Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


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. Please make note that this article/post 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 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.

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.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

Body Armor

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

Natural body armor that is and when associated with structure, alignment and movement provide humans with adequate body armor. The kind that protects us in hand-to-hand situations - mostly. Granted, once you add in weapons then that body armor capability diminishes dependent on the type of weaponry involved. 

In hand-to-hand self-defense, for sake of this argument no weapons involved (can you say “Fiction?”), we generate force and power through a variety of principles such as the movement of our mass and the application of our mind and bodies to apply such principles as structure, alignment and stability, etc.

Add in movement, movement is critical to body armor. Our bodies alone with its skeletal structure as well as muscular create through movement, posture, position, etc., provide us the ability to bleed off force and power applied in an attack. Movement allows us to deflect, redirect and absorb force and power. When you couple that with the attackers applied principles such as structure, alignment and stabilizing efforts either effectively or ineffectively you gain more credible ability to exert body armor as to their applied force and power. 

When you witness and later articulate a potential attackers attack posture along with their attack indicators you will recognize when that attacker assumes a position that accentuates and presents optimal body armor and attitude in preparation for a physical attack. 

When you combine your structure of the body, its proper alignment of skeletal system using the muscular system as support and stabilization as well as an enhancement in applying force and power along with your and your adversary’s movement you can find ways to apply and use yours and their principles to your advantage. Lets not leave out another form of armor created by the adrenal dump we will encounter in a dangerous situation. Also, remember that your attacker is also going to have that available so it comes down to how you can use that to your advantage.

Body armor is about the efficient use of what nature provided us to maximize our power and force potential while using our attackers use of power and force against him along with what ever potential tools, both natural and man-made, that helps us survive damage and death along with proper use of self-defense, staying within the self-defense square. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Martial Self-Defense and Creativity

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

Who remembers their sensei talking about creativity in martial arts, especially in the self-defense martial disciplines? Creativity in a lot of martial arts is pretty much suppressed because in most cases that martial system relies heavily on conformity and the specifics of questions and answers. In self-defense martial arts one must conform inadvertently to the self-defense technique drill model that is very limited then there are those questions asked in answering what is necessary to TEST and Qualify for rank, i.e., promotions. It models many of our school systems that are also formulated toward conformity and the question/answer model of testing. Creativity is about non-conformity so that questions and answers become more diversified, i.e., allowing for open-minded answers that involve variety, etc. 

Creativity is about divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is about development in varied and different directions. It is a thought process whereby the student generates within themselves creative ideas through the exploration of as many solutions as can be generated. When you are stuck in a more conformity model of drills and so on without being allowed to “diverge” toward other possibilities you lose out on developing a more creative way of applying self-defense. 

In reality one needs to develop yin-yang, a principle of philosophy, by training, developing, applying both divergent and convergent thinking. You have to have correct answers to standard questions so you can build up your knowledge base. Knowledge is a factor critical to creative thinking but there are, like the balance point of yin-yang, limits where one or the other suffer if exceeded to far.

One factor that alludes toward the “Adrenal stress condition reality-based training scenario” model is creativity flows from action. Actions tend to stimulate our brain cells and get the creative juices flowing. If you are taught with creativity in mind your brain is always working to find unique and possible answers where in a more conformity question and singular answer model you just memorize an answer and that is all you need. Here is the rub tho, you need to develop creativity outside the pressures of adrenal stress conditioned reality-based training but you need to TEST that creativity and using the “Adrenal stress condition reality-based training scenario” model is the best way. 

Now, as to the process of teaching, learning and applying our creativity in the martial discipline of self-defense, that is a whole complete article that should lead toward many books and articles on creativity. Fair warning because although knowledge is critical to development of creativity it also can hinder that same creativity if one packs in too much knowledge and information especially if one leans heavily toward specific detailed “trivia” type knowledge. A good example is a teacher and practitioner who has encoded, cataloged and trained thousands of “Bunkai” to just one technique. It comes down to when action and adrenal stress hit in an attack the practitioner has way too many choices that come from analytical thinking processes and encoding while the more creative process was suppressed and lost. It is our creativity trained and practiced along with adrenal stress conditioned reality-based training that will give us what we need to, “Stop the threat, end the damage and remain in the self-defense square.” 

Quotes of Inspiration from Robert Ringer’s article, “Creativity.” 

“To be creative, you have to think divergently, which entails considering many solutions. And that, in turn, requires you to disregard conventional wisdom and consider far-ranging possibilities.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“Studies have demonstrated that the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for convergent thinking, while the right hemisphere is the home of divergent thinking.“ - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“Creativity becomes suppressed by a system that values conformity and specific answers to specific questions.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“Knowledge is another factor that is critical to creative thinking, in at least two ways. First, because the left brain is the cerebral filing cabinet for specific knowledge, it keeps the creative right brain from running wild. We’ve all known people who come up with an idea a minute, but most of their ideas either fail or never get off the ground. Usually, it’s a result of their lacking enough specific knowledge in their brain to silence their creative right brain and tell it to move on to the next idea.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity


“Second, and even more important, if your left brain is overflowing with knowledge, your right brain has access to the material it needs to be creative. Good ideas and concepts are only as good as the knowledge upon which they are based.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“But it gets even trickier. There is convincing evidence that too much specialized knowledge can actually inhibit creativity.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“It's much easier to be creative when you’re not under pressure. That’s why it’s a good idea to get away from your office periodically and relax. Some of my best ideas have come to me while cruising at thirty-five thousand feet — no telephone, no e-mails, no projects piling up around me. Vacations, the theater, attending conferences, and just going for long walks all serve the same purpose.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“Develop the habit of grabbing hold of random, creative thoughts and quickly getting them down on paper. Nothing frustrates me more than realizing that a great idea I came up with yesterday is gone because I was so certain I’d remember it that I didn’t take the time to write it down.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“Creativity flows from action. Action stimulates your brain cells and gets your creative juices flowing. What happens when you take action is that the atoms in your brain increase the speed of their vibrations, which causes your “mental paradigm” to expand. And when that occurs, you begin to see new ideas, new concepts, and new possibilities that you may not have previously considered.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

“Employ your free will and force yourself to take action. And when you do, motivation is almost sure to follow.” - Robert Ringer, Creativity

Read the entire article by Mr. Ringer HERE

Bibliography (Click the link)


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

The next term used to try and demonstrate the superiority of one form of fighting over another, i.e., the street-fighter vs. Amateur MMA Fighter. Not really able to determine what it is they are trying to prove but a good guess is an attempt to show that an amateur MMA fighter is superior to a street-fighter.\

Well, lets try to find out what a street fighter is. When you try to define that term, i.e., street-fighter, you come up with defining sites for a game. If yo separate the two words you get more of the same. Apparently the game industry has a monopoly on that term as far as Google searches are concerned. I also have a feeling I am one of the few in the world to attempt to find a definition that works for what self-defense often calls street fighting. 

Now, when searching street fighting, with the “ing,” you get, hand-to-hand combat in public places, between individuals or groups of people. Unlike sport fighting, a street fight might involve weapons, multiple opponents or revenge and has no rules.”

A pretty good site to check regarding this term is the “No Nonsense Self-Defense” site created and maintained by Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung and Dianna Gordon MacYoung.

The following quote comes from the site at No Nonsense Self-Defense, it is well worth the effort to read the entire article. “ … a street fighter, it means that I was a vicious, self-centered, misbehaving drunken, stoned thug among other vicious, self-centered, misbehaving drunken, stoned thugs. We were the worst kind of savages. Man to man, mano y mano was bull. Numbers and weapons were always used to increase our odds whenever possible. Once you realized the other side could and would shoot back, you did everything in your power to make sure he never got the chance. You always stacked the deck in your favor. You hit first, you hit hard enough to make sure he didn't get up. You ran as often as you hit, and you hit from behind as often as you could. The blood, the bullets and the knives were real. In the streets, life and death were determined by whims, pride, intoxicants and sheer stupidity. It's a way of life (and often death), and it's constant. It's living with being the hunter and the hunted every day and night.“

My personal thoughts on the matter are as follows:

First, there are various levels of what I would define as a “Street Fighter.” It is a full range or a gradient between the most extreme that I would classify Mr. MacYoung at then there is the opposite end of that spectrum that is at its most opposite. It would be hard-core to that level of soft-core with many levels or gradients that flow across that spectrum.

Hard-Core: Look to Mr. MacYoung’s quote above then read the following and it should give you an idea of what a full-fledged all-out street fighter would be, i.e.,:

"I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung"

In my mind if you can claim that you have lived and experienced the above then you are a street fighter. But, when you start to look at what most actually believe are street fighters then you begin to see why there is such a disparity.

Folks who have had a couple of fights in the local school yard tend to think that is street fighting. Then those who have had a couple of fist fights in their neighborhoods because it occurred on or near a street think they are street fighters. Those monkey dances in local sports bars when too much alcohol is consumed and testerone rises and two guys go nose-to-nose they assume they are street fighters. Well, actually bar-fighters but that as well is far from reality and that is why some seem to refer to those encounters as the “Monkey Dance.” 

I believe that at the hard-core level and a few gradient levels below that, no where near the balance point of that spectrum, you can say a participant is a street fighter. When you get to the other lower levels, not so much. Fighting out in the street does not make one a street fighter. I consider the title one that you would attach to someone who lives a life where conflict and violence are in integral part thereof where they have to fight for survival. 

All the media drama monkey oriented forms we see today referred to as street-fighter are actually sport oriented endeavors where the use of the term is simply a sales tool that also works as a self-soothing form of making ourselves feel something that we can only feel if we lived a life of conflict and violence, etc. Remember for a street fighter there are no rules and anything goes to remain alive and to survive. 

Now, to make sure my readers don’t mistakenly assume I am a street fighter, I am NOT. Yes, I have had a few fights in my life and yes, I have experienced a very, very small amount of violence but most men do at one time or another - THAT DOES NOT MAKE A STREET-FIGHTER!

Most males in these modern times are doing the monkey dance. A form of fighting that involves attack postures, attack indicators, a LOT of verbal violence and a LOT of indicators that say, I will get physically violent if you don’t I will attack but in reality even if the attack comes it comes from the use of hitting and getting hit, and that is not the end all violence we all assumed it is or was. 

When I originally read a post on a FB Wall about a competition between a “Street Fighter” and an “Amateur MMA” guy I immediately thought, “Who says the guy is a true to life real street fighter? How would they or could they know? Are they using the media driven version of what it is to be a street fighter as depicted by sport oriented labeled street fighter crap or the video games also labeled the same?” 

From where I sit today, NOT even close. When I watched the actual video and didn’t observe a predatory like attack by the labeled “Street Fighter” against the Amateur MMA guy, I kinda figured it was a media oriented drama-esque type effort to gain our attention and to sell something effort. 

Come on reality, where are you?

Bibliography (Click the link)

Disparity of Force

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

It seems that a good deal of information regarding self-defense under a heading of “Disparity of Force” is about the use of firearms for self-defense. Regardless, the study of such defenses does provide clues and hints to the average citizen regarding the application of self-defense when no firearm is involved. One instance are the circumstances when attacked by two or more persons, etc. There are other factors involved with two or more attackers but that in and of itself becomes difficult in a defense dependent on other factors such as the knowledge of the attacked as to the attackers expertise, size, strength, and many others and so on. 

When you are looking at a situation in training and practice (often there is no time to do this in an attack) you need to train with the following factors in order to establish disparity of force defense for self-defense:

The factors establishing a disparity of force include:
  • Age (bring with it weakness of muscle, slowed reflexes, and some loss of the aggression which once lent authority to our fists.)
  • Overwhelming size
  • Overwhelming strength
  • Force of numbers
  • Advanced skill in unarmed combat
  • Males against females
Note: Who decides what “Overwhelming” means as to size and strength. Is there a number that designates force of numbers. What and who decides what is considered advanced skills and what type of unarmed combat. When it comes to age, what ages to what ages and how many years determine the type of disparity, etc.

This is a good point for this article to insist you seek legal advice from a legal professional who is well-versed in self-defense law because without such advice before training and practice using the above you may find yourself outside the self-defense square. I also advocate using the AOJ/JAM and Five Stages to make sure you are in the square and that you remain in that square. For more, see the bibliography provided. 

A couple of notes on the factors. Remember that perceptions of those in judgement starting with witnesses and carrying on with first responders, prosecutors, the entire legal system including jurors, the public who can be incited toward your situation for bad and sometimes benefit, etc. You are not just facing an attacker but a whole slew of folks who are going to react emotionally from a position, perception and knowledge base built not on the reality of conflict and violence but  that presented over lifetimes through entertainment media and events. Literally, everybody from family to strangers living clear across the country are going to be available to judge you, your actions and their perceptions as to its legality and it does not have to even be an actual law involved, just perceptions and perspectives and so on - ain’t that the shits?

Note: Remember, these are just comments from my personal perspective and perceptions, read the caveat again. Also note that just one or two of the following without very distinct differences or divides may not cut it for a self-defense defense. Also, don’t forget that all concerned parties are going to be scrutinize your side as well while doing a comparison. You cannot truly discern disparity of force, in my opinion, without such comparisons. An example is one person about your age who is about fifty pounds heavier, bigger and more muscular but you have advanced skills in unarmed combat, fighting, and self-defense that may place you in a bad light regardless - careful here, seek professional legal assistance and advice while in training and practice!

Age (Advanced age brings with it weakness of muscle, slowed reflexes, and some loss of the aggression which once lent authority to our fists.): When the age is very large and associated with distinct divide, i.e., such as a child vs. an adult, the view and perception is going to be a bit more evident and yet in some instances that alone may not drive a defense case toward a judgement of acceptable self-defense. Alone this one may need a wider chasm between the attacker and the attacked.

Overwhelming size: Size does matter but other factors are involved that make size differences either a disparity or not. This is why there are several factors and when taken along with JAM/AOJ and those five stages can and does make a difference. This will be a part of all of these factors as well. 

Overwhelming strength: Does everyone know and understand how strength works in violence. Strength is a necessary factor overall in the physical acts of a violent nature but sometimes they don’t make a hill of difference. It all depends and those other factors need to be addressed before you have to defend yourself both in a violent situation and in the conflict and violence of the legal system and processes. 

Force of numbers: Here I begin to look at how many attackers are involved along with JAM/AOJ and the five stages unless I am one of those unlucky ones who was ambushed by two or more attackers. To me, two or more healty, fit and determined attackers means I might die. The reason I add in AOJ and JAM again is if the situation is such that I can determine what kind of attack this is it might mean avoidance such as if robbery is the only goal just following that script could achieve success, i.e., living, avoiding damage and going home alive. In my understanding if this is not true then escape is my only chance of getting out of the situation alive so I may, stress may, need to increase my chances by using my environment to stop a group from attacking. 

I will add, regardless of the media presentations martial arts, etc., are not adequate to take on two or more combatants/attackers. If there is an audience that adds to the disparity because group dynamics indicate that group can become participants in this dance and survival for the attacked becomes very dismal indeed. 

Advanced skill in unarmed combat: I will focus on one example, your martial arts training. It does not matter whether it is actually viable defense ability or just a way to get healthy, the perception of martial arts regardless means all parties will look at you as the superior, capable and deadly attacker. In other words it will be even more difficult to convince anyone you are not the aggressor  but victim, it will make your attacker look like a victim unless that attacker holds a higher level of capability in the force applications involved. 

Males against females: In my understanding, females are viewed by a lot of professionals and the more dangerous when it comes to violence. Men tend to be socially driven into the proverbial monkey dance where grave bodily harm and/or death are more unintended rather than a goal. When it comes to women, when they go physical they are usually all in and going for the gold, damage. Women from social conditioning are still viewed by most as the weaker sex. Even when you see women in MMA, Cage matches, etc. with skills and aggression equal to and far above that of the male counterparts society still assumes that is an anomaly rather than the norm. If you are attacked by a woman, does not occur often enough in most case so far, or a group of women society will still make that assumption that as a man you are superior in size, strength, and skills. Life sucks!

Again, this article is not about provision of definitive answers but rather a very big “HINT” that self-defense martial arts are complicated and that any practitioner of martial arts and/or self-defense MUST research, study and practice to achieve self-defense, i.e., getting in, staying in and achieve self-defense, in the SD Square. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Benefits of Karate-gi in Training

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

Depends solely on what kind of training the practitioner is trying to master. Let’s first discuss the karate-gi. The karate-gi was adopted by the famous Judo person, Sensei Jigoro Kano. He adapted the more traditional wear of other Japanese clothing to the more appropriate judo-gi with the uwagi that had reinforced traits to hold up to the rigors of judo practice, training and competitions. The karate-gi was then created when Gichin Funakoshi Sensei decided it would work well with his teaching of Shotokan Karate-do.

On Okinawa it took a bit more time before the karate masters accepted and adopted the uniform. Mostly, they ended up at the start using the pants, the zuban, with shorter legs, i.e., cut just below the knees, due to the hot and humid weather of Okinawa. Many still remained true to the underwear without shirt or jacket in practice and training.

It can readily be seen that the judo-gi for the way of judo in competition or sport oriented practice and applications held a great deal of benefit. It was strong and resisted damage allowing for gripping, etc., to apply the various judo techniques, i.e., throws, etc. It also met the cultural beliefs of the Japanese people that also led Funakoshi to adopt it as well since his needs and efforts where somewhat based on the Japanese accepting Okinawan karate/martial arts by the Japanese (especially with the implementation and reasoning toward an educational form of martial arts). 

The benefits of the judo-gi were felt to be strictly toward its social acceptance and uniformity. As to the benefits of the karate-gi for karate-jutsu-do it was almost strictly about Japanese acceptance and its educational use, i.e., Japanese schools, the educational system, used a uniform for students and teachers to a uniform for martial education fit that bill.

Here is where its benefits in training pretty much end. Remember, if you are practicing what you refer to as a “Traditional” Okinawan karate practice the karate-gi, technically, is not a traditional karate uniform of Okinawa. 

Okinawan karate before the adoption of the Judo-gi was extremely laid back in its teaching models. Almost all the etiquette we see today didn’t exist in those very early years. The closest I can find as an example is the Japanese traditional undergarment for men called the “Fundoshi [褌: ふんどし]).” The Okinawan versions look a bit different and cover a bit more but seem to be the same. Also, this is about what we know of karate or toudi practices from the late part of the 1800’s into the early 1900’s until the judo-gi was finally accepted and adopted sometime in the 1950’s or so. 

Again, Okinawan karate teachings were very laid back with only the minimal courtesy type etiquette, most of what we see today came about due to what we American’s call “Supply and Demand” the demand of our military occupying the islands led to a lot of the formal Japanese etiquettes’ to be adopted. This is not unusual even for Okinawan’s when you remember that they are a compilation of many cultures due to their economic trade systems, etc.

None of the materials of historic significance actually speak to the karate-gi except in the last sixty years of karate development in both Japan and Okinawa. All of us just have to rely on what we believe. Now, as to beliefs, there are a lot of misconceptions about karate and Okinawan karate-jutsu-do simply because no one was provided the answers or it they were it was few and far between. The stories that spread often came about when questions were asked and answers were not available. In the early years of karate in Okinawa and in the United States when students began to demand to know more the venues to find answers were scarce. Then add in the language and cultural belief barriers often the answers given were more about keeping the social need for harmony along with the fact that many of the early Okinawan pioneers, i.e., those who taught in the early 1900’s, also didn’t know the answers to many of the questions. It seems to my studies that it is human nature to create answers when answers cannot be found so a lot of what is taught and believed is actually not accurate. The following are examples of stories that propagated that are simply modern creations rather than historical facts.

STORY: It makes sense in self-defense to be dressed so the benefit of the uniform is to have clothing that is comfortable for training while durable to resist wear, tear and damage. 

COMMENT: The karate-gi is not relevant as outer wear in modern times for self-defense. No one is going to be wearing, in modern times, a karate uniform for daily wear. In self-defense training a part is about the physical techniques used to defend and in self-defense you are going to be wearing normal clothing for the day’s tasks be it pleasure or work. As an example, my every day wear is a t-shirt, a short sleeved dress-like shirt made of cotton, trousers either jeans or dockers, and athletic shoes such as Nike’s. If I am attacked requiring self-defense strategies, tactics and goals it will be those cloths that will be involved in the fight for defense, not a canvas like karate-gi. The karate uniform is nothing close to what it is like when wearing street clothes and believe me when you first train in the street clothes the differences will become glaringly apparent.

Next, the karate-gi is about being bare-foot. Except in very rare instances none of us is going to defend ourselves in bare feet. Add in that most often that kind of training, not reality based, will be done bare-foot on a clean smooth hardwood floor of a dojo. The street is way different with all kinds of dangerous obstacles. 

STORY: The karate-gi offers valuable attributes to the practitioner, when one practices and teaches they need to look to and see “Lines.” The obi lines, i.e., when worn correctly it shows the hip movements so it can be seen clearly by the teacher. 

COMMENT: This goes against anything I know of or can imagine as to the wearing of the obi. If this were even close to being true then it would be simpler to revert back to the traditional way of training by wearing underwear type shorts with no shirt and no shoes because if this were true you could see the body movement and not be misled by a student’s effort to make the obi and obi ends move so the teacher can see it.

Also, this type of thinking goes directly against the fundamental principles of martial disciplines toward effective fighting or self-defense. It comes down to energy, what is wasted and what is economically used to create force and power. Excessive movement to make sure your instructor can see those lines (cannot for the life of me figure out what the heck that means - it seems like one of those creations to provide answers rather then seeking out such things as principles, etc.) by your excessive and unrealistic movement so the obi will flip around and the ends will move. This sounds also like how one justifies excessive energy bleeding movement by making sure the ends of the obi that dangle are longer than they should be. Realistically, the obi for the karate-gi is an adaptation of the obi used by the Japanese traditional kimono clothing to hold the clothing closed at the waist. 

The principles of applying karate are about economic motions, not excessive obvious motions to show “Lines.” 

STORY: Ideally, the pants should be above the ankle so that the foot can be seen when someone walks, moves within a stance, or even kicks.  As we look at the gi top, we already know that it can mimic a shirt with the benefits of not ripping.  It also has lines that allow even the most basic of instructors to see if the student is doing the move properly.  … 

COMMENT: First, a model that works on critiquing specifics of movement, etc., is not teaching about fighting, combatives and self-defense. When a student becomes focused in getting a particular movement “Exact” then they tend to fear failing the instructor and work toward that goal rather than a goal where one’s goals include the implementation of principles efficiently and proficiently in the chaos of a violent situation. As far as a novice karate-ka being able to see the feet does not benefit stances, movement, etc. it is about finding things to correct in making it look like it is a benefit. If this is just a means of self-improvement, self-discipline and/or the “Way” of karate then alone that is fine but if this is about the essence of karate that includes self-improvement but is more about fighting in defense then “Not so much.” 

Note: Here is the rub with some of these stories, the hold a type of logic that feels right when heard, seen and practiced by the inexperienced. Look to the definition of “Epiphanot” where it is the “Idea” that seems like insight but with close analysis and scrutiny and research are often found to be pointless, mundane, incorrect and often the root of bad decisions. It is actually a “False” epiphany. 

STORY: If you are using a 100% cotton gi when striking and punching in kihon, kata and kumite and done properly with force, it produces a snap sound.  If students cannot produce a sound or worst if the instructor cannot, you know that you are in a low quality school.

COMMENT: First, power and force cannot be determined simply by making our sleeves snap and pop. This is one of those gimmicks used to analyze a kata in kata competition. It is a false sense of perceive force and power but actually is a draining, bleeding off of energy that becomes lost when actually trying to apply force and power to an attacker to stop a threat. Take a closer look at the principles involved in striking or punching with force and power effectively and you find that muscling it wastes and bleeds off energy and when you apply that punch or strike it pushes rather than hits with the type of powerful impact force to do damage and stop an attacker except in rare instances involving amateurs. 

Second, for practice of karate-do, the empty hand way, experienced karate-ka often appear to make it all look simple and easy. They are relaxed, flexible and move like a professional dancer due to experience and lots of practice applying principles leaving out the mundane, pointless, incorrect wasted motions and sounds. 

Third, if you assume unjustly and incorrectly that because you don’t see the traditional karate-gi in use at a training hall and that its students and instructors are not snapping their sleeves or pant legs and if you find them moving without the perceptions of muscling it you may actually be in the presence of a good martial arts instructor. If you believe and assume otherwise as this story indicates you are going to find nothing more than a “McDojo.” 

As we can see, the karate-gi as a benefit to the practice and training of karate all depends on why you are taking up that practice. In a lot of ways it functions well and creates a sense, not exactly reality and traditional, of tradition as we Americans perceive it along with how we accept it for ourselves over actual historical fact or social cultural belief reality of that source, i.e., Japan and Okinawa. 

One of the hallmarks of karate is the education, training, practice and use of “Awareness.” Awareness is a lot more than most think and one, just one aspect, is a self-awareness toward tricks, stories, legends, etc., that are listed as epiphanot’s, i.e., the mundane, pointless, incorrect, etc., that seem logical, relevant and applicable to karate especially if for combative, fighting and/or self-defense goals. 

What you want for relevant reality based training scenario’s don’t exist in the clean pristine Zen like dojo. It does not involve traditional, NOT, karate-gi and it does not mean snapping and yelling and popping clothing. It involves reality, not stories, legends and falsehoods. 

Note II to Instructors: If you don't know do the research. It is not detrimental to your status, your expertise or your experience as a karate-ka to not know something. If you don't know, say so and find the answers because that will gain you far greater status in the eyes of your students than making up bullshit because you cannot admit you don't know something. Consider this especially if you teach self-defense because if your students have to defend themselves it is a high probability that they will fail resulting in either grave bodily harm or death. Is your ego and pride worth it? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Creating a Foundation of the Mind

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State of mind; frame of mind; state of one’s cognitive processes; cognitive state; where one has an interestedness; a state of readiness; a state of consciousness; a state of certainty; a mental condition, a mental state, a psychological condition, and a psychological state where one’s mental condition in which the qualities of a state are relatively constant even thought the state itself may be dynamic. 

One can have a mind-state the triggers and applies trained cognitive processes, i.e., mental abilities and processes according to one’s mindset (see next entry). It is related to the accumulation of knowledge: attention, memory, working memory, judgement and evaluation, reasoning, problem solving and decision making, comprehension, etc. It all depends on various disciplines as further mentioned in mind-set below. 


A set of assumptions or methods a person uses to establish and create a powerful incentive to continue to adopt or accept behaviors, choices, or tools. Sometimes referred to as one’s “Mental Inertia.” It is a paradigm and often difficult to counteract its effects even during analysis and decision making processes. A mind-set is also a person’s philosophy of life, i.e., in martial arts self-defense it is a mindset of a martial artists of self-defense. 

You can have a normal life mindset that is used to work, live and play outside a realm of conflict and violence, somewhat, creating social connections to achieve stronger connections to group dynamics involving survival, etc.

You can have a martial arts self-defense mindset; you can have a martial arts competitive mindset; you can have a martial arts combative mindset; you can have a mindset of a fighter be it martial arts or some other combative discipline like boxing; you can have a military mindset; you can have a police mindset; you can have a bouncer mindset and you can have many other mindsets. The importance is the distinction between each, how one trains for each and how one triggers each according to any one situation towards its appropriate application in the moment.

Often one assumes that mindset covers all that is required to achieve proficiency and mastery over martial arts especially when it involves self-defense. Mindset is the one term covers all terminology and that is just fine as long as the practitioner makes the distinctions between what makes up mindset along with mind-state.

Mindset and Mind-State are the yin-yang of the mind. Our minds are our greatest tools to combat conflict and violence while also being our greatest weakness against conflict and violence. As you study the two you come to realize all the critical interconnections that make it a whole in the realm of self-defense (martial arts oriented or others). 

You have to perceive something to make it cognitive where you are able to conceptualize and recognize and that requires the creation of incentive to adopt and accept things especially when it comes to conflict and violence. Digging one’s head into the sand does not accomplish this and ignoring the truth of things fails us completely. 

Create a solid foundation of mind by training, teaching, seeking knowledge and understanding, practicing and applying a mindset and mind-state. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Building a Foundation

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Our most powerful weapon; our absolute
weakest obstacle. 
Many times I have professed that anyone wanting to become proficient in martial arts first should create a foundation from the study of one system or style then branch out. In truth, the foundation in question does not depend solely on one style or system bur rather a foundation involving not only principles of fighting but rather a mind-set and mind-state that comes from either training or experience where experience trumps all forms of training be it martial arts or some other model. 

What I am saying is a person who has spent time gaining experience in real life conflicts and violence will have a better foundation than one who trains and practices in a martial art or other combative/fighting model. If you have that foundation then you can branch out and build on that experience by studying any number of martial arts, etc. and you don’t have to worry about achieving any particular level or rank in any of them. Your foundation will hold a superior support of all the possible applications from any number of systems, i.e., those that will give you more tools or more methodologies applicable to your foundation and applications in fighting, combatives and self-defense. 

When I hear about folks who ask, “I was practicing so-n-so martial art but I moved and cannot find it where I live now, can anyone make a recommendation?” I first would ask, “What is your experience and what are your goals for your choice of martial art?” How they answer will dictate how a recommendation is presented. 

Honestly, those with actual real life experience in conflict and violence more often than not will not ask that question because they more often than not have that instinct that tells them it really doesn’t matter - simply find a place to train and train. It seems, on the surface to me, that one with experience is not going to get caught up in the trappings of rank, levels, status and other such things - especially if they study and practice toward self-defense, fighting and/or combatives (thinks of distinctions in training and practice).

As Alain Burrese states, “Teach the skills to become a complete martial artists and be able to defend yourselves if you ever have to.” What a complete martial artist means to me, as a striking practitioner, is become a martial artists who can draw from a variety of fighting methodologies, i.e., those that take into consideration, “proficiency with applying impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns, throws and compression to achieve your self-defense goals,” while adhering to fundamental principles of all combatives, fighting, self-defense martial arts disciplines, etc. This will then already encompass your abilities to defend yourself if you ever have to. 

Herein lies the importance of building a foundation, a foundation built on actual experience trumps all others. Regardless, if you don’t have that experience then the training and practice you seek out and use must achieve a certain amount of reality and that reality will be based on the instructor. If that instructor does not have either experience or training from an experienced combatant then seek out reality-based adrenal stress conditioned training from an instructor who has the credentials, experience and abilities necessary. Not an easy goal!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Making Distinctions

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In many of the articles I wrote I mention distinctions, a lot. Then the question came up, if you train in sport, combatives and self-defense won’t that hinder you in actual self-defense, combatives and sports? The answer, to my mind, is simply “Simple yet not.” 

First, when it comes to distinctions it is not about the training model itself but training of the mind-set and mind-state. If your realize the differences between each and maintain a proper mind-set and mind-state in practice, training and most critically in application then distinctions through proper mind-set and mind-state will carry you through successfully.

Second, your mind-set is about commitment and goals regardless of the distinction on how you practice along with what you practice. You will have a particular trained mind-set in sport competition - it is NOT the same with fighting and defense and combatives. You will have a particular trained mind-set in combatives, i.e., if you are military and required to utilize your hand-to-hand skills as a last resort to achieve military goals. This also applies to combatives necessary as professionals such as police and corrections officers, etc., but a bit different because in a socially driven civil arena you have different rules of engagement, etc. You will also have a particular trained mind-set in self-defense, i.e., you are a martial artist or just some person who faces a violent attack in the streets. 

The mind-state is that state of mind that allows you to follow through with your goals in all three models as presented herein. You have to set your mind and maintain that state of mind until the threat ends and you achieve relative safety and security. Police and corrections officers when you are cuffed and the environment is safe for them, the prisoner and the public as applicable. In sports it is about when you are declared the winner and/or when your opponent taps-out, etc. In self-defense is when you achieve your goals while remaining within the self-defense square (as defined in, “In the Name of Self-Defense by Marc MacYoung).

Making such distinctions in your training and practice will make your mind-set and mind-state aware of and able to apply the appropriate set/state depending on any given situation necessary to accomplish your goals. This also explains why I present the distinction of mind-set vs. mind-state. You can set your mind for something but to achieve a mind-state, state of mind appropriate to any  given situation especially regarding conflict and violence, you have to train, practice and apply your mind-set accordingly to those distinctions. For instance, just telling yourself that you will and must hit harder in self-defense when your SD training is practiced does not equate doing what you need when the reality of self-defense applies, i.e., the difference between mind-set - you will hit harder, vs. mind-state that you not only hit harder but apply hits and strikes with other attack/defense methodologies. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

R_E_S_P_E_C_T_ List

I got to thinking about all those authors who have provided me with so much information to absorb so made this list:

Warner Henry, Ward Adams, Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, Alain Burrese, Peyton Quinn, Michael Clarke, Masaad Ayoob, Suzette H. Elgin, Sanford Strong, C. R. Jahn, Andrew Branca,  Desmond Morris, Daniel Goleman, Edward T. Hall, Dave Lowry, Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman, Steven J. Pearlman, Tristan Sutrisno, Terry Trahan, Adam Benforado, Mario McKenna, God’s Bastard (Anna Valdiserri), Kris Wilder and Lawrence Kane, Andreas Quast, Malcolm Gladwell, Lori O’Connell and Steve Hiscoe and Jennifer Weintz, Susan Cain, Gary Klien, Paul Howe, Tim Bown, Clint Overland, Wim Demeere, Barry Eisler, Kamila Miller, Loren Christensen, Kenji Tokitsu, Boye DeMente, Benjamin Huff, Karlfried Durckheim, Patrick McCarthy, Robert Bolton, Nancy Sherman, Kensho Furuya, Joe Navarro, LtCol Dave Grossman, George Kerr, Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman, Dianna Gordon (MacYoung), the author of the classic budoka author, Mario McKenna, author of the Mokuran Dojo (Patrick Parker), Kathy Jackson, Andy Sloane, A. J. Advincula, and Mark Cook. 

I am sure I left out a lot of names and I ask those folks forgiveness. These are the main ones and there have been so many others over the decades. I just wanted to get it out there that all my efforts in writing and/or teaching about martial arts and/or self-defense come from the academic study of these authors and my somewhat floundering mediocre attempts to learn them in my training and practice. My only wish is that I would have loved it if these guys had been out there teaching this stuff when I began my life in martial arts self-defense so many, many years ago. Maybe there were some of them out there but the advent of the electronic world wide web phenomena and self-publishing kept most away from my awareness. 

I just wanted to express how much I appreciate all of these folks who are out there providing us their experiences and knowledge and understanding on such complex and serious subject, topics and disciplines. The younger generation of martial artists and professionals will benefit greatly from this effort by so many great professionals. You can see some of their works in my bibliography below :-)

My sincerest appreciation and THANKS!

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Cult Like MA-SD

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Martial Arts are just like any other discipline be it football, hunting game or providing services in the Information Technology industry. They often form tribal like groups where jokes and comics make a living using that cult-like system to make fun. We all have by now heard the joke, sometimes not so much a joke, term used of, “McDojo.” 

The other form of this cult like tribal group forming is the particular and individual style or system of martial arts. This drills down to a point where a single training hall with a particular Sensei becomes identify with its members where they become somewhat “Comfortable” resulting in all their training time and efforts are spent. The costs are students failing to reach full potential especially in the self-defense models. To reach potential in self-defense martial arts means diversity, a type of diversity only achievable through exposure to other ways and teachings unique to other systems, styles and most of all, “Instructors.” 

A driving force in this type of model comes from various human issues such as the logistics necessary to train, travel and the correlation toward convenience. Things like this either directly or indirectly influence the decisions made when seeking out martial arts and self-defense. When it comes to a defense for conflict and violence one must achieve proficiency, at least physically, with a wider spectrum of methodologies, i.e., applying impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns, throws and compression to achieve your self-defense goals. We are talking about cross training and not just any cross training but the kind meant to teach defense.

A goal in self-defense especially when it involves martial arts is the development of a comprehensive set of methodologies that cover self-defense with extra emphasis on the critical thinking that must be coupled with the physical applications and so on. 

These cult like MA-SD schools also feed off of and/or fall prey to students who have the type of connections where the chance of offending or being disloyal prevent them from branching outward to encompass all that they need to achieve higher levels of ability with self-defense. 

As an aside, this concept of the cult like MA-SD or just MA also presents problems when the leaders and members both fall prey to their beliefs of the system as well as the proficiency and abilities of that same system. Kind of like a human nature thing, i.e., where it becomes so deep seated and ingrained they fail to see and accept others or other concepts or other ways and so on. 

It all is a very dangerous slop that tends to be icy slippery and practitioners and instructors alike must remain self-aware toward maintaining a balance between camaraderie and cult like effigy pedestal blindness.

Lastly, no one single school has all the answers, no one single instructor has all the answers and it takes a holistic melding of many things to achieve proficiency, mastery and a full and complete and comprehensive knowledge, understanding and ability to apply in life those things that make up a martial art and one that teaches self-defense.

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Skill -n- Critical Thinking/Skill OR Critical Thinking

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Martial Arts self-defense almost exclusively teaches the physical technique drill form or model of self-defense. Rarely, if ever, do they take into consideration the additional teaching requirements of self-defense, “The Critical Thinking of Self-Defense.” 

MA-SD has a narrow focus of repetitive practices toward the development of what many refer to as, “Muscle Memory.” We fail completely to teach, train and practice those mental/psychological necessities toward the seriousness and gravity of the defend/don’t defend, the action/stop action decisions that keep MA-SD applications within the self-defense square. It appears that MA-SD falls prey to the easier repetitive muscle-memory training and practice for more economical needs over the needs of that person when confronted, on the street, with conflict and violence. This deficiency exists in society as a whole but becomes critical when involving self-defense. 

MA-SD seems focuses on what will get them promoted, what will get them the win in a tournament and what will get the training hall more students and greater economic gains. The critical thinking process as to training then applying in the adrenal stress conditions of violence is difficult, not fun per se and means humans have to see and accept the nature of humans toward the use of violence and conflict. They fail to recognize that self-defense processes are both intellectual (first and foremost) and physical in nature. The models in MA-SD need to provide those intellectual and emotional tools and training for appropriate application before, and when no other choice is left, the physical applications of violence in self-defense. 

It is why I believe wholeheartedly in the model of training the whole, the mind, body and spirit. I mean that we teach a philosophy appropriate to the discipline, the psychological appropriate to the discipline, and the mental critical thinking and decision making processes to apply self-defense according to all the rules, laws and social necessities. In other words, to remain steadfast and legally within the self-defense square. 

Lets just say that humans tend to go the easiest and safest route to a goal. There is nothing wrong with that as long as that decisions is made with a complete picture of the situation. When we go looking for SD we tend to look for something, “Tangible.” Applications based on physical combinations of techniques is a tangible things we can feel, see and understand directly but the intangible teaching of the philosophical and psychological critical thinking process can’t be seen or felt visually or tactilely. Look at it as software in the hardware, i.e., critical thinking software in the physical body manifestations of hardware like hands, feet, elbows, etc. 

The intangible has always been the most difficult product to sell while a bird in the hand is easier. Trying to sell both as a pair tends to make people uncomfortable and that often leads to them leaving and looking for the easier answer route. 

Critical thinking in self-defense be it martial oriented or some other form is absolutely critical to applying it in real life, not just playing in the club-dojo.

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Psychological -n- Physical Game Changers

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Which would cause you to give up and how the physical can affect the psychological causing a person to quit or give up. If your body, the physical, stops because of some physical obstacle, i.e., for instance if the central nervous system is disrupted from say enough blood loss, etc., than that is a physical game ender for the person whose CNS was disrupted, etc. (Even then some can still continue until the body just stops too)

The spots that would result in this type of game ender are not easy to attack. If the attacker does not suffer from those physical game enders and they stop the attack then that is most likely a psychological decision, i.e., they changed their minds and stopped attacking or you hit on some psychological issue that made them stop. 

When humans are in the fight regardless of social or asocial they suffer from the adrenal stress conditions that make targeting such physical targets that will stop the threat very difficult. It also makes application of methodologies used in a fight to stop a threat also very difficult to apply. We don’t have that much control and even with adrenal stress conditioning reality-based training scenarios we don’t really overcome those obstacles, we just become capable of handling them a bit better than being untrained, etc.

It reminds me of the difficulty the striking arts has when applying strikes and punches with force and power. There are many principles involved to achieve maximum effect that also if not applied exactly bleed of that same power and force resulting in strikes and punches being less effective. This is one reason why professionals teach that it takes a combination of fight methodologies to stop a threat and striking/punching is one and not one that is high on the effective techniques list. 

A professional wrote in one book that a lot of fights end because one or the other combatant “Quit” vs. actually suffering from some physical game ending application or combination of applications. It reminds me of when it was written that in social encounters it isn’t the fight itself that cause grave bodily harm or even death but actually, for instance, the fall of one or the other combatants where gravity takes over and, for instance, their head hits a very hard object, say a cement curb, where the head injury results in death. 

This brings us back to the all important, and I feel critical, mind-set and mind-state where the practitioner trains to create a mind-set and mind-state removing as many mental/psychological road blocks that would result in quitting. This type of mind-set and mind-state leads to one that when various levels and types of pain are involved the practitioner can pretty much ignore that and continue until the threat is stopped. It is a “Do or Die” type mentality, mind-set/mind-state, one gains from involvement in such disciplines. 

It involves exposing yourself to as many psychological obstacles as you can, exposing yourself to pain and exposing yourself to the adrenal stress conditions so that you build up that confidence when pain hits, you keep right on going and so on. 

Look at it this way, “If you are attacked you WILL reach your goal of survival, you WILL reach your goal of stopping the threat, and YOU WILL remain within the self-defense square regardless!” Regardless of the pain, the injury(ies) or any perceptions of physical fight ending damage. There is nothing that will stop you from your goals. Pain is nothing. Fear is noting, use it to your advantage along with the adrenal stress conditions. 

I remember a lecture by a Marine Drill Instructor one day after a long, hard, difficult run in combat gear. He asked everyone what they would do if they got tired having sex, would they stop? Then he asked why getting a bit of laughter (although short lived after all this was boot camp and recruits don’t laugh without permission). You don’t even let fatigue, tiredness or any other physical or mental obstacle stand in your way to achieve that goal, right? It is the same with discarding fatigue, tiredness and both physical and mental obstacles in a run, in a obstacle course and in the combat training field operations, right? (Hey, it made sense then and sounded right then and yea, we were all testerone filled young males back then and sex was everyone’s goal regardless of fatigue, tiredness or any kind of mental or physical obstacle, right? Hey, mind-set and mind-state, right? It all comes down to how you look at things, how you perceive things and how you react to things - train the mind. 

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Spectrum of Self-Defense

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The spectrum involves self-awareness, awareness, avoidance then those methods or methodologies that result in proficiency with applying impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns, throws and compression to achieve your self-defense goals. It is NOT about technique training or even those physical teachings found in most self-defense martial arts programs. It also involved such things as, “Conflict communications; Emotional Intelligence; Lines/square/circle of SD, Three brains (human, monkey, lizard), JAM/AOJ and five stages, Adrenal stress (stress induced reality based), Violence (Social and Asocial), Pre-Attack indicators, Weapons, Predator process and predator resource, Force levels, Repercussions (medical, legal, civil, personal), Go-NoGo, Win-Loss Ratio, etc. (still working on the core sub-principles for this one)”Attitude, Socio-emotional, Diplomacy, Speed [get-er done fast], Redirected aggression, Dual Time Clocks, Awareness, Initiative, Permission, etc.”

Lets focus on the first part. 

Self-awareness begins with each person’s perception and perspectives of their beliefs and abilities along with a strong view of how they interact with the world at large. Self-awareness also encompasses how you see yourself and what you are willing or not willing to accept, understand and do about life’s little curves and obstacles especially when it involves conflict and violence. 

Self-awareness continues on with our being aware of our abilities and our commitments toward self-protection/defense. It is that awareness of our mind-set and mind-state from understanding the world, accepting both the good and bad and then giving ourselves the permissions necessary to do what is needed to achieve goals, i.e., stopping the threat in violence for instance. 

Self-awareness is also about knowing what we don’t know so that less and less obstacles of the mind will result in our failure to protect and defend. Being aware that there is more than just physical answers to issues, problems and obstacles in life’s ways. 

Awareness begins with the awareness spectrum that provides each and every person the tools, knowledge and abilities to embrace the path that leads to conflict, violence and violent conflict that will allow us to become aware of the danger life presents in all its forms thus allowing time and distance to come up with an appropriate response to any given situation so that one can avoid, deescalate or apply the mental and/or physical actions necessary to achieve a goal, especially in self-defense. Think environmental awareness, situational awareness, physical/body awareness (yours and your adversary’s), dynamics awareness such as attack indicators or pre-assault indicators, etc., criminal and legal awareness, danger awareness, and mindful awareness to name just a few. 

Avoidance begins with awareness and awareness is all about avoidance, avoiding conflict and violence and all the surrounding things that result in the type of repercussions that enhance the damage one might endure in any physical defense process. Avoiding the monkey in all of us so that it does not take over and drive us faster and further down that road toward physical damaging violence. Those things that allow us to choose to take the first and best exit off that highway resulting in avoiding the more damaging aspects of the self-defense spectrum. 

Then we, as a last resort, have to fully understand, be aware of and apply those various physical aspects in self-defense toward ending the violence fast and remaining within the self-defense square. No one system or style of martial self-defense is adequate by and of itself to achieve the goals of self-defense.

Developing those tactics and strategies that use the fundamental principles of martial disciplines that span a range far and above any one system or style to achieve the proficiency and application of tactics for the use of attack methodologies such as those that produce impacts, drives (pushes), pulls, twists, takedowns/throws and compression, etc. built upon one another in no specific order or need that are best for stopping a threat. Those that allow you to work a threat from a distance to mid-range to close to hands on skin-to-skin that can go to the ground and so on. Those methodologies and principles that will allow you to end it quickly and decisively while maintaining the ability to articulate your needs and actions in self-defense - remaining within the self-defense square. 

Note: I doubt I actually covered the full spectrum simply because I know there are a lot of books out there on the subject meaning the full spectrum of self-defense is actually an encyclopedia britannica set of volumes on the discipline that still don’t cover it all. So let me have my fun, k? Note II: Just check out the bibliography if you don’t believe me :-) Hey, I am still trying to work it all out for me!

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