"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

Do You Have A Question?

If you have a question not covered in this blog feel free to send it to me at my email address, i.e. "snow" dot here "covered" dot here "bamboo" AT symbol here "gmail" dot here "com"

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour


"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

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.

Reader's of this Blog

“Which is more important, the jutsu or the do?”

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

A great question that came up on the Ryukyu Martial Arts (Research and General Discussion) Facebook wall by Brian Veach on July 18th, 2015 at about 6:26am. Here is my comment/answer to his question: 

Actually, BOTH. Using the tai chi model of yin-yang where everything in the Universe is made up of a yin side and an yang side martial arts also must have both to remain in balance. Especially balance because of the potential of its violent side being used for more nefarious things. Think of this like the recent post here of “The Pen and the Sword” by Patrick McCarthy. 

My perception of the pen and sword it the need to balance out the physical potential of martial arts regarding violence with a more academic but a lot of philosophical learning to keep our moral compass pointing in the right direction. 

The fundamental principles are laid out in this yin-yang balance format, i.e., you have theory: the theory of the discipline as to history, culture, the way and the applications; physiokinetics: as in the body mind mechanics that make all martial disciplines work especially in applications of force and power to stop a threat; the techniques: the various principles used in conjunction with physiokinetics that allow us to combine them wholeheartedly in applying in violent situations; and finally philosophy: where things like mind-set, mushin, yin-yang, character and others rounds off our selves and our practice, training and application of the martial disciplines.

When we focus on such principles over other more easily taught and tested models we can begin to see how both the Way or Do along with the Jutsu can achieve our goals. A good example is modern self-defense where our well-balanced study of martial arts gives us the tools and philosophies along with the complete and comprehensive knowledge so when in the actual violence we can make the decisions on how to handle the conflict along with what decisions are necessary to stay within the laws governing self-defense, i.e., having the appropriate emotional intelligence. understanding our three brains, JAM and AOJ along with the five stages, adrenal stress conditions and conditioning as well as other to include force decisions. This is what keeps us within the square and out of jail along with other repercussions.

If you are in the sport oriented martial arts this also applies under heading such as sportsmanship, fairness, and other aspects that make for a great athlete, competitor and social model to others. Think about that!

Bibliography (Click the link)

PRINCIPLES:

PRINCIPLE ONE: PRINCIPLES OF THEORY (Universality, Control, Efficiency, Lengthen Our Line, Percentage Principle, Std of Infinite Measure, Power Paradox, Ratio, Simplicity, Natural Action, Michelangelo Principle, Reciprocity, Opponents as Illusions, Reflexive Action, Training Truth, Imperception and Deception.)

PRINCIPLE TWO: PHYSIOKINETIC PRINCIPLES (Breathing, posture, triangle guard, centerline, primary gate, spinal alignment, axis, minor axis, structure, heaviness, relaxation, wave energy, convergence, centeredness, triangulation point, the dynamic sphere, body-mind, void, centripetal force, centrifugal force, sequential locking and sequential relaxation, peripheral vision, tactile sensitivity, rooting, attack hubs, attack posture, possibly the chemical cocktail???see below)

PRINCIPLE THREE: PRINCIPLES OF TECHNIQUE (techniques vs. technique, equal rights, compliment, economical motion, active movement, positioning, angling, leading control, complex force, indirect pressure, live energy and dead energy, torsion and pinning, speed, timing, rhythm, balance, reactive control, natural and unnatural motion, weak link, non-telegraphing, extension and penetration, Uke.)

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

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

PRINCIPLE FIVE: PRINCIPLES OF SELF-DEFENSE (“Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence (Social and Asocial), Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Predator process and predator resource, Force levels, Repercussions (medical, legal, civil, personal), Go-NoGo, Win-Loss Ratio, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”Attitude, Socio-emotional, Diplomacy, Speed [get-er done fast], Redirected aggression, Dual Time Clocks, Awareness, Initiative, Permission, )

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

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

What is the origin of the red/white paneled Obi?

“I have been seeing more and more of these checkered belts. Some are Red and black and some Red and white do they have any special meaning or is it just a way to set the founders, Grandmasters and other seniors from the lower Black Belt rank and file?” - Joe Rickard question on FB Ryukyu Martial Arts Wall

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

A very good question and the answers may have a surprise or two when you do the research. Remember first that the Dan-i, the belt system, was created in Japan by a Japanese for the system of Judo. This system was adopted by karate through the efforts of Funakoshi Gichin Sensei who started an Okinawan karate club in Japan. 

In a nutshell, there were five black belt levels back then and as with any discipline it was influenced by its members and modifications were made accordingly to those individual perceptions, distinctions and cultural beliefs, etc. 

The origins of the red/white paneled obi were Japanese and therefore Japanese cultural beliefs had a lot to say about the design. Take a look at the Japanese flag, notice anything in particular about it that connects with the red/white paneled obi? 

I quote the following from one Judo source, i.e., “Around 1930, the Kodokan created a new belt ("obi") to recognize the special achievements of high ranking black belts.

Jigoro Kano chose to recognize sixth, seventh, and eighth degree black belts with a special obi made of alternating red and white panels (kōhaku obi - literally translated as "red and white belt"). The white color was chosen for purity, and red for the intense desire to train and the sacrifices made. The colors red and white are an enduring symbol of Japan, and they have been used in Judo since Jigoro Kano started the first Red and White Tournament in 1884. - http://www.sandokai.co.uk/pages/info/yudansha/red-white-kohaku-belt.php

The selection of red-and-white colored belts to distinguish the highest ranks may have also been based on a simple cultural preference … Japanese typically divide groups into red and white sides, based on a pivotal historical event, the Genpei War - a dispute between two rival clans, the Genji and Heike. The Genji used white flags to identify their troops on the battlefield, while the Heike used red flags.

The "kōhaku [“紅白: red and white; colors for festival or auspicious occasions; red and white singing contest; first character means “crimson; deep red,” the second means, “White.”] obi is often worn for special occasions, but it is not required to be worn at any specific time and the black belt remains the standard obi for all the dan grade ranks.”

In my view the red/white paneled obi spread faster in the Western regions because it spoke directly to that regions ego pride driven cultural belief systems. The one culture that actually created their own system was the Okinawans. If Karate were going to use the grade/level system of ranking then it would be normal for the culture that created karate to have thier own culturally driven belt system, i.e., 

Regarding Okinawan Karate, Okinawan’s have used two models with the first being the Judo Dan-i system. The second is the unique belt system the Okinawans developed for themselves. 

Okinawan Dan System

1st - 3rd: black belt with silver strip in middle lengthwise
3rd - 6th: black belt with gold strip in middle lengthwise
7th - 9th: red belt with gold strip in middle lengthwise
10th: solid gold obi

1961 era development; not fully validated from any official Okinawan source to date. http://karatequestions.blogspot.com/2013/02/did-okinawans-develop-their-own-belt.html

Bibliography:
The origin of the red/white paneled belt is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_belt_(martial_arts)

http://www.sandokai.co.uk/pages/info/yudansha/red-white-kohaku-belt.php

Bibliography (Click the link)

Is self-defense a fundamental right of people?

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

When I got this question the first knee-jerk response was, “Yea, you do have the right to defend yourself,” but is that really a right and to defend may or may not actually mean self-defense. So, I decided to try and find out if this is actually true or not.

What I found may or may not be accurate since most search engines I use already have search bubbles geared toward my interests as a part of how they work but regardless, the Washington Post article on, “Self-defense is a constitutional right,” says, “Generally speaking, courts rarely have to decide whether there is a constitutional right to self-defense, since all states generally recognize a statutory or common-law right to use force against another person in self-defense.” Of course, as with anything legal, etc., there are constraints to this right. I believe it is the restraints that tend to trip folks up causing thoughts of, “I am defending myself,” when in truth they are breaking the law and so forth.

A constitutional right to self-defense is unlikely to be absolute. Those restraints, accepted limitations, will limit that constitutional aspect of self-defense. Then add in the convoluted constraints such as the one that states, “Self-defense is a defense to the use of force against a person, not an animal.”  Man, things can get muddled very fast and that is the point that Marc MacYoung makes in his book, “In the Name of Self-defense.” This get complicated when you have to defend yourself. 

When the discussion of constitutionality arises it usually refers to the second amendment. That one involves self-defense by the use of “Arms” meaning firearms, etc. - in general (read the second amendment to clarify and validate. In a short nutshell, The right to self-defense and to the means of defending oneself is a basic natural right that grows out of the right to life. The Second Amendment therefore does not grant the people a new right; it merely recognizes the inalienable natural right to self-defense.”

I would then answer the question with caution and the caveat that one find an attorney who specializes in law of self-defense for clarification but in essence I say, “Yes, self-defense is a fundamental right of every person in our society with constraints set by local, state and federal laws, regulations and other such legal requirements.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)
Bibliography:

Benforado, Adam. “Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice.” Crown Publishing. Random House. June 2015

Is Karate Truly a Striking System?

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

One of the great things of our modern society is the ability to see a lot more information out there because of the technology we have, literally, at our fingertips. Since my foray into the World Wide Web, the Internet, I have moved forward knowledge/academia wise then in all the years of study before. The plethora of information out there is astounding and the only caveat is similar to the old saying, “Buyer Beware,” where it should be “Researcher Beware.” 

One of the great things about martial disciplines in modern times is all that information, knowledge, can be tested by each and every practitioner to see if it works. Once caveat, when a martial practitioner tests it to make sure it works they tend to do so only in the dojo with only a hand full that actually take it outside the dojo - usually those professionals who deal with conflict and violence in their jobs.

One of the great things about practice in our modern times is our freedom to travel great distances to find venues that will add that extra ingredient in testing to make sure something works, in a adrenal stress conditioned reality-based training scenario(s).

Ok, ok, I will get back to the point but I wanted to lay a small amount of pre-article information before I get into, “Is karate truly a striking system?”

First, yes it is but here is the rub for me, karate before it was named karate, i.e., both set of characters for “China Hand” and “Empty Hand.” The biggest fact for me that tells me “Ti or Toudi” was more than just striking is the push to put karate into the educational system. It was dumbed down and most of the other stuff that made up Ti or Toudi was, in likelihood, removed because those smart parts were about doing grave bodily harm and death to an adversary. 

Humans are pretty much alike in a lot of ways across the board and when human adults of a certain era in the time line of human existence sees conflict and violence being exposed to the young of their families the natural instinct is to protect. In the times of the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds the times and social mind-set was changing to remove as much of the ability to apply conflict and violence, violent conflicts in particular, so that when it was pushed into the educational system it was meant more to condition health and fitness wise young adults to ready them for war (kind of strange way of thinking, yes?). Even so, the removed those parts they didn’t want their children to be exposed to while at the same time exposing them to the concept that it would and was preparing them for service to the Emperor for the upcoming war. 

Now, we move forward to after the war. Most of Ti’s or Toudi’s practitioners were dead or close to it and those practicing and teaching were Ti-ka or Toudi-ka who were exposed mostly to the educational versions and already exposed to the two names of China Hand and Empty Hand. The first teachers of the American occupying forces were well inducted and indoctrinated to the more modern rendition, mandated because when the war ended the occupiers were adamant in stomping out all war like activities and that meant martial disciplines. This explains the effort of the Japanese, as the Okinawans, to change their martial heritage into something more or less non-threatening so we have “The Way” and “Sport” oriented systems, i.e., jujitsu to judo, etc. 

Ti and Toudi were changed to Kara-te to make the Japanese happy and the island karate practitioners were still heavily influenced by that educational system thereby passing that to the American Occupiers who then brought that watered down version to the U. S..

Ok, so for decades karate in the states was a “Striking Art.” Here is where the modern technological models of today are coming in to teach us the true nature of karate, taking it back, as far as possible considering all the missing history of Okinawan martial disciplines. The ability to get information out to the most people possible is now so easy it makes it possible for those who have not only learned a lot of martial disciplines but have actually taken it hands-on in a world of conflict, violence and violent conflict and bring it back to the martial disciplines so that the least effective defense in a life threatening situation, the strike, will not be the only focal point of practicing, training and applying, “Karate or Empty Hand.” 

Karate needs a lot more than the ability to strike or kick. To truly handle a self-defense situation you need the ability, think mind-set and mind-state coupled with appropriate knowledge and experience (either or both adrenal stress oriented or actual hands-on or both). To make it work you need a lot more than striking and striking, from where I sit, means using a strike of either a fist or open handed to build a compilation of different attack models (impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression) to stop the threat vs. relying solely on strikes/punches or kicks, etc. taught in edu-karate. 

This means taking the mainstay of karate, the linear head-to-head safe model of fighting, and pursuing the attack methodologies of impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression.

In other words, bring what I have come to believe of modern karate back to its historical roots as a combative fighting model for self-defense using those attack methodologies to achieve something that will work in the adrenal stress charge conditions of actual attacks both social or asocial in nature. 

The current model of karate today is a striking system but an ineffective one for self-defense but with the concerted effort of many karate-ka and many martial disciplines karate can and will return to a model that will incorporate all those attack and defense methodologies such as impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. Then maybe we can rename it back to its historical origins of “Ti or Toudi.” Then again maybe find a name that will truly symbolize and represent a overall principle based model for self-defense, for fighting and for combatives. 

My hope remains high!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Does the Obi Reflect Experience?

Caveat: Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

I recently read a comment that said, “The belt should totally reflect your Karate experiences.” I immediately responded with, “how does the obi do that, you know, reflect your karate experiences? I know of folks who have had one forever with all the fading and fraying who can't really hold their own in karate?”

I have not received a response to my question to date but I will do a little bit of assumption, i.e., an experienced karate-ka can be implied by the state of one’s black belt, obi, in that it appears frayed to display the white material inside with a small amount of the actual black material still showing and the black material is faded, etc. (see snapshot that follows)

Experienced Karate-ka right? Not so much.


I don’t understand this even tho I had one like that in my early years of karate practice and teaching. In all honestly as I have continued that practice and training I have found that my black belt, if cared for correctly and cleaned appropriately, will hold its color for years to a couple of decades. It may be thought that as the obi relates to one fictional story, i.e., white belts through use become black and red with dirt, sweat, tears and blood, etc., one might assume that to get to that state means you have sweated, bleed, lost tears and through other efforts caused it to fade, fray and to lock aged. One issue on this one, there are those out there who would condition their obi’s through bleach, washing in hot and hard water then drag it behind a truck or other vehicle until it reaches a worn and “Experienced” state. Poppykosh!

The only wear apparent on my obi’s has been a relaxed state along with an ease in tying and maintaining the knot because of use while the color and state of the material remains, mostly, steadfast. Neither state, good or worn, tell me that the person has done anything in regard to experience or the build up of experience by the state of the obi, the belt. I have seen teens who have a belt in that condition and that does not equate to experience. 

So, the question then begs, “How can you tell of someone’s experience in martial arts?” Well, start by asking and then validate through a period of time, say at least three to six months, on the training hall floor learning, practicing, teaching and training in martial discipline(s). 

Now, here is where I diverge in the subject of experience. What kind of experience are we talking about here? Experience: as in the Way, as in kata, as in kumite, as in tournament competition, as in full-contact (koff koff, snicker snicker) competition, as in fighting sport, as in fighting in the street (sorta), as in combatives (military, police, etc.), or as in self-defense? Each one has specifics that say experience or experienced. Relatively few actually achieve any real experience in any of these categories and that includes me (I rate my experience as it would stand up against professionals such as those found in the bibliography that follows). They all do not relate to one another except in very small and insignificant ways.

Are you talking about experience in the dojo in general, are you talking about experience in a street altercation or attack, etc.? What is that experience and how does it relate to the state of anything let along one’s belt or obi?


Bibliography (Click the link)

Is Kata an Integral Part of Karate?

Caveat: This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Maybe is the simplest answer and yet due to the convoluted, incomplete and scarce historical factual data kata may actually be a new model for Okinawan karate. Many things we associated with karate don’t actually come from the indigenous system of Okinawan martial discipline called today “Ti (tea).” Those things associated or considered an integral part of karate may have been adopted in the span of time when the Japanese took control of the island in the sixteen hundreds. 

The Japanese seem to me as the source of kata. There is a term used to describe the cultural system that drives almost all aspects of Japanese life called, “Shikata.” 

Read about shikata here:
Read more here:

Shikata, comes from the Japanese feudal era where everyone and everything had its form and function. You could tell by the way one walked what they did professionally. A good example is the Japanese sitting in the seiza position, i.e., “The formal kata to sit seiza involves a transition through kiza to reach the final formal sitting position. Shikata, a form for reishiki or formal etiquette, has specific forms to sit and stand according to cultural position within the Japanese society.” It is also a part of the culture in Asian parts of the world where a strict adherence to shikata as a form that connects to such beliefs as shintoism, buddhism, confucianism, etc.

The Japanese used the term, "shikata," which fundamentally means every single small minute detail was given specific patterns, forms and rhythms to follow. There were no deviations allowed and this is both benefit and detriment to the culture and spills over into the martial arts that are traditionally practiced in all three countries, cultures and belief systems. Shikata meant that every detail of society was governed by specific kata or patterns. Everyone who was a specific discipline was governed by specified kata of that discipline.

Literally: The stake that sticks up gets hammered down.
Meaning: If you stand out, you will be subject to criticism.

When you consider these factors along with Okinawan karate’s introduction to the Japanese in the early nineteen hundreds, especially toward the educational systems, you will find possibly a connection toward the practice of shikata, along with the change of the name from China Hand to Empty Hand, was to become a part of Okinawan karate to placate and gain acceptance by the Japanese. Consider the positions held by both that acceptance of the formal shikata model meant, finally, acceptance into the tribe, if you will, the group that could, would and did facilitate the continued growth of the Okinawan Islands. 

Consider that everything done in those cultures from the feudal era onward and inherited later by Okinawans under occupation (also due to the mandate to modify karate and other martial disciplines toward the educational system) was held closely to specific patterns depending on a variety of factors where in martial arts bujutsu/bu-do governed. 

Just remember that prior to the early nineteen hundreds karate and the dojo, even if there were such a thing since dojo also is derived from Japanese influences, was held in a very, very “Informal” way where such shikata based etiquette’s literally didn’t exist then you get an impression that maybe, maybe kata is a fairly new thing. 

Regardless, a form of kata may have existed in a less formal and ritualized way for Okinawa as well as other disciplines of the world that can be seen as the more simplified “Set of Combinations” for fighting. Give some consideration that even in our modern boxing discipline there are short combinations taught that would fall under the heading of kata or forms. These shorter versions coupled to together in such a way that if presented as a whole would be similar to or look like karate kata, in a way.

We all make the assumption that “Kata” are an integral part of karate from the very beginning but in reality may be an addition influenced by Japanese assimilation of Okinawa into the fold where the more ancient forms of Ti practice may have been more or less a group of combinations for fighting and defense later blended and coalesced into the modern shikata driven kata practiced today. 

In truth, kata today is an integral part of modern Okinawan karate disciplines whether practiced as a “Way” or as a “Jutsu or fighting system.” In truth it has become and has grown into an important if not integral part of the practice of karate-jutsu/do. 


Are Martial Arts Self-Defense Drills Realistic?

Caveat: Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

I have participated in a few training sessions where the teachings were about self-defense techniques. In my earlier/younger days I actually taught some similar models but today I question that a lot. The more I see demonstrated, the more I see via Youtube and the more I read on martial arts self-defense drills the more I find myself asking the question, “Are martial arts self-defense training realistic?”

My questions arise from my studies over the last decade or so. Since I retired for active, on the dojo floor, teaching I have had time to reflect, train, analyze, train and practice what I thought was self-defense and now find through those efforts, not so much self-defense. In reality as to my perceptions, perspective, studies and beliefs most of what is taught as self-defense is not. 

It is not realistic. As I am starting to understand that unrealistic teachings from martial arts will not suffice to protect you in a real self-defense situation. There are way to many missing components and aspects to self-defense to be realistic martial arts self-defense. 

Coming to this conclusion meant that I had to admit, to myself, that what I was doing was not sufficient or ever relevant in most cases toward self-defense or even fighting in general. 

First, the complexities to self-defense to those who actually open their eyes to what it is, is mind boggling. Self-defense, just the academic parts necessary for true self-defense in the physical, starts long before the very first fist or foot is applied on the dojo floor. The complexities will become apparent to anyone who delves into the literature on the subject (see bibliography for a good start). What is often left out is in my mind criminal if not taught in the dojo.

Second, the actual knowledge and understanding to just the narrow topics of conflict, violence and violent conflicts are astounding and I conclude from my perceptions, observations and limited experience are missing in practically all martial arts self-defense curricula. Even the bare bones list provided by a source of what is required for realistic self-defense training are not found in most. 

Third, and I say with a lot of confidence, the most critical component necessary for realistic self-defense training is missing in just about all martial arts self-defense, i.e., the adrenal stress condition in self-defense aspect is just not there. We think it is because we do experience an adrenal stress response in competition but sport tournament type stuff is just not exact enough for self-defense and even if it is all the other aspects mentioned toward a full understanding, notice I didn’t say complete, of what we face if we have to experience self-defense is also a necessary part of the whole.

Understand, I am not saying what you train in will NOT work but I am saying is that most likely that training will be a crap shoot if you are faced with violence, i.e., what kind is it and was it avoidable and so many other questions whose answers are seldom discussed except in the most cursory way must be addressed for self-defense. 

Finally, I have spent just in the academic study over ten years or so on the subject of self-defense as a primary meaning behind the study of martial arts that I have not yet studied all there is just because the guys who are producing that material/references are still writing about the subject while not even glimpsing the end of that tunnel. 

The only redeeming factor is that my conclusions on martial arts self-defense is that the roll of the dice, those chances of any one of those students actually ending up using their training is so remote it ain’t funny. I make the assumption that the reason we don’t see more about martial artists failing or being prosecuted are such that only one of about a thousand will have to face that kind of violence. Those whose chances are much higher tend to live in environments where violence and conflict are still a part of living, or more prominent anyway with higher rates of severity, while most others live in relative safety and security. 

Maybe I am full of shit, then again maybe not. For me, I would not want to gamble my life, liberty or pursuit of happiness to be obstructed by ignorance of such a view of reality. In the end, I don’t wish to rely on luck as to the realistic applicability of my martial arts self-defense, in defense. This is such a complex issue that my mind is just running with the bulls as ideas, thoughts and concerns just keep popping into my consciousness just thinking of this question. 

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Bibliography Articles on Self-Defense/Conflict/Violence

The main page leading to the articles I have chosen as a starting point to attain knowledge of conflict, violence and self-defense is: http://ymaa.com/articles/society-and-self-defense where you can navigate to the below or you can simply find a title below and click for direct access to the articles. Most of these are actually introductions to the references written by the authors themselves. It is advisable to start here then move on to the more in-depth stuff in their publications. This section will get you a beginning understanding necessary in phase one of learning self-defense. 

I.M.O.P. Principle—Intent, Means, Opportunity and Preclusion http://ymaa.com/articles/2014/10/imop-principle-intent-means-opportunity-and-preclusion
Introduction to Violence: Scale of Force Options http://ymaa.com/articles/introduction-to-violence-scale-of-force-options
Facing Violence: The Unconscious Stuff-Finding Your Glitches http://ymaa.com/articles/facing-violence-the-unconscious-stuff
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting http://ymaa.com/articles/violence-what-everyone-needs-to-know-about-fighting

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Branca, Andrew F. “The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen.” Law of Self Defense LLC. 2013.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Miller, Rory. “The Practical Problem of Teaching Self-Defense.” YMAA. January 19, 2015. http://ymaa.com/articles/2015/1/the-practical-problem-of-teaching-self-defense
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot.” NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #2: Getting Stabbed.”  NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2015.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #3: Getting Hit and Hitting.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. NNSD. April 20. 2015. 
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.
Jahn, C. R. “FTW Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2012
Jahn, C. R. “Hardcore Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2002.

Bibliography of RBC Drills (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Miller, Rory. “Drills: Training for the Sudden Violence.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. Smashwords. 2011.
Quinn, Peyton. “Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training.” Paladin Press. Amazon Digital Services, inc. 1996

My Blog Bibliography
Cornered Cat (Scratching Post): http://www.corneredcat.com/scratching-post/
Kodokan Boston: http://kodokanboston.org
Mario McKenna (Kowakan): http://www.kowakan.com
Wim Demeere’s Blog: http://www.wimsblog.com

Is Chinkuchi as critical as they would have us believe?

Caveat: Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.) 

Lets start with the fact that our ancient, not so ancient I think, forefathers of karate didn’t really know how to articulate and transmit the chinkuchi principle. In that we modern practitioners struggle with its meaning and purpose, i.e., we don’t truly, fully and completely know what it is (I feel I have a pretty good handle on it now) and we don’t know how it works (also, I feel I have a pretty good handle on it now)?

If what they say is true, that chinkuchi is a critical component of karate and it is a vital part of training then are most who practice karate actually practicing karate? I think, when I contemplate the true (according to my perspective) nature of karate (as a modern martial art only about 100 or so years old if you believe the Matsuyama theory) that we are practicing it, be it sport, combative and/or self-defense oriented. 

Then, I am guilty here as well, why is it so many seemed so focused on this principle and concept? Is it the same misguided focus some systems have toward a particular aspect of their practice such as the natural stances, the vertical fist and the muscular double bone blocking methods?

I begin with my many articles on this subject with the hint that chinkuchi is merely a terse explanation of a complex subject that those folks, in that time for that time, were unable to articulate adequately to get the principle across to students. Then we add in that most students, in those early so called first generation days, were not exposed to chinkuchi or fundamental principles in those days. I also feel it may have been also the teaching methods adopted by Okinawans from Japanese Budo influences and the modern implementation of it into the educational systems as a watered down version of karate that these concepts never reached us and were left incomplete or excluded from the educational version implemented in the early 1900’s.

I do believe what is “CRITICAL” to the teachings, the practices and the applications of karate or actually all martial effort is two things, first is the fundamental principles of martial systems and second, the practice of scenario-based adrenal stress conditioning reality based training necessary to make the leap from a “Way,” “Sport,” and/or “Combative” to actual fighting and/or self-defense applied against an adversary/attacker. 

I believe chinkuchi in its bare essential form is a part of this, a smaller but intricate part, application and study of martial discipline that without we end up with a hallow form without substance, depth and breadth. 

The gaol identified makes the actual term and its perceived importance, connection and incomplete meaning moot. It then becomes a meme, i.e., something that in the end is about ego, control and monetary gain in all its forms including larger memberships, etc.

Primary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Bibliography Articles on Self-Defense/Conflict/Violence

The main page leading to the articles I have chosen as a starting point to attain knowledge of conflict, violence and self-defense is: http://ymaa.com/articles/society-and-self-defense where you can navigate to the below or you can simply find a title below and click for direct access to the articles. Most of these are actually introductions to the references written by the authors themselves. It is advisable to start here then move on to the more in-depth stuff in their publications. This section will get you a beginning understanding necessary in phase one of learning self-defense. 

I.M.O.P. Principle—Intent, Means, Opportunity and Preclusion http://ymaa.com/articles/2014/10/imop-principle-intent-means-opportunity-and-preclusion
Introduction to Violence: Scale of Force Options http://ymaa.com/articles/introduction-to-violence-scale-of-force-options
Facing Violence: The Unconscious Stuff-Finding Your Glitches http://ymaa.com/articles/facing-violence-the-unconscious-stuff
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting http://ymaa.com/articles/violence-what-everyone-needs-to-know-about-fighting

Secondary Bibliography of Self-Defense (Some titles have RBC drills included):
Ayoob, Massad. “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense”Gun Digest Books. Krouse Publications. Wisconsin. 2014.
Branca, Andrew F. “The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen.” Law of Self Defense LLC. 2013.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Miller, Rory. “The Practical Problem of Teaching Self-Defense.” YMAA. January 19, 2015. http://ymaa.com/articles/2015/1/the-practical-problem-of-teaching-self-defense
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot.” NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #2: Getting Stabbed.”  NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2015.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #3: Getting Hit and Hitting.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. NNSD. April 20. 2015. 
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997.
Maffetone, Philip Dr. “The Maffetone Method: The Holistic, Low-stress, No-Pain Way to Exceptional Fitness.” McGraw Hill, New York. 2000
Strong, Sanford. “Strong on Defense_ Survival Rules to Protect you and your Family from Crime.” Pocket Books. New York. 1996.
and more … see blog bibliography.
Jahn, C. R. “FTW Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2012
Jahn, C. R. “Hardcore Self Defense.” iUniverse. Amazon Digital Services. 2002.

Bibliography of RBC Drills (Some titles have RBC drills included):
MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Miller, Rory. “Drills: Training for the Sudden Violence.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. Smashwords. 2011.
Quinn, Peyton. “Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training.” Paladin Press. Amazon Digital Services, inc. 1996

My Blog Bibliography
Cornered Cat (Scratching Post): http://www.corneredcat.com/scratching-post/
Kodokan Boston: http://kodokanboston.org
Mario McKenna (Kowakan): http://www.kowakan.com
Wim Demeere’s Blog: http://www.wimsblog.com