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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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)