Blog Disclaimer :-)

Zen Koans as they originate from Zen masters testing or challenging Zen students with parables, i.e., simple stories used to trigger a sudden realization in the student of a moral nature. Martial (Zen-like) Koan (or parable like quotes) studies are taking the practice of Zen Koan’s to trigger on-going realizations in the study of martial quotes that will lead toward martial enlightenment - toward a spiritual state of mind that allows for change. It is through such changes that both the discipline and the student can achieve higher levels of understanding through acquired knowledge and experience. Welcome to the “Martial (Zen-like) Koan Studies!”

Koans, or parables (a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson).”

Caveat: Please make note that this blog is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post blog meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

This blog is mine and mine alone. I, the author of this blog, assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.)

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Friday, August 7, 2015

what is going on

“Situational awareness - knowing what is going on around you. Specifically, it is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend factors that can be important for your safety and welfare, such as the existence of potential threats, escape routes, and weapons.” - Rory Miller and Lawrence A. Kane, Scaling Force

Comments: Knowledge, yes I said knowledge. To ignore such things and to assume that conflict and violence will disappear from human existence if we just don’t teach it to others leaves those who fail to learn this lesson as victims. To avoid being a victim you really have to achieve an awareness that allows time for avoidance. To avoid being a victim you have to achieve a mind-set and mind-state based on knowledge, at the very least, along side training and experience to remain aware. If you don’t know this, if you don’t know what you don’t know and if you don’t take actions to resolve this state of ignorance then when things go “Hinkey” you will suffer the consequences. One very important aspect is after-effects of violence. If your mind has no concept then when true violence is experienced then the mind dies and the psychological results will be even more devastating. 

not to win

“The goal of self-defense is not to win the fight, but rather to avoid combat in the first place. … Nevertheless, sometimes despite your best intentions, you may find yourself in a situation where there really is no alternative but to fight. When it comes to such circumstances, particularly in an asocial violence scenario, you cannot stop until it’s over.” - Rory Miller and Lawrence A. Kane, Scaling Force (pg. 49)

Comments: The worst position anyone can find themselves facing and how you prepared matters. Fighting is always a last resort and still a necessary discipline each of us has to be proficient in if for no other reason than, just in case. Ignoring conflict and violence in the hopes it will just go away is to leave oneself open to grave bodily harm or death. The only way to combat adversity is to know it, recognize it and then prepare to deal with it. 

address or acknowledge

"Asian martial arts do not even address or acknowledge the need or existence of any of these critical survival self-defense skills at all. Instead Asian Martial Arts follows a syllabus almost wholly devoted to the practice of physical technique alone. The majority of that physical technique is wholly impractical for most people to employ effectively in an actual self-defense situation too." ~ Christopher Caile

Comments: Truth is always the hardest obstacle to overcome but it is still the truth. As a discipline of a violent nature transcends actual experiences then those who follow will lose site of what works and what is simply theory. The forms and functions of martial arts are about learning how to apply certain principles rather than certain technique. Only when the whole of all principles are trained, practiced and then applied can one achieve reality-based ability. Losing site of this leaves the obvious that is applied specific and individual technique and to apply the technique for technique’s sake means leaving out principles that are evident and applicable in handling conflict and violence. Truth is about self-analyzing thought processes and perceptions so that reality has room to enter, modern martial arts closed that door. The quantity of technique has smothered the underlying principles of the discipline of conflict and violence so that the important gets diminished to make room for the unimportant. The unimportant is merely the tool and plan to get to truth and martial arts truth is learning, practicing and applying fundamental principles of martial discipline.  

to understand

"I came to understand that there is no decision made without consequence, no choice without responsibility, no privilege without obligation, and no change for the better without torment." - Michael Clarke, Shinseidokan Dojo

Comments: Change is inevitable and a part of life especially in conflict and violence. It comes down to acquired and accumulated knowledge but more important is how you use that knowledge. Then the intestinal fortitude, awareness and maturity to make the right decisions because whatever is decided and acted upon will have consequences, ramifications and repercussions, i.e., mentally, physically, and legally. 

next three quotes

1. “Tracking back to the original questions, 'just' cooking is way more complicated, deep and involved. Yet with training and experience we easily navigate through massively complex processes in order to produce.” - Marc MacYoung, “Mac and Cheese Idealism,” MacYoung’s Musings Blog

Comments: We often assume that the simple actually produces the complex much like cooking from scratch to cooking from a pre-packed boxed meal, i.e., baking a cake from scratch or cooking a complete meal by nuking a television pre-packaged dinner. Both will feed you but only one truly achieves reality - a cake vs. TV dinner. Cooking from scratch is complex and takes processes much like the discipline of chemistry to achieve a finished product so why do we assume we can take self-defense and assume we can stick it in a microwave and get the same results?

2. “We tend to minimize the complexity of what we do actually know. At the same time we become vulnerable to anyone trying to 'sell us' that complex issues are simple and all about 'one thing.'  The latter especially in the form of soundbites, advertising and narrative.” - Marc MacYoung, “Mac and Cheese Idealism,” MacYoung’s Musings Blog

Comments: The human mind tends to lean heavily toward simplicity. After all, our ancestors lived in a simply time and a simple way, i.e., they were born, they learned to hunt and gather, they learned to protect the tribe, they breed and they died. It doesn’t get simpler but in modern times our human natures created such complexities that fog our minds hiding the simplicity of life itself losing our humanity for the sake of the complexities of modern technology leaving us whirling in a flood of complexities pulling us down to drown in the whirlpool as water down the drain. It is no wonder we gloss over the simplicity of conflict and violence along with the disciplines of that profession for the sake of gratification toward complexities that make us feel superior as an inferior animal. Do we really have the ability to think and reason? Are we really superior to the Lions and Tigers and Bears? Have we truly progressed from when we were the simply ancestors living on the plains hunting and gathering for us and the tribe? 

3. “Simplistic answers and an abundance of confidence really appeals to the part of our brains that want to reduce the complexities of life to simplistic narratives and never mind reality (much less all those messy complications).” - Marc MacYoung, “Mac and Cheese Idealism,” MacYoung’s Musings Blog

Comments: Isn’t it about our need for answers easily perceived and therefore perceived easy to live? Don’t the simplistic answers we need for comfort and self-soothing actually leading us blindly into a convoluted life where conflict and violence increase and dominate while we fool ourselves into “Believing” things are getting better? 

the truth of one’s belief

“I feel strongly the truth of one’s belief that the answers one gives to life’s crucial questions are never truly spontaneous; they are the embodiment of years of contextual experience, of the building of patterns in each of our lives that eventually grow to dominate our behavior.” - Kreizler

Comments: Years of conceptual and contextual experiences real, imagined and created by that complex computer we call our brain and the software labeled “Mind.” Patterns both reality based and created from each individual life till they dominate and drive us to do the things we do, to do the things we think and to do the things born of that process. 

someone they trust

“A belief told to others by someone they trust is, for most people, a subjective truth and no more based on fact than the belief that the world is held up by four elephants standing on the back of an enormous turtle.” - Rory Miller, Facing Violence

Comments: Once a belief sinks its tendrils deep in the mindset and mind-state the harder it is to communicate because that depth and breadth of connection is hard to extract, separate and open the mind to other aspects of life. When one truly believes to the point that fiction becomes fact and that fictional fact becomes a way of life then to cease that type of living involves death, a death fought against by the holder with more intestinal fortitude and vigor and force than any true aspect of reality. It seems humans live in a matrix that actually exists and its core program and programmer is our beliefs as coded by the monkey. Nothing informs us better that our goals must involve the monkey and that becomes problematic especially with conflict and violence.

the ethics level

“An argument at the ethics level is not perceived as an attack on identity. An attack on the belief level is very much an attack on identity. … If you can explain yourself from a deeper level you are more likely to get the other person to comprehend your point of view. … at the belief level it is much more difficult to make change. … “ - Rory Miller, Facing Violence

Comments: Beliefs are and have been the bane of humans in regard to conflict and violence. Identity, status, etc., within the group for survival still has its tendrils wrapped around all we think, say and do. It is the nuclear reactor that runs the monkey brain and therefore the emotional gear box that runs us down the monkey path. Using communications to achieve balance and success in handling conflict and violence thus is all about how well we tackle the complexities of the monkey’s emotional maturity. It’s complicated. 

identify the ‘other’

“Once you identify the ‘other’ as, not only ‘different from us,’ but as some sort of alien species both beyond our comprehension and below contempt, they suddenly become surprisingly easy (even desirable) to kill. … identifying your adversary as something ‘subhuman’, it is possible to achieve a killer mind-set in short order. … how you view your adversary will greatly influence your reaction to his provocations.”  - C. R. Jahn, Hardcore Self-Defense

Comments: Othering is as natural as breathing, blinking and the inevitability of deaths knock on our doors. 

Ground Fights; in real life

“On Ground Fights; in real life, the winner in a ground fight is not the strongest, the meanest, or the most skillful. The winner will be decided by whose friends get there first.” - Rory Miller and Lawrence A. Kane, Scaling Force

Comments: Group dynamics regardless of friends or not friends for in a group if the atmosphere, the feelings or any other negative emanations will influence everyone toward the danger of conflict and violence even if normally a solid citizen. It takes one of great intestinal fortitude not to succumb to the influences of natures survival monkey group dance, the music is too loud, too enticing and too hypnotic. It is the nature of the dance and the dance can go either way. 

compilation of fundamental

“A physical compilation of fundamental principles of martial systems practiced singularly or paired to simulate possible applications of principles in self-defense with and without reciprocal force and power in a reality-based adrenal flood physical and mental state.” - Charles E. James

Comments: Total confusion in the modern concept of self-defense. Through study of appropriate materials then training toward appropriate goals is one key of a keyring filled set of options. A terse way of describing that which is elusive to most yet available to all. Goals, Principles and Application of the entire thing is self-defense. 

Associations exist

"Karate Associations exist, and continue to do so, in a vain attempt to instill a sense of  ‘quality control’ into karate.....the decline in standards (both moral and physical) has plummeted under their watch.” - Michael Clarke, Shinseidokan Dojo blog (slightly altered by me, slightly)

Comments: It seems to me that this rises up from the human need to group together for survival. It is like the electromagnetic that pulls metals to its center, it is an irresistible pull of nature. It is human nature that causes such dysfunction because except in small personal groupings the larger groups tend to lose connectivity and it is a personal connectivity that fosters group cohesion and cooperation. 

teach anyone to strike or kick

“You can teach anyone to strike or kick, but you need it all to apply self-defense. Kicking and striking are only one element of an effective self-defense. You need to know how to handle the situation in a variety of ways (various fight methodologies).” - A compilation of quotes and parts of quotes by Alain Burrese

Comments: Think of the methodologies that when combined provide the necessary forces and power that stop a threat. Then add in the when it is necessary and when it is necessary to cease and desist applying such methodologies.