"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.

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Can we truly learn how to defend ourselves?

As I travel this path I have come to realize that we can truly learn to defend ourselves IF ...

The IF is always that one word that transcends understanding of what it would and does mean to defend or protect ourselves in life. SD can be verbal at home or work, it can be a chance encounter in our cars, it can be some natural phenomena. Yet I would once again narrow the field down to personal/physical self protection against another person/physical threat. One who is possibly bent on doing you physical harm.

I have been discussing/posting/practicing self defense stuff for a few years now and the one absolute I have found is that to truly learn how to  defend ourselves is one that takes a lot of effort and a very long time. It just does not happen in one three day seminar or one of those two week self defense courses regardless of advertisement and the ads language.

I am absolutely convinced beyond any doubt that you do not learn self defense by the instruction of a person does this technique and you do this in response type technique. I taught that way and called it self defense classes - ops, I fu@# that one up. How did your reality gap handle that sentence?

I am most positive that what is needed BEFORE you do any physical practice and/or training takes a considerable time span and a continuous one so it remains accessible to our brains in a crises. You only hurt yourself and your students if you fail to get all of it and instruct/teach all of it to them. You can fool them with rhetoric and platitudes but that will depend a lot on the fact that almost all of them will never have to call what your providing up in a live fire situation.

I spend an exorbitant amount of time reviewing and posting on definitions, semantics, and other such things because I am finding, daily now, just how important communications are and that a lack of knowledge and awareness widens that reality gap by a huge amount. The bigger the chasm - the easier it is to fall in.

Click for large view.
Imagine a early American venture across the uncharted nation we call the American West. If those brave souls did not take time to become aware of the dangers and to discover the resources they would need for their travels this great country would have lost the ideology and heritage those pioneers gave us for their efforts and lives.

Today we still travel a potentially dangerous uncharted land of violence so why should we dismiss all that it takes to cross it safely and securely?

What is the difference between Bu-do and Bu-jutsu?

Generally speaking, a school of martial arts chooses whatever term they feel most comfortable with. A martial arts school might choose to call their practice bujutsu, because they desire a connection with the past, or to emphasize that their art is practiced as it was during a certain point in history. A school might choose to call their practice budō to reflect an emphasis on spiritual and philosophical development, or simply to reflect that the art was developed more recently.

Civil vs. Military:
Many consider budō a more civilian form of martial arts, as an interpretation or evolution of the older bujutsu, which they categorize as a more militaristic style or strategy. According to this distinction, the modern civilian art de-emphasizes practicality and effectiveness in favor of personal development from a fitness or spiritual perspective. The difference is between the more "civilian" versus "military" aspects of combat and personal development. They see budō and bujutsu as representing a particular strategy or philosophy regarding combat systems, but still, the terms are rather loosely applied and often interchangeable.

Budō is a compound of the root bu (武:ぶ), meaning war or martial; and dō (道:どう), meaning path or way. Budō is most often translated as "the way of war" , or "martial way." Specifically, dō is derived from the Buddhist Sanskrit mārga (meaning the "path" to enlightenment). The term refers to the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a 'path' to realize them. Dō signifies a "way of life".

The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought (state of Muga-mushin).

Bujutsu is a compound of the roots bu (武), and jutsu (術:じゅつ), meaning technique. Bujutsu is translated as "science of war" or "martial craft."

Budo and bujutsu have quite a delicate difference; whereas bujutsu only gives attention to the physical part of fighting (how to best defeat an enemy), budo also gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself.

Okinawa indigenous fighting methods called te (手, literally "hand"; Tii in Okinawan) were melded with Chinese Kenpo and Okinawan Wrestling to become Touda or Tii (pronounce like "tea").

As a martial artist, shouldn't you be looking for ways to improve, to learn more, and to try new things? - Question from Samurai Girl's Blog

This statement is one from a person who practices her MA wholeheartedly! It would appear that too many MA halls fall into the flat world society mentality where their's is the one and only, shame and their loss. If your going to join up to find a club, a social club that just happens to kick and punch, then have at it and good for you.

If you want to train in Bu-do/Bu-jutsu then you MUST go outside that box. SD and all that entails. Fighting and all that entails. Combat and all that entails. None are in a neat and tidy box with all the answers in one or two little techniques. Threats and Fights are messy, chaotic, confusing and dangerous - mentally, physically, morally, and Legally.

Why did the choose to use "Empty" when they changed it from "China?"

Originally the Okinawan fighting system was simply referred to as Ti or Tii (pronounced like "tea"). It was a type of wrestling and boxing Okinawan style but morphed into Touda or Tii when they combined the indigenous system to China's boxing or Kenpo. [Okinawa indigenous fighting methods called te (手?, literally "hand"; Tii in Okinawan) were melded with Chinese Kenpo and Okinawan Wrestling to become Touda or Tii (pronounce like "tea").]

What I wanted to know is when they decided to change the name "karate or China hand to karate or Empty hand" why did they choose the term "empty?"

One source says, "... the name was changed from 唐手 ("Chinese hand") to 空手 ("empty hand") – both of which are pronounced karate – to indicate that the Japanese wished to develop the combat form in Japanese style." Yet this does not really explain why "empty" would express a Japanese form of martial art vs. say "koryu."

I have to ask myself why empty? I can guess that it may be due to the change from weapons to just your body so the loss of weapons from the hands of combatants would mean they now have to apply techniques with "empty hands." It may mean they wanted to refer to weapons, i.e. then the weapons ban - both Okinawan and Japanese dictates, being removed from the hands of civil/military persons so the hands become "empty."

Although this makes sense how to we prove it. I suspect there may be some elusive reference to why they chose empty to replace China. We all know, or think we know, that the change was also prompted by not wanting to reference China, an enemy of Japan, in this new form of fighting system introduced to Japan. But still why empty?

Is there some other reason other than my hypothesis (guess)? This also asks the question, why "hand" or "te in Japanese or Tii (pronounced "tea") in Okinawan dialect?"

Yes, this is most likely an old question, why hand when you use all parts of the body to fight, i.e. hands, elbows, feet, knees, etc.? It could be simply that it was the easiest term or set of terms to use much like the Chinese calling their form of fighting arts as "boxing." Especially when viewed from American perceptions of boxing being a fist-to-cuffs witnessed today in the boxing of America.

It could also come from the idea that the primary weapon in "hand-to-hand" encounters is the hand - open or closed fist. There may be no mystery at all since it was also easy to keep the pronunciation of kara where that character in Chinese meant China and in Japanese meant empty.  I can see that for expedience sake and to stay as close to the pronunciation of "kara te" which makes the transition easy, i.e. just change the character a bit, for both Okinawan and Japanese.

I suspect that if you tried to find a single word or character that would best describe the new system, at that time late 1800's to early 1900's, you would see that it would be very difficult, try it!

Do you call it "body vs. empty" since it involves all the body? Do you refer to it has limbs? You don't want to convolute it by saying it is hand-n-foot system. Even if the Japanese pronunciation sounded good would it be easy and isn't the ease of transition an important and vital aspect to have the Japanese accept the Okinawan system of fighting with out weapons?

Oh, one last thought ... coulda been simply a economic thing too. Think bout it.

What does it mean to practice wholeheartedly?

Wholeheartedly Defined Officially: without reserve; without reservation; Showing or characterized by complete sincerity and commitment
Wholehearted: with unconditional and enthusiastic devotion; the quality of hearty sincerity; wholeheartedness - undivided commitment or unreserved enthusiasm

Apparently in a non-martial art way this simply means one who devotes their efforts with complete and absolute commitment with enthusiastic devotion. This seems to fit what many in my system mean when they say, "The Master (Shimabuku, Tatsuo Sensei) wants us to practice Isshinryu wholeheartedly!" I can also agree with Charles Goodin Sensei's blog post excerpt [" ... simply practice Karate for Karate ... if you practice Karate wholeheartedly, you will become better at Karate."] that to achieve good karate one must practice wholeheartedly.

It appears there is no mystery to this quote or the saying of many Isshinryu practitioners. It is simply conveying a meaning of practice and training as the only true way to achieve any significant level of proficiency.

A recent blog post stated, "As a martial artist, shouldn't you be looking for ways to improve, to learn more, and to try new things? " The question would seem to tell us that to be a MA one must practice wholeheartedly - isn't this the type of trait that says, "Wholehearted?"

As to the Isshinryu connection it may be that when presenting the ken-po goku-i, the name being one heart way and the references to heart in the goku-i that one incorrectly assumed wholehearted or wholeheartedly was some mysterious connection. It can be connected but I would feel now that my view above is actually what is meant by saying, "Practice Isshinryu wholeheartedly as intended by Tatsuo Sensei."

Why does karate (MA's) promote "not striking first?"

We can go through all those esoterically psychological reasons why the karate-ka, in this post, should not strike first. Why they should not do so in applying impact techniques in self protection is another matter.

In general there are some very good tactical reasons why you might want to "not strike first." Just so you will have something to research or a better reason to buy a book - read chapter forty-eight of the book, "The Book of Martial Power," by Steven J. Pearlman. Pay attention to the paragraph on "Committed."

Sorry, bet you thought I was going to answer this one for you, NOT, read the book for it contains far more that this principle of martial systems.

Why can't I make anything work in the training hall - dojo?

Ever have one of those training sessions or group of training sessions - you know - where nothing goes quite right and you just can't do things you know your proficient at worth shit?

You have to ask yourself, what is it, why can't I make anything work? Why am I suddenly this stupid clumsy jerk who knows this part yet cannot do it worth spit?

Good question and its normal. You will reach certain plateaus in your training and practice. Mine were senior brown belt, Ni-Dan and then many times there after regardless of ranking/level. I have been practicing for about 35+ years and from time to time it seems like I don't know squat and I can't do anything with out flubbing up seriously. I have times in sparring/fighting practices/scenario's where I will get my clock cleaned by someone I know I can handle easily.

This is all part of the process, ergo why I like it being called the "way" of the empty hand. There are and always will be these surprises in practice/training. It is a form of "shugyo" and how you handle it is also great training/practice.

Don't take an extended break thinking it will correct itself, it won't, only by hard work and continued practice will this particular bump in the road go away. If you take time off it will or could be even more difficult to return. Some times I see good practitioners quit completely and never return because they see it as something terribly wrong and insurmountable. Not true, persistence and practice and training will get you past this obstacle.

It is normal, suck it up and deal with it. You will find that protection will create freezes and lost ability but break the freeze and change what your doing if the ability is not cutting it. Better than quitting or getting hurt or worse.

Why do we feel kata must be judged a particular way?

Do we as MA's actually feel that if we don't perform a kata a certain way that it is to be judged as bad? I have witnessed serious upset folks who make some trivial mistake in a performance yet the overall kata was pretty good. Is this maybe because kata training is so involved as to tournament competitive judgement toward perfection of form, etc.?

One of the best I have seen is a black belt who performed a kata, hit a freeze, simply said "pardon me" and then started over again. I could tell he just hit a moment we all experience in practice where our brains simply stop, blank, nothing and not even encoding appears. This is good fundamental training so the only question I would have posed is, "Why didn't you just go on? Why stop, apologize, and start over? If a true fight and you freeze it is more important to break it and keep acting appropriately - after all the goal is to not get hurt and your threat is going to keep right on attacking.

Maybe, just maybe the over emphasis on kata perfection, kata tournament competition, and reliance of kata perfection in form, pretty, for promotions has further diluted its true purpose?

Mistakes, flubs, freezes, etc. are all normal. It happens to everyone all the time. It is how you handle it that counts. If it ain't pretty yet it works and you don't get hurt - that seems a better way don't you think?

I do like to instruct novices to get good form, i.e. body alignment, proper posture, etc., but if it does not achieve a very specific form it in the end only matters if it diminishes the actual function - in fights/combat.

All the rest must remain in proper perspective, yes?

What is the Budo Path? What is Budo?

Lets get the supposed official definition out of the way first. Budo is "Martial way; combat way; a system whose primary purpose is to develop character. Budo is to be distinguished from bu-jutsu (from bu, warrior, and jutsu, technique) because budo belongs to the spiritual level and jutsu to the physical level (strength, intelligence). Bu also signifies the way of harmony and reconciliation."


Budō is a compound of the root bu (武:ぶ), meaning war or martial; and dō (道:どう), meaning path or way. ... Dō in the Japanese context, is an experiential term, experiential in the sense that practice (the way of life) is the norm to verify the validity of the discipline cultivated through a given art form. ... budō is most often translated as "the way of war", or "martial way", ... Budo and bujutsu have quite a delicate difference; whereas bujutsu only gives attention to the physical part of fighting (how to best defeat an enemy), budo also gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Modern budo uses aspects of the lifestyle of the samurai of feudal Japan and translates them to self-development in modern life.

When one says, "I follow the budo path," it means to me a practice that provides a discipline where one cultivates the mind-body for a spirit or belief that transcends normal life. It helps me to see self, to develop a self for a higher moral purpose conducive to society and so forth.

On the flip side of the coin, do we Americans truly understand what is means, Budo? Even with all the definitions do we really know the core of it? Consider this, we are Americans and tend to see, hear, etc. the complete opposite of what Asians do with a pointer toward Japanese. How can we know when it appears that Budo in Japan is from a time period totally and completely unknown to us.

I have read material from those who have practiced "Budo" that is referred to as "Koryu" and my understanding is that even those folks don't truly and completely understand its history and meaning. They have mentioned that most Japanese don't truly know either outside a small circle of Koryu system practitioners.  So, how can we actually believe we know?

Maybe it is that mystique we desire be attached to this practice of MA? Maybe it provides us a basis to build a story that suits our needs and wants in this field to provide stimulus to our training, practice and studies? Is this wrong?

It depends, does it do harm to either the Sensei, the practitioner or to society as a whole? In my view, "mostly no, it does no harm." I will drop back to what MA is to me, a fighting/combative system or protection, etc. This means that to use such terms as Budo or "warrior/martial way" indicates the practice is for real life protection, not sport, etc. which further means that as long as the use of Budo or Bujutsu is related to real, not sport play, fighting/combative SD aspects of today, then it does no harm yet if it fools folks into thinking it is what it is NOT, very potentially harmful.

We all have to decide for ourselves. Take a reality check and compare what you practice and train in to the reality of violence both street and combat/war then make that decision.

Keep this quote in mind, " ... the difficulty lies in differing perceptions about time in different ethnic group. ... " Although not directly applicable to this post it does bring to light a huge obstacle in determining validity of some term outside our group, American, as both the group and its position in time as well as place, customs, courtesies, etc. have relevance in usage and meaning.

Of course, this type of discussion has and will go on forever much like folks using the title of "warrior." I highly recommend reading Dave Lowry's books on the Japanese Arts as well as his book on karate because he is a good source/authority on Koryu systems.


I just wanted to recognize the following blogs and say simply, "Thank you for all your efforts, your blogs are an inspiration and an education. - Thanks!"

Martial View by John Vesia, Kowakan by Mario McKenna, Mokuren Dojo by Patrick Parker, Chiron by Rory Miller, Karate Thoughts by Charles C. Goodin, Dojo Rat by Dojo Rat ;-), 24 FightingChickens by Rob Redmond, My Journey to Black Belt and Countdown to Shodan by Sue C, Martial Secrets podcasts and blog by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder, Tai Chi With Melissa by Melissa, Bushido Road by Felicia, and of course the many folks who take the time to read my stuff and especially those who provide feedback and comments.

While I am at it I want to say thank you to those many authors who provided me more knowledge than was available when I began. Old dogs do learn new tricks.



What is the most difficult SD defense technique to learn?

Right now, I would say "verbal self-defense." I would say this for two reasons - 1) I am studying the art of verbal self-defense and 2) I am finding that the content of the studies applies to me.

Regarding number 2. I find that the discovery that I am as guilty of verbal attacks as any opponent is the hardest part to accept - I accept it. I also find that in order to use VSD I have to overcome my ingrained verbal assault tendencies. It was also important to note that like myself, my opponent does NOT fully recognize the fault. Makes it doubly hard especially since the most predatory verbal attacker tends to be the one closest to the victim where the bond of Love and Family ties close and tight.

It is so much easier to learn and teach how to clean someones clock when they verbally attack you yet to truly defend to your best you must deescalate/avoid. This means listening actively and recognizing the bait so you can respond with out resorting to the same tactics.

Truthfully, there are many things that are difficult to learn and most, if not all, tend to blend and mix making distinctions difficult to impossible yet it provides many benefits if patiently accomplished.

For me I discovered I had "placater, blamer, and computer modes of VSD." I find my opponent in one case to be "blamer and distractor" mode type. It seems many of us fall under the "blamer mode."

Is there really a one stop or one kill punch in the martial arts?

Ikken Hassatsu or One fist, certain death - "What is Ikken Hissatsu" on Karate by Jesse Blog

Enter this term in google and you get about 15,400 results. You can view either Jesse's blog or the wiki at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikken_hissatsu for what this is and means - generally or approximately.

My post is to provide a view of this mixim's limitations as written in English. It tends to lead practitioners to the idea that developing their hands/fist on makiwara promotes the ability to achieve death with one punch - fist. I would pose that to have a mixim for karate in a violent encounter, i.e. social and anti-social attacks not sparring or sport, be "End it quickly and with the least amount of damage to yourself." To shorten it up, "End it Now!"

Ima sugu shūryō = 今すぐ終了 = End it now

In reality it is a nice sound bite and many believe it to be so yet my limited understanding tells me the chance anyone can stop violent attacks with one blow be it fist, foot, elbow, etc. is extremely unlikely. Let me also add that to achieve a impact technique of this magnitude also requires a perfect blending of "ALL the martial fundamental principles" at one specific time and against so many different variables it ain't funny.

Heck, most can't achieve that kind of impact technique in a controlled environment against either a heavy bag, makiwara or in sparring. It is not impossible just highly unlikely. This type of thing can blossom into a full blown belief system, which in some circles already has, which could get someone hurt.

Imagine those who thought the big knuckles and the ability to break things meant they could stop someone with one impact technique. In reality it will most likely end up with a broken appendage and an ass whoopin - at the minimum.

Does kata really teach to fight multiple attackers?

If you want it to. In my practice kata does not teach you to fight. Kata is the blueprint to practice martial technique. It is used to draw out actual martial, in my case karate, technique which the practitioner must put together on the fly to apply them using fundamental martial principles.

Kata teaches you to apply those principles. It is the traditional documentation of waza that "work." Work in regards to their intent yet they still are "adjustable" to learn and implement regardless to the time, i.e. 1800's vs. 21st century.

It trains you to move, maintain posture, maintain body alignment, apply body mechanics, etc. so it does plenty. It provides us the tools to achieve efficiency in applying karate techniques toward an attacker.

Just take a moment to look at the principles of martial power and you will readily see how kata applies to instruction, etc. To go completely into how kata are used is extensive. Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder wrote a book on kata and that was only a part of it.

Ok, now you have my view on kata but back to the question in particular, does kata teach to fight multiple opponents? No, but I will admit that once a person achieves a certain level of proficiency that kata can be utilized to provide fundamental instruction and practice in fighting more than one person.

Yet, how often do folks actually encounter multiple attackers. In my view seldom. When it involves multiple persons I suspect and theorize that it usually involves the "group monkey dance" which can be avoided.

Lets also remember the "adrenaline dump effects." Very few have the ability to overcome the tunnel visioning, etc. so how on earth can you expect to be aware and reactive to multiple persons attacking? Not likely for most of us and even those who are professionals have posted or written that it still takes great effort to achieve success here. So, how can the regular "joe or sue" achieve this level of expertise in the dojo? Not likely but then again it is fun to try and achieve some practice drills that allow us to experience a bit of the pressure, etc. of facing several opponents.

Lets be real, most folks will never encounter multiple attackers and if they do it will most likely, in my opinion, be a surprise violent attack designed well in advance by the attackers to overwhelm you where you will not be able to act. If your lucky to break the freeze and have just enough mind left you may be able to flee, maybe, but there are so many variables that remain fluid and chaotic it ain't funny.

My final advice, have fun with the idea and train if you will but remember that you must tell yourself that this is not realistic and that you are not able to realistically train to deal with multiple attacks. SD is doable but remain realistic, train to avoid, deescalate, etc.

How soon can I or do I have to spar?

This is a most difficult question. It is driven by several factors which start with the individual. Each individual is unique and Sensei must monitor those new to the martial arts closely so they know when that individual is "ready" to start applying their new knowledge in a controlled drill/sparring environment.

Pushing someone to fast into the dangerous and difficult physical contact can have adverse effects both on the individual and on the dojo. This brings back up the importance of relationship development in a difficult and dangerous practice.

Most martial artists and most martial arts instruction tend to put folks into that environment way to early. Long before they have encoded into their brains actual martial techniques. I attribute this to the sportification of martial arts. In the excitement of competition and winning trophies and accolades we tend to forget fundamental principles that make martial practices work and simply instruct in a few simple boxing/kicking techniques to get "points" and "win."

In my dojo, in my instruction, I would not allow anyone to participate in free sparring until the stage/level of "Go-kyu." It was simple, any practitioner who wants to actually learn martial arts, i.e. in my case karate, must establish a foundation comprised of fundamentals with principles or it will not work and be merely "fighting/brawling." This is why sport tends to NOT be martial arts or karate regardless of beliefs and instructions to the contrary.

The Sensei-deshi | Sempai-Kohai relationship is either a detriment or benefit to a practitioner where forward movement is dependent on how that is applied in instruction.

Note: There are many ways to train realistically so you learn proper application of martial techniques. Sparring both free style and drill style are only a small part.

What martial system do you study?

This question is more apropos when meeting other martial artists even if in the same system. You both have some common ground to walk on where you get to know each other and create a relationship necessary to practice well. Again tho, in my view and for me, I would limit it to the system such as:

I practice an Okinawan form of karate called Isshinryu.

That's it, unless someone responds with an "open-ended" question that requires some further explanation I am done. Even then when responding I "TRY" to be short and concise although since it is near and dear to me I tend to express myself a bit more than would be desirable in a lot of cases - yes, I am opinionated and long-winded ... geeze ;-)

Does the Martial Arts Instruction Today Take into Account Self-defense?

Depends. In some sense it does yet a comment by Kris Wilder, Lawrence Kane, and Rory Miller in a Podcast I listened to today said something that resonated for me. In general, "martial arts, karate in particular, traditionally use "excessive force" in its combative applications." The expressed to my ear that this is due to the original traditional nature of karate - combat.

Then they made another statement, "The use of excessive force - nature of karate - does not take self-defense into account." [Note: I might have heard right and I might have not, listen to the podcast for yourself. Don't take my word for it.]

I feel, from my view of my system, this is true along with many other points they made in the podcast. I also believe that most martial arts training and practice do not take into account many, many aspects of self-defense into account in their instruction and training.

Made a lot of sense to me and prompted the question and MY answer.

Who is your Sensei?

Why one would ask usually involves a person who practices your martial system because being a community member of that system may have a relationship with your Sensei. If so, then they can get a fundamental fix on your training, practice, and proficiency level. Sometimes a person just wants to see if you trained with anyone they know or who may be special, i.e. like someone who trained with Bruce Lee, etc.

In most cases if you are starting up with another system completely I believe it is merely a conversation question to foster a beginning of a Sensei-Sempai relationship for the future of their practice and training.

If I am asked, either by another Isshinryu Practitioner or another system instructor, I usually provide information about the "person" and not necessarily the person's so-called martial art resume. If I mention the name and see no indication of recognition then to provide any type of qualifications is pointless. No one can determine what that may or may not mean unless they know the person and have experienced training/practice with that person - for a fair length of time vs. say a seminar or such.

Example: My Sensei was also my Company First Sergeant while we both were stationed at a Marine Base on Okinawa. He was my Isshinryu instructor and mentor and he also provided mentoring for me as a Marine. I was lucky to have had his experience in both to provide me the means to excel under his command/guidance. He become a true fellow Marine and a very good friend.

That pretty much sums it up in answering this question. Anything else is pointless once again unless all parties know one another and if I started in on his history, etc. then I am either bragging or lack confidence in him, his training/instruction, and my own proficiency, i.e. I may have some innate need to qualify my expertise by spouting off about his karate resume. That is how I would feel about it. It is like the "bragging rights" of those who seem to have a need for the type of validation, i.e. my Sensei was a First Gen Student of ... fill in the blank here ...

A quick, terse introduction is all that is necessary while all else will become evident once a period of training and practice time have passed then any detailed description regarding the martial arts aspect are moot.

p.s. In my personal case if you mention your Sensei's name, I recognize it, and have some knowledge of the quality of their instruction then I have knowledge of what I need or do not need to cover during the initial training. Nothing else matters.

"Advanced techniques are the basics done better?"

This comments/statement was a comment on a blog post and I just had to comment in return specifically to the statement itself. I replied to the comment by saying, "I would disagree." I disagreed because to me there are no "advanced basics" because basics or what are more accurately called "fundamentals" of a martial system are the ground work, the gross movements to teach a novice, and yet something a practitioners must use as a "reference" in instruction and continued learning.

I still practice a somewhat modified version of the Isshinryu system so-called basic techniques which are not the basics or fundamentals of the system although most would argue that point.

The fundamentals are comprised of those "principles" that are a part of any and all systems. Read the "Book of Martial Power" by Steven J. Pearlmen to get the picture I am trying to paint here.

The basic techniques which are exclusive to any one system are connected to those martial principles that transcend any one style or system. If one learns the basic techniques in their "basic" form then learn the other fundamentals of martial systems, the principles, then those same basic techniques are "adjusted" to fit/meet/apply those principles into the system so that they become correct in application yet they may be labeled as "advanced" but in reality the basic techniques are simply a foundation from which to teach correct principles as to a systems techniques.

This also begs the question of "basics done better," where this is misleading. It denotes that someone is doing the basics "incorrectly." This is inaccurate for hopefully the systems instructor is teaching the basic "techniques" correctly at that level, i.e. gross movements to teach about such principles as structure, pose, alignment, etc.

In my view there are NO ADVANCED techniques or basics in any martial system. What happens is when the practitioner learns the principles and then as they apply them and learn the correct application of said principles to the system "seem" like moving into "advanced" techniques. Any improvement of principles applied to the system might be viewed as "advanced" but are merely applying the principles to the system and "improving" that application.

So, this quote is misapplied to marital practice of "basics" and the inference of doing badly on basics then doing better and calling them advanced seems, "hinkey."