"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

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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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Anyone and everyone who finds or may find my posts anything other than my attempts to learn or they may have infringed on someone or something please comment and tell me what post and why. I will do my best to correct, I want this blog to be informative, entertaining and as accurate as possible with all gratitude and recognition due those who inspire me to write about a wonder and favorite subject for me - martial arts.

How many self-defense techniques are too much for practicality?

Hmmm, not sure I am the one to answer this question. I am sure of my personal feelings toward it tho and that is I prefer to keep them simple, few and as practicable as possible as related to violence as I see it in the street. Street violence for me is a good part monkey dance tribal oriented model but I also want something that will be there if I encounter a predatory violent attack.

I tend to feel that one, depending on how and how much they train, should keep it all simple and oriented toward natural body movements and natural instinctually driven responses, i.e. if you learn a technique you want it to be something that mimics somewhat the instinctual responses you might have in a survival mode. 

I feel we tend to think that having a tool box chocked full of techniques is the only way to truly be ready for self-defense. I am not totally convinced this is practicable. There are arguments for both sides but I feel that the brain in a crunch under the adrenaline chemical flood tends to go simple and too many choices will not produce a good blended response in the moment when needed the most. 

I agree it is interesting and fun to learn as much as you can but I do feel, personally, that what you learn for quantity must be tempered with adequate focus and attention on what you mind needs encoded when the stuff hits the fan. It can be done, I believe that many of the professionals out there have done this and done it well but where it tends to fall through the cracks is for those of us who rely on sporadic training and a mind-set that falsely believes that what we do in the training hall is enough. This is especially true of the persons who attend a few classes and assume it will work without any additional ongoing training and continuous practice.

The amount or quantity of SD techniques will be an answer only an individual can make for themselves. Don't listen to what I feel is adequate or excessive simply because that is what is adequate or excessive for me personally. Only you can say for yourself and you can only discover this through practice, practice, practice and training, training, training. You have to discover what works for you and what does not - for you, not me or others who will like me have a definite opinion :-)

This is why I would recommend strongly those who take self-defense attend seminars by those professionals who live this life daily and have accumulated the experience that says, it worked/works for them and then use that to gauge what works for you, they will help with that in the seminars, etc. i.e. Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung and many others. 

Why do karate training facilities use the terminology, i.e. Japanese terms, and why do they wear the uniform and belts, i.e. obi and karate-gi?

Good question. For me I can say that it is a symbol of the hereditary connections to the ancient martial arts of Okinawa. It is a symbol of the times in which I first began practice even tho the karate-gi is a relatively recent addition to karate-do. It is symbolic of the essence and nature of the cultural beliefs that radically affected the systems practiced today.

As to the terms, this is a definite model and method to learn more about the cultural influences of Japan and Okinawa with a historical influence from the Chinese, Korean and Indian teachings that led, carried and passed on concepts, etc. to both Japan and Okinawa. It is a means of communications that is diverse and different as light is to day when comparing to western communications. The characters/ideograms are fluid and infer greater meanings allowing them to be used in different context and as influenced by groups, etc. 

As one continues to research the cultural heritage of martial arts they can find, as I did, the strong connections and therefore strong influences on the Okinawan/Japanese social structures that led to martial arts and ways in the dojo as influenced by the cultural beliefs of every day life. 

It is also a teaching tool for those who do the work and research to find the underlying meanings that are possible from using such a communications method. The creation of these characters/ideograms also provide us a means to pursue an art form for it was this art form that was born from the early practices in writing, etc. 

In another view it is the "cool factor" for western training especially in the recent past sportive model. Today the current feelings are relinquishing the connections by not requiring or teaching the karate-gi and obi. It is becoming passé to acknowledge, wear or require the martial art uniform and belt. It is also being transitioned into a more commercialized western concept and symbol. 

As to the characters/ideograms in the west they are again a "cool factor" so a training facility can publish and advertise that they teach a traditional system of martial arts but this too is falling by the wayside due to modern influences resulting from the acceptance of things like MMA, UFC, and other like sport models. 

Very vey actually research the meaning of the words and especially the characters/ideograms and simply accept what is given in any dojo or training hall from any black belt instructor. It also allows for the cool factor in advertisements, etc. if one desires to go the extra distance to find them. 

In closing the uniform, terms and characters/ideograms are merely a learning tool for teaching the martial arts and must be taken seriously by researching and finding clarity but in reality teaching the English terminology is still going to teach a front snap kick with the ball of the foot, i.e. "Ashi no bōru o motte furontosunappukikku or 足のボールを持ってフロントスナップキック."

Yelling in the Dojo, is it necessary? Is it productive? Is it damaging?

Yelling is not productive and it does not promote anything more than resentment especially when the person on the receiving in either does not know or does not understand why. Just because someone is not learning in a manner the sensei perceives is adequate to that individual does not mean it needs the disruption and negative emanations of yelling. 

Command presence along with proper body language that includes specifically facial language, tone and intonation of words and voice tend to say a lot more than yelling. 

Command presence can be achieved by deeds, actions and example. If you lack any of these then you tend to drop into the easiest form of disruptive and ineffective communications, yelling. 

I know this because even today at fifty-nine years young when confronted by something that touches on certain emotional issues in my life I tend to lean toward frustration that sometimes leads to yelling - not good. 

Yelling in the Marines is used in the first phase of boot camp but not as a teaching tool but rather as a means to disorient, confuse  and create a model of indecision so they can take training to a model that one acts without thought and acts quickly but I stress that often after only a short time the yelling is lessened for more productive teaching methods and the use of command presence to achieve obedience, etc. to orders and certain processes that are all life and death oriented. 

I have command presence that I learned from the Marines. I have a strong voice that when the timber and tone take a certain note along with facial expressions and body language convey meaning that is meant to teach quickly.

Now, as to the dojo, there is no need for any of this. There are no time limits on budo. There are not time constraints on either the dojo as a group or on individuals as budo is meant to be learned over time and at the pace and ability levels of each individual. The modern dojo with its emphasis on students, classes and lesson plans with time and requirements set in stone tend to lean toward  larger groups that have limited time to learn or they lose money, etc.

In a traditionally formed dojo environment that is closer to the cultural systems of martial arts tend to have no such restrictions or requirements. Then the individual learns at their own pace and the teachings are adjusted accordingly. 

Yelling in the military as I might add is caught up in the time constraint, i.e. make a Marine combat ready in as short a time as nine weeks - a huge responsibility and a very small window that must be met to achieve war readiness. This model came about from WWII and Korea and Viet Nam, etc. but in peace time it was adjusted to thirteen weeks which is still, for some, a short turn-a-round.

I digress, in today's modern training facilities yelling is not necessary and a throw back to the military influences of folks who brought martial systems to our country in the late fifties and early sixties. It is not necessary even for shugyo. 

In testing, if used, shugyo can and is achieved in daily training and can be achieved in a short intense test environment without debasing and denigrating an human being with yelling and screaming no matter how you justify it by saying it puts the kind of pressure needed for a shugyo type environment.