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.)

Search This Blog

Monday, June 13, 2016

It’s Not Personal

Listen, it truly is not personal. I can’t tell you how many folks read my stuff, especially for the first time, and take immediate offense as if I attacked them and their belief systems in a personal way. In my mind, that is impossible especially if you have the confidence and understanding of what it is you do in martial arts, karate especially since that is my main squeeze martial art practice and study.

My sole goal on my blogs and wherever I find myself writing or talking about my personal understanding of my personal training, practice and applications of karate-martial arts. I often find other articles and extract things that trigger my mind into its meandering and wandering way of learning using Colonel Boyd’s “Analysis and Synthesis” model of study. I have exctracted from many authors and even if my writings and talks stray away from the original intent of that author doesn’t mean I am taking aim at the person themselves or even their intent in the original article. 

I often find things said and then deliberately take them out of the original article and the author’s intent in that article because when the quote or meme or other derived information is extracted like that it is NO LONGER a PART of the original. What I do tho is give credit to that author and their article not to make it personal but to make it known that the inspiration of the article I write comes from that extraction.

After all, analysis often, as you can find in Col. Boyd’s explanation, is taking individualized parts of a whole to study separately and then work toward rebuilding into something else that most often has nothing to do with the origins of the used extracted data. 

If you end up taking anything I write and way personally then that is ALL ON YOU, not me. If you find you become uncomfortable with anything then simply write me or a comment expressing your concerns and beliefs - you may be able to change my mind about what I wrote and guess what, many have done just that over the last decade or so - Whopee, I learnt somethin!

JUST REMEMBER DUDES AND DUDETTE’s, It ain’t personal, was not meant to be personal and ain’t about you, none of you. Your inspired me to write something that may or may not be relevant to what you wrote or said or it might be but IT IS MY PERSONAL idea’s, theories, and understanding of what the subject matter is about - loosley. 

You can’t learn shit by remaining steadfast with what you know because it is what you don’t know or what you don’t know you don’t know you don’t know about that will cause you to not know something. Yes, all that came from someone else who said something about knowing, not knowing something and not knowing what you don’t know you don’t know thingy. Yes, I kinda borrowed it because, I liked it and you can see that in my writing too like recent studies of Colonel Boyd and the OODA, its a learning process for me and … wait for it … It is NOT personal!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

grading tests have little meaning

“In truth, formal grading tests have little meaning if the outcome is predetermined or divorced from the skill displayed by the candidate…” - Michael Clarke Sensei, Shinseidokan Dojo

Comments: Formal grading processes are derived from our perceptions and assumptions from experiencing an educational system of social conditions that cause our internal worlds to gravitate to what we already know, believe it and assume is reality. In truth, students of modern karate and martial arts self-defense do not want to face reality and would rather get the ego stroked and the emotional fed through some sort of self-help physical activity that is more club like social needs rather than survival in self-defense. It is about development of things not physical like presented by Mr. MacYoung, i.e., developing people skills and communications, learning how conflict and violence work along with how crime is done and how criminals work, then taking on appropriate realistic physical skills, learning how to assess threats and becoming aware of them before things go hinkey and finally how the laws and legal system works. 

the point of uselessness

“He stresses the point of uselessness to learn a lot of forms without mastering them.” - Gichin Funakoshi when asked by Asato Sensei to increase the number of kata taught.

Comments: Uselessness, too much processing by our internal world of our minds means we get lost in the facing a tree when we are embroiled in a forrest of ineffective collections of mindless dance like connected movement. 

No matter how hard

“No matter how hard you have trained, how much you have studied, or how closely you have matched your training environment to the realities that you face, your body and primitive mind know that you have only been faking. Training and planning are blueprints, nothing more. They are plans; they are stories that you tell yourself. You may truly believe that your new skill (new system, new plan) is the best way out of your situation - but your body knows one thing, too: What you are already doing hasn’t gotten you killed yet.” … Now, a caveat to this quote is, “In the moment, like breaking the freeze, you must force yourself to act. Once a few steps are taken on the new path and you haven’t died, the primitive brain will ease up a bit.” - Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence

Comments: There are certain aspects to how our brains, our minds, work. It is this aspect of our minds and brains that validate what Mr. Miller is saying above. It comes down to the quality of the training toward reality, it comes down to the quantity of those training sessions and it comes down to how that is encoded into our procedural memory, i.e., encoding zombie sub-routines that the brain can associate in our internal world to what we encounter through our senses in the real world. Making our internal world more knowledgable to the reality of self-defense in the real world will go a long was to correctly connect our internal world to what we sense so that we end up doing the right things. There has to be a connection that will trigger our internal world simply because the internal world of our brains trumps a lot of what reality presents because if we have to actually experienced it a lot of what it is will be simply ignored by our brains, our minds. Gives a whole new meaning to reality, gives a whole new meaning toward our mind-set and a whole new meaning toward our mind-state.  

having your lifestyle changed

“Self-defense is not having your lifestyle changed for you. It’s better to avoid than to run; better to run than to deescalate; better to deescalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.” - Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence (Note: Know that this quote is not the final say in SD but rather a tease to get you to learn more - start with his book)

Comments: Karate and martial arts self-defense focus on the accumulation of physical applications that rarely have anything to do with a live self-defense situation. Of the list in this quote/meme it becomes clear that there is a process and a road where one can take a detour at any point along the route to totally avoid damage, etc. Notice I didn’t say some loss of personal valuables but then again your life is so much more important than a watch, a wallet and the money you may or may not be carrying. Follow the scripts - live. 

like life: you get

“The martial arts is like life: you get ahead a couple of steps, and you get knocked back three. What’s important is you keep getting up and moving forward. That’s what being a martial artist is all about.” - Karate Instructor (Loren Christensen - Some Lessons Hurt)

Comments: Attitude, attitude, attitude, attitude, attitude, and a whole lot more appropriate positive attitude!

your knowledge only

“Understand that your knowledge only gives you an edge, and that’s all.” - Karate Instructor (Loren Christensen - Some Lessons Hurt)

Comments: You just have to hope that your training and practice is solid and reality based because if not your slim chance once attacked becomes smaller and your edge may disappear. 

aims to build

Yasuhiro Konishi Sensei once said, "Karate aims to build character, improve human behavior, and cultivate modesty; it does not, however, guarantee it."

Comments: Nothing in any discipline or life itself is guaranteed. 

a ‘sound-bite’ society

“Our nation has become a ‘sound-bite’ society. A public and therefore a jury pool that is increasingly vulnerable to misinformed simple answers to complicated questions.“ - Massad Ayoob at Texas Bar Association Firearms Law Symposium, September 2012.

Comments: You will face this and it can be more damaging than the actual self-defense encounter you experienced. You have to have your facts down and you have to have a lawyer that knows about self-defense law and you have to have the ability to articulate why you did what you did so that they can understand and so that you can counter their predisposed belief derived from watching way to many movies and reading way too much fiction. Changing their minds may even be the most difficult defense strategy you can do other than convincing your attorney you actually did act in self-defense. The entire legal business is going to disbelieve you right from the get go. 

toward one option

“Karate tends toward one option, the fist. The fist not being the best tool even for karate, empty hands.“ - unknown

Comments: Fist-ta-cuffs are a socially driven conflict resolving ego driven status oriented type of communications in a social group with survival as its base or cornerstone. 

Karate is not a martial art

“Karate is not a martial art, as we have discussed before. It was not practiced by a martial class. It was not created to kill instantly, to devastate. It had different goals and a different approach. When it was introduced to mainland Japan, it’s early pioneers there worked tirelessly to make it respectable and accepted, and that meant making it ‘Japanese.’ That is how we got ideas like ikken hisatsu, or ‘killing with a single strike,’ which were not a traditional part of Okinawan karate.” - Dave Lowry, “A Perfect Strike in the Japanese Arts (Black Belt Magazine)” 

Comments: Ergo, karate is separate from martial arts except when Japanese karate is discussed since its creation was modeled after the ancient martial arts of Japan. Many of the modern beliefs of Okinawan karate are from the influences of the Japanese forms of karate and martial arts. It is my belief when discussing exclusively Okinawan karate you cannot associate it as a martial art and vice versa. 

Why "Technique based"

Why "Technique based" training is not sufficient to staying in the SD Square. “Don’t assume that we are talking about one culture being better than another. Don’t believe that this mentality, of completely destroying an opponent, means that Japanese martial arts are the ‘real thing’ any more so than any other martial or combat art. Different arts address the differences in cultures and countries, circumstances and histories. There is no point in making comparisons.”  - Dave Lowry, “A Perfect Strike in the Japanese Arts (Black Belt Magazine)”

Comments: Key here is styles being a cultural creation toward manifestation of a egoistic representation of a singular application of fundamental principles toward a technique driven defense system trumps the fact, hides it behind circumstances and cultural histories both spoken and written, that all styles and systems are driven by said principles and governed by multiple defense methodologies rather than techniques. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

FaceBook Disabled

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

I just disabled my FB account and feel sad and sorry the step doesn’t actually remove all the data especially the data’s connectivity and residence in other forms of data-collections, etc. It is too bad our Internet systems are collection grounds for both data-brokerage as well as cyber-criminal use and abuse. It is a shame that activities of the average individual cannot be protected as well as that of cyber-criminals, cyber-terrorists and terrorism, criminal activities and so on. 

Those who followed me on FaceBook (friended and followed) will have to remember to seek out my articles on the blogs. I don’t for one instance assume that blogs are any safer but taking the action to NOT allow CONNECTIONS to other media sources like FB and Twitter as examples means I can continue with caution writing my articles. Like my recommendations in this blog, it may not remove the danger but it might just reduce the probability making my victimization less definite. 

I know that what I put out there via social media is not actually all that personal, I have managed to keep the more personal sides at a very minimum, i.e., in all probability anything out there actually of a personal nature was accidental but who really knows. Regardless, in the last day or so I came to experience something I felt was less likely, my Apple iMac actually froze up, locked completely as if a Windows machine and that made me anxious. I gravitate toward a feeling that if I had not participated in such social media the probability might not have existed let along exposed me to such events. 

In a nutshell, I don’t do twitter or other socially driven media and I did FaceBook only as a means to express theories, ideas, and information on my favorite life subject of karate and martial arts and self-defense but still, it was publishing a comment on that media that led to the freeze and hard boot of an Apple system, something I thought might not happen for a longer span of time. It is and was inevitable but still ….

So, no more Facebook and a more restricted participation in such things until someone somewhere is able to create a safety net like they use, called Tor, in the dark underworld residing below our Internet. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Goodman, Marc. “Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It.” Doubleday. New York. 24 February 2015. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

the black belt I got faster

“I’ve got this black belt… the black belt I got faster than normal by paying a little bit extra… the black belt they gave me even though my punches carry very little weight and my kicks are more likely to injure my own leg than whatever I’m kicking… the black belt that would be mine forever, even if I stopped training and allowed my skills to deteriorate… the black belt that would be a reflection of my aspirations, rather than my abilities… the black belt that may make me overconfident and more likely to get myself into trouble I would otherwise avoid…” - God’s Bastard

Comment: one word, “Commercialism.” Another word is control while another is dominance. A symbol created to control and to earn funds to keep the training hall open and with many students in attendance. What is a black belt and did anyone even at the very beginning when the dan-i was created consider its symbolic meaning? 

ideologies are strongly dependent

“ … our beliefs and ideologies are strongly dependent on our circumstances.” - Marc MacYoung

Comment: This just makes me think until my brain hurts.

justified and justifiable

“Maybe justified and justifiable can be subsumed under smart. Do the smart thing. If it's not justifiable and you either can't live with yourself or you go to prison... hmmm, maybe it wasn't all that smart? Justifying -- articulation -- then becomes the skill. Do the smartest thing you're capable of, but practice explaining why it was the best available option.” - Rory Miller, Justified, Justifiable, Prudent and Smart dtd. Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Chiron Blog

Note: all the above highlighted quotes are presented “out of context” because I liked them as I read his blog post. You can read that post here: “Justified, Justifiable, Prudent and Smart”

Comments: Who the hell knew one’s communications ability would become so critical to self-defense. Even if an able communicator if you don’t have the knowledge and understanding then how can you articulate properly. 

finish things quickly

“Sometimes it's so important to finish things quickly that it's worth taking damage to do so. (And, less academic, you're probably going to take some damage anyway, so suck it up, Buttercup. But that said taking damage unnecessarily is, by definition, unnecessary. Smart people don't do it.) Sometimes, fighting out of a shitty position is more important than ending the threat. Better to do both, but if you're with a bad guy in a burning, collapsing building and damage to him will cost you even a second, improve your position.” - Rory Miller, Justified, Justifiable, Prudent and Smart dtd. Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Chiron Blog

Comments: Sage advice, wonder if such a thing is even discussed in martial arts or is it always about the drama and appearance of social status driven dominance. Make your shitty position one far and a good distance away from the actual violence. Monkey shit ….

faster, safer and more effective

“’High levels of force are faster, safer and more effective than lower levels’ is a good rule of thumb. But like all of them, it has a failure point. A situation where something else becomes true. Or truer.” - Rory Miller, Justified, Justifiable, Prudent and Smart dtd. Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Chiron Blog

Comments: Higher is not always best. Except when it is best. 

completely justified

“ … sometimes the higher level of force can be completely justified, completely prudent, but not the smart thing to do. Like fighting out of a crowd.” - Rory Miller, Justified, Justifiable, Prudent and Smart dtd. Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Chiron Blog

Comments: Perceptions and perspectives of others. Others who may take an emotional view of what you did regardless of whether you are truly and legally justified. Add in a mixture of hate and an agenda of forcing personal beliefs on others you get screwed. 

their daily behavior

“People 'learn' karate from someone who 'teaches' it, and so there is little need for an experienced karateka to 'transmit', through their daily behavior, something that a student (if they have prepared themselves sufficiently) is able to 'receive’.”  - Michael Clarke Sensei 

Comment: the main point I am commenting on is the inference toward “Transmitting” as in actions to deeds and our behavior both on and off the dojo floor. In modern dojo or rather schools since my perception of dojo does not match what I witness in schools of karate they are not participating enough to witness a sensei or senpai both during and after training and practice end. In order to have a martial art “Transmitted” in its entirety it takes a lot more than just attending classes three times a week for a couple of hours duration. Add in the fact that when training occurs it is often at a ratio that does not leave room for more than “Learning Karate.” It comes down to a certain type of relationship between sensei and deshi, senpai and kohai and finally tori and uke. It means exposing one another above and beyond mere class attendance, it is about transmitting something more than mere physical movement. It is about “Essence.” 

developing a feeling

“Remembering techniques has taken precedence over developing a feeling for them, while adherence to a syllabus has become the main conduit through which karate is passed from one generation to the next.” - Michael Clarke Sensei 

Comment: Kind of like memorization vs. understanding, the kind of understanding that allows a manifestation of application by feeling - and under the stress of adrenal flooding too. Another point to make is remembering techniques that does not meet the needs of conflict and violence effectively. A technique based training model is about trying to meet the requirements to combat attacks, not sport, etc., but street attacks or even socially driven monkey dances called sometimes “Bar fights.” Our focus should be on how we manifest techniques according to any given situation of a random and chaotic nature through the study, understanding and application of multiple defense methodologies as driven by proper application of fundamental principles of principled based multiple methodologies, i.e., using theory, techniques and philosophy to drive our application of physiokinetic principles in applying multiple methodologies, i.e., the six methodologies of compression, drives/pushes, pulls, impacts, twists, and takedowns/throws. 

its personal

“One of the biggest issues about MOST violence is its personal. It is about you. It's about what you have done to end up there, how much force is going to be used against you, legalities, how much force you should use, etc., etc. All of that still applies -- to those situations. … The rise of the OTHER kind of situations. When you're dealing with a pack, racial targeting, a mob, civil unrest (riots for the rest of us), an active shooter or a terrorist attack, ALL of that goes out the window. Your kung fu isn't going to save you. … The nature of the violence you're going to be facing in these kinds of situations (that are also growing in numbers) is different from personal violence. Different in nature. Different in goals. And different in what it's going to take to handle it.” - Marc MacYoung

Comments: In short, from my point of view, it is a complex thing this conflict and violence, one that is not addressed fully and completely in almost all martial arts and karate communities that profess to teach self-defense. The thing is, most of us in these modern times will not have to deal with this level of violence but, what if? In a nutshell, the reason I present these teachings is because we must embrace our true natures as a violent species and only through proper acceptance, education and understanding can we achieve progress to control our natures and therefore reduce significantly the conflict and violence except the forms that make for a mutual understanding and outcome of a more peaceful nature.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Koan-Like Meme’s and Quotations

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

The site has quotations I often liken to Zen Koans but not truly Zen Koans. I want readers, practitioners and especially students to read and try to discern the meanings, both obvious and hidden, toward gaining a fuller understanding of karate and martial arts with emphasis on theories and philosophies as they drive practice, training and applications.

A Zen Koan is often worded in a question format, not meant to be answered (especially in a literal sense); they are meant to be lived. What I have come to believe is once a person is exposed to a discipline and its various Zen like Koans, like my quotations and meme’s, they must contemplate them and then try to incorporate them into their lives and practice with only one caveat, expect them to change as you gain knowledge, experience and understanding.

Similar to actual Zen Koans I challenge readers to look directly at the koan, meme or quotation itself first literally then with a certain abstraction perspective, i.e., an open mindedness that transcends the literal. You don’t rally have to come up with an answer or a theory or an idea as I have presented here but to come up with some theory and philosophy that provides you enlightened practice, training and application - regardless of that applications distinctions as to sport, fighting, combatives or self-defense. 

It is about how you evolve and how your understanding deepens through a living experience that evolves from the study, contemplation and expanding growth of understanding a koan like meme or quotation, etc.

Emptiness refers to a mind that is open and receptive to whatever is happening. Making your mind void, not truly empty but rather receptive to all ideas, theories and considerations, etc. 

Bibliography (Click the link)