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, May 31, 2017

Karate Lifestyle

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

生活様式 Seikatsu Yoshiki meaning, “Way of living.” Add in karate [空手] and you get, [空手生活様式; Karate seikatsu yōshiki]

In our culture a life style is a typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture. A person seeking a particular lifestyle is one who is developing a way to live life. In our species of human beings that involves socially driven and acceptable lifestyles that make for the social cultural belief systems that promote security, safety, and overall survival along with our genetic disposition to procreate. 

Lifestyle can include interests, opinions, behaviors, and behavioral orientations of an individual, group, or culture; or any combination of same dependent on the needs and objectives of the group and individual members collectively toward the groups survival. 

It is and has been stated that, “Lifestyles are determined by intangible and tangible factors, i.e., Tangible factors relate specifically to demographic variables, i.e. an individual's demographic profile, whereas intangible factors concern the psychological aspects of an individual such as personal values, preferences, and outlooks.” -

Now, that is how it is perceived fundamentally regardless of group dynamics, culture, beliefs and hierarchal controls both implicit and explicit, this article is going to try to associate lifestyle to what I term, “The karate lifestyle.” 

A lifestyle fundamentally in karate or any martial art is about a social position, a way of thought as to philosophy, and the actions derived by the study, understanding and application of said lifestyle. Since we are all human and certain factors of modern times affects both social and karate lifestyles, a karate lifestyle also reflects people's self image or self concept; the way they see themselves and believe they are seen by the others. Our social dynamics in the dojo connect to the very same drives of our species toward survival and procreation at the bare essential cultural needs system that often drives everything else. 

This is where the article diverges from the general or basic or foundational aspects and drives into my personal karate lifestyle as an example of, “Just one way,” an individual must first adhere to that lifestyle taught by sensei then into the next stage where one compares, studies and creates their individual lifestyle until finally that lifestyle become unique to their beliefs and ways in karate to enhance, build, create and apply their lifestyle to their lives, their practices and their applications toward their socially driven lifestyle outside the dojo yet connected dynamically to that microcosmic lifestyle in the dojo. 

Now, first and foremost, karate or a karate lifestyle is not about fighting, combatives and no where near self-defense. It must be clear to practitioners that distinctions such as these are critical toward ensuring the practice, the studies, the understanding and especially the applications must be appropriate to the distinction such as self-defense. 

In my practice/studies I focus about 80% on the self-defense aspects with a foundation of fundamental principles toward the application of multiple methodologies and force levels, etc., for the application of self-defense - not just the physical but the entire spectrum as explained on NNSD ( and the books by Marc MacYoung, Rory Miller and other professionals (see bibliography).

 Since the principles, i.e., theory, physiokinetics, techniques (not what you think of as techniques), philosophy, self-defense and chemical adrenal effects, etc., are the mainstay I also spend a great deal of time with the more philosophical and theory of study toward understanding. Understanding, in any lifestyle and discipline, is that foundation the drives our logical and emotional maturity for understanding things like, anger for example, teaches me that anger is a very useful tool when controlled and a dangerous escalational effect when left to run on its own willy nilly. 

Anger when used properly and at appropriate levels toward coping with variables of life can be a true benefit so understanding that anger has its uses and understanding those uses along with understanding how to use them and when, etc., will be a useful anger tool. 

To understand something is to bring it forward and out of the darkness of emotional immaturity toward both logical and emotional mature ways and means to achieve objectives in daily living and no where else is that more pronounced then in disciplines where the mere practice and training exposes the practitioner to injuries and damage. 

After understanding I put in, “Analysis, Hypothesis and Synthesis,” as critical to understanding and knowledge that leads toward application in life as in the dojo as in life. Once you gain a certain level of experienced understanding, i.e., living life while experiencing and being exposed to the environment with its social cultural dynamics leads to experiences, that intertwines in a way that leads, like Boyd’s Loop, to a better construction in our mind of reality where we apply that understanding and experience as gained by study, analysis, hypothesis, synthesis and application to learn and create. A complex loop that can be one stream that branches off into two or multiple streams, i.e., karate/MA being the main stream branching off into self-defense stream, fighting (social and competitive) streams, combative (military professional, etc.) streams and then the philosophical (the way or Dao) stream. They are distinctly separate, often do not work together except in very basic ways, streams that require individual understanding with a commitment and ability to apply according to circumstances while adrenalized and able to not drop out of one stream to be influenced by the other and so on. 

Note: Very, very, very few can adequately apply more than one stream effectively although many try. 

The reason I do 80% self-defense and 20% philosophical is because to apply the one properly you have to have the mental/philosophical mind-state and mind-set so they are applied appropriate to any given situation that in and of itself is not just critical to SD but about the most difficult if you don’t live/work in that violent social dynamic. 

As you can perceive at this juncture of the article the karate or martial art lifestyle is a complex creation done through the training, practice and application of the discipline. There are so many ways and so many differences and so many applications that one can end up on any number of streams where knowledge and understanding are the absolute corner-stone of the entire structure where just one ingredient not proper or adequate will cause the entire structure to fall into a rubble of mortar, stone, brick, blood and lives. 

Meditate on this!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Good Foundation

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

It was once quoted, “It all starts with a good foundation,” while a young white belt stands in a stance. It is the first step in many to find out what exactly is a foundation in karate and martial arts as to combatives, fighting, and self-defense. You DO have to have a solid foundation in order to learn, study, and understand a martial art and karate system.

The foundation is made up of many things far and removed from just learning how to assume a proper rooted kamae. A good foundation comes from a many faceted endeavor that will make up a personal system that allows us to learn, change, adjust and believe not just in the system but in ourselves as well. 

A good foundation starts long before learning how to make a fist; learning how to assume rooted stances; learning how to perform upper and lower basics techniques; learning how to form and study kata; learning how to learn from two person drills in basics, kata and kumite. You have to have all the right, correct and relevant materials to achieve a, “Good Foundation.” 

Foundational Materials:
  • A moral compass.
  • Social coping skills - basic.
  • Emotional Intelligence.
  • Visual Intelligence. 
  • Logical Intelligence.
  • Common sense.
  • Rational Intelligence.
  • People Skills.
  • Balance in mind, body and spirit.
  • Curiosity.
  • Confidence.
  • Maturity.
  • Character and Personality, not mutually exclusive but mutually supportive, etc.
  • Adaptability.
  • Flexibility.
  • Social Intelligence. 
  • Positive Attitude.
  • etc., etc., etc.!
Another aspect of attaining a good foundation is the ability to seek out knowledge and understanding and then use analysis and synthesis both as an individual and then in connection with others in a social professional sense. This could continue on until a large book is filled only to leave many important materials to build a good foundation but the idea here is to instill and trigger your curiosity so you seek it out in detail. All part of the journey. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Society is …

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

Society is about a collective of people that through communications and cooperation survive. Marc MacYoung wrote something about three years ago about moving parts. Society, the tribe, the clan and the family all band together for various reasons but none as important as both survival and procreation. The issues rise up when people come together because physics of psychology enter the dojo and it is called friction.

When I rub two sticks together in an environment that has a potential of flammability you get … “Fire!” Now, you might automatically jump to the thought that fire is bad and in a lot of cases it is, it burns. But there are times when fires are good such as controlled burning to combat forrest fires during dry fire seasons, etc., (you firefighters out there let me know if I got that right?). 

Human Conditions dictate the type and intensity of that friction and survival is all about how each individual and the collective groups cope with that to the benefit of the entire family to tribe to clan to the larger social structure (the larger social structure is a new modern thing). This is where the shift in the article comes in toward martial arts, karate and self-defense of conflict and violence. 

Unless an individual lives alone and in isolation assuming they can get food, shelter and provide a safe and secure environment, there is always going to be friction when encountering others even when direct blood family. There are and must be rules and those rules along with the group dynamics and rules both written and unwritten (mostly unwritten), are to be understood and followed or there are repercussions necessary to keep the group strong, safe and capable of survival and all that goes with it. Our species has this entire spectrum of things related to this in order to keep the species alive, productive and procreating. 

From the moment of birth, if each generation is passing along all those rules, requirements and other stuff, the person is exposed to all sorts of stimuli from parents, to brothers, to sisters and to the tribe or clan in which the family is a member. This social order and structure makes a society work and in the mirror of that we have micro-social groups the foster this social coping skill set in a system that transcends an individuals needs, rights and requirements. Survival and Procreation trumps them all and makes the foundation of the why our species does things.

Karate and martial arts dojo are micro-social groups where folks of like-mind gather for a singular purpose as is the case here to train, practice and apply proficient skills, multiple methods with appropriate force levels principled based, etc., to accomplish that objective. The objective is often referred to as self-defense or combatives in certain professions but in reality it connects silently to the core of species survival. 

The dojo has rules that bind with a hierarchal system demonstrating status and required services both given and received in a spirit of cooperation that teaches each individual the very social coping skills necessary for survival outside the dojo. We see similar objectives in other disciplines like the various sports such as football and so on. Without this, nothing works for long and often spells out doom to the group involved unless …

The one caveat is that the dojo environment and its teachings must adhere to certain social human needs and requirements that are sometimes symbolized by the dojo kun, things like bushido codes of honor, integrity, etc., that are positive in nature and create a level of harmony within the groups, etc.

The group dynamics of species survival has limitations imposed by nature herself that fit the current evolutionary stage of modern times. An example is a teacher to student ratio that if exceeded degrades and destroys the objective of teaching and learning. Society and its coping skills of survival and procreation requires cooperation and that comes from the moment of birth where that environment and its stimuli are input through sensory systems to our brains that teach each of us as individual how to survive - in a group. The ratio I am talking about in the teaching example has been found to be about four to one, i.e., four students to one teacher. In modern society it has come to be believed that the massive size of the entire society, the entire United States Population in this case, must and should and will adhere to rules and requirements that go way beyond the ratio’s of a family to group to clan where maybe in the clan/tribe one hundred and fifty would work. Our modern society consists of millions!

Like the teaching environment in schools everyone admits that once the ratio of students to teachers reaches a certain level it degrades the quality and productivity of that teaching environment but our current level of society population of students as related to that of teachers has taken that ratio and turned it into an ineffective, degraded and unproductive one where teachers today still accomplish much good but have to fight that ratio disparity because we lost control of our population and all that entails. 

Going back to the dojo, commercialism has driven the ratio out of kilter. To have a large dojo environment means it has to remain true to the ratio’s, i.e., one sensei for four practitioners so if the membership is up to sixteen then you really need  FOUR qualified and experienced sensei to make that work. In all honesty three to one works best. One Sensei cannot adequately pass along their knowledge, experiences and understanding of such a system or discipline without help and support. 

Consider this, in the military it takes four men (one of the four the leader while the other three qualify as leader just in case) to make one team that we call a, “Fire Team” in the Marines. Then you have a combination of thirteen where you have three fire-teams and the one squad leader. That squad leader leads the three fire team leaders who lead the three team members - the ratio over many centuries works and is why it continues. 

Four squads makes a platoon with a platoon leader and so on. In this environment and professions, as in life itself, it involves survival and can result in grave harm or death of the individual, his or her team members, the team leader, the other fire-teams who can and do work together to the squads and platoon. One major chink unfilled and corrected when broken in that chain spells doom for the entire platoon.

So, in that configuration and collective two factors are required to make it work. One, cooperation that is taught, trained, practiced and experienced with full understanding that further requires to make that work, communications. Communications requires understanding words, etc., and a cooperative endeavor to communicate and learn and teach one another when developing plans, implementing plans and then after the event discussing the plans in what some pro’s call the, “After Action Report, etc.!”

If those involved don’t know and understand the groups dynamics, hierarchal and status requirements, etc., then they cannot effectively communicate and therefore will fail in the cooperative effort to perform the mission, the plan. It is, a big example, like pulling tougher people of vastly different culture, beliefs and especially language and expecting them to survive. Yes, its possible and it can be done but not before working through obstacles and achieving certain objectives such as finding a common language, etc.!

Here is a dojo example: There are styles of karate; everyone believes wholeheartedly in their style and its superiority; everyone is acting in a species human way and is expected and natural; each has its own way along with culture, i.e., one is a hard style while the other is not, etc. and in that model it creates individual groups and dynamics that will not match with other styles. I know of one style that has become such a belief system that the style actually creates a state of entitled elitism where only students and members of certain groups are allowed to benefit from the teachings. 

If we wanted to remove the styles and create one system or group the only way to accomplish that mission is to teach a principled based multiple method realty-based system that actually lies under all the styles regardless of there individualized belief structures. 

Bibliography (Click the link)