"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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I trained in Japan, why was it so disappointing?

Simple answer first, your cultural programming greatly influenced the experience. Your cultural programming also influenced your expectations. More complex addendum is that the only way you can even begin to experience Japanese is to become one and that would take being born in Japan or at the very least to live in Japan for an entire lifetime.

Otherwise, even if you lived there for decades, your personal cultural programming will greatly influence that experience to a degree that you would and still are an "outsider" to the Japanese and the Japanese culture.

Many folks assume that to be a true martial artists one "must" travel to the place where it was born and to participate under the guidance of a Japanese Sensei and all that entails. Then we get these grandiose idea's that we will be certified by them and come back home as true Sensei of the traditional kind.

Often the well intentioned and anxious/excited visitor will be surprised and frustrated when that vision of exotic Asian martial arts turns out to not fit the picture, the assumptions, they created within their own minds.

So, the next question would naturally be, "how can I get the most out of my visit?" The answer is to study as much of the cultural system of the people of Japan, or Okinawa if your practicing karate, and learn as much about the culture, beliefs and cultural words, kanji and kana as possible then go with not expectations other than to train hard. Expect that the reality gap between you, a Westerner, and the Japanese Sensei, Senpai and Kohai of the dojo will be huge and work hard with humility. Especially, refrain your instinct and impulse to talk, talk, talk. Listen and Observe and when appropriate, not in the dojo but after when indulging in food and drink, ask our questions and actively/syntonically listen.

Have a good time and soak it all up, it is worth the time, effort and discipline.


  1. My instructor went to Okinawa last year for 3 weeks to train with Hokama Sensei. He prepared as best he could by learning some Japanese and some basic customs (etiquette). But most importantly he went with an open mind. He was not disappointed by his experiences and documented everything in a diary (which he then asked me to write up as a series of blog posts for our organisations website). He came back buzzing with excitement, I think I've seen the slide show at least 4 times! He primarily went out to train in kobudo but also some karate. We are now all benefiting from his experience as we have had 2 kobudo seminars and various new drills added to our karate training. Having the right mindset seems to be the way to approaching training in Okinawa/Japan.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful story/comment Sue.