"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
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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.

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Isn't Karate Supposed to be Fun? - Is this true of all martial systems?

ADDENDUM: Taking this a bit to the end of the spectrum it occurs to me that to take a martial practice and to make it fun initiates a mind-set that could be a detriment to self defense.

Since my views are mostly on making it work in real-world fights, threats and assaults - to name but a few - it would go that my posts such as this might seem to most as a bit to far.

Martial arts are serious. Martial arts, classical or traditional, are geared to combat. They are about handling violence with a moral standard that does not compromise the integrity of the system as applied to a threat, assault, fight or predatory violent encounters.

The time to institute a bit of fun in martial arts is off the dojo floor. Social contexts are an important aspect of any discipline. It must be understood that there are times to be serious and the dojo floor for practice and training is serious business. There are times to joke, to socialize and to build the clan/tribe cohesion necessary under the heading of "survival or survival instincts of the clan or tribe or dojo."

Classical martial systems are not meant to be "fun." They are serious disciplines, serious art forms (as defined by the Japanese Zen Buddhist system) and take discipline, dedication and due diligence to become proficient in applications. This does not mean that classic or traditional forms of martial systems are not to have "fun" but in the proper context, outside the dojo proper during actual training and practice. This would include serious training and practice when conducted away from the dojo proper (although the dojo proper in my mind is any location where practitioners are training in martial systems).

Just some thoughts that arrived since the last post on this subject. Be serious, be diligent, be disciplined and stay in the proper mind-set and when all is done for the day, relax, take time and enjoy to company and camaraderie of your fellow practitioners.


  1. Just to be the devil's advocate here...

    Even Mr. Rory Miller, whose books and seminars cover some of the more gruesome and realistic aspects of self defense says to "play and have fun with it" when teaching or drilling an exercise. "Don't take it too seriously, just play."

    Reason being, according to Miller, and I am paraphrasing here, but kids learn things so quickly because they play. They don't sit down and actively think "I'm going practice or memorize this", they just do it, they play with it or at it. Since they don't take it as seriously, there isn't the added pressure of trying to really learn it, or worry about messing up, or doing it wrong, etc. Because its just play. When you are in a self defense situation, your body will fall back on what it knows instinctively.

    This is not to say that we shouldn't be serious in the dojo, and diligent and disciplined and focused on the fact we are learning a MARTIAL art, which means we are learning to hurt and kill people. However we can sometimes do ourselves a favor and learn better by not taking things so seriously.

  2. Yes, but my definition in this instance of play is not what I perceive Rory Miller's definition is in this instance.

    This is the difficulty with posts as well as instruction. We tend to assume that what is being taught fits our assumptions, expectations and context as to our perceptive filtering.

    In reality defining the meanings is critical to make sure both parties are in synchrony otherwise these types of variances leading to misunderstanding crop up.

    My inference as to fun is not the same as what I and you read in Rory's books. I won't speak for him but my perception to having fun with it is not the same and "having fun" as the general American populace would define fun.

    Fun as in joking, playing around, not taking things with any seriousness what so ever, etc. is a lead in to "fun" but I believe Rory's is saying that we should allow ourselves latitude in our practice where the degree of seriousness is such that it allows our natural instincts to arise where a total and complete serious view tends to cause "stress" and stress triggers all sorts of stuff that hinders learning, etc.

    The best bet here is if Rory Miller were available ot add additional context to his writing and definition as to fun.

    I will end with this caveat, this is my view, my perception and my belief system; not Rory's or yours and my context may not meet those of others so it is this exchange in comments like these were exchange occurs allowing us to find synchrony in this post and come to a conclusion were we both meet and understand the context of understanding.