"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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Why do we tend to think a greater number of systems, styles and belts has meaning, value and importance?

We have brains, hopefully. Our brains tend to work in certain ways, generally, according to cultures, times and locations. Our brains quantify everything our senses perceive in the world. It is integrated into every single facet of human life. It is a part of the function of our brains like DNA to life itself.

Our brains encode, it takes information and places it into units of quantity. Along with language influences of the brain we, the brain that is, assigns numeric labels to allow us to understand concepts such as 1, 2, 3, etc. We even assign emotional effects value as numbers. Numbers are symbolic and perceived as lucky or unlucky, i.e. 13 to most Americans is perceived as unlucky. You won't find a thirteenth floor in hotels, etc.

Such beliefs are passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, family to family, and generation to generation. Beliefs are based on myths and the more frequent they are repeated the more difficult they are to ignore, change or get rid of.

Numbers, we give greater value and credence to numbers as they grow. "Five" bucks is of greater value than "one" buck. We see larger numbers as if they validate our belief that the greater the number the more impressive it is so it just goes to say that our thought that having five black belts is of course a greater achievement than one black belt. Having five or six different styles or systems in our resume for martial arts has the ability to "impress" others as a greater achievement than just "one system."

Once this is established then it is a race to see how many and how fast you can accumulate black belts, styles or systems and of course trophies. We are programmed by our brain functions to assume greater of any thing tends to mean "more."

Here endith the lesson ;-)


  1. So, I am curious. I assume that you mean that this is a problem. If that is your intent: 1) What is the best view point on this issue, as it relates to martial arts in particular?
    2)Where do you think this programming comes from?
    3)Can you think of an example in the martial arts where this mindset is of value, a good thing?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Nick said...
    So, I am curious. I assume that you mean that this is a problem.

    No, merely a statement to contemplate. It is just one of those things I see as a perceived validation in our culture that says one who has all these is an expert. Since it does not fit my paradigm and belief regarding a martial art I question it. Comments both pro and con are welcome if you or anyone feels this is not true. The source material is as follows:

    The Dance of Life by Edward T. Hall
    Kata, The Key to Understanding & Dealing with the Japanese
    Why We Believe What We Believe by Dr. Andrew Newberg, M.D.

    and a few others on the subject such as the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense series, etc.

    If that is your intent:

    It is not my intent but rather a statement of my belief which of course with appropriate replies, comments, etc can change.

    1) What is the best view point on this issue, as it relates to martial arts in particular?

    The view point from my perception is one should focus on the fundamental principles of martial systems until they have established a base or foundation from which to build a home and then add the rooms as needed either in depth or at least for familiarity because those fundamental principles cross all system, style and branch boundaries where they speak to individual perceptions vs. something that applies to all. Often when Americans don't get what they want or when they feel it is difficult to face the true essence in the system they tend to go from one flower to the next sampling the nectar then moving on never satisfied and always searching for the answers not realizing they exist in each of us.

    2)Where do you think this programming comes from?

    Nature, it is a part of our survival instincts as well as the culture that drives us. We all have perceptual worlds in which our brains derive answers to sensory input driven by our environments starting with our homes and going into the culture of the tribe, clan or society group while those influence what the brain will keep and what it will discard which is done outside our conscious awareness unless we learn and then bring it out into the open to see, hear, feel, taste, etc.

    3)Can you think of an example in the martial arts where this mindset is of value, a good thing?

    Take a look at Aikido O'Sensei in any of his historical video's. Take a look at any of the martial artists of note such as Iain Abernathy, Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder, etc. and their mindset is one of a singular system with familiarity in many. Some of the best in UFC or the other currently televised practices tend to have "one" system that dominates such as the Brazilian Jujitsu systems that dominated the competitions for so many years. Look to Dave Lowry and like practitioners of the Koryu systems where those they encompass in practice are subsets of a system that dominates their practice and all of them start all their martial arts with a foundation of a solid fundamental principles that govern all martial arts.