A Thank You To My Students – Past And Present

July 15th., 2011 will mark the official 18th year anniversary of Yachigusa Ryu Aiki Bugei (although the school is actually about two years older than that).



1993: The Start


1995/1996


Present (How that old garage has changed.)

A lot of things have changed since that first day. Looking back, the students who trained with me eighteen years ago would definitely see a different instructor today—not least because of my ever-increasing lack of hair, and bigger belly.



Past


Present

Besides the obvious physical changes, they would also notice a change in the focus of what I teach, how I’ve returned to my roots. I have become a lot softer and no longer emphasize just the striking aspect of my art.

More importantly, they would see a difference in the way I teach and interact with my students. And no, I don’t mean that I’m even more cranky now than before, although that may be true at times (I do, however, plan on being a cantankerous old man after I hit 65, so be warned).

William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), one of America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims stated, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

I would like to think that I have traveled through everyone of those stages, and hopefully even in some small way inspired somebody to accomplish something they didn’t believe was possible. All I can say is I’ve tried my best.

Of course, opening a martial arts school, and calling one’s self a teacher is meaningless without students. A school, no matter how fancy, how famous, is just an empty space if no one attends it.

In addition, no one is born with teaching skills. That is something that must learned, often by trial and error. I know I’ve had my share of both successes and failures.

As much as I have tried to be the best teacher I can be for my students, even in matters unrelated to the school, I have definitely received a lot more in return. In the end, it has been my students who have helped me grow as an instructor, and as a person.

Many students have been with me through the good times and bad, through financial hardships, and even the heartache of lost love. They have seen me at my best, and tolerated me at my worst. They have been there when I was physically fit, and when I was injured to the point where I could barely walk.

They have listened to my ramblings, debated my beliefs, and even proven me wrong. They’ve allowed me to lecture on my “soapbox,” vent my anger, and spill my guts. They have also left me alone when I wanted solitude, but never let me forget they were there if I needed them.

They have put up with my sarcasm, my puns, and even laughed at the lame jokes I’ve said a 100 times before.

They have put up with my moodiness when I have a killer migraine, my incessant badgering when they don’t do things right, and even my fits of frustration when no one seems to understand what I’m trying to say. They’ve even accepted my harshest criticisms, realizing that I only have their best interest at heart.

Many have been there to support me and lend a hand when I’ve been at my wit’s end, and at my lowest points. They have stood by me when others launched personal attacks on the Internet. They have reminded me to be true to myself, and not to care what others may think.

More importantly, many students have been my inspiration as I watched them face their own adversity. This has been especially so when they faced adversity with a smile, even when everyone else around them knew their days were numbered, and that they soon would no longer be with us.


Michael Schneps (1944 – 2005) R.I.P.

Lastly, my students have educated me by bringing their strengths and knowledge into the classroom, and freely exchanging that information with me. They have taught me a lot, made me reexamine things I thought I knew, and opened my eyes to new ways at looking at the world. Clearly, they have made me a better person.

Some, have even transcended the bounds of the student teacher relationship, and are now like part of the family. I guess I am a fortunate man.


It seems like Glen has been around forever. The school, as well as my abilities as a martial artist, would be nowhere near what they are without him. Glen, is not only a good friend, but an invaluable assistant instructor and good-natured guinea pig when I want to practice some new idea or concept that comes to mind. No matter how much I seem to abuse him, he always has a smile on his face.

Zachary’s Godfather, Spencer
If anyone could catalog the techniques of this school it would be Spencer. He has an uncanny ability to remember things, as well as analyzing them and figuring out the science that makes them work. I’m looking forward to the day he feels confident enough to take a more active role in teaching.
He has also encouraged me to explore my art more deeply, and to start this blog, which he edits to make me appear coherent. Lastly he has become the Internet spokesman for the school, and took the front line when my school and character was attacked. All without being asked to do so.

Grover Reece
Though relatively new to the school, Grover has done a lot to promote the school in the last year. He has been responsible for organizing several events/seminars. While I think he is discovering how hard that is to do, especially when it comes to organizing seminars, he brings a refreshing enthusiasm and tenacity, which the school had clearly been lacking for a while.
In addition he has also constantly reminded me to continue my scholarly pursuits, and to keep working on my blog and the book I’ve been writing. Who knows, maybe one day I will get that book done.

William Arthur Ward stated, “A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”

Opening my school 18 years ago I never would have expected to make so many true friends.

Finesse Vs. Force

Finesse – 1. adroitness (display physical or mental skill), refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship, dexterity / nimbleness. 2. The ability to handle delicate and difficult situations skillfully 3.Cunning; skill; artfulness; craft

Force – 1. Strength; energy; vigor; power 2. the intensity of power; impetus (physics – a force that causes the motion of an object to overcome resistance and maintain its velocity) 3a. physical power or strength exerted against a person or thing. 3b. the use of physical power to overcome or restrain a person; physical coercion; violence

“More Force! More Force!,” I yelled at the new student, who clearly missed the sarcasm in my tone. The other students in class just smiled, most likely recalling the times they had been the recipients of this verbal outburst. They of course knew what I meant.

Perplexed, the new student tried the technique again with more force. The result was even worse than before. Over and over again, with ever increasing force he tried to make the technique work, but to no avail.

Frustrated, and completely agitated with his poor performance, the new student finally stopped and asked me if I would show him the technique again. “Finally,” I thought, he is ready to learn.

After signaling the class to come to attention, I demonstrated the technique several times. Each time I did the technique I did it slowly and deliberately just to illustrate my point. A point I had been waiting over 20 minutes to make.

When I was done I turned to the new student and asked him if he was able to see the difference between what I had just done, and what he had been doing. Still baffled by his earlier failure, he looked at me with a blank stare. I gave him a look of encouragement and waited.

Then all of a sudden his eyes opened, and the look on his face said “I got it.”

“So what was the difference?,” I inquired. “You didn’t use any force,” he replied. Eureka!, he understood. He can be taught. The class nodded in approval, most of them most likely recalling the day they made this same realization.

After his response the class was instructed to start practicing again. This time the new student tried his best not to use any force when attempting to complete the technique. He still didn’t do the technique correctly, but at least each attempt had better results than before. Now he was finally learning the proper body mechanics that make techniques work with minimal effort.

I would love to say that this was an isolated incident, or happens rarely, but it’s clearly not. In fact it happens all too often, even with the most seasoned martial arts practitioner.

If you don’t believe me just take any martial artist and teach him a technique that isn’t in their comfort zone, or just different enough from what they already do that they have to think about it. Chances are, as their ability to execute the technique diminishes the more and more force and power will be used to complete the task.

It’s the old “brawn over brain” syndrome. In my school we call that cheating, since our techniques are designed to be executed with precision and minimal effort. Or as I like to say: FINESSE VERSUS FORCE.

Here’s a simple illustration of the point I’m trying to make: My wife and I took our dog Taiko to one of the local reservoirs so he could swim. However, in order to get him to swim Taiko needs some encouragement, like chasing the biggest stick we can find: the bigger the better.

At first, our game of fetch went well. But as soon as Taiko tired of swimming, he tried to leave the swimming area so he could enjoy some quality stick chewing time. One problem though: how would he get the stick past the opening in the fence that surrounds the reservoir? That opening is clearly smaller than the stick.

Well Taiko is a dog, and I’m sure he didn’t give it much thought. He just ran towards the fence, stick in mouth, at full speed. Slam! Taiko was stopped in his tracks.

Without hesitation, and in a rush to escape the reservoir area before I could recapture the stick and throw it again, Taiko picked up the stick and tried to push the stick past the fence. It didn’t work.

Taiko tried again. The stick still wouldn’t budge.

A few minutes of ferocious growling and barking at the stick (quite amusing actually) and Taiko tried again. The result was the same.

Undeterred, Taiko tried again, and again, and again: more barking, more growling, more pushing.

However, try as he might the stick would not pass through the opening; and as frustration set in he resorted to more and more force.

Taiko spent over ten minutes attempting to push the stick past the opening in the fence with all the effort he could muster.

Frustrated that his strength and most intimidating barking and growling had had no effect on the stick, Taiko tried a new approach. He jumped over the stick and proceeded to try and pull it past the opening in the fence.

It was a great change in strategy, but unfortunately he still was relying on brute strength only. Needless to say, try as hard as he may, Taiko was still not successful.

Knowing Taiko I doubt he would have ever given up. But after 30 minutes of watching this spectacle I intervened. Yes, the situation was humorous for passer-byes, but I can only stand so much barking and growling before it gives me a headache. The show had to end.

As I gave Taiko the stick, my wife made the comment that the dog must be crazy. “He’s not crazy,” I answered, “he’s just not thinking.”

“Well do you really think Taiko ‘thinks’ about what he is doing?”

“No,” I answered, “but in many ways he’s acting like a lot of my students do when they can’t get a technique to work properly; they resort to using force.”

“Your student’s act like dogs?,” she said in a tone designed to make me feel ashamed of comparing the two.

“No” I answered, “not like dogs. I mean that sometimes instead of thinking things through, or trying a different approach, they rely on force, which gets them nowhere, just like Taiko. They keep hitting a fence (or a ‘wall’) they can’t pass.

“They forget that sometimes when things don’t work, you have to stop, and try something you haven’t tried before, not just repeat the same mistake over and over again with more and more force.”

“Just because you can possibly force your way to success on occasion, doesn’t mean you did things right, or in the best possible manner. I mean, look at Taiko, he may have gotten some good exercise pushing and pulling the stick, but he didn’t accomplish anything, especially his goal.”

Tired of my excessive explanation, my wife shrugged her shoulders and switched her attention to our son. As she walked away, I thought to myself that this was a wonderful example for the blog. An hour later, I am typing away.

This is not the first time Taiko has faced this particular fence opening, nor is this the biggest stick we’ve used to play fetch. However, this was the first time Taiko couldn’t get the stick past the opening in the fence. Unlike other times, Taiko didn’t think things through-at least as much as a dog ever thinks things through-or try another method.

Normally after a couple of attempts at pushing/pulling with no success, Taiko stops and employs a new strategy; Taiko uses finesse. Finesse, in this example, is the simple turning of his head, which puts the stick in a vertical position which allows it to pass easily through the opening in the fence.

Yes, this little refinement in Taiko’s approach to the problem, this simple execution of the proper body mechanics (turning his head), makes all the difference in the world. This simple movement negates the need for any force or power at all.

While I’m sure that Taiko’s action of turning his head at precisely the right moment is most probably more due to luck than critical thinking, dog’s do have the ability to learn behaviors through trial and error.

Coincidently, so do people. That is of course if they can get past the point of approaching things in only one manner, which often places them in a loop of progressive failure and frustration.

So what’s my point.

Simply put, brute force is never the optimal way to use ones one’s body to execute a physical task. The optimal way is to use proper body mechanics in a skillful precision oriented manner. FINESSE!

* This was originally the way this blog entry was going to end. That is until my son Nikolas read it and asked a few questions I’m sure others may have.

“But dad, when I wrestle I use force all the time,” my son Nikolas stated after reading the above. “You can’t be a successful fighter without using force,” he asserted.

Nikolas, (in green and black), San Ramon Valley High School Wrestling Team

“Sure, a certain degree of force (power) must be used in order to be effective, but that force should be produce by the proper execution of form, the force should not be the major catalyst that makes the technique work,” I responded. “In other words, one should never rely on only force.”

“But dad, what ‘s the difference?” he inquired.

“Nick, that’s the real question, and the answer is what separates the true master from the practitioner. It’s all about skill and the mastery over one’s self, economy of motion. It’s about learning that force, or should I say more force than is necessary, is rarely needed when one can rely on finesse.”

Clearly, my answer wasn’t enough.

“Okay Nick, forget about fighting. Think about weight lifting. Weight lifting requires lots of force (power), however if proper form, (that’s the finesse), isn’t used it restricts how much weight one can actually lift, how many reps can be achieved, and can even lead to an injury.

I then showed him the below picture, and asked him how many people he thought could do the same lift.

Arthur Saxon, the “Iron-Master” (1878 – 080621) was
the world’s strongest man at the turn of the 19th century.
Barbell – 335lbs / Kettlebell – 110lbs.

“Just imagine how much technique is required to do this,” I said. “It’s not just brute strength alone. That’s the difference. Knowing the proper body mechanics, and applying them systematically is why such feats are possible.”

The Top Ten Principles Of Yachigusa Ryu Aiki Bugei – #2 Triangulation

Since I first stated that the techniques taught at my school were based on principles, and that we focus more on understanding the principles that makes things work than the techniques themselves, people have e-mailed me asking me if I could explain these principles in more detail.

Unfortunately trying to explain many of these principals in writing is very difficult, since many can’t be explained in words alone. However, I will try my best to describe these principles for the “blog” readers, using words, charts and pictures.

Keep in mind though, that in order to sometimes fully understand a principle you have to also understand other principles that relate to it. Most principles aren’t fully useable on their own, and have to be integrated with others.

#2 Triangulation

Triangulation is a method for establishing the distance between any two points, or the relative position of two or more points, by calculations based on the vertices of a triangle, and the length of side of measurable length, (base).

Okay, if you understood the above scientific explanation you don’t need to read on. However if you’re like me you will need to read on. You’ll also want more details, especially how it relates to the martial arts.

Let’s start with a less scientific and more martial definition of what Triangulation is. Basically, Triangulation is a geometry-based method of locating the specific point where an opponent’s body can be projected with minimal effort. That specific point, is what we call the “Triangulation Point.” If force is applied correctly towards that point, the human body will be forced to fall in that direction. This is an effect of physics and balance, and a person cannot prevent himself or herself from falling when this principle is correctly applied.

It’s another way of applying and thinking about Kuzushi, (balance breaking). Or to be more specific, the way in which one learns to use kuzushi for optimal effectiveness.

Before I discuss the specifics of Triangulation lets cover a few other scientific principles one needs to know.

  1. All things with weight (mass) have a specific center of mass. This is also known as the “center of gravity” or “center of balance.”
  2. The pull of gravity effectively occurs at the center of mass.
  3. The center of mass of an object must fall within the boundaries of its base support for equilibrium (balance) to exist. If the center of mass is not over an object’s base, that object will fall over.
  4. Stability is inversely proportional to the distance of the center of mass above the base, all other things being equal. The closer one’s center of mass is to the base the more stable they become.
  5. Stability is directly proportional to the area of the base upon which a body rests. Increase in area at the base increases stability.
  6. Stability with respect to a constant force is directly proportional to one’s body weight. All other factors being equal, a heavier person is more stable than a lighter person.
  7. A straight (standing or prone) human body has its center of mass at a point approximately three inches below the navel. This point corresponds to the tanden or hara of traditional martial arts theory. This means that if you placed a frozen (rigid) human body on a pole it would balance on a point approximately three inches below the navel. (Figure 1)

Using this point as a reference the below formulas occur:

  • If the body is placed on a fulcrum anywhere above the center of mass, the head will move towards the ground (Figure 2)
  • If the body is placed on a fulcrum anywhere below its center of mass, the feet will move towards the ground. (Figure 3)

Happo-no-Kuzushi (Eight directions of breaking balance)

In the arts of Aikido, Judo, Jujutsu, and Aikijujutsu knowledge regarding Happo-no-kuzushi is essential. It is the cornerstone of every projection/throw within these arts. Properly executed, kuzushi disrupts the balance of the subject making any projection/throw almost effortless. Without this proficiency in kuzushi, one must rely more or brute force than finesse.

In order to fully understand the principle of kuzushi, one should first accept the concept that surrounding each individual there is a circle on the ground. The circumference of this circle is determined by the length of the farthest point one can reach with an extended arm or leg without leaning over.

Within this circle there are eight directions one can move (forward, back, left, right, and at 45 degree angles. If a person is forced out of the circumference of their circle in one of these directions (i.e. past their triangulation point), then they will be off balance.

The main problem with the concept of kuzushi is that is often taught incorrectly, superficially, or only geared towards sporting competition. However, a great description of kuzushi was written by Neil Ohlenkamp, 1999 Judo coach of the year, in the essay, “The Study of Kuzushi or ‘I’m falling and I can’t get up.'”

“Kuzushi is very often thought of as simply pushing or pulling. At more advanced levels however it is much more than that. For example, kuzushi can also be achieved by breaking the opponent’s rhythm, fake attacks, strikes, changes of body position or grip, kiai (a shout), or a sudden change in speed or tempo. A critical element in kuzushi is that it should disrupt more than the body. Kuzushi is very much a mental thing. Kuzushi should always disrupt the opponent’s concentration, resulting in a momentary opportunity for an attack. This is one of the reasons confidence is such an important factor in Judo. A strong and positive mental attitude can often dominate a weaker state of mind, resulting in effective kuzushi.”

The founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, made the a scientific study of kuzushi a fundamental element of judo training. However, despite Mr. Ohlenkano’s assertion that this study of kuzushi was new in Judo, “distinguishing it from old schools of jujitsu,” Kano basically took an old principle and extrapolated on it. In other words, Kano took esoteric explanations of kuzushi found in old densho (transmission scrolls) and made it more mainstream. He replaced metaphysical language with scientific terminology understandable to the layman.

Triangulation

If kuzusihi is the physical aspect of breaking the balance, then triangulation is the mathematical formula used to determine what distance is needed to break said balance.

In other words, simply knowing how to apply mechanical force to break balance is not enough to execute a proper projection/throw. Often projections/throws fail because the person being thrown is not destabilized to a point where their center of mass is extended past their base. Other times, they are taken too far past their base and are compelled to stumble away before the technique can be completed. This is where the principle of triangulation comes into play.

Basically, to determine the Triangulation Point of a person you start by measuring the distance between a person’s knee and ankle, and then extending that measurement to the front or rear of the person. For example, if the measurement between the knee and ankle equals 15 inches, then that person will be forced to step or fall if they are pulled more than 15 inches past their feet. At this point nothing they do will help them regain their stability.

Example

1. Subject is up right in a fully stable position. His center of mass is over his base. The sticks in front of him represent his triangulation point, based on the measurement of his lower leg.

2. As the subject is extended forward towards the triangulation point, his stability is lost. However at this point in the extension he is not fully dependent on being held up, and could regain his stability on his own by either righting himself or taking a step forward.

3. As the subject is extended even further towards his triangulation point his dependency on the other person becomes absolute. At this point even though his “center of mass” has not crossed the triangulation point there is no way he can regain his stability. If the person holding him would let go he would have to fall.

It is worth pointing out that center of mass of a body is only located below the navel when the body is straight (standing/prone). Once the subject is bent over like the subject in the photo, his mass moves out into the empty space between his center and the triangulation point.

The specific techniques martial artists use to complete a throw or projection depends on the art they study. But despite stylistic differences, we all use the same science to make them work effectively.

Take for example the following six Judo throwing techniques

Each of these throws require specific kuzushi, and all require the uke (person who is being thrown) to be displaced over his triangulation point, whether the throw is to the front, the rear, or the side.

When using Triangulation, it really doesn’t matter how you get there (entering, pushing, pulling, circular rotation, joint lock, body drop, etc.), as long as you take your opponent to the right spot. Once stability is broken, and broken past the point of no return, one’s opponent will have to fall to the ground.

The Science Of Techniques – Part V: Principles and Analysis

In Part 4 of “The Science of Techniques I explained part of the process of dissecting a technique into its scientific parts. For that example I used the Gogli Tendon Reflex. However, understanding the Golgi tendon is just one example of the type of information my students are required to know. That I teach routinely. That I think all instructors, especially those with high black belt ranks or fancy titles should know. Unfortunately many don’t, which is a problem with many martial arts styles practiced/propagated today.

Besides learning such anatomical information, all of my students are required to understand the underlying principles that make techniques work. To aid them we work off a list of principles, instead of a list of techniques. Unlike many schools where people learn blocks and strikes my students learn concepts such as angle of deflection and linear force. The movements may be similar, but the goal, the mindset I’m trying to instill, is very different.

So far I think there are about seventy of these principles listed, and while some may sound repetitive they are not. Of course, some are more important than others, and in some cases some of them haven’t even been fully examined. Their potential is still to be discovered.

Further more, though a specific technique may be used to illustrate a principle, one must be aware that there are always numerous other principles being applied at the same time, or in direct succession. No principle stands on its own, though some have a greater emphasis on the overall outcome.

Now please don’t think I believe these principles are unique to the style of martial arts I teach. They are not. Most styles use these principles to describe what they do, though they may be expressed differently, if they are ever verbally expressed at all.

The fact is, over the years I’ve substituted terminology as I’ve discovered better ways of describing these concepts. These changes are courtesy of many other instructors, who teach a variety of styles. Styles such as Kempo, Daito Ryu, Yanagi Ryu, Cabales Serrada Escrima, and Northern Shaolin Chuan to name a few.

Basically, I’ve taken archaic abstract terms and made them clearer for a 21st century audience. I did this for myself, as well as my students.

It’s not that I have any issues with the way some of these terms were described in the past, many are very artistic with profound metaphysical and spiritual meaning. However, these terms were based on the medical, scientific, and spiritual nomenclature of their time. Those times are past.

Changing terms is sort of a tradition though. After all, my teacher described many of these principles in a manner that suited him, in a context he was familiar with. I’ve just learned to do the same, in a context that’s comfortable for my students and me.

Japanese karate-ka have a term called “bunkai,” which literally means analysis. They use this term when discussing kata (forms), or more specifically the examination of techniques within their various kata.

The study of the bunkai in any given form can be obvious or elusive depending on the technique in question, as well as the moves preceding and following it. I believe the terms such as toridai and himitsu apply here, since these terms refer to techniques not readily seen to the casual observer, or techniques which are hidden within techniques.

In addition what level a person has at comprhending bunkai is based on experience, as well as trail and error. It takes a lot of work and many years of research. Sometimes a lifetime.

While not every martial artist does karate-style kata, we all do techniques. A technique being nothing more than a prearranged series of offensive and defense movements, designed to simulate an authentic type of altercation. Which, by the way, happens to be the definition of kata.

Because we martial artists all do techniques we can all benefit from analyzing, and I mean serious in-depth analyzing, the meanings of the things we do.

Yes, you got it, we can all benefit from learning the science behind the techniques. The reason why things work. Then and only then can we call ourselves martial artists. Then and only then do we learn the diiference between what works in a classroom and what works in the real world.

E-mail from a Reader: Why No Names?

I’m not sure why I’m addressing this topic, but I received an e-mail asking me why I don’t mention names, when I discuss various topics, such as my article on “Martial Art Belts” (referring to the teacher with a 15 colored belt system), “Hall of Fames,” and those that questioned my martial arts validity on E-budo.com, (see entry titled “Koryu Purists”).

You know I never thought that was an issue. The basic answer is naming names is not necessary in those articles.

First of all, in the case of E-budo.com, and other sites like them that questioned and discussed the validity of my martial arts background, naming names would just make the article personal, and sound like I’m attacking particular individuals who expressed their opinions. Opinions they have a right to, but could have been expressed more graciously.

Besides, I didn’t spend much time on E-budo reading all the posts, and I definitely didn’t take the time to write down whom each person was, or what they said. Even when I finally did address their questions in their forum, I didn’t respond directly to any one individual.

To be honest I didn’t care who these individuals were since I have never met any of them face to face. However, Spencer, my student who responded on behalf of the school, did take the time to look up these individuals, and their backgrounds were interesting. Surprisingly few were Koryu stylists.

My article, “Koryu Purists” was written as a generalized response to their attack on my credibility. Not only for those that wrote on E-budo, but for those that read the thread (several 1000 from what I heard), and for those who share the same beliefs that if you are Koryu you must look down upon others you perceive are not. This is a sad snobbery disseminated by a few very well known Koryu practitioners.

That article was written in order to vent my feelings, and because I’m not the first, or the last person, these people will do this sort of thing to.

As for the teacher described in my article “Martial Art Belts,” he is a friend. Though we have debated his belt system numerous times, there is no need to mention his name. Not that he would care, but it’s his business what he does. It’s not my place to judge his business decisions, and naming him wouldn’t have changed the gist of what I was trying to say.

Besides, if readers look around they can find numerous other teachers just like him. He is but one example of a growing trend.

As for the “Hall Of Fame” article whose name should I use? The letter I quoted is interchangeable. Sure they may word things slightly differently, but except the prices, they all say basically the same thing.

Naming individuals in this case would just be asking for problems. I would clearly insult someone, or someone who knows someone.

Believe it or not there are many people who value these Hall of Fames, and think they have a lot of merit. The one I attended had over 60 inductees, all of which paid $200.00 plus for the honor. Tell some of those guys their award is meaningless and see what happens.

With all that said, the real answer to this question is this:
#1 – When I write I have no intention of disrespecting anyone, or starting a conflict with any individual or their supporters. That’s easier to accomplish by leaving their names out.
#2 – When the need arises I will name names. Sometimes that can’t be helped. However, I will never ever write something about anyone I wouldn’t say, or haven’t said to his or her face. That’s not my style, and I believe in treating others, as I want them to treat me.
#3 – Sometimes in order to tell a story one must generalize, and use a composite of many individuals as an example. In this case there would be no name to use.
#4 – My memory isn’t what it use to be, and sometimes try as hard as I might I just can’t remember names. To many hits to the head I guess.

So Joseph, (the name of the guy who posed the question)–see I used your name–I first of all want to thank you from reading the articles on my “blog,” Nice to see somebody other than my mother is.

Secondly, like I wrote you back, I would really be interested in what compelled you to ask me this question in the first place. I must have really hit a nerve with one of the three listed articles.

You’re not the head of the Galactic Martial Arts Federation by chance? If so, I meant no disrespect.

Lastly, relax Joseph. You take my opinions/rants way too seriously. In addition, you were wrong: I did address your concern on my “blog” after all. Well, sort of! The rest is best left for another time.

Something to think about…

“The Way is a specific and determinedly deliberate methodology. The ancient masters must be studied constantly without respite, even when the practitioner thinks he has grasped the knowledge.”
Miyamoto Musashi

“The way of the warrior is a Way of life and can never be considered as a hobby unless you are seeking only to impress others with your techniques.”
Miyamoto Musashi

“I think that the day Japanese martial ways become sports will be the day they die. Sports emphasize the fun of wining and losing and even physical education is only a secondary concern. They are totally devoid of character training. This is not what martial arts are about. If the river of Japanese martial arts should ever flow into the ocean of sporting activities, it is sure to become polluted by salt water before it has flowed even one hundred yards.”
Minoru Mochizuki
Yoseikan Dojo Shizuoka City
11/22/82

“Budo at its best is not a game, a sport, or even a method of self-defense, but a method for the development of human potential.”
John J. Donohue
“The Forge of the Spirit Structure, Motion, and Meaning in the Japanese Martial Tradition.” 1991

“Budo is concerned with an individual’s search for something, where bujutsu is concerned with the application of the art of the technique. Budo, is the way, where bujutsu refers to the technique. Through the practice of bujutsu, the way of budo can be followed. The literal translation of the word budo is “not to use spear” which means “not to fight” or “stop fighting.” The way of budo is not to be concerned with winning… winning, sport and the competitive spirit are not the way to understand budo. It is rare to come across a real artist who practices budo, I doubt if many really exist.
Gogen Yamaguchi

“If your mind is not projected into your hands even 10,000 techniques will be useless.”
Yamaoka Tesshu

“One finds life through conquering fear of death within one’s mind. Empty the mind of all forms of attachment, make a go-for-broke charge and conquer the opponent with one decisive slash.”
Togo Shigekata