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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Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Transition of Traditional

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

The old guard is always, so it seems, expressing the value of traditional martial arts but the issue that seems to bother me is that traditional or classical like everything changes. In my early days the senpai and sensei talked about the traditional forms of martial arts as if they held some special status and they were right. Those who were raised and trained with that traditional mindset had value and purpose but in the effort to hold on to that belief they held is on a pedestal is if it were royalty but we all know royalty and social organizations do fall sooner or later.

Today, when I write or talk about traditional karate I have a certain era I look to but now I realize that traditions and traditional martial arts are also evolving and therefore as time passes they create new traditions and therefore create a new perception of traditional. Today, folks look back fifty to a hundred years and call it traditional. The traditions and traditional views of my time are slowly fading into the historical deep past to be viewed in that way as a means of holding on to an every growing martial heritage. It is adding another layer to the ancestry tree that will take luminaries like Matsumura Sensei and push them across that line away from the span of years one considers in their time as the traditional or classical era of martial arts. 

One day very soon those efforts in modern sport oriented competitive martial arts will look upon that era as the new traditional martial arts era while the older traditions will be something studied in a more historical history lesson way, still with value but held in abeyance as an influence to the new traditional way. You know, like we do with the ancient classics of the Bubishi, the Art of War and the other Buddhist and Confucian ways, interesting but less relevant to the modern traditions even if those ancient teachings are the very essence of the modern traditional martial ways. 

Traditions and the traditional are all in transition, much like yin-yang they evolved holding the old in essence as the foundation on which the new is built. It is a transition dictated by practitioners who analysize the old, discuss in the dojo how that can be the new and then synthesize and create new traditions to create a new traditional way of martial arts. 

There is a difference between traditional and original, yes?

Bibliography (Click the link)

Open-ended vs. Closed

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

Open ended questions provide room for analysis and then syntheses while closed sets perceptions to a singular point of view. The various terse classics like the art of war, the tao te ching and the I Ching are all open-ended, they allow each individual and each group the opportunity to decipher and perceive their contents in an open-ended way so that the times, the culture and the beliefs of that individual and group can use the wisdom of the teachings toward the moment and situation to discover a way.

The Go Rin No Sho along with the Art of War by Musashi and Lao Tzu are open-ended terse teachings that span far beyond mere war into the daily lives of conflict and violence of the individual, the tribe to socially driven things so that survival is possible. In order to see the value of such things beyond their value as historical documents to the present moment means one must see them not as their titles would indicate but what their actual meanings will provide to the now, the moment and the moments situations as we travel through life. 

Look at it as if entering a conversation with the masters, you ask open ended questions to promote conversation and that exchange along with active listening is how we learn, how we grow and how we evolve. I am beginning to see it as a process of analysis and synthesis as taught through Boyd’s Cycle for winning and losing, i.e., his patters and discourse. A comprehensive open-ended form of teaching that allows the mind to be creative and to achieve new thought processes that go way outside the box. 

It is like Boyd’s discourse where he provides his insight to how a closed system vs. an open system works with emphasis on how change is possible in one vs. the other. One allows for change from within while the other not. This warrants further study of the Boyd system and remember that his system was synthesized from his studies of those very same classical art of war, etc.

It then becomes necessary in such diverse systems such as martial arts to realize whether the system of study is an open-ended system allowing for discovery, change and synthesis or one that adheres strictly to a doctrine and belief that disallows any change or synthesis of the old as blasphemous making it a closed system. Even if you join a closed system, if you allow your mind to remain open-ended you still learn from that closed system and then you leave, you either find an open-ended system or create one so that you can gather like minded open-ended individuals who will provide insight and input to what you bring to the dojo and then work diligently to analysize and synthesize all parties contributions into a one wholehearted way that provides you with valid and efficient ways to a better path. In one example, karate as a fense system against conflict and violence. 

Ask any successful professional or professional organization how they improve so that when applying their trade they achieve success in goals of their duties and you will find professionals who gather, discuss, analysize and then synthesize new processes, strategies and tactics toward success. One such professional organization is the United States Marine Corps who embraced this type of philosophy and called in maneuver warfare, etc. Even in recent news it was the Marines who were showing actions that embraced the newest requirements of the job to bring in the female gender into areas once thought exclusive to the male gender and they are going deep to change terminologies to further that goal in the minds and hearts of the Marines. Knowing the Marines, like many professionals throughout human history, they will make it work and it will be successful for they would not change the path unless their analysis provided proof positive that it would work. 

Embrace the old, analysize it to find its modern value to the individual and dojo while embracing synthesis so that the old becomes the new and the new achieves status of traditional, classical and old when the generations that follow join the way. It is the way of humankind, it is the way of nature and it is the way of the universe. 

If you are a marital artist, if you have studied and embraced the teachings of the Chinese masters as well as others of like mind and if you have tried to use such teachings in your dojo then know that Colonel Boyd, USAF retired, also studied and embraced not just those Asian classics but those classics of other nations, cultures and beliefs to create what has become our contribution to the, “Arts of War.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Is karate ...

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

based on principles or technique? The answer seems simple but as with all things martial arts you end up with - "It Depends!"

First, define principles?
Second, define technique?

Starting with the second first, technique(s) can be defined two ways where the most obvious is derived from the modern technique based training model while the second ways is more apropos and at the same time either unknown or misunderstood.

Then there is the first, a principled based model where the universal underlying principles connected to multiple methodologies, etc., is the basis or foundation for all martial arts.

Herein lies the rub to the original question that started the mess to begin with. Herein lies the article you will read today in my attempt to put a light on the question so I will begin as before, with the second.


Technique is not about specifics, techniques are any and all methods used to achieve a principle based situational application(s) necessary to achieve goals, tactics and strategies to avoid and/or resolve conflicts and/or violence. Marc MacYoung refers to technique in his eBood, Writing Violence: Defense, and states, “A move is an action, a technique is a collection of movements. Each consecutive movement of a technique builds on the success of the last. They should provide fense, it should disrupt the adversary’s ability to attack and it should set up the next move.” 

Note that Mr. MacYoung does not use this term like so many karate dojo, i.e., the technique of punching with the fist, the techniques of striking with a palm or the technique of kicking with the ball of the foot. This is all novice stuff meant to teach not necessarily techniques but how to move, it is the moves to achieve actions, it is about a collection of appropriate moves for the situation that becomes, in that moment only, a collection of movements that make up the technique used in fense. Then the rest is basically tactics to apply those techniques to achieve a goal of fense. Learning how to move and the proper physiokinetics necessary to perform those movements as techniques and so forth. 

“Technique is the easiest part. Knowing when and how to apply the technique is the second easiest. Making yourself do it may be the hardest and that is the part I am not sure can really be taught.” - Rory Miller, Facing Violence

I believe you get the picture regarding technique(s), so now lets take a look at a favorite subject and perception of fense karate, the principles. The principles to which I speak are those fundamental principles of fense through the discipline of karate or martial arts. They are the same regardless of style or system, the are universal and they provide us the foundation to make any fense discipline work. 


These principles that I am writing about are the majors while within the disciplines of the mental and physical there are other principles involved as well. These minor principles tend to involve some aspect of technique, moves + actions + collective = technique, such as certain principles involved in body manipulation, i.e., ball joints vs. hinge joints, etc., and the process to manipulate them to achieve a tactical and strategic goal. You can find out more about that specific example by getting Rory Miller’s video’s on that subject. The application of major and minor principles also involves methodologies used to get things done, i.e., methodologies are a collection of techniques as described above but are not always techniques per say but those actions that lead to things like avoidance, awareness, and escape and evasion - all fense strategies and tactics to get-r-done.


Now, lets diverge a bit from the original question that I would pose and that is, “Is karate based on principles, techniques or changes. For me, my mind tends to go toward changes because as I will explain, everything is about change, everything is about yin-yang and everything is about how we apply ourselves toward not just change for changes sake but the balance we achieve toward the ever flowing chaotic change that life presents every single moment of life be it normal day-to-day things or when it comes to serious conflict and its resulting violence. 

The true question is not whether karate is about principles or technique or even both; it is a question of "change!" The true nature and essence of karate is the principle of change, learning the patterns (kata) of change. We endeavor to learn rhythms, cadences and patterns when the truth is we should be learning about change.

The very basis on which like and the way, Tao, is about change and resulted in the creation of the I Ching and other classics. The effort was to teach about the Universe and that means it's only constant - Change!

The very essence of life is change: birth, growth,  decline and death. The fabric of our universe is about birth, growth, decline and death therefore that process is about the changes life pulls us through and change is life's cornerstone.

Evolution is about change, to grow one must learn from that experience meaning change meaning survival or human kind would have ceased to exist long ago. The very word and process of evolution is change geared toward survival according to the very changes naturally occurring as a result of the natural changes that come from the very nature of our world and universe. 

If not for the nature of changes life as we know it may not have come to be - change is inevitable. If not for the changing seasons the fuel we need for sustenance would not be possible.

All this says to me that the true nature of disciplines such as karate should be based on change. It is amazing how many karate-ka work so hard to avoid change that the very nature of karate, change, has all but disappeared.

Karate as a fense system is about learning how to handle one of the most chaotic and changing form of conflict and violence where mastery comes not from the memorization of technique but our abilities to adapt to - change!

I feel that all my studies to date have come to realize that the underlying theme to all reality based models of fense are about handling changes, unexpected and unique changes from moment to moment and situation to situation.

Oh, forgot, now I am going to throw my personal monkey wrench into the mix by answering the modified question. No, it isn’t going to be a long repetitive answer since you already got that one but a much shorter answer.

Here it is: “In a nutshell, karate is based on all three concepts, i.e., it is based on principles both major and minor; it is based on technique as described as moves, actions, a collective and its resulting techniques; it is based on change, i.e., the chaos of violence and conflict that requires rapidly changing circumstances and environments that is conflict and violence. In short, it is all three of those. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Socially Acceptable Behavior

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

Recently, walking from the BART to the Office I came across one situation that got me to thinking, “Why do folks not know the socially acceptable behavior of our environment?” There are these socially acceptable behaviors that are not written down and yet should be known by each of us if for no other reason that to make our social encounters more emotionally capable to avoid unnecessary conflict and occasionally violent. 

Things like:
  • Those disembarking from the train or elevator or store should be allowed to exit first before you enter when reaching the door at the same time.
  • Those walking should pass one another to the right.
  • Those talking while walking should be aware of foot traffic and make appropriate adjustments to accommodate passage, etc.
  • Those taking stairs should stay to the far right to allow free flow up and down.
  • Things like saying, “Pardon me,” when bumping into one another in crowds.
  • Things like hold the door for a person behind him or her when entering a building
  • Things like that alcohol consumption in public will be in moderation.
  • Things like one's nose in public is not an acceptable behavior.
  • Things like using the phrase "thank you" is expected when someone has provided a service.
You get my meaning and here is what made me think that possibly our current totally independent and selfish like social behavior with a good deal of expectations and a high sense of entitlement type behavior, i.e., “When leaving the BART station by the stairs to the surface I move to the far right while noticing a young woman entering from above but moving to her far left. As I climbed she defended. I used body language to indicate I would say right if she would move slightly left to allow each of us to pass. 

I used my right hand opened and palm to my left side, held up about waist high with elbow near waist and looked her in the eyes for a brief moment so as to not alarm or indicate anything other than a polite signal. Most people when we are passing on the sidewalk will move with a conditioned response by moving slightly to their right so we can pass safely and politely.

I realized at the last moment when she kept approaching then stopped directly in front of me, I stopped as well, then makes a comment that indicated she expected me to move out of here way. I stood and said nothing with a calm and serene look on my face until she moved to her left and went around. The deal here is I could not move more right because I was as far right as I could be. I was a bit taken aback because in the last several decades when this type of thing occurs the unspoken socially acceptable behavior is and was to pass one another to the right. 

I then proceeded to ascend the stairs and go to work. Normally, on occasion and mostly from the males, when I see someone on the same path coming toward me I use such body language and signals but occasionally I can tell from their body language they are not going to move aside. I understand it as a male ego power trip so I move more to the right accordingly to pass and on occasion if no other room I move left and use the opposite body language to clearly indicate my intent - most, almost all, understand and move accordingly.

I realize that if I were paying a bit more attention, mind on work ya-know, that at a certain point I would have seen the resistance of this woman to move to her right so we could pass and I could have and would have moved then to the left to go around her but in this one instance I missed that one, it happens on occasion. I think it might deal with a lack of signals indicating some sort of danger, my inattention in that moment and possibly my assumptions when it comes to women that most often they, being more socially inclined toward such acceptable behaviors, will move in that socially acceptable way. I also thought she might have been a foreign visitor whose culture is the opposite, i.e., like driving on the left vs. driving in the right type thing. 

This reminded me that awareness even with the simplist things is necessary in our modern society because, in general, it seems we are becoming less socially and emotionally aware of others and that our totally independence we may be losing sight of how socially acceptable behaviors matter and should be taught somehow and somewhere. 

In our techno-society where we tend to connect through technological venues where body language, etc., does not exist such socially acceptable behaviors may be going the way of the do-do bird. 

Here is a list of what may or may not be socially acceptable behavior issues:
  • It is expected that one would hold the door for a person behind him or her when entering a building.
  • Normal dress for women at work excludes clothes that are highly revealing.
  • It is not considered acceptable for a woman to be highly sexually promiscuous.
  • It is expected that one will be on time for work the majority of the time.
  • It is expected that alcohol consumption in public will be in moderation.
  • Stealing is considered unacceptable under any circumstance.
  • Adults are expected to work in order to support themselves.
  • Nudity in public is not acceptable in most areas.
  • Picking one's nose in public is not an acceptable behavior.
  • Farting in public is not an acceptable behavior.
  • People are expected to be honest.
  • Respect for other people's property is important.
  • If a promise is made, it is expected it will be kept.
  • Chewing with one's mouth closed is expected.
  • Using the phrase "thank you" is expected when someone has provided a service.
  • Quick repayment of debt to another individual is an expected behavior.
  • Remaining loyal to one's spouse is an expected behavior.
  • Rising for the national anthem is an expected behavior.
  • Sending a thank you note to someone who has given a present is expected.
  • Providing adequate housing and food for oneself and one's family is expected.
  • Shorts should not be worn in a professional work atmosphere.
  • When dressing for a job interview in an office, men should wear a suit and tie.
  • If something is knocked over in a store, the person who did so will clean up after himself.
  • Belching at the dinner table is not an acceptable behavior.
  • Cursing in polite conversation is not acceptable.
  • Rudeness to service staff is not societally acceptable.
  • Going to work or school barefoot is not socially acceptable.
  • Being kind to animals is socially expected.
  • Slurping one's food is not acceptable in the U.S.
  • Ignoring someone when they are speaking is not acceptable.
I know this may not seem like a topic for martial arts and self-defense (fense = defense + offense) but remember if you will that certain etiquettes are taught and expected in the dojo and our social behavior goes a long way toward avoidance of conflict and violence. How we act among ourselves and others makes a huge difference and both those unwritten social behaviors along with some knowledge of cultures and beliefs, especially in social gatherings where the differences in modern society are more prominent, will go a long way toward keeping the social peace. 

Knowing and living and being socially mature and enlightened are some of those often unspoken and assumed understood behaviors that allow us to live, work, and play in social collectives making conflicts and violence less of an issue and obstacle to social cohesiveness, etc.

In a “fense” situation you should understand that if you traverse through a variety of tribe like culturally different environments knowing such socially acceptable behaviors while in their territory would be a very good start to avoidance and even deescalation if situations arise while you are there, kind of makes sense don’t it? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Body Language and Posture - Attitude and Aura

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

In martial arts teaching fense (Offense and Defense) instruction refers to an aura or attitude created to make the user not a target of predatory endeavors. In other words, creating an aura that is perceived by some as either a non-entity that does not attract attention and projects something akin to nothingness resulting it a predatory gaze to simply bypass you and move on to other more inviting targets. Then there is the other attitude and aura that projects confidence and an ability that deters a predator who takes notice and simply moves on to easier targets. The only issue of concern to the second concept is running into a predator who would not be impressed but challenged by such an aura and attitude. 

Our posture, our structure and our body language - the non-verbal signals come from these and provide impressions and trigger intuitions that say, not this one - as to how we move and how that movement effects how others see us along with moods and habits overlap and crate an overall impression that often triggers certain things in the observers. 

We want to impose an effect on the opinions of people who observe us in our environment and how those opinions are subconsciously influenced from our physical behavior matters a great deal especially when avoidance, deescalation along with escape and avoidance are not on the table and not dealt in the hand dealt. Our body language and our posture affect not only out thoughts but those who observe us, think about this.

A good example, “When participants in the study nodded in agreements or shook their heads to signal disagreement, these actions affected their opinions without them realizing.” Do you know which one caused and affected which opinion, i.e., that they actually agreed or that you perceived that they actually didn’t agree? 

Did you know that simply standing taller literally makes you look more powerful. This is taught in the military through teaching the position of attention along with marching and maneuvering with what is called, “Military Bearing,” that is actually walking tall to make us look powerful especially toward our enemies. In the Marines we have this training called, “Making our war face.” It is reminiscent of those ancient helmets and masks worn by samurai to add height to their stature as well as depict a fearsome face to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies. This same feat is accomplished through psychological means or the military would have no need for the proverbial “propaganda” used so well in military campaigns. 

The same aspects described work in reverse, i.e., along with certain psychological attitudes those stances, postures and body languages also boost our mind-set and mind-state toward a fearsome fighting spirit. It is this kind of development that we strive for in martial arts for fense. 

Now, as to how that is accomplished is not just about training and practice of martial arts but a more comprehensive and detailed form of training, practice and the gaining of experience (both in practice and in reality). In short, it builds spirit and if appropriate assists the individual to step across that nature of human animals and do harm onto others before they do harm upon him. 

If does not come from just books or simplistic training for body language like all languages are driven by social cultural belief and communications systems as diverse as the varied forms or styles of martial arts and their kata. In its simplest forms, what may work in your environment may be deadly to you in other environments.  This too, is critically important and warrants study, study and study.  

Oh, and “p.s.” don’t assume that mimicking your favorite movie action star will do the trick, it’s a movie for heavens sake and it ain’t reality. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Life is conflict, survival, and conquest!

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

It is funny, we try so very hard in modern society to condition everyone that conflict and often its resulting violence is a bad, bad, bad thing. We jump straight to the most heinous  types of violence and conflict, get really, really, really scared and then try to lump everything that nature intended under one thing and work very hard to condition everyone, regardless, against this so very terrible thing called conflict and violence. 

I was asked the other day, by one of my neighbors, how I could possibly believe that conflict, violence and both survival and conquest could possibly be about life except in those most odious and wicked ways it is used today by terrorists and very dangerous predators on our streets. Here is how I answered that question:

First, the very nature of the universe is born from a very violent act - the big bang.

Second, the human body is about conflict and violence because the very nature - of nature - is about duality and conflict where that head-butting nature causes violence such as our brains. Our brains are fundamentally two parts. the left side and the right side. Those two aspects of nature in our brain work in a mutually beneficial way but through conflict and a type of psychological violence. One side is more like the emotional side while the other is more logical in nature (not truly how this works but on a very basic non-expert but easily understood way, it works) so lets just say there is this huge wonderful chocalate cake sitting there. One side says to you, “Hey, your favorite, go have a huge piece.” The other side of your brain counters, “Hey, if you do, your body and mind will suffer the consequences such as weight gain, health loss, fitness issues and medical repercussions such as diabetes and its issues and physical and mental problems (this is a type of violence to your body).” 

Your body, by merely moving is in conflict with things like gravity, it pulls down on your body so your body must counter the pull using muscles, skeletal system and so on to remain standing and to walk and run, etc. all forms of conflict or what you could say is friction but since there are two sides pulling against one another it can be seen as both conflict and violence. 

I heard him begin to balk and working in other words to describe what that process is but in a very basic and fundamental way, it is violence. Then I said, “Do you and your wife ever argue?” He, as I expected, said yes and my immediate response was, “Then you are in conflict with your wife.” I then asked, “Do you guys ever shout and yell when the argument gets to a certain point where it is very sensitive to either one of you or both?” He again said, “Well, yeah, that is kind of normal.” I then said, but shouting is violence and I would call it psychological violence used to make your spouse go along with what you want and believe, right?

It took a few more examples similar to this all the way up to the arguments and sometimes social man-to-man fights such as occur at sport events, etc., along with types of attacks that could involve things like robberies, where facing a gun and not getting shot is still violence, and how about those disagreements in business meetings, etc. They all involve some form or type of conflict and violence. 

We are all animals or better yet organisms that have a very basic instinctual need to survive and survival, even in our mostly safe modern times, stull exists and we still use it even if we call it something else and justify it because it doesn’t meet what we think conflict and violence are as in police encounters that escalate to levels of forces that cause harm; the military participation in world events toward social survival; and that self-fense you had to use to protect yourself and family against predatory like actions. Boyd quote to follow:

The goal of organisms, according to Boyd, is:
  • To survive, survive on own terms, or improve our capacity for independent action. The competition for limited resources to satisfy these desires may force one to:
  • Diminish adversary’s capacity for independent action, or deny him the opportunity to survive on his own terms, or make it impossible for him to survive at all.
Life is conflict, survival, and conquest!
  • it may be advantageous to possess a variety of responses that can be applied rapidly to gain sustenance, avoid danger and diminish an adversary’s capacity for independent action.
  • Organisms must also cooperate and harmonize their activities in their endeavors to survive as an organic synthesis.
  • Furthermore to shape and adapt to change, one cannot be passive, but instead one must take the initiative.
  • Thus variety, rapidity, harmony and initiative seem to be the key qualities that permit one to shape and adapt to an ever-changing environment.
These things still exist even tho social conditions work so hard to re-label them to more acceptable and appropriate ways. After all, would you not be able to admit that the recent results of the real estate fall that caused so many to lose so much as a form of violence, i.e., the actions of a few that caused such economical and psychological damage even to some dying by suicide, etc., as violence from the conflicts that arose from their actions to take away your ability to survive? 

I believe to better understand such life we need to admit and embrace our very nature and in lieu of simply burying our heads in the sand because certain subjects make us feel fearful we learn more about it and then through the experiences of those who live with it along with our understandings create ways to not ignore conflict and violence but to create “Coping Skills” appropriate to such things as avoidance and deescalation where we come to create a way to cope with such things through knowledge and understanding making a better survival tool box for socially acceptable ways to handle those very things that make life so scary - call it better survival primal conditioned responses.

I didn’t forget about the reference to conquest but that also comes down to the survival instincts of humans. When resources become so scarce it puts the tribe in a position where they have to confront and conquer other groups to get access to those resources. After all, much like the movies, it is either them or us. Now, take that and place it in modern society. We run our economy of conquering other businesses to obtain resources. It may not be actually limited in nature but competition in business does get to a level where perceptions say, “Oh, if I don’t conquer that business then their resources will be greater than ours and that is unacceptable (Note: there are other factors from psychological positions that also drive that business model as to status and position, etc. but that is another whole article/story). 

Then there is the modern view of, “Competing with the Joneses!” This is also a perception of humans toward position and status within a tribe where that conflict, be it between neighbors or within ourselves, may end up in violence. Neighbor law and legal actions are known to be the most contentious, chaotic and anger producing aspects of modern society than most realize (I speak from experience on this one, bloody damn process if I do say so myself). It took a couple of years before those neighbors would even nod their heads in passing. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

p.s. ever wonder why action films and movies on the various American wars like Korea, Viet Nam and now the Afghanistan, etc. wars are so popular? Hey, did you watch the movie 300 and did you enjoy it, it must have some connection and must appeal to some subconscious perceptions regarding conflict and violence don’t you think? 

It’s Not Personal

Listen, it truly is not personal. I can’t tell you how many folks read my stuff, especially for the first time, and take immediate offense as if I attacked them and their belief systems in a personal way. In my mind, that is impossible especially if you have the confidence and understanding of what it is you do in martial arts, karate especially since that is my main squeeze martial art practice and study.

My sole goal on my blogs and wherever I find myself writing or talking about my personal understanding of my personal training, practice and applications of karate-martial arts. I often find other articles and extract things that trigger my mind into its meandering and wandering way of learning using Colonel Boyd’s “Analysis and Synthesis” model of study. I have exctracted from many authors and even if my writings and talks stray away from the original intent of that author doesn’t mean I am taking aim at the person themselves or even their intent in the original article. 

I often find things said and then deliberately take them out of the original article and the author’s intent in that article because when the quote or meme or other derived information is extracted like that it is NO LONGER a PART of the original. What I do tho is give credit to that author and their article not to make it personal but to make it known that the inspiration of the article I write comes from that extraction.

After all, analysis often, as you can find in Col. Boyd’s explanation, is taking individualized parts of a whole to study separately and then work toward rebuilding into something else that most often has nothing to do with the origins of the used extracted data. 

If you end up taking anything I write and way personally then that is ALL ON YOU, not me. If you find you become uncomfortable with anything then simply write me or a comment expressing your concerns and beliefs - you may be able to change my mind about what I wrote and guess what, many have done just that over the last decade or so - Whopee, I learnt somethin!

JUST REMEMBER DUDES AND DUDETTE’s, It ain’t personal, was not meant to be personal and ain’t about you, none of you. Your inspired me to write something that may or may not be relevant to what you wrote or said or it might be but IT IS MY PERSONAL idea’s, theories, and understanding of what the subject matter is about - loosley. 

You can’t learn shit by remaining steadfast with what you know because it is what you don’t know or what you don’t know you don’t know you don’t know about that will cause you to not know something. Yes, all that came from someone else who said something about knowing, not knowing something and not knowing what you don’t know you don’t know thingy. Yes, I kinda borrowed it because, I liked it and you can see that in my writing too like recent studies of Colonel Boyd and the OODA, its a learning process for me and … wait for it … It is NOT personal!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Checkers, Chess and 3-D Chess

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

It is simply a matter of these three: Most martial arts are a checkers game; a few are able to transcend into the strategically complex game of chess; rarely do you find one who can move their mind, body and spirit into the 3-D like game of Chess where the strategies go into a multi-dimensional way. Finally, much like the chess masters who play multiple strategic games with five boards and challengers simultaneously there is a multi-dimensional multi-verse way of strategic and tactical mastery that maybe one every twenty or thirty generations of martial arts masters will produce. 

Shin-gi-tai is a model where Shin is learning to play checkers; gi is applying that skill while learning to play chess; and tai is taking it to the mastery level of the proverbial multi-dimensional level of chess symbolized by the 3-D chess of Star Trek Spock fame.

Bibliography (Click the link)

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Are We Stuck to Traditions

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

I was introduced to a deeper meaning of the OODA loop, created by Colonel John R. Boyd (USAF ret), that has me thinking through research and analysis. It occurred to me that modern martial arts are stuck in the traditional form of practice to the exclusion of the higher and broader asepcts that make martial arts effective in conflict and violence.

We seem to be, just like certain larger organizations who deal with conflict and violence, stuck in a more traditional attrition type of fighting or what I am going to call, “Fense.” In one of the thesis written to the work of Colonel Boyd the author stated, “The aristocratic tradition, the top-down command and control system, the slavish addiction to the ‘Principle of concentration’ and the drill regulation mind-set, all taken together, reveal an ‘obsession for control’ by high-level superiors over low-level subordinates.”

The reason I find a connection here is because our modern martial arts were and are influenced a great deal by military mind-sets and mind-states. Add in that the commercialization of modern martial arts is and must be tied to such a system to work is evident, to me. 

The aristocratic tradition is about structure and hierarchal control of those who have a lower status than the aristocrats. Military have the rank structure for status and control as well. Add in that modern martial arts also has a status structure, i.e., its senpai to kohai, deshi to sensei, etc. structure, where rank and status puts the system into an aristocratic hierarchal model for control and today economic gain. 

Then the top-down command and control system also speaks as well to the aristocratic hierarchal model for control. When we tie income and aristocratic hierarchal model for control to the dojo we then create a means to enforce that by status, ego and the various testing requirements to move up and in higher status and authority within this model. 

Karate and martial arts are also about drills and that mind-set has placed more control on how the art is trained, practices and most important applied. It meets and exceeds many of the concepts, traits and symbolic aspects of what is already described and it takes modern martial arts far and away from the “Traditional Authenticate and Classical” form of practice and training. 

I believe, originally, that training and practice was about the individual and their self as to how they train and practice on an individual independent way while adhering to the more cultural organic natural social cohesive way that I refer to as the Eastern View vs. the Western View above.  I believe the so referred to aristocratic traditional way of the Western View is the chasm that separates us from the full and complete way of Eastern Martial Arts. 

We are taking the Eastern Way and polluting it with the Western way while leaving only remnants of that Eastern Way to satisfy our need to connect to the Eastern Cultural Way of martial arts of a authenticate traditional and classical model. The Western way seems to truly have a obsession for control between the higher-levels over the lower-level subordinates, the kyu grades and dan-sha levels, etc. 

Truthfully, I firmly believe that we can have the best of both worlds if we can accept and embrace the truth to both. This is actually the true authenticate way of a traditional practice of Eastern Ways of martial arts. It doesn’t have to be exact and unchangeable, it can be useful at the lower levels while allowing for change, creativity, analysis and synthesis into an more diverse, robust and appropriate model for modern society and times. There are a hand full out there that are actually headed in this direction but most are still mired in the past, the past alone and unchanged. The best of both worlds means a blending, mutually beneficial and connected, of the past, the present and the possible future. 

Traditions and traditional are not meant to mire us in past and often inappropriate ways for the present but rather a means to take the past, to which we all must learn from so it cannot be REPEATED in the future or even the present. Repetition has its place but innovation through creative analysis and synthesis as possibly related to the Eastern way of “Cheng-n-Ch’i” can take us places we never imagined when we first entered the dojo.

As a matter of fact, it is this connectivity of the modern present to the ancient past that makes the possibilities of the future possible, creative and most exciting. It is this that makes martial arts something useful and beneficial for an entire lifetime of training, practice and applications.

Honestly, we should NOT be STUCK to traditions. We SHOULD be connected to traditions so they become useful toward appropriate change of now and the future. We should honor and be true to traditions but not the the dogmatic adherence to traditions to the detriment of change, creativity and applicability to modern times and possible futures. One day, the very thing we train in now, even if not connected to traditional ways, will become the traditional ways of our times and that means it should be traditional but not traditional in the sense I present. Something to think about, something to consider and something to analyze.   

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Tao of Physics - Martial Arts

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

In my most recent studies I have come across another relevant source that helps explain the current state and affairs of modern martial arts. Actually, two new sources with one about tribes and the other about the Tao of Physics.

In our honest and concerted effort to learn and understand martial arts it is best if we first perceive the duality involved, the yin-yang you might say, where our view is a “Mechanistic Western View” while  the Asian view is more a “Eastern Organic View.” Ok, you say, what the f%$# does that mean? Well, I am going to pass on what I perceive it to mean. 

From the Easter view all things and events are perceived by the senses and are interrelated, connected, and are but different aspects or manifestations of the same ultimate reality. The Wester view is about our tendency to divide the perceived world into individual and separate things and teo experience ourselves as isolated egos in this world to be seen and perceived as an illusion which comes from our measuring and categorizing mentality. 

Think of the Wester view as the old meme, “I think, therefore I exist.” This way of viewing the world led us to equate our identities with our minds, instead of with our whole organism. As such, Westerners, “most individuals, are aware of themselves as isolated egos existing ‘inside’ our bodies. Our minds being separated from our bodies and our minds given the futile task of controlling our bodies, thus causing an apparent conflict between the conscious will and the involuntary instincts.” - The Tao of Physics and Tribe

Our Western fragmentation - in our self, our environment and in society - and belief in the fragmentation creates fragments that are really separate and often found as the source of the present state of things such as a series of socially, ecologically and cultural modern issues. It is believed that our independent separateness has alienated us from our true nature and from our fellow human beings where social cohesive connectedness is our very nature, in our very genes and drives our very survival instincts. 

We have creates an environment and dysfunctional social culture that has led us to social disorder; the ever increasing levels of conflict and violence, both spontaneous and socially triggered where life has or is becoming both physically and mentally unhealthy. Our efforts in martial arts if we truly want to embrace the Asian view, belief and practices at its core speak to the training, practice and application of a mutual beneficial wholehearted oneness of the mind, body and spirit. The very nature of traditional authenticate study and training and practice and application is about learning, understanding, accepting and embracing the Asian view and applying that as “The Way” in our martial arts disciplines. 

The Wester Mechanistic View as described may be a tool for the novice but to achieve a mastery in the Asian Organic View we must stop the segmenting and segregation of our many separate things that make us human, at least after an analysis where breaking it all apart into its separate distinctions is beneficial, and then synthesizing the many into the one wholehearted “One” - The Great Tai Chi so to speak. 

One reason why Buddhist philosophy has become an integrated cultural belief in Asia, i.e., as Buddhist Philosophy states, “When the mind is disturbed, the multiplicity of things is produced, but when the mind is quieted, the multiplicity of things disappears.” The exact bases of analysis and synthesis to achieve change appropriate for the situation and times where the old is learned and the new created and passed down to the generations, call it a cheng-ch’i process. The true goal of Western martial arts through synthesis is not complete until the new has been implemented thus “Quieting the mind to mind-of-no-mind” creating an Asian organic wholehearted one that brings the mind, the body and the spirit from the triad into the one wholehearted way to master and enlightenment. 

Note: This is why Ti became Te then Toudi then karate and then tomari-shuri-naha styles then became shorin-goju-isshin-uechi-etc., of the many mechanistic ways but to achieve master they now have to come full circle and become once again the one wholehearted martial art called, “Ti.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sho-dan in One Year

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

In the past, regarding the U.S. Military’s participation in martial arts and especially during those formative years of the late fifties and sixties practitioners would train diligently for one year and achieve sho-dan, the first level of black belt. This was common and I tend to beleive driven from two aspects of which the first involved the limited tour of duty for most military while the second involves a commercial aspect, i.e., in one case it involved a lucrative contract with the military special services, now referred to as MWR, to teach all military who desire to train in karate - training. 

As to the second, it was not long after the war and economically speaking times were tough and the type and amount of earnings from such a contract put those sensei in a much higher status economically speaking. As to the first, if you wanted a contract and its renewals you needed to provide what the customer wanted and in a lot of cases, if not all, that meant creating a program that would allow them to get a black belt in a typical one-year tour of duty. 

This one-year model was considered authentic as well as traditional, we Americans didn’t know any better and with all the excitement of donning the proverbial black belt just before rotating back to the States for duty meant a lot. So, it is evident, on the surface, that many made black belt and those many immediately opened dojo in the States where that tradition continued - for a time. 

I am aware of many who I have trained and practiced with that were one-year wonder black belts. In some, that never changed until commercialism took a stronger hold on the business side of karate and martial arts causing some creative changes to help retain more students, to retain them for longer periods of time and to create materials for testing purposes. Ranks, time in grade requirements, dojo socially driven group dynamics, testing requirements, etc., all justify longer periods of training and practice along with participation in things like seminars, tournaments and other pay-to-learn type programs add to that making black belt a longer and more difficult process (note: not necessarily challenging). 

In another light, one of the many one-year black-belts told me his story and why his one-year black-belt led to more effort, greater discipline and more self-challenging self-imposed criteria to feel like his blackbelt actually would measure up to “meaning something.” 

He first indicated he had dabbled in karate for a few years before arriving on Okinawa and taking up one style on a more regular, diligent and ongoing type of effort. His tour was also one year military and his dojo was military ran on one of the islands military bases. He spent hours a day, every day, for that one year. Originally, he felt and thought that if he achieved brown belt in that time it would be an achievement. He made Ik-kyu about two months before the tour would end and assumed that he would have to seek out his style at the next duty station to work toward sho-dan when just about fifteen days before his departure the sensei lined the students up to begin then before starting pulled a black belt out of his keiko-gi top, tossed it to the guy, said, “Your a sho-dan now,” then started the normal class. (Note: sensei was actually wearing a new black belt and the one tossed was his old, worn out, faded and frayed obi)

He told me that his view on this was sensei merely put a lot of pressure on him to actually continue to train hard just to actually qualify to wear the black belt. He knew he lacked the true knowledge, understanding and ability to be a dansha and after donning the worn belt from sensei felt not just the honor that sensei would allow the belt but created a sense of responsibility to continue on and actually learn what it actually takes to be a black belt. He said recently that it took him about another couple of decades to feel comfortable as a black belt. 

What this article is trying to say is that regardless of the belt, the color or how long or short it takes to earn it, it means you truly have to earn it and that means also earning it is something personal, not what others may or may not think but how you feel inside yourself as to your qualifying to wear a black belt. 

Many of today’s karate and martial artists wear black belts. Many of them are even young adults to even children and in many cases the overall meaning of the black belt has diminished into a commercial endeavor to create and earn money over something more intangible and unable to have a price tag applied. 

It comes down to the intrinsic value of the black belt vs. the extrinsic value. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

You Can’t Speed up the Process

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

I have cried wolf so many times trying to convey in my articles that martial arts, karate, is not best practiced and learned by cutting corners and leaving out those things we find boring, uncomfortable and seemingly useless. One spoke in a bike wheel if missing may seem innocuous and unnecessary but over time it will have adverse effects on the wheel, the bike and the rider - you need all the spokes and they must be balanced in the wheel at all points along the outer and inner rims.

If you don’t want to accept that then heed the following facts about people and our genetics, genetics adaptations of people from the effects of our environment is found in the evolution process, i.e., that process that contributes hugely toward human survival. One of the greatest advancements of human existence came from the agriculture era, i.e., apparently that occurred approximately 10,000 years ago. Geneticists find that humans evolve and adapt genetically over a very long period of time, 25,000 years. We are still adjusting and evolving from the effects of the agriculture revolution. 

We have not fully and completely evolved from that beginning and now we also have to deal with other advancements of a very significant nature, i.e., specifically the Industrial revolution and now, today, the Technological revolution or era. According to the article written by Sebastian Junger the following quotes would indicate the effects of people, humans, cutting corners.

Background: “Early humans would most likely have lived in nomadic bands of around fifty people. They would have experienced high levels of accidental injuries and deaths. They would have countered domineering behavior by senior males by forming coalitions within the group. They would have been utterly intolerant of hoarding or selfishness. They would have occasionally endured episodes of hunger, violence, and hardship. They would have practiced extremely close and involved childcare. They would have done almost everything in the company of others and they would have almost never been alone.”

Significant Changes requiring Adaptation by Humans: “Our human experiences have encountered two major changes of which the first was the “Agriculture Era” and then the “Industrial Era.” During these era’s people were able to accumulate more personal property and to make more individualistic choices about their lives. It is this process that inadvertently and unavoidably diminished group efforts toward a common good. As modern times evolved people found themselves able to live more independently with less reliance on the communal group. There is evidence that this mode of human existence is hard on people and is overwhelming. “

Today: “Modern Society - despite its nearly miraculous advances - is affiliated with some of the highest depression and suicide rates and are going up higher as we progress. It seems to me that our evolutional scale vs. that of modern advancements is leaving humanity far behind and the mental and physical repercussions are mounting. We are afflicted more and more with maladies such as higher rates of depression, schizophrenia, poorer health overall, anxieties, resentments, loss of emotional maturity and control and chronic loneliness. It seems like our increased societal wealth is foster the decline of health in people.”

Lets say, for the sake of this discussion/article, all that is true and found through research and studies then we can extrapolate, synthesize, that if humans require a certain time span to learn, understand and evolve that by creating significant changes requiring human adaptation at a faster rate than nature intended with devastating effects detrimental to human survival why can’t we accept the fact that cutting corners, removing the boring and seemingly useless parts of other disciplines and situations is good? 

If this is true, then isn’t it also possible that our taking shortcuts and leaving out parts of the whole would result in certain changes that would degrade the discipline or adaptations with less beneficial results, i.e., slowly erode the system or discipline causing it to change into something less and losing the authentic traditional foundation of that discipline. Change is good and changing the discipline is beneficial as long as you don’t lose its true authenticate foundational essence that makes it wholehearted and complete. 

It seems like I am countering my beliefs that adhering to an original with no changes is now a good thing but in truth I am saying adhering dogmatically to the superficial outer dressing of that tradition is not a complete system but merely the cover to the entire book and the content of that book is what needs updating, changes and further editions to ensure its viability and validation to the times, etc.

Change is good but let that change come over time and with its entire recipe because although the frosting is delicious and triggers all those brain cells of gratifying pleasure it is not the entire cake. Make sure you bake the entire cake, you can always scrape the bowl and feast on the left over frosting when the cake is finished. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

QA: Quality Assurance

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

In many of my professions over the years we always, always, had a QA group whose sole purpose was to ensure the quality of the product and service we provided. I suggest that to have a proper and authenticate martial art study and practice we truly need a QA team to ensure that the end product and service measures up to the standards of that discipline, such as karate for self-fense.

Lets say I build cars and you come to me with an idea of a muscle car you want to get built. I provide you an analysis of that request with all the requirements and the necessary steps along with a time line. Hmmm, you say and then you tell me that your funds won’t fill that funding requirement and you say that the time line is too long, you need it faster. So, I say to you, then you will have to sacrifice some aspects of the car requirements to meet the time line. You say, ok and then add in that the costs are a bit high and your budget is much lower. So, I say, well then we need to make some more adjustments to the requirements in order to fill that need. 

You agree with me at the end and then I say, “Remember, because of the shortcuts and budgetary requirements the quality of the car at delivery will be less than my original estimate and requirements would have achieved. You will have to accept that and you will have to sign an agreement taking any and all responsibilities for the end product to you and leave me not responsible for any issues that arise due to those changes you requested.” 

You agree and sign the document. Well within the agreed upon time line and well within the budget set the car is finished and ready for delivery. I arrive at your garage and back the car off and into the garage where you inspect it according to the agreement and requirements. It is pretty, it sounds awesome when the engine in turned over and the customizations, within the requirements and agreement, on the surface exceeded your expectations. You provide me the final payment, we sign off on the delivery documents and agreements and I leave. 

You call up all your friends who come over and admire the work, the sound of the muscle car and how its appearance is so darn cool. They ask you to take them for a spin around the block. You get in, they get in, you back out and back to the left where you shift into first, pop the clutch and the tires spin and smoke with the roar of the engine vibrates your chest and you cheer like a kid with his first ice cream cone on a hot afternoon. 

Your and your friends roar off fast approaching an intersection stop sign. You roar up and at that last moment press hard on the brakes … ops, your still roaring off toward that intersection where several automobiles are passing back and forth in front of you so you continue to pump the brake pedal and your adrenaline is spiking and your fear is rising but, the car doesn’t stop. 

The sounds of the engine reaching high RPM’s, the sound of screeching tires where the auto’s are trying to get out of the way, then the horrendous crunching of metal, glass and the smell of gasoline flowing on the pavement; the screams of your passengers, your screams and the screams of those in the other automobiles. Finally, the scream of the sirens of police and ambulances, the moans of the injured and your pain reaching a level you gasp form broken bones and the blurring of vision from blood flowing into your eyes and mouth leaving that coppery taste you will remember long after this accident.

Much later, when you healed and the court proceedings end you come to me and ask, “What happened, you guaranteed me a car that would work?” I respond, “Yes, initially and then you said you needed it faster, you needed it for less money and you agreed to the changes in requirements.” I then produce copies of the new requirements that you were supposed to review but you were in a hurry and you were excited to get your new muscle car in such time as to have it ready for your friends enjoyment and some car show. You failed to see that brakes and a spring for the carb throttle were not budgeted along with brake pads and other small items and you failed to read the warning that the car would not be road worthy and that it should not be driven until those requirements were met, needed more time and more money and more patience. You wanted it now, you wanted to drive it now and you wanted it at a cost far below what was required to make it a true, Quality Product. 

Karate, martial arts, are like this car job. We are so anxious to get to the cool stuff, to look cool, to participate in contests and tournaments and to wear the black belt to impress yourself and your friends you forgot that the short cuts, the ignoring of those not so cool requirements and the accolades and trophies you would earn meant you would get an inferior end product. 

QA in karate, martial arts, is not considered even in the most remotest sense and much like it, most martial arts are about taking short cuts, leaving out very important requirements and all in the name of instant gratification and egoistic needs. You get what you PAY for, right?

p.s. you might say, but I do the QA in my dojo; note that QA must be done by a third party not directly associated with the dojo, the sensei, or the students, etc. You cannot truly QA yourself, your dojo or your system/style - one reason why you don’t open a dojo until you reach san-dan trained levels while adhering to the requirement of a third party to QA your efforts, a go-dan or higher not a member of your dojo, etc.

Bibliography (Click the link)