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

Okinawa and the Weapons Ban

Wow, in Karate 1.0 it appears that our thoughts that the weapons ban by both the Okinawan Royalty and the Satsuma Samurai did not ban weapons in the manner that left the common populace disarmed. I want to go back and read that again but it appears that most of the ban was about allowing weapons, firearms, to be sold outside Japan and Okinawa. I will clear this up a bit more as I take another look at what I read. I don't want this to become something that I misinterpreted but I wanted to get some interest going toward the book and its importance or its lack of importance. 

There is more within those pages that discuss the possibility that karate, the empty hand system within martial arts, didn't come from the need of the locals to defend themselves against the Samurai of Satsuma. Apparently, the Satsuma took charge of defending the Okinawans against pirates, etc. The commoners were not striped of their weapons such as those that slash or stab, etc. It was more about firearms and controlling weapons aboard the shipping vessels that went to China, etc. 

I plan on sitting down when I am done with my first study of this book and write a post that will provide a possible alternative to what some believe is the history and stimulus for the practice of empty handed martial arts. 

Look at this entry as a "teaser" for another post and the need to at least consider this book and its role in understanding the culture and beliefs of Okinawan Karate. 

Addendum did Monday April 21, 2014 at 12:35 hours:

Okinawa Disarmament History

After reviewing the materials, i.e. Karate 1.0, provided by Andreas Quast I agree with his conclusions thus,

“Ut us true that Ryukyu never in her history had been disarmed.”

For those who would argue that only Ryukyu Royalty were armed Quast Sensei shows through out his evidence that the commoners of Ryukyu were never disarmed of “cut and thrust” weapons and bows and arrows, etc.

Quick Reference, i.e. the actual references to those mandates concerning arming or disarming of weapons throughout Japan and included Ryukyu. 

HS/1643, HS/1646, HS/1613-01, HS/1613-02, HS/1639, HS/1657-01 and HS/1657-02. He has the actual details written in his book.

Note: The existence and management of firearms within Ryukyu was shown to be a primary effort of Japan and is proved by Quast Sensei’s evidence. It was based more on import/export with emphasis the borders (external threats) of Ryukyu ere protected by the Satsuma while internal protection by Ryukyuans and maritime protection by arms loaned out by the Satsuma controls. 

Carrying A Weapon

In a recent posting by Marc MacYoung about "Talisman's," i.e. brandishing a weapon in self-defense, I got to thinking about teaching self-defense with weapons. 

What first occurs to me is to ask the student, "Why do you feel the need for a weapon?" There are many reasons why carrying a weapon is necessary. I am not a professional but I suspect it regards, mostly, about working as a professional. I can't think of too many reasons why a civilian would have a need to carry a weapon. I will bow to comments made by professionals.

As a self-defense instructor I would also have to ask, "What type of weapon does one NEED for self-defense?" This too must refer to the professional disciplines because I still can't fathom what weapons are needed by civilians for self-defense.

So, before I continue on that path, I have to ask, "What do people perceive of a person who carries a weapon no matter what the reason especially when that person is NOT a professional, i.e. Police, etc.?" What is the perception when you see or hear of a person who defended themselves with a weapon be it a gun, club or knife, etc.? Do people think that because you carry a weapon you are "looking for trouble?" 

In the self-defense world there are many steps you must pass through to expose yourself and encounter violence or conflict where some physical means of self-defense are necessary so why carry a weapon at all? If you are knowledgable about conflict and all that entails, i.e. the before violence, the during violence and the after violence, etc. then why carry a weapon. 

One of the major points Mr. MacYoung wanted to make is this, "If you carry a weapon are you absolutely prepared to use it without hesitation?" I am not saying, "brandish it in the hopes that the other person will back off" but if the necessity of the weapon is unavoidable are you prepared wholeheartedly to use that weapon within the confines of legal self-defense all the way up to and including deadly force? Marc MacYoung suggests that it is "stupid" to think that the "threat of violence" will work. He says, it doesn't and he should know as he has lived that life. 

Then there is the question, "Is the weapon you carry legal?" There are large lists of weapons deemed illegal in California and I, personally, viewed the list with surprise when I would read a weapon I thought would be legal as illegal. 

Let's say you like to carry a pocket knife as a self-defense weapon and you feel it is necessary also as a work tool. Many laborers carry such a knife at work because of the convenience. The devices that are added to a pocket knife are mostly there to make it convenient and easy to operate with one hand. An electrician working to splice wires may find it convenient to reach back, remove the knife (it has a clip to fasten it to the belt), and with one hand flick it into the open position so they can cut while the other hand holds the wires. This seems, on the surface, a good thing for the electrician. They often carry it that way all the time under the belief they might need it for things in general at any time and that convenience is also good. 

Lets say that this same electrician decided, unknowingly, to purchase a pocket knife that has the "assist" function, i.e. a function of a spring like device that will power open a knife so that you don't have to flip or flick it with the thumb assist (that thumb assist in most cases is still there on these knives). What would a laymen perceive of that knife if self-defense were involved and the other participant was stabbed and cut seriously and may even be dead? Not so clear cut because I might think, "why did this guy want the assist when the normal thumb device works just fine?" What was the reason for carrying it outside of the work environment? Can he justify that carry? 

I can see that there may be many questions and assumptions that could sway a group of every day normal persons into thinking that maybe this electrician had ulterior motives and we haven't discussed the rest of that story, i.e. why did he use it and why did he kill the other person, etc. and so on and yadda yadda yadda. 

I guess what I am getting to is this, "Think hard and long as to why you THINK you need to carry a weapon for self-defense." I say THINK because that is something that must come from the human brain. I didn't say "FEEL" because that comes from "emotions" and emotions tend to come from the monkey brain. 

Self-defense as you are aware of is something that must be fully comprehended through study, training and practice before you make any decisions as to use and whether carrying a weapon is necessary or even smart. When you decide, think about any emotional content that drives your decision. Think, is this my human brain saying this or is this my monkey brain driving this train? It is hard but in the end, worth the effort.

There is a good deal of self-analysis, social analysis and environmental, situational and legal analysis that must go on before, during and after the search and study of self-defense. As can be readily perceived when you go to the "No Nonsense Self-Defense" website by Marc MacYoung that self-defense and conflict and violence are complicated, convoluted and most difficult and that is without even taking one self-defense class.

Oh, and I haven't even addressed the use of kobudo type weapons for self-defense. I had a novice security guy, he was hired to run security at the hotel and bar where I worked once but had no real experience other than he studied martial arts - another topic, does MA qualify you as a security professional, etc.. He came to work the first evening, stopped by my desk to say hello and I noticed something heavy in his shirt pocket shaped like a star. He has shrunken. I suggested that those were not exactly appropriate to use for security and that he might find it "illegal" in Florida and maybe he should research them legally before carrying them to work. He said his "sensei" said they were great self-defense tools, etc. Hmmmm?

Is the Okinawan system of karate representative of Japanese Budo? Addendum Mon Apr 14, 2014

Now that you are up to date with my perceptions I can now say, "I was wrong!" In the new book, Karate 1.0 by Andreas Quast I have come to understand that Okinawan Systems of Karate may just be representative of the Okinawan versions of Japanese Budo. Much like the Japanese, the Okinawans had the tendency to take things of value from other cultures and absorb them into their own. This, apparently, includes Budo. 

The Okinawans, it would seem, had a very militaristic way of life up to the early sixteen hundreds when the Satsuma Samurai took control of the security of its outer most territory, Okinawa or the LooChoo Islands. 

I don't believe that modern karate as practiced in the 1900's and now this century are representative of Japanese Budo but I do believe historically that the influences are there. I really want to strongly suggest getting this book because it has blown a few holes in what "I believed" were a part of the legacy of Okinawan karate or Martial Arts. 

Karamuto [唐無道] [唐武刀]

The characters/ideograms mean, "martial arts supposedly unarmed and similar to karate." The first character means, "T'ang; China," the second character means, "nothingness; none; ain't; nothing; nil; not," the third character means, "road-way; street; district; journey; course; moral; teachings."

The characters/ideograms mean, "martial arts supposedly unarmed and similar to karate." The first character means, "T'ang; China," the second character means, "warrior; military; chivalry; arms," the third character means, "sword; saber; knife." 

As to the second set of characters/ideograms, the second and third are open to discussion since I was unable to find the "exact" characters provided in the book that I use as the source for this term. The first characters/ideograms are the set I lean heavily toward for this definition. 

Aka Chokushiki, in a book, cites "Yawara (to be thought of as Jujitsu)" and a skill called "karamuto." From the context within the text is probably pointing to a historical form of karate or otherwise a martial art it originate from. When rendered in kanji, it is transcribed as karamudo [唐無道] (Chinese martial arts). Another possible explanation is karamuto [唐武刀] can be interpreted as Chinese Weaponless (Martial Arts). This form was used in the 18th century Okinawa.

It was Nagamine Shoshin who noted that the Okinawan Martial Arts were referred to as "Ti." The ethnic specifics of martial arts of Ti was created, on the other hand Sumo was born as entertainment of the common people. 

In Naha: Tegumi refes to the competition of sumo.
In Tomari and Shuri: It was called Muto. 

The term Karamuto per Aka Chokushiki in the mid 18th century most probably designates a style of wrestling from China specific to the Shuri area. 

This seems, to my perceptions, to verify that the indigenous system of martial arts was referred to historically as "Ti" with another term used also to designate not only the Ti practice but its interconnection to the Chinese influences, i.e. thereby the reasoning for the second Kanji, i.e. Karamuto. Both terms are used in the explanation but I suspect depending on who you talk to and their residence, i.e. Naha area, Tomari area or Shuri area, that karamuto or karamudo connect Okinawa Ti to the modern Karate. 

Quast, Andreas. "Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art." Lulu Publishing (Self-published). December 2013.

Training the Adrenaline or Stress Reactions

As I continue my studies and as I begin to appreciate the need to train for the chemical dump of stress I remember how it may be a training model for the military, specifically Marines (I was a ten year active duty Marine, i.e. 1972 to 1981). It dawned on me that at least the first and second phase of recruit training puts recruits in that stress zone - a lot. 

I remember the first phase was grueling and we all were placed constantly into situations and scenario's that caused us fear, anger and with those a lot of stress from about 0500 hours in the morning through about 2100 hours at night when we hit the rack. Even at night the first couple of nights we were guarded by third phase, about to graduate as Marines, recruits who also kept the fear of god in all of us.

The yelling, the screaming, the "in your face" actions along with the mere fact that you have experienced Marines with lots of stripes pushing you beyond your limits each and every day until you graduate tends to trigger many stress related chemicals into your body. Then all those various challenges such as obstacles courses, the rifle range, grenades, etc., all under the pressures of DI's and the rest of the platoon. At first you run around like a "chicken with its head cut off," until finally all that peripheral stuff sits outside you and you act readily, fast and with purpose. 

So, if you really want to learn how to overcome stress chemical dumps, "join the Marines - go to Parris Island - complete recruit training," and the sky is no longer the limit. After that, volunteer for combat and you should develop a good sense of how to handle and work around adrenaline, etc.

My brother is a Navy Seal, just ask him the pressures and challenges of Seal training let alone serving as a Seal in combat (he served in Beirut). Any special service organization is going to subject you to a lot of stress and handling yourself really matters to you and to your fellow Sailors, Marines and Soldiers. 

How Realistic Are the Kumite Drills

I am going to focus only on two, the full nelson and the bear hug attacks. Now, this is going to be short, in my personal experiences I have never encountered nor witnessed an attack by anyone where either of these attacks are used. I also count any YouTube video's I have viewed that "say" they are fights, attacks or self-defense situations. There are many out there to view. I also count the professionals I follow in books and on the Internet as to web sites and blog posts, etc.

I don't believe they are realistic self-defense training drills. They are easy to teach and they will look and feel good to those who have never been attacked or in a real fight, i.e. not some social monkey dance but a real fight. I am making some assumptions with only a minimal amount of experience. One incident was a monkey dance with a crowd and the two fighters never once did a bear hug or a full nelson. 

Granted, a full or half nelson may be applied in sport especially with those who practice and train at ground work, etc. but still not in a fight on the streets as far as I know. Maybe others can chime in with details as to the fights they have been in where either or have been used "in a fight." 

If the system you practice uses these types of kumite drills for posterity and historical preservation purposes then all is well. I speak up with my opinions when I feel that the participants are "assuming it is for real self-defense." 

Then again, just because I have not witnessed such a thing or observed it out there in the world does not mean someone somewhere has used it, and successfully. I just have a hard time picturing or imagining a predator attacking a victim with either of these techniques. But, hey, I can be very wrong, right?

p.s. Even in the training hall I have never witnessed anyone teaching how to defend against a predatory surprise attack, i.e. like coming up behind an unsuspecting victim and smashing them in the back of the head with a brick type thing - hmmm, wonder if a true predator would use this to get what they want? Hmmmm .....

Martial "Systems"

The issue with discussing systems with only words. Words and sentences must, by necessity, come only one at a time in a linear, logical order. Systems happen all at once. They are connected not just in one direction, but in many directions simultaneously. To discuss a system properly, it is necessary somehow to use a language that shares some of the same properties as the phenomena under discussion.

The physicality of martial arts goes a long way toward this goal of explaining a system, such as karate, in a multidimensional holistic way, i.e. by the sentence you speak, the actions you take and the sense modes used together to learn and teach, i.e. seeing, hearing and tactually (feeling the movements by your own body and by the touch of an adversary, etc.). This method lets a practitioner see all the parts of a picture at once. It is a tactile method that incorporates other means, i.e. seeing and hearing, to achieve understanding that will not come simply by the telling. 

Sensei must adapt the ability to first teach the fundamentals or basics by providing a definition of the system and by dissecting it down into its most atomistic forms, i.e. why we teach individual principles academically to start then begin to use the more holistic approach to actually learn them through the body, mind and spirit wholehearted holistic practice and training regimen. 

Where it achieves its greatest potential is when you begin to put all the atomistic parts back together to make one whole system. Most martial arts don't get to this level of practice and training. They become consumed in the atomistic because it is easier to do and to talk about and to write about, etc. This is what lead to the quantity vs. quality of practice and training debate. It is where martial artists remain stuck in the "shu levels" of the shu-ha-ri training model. 

To achieve a whole system practice give the following some thought and consideration, i.e. remember that to start with the atomistic and working into the holistic provides us the ability to understand parts, see the interconnections, and then create questions that ask things like "What if?" It allows us to see possible future actions and it promotes our ability to be creative and courageous about the system so we may adjust it according to the moment, time and place. 

As with any system, martial systems tend to rely on this more than any other since it involves violence and life and death situations. This model teaches us the simple lesson, "The behavior of a system cannot be known just by knowing the elements of which the system is made." In other words knowing the details does not mean you can apply them as a whole that is required to apply martial arts in a self-defense and combative manner. 

To achieve the ha level in this model means all through the kyu grades and up into the dan grades, i.e. sho-dan, ni-dan and san-dan, one must work diligently on the atomistic. The Ni-dan to San-dan grades are necessary to move from the atomistic into the more holistic system. It is taking all those interconnected atomistic things that make up the entire system and bringing them together into that "one" wholehearted system of martial practice. It is only at these levels can a practitioner achieve a level of expertise to make it work for self-defense and combatives. 

Look at martial systems this way. A martial system is an interconnected set of elements that are coherently organized in a way that it achieves a goal. It should consist of elements, i.e. the fundamental principles of martial systems, basics or fundamentals, kata and other aspects covered in the principles. It must have an interconnectedness, i.e. the principles all work because they are interconnected, etc. It also must serve a function, i.e. in martial arts they work as a means of self-improvement, health and security (self-defense and combatives). If not for this martial systems would simply be a hobby. 

A martial system must have multiple interrelations to be a system. They must be held together or they lose functionality. This is a systemic problem with modern martial systems as a means of self-defense because they lack that functionality. Even tho it still remains a part of a whole, the loss of functionality diminishes its holistic wholehearted value. 

To be a complete martial system it also requires that it exhibits an adaptive, dynamic, instinctual, self-preserving and evolutionary holistic application. It exudes a essence that says this is a system with integrity, both actual and spiritual, or wholeness about the system with an active set of mechanism that maintain the systems integrity. This is not a dogmatic view where one might feel the overwhelming need to keep the system intact and exact as first learned. All systems must change, adapt, respond to situations, achieve goals, and attend to survival. To keep a system stagnant is to reduce the systems effectiveness and applicability.  

A martial system shall remain resilient in this way and that means it must achieve a revolutionary adaptive growth as times and moments and situations change. This is how one system becomes many, i.e. the art of Okinawa "Ti" became several systems, i.e. shuri, tomari and naha-ti, i.e. later to be goju, shorin, isshinryu, etc. 

Knowing that what you practice is a system tells me what I have to do to become an expert in that system. First, can you identify all the parts of that system, i.e. fundamental principles (theory, physiokinetics, technique and philosophy), basics, kata, kumite, etc. Second, do these parts all affect one another? Third, do those parts when applied holistically, as one, produce an effect that is different from the effect of each of those parts as a stand-alone application? Finally, do the parts as a whole provide an effect that over time, persist in a variety of circumstances, situations and applications? You have a system.

Karate, as many martial arts, depend on its viability as a system for effectiveness. Often in modern marital art styles they are actually not a fully developed system. They may have the techniques and the physiokinetics but not the theory and philosophies necessary to make them whole. It also comes from the breakdown of the physiokinetic and technique principles where they are taught and learned but not morphed into one wholehearted holistic application of a "system." 

Remember that to be a system there must be some interconnectedness and if those underlying connections are missing or don't exist than when you believe is a system is actually only a style. A style created to fit the needs of some person, their ego and there personal beliefs. 

What most modern martial styles must try to accomplish is to stop breaking it all down atomistically and begin to look toward the interconnections necessary to make it a system then practice, train and apply it all as a "system."

Each part of the system alone has a function but that function changes as one part responds to another part and one part becomes aware of the other part so that they may function in a whole different way. Remember if the roots of your tree, a system, has dry roots the rest of the tree suffers and possibly dies. Keeping the system intact and fully functional at a productive and efficient way is optimal in a martial system. 

The hardest part of working a system is to remember that it is often easier to learn about the individual parts or elements that to learn about all the elements with their interconnectedness, their interconnections. Bridging those caps puts new meaning to the individual much like bridging the gap between one individual and the individuals in a tribe or group. It is about survival. 

I also must remind myself that there are more interconnections than what I have mentioned in previous comments. There are both physical and mental interconnections. In the physical it begins with health, fitness and ability. It also goes into the flow of energy in the body as the body learns how to function optimally, etc. The mental is the flow if information or data as it pertains to what is being accomplished. It is also the flow of the mind to direct the body so the body directs the mind. All these signals, physical and mental, go to those unconscious and instinctive decisions processes, i.e. like the speed to which a practitioner goes through the OODA loop. 

In martial arts, when the atomistic study of the parts in learned, it is important that one study the system's purpose to lean the more holistic perceptions and applications, the systems purpose is done by watching and performing as the system is applied in, hopefully, realistic applicable ways. Something that flows and remains fluid, not set unrealistic patterns, etc. 

"If a frog turns right and catches a fly, and then turns left and catches a fly, and then turns around backward and catches a fly, the purpose of the frog has to do not with turning left or right or backward but with catching flies. 

Weapons as Supplemental Training for Karate

I have heard many times how kobudo training actually helps tune karate. It has possibly become a mantra to practice kobudo so that one's karate will be improved. I have heard some say that by performing kobudo they sense how the karate they practice can become more. Is this actually true?

In the book, "Karate 1.0," by Andreas Quast, it was mentioned that a purpose of empty hand training was to prepare the warrior physically for both weapons and combat. It was, possibly, considered a pre-requisite to learning the true martial arts of weapons. Think of it like Marines do today, that hand-to-hand combat is always a "last resort" in combat. Marines are taught that if weapons are rendered inoperable that you seek out other weapons as a replacement so you can continue your mission. This makes more sense.

A byproduct of empty hand training as this model suggests is the ability to handle combat with hand-to-hand techniques or more properly empty handed combat, if necessary. Primarily it was and is about weapons other than our empty hands. It is about the goal of karate or empty handed systems to prepare us to move into weapons.

So, in this instance, it is actually about getting it all backwards. Empty hand systems actually prepare us for combat and the use of weaponry. This, of course, applies to the times in which empty handed systems and kobudo, i.e. sword, spear, bo, sai, etc., were the main weapons of combat. This also explains why hand-to-hand has become such a small part of combat training for Marines. Marines use weaponry that do not require the standards created and set by the study of an empty hand system. 

I can also understand that possibly kobudo was added to the karate or empty hand training. It also took a more advanced level of empty hand training, as it should, so that one could become proficient in empty hand so that when kobudo were introduced that experience and conditioning actually supplemented the training and practice of kobudo. 

I and those who spoke of this to me had it backwards. 

The Terrible Two's

This weekend while shopping with my wife, Joyce, we heard an interesting story on our favorite radio station, NPR. It was the show, "The American Life," hosted by Ira Glass. This weekend the story was titled, "521:Bad Baby." What struck me as most interesting is the following two quotes from that show.  

"There's some studies that suggest that the peak of human violence is at age two. We are most violent of all at that age." ~ Paul Bloom

"Families survive the terrible twos because toddlers aren't strong enough to kill with their hands and aren't capable of using lethal weapons." ! Ira Glass to Paul Bloom

First, I believe that this first quote mostly applies toward the male of our species but since I am not an expert nor do I have any research to prove this I can also say there are females in this group as well. Remember, this is my personal opinion and mine alone.

Second, the next quote seems to sum it all up for the human condition in regards to violence. It seems to steer us toward the importance of what our families project as a young person grows up. It also seems plausible that at the age of two and on it might be critical. Even saying this the rest of the show does tell stories of children who are seemingly psychopathic from the age of two up through their teens with some actually becoming human while some remain "evil." 

This also appears to support many other theories about our violent nature. If babies are at their most violent at that point then nature intended us to be of that nature if for no other reason than survival. There are, of course, degrees as can be seen in this rendition of "Bag Baby." It would be interesting to see what research and studies were or are being done on this subject. I ask because in some of my personal research one or two authors allude to the hesitancy or resistance to study violence. They can do studies by interviewing criminals but that is faulty at best because of the nature of the criminal mind (speaking as a non-expert with limited research, etc.). Again, my opinion.

Note: this show is stream available if you wish to listen or you can read the transcripts at the below link. Listening will convey more of the story than merely reading the transcript. 

Our perceptions and beliefs are apparently, to my view anyway, critical in determining what kind of or level of violence and capability we have in a very general way. I understand there are a good deal of factors involved in how humans and violence combine and how those humans handle such things but as I said it apparently has something to do with how we deal with violence and how we deal out violence. You have to start somewhere. 

Personally, I know of at least one person who displayed such psychopathic tendencies and that person still deals with it today. Some of the things told in this story by Ira Glass rang a few bells in my memories of this person.

Interesting story and remember that it is a story that is on a radio show so we don't really know what kind of research and studies went behind its production but listening to the participants, real people living this, speaks volumes as to its validity at least in those families but take it all with a grain of salt and see what you find in your studies. 

"Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach," by Chris Wilder and Lawrence Kane

I am reading "Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach," by Chris Wilder and Lawrence Kane. Excellent book. The following is a quote from that book and I wonder what other think when they read it (made a few minor changes to suit my martial arts theme). 

"We all want acknowledgement. Fame and fortune have a certain allure, but the world really does not care about your work ethic, your hours in the dojo, the hours you invest to become a sensei, the degree(s) and certification(s) you have earned, or the sacrifices you made to earn the martial arts rank that you have obtained. To assume that at some time you will be acknowledged and rewarded justly for your efforts is tantamount to building a house so that others can burn it down. ... Recognition does come with the job, but you cannot count on it. All you can really control is how and when you recognize others. Set a good example and who knows, things may sort themselves out better than you expected." ~ Kane and Wilder, Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach.

This is only a small excerpt from that book. I won't be doing any more quotes except for the occasional one I want to add to my favorite quotes blog post elsewhere. This is only one small part of the world they are inviting folks to experience, the world of leadership. Even if you don't plan on being in a leadership role this book provides a huge amount of suggestions that make for a better growth potential. In my view, even if you don't want or plan on being in a leadership role you are one anyway. Everything you say, do and believe are projected in how you go about living be it home, work or play. When folks do take notice they tend to perceive you from things you don't say but from the actions, over time, you take living life. If you do want and plan on taking a more active leadership role then this is a primary book for you to study and add to your ongoing/permanent library. 

Chemical Trigger's?

Is it possible that this is the division line between a martial art being adequate for self-defense and a martial art being strictly an art form that is not adequate for self-defense? The author of the article, "The Real Problem in Applying Martial Arts Effectively To A Real World Self-Defense Situation," makes some valid points about this subject. 

If this article speaks the truth then the question becomes, "Is your SD training adequate to the truth of self-defense?" Can your system actually be effective once a chemical dump is triggered? If so, then how do you train so that you experience this dump while practicing and training in a realistic environment for all types of conflict (note that conflict is a whole that encompasses all violence be it a shouting match to both social and asocial violence, etc.). 

If you practice and train in martial arts with a goal of self-defense then is your training about overcoming the adrenaline or chemical effects of survival? If not, then how do you get that type of training and remain both sane and safe - some what safe and sane?

The chemical dump is apparently "hard wired" into our systems and there are many ways to cause a release but that release also has adverse effects on the health and well-being of the individual. It is a stress model that cannot be controlled but control is what we seek. Not to control it as to release, etc. but to control our actions when it starts to affect all those mental and physical manifestations resulting from the dump. 

See the last topic in this article for specifics on the author's understanding of self-defense and those pesky chemical triggers, etc. Let me know your thoughts, comment below. 

Chambering Addendum dtd March 26th 2014

When chambering in karate it is taught that a certain position is assumed such as when chambering the fist, i.e. placing the fist at the hip/waist. What I would pose as a question is this, "Why chamber?"

We chamber the fist and other parts as a teaching tool. If we adhere to fundamental principles of martial systems as we progress, i.e. learning both is a fundamental basics learning process of martial arts, we will find that chambering is not adhering to proper principles. In a nutshell it violates "economy of motion." 

All of the martial arts must have some basic fundamental positioning to teach proper principles. When a person has learned them and starts to incorporate them all in practice and training there is a "change" that occurs. This change is explained in the "shu-ha-ri" principles of martial arts. To achieve proficiency and efficiency and power, etc. a martial artists must graduate from novice level thinking and training and actions. 

Chambering is a process of learning that is transcended as progress is achieved. It is allowing the natural way of the body, mind and spirit to achieve and exceed the basic fundamentals of teaching, learning and practicing. 

Watch a fight, watch a match such as boxing or MMA, etc. and watch any kumite session be it for sport or self-defense. No one chambers once things begin to move. It is a teaching tool and it helps one to achieve proper application of principles. 

Note: Chambering violates the principles of Efficiency, power paradox, simplicity, natural action, economical motion, speed, unnatural motion, etc. and this leads to bad technique of techniques, another principle, but is necessary to teach these and to promote proper alignment, proper structure and to teach us other principles directly and indirectly. 

Note: Chambering gives a practitioner a false sense of power as they assume in many cases that the travel from the hip, up and into a target is where power is achieved. Chambering does teach you about the rising punch but that punch or strike does not need to come from the chamber position to achieve its goals. 

Note: The chamber and rising action to a target teaches us to align the hand to wrist to forearm to elbow to upper arm to shoulder then all the sequential actions that contribute to the proper strike/punch but to achieve power and economical motion contributing to speed the real power must come from the movement of your mass as it contributes to power applied in a punch/strike, etc. Simplistic but enough to get you looking at principles and leave chambering behind when the training level reaches a certain point.

Note: Another way to look at chambering is to think of the enbusen line. The line has a start point and the line has an end point. Where the comparison diverges is the enbusen line is rigid and fixed especially as to start and end points while chambering has start and end points that are fluid. In the fight, self-defense, you don't want to waste time always returning to one fixed point, i.e. for the fist the hips/waist, but want the chamber to exist where ever your fists or feet are in relation to that fight, the present moment of the fight/self-defense. It involves additional principles as to applying techniques, tactics and strategies so that you follow principles to lengthen your line and reach your goal in the fight/self-defense. A fight, self-defense, predatory violence and combatives do not have the luxury of allowing time to achieve rigid, set and predetermined positions such as chambering to the waist or setting your "kamae" to specific starting points or ending points - there are no set points to start and end a fight, etc. Just the way it is.

Consider The Following

" ... In ancient times the martial arts were referred to as "Ti" and were practiced in great secrecy. Each system was passed down to one person only, the student who was considered by the teacher to be his most trusted and brilliant pupil. If no student was considered worthy to receive the complete teachings of a particular style, that art would end with the last teacher." ~ Chojun Miyagi, 1888 - 1953

If this statement is true and the source is Miyagi Sensei then its meaning is relevant to today's practice of karate. 

First, I have see enough evidence in periodicals to believe that the indigenous system of empty hand fighting was referred to as "Ti," Ti is hogen or uchinaguchi dialect meaning, "hand." Other terms were also used but the essence of this system was "Ti."

Second, there is enough material out there in the world to support the belief that karate was practiced in secret. Since the early edict from Okinawan royalty along with the Japanese at a later time that banned weaponry there came a need for Ti for self-defense. But, other sources also speak of karate or Ti being practiced only by certain persons within a certain class so that the ordinary peasant Okinawan may not have been exposed to Ti. This is speculation as there are no English written sources the will validate any of this theory or model. 

Third, the passing down to only one person seems difficult to believe and to prove. It gives us the idea that the indigenous system of self-defense, Ti, was a variety of styles where in my perceptions "styles" didn't become a system designation until the very late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds. If the indigenous system of self-defense was simply referred to as Ti then what styles would they be in reference to. It is believed by this author that Ti later became three systems or styles as seen by the village or prefecture or town to which the master of that Ti lived, i.e. Tomari, Naha and Shuri Ti. I am waiting for a new publication that is understood to provide a more concrete history of karate in Okinawa. We shall see what that says to my questions. 

Fourth, if the art or system or style ended if there were no "one student" qualified to take up the reins of the system, etc. then how could karate have flourished to this day. If the current history, as convoluted and spotty it is for the 1800's and after, is true then there were more than one person who carried on the system, style of Ti of yesteryear. Especially with WWII, where many died during the battle for Okinawa as well as serving for the Japanese outside the island not to lessen the deaths by Okinawan's moving about the arena trying to live and survive. 

Lets also add in the Japanese influences to have karate in the school systems to train the warrior spirit for the upcoming WWII conscriptions, etc. Now Ti, that become Karate (China Hand) that then became Karate (empty hand) is in the school systems with a more watered down version felt to best suit the age and maturity of younger students where before we assume students were closer to full adult age or adult age to practice and train with a leading proponent of Ti, the empty handed system indigenous to Okinawa. 

Lets also add in the influences of Okinawan culture and beliefs. These were changing because of the influences of other cultures, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, economic status, upbringing and hundred of cultural differences due to perceptions, context and personal beliefs of all martial artists, i.e. Japanese, Chinese, etc. 

This influences how one or more persons categorize things, how they judge things and the influence on their decision making and their deeply held personal beliefs about the nature of the self, etc. as influenced also by things like Taoism, Buddhism, Zen, etc. 

How do we, today, judge such things and how do we determine the "true, accurate, factual and provable" history of the martial arts? How are today's sources influenced by group dynamics and the underlying group harmony needed as a cultural requirement. How is such group, cultural and belief pressures to influence the responses or answers received in certain situations regarding the gathering of facts, etc.? If harmony is required for all groups as a cultural belief system strongly influenced by Samurai style edicts that are shown through "shikata" models then these influences would change the truth to what is necessary for group harmony, etc. Is this possibly why we get differing responses depending on who is asked, when asked and it what group dynamics? 

Why It Worked

The mysterious question of the decade or millennia. Then you have to ask, "why it did not work?" The answer, which by the way I don't have, is not to be trusted. To trust an answer is to be absolutely sure of its validity when in self-defense you really have to trust what you know and can do but not trust that it will work or not work depending on the present moment circumstances.

What works and what does not work is about the individual, i.e. that persons experiences, perceptions, cultural influences and beliefs. If you truly believe you "must" turn the other cheek you are going to get hurt or even killed in "some" circumstances. Belief systems are very powerful. Rory Miller speaks to "permission" in some of his works. You have to give yourself permission to act properly especially in self-defense - violence, etc. Just my opinion here but I believe he is more often right then not right - right and not right are not the best descriptive words here either. Maybe it is about what works or does not work for him vs. what works for me and what does not work for me - or you or them, etc.

Isn't this the crux of many issues regarding self-defense? How does a person know what is being taught will work or not work? I mean, even if it is a good, solid and more often than not a thing that works, how do you know it will at any given moment? Even the best of us in self-defense or combatives with the best training and practice possible may find one day something worked wonderfully then another day the same thing failed. This is not the first discussion on this subject but worth going back to again and again and again. 

I often think to myself what if and would I act properly if the "what if" occurred. I remember instances in my past, youthful times, when my reactions seemed adequate, relevant and they worked for me, at that moment but would I still act or react that way today? Especially since I am not training that way anymore or my training is not relevant toward those goals anymore. 

When I contemplate those past events it tells me my instincts tend to go in the right direction when threatened. Maybe it is about acting or reacting adequately before my mind can chime in and tell me how stupid I am being, you know that faster than light Monkey brain shit that sometimes becomes your doubting Thomas (or is it the human brain or lizard or all three). 

I guess maybe it is more about refusing to even ask these types of questions and then ignoring them in training and practice because your mind tells you it won't work or maybe your only experience with it was when it did not work so you discard it as a waste when in reality it has proven time and again to work, mostly and you just had a bad day that day. How do you find out these things and make sure you are not "lying to yourself" for some Lizard/Monkey driven reasoning. 

Why it worked and why it didn't work are important considerations. I believe the professionals use their "after action" discussions to determine things like this and I wonder if this is taught in self-defense courses as well as all that other good stuff. 

Then how far do you take this because you don't want to erode/undermine confidence, etc. What is the balance point where you still benefit but don't make yourself a doubting Thomas. You don't want to go the other direction either where your over confidence leads to relying on things that will not work. 

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :-)

Fear - The Mind Killer OR Is It?

"Fear, like breathing, is necessary. Fear is a good thing. It's what keeps people alive. Too much fear, unnecessary fear, is a bad thing." ~ Remo, The Destroyer Series

Fear has been the subject of this blog before. There is an excellent book on fear written by Mr. Gavin DeBecker. Awesome book. Rory Miller has also written about fear from a perspective of violence and violent people. Fear is something with the stigma that it is wrong and we must eliminate fear from our lives yet the quote of this fictional character tells us, rightly so, that fear is something nature provided for survival and other things and that fear, if perceived and used properly, will benefit us when we need the extra chemical push of our bodies and minds. 

In one of the books I am reading the author also mentions how fear works, fundamentally. How love and the fear of violence kind of trigger the same chemical reactions and releases in our bodies. The only differences is perception according to the labels and the scripts that run for love and for violence. 

Controlling fear means being exposed to fear in a way that helps us to recognize, take control of and then direct that fear toward more productive venues. It is about using the adrenaline or chemical dumps that occur when exposed to stimuli that induces releases be they about some non-violent stuff or violence. It sure would help martial artists who study for self-defense to actually use it properly if self-defense becomes necessary. 

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." ~ Dune Quote

Breaking the Mold

In a recent posting by Rory Miller, "Out of the Box," he asks a question that has had me thinking for several days not, i.e. "The people looking for books on leadership are not looking for those names." This is about Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder's new book, "Sensei, Mentor, Teacher, Coach." It comes down to what is associated with their names, i.e. martial arts. 

In the martial arts world people who are not in that world tend to make quick assumptions. They see the title with "Sensei" in it then they look it up and find out it is a title for the martial arts and they swing right to the word "karate or MMA or some other martial art" then the assign the title "sport" to it and then move on not pausing long enough to see within the pages more than merely another martial art book. 

This seems in my mind a lot like the martial arts community where we all see the majority of martial arts books as economically driven money makers with little substance then when someone like these two gentlemen as well as a few others put out a book it sometimes gets left in with all the other "stuff."

Take for instance "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." This series of books would never have come across my radar if not for the books on violence that Rory Miller has published for us. Dr. Suzette Haden wrote them in the eighties and until I read about the book in Rory's bibliography I never heard of her or her work. Then, thinking of the title I almost discarded getting a copy but considering what I had just read in Rory's book I decided to gamble and get a copy. I will never regret it and I have all six of her series and found them of great value. Not just for my martial arts studies but for things both personal and professional in my life, i.e. my personal life at home and my professional life at work (i.e. I don't make a living off of martial arts but work in IT, etc. to make a living). I am still finding out more about myself from those books as well as books like Sensei, Mentor, Teacher, Coach and Conflict Communications.

Now, back to how one would transcend a singular model or mold, i.e. the heading of either "martial arts" or "sports." How to get all those non-martial artists and non-sport activists to read these books. As I stated at the beginning I have been contemplating this for a while since I read it in Rory's blog post. 

Human instinct is about groups and survival. In one group we collect like minded folks together to survive (not literally as in keeping out the lions, tigers and bears). This instinct is strong and to gain access takes a considerable amount of work and luck. Rory in his book ConComm speaks of how new folks enter into a new group at work and perceptions as to that person makes a difference in how they are accepted. He breaks it down into gender (pardon me, but gender does matter even if we consider ourselves both male and female as equals - I do, but still we are different). When a woman connects with a new work group she is expected to do things a certain way. When a man connects with a new work group he is expected to do things a certain way. Both are as different as Mars from Venus. 

Then there is in general how we all have our cultural groups and this seems to me to work the same as to categories of books, movies, etc. If a movie is listed as science fiction and you hate science fiction you are in all likelihood not going to see it. An example is the movie "Salmon Fishing in Yemen." My wife and her friend asked me if I wanted to go see this movie with them. Initially, I read the title and thought to myself, "What the f*&^ would I find in a movie about fishing in Yemen?" Well, I decided that for other reasons I would go with them and worst case scenario get a good nod off in a dark theater. I was very pleased to find out that once I got past that title, got in the theater and the movie began that I was very pleased I came, the movie was a great one. 

This seems to be the issue with books like Mr. Wilder's and Mr. Kane's. The title and the category that the book is listed under pretty much pigeon hole it right in that location where if someone looking for a leadership book just happens to read this post or read a post somewhere else where the topic of leadership, etc. is prominent then maybe that person will do like I did with Dr. Haden's book, get it, read it and then find it of great value even if it is a martial arts book under the misnomer category of "sport." 

I mean if these two gentlemen were actually famous "football or basketball coaches" who wrote a book on their respective disciplines as a book on leadership there is a much greater probability that someone looking for just a leadership book would find these gems. 

Now that I have given my opinionated opinion I can see that the only path toward breaking out of the box these books are put into by publishers that the best way to get this moved into a more mainstream diverse readership is to get someone prominent outside of martial arts and sports who has a reputation in leadership, etc. to promote this with  that category of readers. Like Wim Demeere's blog post, this is a simple answer with a complexity and difficulty level very, very high. There is also "luck."

Personally, when I make recommendations in my library reviews I may sound like I am giving "advice." Unsolicited advice is ofter a "no-no" and often causes the recipient to "shut down" and not listen saying to self, "who the f*&* does this guy think he is?" Another ceiling to break through. 

The only time I believe advice is acceptable is when it comes from authority expert figures who are already well-respected by the masses without barriers. One as an example is "Oprah Winfrey" and her book club. Now, if you got her to read these books and to make a recommendation then the entire world would flood Amazon to purchase a copy. Now, this would be really cool. What is the likelihood? You never know, right. Maybe my suggestion is to see if her book club allows recommendations and then make one that is more generic toward leadership over just "another martial art sport book." 

Who in the leadership community with a wide audience of followers could you contact and possibly get to read a copy and promote it from their end. Does anyone know of such a person and would they consider making the suggestion. After all, there is a series of books that only made it to the best seller list because a publisher just happened to pick up the submission on a lark to read at lunch while waiting for a client, right. This book and the following five followups became a best seller and transcended gender as well as age obstacles and was read by just about everyone. If that submission had been underneath another it may have never been printed (think wizards and a wizard academy ;-).

I know from experience that all these authors who I would recommend to everyone be they martial artists or just a person who wants to find ways to improve who they are already but how to get them to make that purchase is another story as well. 

I have spent at least the last ten years working on improving myself. I am talking about as a martial artists but also as a person. Come on, a good Sensei has to be a good person too. If not, you don't get the good of martial arts, just learn how to dance around, etc. and maybe win a couple of trophies. A good sensei has to have the same principles of leadership as any other discipline. 

I have read only a small part of Mr. Kane's and Mr. Wilder's book so far. I have read almost the entire Conflict Communications book from Rory Miller. I can tell you, personally, there is a lot more than information about martial arts, self-defense and violence in these books as they all are based on some sound foundational fundamental principles that transcend any one discipline. 

Like I profess on fundamental principles of martial systems it is the same with these books, the principles are relevant and important to any endeavor of mankind, of humans and transcend any group, cultural and belief systems. 

If I could get everyone who reads this to go the distance, buy the books and read them with an open mind and then just a few of their friends and their friends would do the same all of them would find benefits beyond what they would normally expect in a book listed in a category that is limiting. 

Anyway, maybe I have some answers here and maybe I don't but I can tell you that their, these authors and others, influences have helped me "see and hear" beyond the cover of the book. I look at the content for value for the category and for outside the category - you just never know.

Hmmm, I am still contemplating this dilemma - maybe I can come up with an answer that will cross those boundaries. 

The Monkey in Training Environments

I am on the Monkey train this week. I am reading ConComm by Rory Miller and he writes about the Monkey, i.e. the title and book cover pretty much indicate this. Anyway, it made me think of the Monkey and how when folks are in the Monkey mind they tend to escalate things right up to the fight. In this post I want to provide an example to show that even in training where everyone "KNOWS" it is training the Monkey can take you right straight to violence.

In the Marines we were tasked with training to assist authorities in controlling mob activity, i.e. protesters, etc. Half our team were fully decked out in combat gear minus weapons except the baton. The other half were the protesters and we were mandated to use every verbal scheme or tactic to aggravate the other team members to help them prepare so they would remain steady and not lose it. 

Well, both sides were going pretty good. Then one of the team members working the guard side suddenly went beserk and attacked a protester. Remember the protesters were not allowed to become physical. The guy apparently carried his personal knife in his pocket, pulled it and then slashed at the protester in question who happened to be in his face.

Lucky for us there were a lot of monitors and the other troops, both sides, took quick action to detain and control the person who lost it. I am not saying this type of thing happens in training a lot but it only takes one instance to create a bad situation. Maybe we allowed the protesters too much latitude in how they teased and taunted the guard side but in training you need to achieve reality as best as possible while maintaining control and safety. 

So, if you train and teach self-defense - the full spectrum - then you need to make sure that things don't go beyond safety and control so things don't accidentally go ballistic. It can be tough sometimes to keep perspective when the Monkey is being teased and taunted continuously in possibly dangerous situations. 

Then, maybe I am just over thinking and over obsessing these types of things. Even if I am, thinking about these types of possibilities should, at a minimum, get the old gray matter thinking and evaluating and implementing if warranted. Yes?

I am an Asshole

In past posts I have felt that I was removed from being an asshole. At least removed enough to where I was an asshole only a very infrequent amount of times. i.e. in other words I could be an asshole but was able to work harder and not be an asshole except in very rare cases. Well, I am an asshole and I have been an asshole more times than I like but only discovered that I was covering up my "asshole-ness" using tactics that still meant I was being an asshole. 

So, the question is, "How do I get myself to stop being an asshole?" In the recent book by Rory Miller I believe just one item may be a true litmus test as to whether I am in an "asshole mode" or not, checking to see if I am working from my Monkey brain or Human brain. I am not going to try and provide what it takes to determine between the two but I have my personal criteria that when I am able I will use to say to myself, "Am I in the Monkey mode? (meaning, Am I being an asshole?)" 

Just as an example, I will use just one trait, emotional context. If I can, and I mean that because as Mr. Miller says in the book the Monkey and emotional stuff usually hits you before your Human side can even think, I will try to determine if what I am doing or saying is from the emotional side. If it is, then I will try hard to bring my mind back from the Monkey antics into a more Human, logical, side. I have to learn not to cover up being an asshole, or in the Monkey stuff, with something that is simply camouflaged as logical or Human.

It is a bit like the post from Wim Demeere this morning where he mentions simple vs. complex and easy vs. difficult. The concept is simple but it is also what I perceive as the most difficult thing I want to learn. 

It occurs to me that the old adage that one who reacts emotionally should count to ten before charging ahead with words and/or actions is true. But just counting is not enough. Maybe counting allows you to lessen the effects so you can actually see yourself being an asshole and then deescalate your emotional Monkey brain so you can see, feel, hear and act using the Human brain. 

If all this is a bit strange then maybe you could find out what both these guys have posted/written, just saying. Maybe, I have hope, this will allow me to get a better handle on my Monkey brain and reduce my "asshole-ness." 

To keep with the purpose and spirit of my blogging I would say this has value with self-defense and martial arts because to use either one effectively you really do have to take control of the Monkey brain. If you want to know more, see Rory Miller's, Wim Demeere's, Kris Wilder's, Lawrence Kane's, Marc MacYoung's, etc. materials, i.e. video's, books, blog articles, and training offers. "The information is out there,  you just have to let it in (Luther 'Suitcase' Simpson, Jesse Stone Series)."

Trying to Hard

I remember in the fist year I steadily and diligently practiced my karate. I was, of course, a kyu but I was determined as a Marine can be determined. It was what I was trained to do. This meant that I applied myself with true vigor, determination and focus. What I failed to learn was that all things come and go of their own speed, duration and time. 

I spent time trying to "force" my body, mind and spirit to achieve great things. This was a frustrating thing for me since most things came quickly for me. I had a natural if not awkward physical ability I now attribute to being a "touch sense" person. Then there is the introversion that means in one sense I internalize many things and I do it well. 

Trying to force things faster than natural is incorrect. There is a natural pattern, rhythm and timing for every thing in nature. It is a part of the immutable law of nature some refer to as "yin-yang." There are other names and symbols that identify and describe this natural flow of things. It is like the ebb and flow of the tides, the natural tones and emptiness that expresses music and it is that spiral path that every single thing in the universe follows as naturally as breathing, blinking and thinking. 

What usually happens when you try to force things beyond their natural way is you get calamity and discord. When forced usually something will give way causing that particular thing to fail. 

In martial arts there is a natural flow to everything and that flow is governed by nature and the individuals genetics. Some of us can learn things faster, some slower and some not at all. If you are a bit on the slow side learning things, let that rhythm and flow follow its natural course because in time you will learn everything well. 

Forcing things often also creates ripples in the flow of life and those ripples are usually some repercussions created by that force. Force is power and a power that is misguided usually damages everything within its ranges. 

How I found this rhythm in martial arts was through the time spent in training and practice. I noticed that things would good smoothly until I came to a point that excited me into pushing or forcing my training and practice. I then noticed that things got muddy and I would find myself stuck in one place. I would find that even the things I had already learned well would lose ground as if I were heading backwards. Things like kata suddenly got sloppy and mistakes would come more often and more frequently. I learned later that when I would compensate and push or force my practice harder things got worse. I would get to a point of frustration that I would break away from training for a short period and when I returned I just practiced only to find that suddenly and perceived quickly that it all would fall into place and work. 

What I am trying to say, especially to those just starting out in martial arts, let the natural way of things, both external and internally, go at their own pace, rhythms and patterns. The speed will come naturally as you progress. Don't become impatient and begin to force things for that is how delays and obstacles obstruct progress. You, as an individual, have a natural way that is you and to achieve expertise and mastery you have to follow that path as it twists, turns and winds its way up the mountain. No matter which direction it takes you your patience and perseverance will achieve wonders but try forcing things to get there quicker will only obstruct your progress. 

Contemplate this at your next practice session. Mokuso!

Those Who Came Before

Click the photo for a larger view.

Five Factions of Isshinryu

Simple, the five are: Harold Long lineage, Steve Armstrong lineage, Don Nagle lineage, Harold Mitchum lineage and Arcenio Advincula lineage. Harold Long is in Tennessee, Steve Armstrong is Washington, Don Nagle is New Jersey, Harold Mitchum is Georgia and Arcenio Advincula is Southern California. 

All of these persons studied Isshinryu while stationed with the Marines on Okinawa in the late fifties and early sixties. Some studied longer. All seem to have small (some not so small) differences not only in the physical manifestation of Isshinryu but philosophical as well. All of these beliefs are often in contest with one another. Importance is a personal perception of Isshinryu and should not deter the one wholehearted gift that is Isshinryu karate here in the United States and most importantly Okinawa Japan. 

The greatest detail of historically driven knowledge can be attributed to the efforts and diligence of two karate-ka. One is Advincula Sensei and the second, who is fast approaching Advincula Sensei with his research and studies, is Andy Sloane, United States Navy currently assigned to Korea for duty. 

Regardless of which faction one is attached the significance and most important aspect is that all of us study and practice a martial art called Isshinryu and therefore, regardless of any differences, are brothers in martial arts - emphasis on Isshinryu Okinawan Karate.