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

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"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

Is it the aim of karate to achieve perfection of character?

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The old saying, source is always questionable but … , goes that traditionalist of Okinawan karate believe that “Kata” is the soul of karate.” Guess what, I am going to question these things in this article - surprise! surprise! :-)

First, what is the aim of karate? From my chair it ain’t the perfection of character although that goal is considered a part of the fourth fundamental principle of martial disciplines, the philosophy. Ultimately, the aim of karate is self-defense. Don’t assume the definition in this article is the one I tend to articulate through these articles as a modern form of self-defense. It is the aim of karate to provide humans a means to defending the self, i.e., the body and the mind since both are affected in violence, without weapons.

Consider this, since time began with human existence we humans have always sought out the use of weapons be it a stick or a modern missile launcher to do our battles with but on rare occasions the use of our bodies are needed. In some cultures they mandate individuals learn and apply such empty handed models as a pre-requisite to learning and using weapons. It may explain why karate, a solely empty handed model if you go by the naming convention, that also includes, at least as far as modern thinking, weapons such as the Bo, the Sai and the Kama, etc. as used on Okinawa.

Now, as to the perfection of character, it is NOT the aim of karate - that has been determined and articulated by the terse written word above - but rather a more philosophical addition brought about through the forced peace of Asia after World War II, etc. when the Japanese needed to find some other means to justify the continuance of Budo, a modern term itself, where the practice of a deadly system of combat could be accepted and still practiced to overcome an effort to force Japanese to discard any and all combative forms as perceived by the conquering Americans and the World at large. 

The essence and aim of karate as with any martial art is defense in a combative scenario with a preference for weapons as extensions of the human body. It is about brutal applications of physical techniques as guided by fundamental combat principles resulting in an adversary suffering grave bodily harm and even death to meet the goals of the practitioner and applicator of karate, etc.

The philosophical principles as appended to karate and other combat systems simply provides two things, first is a means to practice something considered deadly for other purposes more acceptable to a modern society averse to conflict and violence of that level while second, as a means of character development so if and when such expertise is applied in defense of self, family and tribe it remains a socially accepted means and level of force necessary to stop the threat and maintain safety, security and socially driven conditions toward group survival dynamics, etc. 

Finally, “Kata is the Soul of Karate,” is one of those maxims or meme’s that sounds really good and gives undefined reasons readily accepted to most in the study and practice of such a violent and dangerous discipline. It allows one to change the aim of karate toward a more recreationally driven sport oriented study and practice where one does not require exposure to conflict and violence except in the controlled safety oriented competitive model that has become sport karate. 

If kata is the soul of karate then it meets the requirement that its practice makes for the very essence or embodiment of a specified quality that is karate. In that narrow and precise view I would agree that kata along with other distinctive practices such as basics, hojo undo and kumite make a triad of disciplinary practices that do embody the very essence that makes karate, karate, regardless of whether for spiritual growth, physical and mental health and well-being or self-defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

What is it to “Be A Man?”

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

When I started to contemplate this was after reading the article posted or shared on Marc MacYoung’s FBWall, “Our Kids Don’t Need Gun Control Laws, They Need Fathers.” In one of the comments that followed Mark Burns mentioned, “be a man.” This reminds me of the constant discussion and disagreement as to what is considered “Traditional Martial Arts.” Emphasis on the definition of traditional. 

Being a man seems to be a very subjective phrase that results in as many different thoughts than does the discussion of traditional martial arts what ever that really means. I began to contemplate as to what it takes to “be a man.” 

Being a Man: First, do a search on being a man and at the top of the google search I used it gave the stats of about 1,680,000,000 results in only about .65 seconds. Second, amazing time to achieve that many results in so short a time, thanks google search engine. Third, this simply means that defining what it is to be a man is subjective and dependent on each individual, that individuals perceptions and distinctions according to the various influences such as their fathers, their families, the social structure of that family in its local social tribe and so on. Don’t forget that for all of these it does include the cultural belief systems at each and every level. It also comes from the longer line of ancestry involved because ancestry has a lot to do with how that cultural belief system evolved over a long period of time, say at a minimum of three hundred years. 

Every man must become the man that his social community requires as to that groups survival. Think of survival as what each generation teaches the one that follows so that it maximizes that groups chance of survival. If any one generation fails to transmit that social cultural belief system, including what it is to be the man in that group along with other beliefs, then they have allowed a weak link to effect that groups chance of survival. If the group actually has its shit together that weak link will be readily detectable and therefore the group will either correct it or remove it but in modern times this part may not be available now. 

Being a man has a lot more involved than merely acting in a macho manner. There are all kinds of descriptive terms and phrases that would give some modicum of information toward what it is to be a man but to remind you, that changes according to the social construct and the survival instinct of that same social entity. There is a huge amount of diversity in that thought and it also provides me a theory as to why humans should have remained in those ancient groups or tribes. Such descriptive terms as, “Selflessness, consistency, humility, integrity, respect, courage, honor, compassion, honesty and sincerity as well as duty and loyalty.” All of these then therefore depend heavily on how that particular person, family and social community defines them and then that definition is instinctually modeled toward the tribe or groups survival. 

Then there are how such definitions are affected by group dynamics such as where a person, a man in this case, sits within the groups hierarchy, their status at that level within the tribe and finally their duty and responsibility to the tribe or group with emphasis on its survival. 

Now, I would add in how the effects of the society at its current standing effects being a man. Modern society compared to a more simplistic social standing such as Medieval times would create what it is to be a man to self, the group and the social tribes involved. Modern times seems to me to have put a socially conditioned different spin on what it is to be a man.

For instance, being a man to me means having the intestinal fortitude to solve your own issues, problems and obstacles but modern man as of this time seems to be conditioning men to seek others in solving issues, problems and obstacles. Modern society is actually distancing everyone, men especially, from the natural human instincts that provided for survival of the tribe making for men who no longer have the knowledge, understanding or tools to cope and resolve conflicts along with the sometimes resulting violence. We are forgetting our ancestry and roots especially those aspects that have not been removed by nature through evolution. 

A complete lack of knowledge, understanding and the resulting tools to cope with conflict and violence, a very natural state of human existence that is not going anywhere any time soon, means when the natural human conflict arises we either try to force its resolution onto others so we don’t have to deal with its stresses or we try to ignore it until frustrations rise to a level causing anger, escalation and violence, more violence than what we originally wanted to rid ourselves of to begin with by sticking our collective heads in the sands of ignorance. 

In that light lets say that to be a man is to learn and understand what it is to be human, collect adequate tools and knowledge and especially understanding so each man can deal with human conflict and violence, at all levels. A man does rely on others to assist but deflecting the entire situation to others is simply cowardice. A man then through knowledge, understanding and awareness knows how to properly apply the coping skills to avoid, deescalate and resolve said obstacles, issues, problems and obstacles. A man knows when to “hold-em, fold-em and when to walk away” as Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler, would say. 

Being a man is accepting the world for what it is, having the courage to deal with the world and then finding ways to make for a better world using the tools the world has and works under. Hiding and othering and ignoring and forcing others to take on and handle our responsibilities is cowardice, stupidity and just plain wrong. 

Maybe being a man is as simple and as complex as understanding we have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and our tribes to do the best we can for our survival. Maybe those are the underlying principles of being a man while all the others such as being “Selfless, consistent, with humility, with integrity, with respect, with courage, with honor, with compassion, with honesty and sincerity as well as with duty and loyalty,” will help each man to understand what it takes to be a “Man.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

How tight should the fist be when punching/striking, i.e., from the hip chamber position to target?

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

Let me begin by addressing the chamber position on the hip, not a good fight or self-defense position. It is great as a novice level teaching tool but it behooves the practitioner and sensei to move away from this chambering as soon as they learn the principles involved in punching and striking. This chambering gives your adversary way to much time and distance to see it, to defect it and to kick your bloody ass. Economy of motion while achieving power and force with the movement of your mass, etc. while allowing that to be achieved by a drop step process exploiting gravity to your favor and so on. 

Chambering is a teaching tool and a process to provide judges something to critique and score for kata competitions. Some will say it provides more power but in realty the extra distance the fist has to travel just takes away some advantage and provides your adversary opportunity to prevent your fist from reaching its target. Chambering, traveling more distance thus requring more time and the inherent energy loss and bleed because of the bleed off points along the line from shoulder girdle, to arm and elbow, to wrist and into fist have to achieve certain principles all at the same exact moment the fist reaches the target. The further the fist has to travel the longer you will need to take to achieve that power and force chain of events that culminate into that one burst of power and force to the target. If you chamber your adding to many variables to the striking process. 

All this explains somewhat why striking and punching are not effective and efficient as striking arts would have you believe. It is geared toward a more social way of violence meant to communicate and not truly injure or kill. There are other and better ways to apply grave harm toward an attacker with appropriate levels of force. 

It is interesting how this concept of tightness of fist, etc., to explain hitting and being hit (yes, a pun on Marc MacYoung’s book on this very subject) is a huge topic with many threads, theories and concepts that are derived not from reality, self-defense fighting or even sport fights (hitting here with the fist is different than hitting in a self-defense situation or street fighting).

Here follows some of the answers provided to the person who asked this question with some comments from me after each.

Some of the answers:

“ … relax as much as possible until impact, focus more on tightening the pinky and ring, and take into account what your specific style requires you to do.”

Comment: The relaxation to flex/tighten needs more to fully understand that concept and should include a full and comprehensive explanation of the “hard-to-soft/soft-to-hard” maxim in hitting and being hit. The place I lose it is at the tightening of the “Pinky and Ring” statement because I cannot even fathom how the pinky finger works in this dynamic tension type thing for a fist and striking let along what the “Ring” has to do with anything unless they are actually referring to the ring-finger then I don’t see the connections. When it comes to taking into account your specific style requirements that also means nothing to my view especially if you train principles over technique because the principles teach this without any connection to any system or style. Principles are universal to all of them.

“If your punch starts at the hip then it really doesn't matter.”

Comment: Ok, what the heck does that mean. Don’t just put that out there and let it hang on the limbs of “Assumptions.” Don’t let students assume and don’t assume that students will automatically understand because then they will just assign something pretty much random to the meaning in the hopes they are right and don’t end up making Sensei angry. In a nutshell, in self-defense or in the fight if you are chambering your losing. 

“This depends on your level of experience. The longer you've trained the more you relax. In chamber: fist should look tight, but actually be relaxed. Fist turns as it is seeking target, last quarter of twist as knuckles strikes point, tightening fist and stance.”

Comment: Text book explanation of a system that utilized the twist punch in karate. Read the comments and article to address this quote or statement. Don’t rely on the length of time in training to arrive at a relaxed state because if you are not actively addressing such things from the novice to the student levels you do disservice to your students. If this is for self-defense and not just to impress or display or demonstrate for trophies and points the twist punch may or may not be good in self-defense but more importantly almost all of this will most likely go in the toilet when the adrenal chemical dump hits when attacked. 

“ … when I was a beginner I was taught to have my fist as tight as possible. … I do not close or tighten my fist until just before it hits the target. Then I only tighten it 30% to maybe 50%. i am told by others I have worked out with that my hands are heavy. They say I hit hard. When you tighten your fist, you tighten your forearm and to a lesser extent your shoulder. It is said that you can move a relaxed muscle faster than a tight one. By being as relaxed as possible until the end of a punch you can punch faster. Even partial tension in any of the muscles involved will result in a punch being slower than the same type of punch being executed with muscles being more relaxed. Also tension held when not necessary will sap your endurance and energy quickly.”

Comment: Remember, when you tighten the fist or the body you are bleeding off energy and slowing your speed down, not good. There is enough bleed off as it is in hitting so don’t promote such tightening. This tightening of 30% to 50% is just one of those things done to give more credence to the concept. When you do that instant of tightening at the target trying to trian to limit it to some arbitrary percentage makes for good conversation between Sensei and Stup, ops Student but doesn’t mean a lot, call it a meme of good but irrelevant information to make things feel and appear legit. Beginning at the comment of “When you tighten your fist, …,” it begins to take on importance and relevancy but there is more so continue on that explanation. 

“On impact...tighten then relax.”

Comment: Yea, ANDDDDDD …. ????

Bibliography (Click the link)

Is Prolonged Dynamic Tension Beneficial?

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Beneficial as to health and/or beneficial as to martial arts and then how is it beneficial regarding both? All of these are hard to answer and, honestly, it depends on a variety of factors.

One such factor is the individual, how will prolonged dynamic tension effect them physically? I don’t mention mentally/psychologically because I truly do not believe that it directly affects our mental state except as it might if certain physical effects are caused through say, “Blood pressures on the brain, etc.”

Caveat time: I am not a medical professional and as far as I know there are not research papers on the effects of dynamic tensions against the body, etc. I make my comments in this article from personal experience and judgments from my experiences in martial arts where I do practice a form of dynamic tensioning. It is more on how I do it and mostly it is not prolonged. 

In the martial arts communities there are those who perform various forms of dynamic tensioning. In general, I find dynamic tension exercise beneficial but where things tend to fall short is on “How one does the dynamic tension exercises.”

Let me get this out now, dynamic tension as to applications or goals of self-defense are not conducive to proper applications of the fundamental principles of martial disciplines toward the application of physical self-defense. It bleeds off our flow of energy and wastes it thus making its practice as to intent important. 

Some might argue that using dynamic tension in the application of techniques is about power but except in cases where other factors actually achieve said power over a direct power generation through such dynamic tensions is present and of great concern. In general for self-defense we NEVER want to rely heavily and solely on such singular applications. 

So when talking about health and fitness we can argue that dynamic tension is of benefit but then the application of prolonged dynamic tension comes into question. I feel that the practice of prolonged dynamic tension is pretty much based on the misconception that if dynamic tension is healthy, creates fitness and works toward power and force generation if we “Do more of it” is a misnomer based on feelings, feeling stronger and powerful. It is proven that such feelings are not actually strength and/or power. 

If we accept that dynamic tension exercise is good for our health and fitness without all the other amendments, feelings and conceptions then it is good to practice it along with other fitness and health related exercises and programs. As I have done and train I left off the, “Prolonged dynamic tension” process and use a more seemingly beneficial practice of yin-yang application, i.e., an equal and rhythmic and cadence driven process of dynamic tension to positive relaxation and so on, i.e., kind of like training the physiokinetic principle of sub-principles of, “Sequential locking/unlocking, breathing, structure and alignments, etc.” 

Others have argued vehemently that their practice of prolonged dynamic tension has resulted in lower blood pressure; healthier life; being fit; and more powerful and so on but cannot, will not or are unable to provide the kind of research toward that one aspect vs. the possibility of genes being the actual source of such health benefits. 

Caveat Two: I also cannot produce any such evidence as to my viewpoint other than what I believe I gain from my use of dynamic tensioning and readily admit and accept that my current physical and mental state of health and fitness may well be due to genetics and my healthier lifestyle that includes exercise benefits of the practice of martial arts. I walk a lot and that may be my actual beneficial exercise while not experiencing any health and fitness degradation from prolonged or not prolonged dynamic tension efforts. 

In closing out this particular discussion and topic I have to say in the end how one practices, trains and applies martial arts is an individual decision and I would just add that when taking up such disciplines it is best to seek out advice from medical authorities as to benefits or detriments to such things like, “Prolonged Dynamic Tension” exercises and practices. 

Oh, as to force and power or other benefits in applying martial arts, prolonged dynamic tensions overall doesn’t really provide all that much benefit in fighting the good fight in reality. The training is just not complete and comprehensive enough one way or another to say it is a benefit. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Why Do Martial Arts Dojo Use Japanese Terms, etc.?

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Well, it makes them feel good, it makes them feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves, and it also makes them feel connected to the mystical, exotic and more interesting culture and life then what they live in already. These and other reasons drive practitioners into the use of Japanese terms, characters and ideograms. 

What those terms actually do for us when properly translated and defined is provides us with a bit more insight as to the what, when, where, how and why of these interesting teachings from their culture and beliefs on martial arts. Granted, most terms are not translated correctly but with the advent of translations sites from the vasti-ness of the Internet Verse or Cortex, for you firefly friends, that ability to correctly translate simple terms increased ten-fold.

Terms are limited in use yet one of the benefits is that when translated we often find, as a direct opposite to English terms and words, the term, character and ideogram have “Several different” translations and meanings. 

Example: Isshin [一心]

The characters/ideograms mean "one mind; wholeheartedness; one's whole heart." The first character means, "one," the second character means, "heart; mind; spirit."

Note: I remember that most never truly understood who, why and how the term, “Wholeheartedly,” became a part of the system practiced until someone pointed out the various definitions from the use of Japanese characters/ideograms, etc.

When you look at the group of defined English translations you will see, and as it is taught in the actual dojo that uses this term, that it deals with “Heart and Mind and Spirit” where further definitions and meanings can and do come from how practitioners interpret, perceive and gain perspective on from the study of the system and the martial discipline. 

Yet, using them in the dojo, verbally, such as counting repetitions, etc. is more an ego self-soothing pride boosting and associative need from survival instinctual meaning not often conscious to the individual type thing. 

I remember once a very prominent Koryu Practitioner said, “When I left Japan my Sensei told me that I should teach in America as I would for Americans, the teachings in Japan are for Japanese (and of course visiting guest students like this practitioner).” Now, I don’t have that quote exact but the meaning in his post/article was that one should use the cultural etiquettes of the Dojo and Sensei and Country/Culture/Beliefs where you train but when you go to another then train, practice and apply your knowledge and experience to that Dojo, Sensei (if not you), Country, Cultural belief system and that means using here English, American style clothing to train in, and so on. 

Be aware that many also pick and choose, cherry-pick, what they want that relates to their needs and perceptions so that they benefit personally and directly rather than actually mimic that cultural belief system complete “Way,” to practice, train and apply said martial disciplines. We non-Asian martial artists don’t seem to be able to let that go, it has become ingrained and encoded as “What martial arts are,” when in fact it is about, “What we WANT martial arts to be!”

Here is the rub, in general, even those who want to totally and completely absorb the martial arts along with its cultural belief system heritages by traveling to the country of origin to train and learn are in for a huge disappointment. Those venues and avenues have succumbed to world commercialism to the nth degree. Almost all of it now caters to what we, the American or Non-Asian customers, want and need at the “Low, low price of …”

Then there is the conception of learning from the proverbial, “First Generation Students” of the masters from which they learned their martial arts but in reality, as to my experiences and research only, they were not exposed to those cultural beliefs as they pertain to marital arts and they were actually exposed to the more watered-down educational sport oriented forms of martial arts. 

Except for the very few who truly were exposed, over long periods of time that span decades “In-country” practicing what we understand as “Koryu,” to traditional martial disciplines practically none of the modern martial artists were ever exposed to and trained in that more traditional martial disciplines.

One solid and positive aspect to all this is there are a few, and growing in numbers, who actually are taking the time and effort to seek out the traditional aspects and incorporate that, at least academically, into thier training and teachings. It is a bit like the martial arts self-defense world that lacks reality there is a concerted effort of the few experienced professionals to teach us “Reality-based adrenal stress conditions training” to get us closer to “Reality,” and the “Reality of Conflict and Violence.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Is Kata Training for Self-Defense?

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A person once stated that Okinawan’s didn’t practice contact practice like kumite because it “Eschewed the concept because their techniques were too potentially lethal.” I get this itchy feeling whenever I hear someone spout the deadly applications of karate. Granted, at one time long, long ago - historically speaking of the early 1600’s - the techniques applied as Ti or Toudi may have been devastating but as to deadly I perceive that as more a result of gravity or weapons over Te (karate as it is called today). 

In the early years as karate was introduced in this country it was almost exclusively about kicking and striking. Seldom was any other, regarding karate in a strict sense, methodology referenced toward self-defense. Mostly, it was about competitive aspects and we all know that competitive aspects has nothing to do with self-defense, fighting or combatives of the empty hand, i.e., hand-to-hand, kind. 

Personally, as I have come to understand, karate as to striking and kicking has its human limits governed by survival of the tribe and the human instinct to communicate through violence, when necessary, in a way that is guaranteed to prevent grave bodily harm or death, i.e., those proverbial potentially lethal applications. 

Striking and kicking are about getting what you want and enforcing rules that often govern human interactions be they in a family environment or a more tribal societal family like environment. It was not meant to be a deadly lethal system. I repeat, karate in its bare educational sport oriented form, was not meant to be a deadly lethal system. 

If you goal is to cause grave bodily harm or death then your best bet is to get a weapon and apply it with a killer mind-set/mind-state because unless you accidentally cause an adversary to fall where gravity kills them karate ain’t going to get the job done. Violence, except in rare cases predation violence, seldom results in grave bodily harm and/or death (here agin is where accidents happen). As one source indicated, it is about communications. 

Bunkai, Henka, Ouyou-bunkai, Omote-Ura and Embusen are being touted as the way of self-defense but in reality those training paths are about learning concepts and principles but fall way short of providing the kind of defensive goals one needs in conflict and violence. They are paths a novice needs to open the conepts up for interpretation and understanding but are NOT about defense against violence of a predatory nature. 

This brings me down to self-defense. SD is about avoidance, avoiding the socially emotionally driven monkey dances almost all humans, especially males, endure from their testerone overloaded youthful interactions that don’t often end in grave bodily harm and/or levels of lethal force that would end in death. This comprises what I would say is about 98% of modern violence. I would also say that 98% of martial arts in modern times is about sport competition rather than self-defense. I would go a bit further to say that the teachings of modern martial arts is about 98% ineffective in real self-defense, i.e., a predatory resource/process situation. I would say that for 98% of martial artists who believe they know self-defense that only about 2% of those will ever deal with a predatory resource/process type assault. I will go even further to say that 98% of martial artists who believe they know self-defense that only about 2% of those actually know and understand the full comprehensive understanding of self-defense. 

I will also say that 98% of all martial artist who believe they know self-defense have no experience nor have they received training from anyone with experience in self-defense, fighting and combatives. Lets add one more, 98% of all bunkai taught as being applicable self-defense, fighting and combatives is not valid, i.e., they won’t or don’t work in self-defense, fighting and/or combative situations. 

Kata is not training self-defense. Kumite is not training in self-defense. Sport competitive participation is not self-defense. Bunkai do not teach self-defense techniques. Martial arts self-defense models do not teach self-defense that works. 

I could go on but I sense that it may be overkill. Karate, all martial arts, have benefits and are beneficial to all who partake of its studies but as to kata or other distinct parts they are not the means to achieve proficient ability in fighting, combatives or self-defense (especially SD).

Note: Such terms used in a teaching model like bunkai, henka, ouyou, omote/ura and embusen are just excuses to tell ourselves we are actually learning a combative fighting defense system. Yes, they have purpose but in the end they are just ways to describe things so the initiate can achieve greater understanding toward actual hands-on ability to fight, defend and apply combatives in a violent way. 

Note II: Being traditional or classic or even modern does not equate to ability in the fight. It may get you started but it won’t take you the entire way. This stuff has been a bane of discussion since the first moment the caveman lifted a piece of tree to club an attacking beast over the head for protection. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

What are the differences between Okinawan karate and Japanese Karate?

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“Okinawan Karate Vs. Japanese Karate. The differences and why … “ is the original question asked by Charles B. Stanley on the Ryukyu MA Research and Discussion Facebook group. It inspired this article.

These are my thoughts and mine alone. If you wish to see the research behind it simply review my bibliography but understand that those contributed to my personal feelings in this article.

First, understand the differences between the cultures because that is the very essence in the differences between Okinawa and Japan. In a nutshell the Okinawan culture is similar to Japanese only in the sense they both sought out and absorbed what they felt was beneficial to them from all the surrounding cultures over their history. You can say that the Chinese influences were one of the greatest for both but more so for Okinawa as can be understood by the study of Okinawan history.

Second, what was absorbed by each differed. In general the Okinawans although part of their culture involved militaristic philosophies and disciplines that took a back seat to other more socially and philosophically and peaceful oriented cultural influences. In general the Japanese focuses heavily on their militaristic oriented (think of bushido and samurai here) influences of which the concept of “Shikata” dominate even today. 

Third, when I look at Japanese culture in martial arts vs. Okinawan culture in martial arts - at least in what was taught late 1950’s and onward - I see differences such as Okinawans using sparring/fighting contests vs. an almost exclusive use of kata, forms that come from the shikata concepts in their society, as a means of learning how to defend, fight and apply combatives. There was also a much higher military like discipline in the practice hall in Japan vs. Okinawa where a very relaxed family like atmosphere existed. This will be hard to prove historically as well as disprove ergo why it is my theory, view and belief.

The differences have become harder to perceive simply because of the concerted effort by Okinawa to have their martial arts accepted and approved by the Japanese budo-like societies/organizations. Remember that the Japanese orgs changed drastically after the war ended simply because of requirements made by American leadership as a requirement/part of the surrender agreements. 

As to teaching a modified version to the Japanese I think that was a result of the Okinawan need and effort to gain acceptance and approval, nothing more and nothing less. It seems less about what was taught then how it was taught. The focus on kata become dominant vs. applying it in a fight contest and so on. As I stated earlier on in this thread the educational version effected both cultures and since it was driven by strong suggestions from the Japanese government both instances, Japan’s schools and Okinawan schools, the end result was pretty much the same except I would expect the Okinawan teachers to have a certain Okinawan flavor of an influence on their own. This also leads to the possibility that no matter what when said and done the end result was a more homogenous version of karate that encompassed the needs, wants and requirements of both societies making its cultural essence a mixture over either one being a dominant influence. Remember, both Japan and Okinawa have a history of absorbing what they wanted and needed into their way and that way differs between Japan and Okinawa only in general ways as far as I can tell.

In the end, it is not actually a matter of Japan vs. Okinawan karate but the study of the actual fundamental principles of those varying disciplines because in truth that is the real connection between them that levels the playing field. Principles actually transcend any societal cultural belief system since they are all the same since all human physiques, etc., are kind of identical, i.e., we all have blood, we all breathe, we all have a skeletal system and we all have muscular systems, etc. that need alignment, structure, etc. in order to work and in karate apply force and power to achieve our goals in self-defense. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Innovative Practice, when can it be acceptable vs. detrimental?

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“At what point is innovation (in regard to the practice of karate) acceptable and when does it become detrimental?” asked by Kyle Pjd on Ryukyu Martial Arts research and discussion Facebook group.

First, an excellent question if I do say so myself. The answer I would give is, “It depends.” It does depend on a variety of factors and one critical factor is the practitioner, the individual learning and practicing. I can only say, from my perspective; my perception; my experiences as limited as they are, etc.

Second, a practitioner can only reach that level of practice if they have an excellent mentor in their system of practice. It is this dual symbiotic relationship that leads one to achieve a level of proficiency and expertise that allows such innovational understanding allowing one to stretch, reach and achieve innovative practice of say, “Karate.”

Third, to achieve this level both the deshi and the sensei must understand concepts such as “Shu-ha-ri and Shin-gi-tai.” I don’t need to go into this here because there are others more qualified who have published excellent literature on the subject such as Sensei Michael Clarke of Shinseidokan Dojo of Australia. I will say that most practitioners achieve a solid understanding of the “Shu” levels but rarely go beyond into the “ha-ri” levels. 

Finally, as per my perception and perspective, one does not have the expertise and proficiency to move to the higher levels at the sho-dan or lower yu-dan-sha levels, it is just to early and today’s gratuitous awarding of black belts kind of muddies the waters on this subject. In my limited experience I believe that, all things being perfect, one cannot, does not and will not have that innovative mind-set and mind-state until they reach the following as to levels and criteria:

1. Go-dan levels in a perfect world (it doesn’t exist but it is a good gaol to set).
2. A certain level of maturity that in my opinion cannot be achieved until one reaches the age of fifty years.
3. A level of symbiotic mentoring with others that also relates to age as in mentoring age, i.e., about twenty years as a mentor (not to be compared to the age of the individual as indicated in no. 2.
4. A certain level of knowledge, understanding and most important experience. (Note: the experience level must include a certain level of proficiency through actual hands-on like experience dealing professionally with conflict and violence both social and asocial in nature along with experience through adrenal stress conditions)
5. A complete comprehensive understanding, knowledge and application of the fundamental principles of martial disciplines. (Note: it does not have to be martial art oriented but some form of hand-to-hand defensives systems)

This is the bare minimum and only when one achieves some level of understanding, knowledge and expertise here and through continued studies will they reach a level that allows them to be innovative. It is also important that they reach a level where they can perceive and determine what is innovative and what is simply change for change sake. Too many have simply made cosmetic changes to their practice so they can self-promote and create a “New System” so they can be masters with all that entails from a strictly commercial standpoint.

As can now be seen herein to achieve a level that allows for innovative change is also a very complex model that is often too complex to explain fully and completely in an article or comment but you can at least see through this effort that it is not a simple nor easy answer and to actually achieve it is rare indeed. Asking the question is a good start but only a start for the road is long, treacherous but achievable to at least a few. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

What is Jutsu, Do, SD and the Chemical Cocktail?

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JUTSU: Principles of Physiokinetics and Technique

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.)

The combination of physiokinetics and technique are the physical or YANG aspects of martial arts disciplines. In whole and mostly in part all martial arts tend to teach this aspect of the discipline while few encompass all the principles as a basis of martial discipline instruction. 

DO (Doh): Principles of Theory and Philosophy

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 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.)

The combination of theory and philosophy are the YIN or psychological aspects of martial arts disciplines. It is sad to write that most martial arts teachings fail to address these principles with any sort of depth and breadth. This YIN aspect is what balances out martial arts training, practice and application. It is what allows us the intestinal fortitude to act morally and justifiably against conflict and violence. 

SDCC: Principles of Self-Defense and Chemical Cocktail

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 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, ???)

Although martial disciplines only have need for theory, physiokinetics, technique and philosophy to achieve their goal of Yang-Yin or Jutsu and Do it is these last two that drive home the modern need to balance out applications toward conflict and violence with broad spanning of all those things before, during and after violence that are required to prevent practitioners from suffering often unknown obstacles and dangers throughout the self-defense, defense. If not for these two modern jutsu would not be available for self-defense, combatives or fighting dependent on their individual distinctions, etc.

Bibliography (Click the link)

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

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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)


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

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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

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


Bibliography (Click the link)

Is self-defense a fundamental right of people?

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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)

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)