"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.

Reader's of this Blog

Search This Blog

In a word or two, what does Dojo mean to me?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Dojo is not a place to socialize although the social connections dojo brings about is at the very core of karate practice, training and application be it for self-defense or simply as a means to achieve mastery of oneself. Dojo are not places where you come for entertainment, it is a place where one finds the path toward greater strength of spirit as well as intestinal fortitude. 

Dojo, the creation, development and use of such places is a very personal journey not to be influenced by others or other organizations or even others within the same system or style. 

Dojo simply are a personally created environment where one looks deep within themselves and teaches themselves about themselves especially when such disciplinary training and practices involve the use of karate for self-defense as that requires such a huge responsibility. 

Dojo is a place in our hearts where we strive to establish a dojo; where we can feel the importance of our lives as it relates to the self-imposed importance of our karate to seek out and provide space for nothing else but practice and training, and to immerse ourselves in the pursuit of goals significant to karate and martial arts. 

Dojo is not about commercialism, customers or teaching syllabus oriented concrete concepts toward egoistic accoutrements, accolades and ego gratifications. Dojo are those places that each individual uses to find the truth of each persons mind, heart and spirit. 

Dojo are about perseverance, integrity and guts. Dojo is the place where maturity and enlightenment are possible. Dojo are doors to which we find keys and make the step into other places of possibility. 

Dojo are special and unique to the individual therefore finding what it means to any one individual is about that personal journey we all have to make especially when we connect with others but still makes us adhere to our own personal philosophy toward the journey. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Is there such a thing as, “Bubishi Master Rank?”

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Every once in a while ranking comes up or rather “Titles” tend to float out there that just amaze me, i.e., in that we come up with this really weird, stupid, stuff. I can only guess that it comes from a low self-esteem driven egoistic mind of those who just have to have some unique way to label themselves in order to build up said esteem. You know, come up with something that separates them from “Others” so they become the defacto best of this or that. Ain’t it crazy as hell. 

So, since I advocate checking stuff out at least to see it maybe it has value and can be validated I did a search (love the internet data-mining with a smidgeon of salt) to see what comes up about so-called bubishi master rank.

The first site I found actually had the following, the rare Bubishi Grand Master rank and associated honorific certifications directly from the late <name here removed> Sensei in Japan in 2007.” It also stated, “Received the rare Bubishi Master rank and Shidoin teaching license directly from <name here removed> Sensei in Japan. He holds official registration as a senior instructor with the Japan <style name here> Federation.”

Second, my search only provided the one site that actually referred to this bubishi master ranking as the above quotes indicate above. I suspect that this particular group came up with it. I didn’t even get a hit from the search on either the sensei involved or the Federation indicated. Interestingly enough only one site appears with that name associated with the bubishi master rank title. 

So far, there is nothing associated with the federation in Japan and this bubishi master ranking. When I found the federations site I wrote them an email in the hopes they would address this seemingly new teaching certification, etc. but to date I have not received any responses to my query.

In closing, I have provided my feelings on this ranking or teaching certifications and believe it is simply something the style site I found created to connect their practice of that style of karate to their studies of the bubishi. As to their group that may be a valid certification but the effort to give it some sort of validation from Japan, especially since it involves a sensei who is deceased now, seems kind of iffy to say the least but if that group, style and local federation feels it is valid and all of its members do as well then it is a “Valid certification” for that group with one caveat, it ain’t really valid to say it came from some dead guy to a federation or association that cannot, will not or just doesn’t care does not mean it is validated from Japan. 

Just another attempt at making something into more than what it actually is, kinda pitiful from my perspective and actually takes the practitioners further away from what I see as some of the principles that make karate, “Karate.” 

Bibliography (Click the link)
The One Site to Reference this certification: http://yonshinkai.com/instructors.html

Don’t you have to fight dirty to win one?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Someone, somewhere out there is karate-land quoted the following, “The dirtier the kata, the more realistic it’ll become.” It made me think of several questions because I see this as some agenda driven sales gimmick.

Q1: When stating that, “dirtier the kata” what exactly does dirtier mean? 
Q2: When you promote karate as something that should be ugly, what does that mean?
Q3: When you say and promote karate as having to be dirty to be reality, what does that really mean? Whose reality and dirty means what?

We are left to make a lot of assumptions and we all know that in the sales game those assumptions, if tickled just right, along with the customers perceptions and beliefs will self-lead them to open up the wallet and chuck out the bucks to get the, “Authenticate reality based dirtier karate kata for fighting, defense and combat,” sales pitch from what is not said nor explained. Ain’t life just grand?

First, generally speaking, you do NOT have to fight dirty to survive. Fighting dirty could mean using methods that would be viewed and considered too aggressive and to high of force levels for the situation. Fighting dirty tends to be seen as such and do you want the first responders to view you as a dirty fighter, an aggressive view as well often assumed when fighting dirty, who then will be influencing the local prosecutor toward criminal charges vs. just releasing you? 

Second, what is dirty kata or dirtier kata, is it also about training someone to a mind-set that makes them feel and beleive they are justified in what they do to get the win or is it merely making a sale to a product that is actually unnecessary and inappropriate. 

Third, what is needed here is a mind-set to train for defense using those principles and methodologies along with appropriate force levels, etc., to apply legal self-defense rather than fighting dirtier. 

How things are presented and how they are received along with how they are perceived does make a difference and as often as not a HUGE difference. 

I want those who train, practice, learn and teach self-defense whether karate or martial arts or boxing or Jujitsu, etc. to do so correctly, adequately and in accordance with societies laws and requirements and toward avoiding stepping out of the SD Square. 

Fighting dirty is a child’s fantasy, fighting “SMART” by defending rather than fighting using principled-based multiple-methodologies of defense seems more appropriate, beneficial and with the least chance of other not so nice ramifications. What you put in your mind matters as to how you implement your actions especially in a situation involving grave bodily harm and even death. 

Grow up!

Bibliography (Click the link)

p.s. of course, if necessary you may actually fight what some think is “Dirty” but in reality the only way to survive. Nothing is dirty when life is on the line. 

Are Weapons Extensions of Karate (the body)?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Directly, I would say yes, weapons are an extension of the body. Directly speaking, I would say no, weapons are not the extensions of karate. Weapons are preferred over empty hand combat, fighting and self-defense but as to why they are or not is … complex. 

First, karate itself as I have come to understand it is about, first a means of social communications even in the beginning of its history in the older, starting in the 1600’s or so, Okinawan culture where it was born. Second, it comes to light from some historical sources that empty handed practices were a requirement and a prerequisite to training and learning about weapons. This is not necessarily applicable to modern times especially as to the military.

Granted, forms of what is called martial arts have been implemented into military training. What is great about it is the training now extends beyond the eight hours of hand-to-hand often taught in boot camp. The Marines created their MCMAP or Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Yes, to the observer it is more about a more sport oriented methodology but since the goals of the program are not necessarily their use in combat it still holds high regard and purpose and benefit to our Marines. 

Someone actually provided a quote, can’t find it but when I do I will add it, from a Marine D.I. concerning MCMAP and hand-to-hand where in essence he stated his goal was not to teach them to use it but rather teach them the discipline and confidence to simply fight. 

As to civil defense of weapons as extensions of karate or the body or both, not so much. I see it more as a meme to pass on some agenda that is not about self-defense or fighting successfully or even in combatives. Weapons are and should be preferable over empty handed strategies and tactics. As to kobudo, they really don’t serve any purpose for defense except in a academic historical sense. Kobudo weapons don’t really provide you much extension as to using your empty hands in self-defense. This comes from a technique based training and teaching model. 

Kobudo, weapons, of the karate origins are old and not very useful in defense civilly speaking especially toward levels of force, force disparities and legally acceptable self-defense use. Weapons must depend heavily on force levels and decisions. Exceeding those levels with inappropriate force decisions leads to legal ramifications that can be worse than just getting the crap beat out of you (this also depends on social vs. asocial conflict and violence as well - it ain’t all that simple).

Kobudo, weapons, are fun. They are interesting and challenging to say the least. As to following the way through study of things like theories and philosophies they are great. The benefits are great and worth the effort to study,. but as to self-defense or as extensions of the body and/or karate - not so much. 

Yet, if certain distinctions as to weapons, kobudo, to self-defense applications being made do provide practitioners with many ways to analyze and theorize weapons work for defense. Not that you will carry such things around in the event you are attacked but making certain distinctions allows you to learn how to recognize environmentally available things to be used as “Enhancers” in an attack then you benefit and they are good, i.e., like Bo training allowing you to pick up almost any object of like construction be it a broom handle or a large tree branch, etc. as long as the force levels and disparities allow, the use would be justifiable. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

What is the Karateka lifestyle?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

The answer to this question is, “It depends.” You have to establish the reasons and goals involved in your decision to learn, practice and apply your karate. This question could be narrowed down by adding more information toward the distinction in the mind of the person asking, i.e., adding in their reasons for taking up karate such as for sport, for self-defense, for the camaraderie and social connections it can bring, etc., and is their practice and training about a philosophical aspect, one of the six fundamental principles address this aspect in a basic way, or are they looking for self-improvement, self-confidence and self-analysis toward betterment, etc. All of these would lean heavily toward an understanding of a karate-ka lifestyle. 

To me, living a karate-ka lifestyle is about that philosophical aspect toward a deeper understanding of myself where the lessons found through practice in the dojo associated by my studies outside the dojo then used to change the way I live and the egoistic-self toward becoming a better all-round person that is lived, breathed and displayed through actions and deeds over lip-service, etc., so that I become a better person in every waking moment of living seems to be a lifestyle. 

Lifestyle is about how one lives in the daily living as a way of living. It permeates every part of who we are and can be perceived through the interests one has, the opinions and behaviors one displays in every facet of their daily doings, and how they behave when alone; with others; in our culture and toward a belief system of a personal nature. It reflects a person’s attitudes and values not just when in the dojo but when the wake in the morning all through the day until they fall asleep at night. It is the forging of self creating a personal identity of moral right symbolized and projected to others and to the self.

Karate-ka lifestyle includes health, fitness, well-being, etc., toward a role in shaping one’s lifestyle. It builds on personality and creates character. It is those guiding values and principles that define their judgement which informs their actions throughout their lives. This is what I value as a karate-ka’s lifestyle. 

How you go about creating such a lifestyle matters and can be achieve in many ways where the practice of karate is but one. Karate can only become a lifestyle if you choose to reach beyond the mere physical regardless of how that is manifested in reality through a holistic wholehearted embracing of fundamental principles of, “Theory, Physiokinetics, Technique, most importantly Philosophy, Self-Defense and finally the Chemical Cocktail.” 

An important point and a cornerstone to both karate as a way and karate as a means to a philosophy to live by is the concept of yin-yang where yin is about that lifestyle while yang is that part the reaches toward its actual essence toward fighting, combatives and self-defense - its very core reason for existing. The rest is the frosting on the cake that makes it a lifestyle worth living for a lifetime. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

What are Predators?

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

One source hypothesizes:

Well, in a recent Facebook Wall entry Marc MacYoung asked anyone if they remembered or could provide a quote from a fictional book written by Jim Butcher that described predators. He said that it was the closest description he had ever read, to date, that described what it is to be a predator. Since Mr. MacYoung’s current professional endeavors are about self-defense, etc., I can surmise that this description will provide a bit more insight as to what you would need to deal with if attacked by a predator.

“By nature predators generally go after the weak, the sick, the aged, and the isolated. Solitary predators almost exclusively hunt by attacking from surprise, where they have every advantage in their favor. Hell, even great white sharks do that, and they’re just about the biggest, oldest predators on the planet. I’ve seen a lot of things that hunted people in my time, and I regard them as a professional hazard, part of the job. I know how they operate. Predators don’t like to pick fair fights. It runs counter to their nature and robs them of many of their advantages.” - Jim Butcher, Cold Days (Dresden Files)

I set in bold some significant traits that I, personally, feel are relevant to teaching self-defense. Remember, this is about a generalization of predatory attacks and there are way more types of social and asocial things you need to understand, i.e., read his book “In the Name of Self-Defense” for a whole lot more.

When you are teaching about predators it can be said that if you are not weak and don’t convey body language, etc., as you are weak; you don’t project the type of weakness that comes from sickness; you carry yourself even in the winter years of aging as a competent persons capable physically, etc.; and as long as you are aware of your environment by not letting yourself become isolated from a safe and secure state you are beginning to project a state of being that will “Fail the interview.” If you don’t provide the predator the means to ensure his success by removing all his perceptions that would fail the interview through the advantages he looks for to make you his victim, you have a good start. Training to competence also projects the ability to ensure that the fight would cost him plenty, a good start in your training. 

Add in that, “Predators will try to limit what you can do in order to bring together any advantage they can, as predators do,” and you are starting off with a bang. Now all you need to do is bring together the fundamental principles that include both the principles of self-defense and the principles of the chemical cocktail and you will have a well-rounded training program to combat predators. This can actually achieve avoidance because encompassing all of this can create and project a state that says, “Find another victim, this one is going to cost way more than you can afford” to that predator. 

This is critical, this is only a quote or meme meant to inspire you to seek out more if you train for self-defense in karate and/or martial arts. Don’t assume this short meme tells you everything. Don’t assume that the references provided such as Mr. MacYoung’s book are the end all of self-defense. There is so much more to learn ….

Bibliography (Click the link)