallantry of a type of morally and socially driven behavior that takes on significant meaning especially to those who serve. 

Gallantry is that behavior men have freely given to women in the name of honor, courage and benevolence, etc., as traits of good, moral and just men in a society that gives it due to such behaviors as the very essence of what it is to be men and all that it entails with some emphasis in military bearing, behavior and courage. 

The state of chivalry or better, gallantry, has come under fire of late. The downfall of true gallantry may come from many things but one is the effort of achieving equality in modern society. In that effort the counter effects of such endeavors has resulted in the loss of gallantry as it would be applied to women where the women, some of them anyway, have lost that feeling of honor bestowed upon them through the actions of a gallant man.

Chivalry and gallantry have permeated our societies through out history. Granted, in reality that chivalry and gallantry may have been applied along side some more nefarious agenda driven goals of men but in its very essence it has been about honoring the women of our society. Bad things always happen with humans but the need to hold to our gallant and chivalrous nature should be held near and dear to all of us as it makes society better overall.

In a recent article written somewhere it has come to light that some may now believe that men MUST come to the rescue of women in the arena of conflict and violence as it pertains to the types of violence some would apply to women who don’t meet certain standards in a belief system strong with religious traits. Men, a few, have questioned to almost lost state of male gallantry where at one time the protection of those held dear in our societies as not so necessary. 

Considering all the social conditions set upon us regarding conflict and violence outside a military state of conflict would make taking some sort of chivalrous and gallant action to protect others, in this case women, who are not a part of the family circle would and could result in repercussions that would, could and have driven men of gallant honorable nature to turn the cheek the other way and ignore the plight of “Others.” 

Is this a result of the overzealous charge up the hill of supposed equality? Did they actually achieve equality and did they actually seek out the type of equality that would be beneficial to the group in question as well as create a win-win type connection that would allow for gallantry while not giving the impression of dominance or subservience, etc.? Can and are women equal and what is it that would make them equal for the diatribe often argued with psychological and physical aggression with out any leeway for mutual discussion and benefit achieved truly?

Why would anyone assume after all the aggression and force used to get what they think they want then be set aside arbitrarily so as to push their own protection and safety back onto the other gender because true equality means the other gender must also provide their own protection in all areas and at all times. Isn’t this just another wedge driven in to divide the genders into separate factions with only self-soothing agenda’s over the more social needs of a surviving society? 

It comes down to “damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations” that are untenable to anyone who would through the honor of chivalry and gallantry to protect even the most othered person, regardless of gender, farthest outside of the individual circle of family and tribe. If men are going to be now forced to protect while being criticized for how the go about it and the persecuted for taking that action while labeled as “discriminatory” toward women just for being gallant and perceived as creating inequality is just plain wrong. 


I do believe that genders can achieve a type of equality while recognizing that the two genders are in reality not equal. Maybe it is about removing any inferences of gender when it comes to certain social needs such as equal pay for equal work. Equal pay if all other things remain equal should exist for every human and gender should never be a part of the equation. 

Maybe it is our inadequate efforts in direct violation of nature itself. Maybe it is about failing to recognize those traits of both genders where those that are equal are accepted and those that are simply different due to nature are also recognized, i.e., recognized as unique but equal traits of that gender while not being unequal when compared to others regardless of gender. 

In truth, even it chivalry and gallantry are still alive, I would guess these traits in men are suppressed out of necessity, out of survival. In truth because of the loss of such traits we have actually created an environment where our very survival as a society in jeopardized and endangered. It is no wonder others are looking to us to conquer, we are slowly eroding our very nature and ability to come together as one so our combined strength will allow us to survive and our future survival in definitely a possibility unless we can change. 


In closing and an aside statement, reading the chivalrous codes above it seems we could live by those codes while maintaining a human equality while still allowing for the hierarchal state nature requires toward status and position as a strong unit toward survival similar to the family unit also about survival of the tribe and species. Code 1 & 2 thou can and should be changed from Church one’s “Beliefs.” 

Yes, I realize my blogs and articles are more often about karate, martial arts and self-defense so this last paragraph is about chivalry and gallantry in the dojo. We tend to give lip service for the sake of the mystique and uniqueness such things give to our practice but in truth when you look to the principles involved it does speak to theories and philosophies and the second suits this type of honorable trait but it can be that something both genders in the dojo can assume.

When we speak of chivalry and gallantry it does not actually have to be about men toward women, it can be shifted toward a human trait of society where everyone regardless of gender live life with honor, courage and a code that is chivalrous and gallant. Yes, these things have been militarily oriented but since humans now serve in a military way they both can now equally assume a chivalrous and gallant nature toward all humans. This effort to assume all the threats against a gender or humans or our society regardless can now be protected by those who choose this gallant and chivalrous way and that means even in karate and martial arts disciplines. Maybe that is why a concerted effort these last few decades has been toward implementation of karate and martial arts to become intricately interwoven into the military mind-state, i.e., courage, honor, integrity, moral rectitude, chivalry and gallantry, etc.

We in the dojo don’t have to give lip service to things like bushido codes for there are and were such chivalrous and gallant codes of those who would protect societies in all probability since man first gathered in the plains to hunt and gather. The dojo is just a microcosm, a small unique social collection of like minded folks, who would learn, teach and live such codes making them an intricate part of their teachings. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Can’t Teach THAT by Rory Miller

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

I read today’s post at the Chiron blog (link to the right of this page) where this quote inspired me, it was “actual life and safety depend on the quality of a teacher in certain fields.” 

It is a great article and every single person who reads this who teaches self-defense or who is also a karate and martial arts teacher of self-defense should read this and believe what he has to say. 

I have written opinions on what a good teacher, instructor and mentor should know of to be a good one and that still applies but it never occurred to me that what I would teach as a karateka and for self-defense was about actual life and safety and quality. It is not just the quality of the traits I have written about to teach but something else that is not really describable in words both written and spoken. I always say there are those who are just natural when it comes to teaching, etc., and some who should stay as far away from it as possible. 

When someone decides they want to teach others they really do have to take time to determine if they have all those requisites to make for a good teacher. I have had many teachers in my life and can say with confidence I have had only three that stand out in my mind, who motivated and inspired me to learn and implement that understanding in my life. All the rest, there were many from school to university to professional programs, who were just plain horrible. In those instances I overcame and learned in spite of their inadequacies. 

I have to say that for most karate dojo I have seen far too many horrible instructors, if you can actually call them that without heaving, simply because they enjoyed their teacher and then got to wear a black belt. Good teachers, instructors and mentors are really, really hard to come by but are worth the effort to find. 

Me, a teacher or instructor or mentor, not so good. Yes, I was a Marine “Instructor” and I adhered to the guidelines governing what, when, where and especially how I applied my trade but it did’t make me or ensure other of my ability to actually teach, to learn and toward understanding. I also taught karate for a lot of years and I had a hand full of students who seemed to enjoy what I taught but since those years, I stopped when I retired a while back teaching in a dojo, etc., I have come to understand that in reality I should not have taught karate but instead put myself under the tutelage of a good sensei to learn and determine if my abilities and traits would make for a good teacher, instructor, mentor and sensei. One very important and critical aspect of teaching is knowledge and understanding because upon reflection the karate I taught was adequate but the self-defense I taught within karate was absolutely wrong, not relevant and not useful in self-defense. 

Don’t assume that you have to be a good instructor, etc., to determine if the person who you are looking to for instructions, etc., is a qualified and good instructor. You can understand who and what helps you learn the best including the study traits you develop for yourself. Most of us, if we allow ourselves to accept that spidey sense of instinct, know a good teacher when we encounter one. 

I have had to, more often than not, teach myself. I had to delve into subject disciplines to learn and then learn through on the job experiences. I also made use of mentors, folks who worked in the same disciplines who were willing to lead the way. Know this, there are also very, very few who are willing to do this as well. You adapt and you overcome such obstacles but when it comes to fields that involve actual life and safety you really do have to find those types of teachers. 

From my studies and understandings self-defense for karateka and martial arts let alone for those who work in professions like police and corrections, etc., it is critical to be that awesome teacher, instructor, mentor and sensei. It is even more critical to have that teaching trait of self-reflection and self-analysis to see if you are actually a good one or one who should step down and allow others more capable to assume the role. Education whether for professions that expose us to grave bodily harm or possible death is a responsibility of the upmost importance to anyone who wished to become a good instructor, teacher and/or mentor - it just is. 

In closing, “I Can’t teach THAT,” is true for me regarding self-defense. The depth and breadth of those disciplines, knowledge and the understanding along with the appropriate experiences is way beyond what I have and had learned in my more active days of karate. I don’t regret anything but I do accept my limitations and unless those limitations are removed and a good teacher is willing to tell me either way I am good enough then I will not teach it in the dojo. 

The whole purpose of my writing about this is to, hopefully, inspire readers to accept things and go forth to find “All the answers or at least all the possible answers,” to learn karate, martial arts and self-defense” before relying in things for self-defense and way before trying to teach it all. 

Just take a look at the bibliography, especially those indicated as important toward self-defense, and visit web sites like Marc MacYoung’s “No Nonsense Self-Defense,” because those references will provide just how deep the rabbit hole goes. 

Outside of karate, martial arts and self-defense it speaks to how important it is to have really great teachers, in general as to schools and universities, because what we inspire in our young adults to learn will have a profound effect on how they live their lives. 

Rory Miller speaks to the importance of teaching and teaching ability. Do you have the qualities of a good teacher? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Karate vs. Martial Art

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

In my most recent posting, articles, I have begun to use, “Karate and Martial Art” to separate karate from the martial arts. It then gave rise to the question I answer in todays article, “Why separate karate from martial arts, aren’t they the same?

In the beginnings of my studies of karate I, like many, made and accepted the assumption that karate was a  martial art but in the last decade or so I have contemplated karate as a martial art and my studies led me to finally accept the fact that karate is NOT a martial art. 

As my continued research discovered more of the history of karate and with the theories and understandings of others who practice karate and martial arts with a traditional or what some call a “Koryu” sense, I came to my conclusion.

First, karate was born from the ancient practice of hand defense some believe is called, “Ti (pronounced tea).” Ti was an indigenous form of defense practiced on the island of Okinawa and its practitioners may or may not have been few and of a higher class of its society - that part is and will be a contested historical nature.

Second, Ti was also considered by the military presence of the Okinawans as a prerequisite to weapons training and there are tidbits of information from a concerted historical documentation of Okinawan history that states there were places, open ground, that clearly was found to be used to train in Ti so that its practitioners could and would move up to the weapons training necessary to protect the island but more importantly the ships used in their commercial trade efforts. Like any military, there is always an empty-handed or hand-to-hand component because there is always a chance Ti or the empty-handed discipline would, but not very often, be necessary in a combat situation. It can be theorized that even in close quarter combat with swords that their training and ability with Ti could be used in tandem with sword play and so on.

One could argue that Ti as a prerequisite makes it a martial art but in general since it was used as a means for civil defense by guards, etc., on the island it still mostly falls to civil defense. It is not actually a required discipline used in combat, that is what weapons are for but still, it is possible. I would suggest and I believe it is a civil thing rather than martial because in a nutshell its lack of significant presence in historical military or social renderings it is only mentioned in passing. I also take into consideration that the more ancient martial artists considered it a play toy vs. an actual combative tool for military conflicts. 

Third, then we come to the modern version of Ti or what became also known as Toudi, karate. Karate actually came into the forefront of practice of the Okinawans and in the late 1800’s and then 1900’s the Japanese but for certain socially driven political war effort reasons.

The Japanese, even in the 1800’s-1900’s were still war like and with their superior attitudes started to expand themselves to China and other Asian societies, etc. One of the significant events of those times was the writing and publication of the book, Bushido. As many modern articles and theories indicates this book and the subject of Bushido didn’t really have strong ties to the ancient practices of the feudal era where samurai, warriors and the conflicts and violence involved bushido really didn’t exist and if it did it was more or less insignificant. What was more significant was the practice and requirements of that practice of Zen Buddhism but that is another whole article. 

The Japanese needed to find a way to prepare and convince the Japanese people that war was good, necessary and of the right mind-set. The publishing of the Bushido concepts fell right into their needs and plans. Then the effort to incorporate practices into their society, including the Okinawans, they found that karate, while not a martial art, could become a prerequisite to being a willing warrior for the Japanese cause, i.e., karate was implemented into the educational system.  When karate, then actually translated as China Hand, was first introduced to the Japanese it may have been seen as a means to instill that form of bushido or military willing attitude into their youth, via the educational systems. The person who demonstrated China Hand then changed it to Empty Hand simply because that made it more malleable to Japanese acceptance - especially the military.  

Karate was accepted and then instituted into the Educational system along with other martial arts. It was also allowed, possibly directly but I sense more indirectly to be under the heading of Japanese Martial Arts. Karate, even with the changes but especially with the changes necessary to make it acceptable to the education of the younger peoples of Japan and Okinawa became even less martial by its watering down, etc. hiding its true nature as a defensive fighting system. 

When coupled with the possible propaganda oriented education toward a more warrior like mind-set and mind-state it was made acceptable and easy to label as a martial art. Labeling it or placing it under the heading of martial art also worked to the advantage of the Japanese in conditioning the young adults toward acceptance of a military war like mind-set ergo how karate first became understood as a martial art when in truth it was still a civil defense system.

My view here is more toward its historical beginnings as a traditional civil defensive system and my effort is to bring my practice up to speed so that my practice of karate will be more of a self-defense civil discipline ergo the creation of principles that fit with the fundamental principles of multiple methodologies for defense

While I am at it, this is also why I have changed my reference to principles from, “Fundamental Principles of Martial Disciplines” to “Fundamental principles of multiple methodologies for self-defense or defense.” My karate, as I aim for in training and practice, is to focus on the underlying fundamental principles as applied toward the use of multiple defensive methodologies for self-defense in a modern society in which I live. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

p.s. also, just because it is indiscriminately used and labeled as a martial art does not make it so like an accepted use of a new term would be added to a dictionary. If this were acceptable then we would have to change the true meaning of martial art, combat and warrior - not true or going to happen just because it fits our agenda. Now, I accept that this may be an issue with my view and belief as stated above. That is the nature of this game. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Folding the Karate/MA Uniform

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

A question arose about the formalized folding of the karate uniform as it may or may not relate to “Do (Doah) or the Way.” It was postulated from photos and theories that folding the uniform may have more significance other than ritual or etiquette. 

Is it a Japanese Budo thing? Does the folded uniform staged in front of Okinawan masters have some significance? The answer for me comes from a ritualistic model of cultural influences that originate with the Japanese concept of “Shikata.” 

Shikata Articles: 

What I have come to understand about all the etiquettes of karate and martial arts dojo are that they DO NOT come from or are INDICATIVE to those disciplines but are merely adopted from the every day social norms of the culture. It is our perceptions and limited understandings that give us the impressions and perceptions that such things are karate and martial arts oriented etiquettes and we therefore assume that those social practices are an intricate part of the study of karate and martial arts - not so, not true and not reality. 

Since the Japanese developed the shikata concept there is absolutely nothing taught or done that does not have a kata, or format, that drives how it is done. This is a concept that has made products of all kinds the best the world has seen. It was this shikata concept that allowed the Japanese to take products that at one time were considered here as junk and transform them into an artistic and top notch product that has stormed the world of commercialism. 

As you do research you will find effects of shikata even in the way the jacket of the karate uniform, i.e., that is representative of the style of jacket used in kimono, where folding the left side over the right has significance and is socially driven, not martially driven (yep, you can look that one up yourself cause I ain’t given that one here).

Bibliography (Click the link)

p.s. Ritual is an important - ritual. Taking up the socially driven shikata model with all the etiquette often found in the dojo has benefits. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Speculations and Assumptions

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

I have a friend who tends to avoid hearing about things one speculates and assumes on any subject matter but I want them to understand the making speculations on events and situations along with making assumptions as a result is normal and an intricate part of being human. 

Speculation an essential tool in assessing risk. The opposite to speculation is assumption. When we speculate we are working in our minds the what, when, where, how and of course the why of the event or situation so we may file it away for future reference just in case we become involved is said event or situation or some event or situation similar to the one we speculated about and made assumptions on. 

To assess anything provides us instinctual and insightful information from knowledge, experience and training so that we can also make decisions toward appropriate actions especially as it would apply to conflict and violence. Even if we train things, those things in all likelihood will not be in the same form when encountered in other situations especially in real life situations regarding almost anything but in conflicts and with violence especially. 

This is critical especially when encountering the unknown in sometimes unexpected situations we have not experienced making reality-based adrenal stress-conditioned training a critical component of self-defense as well for the physical model used for that defense. In short, we need speculations and assumptions to learn and therefore survive, it is the way of human-kind. At least to my perceptions, theories, understanding and belief - at least until someone provides proof of something better and more correct. 

It is how I see things when the traffic slows to a crawl when passing by an accident, the are all eyeballing the situation, speculation as to how it was caused and why then they are speculation the condition of those involved as to injuries or even death. They are running a variety possible scenarios in their head as to what happened, how it happened and why it happened. All assumptions based on possibly nothing or based on past experience in an accident or based on information and understandings from life experiences to include media driven reports on such events. They they speculate as to how they could have avoided that same situation and that is based on assumptions that seemingly come from nowhere or from experience and knowledge based on whether they completed a defensive driving program, etc. 

No one can remove that instinctual urge to speculate about events that occur around us especially when they involve danger, possible danger and possible to actual threats that would violate our personal safety and health. The same applies to making assumptions to those speculative ideas and theories used to act accordingly. 

I suggest that when one decides that speculation and assumptions are negative and not necessary and who try to avoid using speculation and assumption are actually avoiding the subject of that speculation and assumptions because it makes them feel uncomfortable, fearful and out of control. It is not actually the use of speculation to make assumptions but a fear of not being in control and not knowing because they have to have the answers or they don’t feel in control and therefore experience fear and so on. 

To achieve a greater or the greatest odds of hitting the nail on the head when using speculation and when making assumptions you need to seek out knowledge, understand that knowledge and how it applies to life, i.e., events and situations in life, and that helps our brains to seek out, manipulate and make use of the knowledge base we encode in our mind through such effort to learn, accumulate knowledge, gain experience both real and academic and finally to apply that when we speculate and assume in any given situation and about any given event within the situation and at any given moment. 

Education, understanding and experience are the most critical aspects of life necessary for speculation and the art of making assumptions especially for self-defense against conflict and violence. The three are core to acquiring data necessary to make speculation and assumptions work as the essential tool in assessing risk and when you assess risk you provide the way toward avoidance, etc. 

Trying to avoid the use of such critical survival tools is tantamount to losing your sight and going deaf. Would you want to deal with violence in that state? Another very important point on this subject, it is also critical once you speculate and assume an answer, response or fix you must validate it and verify its relevance, etc. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Children in Karate and Martial Arts

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

I was inspired to write this particular article even tho I have not devoted all that much time teaching children under the age of sixteen years simply because of this quote, “Fundamentals of the situation: We have children who, because they’re children, don’t always behave in mature, reasonable ways. As children, they sense their relative powerlessness in society, and when they’re given power, they sometimes abuse it … “

This quote reminded me of why I tend to lean far away from teaching karate and martial arts to children. Children - will be children - and we may find teaching them a discipline, stress the term discipline, that involves an original foundation of brutal physical ability may not be the best thing to do. They are children who are still developing especially as to the brain as well as the emotions inherent in all humans (well, almost all). Maturity is a big thing from where I sit and even those with a modicum of maturity will succumb to emotionally driven actions and reactions and that is with being an age that is socially accepted as an age of maturity. 

When you evaluate a person to enter your dojo to teach what is essentially a brutal methodology that results in injury, damage, grave bodily harm and even death you need to make sure they have the moral and emotional ability to assume such a huge responsibility. Parents need to accept this as a base when deciding if they want their children to participate in karate and martial arts even when it is predominately a sport oriented endeavor (take note that even a sport fight oriented discipline can be misused as well to cause damage, etc.). 

Then there is even a huge responsibility that must be assumed by anyone teaching karate and martial arts for all the same reasons. You don’t just teach a technique based model to children and you shouldn’t be teaching such a model to even adults because this type of practice, training and application is dangerous even when done for fun. 

Back to children; because of that lack of maturity, because of their child driven behaviors, because of the power being placed in their hands and because of the huge potential toward abuse it is my feelings that children (younger than 16 years minimum) should not be exposed to karate and martial arts. 

Now, is that going to happen? Nope, nadda, and no way because as I see it from my view karate and martial arts cater to children because it seems that children are now the mainstay of most more commercial studio’s. Yes, that is a narrow view since I don’t visit a lot of these training facilities but when I view the various sources available due to our technological state of modern times I tend to see a dominance of young adults and children represented. I often wonder if the instructors, teachers and sensei have a syllabus and training plan that incorporates such considerations.

Then add in the responsibility and influences that come when children train to young adulthood, say around 16, and then are presented with black belt status, does the training address this ego boosting state? Did they train and practice for this over the whole of the training program? There are a huge amount of complexities involved in assuming responsibility to train children in a combative oriented discipline. 

The author who I quoted does address this responsibility by stating that lectures might work but in truth it will be how the sensei, senpai and kohai act as to being role models that will have the greatest influence - I agree with this in a limited way. An example is to not go around kicking and punching just because you can but by acting in a manner with honor and responsibility, etc., you demonstrate the proper moral and social aspects of karate and martial arts with just one caveat, often they don’t see, witness or hear of how they all act “OUTSIDE” that same training hall, facility and dojo. 

I would add in that lecture still plays a role or role playing would also make some difference but again I would stress that training is one thing, reality another. How do you emphasize and condition students to believe wholeheartedly that what is done in the dojo is serious, dangerous and must be controlled while allowing for fun and play as learning tools and that what they do is special in the uniforms they wear, etc. It also comes down to what kind of attitude is demonstrated and how that effects the attitude of the child student. 

Diligence, clarity and consistency must be made and maintained regardless or all of it is just going through the motions. Live, breath and act with attentiveness toward the show of aggression, etc.Teach the proper etiquette and values that should be a cornerstone of karate and martial arts. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What is the correct or preferred way to write Isshinryu / Isshin Ryu / Isshin-ryu

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

First, this is more about grammar and the use of spaces or hyphens, etc., to convey proper meaning when written such as this question as to whether it is proper to write Isshin and Ryu as one word, or separate words or to use the hyphen. 

Just as a example and a start toward understanding the proper way consider using a spell checker in a word document. The Word documents often used have a decent engine to check and suggest but it is not infallible. Then there is the use of a dictionary but since this is a word or term, etc., not a common one used in every day English, used specifically to name a foreign word that makes it a bit more difficult. 

Then you can also use Mnemonics to help your memory eke out a proper way but since the questions was asked and most of us are not writers or even English majors as to education along with many writers and majors also tend to have difficulties in this area that may not work either.

This word or term does not fall under the heading of homonyms and plurals so that won’t work either. Sounding it out fails to give an answer except in English I would make an assumption that the two separate words, Isshin and Ryu, having a usage to describe one thing would best serve, as to its English usage, to be somewhat correct in using “Isshinryu.” This view is debatable to say the least and why this question becomes a bit more difficult to answer.

Then I asked myself what defines a suffix? The dictionary tells us that a suffix follows an element to which it is added such as the “ly” to the word “kind” to make, “Kindly.” It can, in general, be anything added at the end of something, ergo Ryu added to the end of Isshin making “Isshinryu” a bit more correct, maybe. 

Another aspect to suffix as defined in the dictionary is to add (a morpheme) as a suffix to the end of a work where morpheme means, “any of the minimal grammatical units of a language, each constituting a word or meaningful part of a word, that cannot be divided into smaller independent grammatical parts, as the, write, or the -ed of waited.”

This leads me, personally, to consider that Isshinryu is more correct vs. Isshin Ryu or Isshin-ryu. Another way to look at it is to review several determine factors of the actual term from its native forms, i.e., the actual characters/ideograms used in Japan (we won’t go to the Okinawan dialect since Japanese is the official language there as well). 

The characters/ideograms for this term or word or title is, “一心流,” which does not get translated as is from the on-line English-to-Japanese-to-English translation sites but if you separate the first two from the last you get two separate translations. 

一心 means, “one mind; wholeheartedness; one’s whole heart,” and means, “style of; method of; manner of; school (of thought).” When spoken they are pronounced as just one word, i.e. Isshinryu. 

Now, one site that translates the three characters/ideograms (Kanji of 一心流) does provide an English word when translating, i.e., “Isshin-ryu.” Now, as to English I would say the proper way to write the English version of this descriptive word to be “Isshinryu” while as to at least one official translation site translating the kanji as “Isshin-ryu” then I would surmise that these two are proper and interchangeable unless you want to drill down to believing the true correct way would be that translation from the Japanese characters/ideograms (Kanji) into its English form. If that is correct, I would accept this personally, then the one correct way to write it in English is, “Isshin-ryu,” without capitalizing the Ryu part. 

In a nutshell, use, “Isshin-ryu,” as a correct spelling. Now as to the next half of this two-part question, i.e., 

“What is the history on how it is written?”

I would have to defer to those who have a direct connection and experience with the founder who named the system or style of karate, Isshin-ryu. I do suspect that since it was originally written in the Kanji style and that the translation to English by that founder would have been flawed since his command of the English language was very poor and that left any corrections up to the American students who didn’t have or use a command of English to provide a true and correct translation into a proper English form - grammatically speaking. 

I also suspect until this very moment no one has bothered to even ask this question and tended to assume what ever spelling was used by their Sensei was correct while never truly researching the correct way.

Note/Caveat: Remember, I am not an English major with any type of degree or other credentials that would make my answer, correct. I would, if you truly wanted to know for sure, submit the question along with background as to the origins of this word to a grammatical professional. Even then, because of its uniqueness and use they may not have a definitive answer either. 

In the end, what does it matter? What matters is this type of question comes most often from someone who wants to study and learn about every aspect of a discipline and although more of a trivial nature it speaks loudly of the type of effort and diligence this person has along with a very high motivation to learn and that is very good. When a student asks such seemingly trivial question it is easy to not give it its fair consideration because it may seem trivial but the heart of it means something great about that individual so answer it truthfully as possible. Remember, as their knowledge and understanding grow they will begin to differentiate in such questions while growing in depth and breadth in their understanding while creating a mind-state that allows for the distinctions that separate the types of training, practice, studies and applications. It could literally make all the difference to the person asking and create a connection that would take them to a life time of study and practice over someone who might simply quit early on, etc. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, January 8, 2016

implied movement

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I have written a good deal of ideas, theories, beliefs and philosophies on the practice of kata and then ran across this quote, “ … kata does not teach specific movement per se, but instead it teaches implied movement. That is, movement which can be used across different situations. If kata movements were intended to counter only one specific technique, then it would be necessary to memorize and practice literally hundreds of kata.

Possible actions and reactions are the cornerstone to achieve a certain level of proficiency in karate and martial arts self-defense. This quote stresses this thought, my thoughts, and explains why the way kata are often taught, not as much today as things are improving, involves memorization of hundreds of kata and thousands of techniques. What this does is overload the mind-set and mind-state often leading to the “Freeze.”

Kowakan blog wrote the quote, here is the article it came from, i.e., Kata & Apprenticeship.

Where I slide off to the side of the path of kata practice is concerning the fundamental principles of martial or karate disciplines. Principles tend to transcend any one style or system but focus on certain universal applications of fight methodologies through principle based application(s). This means you learn some fundamental foundational principles and methodologies that are present regardless of the movement or techniques that will work when applied proficiently and correctly that add up to a handful vs. hundreds of kata and thousands of techniques. 

I understand how large quantities of kata, techniques and system/style black belts become necessary, it is because of a commercialized model of teaching karate and martial arts. It is about keeping students interested so they get instant gratification and it is about a model that promotes specifics for testing and promotions that also lead to longevity, attendance and continued flow of money, etc. In truth, to learn karate and martial arts doesn’t really take all that much, all that much time and only a concerted, disciplined and exhaustive effort. It takes time to maintain over the long run and that is all. It requires other things far more important than basic techniques, techniques, technique driven drills, kata drills and sport oriented kumite. 

Take a look at what I believe and perceive as those principles, this is the bare bones minimum necessary to learn and apply karate and martial arts. This literally brings karate and martial arts training back to what some believe is traditional, a hand full of basic techniques with hands and feet, one to three kata maximum then other aspects listed in the principles to make it work for self-defense. All those additional kata, etc. are more of an academic benefit over actual hands on fighting and self-defense. 

PRINCIPLE ONE: PRINCIPLES OF 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.)

PRINCIPLE TWO: PHYSIOKINETIC PRINCIPLES (Breathing, posture, triangle guard, centerline, primary gate, spinal alignment, axis, minor axis, structure, heaviness, relaxation, wave energy, convergence, centeredness, triangulation point, the dynamic sphere, body-mind, void, centripetal force, centrifugal force, sequential locking and sequential relaxation, peripheral vision, tactile sensitivity, rooting, attack hubs, attack posture, possibly the chemical cocktail, Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat]???see below)

PRINCIPLE THREE: PRINCIPLES OF TECHNIQUE (techniques vs. technique, equal rights, compliment, economical motion, active movement, positioning, angling, leading control, complex force, indirect pressure, live energy and dead energy, torsion and pinning, speed, timing, rhythm, balance, reactive control, natural and unnatural motion, weak link, non-telegraphing, extension and penetration, Uke. Multiple Methodologies [actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat])

PRINCIPLE FOUR: PRINCIPLES OF PHILOSOPHY (Mind [mind-set, mind-state, etc.], mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup.)

Principle’s One through Four: 
Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: PRINCIPLES OF SELF-DEFENSE (“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, multiple attack/defense methodologies (i.e., actual tactics and attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. are best for stopping a threat)

Principle Five: 
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

PRINCIPLE SIX: CHEMICAL COCKTAIL: (Attacked Mind, Train It, Breath It Away, Visualize It Away, Sparring vs. Fighting, Degradation of Technique/skills, Peripheral Vision Loss, Tunnel Vision, Depth Perception Loss/Altered, Auditory Exclusion, Weakened legs/arms, Loss of Extremity Feeling, Loss of Fine Motor Skills, Distorted Memory/perceptions, Tachypsychia (time slows), Freeze, Perception of Slow Motion, Irrelevant Thought Intrusion, Behavioral Looping, Pain Blocked, Male vs. Female Adrenaline Curve, Victim vs. Predator, The Professional, Levels of Hormonal Stimulation, ???)

Note: Understand, the first four principles were the original I learned about from the karate-ka who first put them down into written form and the last two as can be seen by the bibliography provided on those were added, by me, as critical to karate and martial arts for self-defense. I can tell you just working on the first four will take considerable effort and some time but add in that the last two would take even more time, effort and experience. It is worth while to check them all out through a study of the references provided then seek out a professional who has a solid understanding and proficiency of them all, i.e., adding in experience in a adrenal stress-condition reality based training regimen. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Practice makes Progress: Perfection is but a Dream.

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Dreams are the means that humans need, want and use to set goals toward their desires in life. 

Our dreams are a product of the yin-yang sub-principle of FPOMD.

In short terse terms, dreams are mental pictures that provide a symbolic state of mind to drive us toward life goals with a full understanding that like yin-yang some are attainable while others lead us to our true destiny, in a sense that the dream was not realistic for us but opened a door to another more beneficial and appropriate dream.

Perfection is first and foremost an individual symbolic idea cast from that individuals life experiences from their perceptions, social connections from birth to family to close social connections outward in an expanding sphere of influences, i.e. social conditioning so, etc.

Perfection, as in a person striving toward perfection in the practice of karate and/or martial arts, is a subjective concept. A concept that is truly unattainable in the context of karate and martial arts.

Practice makes perfect is often perceived as a positive concept toward a constant effort toward a goal of perfection, but whose idea of perfection?

Practice does NOT make for perfection but rather an incremental and constant progress towards a form of mastery that is also similar to a state of perfection - subjective. Mastery is also more about assessing one's own progress in comparison to a goal of the self.

In practice one's goal should be a degree of progress as an ongoing fluid state of proficiency and understanding that changes as progress is achieved rather than one goal with such expectations often much higher leaving room to self-excuse failure.

Dreams are those symbols of progression humans must have for survival and the models created must be about progress rather than idea's that are truly and naturally unattainable and unachievable, if for no other reason than the natural fallibility of humans.

Humans by their very nature and design are unable to achieve either mastery or perfection but are very capable in achieving progress and proficiency, sometimes exceptional proficiency. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

combat sports

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

First, what is combat? “Fighting between armed forces, i.e., killing in combat.” It is also define as active fighting especially in war but it can be a fight or contest between individuals or group. Some synonyms are action, battle, field, etc. Most consider combat to mean fighting in violent conflicts meant to weaken, establish dominance over, or to kill the opposition, or to drive the opposition away from a location where it is not wanted or needed.” 

“The term combat (French for fight) typically refers to armed conflict between opposing military forces in warfare, whereas the more general term fighting can refer to any physical or verbal conflict between individuals or nations.” 

Combat violence can be unilateral, whereas fighting implies at least a defensive reaction. A large-scale fight is known as a battle. A verbal fight is commonly known as an argument.”

Second, what is sport? “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which in individual or team compete against another and others for entertainment. Sport are all forms of usually competitive physical activity or games which,[1] 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.”

Third, what is combat sport? “It appears that a true definition actually resorts to another term or phrase used to clarify, i.e., as in competitive contact sport or fighting sport. In reality there seems to be no valid definition as to what a combat sport is except to redefine combat to mean a dedicated contests that mimics a form of combat where the rules of engagement along with other factors that make combat, combat, are removed or watered down enough to make the sport less deadly.”

In my mind there is no such thing as a combat sport, the two words and definitions just don’t connect except in the most tenuous way to meet some agenda driven media oriented commercial way to entice and draw attention as in spectators, etc. 

One source uses, unofficially and without validation as to factual and realistic according to accepted definitions, the definition of combat sport to be, “Sports in which two armed or unarmed opponents confront each other in combat.” This type of definition leads one to make assumptions according to their perception as to what sports are and what combat is, often to the detriment of true meaning in the definition. In short, “Bullshit to dramatize toward a certain agenda that tends to be commercial in nature - money.” 

In truth, just because someone uses a term in this manner and because no one questions it or makes it an issue and because those ignorant to that fact accept it and use it does not make it so. Wrestling is not combat; judo is not combat; karate is not combat; MMA is not combat and so on, they are all to often either “Fighting or Self-Defense.”

They are competitive endeavors or games people play to test themselves toward physical and mental ability with winners and losers and no one faces grave bodily harm or death as a result or a goal. Combat is about fighting with a goal of aggressively attacking a group to cause submission toward a political and survival goal with grave bodily harm and death as a means to achieve the goals of the other group. Combat seldom involves individual against individual except during a combat situation of a group where individuals as a unit with a common goal engage another opposing group of individuals to achieve a goal set by a governing body. 

I would go so far as to say that karate and martial arts, i.e., judo, jujitsu, kendo, sumo, aikido, kung fu, etc,, are not combat disciplines but rather of a sport, fighting (civil fighting such as a brawl in a bar) or a philosophical oriented way of self-improvement, etc. Even today, most of these are not about self-defense and combatives but an entertainment oriented sport or way, etc.

If a certain distinction is not made and fully exploited in training, practice and application then it is not self-defense and not combative as to combat, war or military campaigns, etc. 

Then again, what harm comes from using terminology in an incorrect and inappropriate manner if no one is hurt? Granted, misinterpretations and misunderstandings like this may come back to haunt the user if they are attacked and need to defend themselves especially if their actions take them to levels of force and such or result in grave bodily harm or death let alone prosecution if they fail to apply it appropriately, etc. 

I feel and think that it is just the luck of modern societies that allow us to avoid such distinctions for it is rare today for martial artists and karate-ka to use their skills against predators, etc. right?

p.s. Oh yea, it also gives me material to write my oh so neat opinions on and about :-)

Bibliography (Click the link)

p.s.s. if we fail to make distinctions then such things cross over and bleed into one thing that causes the same issues we find in media presentations that so often incite, inflame and inspire drama oriented emotionally inappropriate tirades through social media outlets, yes?

p.s.s.s. Also, as a Marine when I consider the term, “Combat,” I think of our military hero’s risking their lives for us and dying for us  (in Combat) and think, “Sport combat, kinda disrespectful of our hero’s who go to combat.”