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

Hey, Attention on Deck!

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

Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Secret, Secrets and Then There are Secrets - Oh My!

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

“Okinawan Karate is based on kata, within kata lies Gokui (極意 essential point or secret principles). Knowing what to look for in kata are the secrets."
“Okinawan Karate is based on kata, within kata lies Gokui (極意 essential point or secret principles). Knowing what essential points to look for in kata is kata goku-i.”

Every once in a while I hear things about secrets such as this statement (Note: taken out of context to be an example for this article - don’t take it personally!): “Okinawan Karate is based on kata, within kata lies Gokui (極意 essential point or secret principles). Knowing what to look for in kata are the secrets." - Ciso Shimabuku, 2nd Son Shimabuku Tatsuo, Isshinryu Karate

Yes, I have issues calling something secret for to call it a secret means, it isn’t secret because everyone knows of it. Secret by its very meaning means, “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.” So, if we say that kata have goku-i, secret principles, then how can we know of them or know they exist since they are secret. 

Some might say, “Well, they were secret but Sensei taught us to bring out the secrets.” Then if that is true and now everyone teaches and practices those once secret principles then they are not goku-i of kata but ‘principles of kata’. I believe and suspect that the term secret is used not to convey some special theory or idea but to convey something that makes the recipient ‘feel special’ because that teacher is providing something unique, special and of limited release only to the chosen. 

Now, if we remove the term secret in translation and use only ‘essential point’ being that something esoteric about kata that leads practitioner to greater understanding and puts a distinct intent in the practice and training of kata then we do have ‘kata goku-i’. Here again, saying that knowing what to look for in kata are the SECRETS therefore means one is providing information but the content of that information is secret so you will just have to take our word for it for to remain secret one cannot let you know or see it or what it is meant to be known or seen by others not privy to such secrets. Telling secrets means those secrets are no longer - SECRETS. 

I can only surmise that using such terms, etc., is either a gimmick to attract the attention and make oneself seem special or it is pure ignorance. I am not saying Ciso Shimabuku Sensei is egoistic or ignorant because he used what language he could translated into English. There is a good chance that in translation the best understood and known English was the word secret when saying, maybe, “Knowing what to look for in kata is the principles toward understanding the kata purpose and applications,” would have been better. Yet, the above sound bite, sounds better and rolls off the tongue well. Maybe that is why it is used. Or, maybe in our hurry and drive to gain more defined knowledge of what was most often taught with lack of depth and breadth of knowledge, much like teaching kids in the educational systems, we made assumptions from our beliefs and our excitement to then pass on - the secrets!

Yes, yes, I am such a picky particular asshole - sigh, things just don’t change even if correct, factual and reality, just sayin!

Note: I can assure you I know, understand and have worked in environments where secrets are kept and I can attest, as a retired physical security specialist, that secrets are not leaked out and only those authorized and cleared and legally bound to keeping secrets are informed - often partially, not completely called separation of duties and knowledge, etc. Silo-type separation. (departmentalization of classified data) One entity will not know or pass on to other entities so that both will hold partial, distinct and differing information. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)
Hidden and Secret - Redundant I think … you're either
hidden or you have secrets but can you hide secrets being
what secrets are defined as?
I am so confused!!!

The Way Doesn’t Mean What You Think

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

What do I mean? Well, in truth we all talk a lot about following the way, the path or the road that is karate and/or martial arts and we assume that it is an intricate part of that study and practice. But, is it? Actually, the way came about, for karate anyway, from Japanese influences. Karate, as far as I can tell from studies of scattered and inconsistent and incomplete historical information specifically on karate is not and was not a martial art and as such is not and was not attached or even a part of such philosophical beliefs such as Zen and so on. This does not mean that there were no moral teachings in karate and yet my feel for it historically, i.e., further past than the late 1800’s, is that karate was merely a civil self-fense-fighting ability and a prerequisite for security/military like weapons training, 

In fact, none of the military or martial arts of Asia, America’s or European heritage needs to have a way to study and practice the systems or disciplines. They are not called arts but merely jutsu oriented disciplines meaning ‘just physical manifestations of fighting, combatives and competitive disciplines’ and the Zen like beliefs and methods were not a part until Japan started to make karate a Japanese martial discipline. 

Granted, this theory and idea is not going to make the community happy and it will be considered ‘blasphemy’ so as such it will easily be discarded from any consideration because it does not ring the bell with most peoples current beliefs of karate and martial arts. 

Not long ago there was an article about the modern competitive disciplines such as MMA and Full Contact Karate of the 70’s that simply believed you didn’t need all the philosophical traditional crap to apply the system and win in the ring. Yet, not too many years later suddenly articles were coming out indicating that certain highly respected competitors were ‘rediscovering the traditions’ scoffed at in the past and not incorporating them back into their practices. 

What this era showed, to the participants anyway, was that although the more philosophical spiritual aspects of the ancient traditions was not required or even necessary to learn the disciplines and to apply them that to achieve certain goals within the endeavor the practitioners had to re-discover, for themselves, the value of such principles that embrace things like humility and professionalism (often referred to in the sport as … wait for it … sportsmanship!)

Take the recent Olympic judo match where one contestant refused to shake the hand of his opponent. Yes, there may have been a long cultural type of feud going on there that one may have allowed in the emotional charged moment to rule the act but Judo, regardless of individual cultural beliefs, etc., should have taught, trained and adhered to certain generic martial etiquette rules that should have takin front and center in the games and left such external differences out of the ring. Maybe the one contestant did just that, set aside differences for the games while the other contestant allowed his personal emotional feelings use his external differences to lead him to make a un-sportsmanship like act, failure to shake the hands of opponents out of respect for their JUDO achievements. 

The real reason a proverbial traditional discipline of karate and martial arts of all countries and cultures should have a form of ‘way or path’ that embraces some generic like etiquette distinct and separate from any one cultural beleif system of an individual or group that guides the practitioner to take and practice and use such disciplines with a certain emotionally mature state of mind that transcends our discipline to a level alone leaving external differences, problems and obstacles outside the dojo door - so to speak. 

So, although a way is not actually a part of such disciplines humans through out history, on both sides of good and bad, have always incorporated some sort of way that guides the person and the discipline toward, at the very lizard like instinctual DNA level gene, appropriate and beneficial application for the survival of the species of humanity. 

There is plenty of room in the discipline for the individual to bring in all sorts of ways or paths to follow regardless and that is what makes a dojo, the Sensei, the Kohai and the practitioners all drawn together in mutual respect and other like-minded reasons and reasonings that make them a dojo-tribe but with one universal intricate trait called sportsmanship, an etiquette of mutual respect, humility and humanity. 

I incorporate a ‘way’ in my practice, a philosophical way that encompasses all the principles that would made the discipline applicable and effective while maintaining a respect for others with regard to culture and believe while relying on that sportsmanship to bridge any differences and divides under the name of karate and martial arts. 

I believe that the dojo is a micro-social-world that is a miniature of our real world and that the way the dojo is run, like a tribe or clan or group, with a hierarchy and other group dynamic roles, rules and requirements - all non cultural specific, generic - while remaining respectful of the individual is the hallmark of ‘The Way of the Dojo’ so as to promote mutual respect and harmony even if we are at war elsewhere, the dojo is like Switzerland, neutral and safe for all. 

Therefore, as extensions of the dojo, all competitive environments such as the Olympics shall be held to the same or higher standards. If one has issues with others then take it up after and outside that world. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gentlemanly Behavior - Etiquette

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

In a recent article written by John Vesia, at Martial Views Blog, he writes about a incident at the Olympics, in Judo. Personally, I cannot begin to understand any animosities that may have existed between those two judo-ka. Regardless, I believe and am disappointed that the art of judo and its competitive aspects was unable to provide a bridge across what ever divide that led to the actions of ungentlemanly behavior. 

Hey, I am a karate-ka and even when an active duty Marine expressing certain mental, physical and spiritual traits there was always, always respect for one another regardless. One of the reasons we used certain cultural driven socially expected forms of etiquette. If we didn’t respect one another for things like our beliefs and so on we at least held high regard and respect for our way in the dojo. 

This becomes, in my mind, critical when we participate in competitive endeavors where culture and beliefs are different, sometimes vastly different. When I read the post and article I could only wonder to myself what and when did we lose the “Sportsmanship and Etiquette that come with it” in our efforts in competition. 

I always thought that such environments would and were bridges that span divides that sometimes separate us as groups. I always felt that even in the military when various different services with a natural tendency toward a competitive difference and spirit, i.e., like the annual Army and Navy football rival, that we always met with honor, dignity, a certain level of humbleness and a great respect for each service regardless of how the stacked against the Marines ;-). 

I also always thought that our following of a philosophical principles “Way or Path” was about fostering how we as individuals beleived and lived while allowing space to accept and understand others and their views, beliefs and culture - much like an old Okinawan karate master who wanted karate to be a tool toward understanding from all sides, so that we all may learn, grow and become proficient masters of ourselves and our marital disciplines.

I still believe one of the most fundamental goals of martial disciplines is to exchange theories, ideas, ways and techniques, etc., that would help us grow even more. To develop the trait that all things are good and everyone benefits in one form or another through that connection, exchange, analysis, hypotheses and finally synthesis into something made unique and new by each individual regardless of culture and beliefs and with the ability to hold fast, true and with honor and esprit de corps of their own lives, cultures and beliefs as sacrosanct. 

I still believe in that gentlemanly behavior or if you prefer that sportsmanship culture and etiquette. I sadly say that the behavior demonstrated at that judo event, like other not so proper events happening at the Olympics in the news, tells me that at least in that one case Judo and the Judo community are the worse for it for it reflects not just on the individual but on the culture, society and individuals all. 

I do hope that it is an isolated event, at least in martial arts and especially in Judo. Judo has been a forefather and propagator of all things martial arts we are experiencing today. Judo led the charge and inspired even the Okinawans and their karate making it what it was then and what it is today. I hope the humility that is supposed to be intricate to the way has not been lost or subverted. 

Read also Vesia Sensei’s article here: “Sore Loser at the Olympics”
Read the Article Vesia Sensei’s used here: “Egyptian judoka loses to Israeli, refuses to shake hands”

Hat tip (Ritsu-rei) to <Martial Views by John Vesia Sensei> as the inspiration for this post.

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

One Strike in Karate - Revisited

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

“Never trade blows with your adversary. Never strike anyone, but, when you must, you strike only one blow, but such a harsh one that your adversary can never, ever, strike back.” - Peter (unknown last name)

I came across this in my data-mining efforts toward knowledge and understanding through the analysis-hypothesis-n-synthesis method. ( ;-) ) hehe! I read it and said to myself, “Oh crap, that is so much better than the canned meaning most marital disciplines use!” In lieu of the often misinterpreted version this one comes right out and says, “Never trade blows … except … when you must and so on.” It becomes clearer the goals of such philosophies that meets and exceeds those social coping conditions society expects from its citizens in a self-fense situation and event. 

When I consider the distinction I would put on, “Such a harsh one that your adversary can never strike back,” with the addition that such a blow would remain will within the level of force imposed on citizens who find them selves facing conflict especially with higher levels of violence. After all, as non-fense education folks sitting on the jury will see and perceive distinctions way out of what you expect due to their ignorance and emotional immaturity, ignorance and emotional immaturity driven by media drive fictions based on falsities. If the adversary cannot strike back then you have stopped the attack and without some form of meaning that takes it beyond appropriate levels of force you can rightly assume that when the attack stops, you stop and the adversary has not ability to continue the attack, a continuance providing you the authority to take the force levels a bit higher to ‘stop the attack’. 

Add in that removing the one strike (blow, etc.), one kill leaves the often perceived egregious levels of forces term, “Kill,” out of the equation and out of the possible minds and hearts of interpretive dissonance jury members and other legal authorities would abuse and misuse to get your conviction. It tempers and softens the implied intent in the actual verbiage and that is a help in self-fense, Self-defense strategies and tactics. It addes in that even novices will find it difficult to garner and understand intent in meaning over the one that simply says, one blow-one kill. It may have been appropriate in ancient times but in modern, not so much. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Note: If I were being prosecuted and this was presented as evidence and bolstered by the fact that I have trained in karate for over forty years, would you as unknowledgeable and influenced by modern media events like MMA and Cage Fighting see this as a aggressive attitude where I might be taking the level of force too high being unacceptable to those in judgement of my actions claiming self-defense, defense?

Ritsu Rei!!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

On Serious and Fatal Blows

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

In my limited experience and greater knowledge and understanding the possibility of serious blows is possible and as follows the possibility of a fatal blow is ludicrous and so unlikely that how it is often explained is either:
  1. By teaching with a minimal contact so that one can believe that it would have been fatal if the blow had been more serious. Also, by teaching that to actually experience and/or demonstrate the blow would mean death so it must remain academic in nature as being too dangerous, etc.
  2. Add in that if one learned the points and the types of blows necessary to be fatal then when actually applied in self-fense and when they fail the application must have been incorrect or fatalities would have occurred. 
  3. Finally, those very same points and techniques are almost always based on theory with very little historical documented proof other than the word of the author including the ancients in the martial disciplines. 
As is often the case, stories and legends abound and when someone attempts to teach and demonstrate such things the results are often compliance and sleight of hand and a type of hypnosis that makes things work. When challenged by others outside the group or dojo those same teachings fail with a result of excuses as to why it didn’t work this way or that or on whomever. 

In a nutshell, if a blow is given and is fatal more often than not it was not the blow that did it. It was the blow, for example, causing the subject to lose balance thereby being subjected to gravity and gravity pulling the persons mass to the earth usually causes death, i.e., when the head hits something solid, like a curb, on the ground. 

When such information is presented the disciples of those beliefs often justify their perspective and beliefs by providing excuses even when the data and research says otherwise and they also refuse to believe that humans are conditioned by nature to use forces that will NOT result in grave harm or death. Our bodies have natural defenses along with those instincts to apply tactics, i.e., blows and such, in a manner that sends a message, i..e, a form of communications in the group dynamics, rather than grave harm and death. These same folks will then provide such proofs as the old story of the karate-ka who downs a bull with their bare hands, etc., etc., yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Now, let me discuss my views on the training mentioned, i.e., “ … directions are few and simple, yet great care must be observed by the student. … the vital points that must be touched in the manipulations must be found with exactitude or the desired results will not follow.” Yes, this is about the kuatsu portion but you must note, at least in the limited examples/snapshots, that the first one does not explain how it is taught until the section on kuatsu. 

When vital points are demonstrated and taught and practiced there is always mutual cooperation including a form of pre-programming students through explanations so when a technique is taught or applied their minds are already prepped to be stunned, etc. Often, even without that pre-programming students will often feel a stun and seldom will there be an actual debilitating result from the blow if for no other reason than, as they will gladly tell you, it is too dangerous. The only true way to find out its proficiency in applications is in a real fight and in a real fight under the effects of adrenaline chemical dumps effects it is doubtful the practitioner can affect an effective vital point strike. This doesn’t even take into account that the difficulty becomes insurmountable due to the attacker or adversary or opponent moving constantly. 

Herein lies more of the trouble because seldom is a practitioner told about any of this and seldom are they taught about the difficulties of applying such applications against the proverbial vital areas of the body. Yet, they readily accept it that it will work when under very controlled conditions they are misdirected to assuming a falsehood because it stunned them or caused them to faint, etc. 

Anyway, these types of things sell books, sells the uninitiated on signing up with a dojo training contract and into falsely assuming that what is taught and practiced is self-fense and will work if they are ever, so very unlikely in modern times, attacked.

Please, don’t take this personally but martial arts and karate are awesome and offer us a plethora of things to learn, practice and apply and yet there are also many things taught that are just not appropriate or even applicable. Reality and real life are far removed from the realities of dojo training and life. 

In closing, lets just say for the sake of this discussion that vital points and the training are doable and deadly, then we have to find some way to prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt and herein lies the conundrum. There is no way, historically or today, to test and demonstrate and research and prove that this stuff works. It is fun to discuss; fun to train even if more entertainment than reality; fun to discuss in the dojo and a lot of interesting information used to fatten the testing used to award grades and levels in the dojo. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Find Your Strengths

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

“Find your strengths, train your weaknesses!” - cejames

We all have strengths and we all tend to lean heavily on those strengths and we all tend to lessen our focus regarding our weaknesses. Sometimes we dig a deep hole and throw in those weaknesses, bury them and then we push hard on our strengths in the hopes they will take up the slack for all those buried weaknesses. But, no matter how deep the hole those weaknesses are still there, just under the surface and ready to be exploited by an adversary and/or opponent. 

In order to attain and maintain your balance you have to take both sides of the coin that is our humanness, physical and mental, and develop them so that they are balanced first, complementary to one another second and strong third. It is tantamount to making one are very, very strong while ignoring the other arm. That lack of balanced symmetry of the body leaves the mind weak to one side and exposes us to the spears and arrows of conflict in our lives no matter whether merely social differences or resulting in grave harm or death. 

Yin-yang principles speak to the nature of humanness in the universe that exists only because of the spectrum of balance attained in the yin-yang concepts, a complementary balance of strengths and weaknesses. When you punch you are yang, when you retract that arm you are yin and it takes both sides for the arm to function properly. It is the way, the path, and it is the very nature of life, conflict and violence - all a intricate and intermixing of life’s nature.

When you train and practice you have to allow your strengths to flourish while at the same time you have to find your weaknesses and make them a part of your strengths. This is how we see yin-yang, i.e., strengths and weaknesses transforming to the far yang to become all strengths while retracting in a yin with a strength of yang to the far yin, the state we take in peace while yang is the state we take in conflict. A constant ebb and flow of the physical and mental with the spirit spanning both as if the one great tai chi that allows the one to become two, duality, but with both strengths and weaknesses while strengthening the weaknesses into balanced strength-weakness dynamic duality of spirit. 

Discarding, ignoring and/or failing to see, hear, feel and expose weaknesses in the effort to analyze and synthesize into strengths balanced with weaknesses is a failure to follow the path, the way or “Do (doah).” 

Don’t fail to follow the right path, don’t fail to regard and discover your weaknesses and you will find that those perceived weaknesses will complement your natural strengths making you spiritually, physically and mentally whole!

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Esoterica in Martial Arts

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

It would seem that a primary focus, for some, who practice karate is the more esoteric aspects of the art. What is the esoterica of karate, well it is best to define the term and then relate that to the issues being discussed. 

Esoteric: intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest; private; secret; confidential; (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group; little known; obscure.

My very first impressions are an egoistic drive and need to have some connectivity to the past. This means to me that the person or persons caught up in the study of past masters and their ways in karate are an attempt to fill the void their lives seem to be missing. So many groups and tribal like social orders need to have a connectivity to a larger than life history for our past and our heritage seems to matter to us. Most of those I see caught up in this esoterica of karate seem to have that missing component of historical heritage. 

When then do find that in this esoterica of karate they tend to drive themselves to an extreme and in the process create a doctrine rather than an history and from that only like-minded folks are attracted thereby creating a special group with specialized knowledge and/or interest that is labeled secret in nature and often confidential where only those groups are privy and everyone else is an outsider who these esoteric knowledge must be kept outside the group and not privy to its secrets - mostly. 

Then there is that knowledge missing from practice so the tribe, dojo group if you will, and/or the individual in great need to be connected seeks out the esoterica of karate to be special; to be of perceived higher status; to justify what they do along with titles, ranks, and other accolades to make them feel better about themselves and so on. 

The real cruelty to this way is that it is often intermixed with true belief and ways where the good side is dirtied by the bad and to the uninitiated is perceived as all the same much like labeling all forms of martial arts under the name of karate where any Asian form be it Japanese, Korean or Chinese is mistakenly labeled all the same when in fact they are different if for no other reason than the culture behind the practice. 

Another respected karate luminary wrote about this esoteric way said, “I (the author I mention) sometimes wonder what it is about karate-ka, and kobudo-ka too for that matter, that make them want to know everything, including who invented each kata and exactly how they did them. … Why do folk today want to keep looking backwards that all you've got, things that other people did years ago? … Why do you look to the past all the time to justify what you're doing right now?” 

I know of one group that has mired itself down deeply in the belief and practice of making sure that every single minute aspect of practice, under the titled name of the style/system, is kept exactly as it was taught by the system/styles creator that they put the Asian master on a pedestal and created a religious like system where deviations of the slightest nature means, “Blasphemous behavior against the memory of said master.” 

I hear and understand, from my personal preceptive view of karate, what the author is trying to say in that gluing ourselves, going overboard to the exclusion of the true way as I perceive and distinguish it, to this historical connection to be unhealthy to the progression and validation of karate in which the practitioner follows its path in todays world. I am not saying that what I see here from his work is the same, but I am saying that his work triggered in my beliefs a hint of what I feel is at issue. It is about how one perceives and distinguishes the intent of their practice, training and applications and if it is just a means of historical preservation then that is a way, a path to follow except when it is presented as something else then it denigrates the true nature of practice and following the way be it karate or some other discipline. 

Note: A healthy connection to our past and heritage is beneficial and socially natural but when it becomes an obsession then there are issues. We do learn from our past; we have to know that past, understand that past and then recognize when the past is influencing our present; we have to take our past and analyze it so that it may be synthesized into a relevant applicable modern now discipline with an eye on how that will change it for our followers - key to being one who leads.

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Enemies -n- Killers


Humans didn’t evolve brains in order to lie around and play video games. Killing is the first thing we learned. And a good thing we did, or we all would be dead, and the tigers, lions and bears would own the Earth. Nature can’t evolve a species that hasn’t a will to survive. 


There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only an enemy will tell you where you are strong. All the rules are about what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. Your enemy is your true sensei, your true teacher. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Real Karate -n- Authentic Karate

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

Real, what is real karate? Who gets to decide what is real and what is not real? How can one find out if their karate is real?
Authenticate, what is authenticate karate? Who gets to decide what is authenticate and what is not authenticate? How can one find out if their karate is authenticate?

Really, this is just like saying, “I practice traditional karate” or “I practice classical karate” or “I practice traditional real authenticate karate.” What the … really … is that really true and authenticate.

These terms, words and phrases are merely media oriented advertisement terms used to impress impressions on others so they can and will and want to buy a product and the product in this case is a certain perceived way of karate or any other martial discipline. 

Can you answer the questions:

  • Real, what is real karate? 
  • Who gets to decide what is real and what is not real? 
  • How can one find out if their karate is real?
  • Authenticate, what is authenticate karate? 
  • Who gets to decide what is authenticate and what is not authenticate? 
  • How can one find out if their karate is authenticate?

Real, what is real karate? 

Answer, mine and mine alone: Well, defining real means that any and all forms, types, styles and systems of karate or any other martial art if actually practiced; actually exists; actually occurs in realty; is not imagined or supposed; is not an imitation or artificial is actually a ‘real and genuine’ form of karate, i.e., it is REAL karate. To use the term ‘real’ when speaking or writing or teaching something be it karate or math or soccer is to mislead the reader into assuming that real has some significant special meaning when in truth it means - nothing

Who gets to decide what is real and what is not real? 

Answer, mine and mine alone: Oh, you do, no one else but you and since all are real, you can use the word, term or within any phrase you like because whether your karate is real or not real is all about you and what you feel. 

How can one find out if their karate is real?

Answer, mine and mine alone: Again, it is up to you and what you want to believe but you can allow others to dictate to you whether your karate is real or not real. All up to you!

Authenticate, what is authenticate karate? 

Answer, mine and mine alone: In order to make something authentic you have to prove or show something that is accepted by some sort of official body that it is authenticate, i.e., as claimed by that body to be true and genuine. It is a type of validation where a process acceptable and ameanable to all parties concerned to have been verified and validate by some criteria and that would beg the question, what criteria would authenticate karate as … authenticate? How would one verify, validate, corroborate and confirm the authenticity of karate or anything else for that matter? Big question, lots of answers and no one thing or body that can, would and are valid sources to confirm authentication of authenticate karate. 

Who gets to decide what is authenticate and what is not authenticate? 

Answer, mine and mine alone: See previous answer above. 

How can one find out if their karate is authenticate?

Answer, mine and mine alone: You first must find and accept the authenticity of the source of authenticate karate and validate whether it is accepted by the karate community as a whole where a very large majority accept the definition and criteria of what makes an authenticated form and practice of karate. 

If you haven’t been able to tell so far, I get a bit confused and concerned when I hear such words, terms, or phrases used especially without the valid and documented authoritative sources that say it is true. One reason I always add in my caveat in each article because often my opinions, theories and ideas along with the resulting synthesized beliefs I have are, just that, my beliefs in need of validation and acceptance by the reader. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

The Absolute and Only True Definition

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

The term I want to define is, ‘karate’. We always get a plethora of definitions and most are based on a personal perception and belief. We all succumb to the human trait of ‘confirmation bias’ when we define something that is often so very close to our hearts and beliefs. Here is where I remove myself, hopefully, from that bias to define karate finally, completely and forever.

Karate must be defined from its historical beginnings by using the very characters and ideograms from the sources where karate began. The issue today is that karate itself began on Okinawa so one would assume that their language would be used but that is actually not true. Karate is a modern term created somewhere in the late 1800s and/or early 1900s and the characters/ideograms used were, ‘[空手 · 唐手]’.

Those very characters translated into English, per just one of many sources, means, “Karate; empty hand.” The first character of the first pair is translated as, “empty; sky; void; vacant; vacuum.” The first character of the second pair is translated as, “T’ang; China.” Since we are concerned only for the more modern translation the second set of characters are moot, they are of historical significance only.

So, the actual definition of karate [空手] is, wait for it … ‘empty hand’! Nothing more and nothing less and to assign any other meaning is not a translation and factual meaning but those theories, beliefs, philosophies and biases of individuals and their associations and groups toward some sort of understanding that supports their particular belief system such as saying karate is ‘a way of life’ or ‘a competitive, now olympic, sport’ and so on. This definition also does not mean that karate is or is not a form of budo or self-fense system but just  symbolic way of saying ‘empty hand’. 

All those things that many add on in attempts to give meaning to the term and make it more exciting, dramatic and symbolic of some other more warrior like combative discipline is simply a form of what is called, “Confirmation Bias.” We want our efforts to have meaning to us and to support our values and beliefs both in the practice as well as other aspects of our egoistic human lifestyles especially for the male gender since we work so hard to find ways to express our very aggressive human violent natures as hunters-gatherers. 

Karate is not a way of life, it is not about self-fense, not a philosophy and not some mystic Asian system like Zen or Taoism, it is simply a means to express the use of empty hands for something. That something is then assigned by the cultural belief system of some individual and is then accepted and believed by the group and all of it still falls back on human survival necessities of human nature. Every thing else depends on who, what, where, when and how the individual and group feel and believe it should mean to gratify, support and validate that belief definition. 

Karate, to me, is about something involving my body and mind without anything other than my body and mind, i.e., why I refer to it as practicing physical effort with empty hands as a symbol that I use nothing other than my body. Even that is more than the definition actually means. Empty hands is not actually true and accurate because in apply such principles and methodologies along with types of force whether by hands or feet, etc., takes the literal definition of empty and hands truly out of the realm of realistic definition. Once I apply some principled based method of some level of force my hands are no longer empty, they are manipulating some natural phenomena of our world, our universe, to accomplish some goal. In this case I may be using an adversary’s body and clothing to manipulate them into a position where nature, call it gravity in this case, takes over and does enough damage that I return to a state of security and safety. 

In truth, karate as a term has to become a symbol and it is that symbolic nature that leads us to describe it toward a belief that suits and fills our needs as either an individual and as a group dynamic toward group/individual survival be it in conflict or especially in violent conflict. 

So, in closing, the one true and definitive definition of karate is, ‘empty hand’. All else are human efforts to make the term fit our agenda’s and overall everything humans do, they do for their very survival. Karate itself is not all that big a deal. Add in the human and their needs, wants and desires; add in their natural instincts of survival and you have something else and herein lies the lessons and hear-in lies the ongoing conflict of attaching meaning under the biases of many different and unique individuals and groups (call them styles, systems, associations and dojo’s).

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Knowledge: Physical -n- Mental (academic and experience, etc.)

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

In my limited and brief experience in the martial arts community I often found that knowledge was almost exclusively a physical one, i.e., learning basics, stances, drills, kata, kumite and self-defense (as it was perceived at the time), etc. So much effort was made to gain that physical manifestation of a martial discipline that often, at least in the young, the more academic, etc., knowledge was pushed to the back burner as one of those necessities that really didn’t hold attention in training, practice and toward a more comprehensive in-depth understanding. 

I have come to understand that simply practicing the more physical does not always lead to knowledge and understanding especially as it applies to self-fense and fundamental principles the are the very foundation of the martial disciplines - at least where I personally sit. It also came to me that in a sense the physical and mental knowledge and understanding were reversed, i.e., a drive to learn the cool martial-stuff often seen in competitions, movies and television, etc. Everyone wanted to be Bruce Lee but few actually followed the proper path to that goal. 

Yes, this is my sense of things and for me I see a need to reverse training and practice toward a more academic study of the disciplines so that when the physical and mental and spiritual and psychological and philosophical are presented the practitioner has a better change of accomplishing great things in their efforts. It comes to my mind that these things are what truly make for a masterful practice of martial arts disciplines. 

Some professionals tell us that once you learn something and it becomes ingrained as a type of primal conditioned response it takes a huge effort and very long periods of dedicated practice time to turn that often incorrect response to one that is correct. To not program the primal conditioned procedural memory responses incorrectly the physical should be the result of academic studies, a academic and physical analysis of those studies and finally a physical and academic synthesis of the entire effort into the physical manifestation of martial disciplines regardless of the training intent, i.e., sport, self-fense, combatives, or philosophical, etc. 

In my personal case as to my understanding and application of the disciplines toward self-defense and so on it didn’t get to me until almost thirty years after I began in karate that what was taught, what I understood and what I experienced and applied was NOT self-fense (self-defense through fense as in defense and offense, etc.). Only in my last years of a more academic to physical study and learning and understanding did I come to realize that self-fense spanned a wider range of both academic and experiences that dwarfed what I had learned as inappropriate and incomplete as to self-fense - and this is just one example of what I have come to understand ‘AFTER’ all the effort before that comprised my primal procedural conditioned responses. 

It now seems to me that only those who have come before who have reached a certain level in their age along with a much longer time in training and practice actually begin to take an interest in a more academic study of the very disciplines they have practiced and trained for all those years. Granted, due to the efforts of many professionals and martial luminaries this seems to be changing and yet in many circles it remains dogmatic dogma to the masses who take up sport and self-fense MacDojo roads (actually, I may be overemphasizing a slowly diminishing/disappearing mind-set on this topic but … ).

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Primal Conditioned Response

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

I first read this one from the book by Marc MacYoung on defense and then I read, reading, a book on the psych of compliance where I read a phrase that coins ‘tapes’ and ‘standard sequence of behaviors’. What does this mean to me so I let my meandering mind go wild and would come to relate primal conditioned responses to procedural memory to encoding to finally creating taped standard primal conditioned behaviors and responses for humans. Notice, I didn’t say self-defense or self-fense or any other form of martial fense disciplines. 

I kind of liked that some stimuli would click a trigger that would activate the tap, click whirrrrr, and out would come those standard primal conditioned responses in an appropriate manner in an appropriate situation and with appropriate procedural memory driven responses. 

The quote or meme of inspiration: “Click and the appropriate tape gets activated; whirr and out rolls the standard sequence of behaviors.” - Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Fixed Action Patterns: They can involve intricate sequences of behavior, such as fense methodologies with types of force, etc. A fundamental characteristic of these patterns is that the behaviors that compose them occur in virtually the same fashion and in the same order every time. When a situation calls for fence, the appropriate self-fense tape gets played; fighting/combatives, the fighting/combative tape gets played. Click and the appropriate tape gets activated; whirr and out rolls the standard sequence of behaviors, i.e. those primal conditioned standard sequence of behaviors from procedural memories that comprise the encoded ‘tapes’ and then goals and tactics and strategies get done. - Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Human automatic behavior patterns: Consists of mechanistic, unthinking manner in which they occur. These patterns make us vulnerable to anyone who does know how they work.  - Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

We do strive for a mechanistic instinctual-like manner (primal conditioned encoded taped response) in which stimuli triggers the tape and ‘click and whirr’ we act accordingly. What I expand on is that although most martial disciplines focus heavily on the mechanistic there actually exists both mechanistic and psychological/philosophical instinct-like triggers and tapes that implement the more cerebral actions that feed both avoidance and deescalation through this ‘psychology of compliance’. Compliance as a means to provide choices that influence others to act in a certain way such as avoidance toward deescalation.

“The ability to manipulate without the appearance of manipulation.“ - Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. 

To get others to trigger other more beneficial tapes the take over form emotionally charged egoistic conflict/violence oriented methods to get what one wants. Since both sides often want something and that something is often at odds with what the other wants you find the challenge in getting the other to shift gears. One example I read some where is when a social conflict begins one can choose to provide the other some greater result then when that isn’t perceived acceptable then you give the other a way ‘out’ that is appropriate to their needs so that they keep face and are provided the choice in lieu of having one force upon them. Not exact but you get the meaning and if you don’t just comment and I will try to expand on this. 

We need to use our ‘weapons of influence’ on others especially in conflicts with violence because often it is the only way to trigger a tape that will over ride a more ‘dangerous’ tape so that both parties have a way to save face while not enjoying the grave injuries and possible death that violence can bring to the table. Click, whirrr - inappropriate social or asocial violence is present then ‘click -n- whirr’ you provide an appropriate trigger that starts another more appropriate tape and ‘whalla’ violence is avoided, both parties have a face saving out and both take it while saving face. (truth be told, to really grasp this concept and train for it you need to take it to the dojo floor and analyze it into a synthesized tape that you can encode through a more realistic training program, etc.)

Take a look at Dr. Cialdini book titled, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

Another take away I found of personal interest to me is that this speaks toward human patterns, i.e., those tapes are patterns and rhythms and cadences that are recorded tapes we either store or encode into procedural memory of primal conditioned responses. What is the difference, one is stored and retrieved in a normal way, the other is stored and triggered under the hood, so to speak, where our conscious human brain is bypassed and our more instinct oriented lizard like brain pulls the tapes faster, triggers them quickly and implements them in an appropriate manner. All you have to do is figure out how to record the tapes, encode them in the appropriate brain slot and then how to trigger them according to need and the situation - easy pleasy!

Yet another take away for me, this simply helps to understand that there are so many ways to look at and figure out things that analysis and synthesis makes a lot more sense in learning, understanding and applying things to things. To simply learn one way, assume it is good not just for the one thing but all things and then become stagnant in that belief seems … limiting so in this effort it appears that taking different perspectives, creating different theories and ideas even if they are simply saying the same thing but differently creates a more open and influential mind-set and mind-state. Understanding seems to trump a lot because without understanding how do you make it work? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Reap What You Sow

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

Yes, you have the right, you can do what you want and you also have to accept the fact that what you do always, ALWAYS, has consequences. You have the right and you are therefore required to reap what you sow. Repercussions are a fact of life and physics and nature because as explained so eloquently through the Asian symbolic representations with yin-yang, there is always some opposite reaction to what ever action you may take.

Yes, you have the right to apply tattoo’s to your body, you have the right to choose what kind of tattoo’s you apply and you have the right to display them in a fashion appropriate to the requirements of society. When you take actions that become public you also have the right to experience repercussions regarding how that public see’s, hear’s, feel’s and perceives you and what you do. You don’t get a  free pass just because you feel you have the right, that you are entitled. You don’t get a ‘get out of jail free’ card just because of your beliefs, the belief you have the right and that you are entitled because once you exit the front gate of your home and property and become a part of society you have both rights and repercussions to those rights, you have to be ready to accept the consequences of your actions and deeds because others out there may perceive and feel different. 

This is why groups gather and survive, they understand that there are rules in the group and one really important one is that every member of the group must abide by the groups rules to survive or expect repercussions that include being expelled or punished by that group. Society is no different from the group, social dynamics are the same as group dynamics. Society is about social cohesive connectivity, it is about groups within society, it is about the individuals of the group. It is about the individual having personal beliefs tempered with the beliefs of the group that are tempered with the needs and requirements and beliefs of the social order otherwise there is chaos, conflict and violence. 

I have a right, a right to not be gravely injured or killed. I do not require or depend on others to ensure those rights are protected. I have the right to protect myself from grave bodily harm or death. My rights are tempered by the rules of my family, my neighborhood, the groups that I am a member and the society in which I chose to live. The laws, rules and requirements trickle down where no rule subservient to the level to which I live is allowed to circumvent that rule, law or requirement.

It works like this, if society says thou shalt not kill or maim or gravely injure then those groups and individuals of that society do not have the right to break the rules, laws or requirements and when they do those who break them must suffer the consequences of their actions. The groups within that society can have stricter rules, laws and requirements but none of them can diminish or ignore the social rules, laws and requirements. If they do chaos ensues and actions of society will be taken. 

When I hear a cry from someone who feels they are above the laws, the rules and the social and group requirements to satisfy their own egoistic feelings and emotions that go directly against the society, the group, the family and the individual I have no sympathy. It is not about them, it is not personal and it is about survival. When an individual feels they have the right to break the rules, laws and requirements at any level such as using some weapon while disobeying the social order then I expect the social order to act accordingly and punish that individual in the means appropriate to the situation and infraction be it expelling them from society/group; implementing an appropriate lesson to reinforce those rules, laws and requirements and so on. 

Survival of the individual is not possible alone, no person is an island and every person, by nature and social requirements and needs, must be a part of that social group to survive. We must connect and act in a manner that promotes the survival of the social group, i.e., society and its members being individual and group oriented. 

The animal kingdom, supposedly inferior to the human species, all collect into groups for survival such as a ‘pride of Lions’ or a ‘herd of elephants’ and when they don’t they do not survive. 

When chaos ensues and the social connectivity, rules, laws and requirements fail or are ignored for the individual then that social order, group/groups, will die and become extinct. History is full of stories of great societies that are no more and it is obvious that those societies long gone into oblivion first lost their social cohesive connectedness, lost their ability to live and survive under these rules, laws and requirements and drove themselves into oblivion through the chaos of conflict and violence. All societies, all groups, all families and all individuals dies when they fail to relate, understand, believe, connect and live by the social/group survival rules, requirements and laws. 

This is true, it is a fact of life and nature does not use emotions and ego when making that decision for nature knows, nature survives and when all is said and done nature will live long past the time of humans unless ….

Ok, self-defense, got to put in a few words since this is a martial arts/karate self-fense blog so regarding self-fense, if you leave that front gate and wonder out into the world and society all you have to do it remain polite and follow the social rules, requirements and laws. You do have to remember that there are more stringent rules and requirements dependent on the environment in which you travel. Modern society has a much closer mixed multi-cultural belief systems that intermingle a lot more today than in history. It has its good and bad because dependent on how much you travel beyond your comfort zone in society the more you learn and the more exposed you are to conflict and possible violence when you don’t have sufficient knowledge and understanding of those cultural social rules and requirements. Makes self-fense a real challenge don’t you think? 

In a nutshell, an person has to have their beliefs, etc., and hopefully each person knows and understands that their cultural belief systems on a personal level must be such that it allows for flexibility when leaving the front gate to your home and environment, your personal home and environment. Like one professional used and stated, you cannot expect to stay in your personal shell and expect others to compensate but you should understand and expect to adjust your rights and beliefs so that you can function and survive in society. 

It comes down to balance and flexibility, i.e., the flexibility to allow for others and societies differences, rules, requirements and laws while maintaining the integrity of yourself thus by achieving a balance of self to the social dynamic so everyone remains steady, balanced and connected if for no other reason that the social group survival dynamic. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)