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

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

Assumptions (Katei [仮定] Assumption; supposition; hypothesis)

A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. A fact or statement taken for granted. An assuming that something is true. When teaching and training for self-defense often assuming that someone understands your meaning can be an assumption that leads to that persons misunderstanding. A misunderstanding that can lead to violence and failure. 

When we assume someone fully understands and comprehends something as complex as “Situational Awareness and Self-Defense,” we leave that someone open to pain, suffering and possible death. In the following terse definition of situational awareness the author may, unintentionally, make the assumption that the students/practitioners are aware of what the “items and actions” are they need to scan for and determine if potentially dangerous. 

“Situational awareness is the ability to scan an environment for items or actions that could be potentially dangerous. It allows us to alert to those items and behaviors and activate one's capacity to make intelligent decisions and actions in regard to that data based on one's training and experience.” ~ Limatunes’ Range Diary, Situational Awareness: The New Talisman dtd Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This would include making an assumption that the student also knows and understands what “behaviors” constitute a potentially dangerous situation. The student may have ideas of what they believe is situational awareness but do they know what that is as to “Items, actions, and behaviors” when they are in another different environment with different cultures, beliefs and tribal rules?”

Traveling, for what ever reasons, if it takes you outside your environment where you live, breath, work and play every day takes you to a whole new planet, i.e. environment with sometimes drastic differences in culture and beliefs along with rules and scripts of behavior both acceptable and unacceptable. If you are not knowledgable and capable of handling these kinds of differences then you are not situational aware and often times your actions can actually lead to violence rather than avoid conflict and violence. 

Katei is about teaching about such assumptions. It is about Sensei becoming more “Aware” of what they teach, how they teach it and making sure that false assumptions, especially in regard to MA and SD, are not instilled giving a false sense of confidence and capability especially in the arena of “Situational Awareness.” Then there is that other awareness, “Environmental Awareness.” Wow, who knew it would be so complex and difficult?

Caveat: First, my MA knowledge and experience is pretty good. Second, my Self-defense knowledge is ok and getting better every day and my actual experience is very, very limited. I understand it, SD, and I can write about it but from a more academic perspective than reality simply because my encounters in the SD world can be counted on one hand and not all my fingers will be used. Third, most of my academic comes from sources that are considered both professionals and experts, as that is defined by my perceptions and perspectives. This post, by no means, is definitive or even complete simply because I have so much to learn and that does not include leaning the more physical aspects as applied to Self-defense. Finally, I am not an expert or professional in the arena of self-defense and all that is encompassed in that domain but I am knowledgable but also fallible. This is not the end all on this subject but rather a learning experience through the model of writing and receiving of comments out there in eLand and it is meant to stimulate the old grey cells in each reader in the hopes they do their own research and discovery. Never assume and never leave until you have dug deep and found that this subject actually has no limits on learning for its vastness is sometime daunting but doable. Now that I have my caveat out there, somewhat terse and incomplete as that may be, go forward and read, have fun with it and then go the distance!

p.s. Is my understanding of situational awareness full and complete? No way, but I have a good start. I know there is more to learn and I know that knowledge alone is not enough but practice in a reality based way, if possible, is needed to develop and encode that kind of behavior into the lizard. In addition, has anyone ever tried to use it when under stress and/or adrenal chemical effects? You might think that situational awareness is something that is often used most before any kind of adrenal stress dump or flood but doesn’t that flood occur the moment some intent, action or behavior signals the lizard that something dangerous is coming? Something to think about, yes?

p.s.s. Just because I pulled out Limatunes’ quote from the article/post does not mean that I am “dissing them” or saying what they are writing about this subject is wrong or incomplete because like many things second hand, i.e. an article written, they may actually teach the full spectrum to their practitioners/students so when those read it they already know the full and complete story. I am just using that quote as an example and means to show how things can fall to assumptions outside certain parameters. I really like the terse definition and the overall article, read it here, was really very good and informative. I just used the quote as a means to create an post of my own to show how assumptions can be difficult if not down right dangerous.

p.s.s.s. How many of us are actually “Aware” in our own environment? How many of us are stuck in our own personal world and are actually oblivious to our own environment? How many of us end up in conflicts and end up in socially driven violence and conflicts simply because we insist, no demand, that everyone else live within our beliefs and standards regardless because of our own sense of entitlement? If this is true and if it exists how can those folks achieve environmental awareness outside their own worlds, their own tribes and their own environments?

The Golden Move by Rory Miller

First, read the article on the Golden Move, here.

Since I am and have been a MA practitioner for a long time one of Mr. Miller’s quotes came across as very beneficial, i.e. when I write or teach on the subject of “Shu-ha-ri,” I often speak to MA’s tendency to remain transfixed in the Shu and possibly Ha stages. I believe Mr. Miller’s quote speaks to this deficiency in MA training and practice (along with many other deficiencies such as teaching the full spectrum of SD, etc.). 

Rory Miller’s quote, “ … many martial artists learned to strike (injure the threat) or unbalance (worsen the threat's position); learned to block or evade (protect yourself); and learned footwork (better your position, sometimes worsen the threat's)-- but almost all learned them as three separate things.”

Let me digress a moment, I have found that Mr. Miller, along with others such as Marc MacYoung, have done us a service by exposing the glaring deficiencies in MA training and practice especially in regard to SD and violence. Quotes and comments such as the above have shown the MA world that all of us have some changes to do and distances to travel to achieve true proficiency in MA as it is practiced and trained toward reality, i.e. reality in the world of conflict/violence as it goes to self-defense. When you have trained a long time it is hard, very hard, to recognize such deficiencies especially when your Sensei and Sensei’s Sensei just “didn’t know.” Today, with the effort such professionals as Mr. MacYoung and Mr. Miller, to name just two of many, there is NO EXCUSE to not get it right. I am happy to say from my seat many have gone on to make the changes yet there are still many commercialized SD courses and instructors who need this that will not accept it simply because it cuts into their bottom line. Digression end.

This post in relation to Mr. Miller’s quote is going to focus on kata, for training in SD. Many martial artists truly believe that every single kata technique is relevant and absolutely the most complete set of techniques to defend oneself. In my opinion and view, this is a huge mistake. As can be readily understood from the above quote, and in my opinion relevant and true, the kata are simply too atomistic. Yet, to reach the “Ha and Ri” stages of training and practice a MA has to break free from that deficiency or rather limitation on kata training and practice.

As can be seen easily when observing kata there are a lot of fundamental principles of martial systems present and practiced but in a linear step-by-step separate and atomistic way. Consider this, as you observe the atomistic separateness of each move, i.e. step, stop, strike, stop, step and so on, that application of movement and application being separate and distinct adds time to the fight. That time is easily seen as “tells.” The idea behind defense is to “get the job done quickly and efficiently” and kata in the Shu stage does not get that job done. 

In kata we have a goal of achieving “rhythm, cadence and flow” when practicing. This is great as a teaching tool in the beginner and novice levels but to be efficient and proficient it takes a bit more similar to moving up and into “No Bullshit Reality Based” training models where you put all this atomistic training into a more “Holistic” form and application. You cannot get there with kata alone. You can begin to reach there with two person kata as long as you allow the body and mind to mold and morph that kata as appropriate but this is just a step up, not an end model. 

Keeping every thing separate is great for beginner and novice learning and practice. If your practice is about self-improvement, self-confidence and a more spiritual “way (do or doah)” then you are good. If it is about SD then it needs to be taken to the highest stage of shu-ha-ri. It needs to blend, flow and apply in a manner that allows you to “Get the job done quickly and efficiently” as possible. Then add in all the other SD stuff that keeps you, as Mr. MacYoung tells us in his book, in the SD square (I use a target circle but it all means the same). 

As Mr. Miller continues to explain, if you take three distinct separate moves, i.e. block then move to a proper angle then counter, you are taking way too much time and if the other guy is hell bent on doing damage they will sail through your moves and blitz you down and out. I am not saying that this type of stuff does not work in competitions but in reality, it might work and it might not, wanna gamble that with damage, hospital, permanent injuries, incarceration, court, costs, long years in jail and then the economic, social and psychological after effects to you and your family?

I like Mr. Miller’s Gold standard, i.e. “ … one move with four effects …” Now, the question is, “How do you achieve the Golden Rule?” I can answer that easily enough, “Find someone, if not Mr. MacYoung and/or Mr. Rory Miller, who can take you to the higher “Ha and Ri” levels in your MA and SD. I could give you my idea’s on how that can be achieved but I am not in a dojo with others training this today and you need someone who can teach it, train it and make it fun for you to learn while introducing you to the many other aspects of SD and MA, i.e. like that no bullshit reality based training model.

Oh, and if you don’t remember just go back and read Rory Miller’s post, “Expanding Lists,” because he mentions how you teach such things in a fundamental and non-technique specific way. He calls it, “Jeff’s Rules.” :-)

Then, ask yourself, “Does my MA have a Golden rule? or Does my SD system teach the Golden rule?” While you are at it, take the time and read their books, really illuminating to say the least.

MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979.

My eBooks - Status

Just wanted to get it in that I have not forgotten about publishing my eBooks on the gokui and the terminologies. I work and I write all the time. One book is still being edited by a very good friend and I didn’t give them a deadline simply because I appreciate their efforts and the time it takes them to do this - for free. 

In addition, my time has been full and the books have taken a second place in my goals to mean my every day work along with my family and finally my desire to get my retirement in order for next year or the year after latest. You all know how scheduling and coordination of many things goes. I am working on the terminology book for publishing but editing as others know far better than I ii is a process, an important process. 

Ok, so I am making excuses but know this, I am serious and will publish eBooks in the next couple of years. I also believe it will be worth the wait. I have a solid plan to write often and publish faster when I retire either next year or the year after because I have come to really enjoy writing. I will admit that the other stuff necessary to write and publish are not high on my list because they can be tedious and boring but alas I also know, from my new study and understanding of self-defense thank you very much Mr. MacYoung and Mr. Miller, is similar where SD has a lot more than just the physical, i.e. writing has a lot more than just scribbling my thoughts and ideas on paper -so to speak. 

I am getting there, really, I am :-)

Types of Emotional Response

First is the emotional response that precedes the rational and logical mind. Second is the kind of emotional reaction, slower then the quick-response, which simmers and brews first in our thoughts before it leads to feelings. The first is about “feelings-than-thoughts” while the other is “thoughts-than-feelings.” It is a matter of emotions from immediate perception over emotions through reflective thoughts. 

The first, rapid-fire emotional reaction takes over in situations that have the urgency of primal survival. They are involuntary and they mobilize us in an instant to handle an emergency. The rapid-fire reaction bypass the rational mind and do so quicker than the speed of light. 

The slower thoughts-to-emotional response type of emotional process is where the thoughts of the individual lead to triggering emotions such as when one encounters another who triggers such thoughts as, “Hey, they cut me off” or “this guy cheated me” or “this child is adorable,” usually results in a befitting emotional response follows those thoughts. 

The MA/SD proponent and teacher must understand this and then train the mind to act when such emotions arise be they fast-response or slow-response emotions are involved. The more difficult are teh rapid or quick-response emotions because their speed can get you into a physical conflict faster than the human mind can perceive and often times before that rational mind suddenly says, “Hey, why am I beating this guys head into the pavement?”

When you study “Emotional Intelligence” you find many answers to situations and training such as alluded to above. You will also begin to understand the basis to the books published on conflict communications and self-defense by guys like Marc MacYoung and Rory Miller (see bibliography below). 

Training for the monkey, emotional mind, is about training our rational minds to control the course of those emotional reactions. Although we cannot decide when to be angry or fearful, we can learn to control how those emotions react physically and psychologically, etc. Look at daily training as a path toward handling or at least training the lizard to choose more appropriate actions and/or reactions when emotions hit the quick-response triggers that lead toward violence. 

MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.

Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

Styles ?

We have a lot of karate styles and until recent years it baffled me as to why. Especially when you finally understand all styles must adhere to the same fundamental principles to function as a system for combatives, fighting or self-defense. So, why do we have so many styles?

It wasn't till I read Rory Miller's books that I first realized the "styles" was about tribal identity. It is about survival and symbolism achieved to identify a group/tribe in a unique way. 

Style survival is dependent on that symbolism, etc.

No wonder there are so many differing symbolic identities in martial arts that end up being points of contention. It is to keep a tribe alive, surviving.

In a style? You are a member of a tribe. 
Are you affiliated with memberships, etc? Then you are a member of a tribe.
Do you vilify what other styles do? You are a member of a tribe. 
Do you tend to justify what your style is or does? You are a member of a tribe.

Do you make excuses for people with the same identity? You are in your monkey brain on that subject.

Are you hung up on the systems/styles trivia? You are protecting tribal identifiers.

If you are resorting to labeling, or engaging in a them vs. us thing, you are not solving the problem but engaging in tribal war.

It is all about identity and survival although the instinct for survival has nothing to do with styles or systems except that as humans we have not exactly outgrown or evolved enough to not need those survival instincts or at least to morph them into appropriate instincts for modern times. We are not trying to escape tigers, lions or bears trying to eat us but when we enter into a modern conflict those same instincts still get triggered. 

This, and many other factors, go a long way to understand why we humans tend to gravitate toward tribal things so when you see those many styles and then actually “see” that the differences are more window dressing while the fundamental principles underlying all styles is the same then you are beginning to realize the “why” of styles. 

Interesting perspective I think. We all, in the karate world, are actually practicing the exact same thing. We are simply creating identifying symbolic window dressing to our practice so we can identify the tribe in relation to other tribes. It is all the same, but different in a human kind of way.


Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 

Old Men and Fundamentals

Fundamentals are critical no matter what cause one day you get older and having a solid foundation in fundamental principles means you will still be formidable. Fundamental principles of martial systems never expire while youth does, speed does and so on. It is just a fact of life, if you wish to be able to defend yourself you had better focus more on principles over the fun stuff.

I am sixty-two this Xmas and I have a bum knee, a torn cartilage behind that same knee, stiffness in the legs and other issued in the legs from my time with Polio (one day stopped walking, a year later the legs came back and as age becomes prominent those same legs are enduring repercussions. Then there is all the stress on my body over the years. What does this mean, I can’t do what I use to do at age twenty-five. 

As I aged into my forties and fifties it was about teaching and training practitioners who were in their late teens and early twenties with a smattering of thirties and forties thrown in and I can tell you that when it came to two person practice and kumite, etc. I can not and could not move the way I did at twenty-five so …… I had to be sneaky. 

I am not saying all the time because there is a time to teach and a time to teach, i.e. teach by allowing things to happen in a manner that allowed the practitioner to see, feel, smell, etc. and make conscious decisions then a time to teach by going at it as hard and as fast as possible to stress things a bit. In other words we played a lot and had fun then we got serious and played a lot having some fun. 

At sixty-two I feel a need for solicitude in practice and training. There is much I can accomplish without the stresses and strains, both mental and physical, and injuries that come with seriously practicing while having fun at it (me, I was very serious but I still had fun being serious). 

Many of these younger practitioners often asked, “How do you manage it?” Mostly what I say is that I have learned how to use my body and mind so that when I age I can still use them properly and with seemingly ease but in reality it is the use of craftiness in that I use principles to achieve results over just “muscling it, etc.”

It comes down to “Whole body machinations.” When you work hard and diligently to get the most out of your body it tends to work well, better than others who lean toward muscling it. Whole body machinations are about proper application of physiokinetics (one of the major fundamental principles of martial systems). When you add in “techniques” along with the two others as additional supplements to push whole body machinations to maximum overdrive, i.e. theories and philosophies, you get good stuff.  All this provided, for SD, you have also trained the stress of SD. 

Old men who are “Smart men,” can go the distance. We have read about and seen this in those Asian Martial Artists who have gone on even after dropping deep into the “Winter years (age 60+),” Oh, yeah, it doesn’t hurt if you are one of those guys who has built up a lot of real life experience. 

Martial Arts and Perceptions in SD

Martial Arts and Perceptions in SD

Note: I am not an SD expert. I am not an firearms expert. I am not a lawyer or attorney. I am not advocating any of the following as more than my thoughts, perceptions and theories on the subject involved. Always, always seen professional advice for SD, MA and Legal. Always!

As I read an article by Kathy Jackson on A.O.J. it came to me that, “Ability” in deadly force involved things like guns, knives, a club, tire iron, etc. and that prompted the old false story that all black belts had to register their hands as deadly weapons. Now, it is very apparent in modern times that this statement of deadly hands registration is just plain bullshit but think of perceptions.

Although we MABB’s don’t have to register our hands we can rest assured, pretty much, that our history in MA will come up if we are changed with SD. If the prosecutor can, he or she will promote your abilities as the same as using a gun, knife, club, etc. i.e. a deadly weapon. It is, in my view, the same as the “Shod foot” being considered a deadly instrument of death or great bodily harm. 

Now, this does not mean cause I said it that the old false statement is to be resurrected. It does mean that if you train and practice MA consistently, diligently and over time with intent to continue for your life you “May, Could, Might and Maybe” find that this “expertise” will be considered deadly if used in SD and you happen to find yourself facing charges. Remember, it is a perception fostered by media, i.e. television, movies and news, etc., that will plant the idea of deadly hands as deadly weapons in the minds of prosecutors, defense and jurors, etc. 

I am not saying this to panic you but rather to get you, the martial artists who teaches, practices and applies MA in SD, to consider it in the scheme of things when applying SD regarding force decisions and so on. I don’t believe that this is actually taught in SD or MA dojo. 

Consider this, even those who participate in MA on a part time club like social basis where the apply it strictly as a sport in competition there is still a perception out there that anyone who is proficient in such things is or has a potential of being deadly even if they don’t use it in SD. Perceptions do matter and anyone who is in MA, etc. should consider it.

Add in the proverbial perceptions of being a black belt then add to that the years in practice along with the “LEVEL” of black belt. You and I know that often higher grades are not necessarily indicative of expertise in applying the MA in SD, Fighting or Combatives but others might think so. The higher the grade/level the higher the perception that person is a deadly expert in the Asian Fighting Systems!

So, when making force decisions you might consider, best to ask professionals both violence and legal about this, the perceptions of witnesses, what is recorded on video, what is documented in reports and what the legal system may apply to your use and levels of force toward staying within the SD circle/square?

Here is a quote that may convey the concept of MA ability, i.e. “disparity of force.” “If a weapon is not present, ability may be represented by something the courts call disparity of force. This is just a fancy phrase that means the fight would be so radically unfair and so unevenly matched that any reasonable bystander would agree that one of the participants could kill or permanently damage the other person even without a weapon. (When a known, skilled martial artist attacks someone who is not a martial artist)” Kathy Jackson:

Some Mindless Meanderings: 

Q: A high school football player uses his skills to tackle someone when the head hits the ground he dies, is his ability something that pushes him up the ladder toward unjustified use of force?

Q: You are on your way to your car after purchasing a set of carving knives for your wife when you are attacked. You take one out and use it to protect yourself, is is a carving knife or deadly weapon? If a weapon is your use of the knife within the level of force acceptable to the moments circumstances?

Q: You are a coach for a local softball team, you are carrying the equipment to the field for a game when you are accosted by an angry person. You pull out the bat and hit him with it. Is this a reasonable means of SD? Is the bat now a deadly weapon? Are you going to be held to a higher standard because you are a coach who has knowledge of using a bat for protection? Are these just stupid questions?

Q: As a MA practitioner are you going to be held to a higher standard when using your ability in SD? Is the grade or level of black belt going to increase that standard in SD? Are the techniques used in SD going to be considered within the proper range or level of force when defined in relation to your applied technique, i.e. a fist vs. an open hand vs. a kick vs. an elbow and the head of a person hitting the ground?

Granted, these seem far-fetched but this may actually be the type of questions that will be asked that may or may not take you outside the circle/square of legally acceptable self-defense. At the very least, even if you win, may take you to a place of economic ruin and emotional damage for you and your family.  Is it worth it to scoff at the idea?

Addendum dtd October 23, 2014 at 13:27hrs:

I asked the "Armed Citizens Network" a question regarding the use of MA empty hand and here is how that went (bold/italics/underline is my emphasis):

Q: “Is it possible that the legal system might perceive martial arts expertise, even if just sport oriented, as a use of a "deadly weapon?"

A: “Not for an ‘assault with a deadly weapon’ charge, but yes for use of deadly force murder or manslaughter.  Look at your state criminal law statutes, and see what your state law says regarding definitions of what a deadly weapon is, and what deadly force is.”

Marty Hayes, Armed Citizen Network free Q&A

I like this one by Rory Miller

Using the Scientific Method

Caveat: I make mistakes and if the article actually follows the scientific method properly and completely I will gladly amend this post in response to comments that are accepted as appropriate and support that view, etc. 

Using the scientific method to provide “evidence” of something is not as simple as one might think. In a recent article on kata the author used what he stated was an “independent and peer reviewed academic research” to put forth his proof that kata are invaluable to learning “real self-defense.” 

Before anyone can actually study such a thing they have to find a true, accurate and valid definition of what real self-defense is and that does not appear to have been done. I am getting out of my thought path so lets get back to “What is the scientific method?” Along with that I pose to address, at least superficially, the results of the method that often come as “statistics.” 

I quote, “The scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world.” 

Then I also present that often those who conduct such scientific methods of study or research are hampered by their own biases, i.e. their own personal and cultural belief systems that directly and indirectly affect their perceptions of phenomena but the method is supposed to address this by the use of a standard set of procedures and criteria so as to minimize the adverse effects those influences would have when developing a theory. 

I quote, “As a famous scientist once said, "Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view." In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory.”

Four Steps of Scientific Method:

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

Now, to remain within the confines of posting brevity I would redirect the reader to the following explanation of the scientific method

After reading the article, “Introduction to the Scientific Method,” from Professor Frank L. H. Wolfs from the University of Rochester, New York, you may then address the following article that prompted this posting.

When you review the “proof” as addressed by the authors means, i.e. scientific method, I find some glitches that may not truly support the results regardless of whether they are actually valid as a SD and Teaching tool, i.e. kata. 

An example: To qualify for a Self-defense phenomena and to find quantitatively results of observations, etc. that would prove this as true you would need to conduct the observation and research under a model that is validated as a real form of self-defense. Self-defense is a convoluted and complex phenomena in the real world and testing this under observation takes first, someone who is experienced, knowledgable and capable of observing a real life SD situation and encounter and that would take observing actual real life violent attacks against humans. This is not possible in large enough quantities to provide enough phenomena to come up with statistics that will quantitatively provides results through those observations.

Second, this also addresses “Several independent experimenters” as well as “Properly;y performed experiments.” Again, to stay true to reality in self-defense the experiment and observations would require at a minimum of kata training and practice under a reality based adrenal stress induced training and practice environment that is not a normal model used in teaching and training for self-defense especially in martial arts where kata dominate as a tool for training and teaching. 

Although, in my view, kata are critical teaching and practice tools of martial arts regardless of whether for self-defense, fighting or competitions are truly invaluable. This is not a result of a scientific method of study but rather an opinion based on personal study over thirty-eight years of training and practice. Kata simply do not address all the aspects, fundamentals and applications within the world of self-defense.

Kata focuses solely on the physical applications once a person is in the “Fight.” Kata is only one very small aspect and is often used as a doorway toward more relevant knowledge and experiences that supplement what is necessary to apply self-defense.

I would further ask of the author of the study the following questions:

1. Can they actually address the groups biases and then show how they addressed them to minimize effects on the study?
2. Did they actually perform experimental testing so as to remove the most common error in mistaking their hypothesis for an explanation of that phenomenon?
3. Did they address results to mitigate effects from personal “common sense” and “logical” influences so that they conclude that “no testings was necessary?”
4. Did they accept any and all data or did they exclude data that would or might not support their hypothesis?
5. Did they feel any strong beliefs toward what was tested or exempted from the observational test criteria or did they address any feelings or external pressures or biases that would have provided a specific result?
6. Did they analyze data for the possibility they were seeking to find “something wrong” that would or could be removed to allow a more acceptable result?
7. The data used or collected, did they analyze it in determining its support of expectations, i.e. ones that agree and others that disagree with their expectations, etc. ?

There are far more questions that should be asked in the process of scientific method to test one’s hypotheses but did they cover all the bases? Is there report about their resulting “hypotheses,” or is it about a resulting “model,” or is it about their “theory?” See the article on the scientific method to see the definitions so that the presentation would have more effect and be more acceptable as a study from a scientific method.

Then we must take a look at the “statistics” that would support such a study. As I see the articles results I am not being made aware that they are supported by any developed statistics from the study or research. Statistics are a representation of that body of methods that characterize the kata as a SD tool as inferred thought the observations of a scientific study, those don’t appear to exist so is this a true scientific study method that provided the conclusions kata are invaluable for SD and Teaching?

If they had provided statistics to support the research what standard statistical model and methods did they use? Did they actually have a “representational sample” that qualifies the study for both the scientific model and statistical results according to the appropriate statistical model? Statistical studies are meant to provide a efficient and productive process in scientific research, right?

In the end, it as always brings such studies of the martial arts world into questions simply because the persons conducting the studies have a vested interest in results that support rather than disprove their perceptions, perspectives and beliefs. This seems dysfunctional and counterproductive that are often used by opposition to support their perceptions, perspectives and beliefs that martial arts kata are bullshit. I am not the opposition in this post but rather a “Questioner” of such efforts because I feel strongly that to half-way take a study to just support and vilify my personal beliefs over facts and truth and relevancy that spans all disciplines be they martial arts or sports like football are far more beneficial in the end. 

Such posts as this one are meant to question so that others are not inadvertently guided down a wrong path when such things as self-defense can result in loss of life, liberties and personal wealth as well as freedom and so on dictate that if this study were true and complete and comprehensive then society is well served in lieu of being led down the bad path. 

Are you thinking more or accepting under the guise of scientific study along with titles meant to support the acceptance of the studies and those who perform them? It is a bit like assuming because one is holding a title, often not validated, as expert/master/sensei, etc.

Caveat: I make mistakes and if the article actually follows the scientific method properly and completely I will gladly amend this post in response to comments that are accepted as appropriate, etc. 

Also, I am not an expert on the scientific method or statistics but it don't take much comparison to determine if the study is questionable. Then again, it might at least prompt other research in an effort to validate the study.

Purposeful Compliance

This is another term coined by Richard Hubbard (host) in his Prevail Podcast #4. If you haven’t noticed I tend to like terms and phrases that can and do lead to greater lessons. Sometimes I come up with my own terms or phrases but more often I find them by listening to others such as Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung or Michael Clarke and many others. Over the years these guys have taught me more through such connective verbiage then I have learned in other disciplines but then again this one speaks to me a lot more that those others. 

This particular phrase is about a type of avoidance that is seldom taught in many SD (Self-defense) classes. Oh hell, this one and a whole lot more but that is another posting. Do SD classes actually train and reward students/practitioners to get away safely, to follow the scripts of violence, to give up the urge to karate chop them into submission and take the logical and safe way out, i.e. mugger says “give me your wallet” and you follow the script by keeping the monkey mouth in its cage and simply hand over the wallet then walk away - safe, alive and unhurt. This model is about using purposeful compliance when that is available to them, knowing when to safely leave, give up the item and other forms of compliance.

Marc MacYoung, in his book In the Name of Self-Defense, speaks about how most violence has scripts that both sides follow or should. He speaks/writes that often when violence, in those instances, is given is often because one side or the other fails to follow the script. Usually, it is the victim of said violence/conflict/action. 

This also comes back to the emotional monkey ego pride thing. SD, in my mind, training tends to cater to our natural tendency toward violence so they focus on the cool kung fu ultimate technique SD system over such boring and often counter-ego driven monkey crap that gets us humans into more trouble than necessary. It is so not cool and when you tell yourself that you're listening to the monkey brain. Now, that ain’t cool. 

Caveat: this post may seem like that “one” answer to all things self-defense, about violence or about conflicts but it is only about one very small important aspect that is about one narrow aspect of the world that involves SD and in some cases MA. This post is about introductions and about peaking curiosity so that you, the reader, will actually go out and research the “rest of the story.”

Addendum dtd 22 October 2014 at 09:21 hours: Rory said … Charles-- I don't believe I coined the phrase. That was Richard Hubbard, the host of that podcast. (Thanks for the correction Rory, much appreciated!) Let me add in that upon review Mr. Hubbard said he first heard the term in the "Parker System of Kenpo." 


It suddenly occurred to me, “Why do I have this fascination with MA, SD and Conflict/Violence?” Yes, you would have thunk that maybe I would have addressed this question at one time or another but those questions were more in line with, “Why do I practice a martial art?” or “Why do you know about violence and why?” type questions and those do no really address the question of fascination or maybe a better term would be “obsession.” 

I think this can be a very complicated question with an even more complicated answer given any great thought toward it. I am actually giving it free reign while I type my thoughts because, for me, that is sometimes a really good way to find out what I truly think. Maybe more of a feeling rather than a thought. 

I suspect that it is because we as humans are evolving but until we actually reach that level we are still tied closely to conflict and violence. I am actually of the feeling that we, as humans, will never truly disassociate ourselves from conflict and/or violence. We are tied to them as a normal human condition and humans cannot associate socially without either as that is part and parcel to human communications (maybe this is why Mr. Miller and Mr. MacYoung call what they do “Conflict Communications?”).

In addition, at the start, it was about an ability to defend myself as a youngster. First in my pre-teens against a bully then again against bullies in junior high and then high school. You know, much like many of us remember but of course my situation was “special ;-)” Then, to continue that need to fill that need I went on the join the Marines, to become a professional warrior defending my way of life. Then it became about how to use my body to its absolute best in combatives. Then it became about handling more civilian violence of which I actually had a few situations that self-confirmed my needs. (Note: I didn’t really begin to understand just how self-confirming my actions were until the last ten years but I was always a bit late on the uptake)

Now, it has become a means to self-improve while connecting to my natural tendency, as all humans, toward conflict and violence. Actually, now that I think of it, these last nineteen years searching out the truth of our human condition for the purpose of MA and SD has actually taught me more about humans and living without actually succumbing to conflict and violence (Note: when I say this it is with tongue in cheek cause I realize that almost all we do as humans with other humans comes from the application of conflict resolutions and violent encounters of the mild kind, etc. yadda yadda yadda)

I think you get the picture. Along with my having, at one time, a violent sometimes raging temper (of which this study has provided me the knowledge and therefore the tools to get a handle on that monkey shit) the need to know about and deal with conflict and violence has resulted in a more Zen like attitude that seems to fit or inter-connect with the philosophy we westerners associate with the study of MA. 

Anyway, this is “why” I do what I do. It is not often known and I would not normally present this side of me to folks simply because of their societal mind-washing toward violence is bad, violence must be avoided, violence must be wrong types will find me a bit more “wrong.” Anyway, think what you will cause I can tell you now that I am a kitten compared to some cause there are some that make my life look like a walk in the park and those guys know other guys who scare the piss out of them. 

Conclusion: there are many who are just plain blind and ignorant about what humans are instinctually and naturally. On the grading of humans on conflict and violence say from 1 to 100, I am maybe a .25 (that is a point or period 25) when others sit around 50 or 75 with a few that exceed 100. Go figure. 

Luck [運]

In recent postings it has become known that in relation to the experience threshold, i.e. “According to Ken Murray in 'Training at the Speed of Life', the Air Force set ‘ace’ at five dogfights because there best research showed that no one—no one—remembered their training for their first three to five dogfights.  Personally, I would set the threshold for unarmed encounters closer to twenty. Grasp that.  With the best training in the world, you still got through your first 3-5 on instinct and luck.” - Rory Miller, Teaching, Training, Conditioning and Play. Chiron Blog dtd May 9, 2014

This might be perceived as disheartening to those who practice a MA for SD or those who are taking SD because they feel they need the protection because of the possibility of it taking up to twenty encounters to finally pull up training in lieu of surviving on “luck.” Well, luck maybe what you get when you do all that training and practice. Consider this, would you rather have to deal with violence cold and without any exposure or knowledge, i.e. where you simply roll up into a ball and hope you live, or would you rather have it there where the lizard may or may not extract it for your survival?

For me, after hearing all this in regards to that experience threshold I thought that maybe taking MA or SD for defense is fundamentally not worth the time or effort since, expect for those professionals who deal with conflict and violence on a daily basis, almost all civilians will never encounter violence in their entire life times and even if they do then it sure is not going to reach a level of three to five encounters with the additional seventeen or so for empty hand per the Mr. Miller’s estimate of empty handed experience threshold. 

I also believe that in most cases you make your own luck. I believe that even with the experience threshold that one with that kind of luck is due to all the hard work, hard training, sweat-blood expended that when push comes to shove that luck will be based on the created mind-state of the practitioner. Yes, you may not drop into your kung fu posture and apply those cool combinations necessary to apply SD but what ever you do if you have the history in training and practice and if your experience threshold is currently at zero that luck that leads to your survival will be there. 

Don’t use the perception of the experience threshold, especially for empty hand, as an excuse to stop training and practicing because it will contribute to your “luck.” Remember, “The Mysticism surrounding any good martial art is not so much religion as mindset.” - Unknown Focus in that mind-set or mind-state because that is what will help you make the leap even if that leap is a lot of luck while you build toward that experience threshold. 

Experience Threshold is a phrase used by Rory Miller, and possibly many others including Ken Murray, that is about getting to that point where your training and practice actually reach the point where it pushes luck to second place right behind or inter-connected to your efforts in MA, SD and/or both. 

Note: these are my thoughts and theories and mine alone, I just used others phrases and terms to create a viewpoint that may provide MA/SD practitioners more to think about in their training and practice and most of all, application of MA and SD. 


Luck: where success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions; chance to find or acquire. One looks at luck as something that comes from nowhere and for no reason when in fact luck is about preparation, knowledge and experiences. Every day of our lives is about accumulating experiences, skills and knowledge that adds to our so called “luck.” Luck is more about pulling the right decisions and actions from deep down in our lizard brains, i.e. the instinctual level of our brains serving mankind since the beginning of man’s time for survival. It is that which rises up from our unconscious that is often perceived as magic or inspiration when in fact it is the human ability to take a bunch of apparent unrelated experiences and knowledge to form theories, ideas, actions and new knowledge to tackle obstacles and find answers to life’s questions in providing growth of humans, both personal and societal. Make your own luck, seek out knowledge; seek out experiences; seek out all those out of the box things that will bring about the type of luck that will mean “survival.” 


In a recent roundtable podcast one of the participants said something like, “Techniques learned by ROTE wire the wrong part of the brain.” It was also stated that the focus on making sure a technique “looks right” is not correct. The techniques must be about working right along with a knowledge of its depth and breadth along with its shortcoming. 

Does the instructor focus on such things as:

1. Whether you are doing the technique right? 
2. Do they work on how well a practitioner is doing vs. what they are doing wrong?
3. Does the instructor focus on how well a practitioner moves, how they feel the movement, etc.?
4. Does the instructor focus on how well the technique actually works. 
5. Does the instructor focus on actually practicing sparring, drills, etc. at the proper range or do they tend to test out techniques, etc. at a sport oriented distance for competition?
6. Does the instructor use a form of measure for testing where they correct and quantify toward a curriculum vs. actually how well it works in reality?
7. Does the training and practice have practitioners hitting or being hit, does it induce both fear and anger along with the adrenal stress releases, and does the training result in common injuries to that particular training, practice and applied techniques in paired practice?
8. Does the training actually cover all aspects of violence and force?
9. Does training actually train and practice avoidance such as seeing, detecting and then “turning and leaving” as a viable option in SD? Do they also reward practitioners when they use “walking away” from conflict and violence as an intricate part of training and practice?
10. Do the instructors provide training and practice in coupling judgement with skills?
11. Is the system trained under an “operant conditioning” model/system?
12. Does the training actually cover and train for the “experience threshold,” i.e. that in empty handed systems for SD often it takes up to twenty or so encounters before skill is finally coupled with training, etc.?
13. Does the training cover the “freeze” as to both benefits and obstacles in SD and MA?
14. Does the training and practice work toward utilization of the lizard brain vs. the thinking and monkey brain?
15. Does training and practice cover the disparities between the monkey brain and the lizard brain? 

This brings me to the subject of this post, kata being taught, trained and practiced in a ROTE manner. ROTE is a fixed, habitual, or mechanical process or routine that can describe how kata are taught and trained. This can come from the more sport competition side of martial systems where the look and feel of the kata carry more importance than that kata’s application in conflict/violence. 

Often kata becomes this form of practice that is done mechanically and repetitively so that it becomes habitual, i.e. ROTE performance. ROTE performance is not taking kata and other types of drills and combinations toward the ultimate goal in SD and MA. It is easier and a measurable that can be tested but the true test is when such things actually work in a stress adrenal induced chemical dump scenario/situation where your health and well being are endangered. 

Looking at the fifteen above, by the way an incomplete listing of questions on this subject, you must have this in your training and practice to even have something from that training and practice available to the lizard brain after the three to five and most often the twenty encounters necessary to achieve proficiency in both MA and SD. Does this make sense?

Can you ask and answer these and other questions as a part of an analysis and discovery process to ensure what you are training is what you are training. Luck can only carry you so far and for the professional it is absolutely critical as they are the only ones who will actually encounter three to five to even twenty encounters of violence in the performance of their duties. 

Marc MacYoung, and others, will tell you that it is what you don’t know that can really and truly hurt you. Do you want to be one of those? Then there is the before and after that can take that hurt into other areas other than the direct physical application of violence or SD.

Kata to be useful must address and consider all these things and when practiced must go outside the barriers ROTE places on them if they are to apply toward reality. There is a point where ROTE patterns must be broken, mixed and matched in a fluid way to achieve not only proficiency in application but to encode it so that it becomes a lizard function in the heat of the situation.

It’s Critical

This is the start of what I am going to call, “It’s Critical,” and the goal is to provide some tidbits of information that I personally feel critical to anyone teaching, training or applying self-defense. I will begin by saying, “It’s Critical everyone in the SD world get, study, learn and apply what is being presented in the books by Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung. Start with Mr. MacYoung’s book, “In the Name of Self-Defense.” 

Next, I was listening to a podcast where one of the speakers made a statement that I did not know and did not realize was “critical” to applying SD training and practice. I think he referred to it as something called the “threshold concept.” In a nutshell it is about how many encounters a human would go through before their training would actually become usable. I believe the statement is, “No one remembers their training in their first three to five encounters.” 

Now, to my mind that is a huge “It’s Critical,” thing. I wonder just how many SD graduates and/or Martial Artists get this idea in their minds that because they have practiced it a gazillion times that it will actually work the first time out? I am not saying that it won’t work or that the speaker is saying it won’t work but the averages regarding reality must be close to right since the concept was presented by professionals. 

Now, also consider that the discussion also spoke of how certain professionals would in all likelihood have an experienced professional with them as a guide or mentor to help them get through this three to five threshold then ask yourself how many SD graduates who are not in a professional capacity will have that same guidance or mentor if they run into conflict/violence in an SD scenario in real life? How many actual SD encounters you have with or without that mentor/guide would it take to get your training to actually kick in. (Note: see quote at bottom for a real eye opener) 

Granted, I suspect there is a small percentage through luck might actually have their stuff activate but then I would ask how many of those smaller numbers remained within the SD Square that Mr. MacYoung draws for us in his teachings, i.e. in his INoSD book? 

My sole goal here in this post is to get folks in MA and SD to “THINK” bout stuff like this. Take a moment and listen to the podcast of professionals (especially part 2 where this post was inspired) and see what you get from it. To my way of thinking with all this available there should not be anyone who unknowingly ends up in such situations unaware of what may, might, could and will happen. 

Note: threshold concept is used by the podcast professional to describe this three to five concept and may not connect to the descriptions of that same model as found on sources about “The Threshold Concept.” 

“According to Ken Murray in ‘Training at the Speed of Life’, the Air Force set ‘ace’ at five dogfights because their best research showed that no one—no one—remembered their training for their first three to five dogfights.  Personally, I would set the threshold for unarmed encounters closer to twenty. Grasp that.  With the best training in the world, you still got through your first 3-5 on instinct and luck.” - Rory Miller, “Teaching, Training, Conditioning and Play. Chiron Blog dtd May 9, 2014

The question I then ask myself is, “Is SD training actually going to keep you safe?” To answer that adequately I would have to see the full curriculum of that SD training. If that full and complete curriculum included “ALL ASPECTS” of SD then maybe it will if for no other reason that those aspects would achieve a level of a type of awareness that would lead to things like avoidance, etc. To be a fully and complete SD system of instruction then those curriculum would encompass all those things taught in the sources listed as bibliography and more.

(Note: It’s Critical also promotes another aspect of criticality, that SD is more than MA, more than technique and more than what almost everyone thinks it is and that seems IMPORTANT! DoubleNote: I have a fledgling understanding and feel that this subject, although complex in its simplicity, is so darn big that it is not even remotely funny how the business of SD is run today - then again, what do I know, talk to the professionals)

MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.
Goleman, Daniel. "Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition]." Bantam. January 11, 2012.
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 
Miller, Rory. "Violence: A Writer's Guide." Pacific Northwest. Wyrd Goat Press. 2012.
Cain, Susan. "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." Broadway. New York. 2013. 
Bown, Tim and Miller Rory. "Leading the Way: Maximize Your Potential as a Martial Arts Instructor." Rachelle Bown. Kindle. 2012
Overland, Clint; Anderson, Drew Dr.; Kane, Lawrence; Trahan, Terry; Burrese, Alain; Demeere, Wim; Eisler, Barry; MacYoung, Marc; Miller, Rory; Miller, Kamila. "Campfire Tales from Hell: Musing on Martial Arts, Survival, Bounding, and General Thug Stuff." CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012.
Miller, Rory and Kane, Lawrence A. "Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision-making under Threat of Violence." YMAA Publisher. New Hampshire. 2012
Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.
Bolton, Robert, Ph.D. "People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts." Simon & Schuster. New York. 1979, 1986.
Navarro, Joe. "What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People." Collins. New York. 2008.
Kane, Lawrence & Wilder, Kris. "How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence." Gotham Books. New York. 2011.
Grossman, Dave LtCol. "On Killing: The Physiological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Back Bay Books. New York. 2009.
Grossman, Dave Lt.Col. Christensen, Loren. "On Combat: The Physiology and Physiology of Deadly Colnflct in War and Peace." Warrior Science Publications. 2008.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Origins of Human Violence: Male Dominance, Ignorance, Religions and Willful Stupidity!" Phoenix Books. Kentucky. 2010.
MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.
Newberg, Andrew MD and Waldman, Mark Robert. "Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth." Free Press. New York. 2006
Sutrisno, Tristan, MacYoung, Marc and Gordon, Dianna. "Becoming a Complete Martial Artist: Error Detection in Self Defense and the Martial Arts." Lyons Press. Connecticut. 2005.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.
Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.
Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.
Elgin, Suzette Haden, Ph.D. "More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." Prentice Hall. New Jersey. 1983.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Self-Defense at Work." New York. Prentice Hall Press. 2000.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1993.
Elgin, Suzette. "The Gentle Art of Written Self-Defense" MJF Books. 1997
Elgin, Suzette. "The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" Barnes & Noble. 1995
Elgin, Suzette. "Staying Well with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." MJF Books. 1990.
MacYoung, Marc. "Violence, Blunders, and Fractured Jaws: Advanced Awareness Techniques and Street Etiquette." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1992. 
Goleman, Daniel. “Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition].” Bantam. January 11, 2012.
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.

Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

Don’t Lose the War

Ever hear the quote, “They won the battle but lost the war.” This kind of reminds me of self-defense. I came up with the thought or you could say it kind of jumped out at me after reading the book, “In the Name of Self-Defense by Marc MacYoung.” It kind of reminded me of the mind-set or mind-state of those who teach and take self-defense training. They are often taught that the particular fight, battle or skirmish is to be won at any cost while in truth they are losing the SD war by such narrow and stagnant thinking. 

You really don’t want to lose the war of self-defense because you are so intent on winning the fight at the moment. There are so many skirmishes, firefights and battles that must all be won to achieve a victory in the SD war and to ignore the whole to achieve victory over a single aspect seems, stupid. 

The Urban Dictionary defines, “Won the battle, lost the war,” as when an individual or group are so concentrated, so focused on winning the fight, that they were consumed in that one win they didn’t realize till the end that it was nothing compared to the big picture that the person lost.”

In self-defense you have to face many battles starting with the one within yourself, the restraining and caging of the monkey brain. Then there are many battles to face where any one up to the actual physical can achieve victory for the war but once you enter the fighting fields you truly have to win all the succeeding battles to achieve an overall victory of the SD War. 

Think about this!


MacYoung, Marc. “In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It.” Marc MacYoung. 2014.

In the Name of Self-Defense

I am a martial artist of thirty-seven plus years. I “thought” I taught self-defense but many years ago by reading things from folks like Marc MacYoung I discovered I was “missing a lot” of stuff. I am so happy that those I had taught never had to deal with all of self-defense outside the training hall. 

I can truthfully say that everyone, everyone who teaches, trains, practices and learns a self-defense system can benefit greatly just from reading the introduction alone. It sheds all on its own the complexities and obstacles you will encounter if you have to go physical. It provides solid information, in the introduction mind you, that avoidance is really the greatest thing you can do for yourself regarding self-defense. 

So, with that said, take a moment and go to Amazon and get your copy. Even if you are not in the SD industry as a provider or a customer reading the book or even just the introduction (bet you a buck when you read the intro you will read the remainder of the book :-), you will benefit from it. Go get your copy, well worth the pennies you will pay.

Read also: Our Brains on Self-Defense

dtd, September 15th, 2014 at 10:00am - Reading the second go round of this one. You also get the idea reinforced that it is always a good idea to give things a second, third and even more thought so as to make sure you get the entire and complete picture. On my second go-round many, many things I missed or misunderstood are coming to the top like the cream in a good wholesome full bodied milk.

When you read something as full bodied as this book along with use of tools, i.e. a high liter and pen with ruler, etc. you get a bit more clarity. You really need that clarity for something as important and life changing as Self-defense.

Let me be clear here, this is not a dry book of facts but a real page turner that just happens to be non-fiction but is written with the flare and interest one would get with a good fictional tale. In some studies the second or third time round tends to be harder but to date this one is just plain fun to read and study - that is real important here.

I get the same sense from other books by other professionals with the same type of credentials as this author but for the size and word count in this book, which is awesome in so many ways, are page turners both the first time and second time round. So much so I am looking forward to reading it again - and again - and again. Like I have said, "A Must Read!"

Addendum dtd October 9, 2014: Just read the last page on this bear. Ready for third go-round. When done, I think it is time to take a break, let it settle, do some thought meandering and contemplations, then return once again like an old friend and go another round with this book. Maybe, in support of his efforts, I will purchase another clean copy and start over again. I feel strong that if you want to talk or write about this stuff, if you want to teach SD using this stuff and if you are seriously going to have it available to see the norm vs. the abby-normal of this stuff you really have to spend time on it. Consider it this way, if you want a BS in some discipline you have to spend the time, effort and sweat over time to achieve the required results - that is my goal.

Through out his book he mentions stuff his editor axed from the final copy, I just wonder what that could have been that caused the publishers to "leave it out?"

My copy of the "In the Name of Self-Defense" book written by Marc MacYoung. It is beginning to show a bit of wear and I have not had the print copy more than a month or so. This is what it looks like as I finish it for the "SECOND" go round. Next, on the third go-round, there will be a lot of underlining to go with the high lighting and the yellow post-its marking some interesting parts I have read to date. Now, after the third go-round I figure to read it again and transcribe my self-notes onto a notepad at my computer. Once I do that, then I figure to print that out and while re-reading it again, transcribing my notes with more notes - by hand to paper - I just "MIGHT" start to truly understand it on a very fundamental level. Marc MacYoung and others who have read it are really right on, it does take a bit to really get a sense of all that he has tried to convey. It is a really and truly awesome piece of work. You don't just make this shit up!

Getting Hit

In SD it never occurred to me that getting hit would carry importance and when I first started teaching SD in MA I always preached that one had to “hit something” a third of the overall time spent in training and practice. In other words, about twenty minuted to each hour of training - if you are serious. I guess since sparring, etc., was a given that I didn’t need to address actually getting hit as an intricate part of a persons SD ability along with a lot of other stuff like reality stress adrenal training.

I just assumed that if you are hitting something that in all likelihood you are also getting hit. Now that I think of this it is very likely that many can hit a makiwara or heavy bag or speed bag while never getting hit. Kind of a big “boo-boo” don’t ya thunk?

First, if you have never hit or been hit there is no reference point for the thinking, monkey and very important lizard brain to reference and compare. Think freeze and emotional freaking out time. Then, as Marc MacYoung will convey in his book, “In the Name of Self-Defense,” if you have never experienced being hit you don’t know that those hits you have seen on TV and in the Movies is not a devastating and debilitating as you may think. In other words, “it won’t destroy you.” 

Part of the monkey might want to naturally fall into a state of “trauma-drama-esque and ‘triggered’ over having been hit in your past. Then there is fear, fear of being hit. When you have only a TV/Movie reference to being hit with all the dramatization that tends to go with that you really will fear being hit. When you are hit and find that although it hurts, you find that you are not completely and utterly devastated into submission and frozen, you can still act - ain’t that cool. 

Marc MacYoung states, “Your ability to handle being punched is a stable dat point on the spectrum of how bad things are - or are going to get.” You get hit, you learn that, “Hey, no big deal.” Then you learn that you can get hit and keep right on going. It is a bit like Marc MacYoung’s mini-book on getting shot that in reality you don’t just drop when shot and that in a lot of cases you can keep right on keeping on after. Taking the pain of a punch, hit or strike while continuing to act is really a huge thing in SD. 

Marc MacYoung goes on to say, “Our fear of getting hit is more debilitating than getting hit.” You don’t really want to freeze, drop and curl up in a ball or just stand there as a stationary target for an adversaries continued onslaught of punches, slaps and head-butts - do you?

If you can control your monkey brain and know in your minds deepest recesses that you can be hit and still function, to think and process with the thinking mind and lizard, then you are better able to apply SD and stay in Marc MacYoung’s square, the SD Square, where you really, really want to be in such situations. 

Marc MacYoung has more to say about being hit, the type of hits that tell you things of importance to SD and even mentions the female perspectives. Like:

1. Ability to assess people’s ability to punch.
2. Your assessment of being hit that allows you to walk away.
3. An ability to assess an adversaries abilities while knowing your limitations. 
4. Your ability to take a hit as it would apply to your ability to de-escalate the situation.

and a whole lot more. He provides us with a different perspective toward SD that, for me, has not been adequately addressed until INoSD. 

Oh yea, pain is a factor and now you know about it especially as it relates to being hit. So hitting something is important and the flip side of that is being hit. I am understanding it a bit more that in my first years my Sensei insisted we hit, hit hard and that we use a minimum of padding on the hands with none on the feet (except maybe shin guards). 

Note: remember, hitting and getting hit, using gloves, light padded protection or other type of hand and head protection is great but when being hit, it is different from being hit with bare hands, fists, feet, etc. Safety has to be paramount but be creative in the ways you “get hit and hit” so as to really know about “getting hit and hitting.” 


MacYoung, Marc. "In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It." Marc MacYoung. 2014.