"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 I learn martial arts from video's?

Yes .... No .... it depends. If you have no history in marital arts or any discipline for that matter you cannot adequately learn from a video no matter how well produced. If you use them in conjunction with a qualified sensei then you can learn from them. If you have attained a certain master while still gleaming guidance from a more experienced and qualified person you can learn from them.

I watch video's on Youtube, are they really considered a valid reference when discussing/practicing Martial Arts?

In a nutshell, no. Video's are often rehearsed and of course staged to get an acceptable and usable final production. They are a tool to assist in training and practicing martial arts or any other discipline.

If I were asked to watch a video and then give my opinion on that persons ability in martial arts I would have to say, no way but I could give an opinion as to the overall production of the film much like I would a movie.


Recently I have read posting where the poster considers it necessary to prove oneself in production of youtube video's, etc. It came up when a comment refuted something posted and the poster shot back that unless you have video's from youtube, etc. along with other like materials your point was not considered valid, correct or even truthful.

Since when did producing video's become a serious validation or discredit of one's ability in marital arts or just about anything? I have seen a variety of video's on my system of practice that look really good but in essence are empty of any real meaning. Does this pretty and aesthetic form of production indicate proficiency in martial arts or is it just a production that looks really cool, good and pretty? 

Aesthetics do not make the martial arts even in sport. Often the most proficient martial artists have ordinary kata and often are not pretty. When a technique is pretty it is often because it violates all the fundamental principles of martial systems that make it effective - often, not exclusively.

I have seen some of the worst marital artist produce some pretty good kata DVD's and I have seen some ordinary video's from guys who I would not want to fight in sport, monkey dance and especially in the street.

If I present a comment and am asked for sources such as would be found in almost any analysis I would then present a bibliography which includes references to experience and conversations/seminars/practice with others who had or have the experience, background and knowledge to be an expert in the field but video's? Not a chance because even ordinarily video's are often staged and rehearsed.

Think about it, do you accept any video as proof that something is valid, it works and is good martial arts? Remember there is always "the rest of the story" behind those final scenes in the clip.

How can one truly earn a variety of black belts in a variety of different systems?

Easy, really, first master one system. In that one system you would have mastered all the fundamental principles of martial systems which translate over and into all systems. What this means is if you spend the time, effort and diligence into one fundamental foundational system then you would easily gain expertise in other systems.

Like kata, if you master one kata in its entirety, completeness and proficiency then all others are a matter of finding the uniqueness of that systems essence. It requires the base foundation and the ability to keep track of each adequately and effectively.

Then the question arises, "Can you use all of them for self-defense?" It depends on how the knowledge is encoded for the particular strategy, i.e. if for self-defense then it is best to limit the systems you learn or at least pare them down to the simplistic form necessary to work in the streets. It must be remembered that the more the brain or mind has to sift through to get to the appropriate technique, tactic and strategy the more time it will take.

Are kata really all that complicated?

Depends on your perception. If your Asian it would seem culturally speaking the simplicity of them is the truism in practice but if your western then complicated is the norm. Culturally speaking simplicity, harmony and stoicism is the hallmark of the marital artists and therefore their practices even in martial arts.

Culturally speaking complexity, complexity and convolution is the hallmark of the martial artists in the west and is also how westerners appear to live their lives.

Kata are not all that complicated. There is depth and breadth to the study and practice of kata but that applies to all aspects of martial systems be they Asian or Western or European. How one culture looks to the training and practice depends a lot on their culture, their beliefs and their perceptions, etc.

In reality my perception is that human beings can either make things simple or make them complicated. All of it unique to the individual. So, take it to where you want.

The only caveat I have here is if you want it to be your blueprint to self-defense tactics then keep it as simple as you can but if your there to feed the ego, the monkey, or fill yourself with pride and be the envy of all who bow down to you then go ahead and make it as complex as you want.

When asked and when demonstrating the kata I practice most always look for something complicated and make assumptions that if it ain't then it ain't gook karate kata - just my perception.

Can You Teach w/o Experience In IT?

The quote is from the article or post I recommend everyone read especially if they teach self-defense. I personally have to agree with one concept Mr. MacYoung states in that even with all his experience, etc. he still finds it insufficient knowledge. I suspect this is why he and others like him not only work as professionals in this kind of stuff but they go out and experience from other experienced folks to continue to build on their knowledge and experience.

As a self-defense training professional I ask you to read the post/article and then question what it is you do, say and believe - enlightening and informative to say the least.

"Can you teach self-defense if you haven't "been there?" by Marc MacYoung.

Saying "No" to Sensei, is it proper or even allowed?

First, the unspoken legends of Asian Sensei silently conveying the entire system is based on a cultural belief system that outside those circles does not exist. Westerners are the absolute opposite of this model so communications is critical to adequately pass along martial arts teachings.

The Japanese/Asian cultures are of such rigid cultural form that often each person can intuitively perceive what is expected of them while westerners rely heavily on various forms of communications, i.e. words, body language to include facial expressions and tone or intonation in the melody of the spoken words.

In one instance a practitioner of a koryu system in Japan was told by his Sensei when he was given permission to teach the system, "you are not Japanese, when you return to the west, teach as is proper to westerners." Westerners or Americans rely heavily on verbal type communications. In my view it is a matter of combining holistically teachings by sense, i.e. the sense of sight; the sense of sound and the sense of touch.

So, as to the question asked ..... in our country even if the system taught is classic/traditional one should be allowed to communicate or question the Sensei and it is imperative the Sensei have the ability to communicate effectively the system in its entirety. Anything less is "bullshit." When you spend the time, effort and due diligence in a training hall it is required and expected that the training hall and its service providers give back in kind.

A good sensei must have the confidence and ability to communicate effectively as well as lead by example. If they don't then a student, practitioner or karate-ka, as the situation dictates, should say "no" when appropriate and with appropriate respect but then again if that is not possible - don't walk away, run. Take that time to find someone who is willing to actually teach the entire system and remain open to the relationship necessary to achieve success for the person, the sensei and the dojo.