Archive for martial arts


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2017 by thebrutalityofreality

the conversation was about us getting old and how our lives have isolated us.   many of my articles discuss this,  he finally said  ,   in short,    we have earned the right to discard what we want,  because we have the experience to make the choice,

there was much more to the several hrs of discussion,  but that’s the meat of it,    i asked him to write something i could post ,  and here it is..     whether martial arts, or any thing you study,   if you require someone to learn from ,   shouldn’t you learn from someone who has at least as much experience as you wish to learn?    then why go to the corner dojo,  the commercial “business” ,  the day care center?   in the end,   it’s experience that gives us the scales to measure the truth.   the problem today is no one has much experience,  so the majority becomes the rule and the rule is not very experienced.   so people like my friend and myself are the small isolated group that is looked down upon  ,   we just don’t fit in because of “experience”  and “knowledge”

here’s his thoughts as it relates to the conversation of getting old and living a life where we never really fit in,  accept in a small circle.


“My pursuit, is the vehicle powered by passion that has brought me to knowledge and experience. That knowledge and experience gave birth to my objectivity. They entitle or perhaps provide me the right to now cast aside an opinion, a principal, a philosophy, one move, one method, or even an entire ‘art’- forever or temporarily.  At minimum I deserve, and I am allowed to decide for myself what I will value, what works, what is real, or what is useful.  No, I’m not arrogant, I am confident and courageous. 
My courage is fueled by respect and duty- that courage compels me to share, but it also tells me at times not to share.  That courage is to blame for why others will hear me say, ‘that is what remains, and it is mine’.
And yes, what I cast aside will always have value, I said aside, not away. I will keep it close. Maybe I will need to use them as a resource- maybe I see in them, subjectivity. You can’t have objectivity without knowledge and experience, so If and when I choose to share, I can’t think of an easier or other fair way to ‘recruit’ appeal to what I did not cast aside, but to be able to point out an example of what I see as subjective… a claim of objectivity is nothing of value without an example subjectivity.”  R.J. Tucker, with Anthony Carrano,2017.
another great reply in reference to a conversation about training for reality, whether it be combative or just a skill in life,    people train thru illusion.  They never seek the truth because the truth just slaps them in the face screaming loser.  The truth of the loser is that they always look for the easy way out.   Whether it be martial arts with the “3lbs of pressure can kill a person” bullshit or the any other skill,    only training for reality, in realistic scenarios will give the experience required to look objectively and see subjectively,  what you need and what is useless.
this great reply comes in reference to a training vid,  the participants talk about quick kills and one shot stops with punches that are just plain weak.   there is a method to training correctly and this reply pretty much sums up the way to look at it ……
Innate- what you were “born” with. That must be tempered with what you have learned – but if you have learned something you know as to be negative or non-productive.
-Merge Carnal & Temporal 
As the saying goes




Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by thebrutalityofreality




Regarding the infinite battles in life there is the never-ending quest for happiness and contentment. Everything we do is centered around our innate need to feel fulfilled and grounded. People who do not have a direction in life often find themselves on the wrong path continually seeking a placebo to fill the void. Many times you can find people that seem extremely happy and content but if you dig deep you will readily say that it is a life you would not want. Let’s explore for a moment the general groups of people that we deem to be truly happy. Not all of you will agree with every assumption ,however I think there will be something here for everyone.

The iconic rich guy with all his big boy toys living the business life would seem to be very happy. After all he drives the best, where’s the best, usually has a good looking woman, and  wants  for virtually nothing. Now some would argue that money does not buy happiness, some would say that you have to be happy with yourself before you can be really happy about anything. However most of the people that say this don’t have very much. Just hold on to that point for a few minutes. Then you could say happiness is about the little things in life. Watching a perfect sunset or enjoying an ice cream on a hot day could be the epitome of happiness to some. We could go on and on about what happiness is to each person. Let’s focus on the common thread. Happiness is something that makes us feel content and worth something. When we are happy we feel as though we have something special. Whether it be an object that makes us happy, a person, an award, achievement, or just a complement, the thing that makes us happy is not always relevant to what we really want. There is the ongoing argument for the value of a positive attitude. It seems everyone thinks that a positive attitude and being content with what you have is the ultimate accomplishment in life. However, I would disagree strongly.

On one side, you could unhappy,  not being satisfied with being a brat. No matter how much you get, no matter how much you have, you are just never happy because you are a brat. Let’s think about that angle for a second. Someone who has things and keeps accumulating things, or keeps getting promoted and yet is still never happy is not what I’m speaking about. That person simply does not have value nor do they value what they have. On the flip side some people have nothing and appear to be very happy. So let’s discredit them also. They are happy with nothing because they have no ambition, they have no drive to do anything, and our general losers. So far we have explored  both extremes. The person who has everything and appears to be happy and the person who has nothing and still appears to be happy. Somewhere in the middle there is the person who has everything and is unhappy and the person who has nothing and is very unhappy about having nothing. A little off the center between unhappy and happy is a grounded person who does not reside in one place too long. I would say that an intelligent person bounces from a little off the left to a little off the right going from happy and content to unhappy and discontent flowing with life’s ups and downs.

I would say someone who is always happy is just as sick if not more mentally unstable than the person who exhibits severe depression. Life is not a constant anything, though it seems to be a constant pain in the ass when you have to deal with other people. I would say that a healthy person who is in touch with reality will be able to bounce from happy to unhappy daily perhaps, even hourly and still lead a very productive life. It is my position that someone who focuses on the good and positive too much has a weak mind. I’m sure that has sparked outrage among many weak minded people. Let me explain a little deeper. There are things that we should be happy or unhappy about and things that should make us feel content or lacking. A balanced mind can see the difference in these things and will not get too wrapped up in the positive or negative attributes of such emotions.

Let’s say that you grew up with everything that you ever wanted. A real spoiled brat. Chances are that in your adult life you will want the same thing. You want everything that you want and want  it when you want it. Now is that a bad thing? Most would say that is however, there is an upside to this. It could be used as a very positive thing if it is used to drive that person to find success. Most likely someone who was always given everything did little to receive it and in their adult life will be slackers and constantly complaining about what they do not have and never appreciating what they do have. On the reverse side there is a person who grew up with very little and in their adult life probably still has very little. This also could be a positive or negative thing. If the person who had nothing uses that poverty in a positive way, that person will strive for success and work very hard to have things that were not attainable in their youth. However, if these values were not taught to the child the adult will be quite the loser never expecting much and never accomplishing much either.

As is my style I like to jump around a lot to get the reader to explore their own thoughts. I have taken examples that seem self evident and turn them around in an attempt to make the reader open their mind and not be stuck on one analysis of a certain situation. The point that I think is relevant to happiness and contentment is this. Any feeling, any emotion, is always relevant to comparisons within our experience. A child who is hungry every day, who has no clothes, who lives in fear, would be very happy and content just to have a weeks worth of food, good shelter, and not to live in fear for that week. The happiness and contentment are directly related to the experience. However, someone who always has food, good shelter, and has never lived in fear would cringe at the thought of having only one week of comfort. When someone has pain and they say it is unbearable, it is only unbearable based on their experience of pain that they have endured previously. To some a hangnail is the end of the world and death would be a better alternative. To some who have suffered extreme endeavor’s that same hangnail would go unnoticed and not be counted as pain at all. The same with success. Someone who has little drive will count a menial thing as success whereas someone who is constantly striving for excellence would be very discontent with the same “success”.

When someone lacks drive and discipline they can find success in anything easily. More often than not they find contentment and happiness excusing their failure by convincing themselves and others that it was not important to succeed in that particular area. A good example is the gym. Right now my shoulders are severely injured and I can only work out with 275 on the bench. A year and a half ago, maybe two years I was benching in the 350s and using the 130s on incline dumbbell. I feel like a loser — I am ashamed that I can only bench 275. Two weeks ago I tried to get a spot on the incline bench with the 105 dumbbells and the spotter ended up hurting me. My left shoulder is severely ripped causing  constant pain. If I get a good spot I can put the 105 up for four or five reps and do five or six sets, but I am dependent upon a skilled spotter. On the flat bench I do not need a spotter nor anyone to tell me I can do it with all the yelling and screaming that goes along with muscle heads, I can put up 275 quite easily for two or three reps but my shoulder does hurt quite a bit. I am able to endure the pain and get to my usual 25 to 30 sets of flat bench. I sometimes move up to 295 for about 10 sets but very rarely try 315 anymore. I sure hope my shoulder heals quickly because I am ashamed that I am limited to this weight.

Let’s analyze my feeling for a moment. I am lisfing more than most in the gym yet I am ashamed that I cannot lift more than what I do. A neutral third party would say that I should be very happy with my benching as I am in the upper echelon of the gym. But because I have done so much more and now I am so far below what I used to do, I feel like a loser. I think this is a healthy thing and a Mark of a winner. If I was content and happy with this performance — if I excuse myself and use the injury as my ongoing shield, I would undoubtedly bench less and less,  always finding some excuse to say it was okay. It is only because I seek perfection and always want to do the best that I can that I feel this way. It is matter of pride and a source of strength. I know I am injured, my shoulder hurts to make the motion without any weight in my hand. But I still try to push the heavyweight because I feel the power in my chest and arms. 275 still feels very light to me, I feel the power but my shoulder shuts me down.

Now let’s look at what seems to be the other 99%. They work out with a mere 135 and feel that they are on top of the world. They exclaim with pride that it’s not about weight it’s about form. They tell me that I do not work out correctly because I lift so much. They tell me that I should hire a personal trainer to set me straight. I don’t understand how they could feel good about themselves when they look so horrible. Some are very obese, some are stringy and sickly looking with a big gut, some appear to be somewhat manly but they are just so weak. I do not understand how they cannot be ashamed of themselves. I would say that in their loser world they have little success and are happy with nothing. Even though some are business people, they are puppets within their company. And so the saga continues in their daily life and at the gym. They show up and go through a routine never trying to surpass their performance of the previous day or the previous year.

So how does this apply to martial arts? It seems the modern schools are full of these examples. The students feel that they are excelling and find happiness and contentment because they have nothing to compare themselves to that is greater than loser Ville. A few months ago I was talking to a black belt, a black belt that outranks me. I saw him doing his kata in the aerobics room and it looked horrible. I know if I offer advice no one will take it especially someone who outranks me but my curiosity drove me into a conversation. I asked what the meaning of the movements were or the “bunkai”. The black belt stated  that it was part of the form. It went back and forth for a while as he could not really give me an answer. My point here is that if you are doing a form you should know why you’re doing it, where it was developed, the purpose of it, and all the intricate details associated with it especially if you are teaching it within your school. As I repeatedly asked for knowledge the black belt repeatedly showed his ignorance. I make it a point to study  many systems, even though I am not a practitioner of them, I want to be intimately familiar with them in case they ever have to fight someone from that system. …  but I also want the knowledge and feel it is important that a teacher know more than just his own art. This black belt was of the tae kwon do system. Sadly this system has become one of the most bastardized and useless systems taught these days. I’m sure this will infuriate  some people who are of that system but I say this with facts on my side. In 1976 when I started my training – I  was a student of that system but it was much different back then. We did not have pads nor did we get coddled in a babysitter atmosphere. Training was hard and promotions were earned not given because mommy cut a check. I can’t remember ever seeing a black belt that wasn’t at least a teen. Nowadays there are five-year-old black belts that outrank many… But I’m pretty sure it I can still kick their  ass on a good day. :} As a conversation  with his high-ranking black belt started to get a bit testy,  I offered to help him with his forms. I stated to him with great confidence {because we had become personal at the gym } I would give him a gift that would ensure his kata would be better than anyone else’s. I told him that I would use the okinawan method and teach him power. He didn’t want to hear it and quickly interrupted me stating that judges and his teacher have always told him that he showed great power. I would say that based on his experience and the experience of these others who complement him, perhaps he does show great power but compared to the way I train he has no power. Without getting into a martial arts lesson the point of developing power is that each move is a simulated attack or defense. When you block, anyone looking at your block should know that it was a block and that you were strong enough to stop the attack. With these modern want to be warriors, their blocks or so weak because they never actually block a hard attack. I told him to do his opening movement which was an overhead block. I just barely put pressure on his arms and he caved knocking his glasses to the floor and bending them. He was quite upset with me questioning why I would “hit him” while he was doing his kata. The truth is I just about touched him but because he was not used for training with realism it felt like I had struck him. I fail to see the power of his technique as so many of his seniors have complimented him on. The point once again is happiness and contentment are subjective to your experience.

He is very happy with his rank and feels a great success. He does not strive to be better, many times he tells me that he takes six or seven weeks off from training but it’s okay because he can get right back into it. People at the gym take weeks and sometimes months off and don’t feel bad about it. They proudly state that they came back and could still do what they did when they left. What losers. If I took a month off I doubt I would be moving the heavy weight that I do right now. If I miss a day of training I feel like a catastrophe has befallen me. I feel weak that I was not able to complete my training. I know that I will suffer for taking the time off. In the world of martial arts everything has become so civilized and proper that everyone must succeed.

So here we are back to the original point of happiness and contentment. The black belt who can only compare himself to other losers is indeed a winner but if he were to step into a real class and fight a true martial artist or even trained with the true teacher, not merely an instructor who sees dollars to pay the rent, he would fail and fail hard. I would encourage you to look up a master by the name of Gushi. If you go to YouTube and just hit in uechi gushi you will find many videos of this great man. The first word is the style of karate and the second word is the master’s name. He just died in November of 2012 from lung cancer. Now there was a guy who lived the life and trained hard. You can see in his videos about conditioning he was the real deal. When you watch him do his forms you can see  every strand of the muscle tense. You know that’s a guy that can kill you. If any of these black belts were to train with him they would be destroyed. But they feel content and happy because in their world of loserville they feel content.

I feel very depressed and sad about my martial arts and where the journey has led me to but I also feel pride in what I have accomplished. I believe I have truly led a martial life and continue to do so. But I am not content with my life. I want so badly to have students like I did 10 years ago. They made me very happy because they succeeded and we all cared for each other deeply. Somehow, perhaps times have just changed, perhaps it is bad luck — whatever it is I no longer have those great students. Now I have  very tough students but they do not lead Martial lives as I do. Being stuck here in Florida I cannot get used to the southern lifestyle. When I meet someone from the Northeast they are quick to make a point and they keep their word. Sometimes I bump into someone and tell them “hey shoot me an e-mail so I can stay in touch with you”. They immediately pulled her phone out and asked for my address and send it. Dealing with these Floridians is not the same. Even within my own class I am constantly told to remind someone of something and they still forget. They tell me to call them on a certain day to remind them and when I keep my end of the bargain I cannot get a hold of them because they lost their phone, the battery is dead, their phone is broken, or any host of excuses that are just plain bull shit. But they are very happy, they are very happy the way they live. Back to my original point, they never seem to go anywhere. They do not progress within their martial arts, they always seem to have the same problems, and always  working on something and never completing it.

My loneliness is also a sign of my success. I am isolated because I strive to be better. I keep my word at all cost even when it would be better for me to break it. I do not have to be called and reminded of my obligations. As for martial arts I am very discontent with my technique and my skill level. Not because I have not progressed, quite the opposite. I feel that in the last few years I have made the jump to beginning their journey of a master. In my youth I would get excited about conquering the technique or so I thought. Now I see that I have so much more to learn. It saddens me to a knowledge I will never go as far as I could because I do not have the right people to train with. I offered training to several people tonight but they are busy with their wives and one is going bar hopping with his wife. I would have given anything to get a one-on-one class. When I trained under people that I really wanted to learn from I gave up everything. If I had a date and many times I was in a relationship I would put everything aside for training. So of course I feel they are not being good students but that is just subjective to my experience. In coming so far I have taken a burden upon myself which causes me to feel very discontent and very lonely. If I looked at my training in my life with complacent delusions like everyone else I would feel very good about all the things that I have. I would feel very happy about my big house and my beautiful vehicles. Instead I feel that I am wasting this night — I could’ve been training. I could’ve learned something but instead I am putting down my thoughts for my someday book which will probably never be. Today I pressure washed my house. It took over six hours and I still have my driveway to do and some areas outback. I used to have a pressure washing business — I know what I’m doing but there’s a lot of property to wash. My health is not good,  I’m always tired,  hard to breathe and other pains,  but I press on.  I’m not as productive as I was,  but I don’t stop.   While everyone else was watching sports or just sitting somewhere drinking I was taking care of my property. I wish I could’ve gotten more done. Everyone else is happier than I am because they don’t care what their house looks like. Happiness and contentment are subjective to discipline in your life.    My nights are going to the gym for the second time that day and hopefully a bit of martial training outside of class.   Tonight,  I lit a bag of charcoal and grilled my chicken for the week.   Just watching the fire with a glass of wine,   the quiet night with a full moon,   nothing like chicken right off the grill.   Sure I was lonely,   and sad thoughts of people I have lost come up.   But even that sadness is something to reflect upon.  Did I do the right thing?   Did I keep my word?   Too much tv and computers these days.   More people should take time to sit by a fire and just think about things.   Again,  it goes back to subjective experience.  I feel little contentment sitting by a fire by myself.   I feel lonely because I remember how good I felt when I had others to share that time.   If I were a drinker,  I could go to a bar,   but I hate that.   In my time alone with the fire,  I reflected on my day,  and thought,  I would be a real loser if I gave up and had to order a pizza..   I am cooking for the week,   good food, and trying to preserve my health,   even though I am sick,   I never feel good,  but I push to do things I must.   That gives me a content feeling.   I would be happy if I could have a gallon of ice cream,   but my bad health denies it.  :}          the bottom line with being alone for me is honorable.  I am not hiding in a bar,  I am not wasting time.   A while ago,   I was faced with a choice of staying on the honorable path and sealing a lonely future,  or breaking my word,  my loneliness is honorable for me.   I hope someone special reads this and understands the personal message.

There is a fine line between being over compulsive and being disciplined. There is another line between accepting failure and being a loser. There are many fine lines. Once you are happy with something you will stop trying. Once you get that promotion or achieve that goal, human nature will make you complacent. They key is not to be too happy or to content so that you will continue on your journey to perfection. I know that my techniques can be better and I know that as I get older I will have to rely on technique more than physical power. It is this realization that I can be better that makes me feel so discontent and unhappy. It is my commitment to a disciplined life that makes me so unhappy to be around others who have no discipline. But I do not let the unhappiness and discontentment rule me, I use it as a source of power to drive me further along my path. On a personal note,  the once in a lifetime love I once had is gone,   but I don’t go out looking for another, I know nothing can replace it,  I know I will never have it again.   I just focus on the good I believe I did for that person.   I hope they see some honor in that.

In closing I will just add this. With age comes wisdom and that wisdom is solely based upon the experiences we have as we age. I have led a full life and done more by the age of 30 than most will do in their lifetime. Now in my 40s I long for the days when I had better health and was able to do more things. I wish I felt better so that I could accomplish many things I don’t think I can now.  I have a life that was blessed with privilege. Not privilege as far as being spoiled with material things, privilege as far as professional things I was involved in. I miss being privy to information that only a select few would be trusted with. I miss the chaos and uncertainty of having a dangerous job. So many things that made me so happy and now I feel like an old horse that has been put out to pasture. In comparison to the life I once led I am not content. It would make me happy and content if I had the proper students who would take my teachings and create another generation and carry my school name on. But I don’t. So when I look around at all the happy people, I see that they are only happy because they are so neutral in life. The black belt who never attained a great deal of skill cannot be too unhappy with his pathetic performance with me at the gym. Anyone who does not push themselves physically cannot be too unhappy if they cannot perform some physical task or lift a major amount of weight. Anyone who lives a neutral mediocre life cannot be too unhappy about failure as indeed do lead a life of failure. People who won’t take the truth {an insult that is true} are not in touch with reality.  A fat ass who says they look good is a loser,  but they are happy because they don’t have standards.  They should atleast acknowledge they are fat.  Maybe they are very smart,  maybe there are other things for them to be proud of,  but that body just ain;t one of them.

But for those of us who have walked the path and endured the journey, happiness and contentment vanish from our lives as we get better for we become more isolated from society.

Even in my personal life I do not have the happiness and contentment that I use still. 10 years ago I had the greatest girlfriend who was full of energy and would do anything for me. The love of my life in the center of my universe. She was my first student and my top student. She came with me on bodyguard jobs, she was there many times when I almost died and saved my life on more than one occasion. But age change her also. Where I once spent every night with students training in some capacity and my days completing tasks, now as my health has been an issue I am falling behind in my chores and sit alone at night. I still train 2 to 3 hours a day in the gym though sometimes my health won’t allow it. I move slower and have to fight keep moving.  I still try to keep up my property and my vehicles but it is getting harder. The fiery relationship that I once had is now just a friendship. The very chaos that threatened us was the fire that kept us together. When my professional life started to come to an end and she was no longer constantly worried where I was and if she would see me again things started to change. Complacency set in. But even in that I have pride. There was a decision to be made and I chose the honorable way. I could have taken a path that would’ve been more valuable for me but I gave someone my word and I kept it even though keeping my word has produced this isolation. I hope somewhere out there this certain person reads this and understands what I tried to tell long ago. You only get what you want one time and you have to make the most of it. You can only ride the wave so long and when it crashes it crashes hard. We all have demons in our life and the best thing that we can do is try to deal with them and relieve those demons before it is too late. In dealing with the demons of your past or present you can find happiness and contentment. Sometimes the right choice leaves you alone and isolated, but if honor is enough, then you can find your contentment. Such is the case with my martial arts. I absolutely refuse to give into commercialism or to hand out belts for money. I take pride in how few students I have for that speaks volumes of my standards. Even though we do not have the students that I once did I still continue on my personal journey. But as I get older I find myself looking back to my 30s and 20s longing for those days. Life is boring now. So based upon my experiences the happiness I once had and contentment I once felt are gone. Then happiness and contentment came from an extreme lifestyle few will ever know. If I had led a mediocre dull life lacking excitement I would not feel this way now.

On a side note my body conditioning has never been better. Sure when I was younger I had more stamina and could endure a beating without too much discomfort the next day. I think used to fight a lot harder and probably hit with a lot more PSI. But my technique has come so far that I no longer have to fight that hard or hit with so much PSI. My bone density even impresses me. My wrist, fore arms, my shins- the bones are so thick now and dense that even a 30% strike delivers massive damage. When I teach a seminar or just fool around with someone they often complain that I’m hitting them too hard- really don’t believe that I am not hitting at all. It is just my perfection of movement and my bone density that makes it feel like I’m hitting so hard. My throws are clean and precise, my  chi or 6th sense have developed far beyond what I would have thought possible. I have a good understanding of a great many arts and can use a wide array of ancient weapons as well as modern. In spite of  all this talent I am isolated in the world of martial arts. Schools have become contaminated, made into politically correct producers of “black belts”.  Long ago they would have been cast aside as dishonorable losers but now they are the majority and cast me aside as being too fanatical. The irony of success is that too much of it can actually make you a loser in the eyes of society.

In closing I would offer this, screw what society says — you have to have some type of agenda in life, you have to have some type of driving force that gets you through the days and keeps your mind occupied so that you don’t see too many of the bad things. To those people that are full of positive attitudes and never see anything bad I would say you’re missing quite a bit. Be wary of anyone boasting too much happiness- saying they don’t let things bother them. For that is the sign of a true loser. They close their eyes to many things. Someone with honor would let a lot of things bother them — they don’t let it dominate their life but they don’t discard it or discount it either. A person with honor will be sure to punish themselves for a mistake so that they don’t make it again. Only a loser doesn’t pay attention to a mistake – destined to make that same mistake over and over — but it won’t bother them because they are losers……   with a positive attitude.

This whole thing got off my usual analytical point about martial arts and the world in general and took a very personal turn. My ultimate goal for this entire blog is a reference if I should ever find that one student to take over my system and continue my teachings. I feel that as much as the technical data is important to my successor my personal journey through life and my feelings as I grow older is important also for he will surely grow older and experienced much of the same that I am going through. As for you readers I hope you enjoyed it- I hope it gave you a great deal to think about. If after all this you feel that your life is happy and content then I have failed in my writing. If you feel that they’re a great many things missing in your life and you are suddenly infected with an overwhelming desire to accomplish things than I have succeeded in putting a good point across.

In closing I will leave you with this, getting old sucks — gray hairs pop out where you least expect them — I am turning into what I used to make fun of and I hate it. I;m getting veins where I had smooth skin, some are squiggly, some are bumpy.  For the first time I had to shave a couple hairs off my ear last week. I now have three gray hairs in my mustache and my beard is quickly getting taken over by those white bastards. The problem with trying to figure out life, women, or even just trying to perfect some talent is that by the time you figure it out you probably be ready to die — doesn’t that suck!!!!

Better get off your ass and start doing something or before you know it life will be over and you will have done nothing.    And take some time to think about the big screw ups in your life.  Maybe that time you did something and pushed the person who cared most away.   Maybe you think someone tried to hurt you,   but now you can see they did it for you and sacrificed themselves.    Think about some of your choices that made you great and others that made you a loser.    Can’t go back,  but maybe you can find contentment in knowing the truth.         Don’t be too happy,   life ain’t that smooth.   If it is,   you just aren’t trying.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2012 by thebrutalityofreality


I will start off with the closing statement. In the end I think it will make sense to you but I feel that it is necessary to begin with the end so that your mind can be prepared for the rest of the article.

So the reference to the pictures in the header is this… The friendships born in battle are the ones filled with honor and respect. As it relates to martial arts the class of black belts seem to rally together for selfish reasons — I would not call such people who black belts were true friends. But the black belt who walks alone, who does not need an association to dignify his actions or validate his skill — he is the one that I suggest you search out as a friend. For a person that has the need to be part of a group will often do the wrong thing for the wrong reason because their need for acceptance is so strong. But the loner who is not part of a group nor does he need a group — that is the one who will do the right thing for the right reason and not care what anyone else thinks.

what a profound statement. If you stop and think about it, no matter how you define a friendship, the one thing that you will always find pertinent to the relationship is a simple “need”. It is the need that creates the bond and the so-called friendship. This article was inspired by a recent experience I have gone through. There have been many times in my life when I thought someone was a true friend — I know word warning signs and believe with all my heart that this person would never let me down — through our relationship I was the best friend that I could be but in the end when I was no longer useful, my friend disappeared. I will expound upon my recent experience later on. For now, let’s just talk about friendship.

There are many ways in which people will do find a friendship.I would suspect that the most common answer for friendship is someone who was always there for you to lend a helping hand, to listen to your problems, and someone you have a really good time with. Wikipedia the fines it as:

Friendship is a relationship between two people who hold mutual affection for each other.[1] Friendships and acquaintanceship are thought of as spanning across the same continuum. The study of friendship is included in the fields of sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Various academic theories of friendship have been proposed, including social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles.

Throughout the course of time bonds have been formed which have been called friendship. In every nation there has been a moral compass of what a friendship is and the duties of a good friend. In ancient times a friend was more valuable than gold, grain, or anything of the tangible nature. A friend was someone who would defend your life and those of your family and you would do the same for that friend. If you’ve ever seen the old movie flicks of the Roman Empire or even some of the old cowboy movies, there is a strong emphasis on friendship in keeping your word. This idea of “friendship” is a label to disguise the greed of man.

My upbringing was very traditional and placed great importance upon personal honor and friendship. I witnessed in my own family that for the sake of friendship they would sacrifice their own happiness and many times that meant that happiness of those around them to be a good “friend”. Many times at gatherings for food would run short and I would be told not to take a second helping as the guest may want more and we wouldn’t be good “friends” if we ran out of food because we were taking seconds. Such values are very important when both parties participate. However, in modern times it seems one always gives a hell of a lot more than the other.

if we take the emotion out of this whole equation of friendship we can see that the emotion exists because of the innate human need to be needed, to be part of something, and to be helped. In every case, whether it be the old Roman movies or the cowboy flicks, you can see an interdependency of the characters which is based on their own advantage. For instance the slave in the Roman movies they do is job very well in order to gain favors from the slave master. In the cowboy flicks you often see the good guy being tempted by the bad gang. They form a so-called friendship based on a mutual advantage. Now let’s look at modern times. Take a few moments to think about your personal friendships and others around you — whether at work or in a social setting — that have friendships. Before we go on any further get it set in your mind what you believe a true friendship to be. Think about what you expect from a friend and what you’re willing to give to a friend. Think about friends that have screwed you over and ones that you have screwed over. I just sit for a moment and gather your thoughts before we go on.

I bet you have discovered that many of your so-called friendships were not friendships at all rather a codependency. And possibly your reevaluating the friendships that you are currently in. Why would you be friends with someone who offers no advantage to you? Why would you go out of your way for someone when they cannot do you a favor in return? Why would you do anything if there were not a reward for doing it? This sounds pretty cynical doesn’t it?

Let’s start off with one of my favorite quotes — I don’t remember who said it — but it is something like this, “a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. I read that at a very early age probably in my teens and it stuck with me into what is now my 40s. I have found it to be 100% true and sadly it seems to have become a rule of humanity. You’re probably thinking to yourself “this guy just doesn’t get it — he doesn’t know what he’s talking about — I am certainly a better friend than what he is describing”. But are you really? Let’s get back to the main point. Somehow there has to be an advantage for people to be around you whether it be financial, power, or maybe you’re just very handy and continually fixing things for them. Think about who you are friends with. I bet you are not friends with anyone who does not provide some sort of advantage to you.

Now let’s talk about the advantages of friendship can provide. Though I have focused on the very negative there are very positive attributes of a friendship that we all strive for. A friend makes us feel good about ourselves and allows us to grow. A friend is someone you can bounce ideas off of and will enlighten you as to your folly and help you figure it out. A friend is someone who was there to help you with a problem when no one else is. A friend is someone who thinks the world of you despite your bad traits. While this could just go on and on, but why focus on the good when there is so much bad that follows it? Remember Newton’s laws of motion? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? Let’s apply that to friendship you do a favor for a friend and a good friend has an equal and opposite reaction which is returning the favor. Let’s say your friend is drunk and has no way to get home because the bartender took his keys. This friend calls you at 4 AM for a ride and you graciously get out of bed knowing that you have to be at work in just a couple of hours but you go pick that friend up anyway and deliver them home safely. You endure a grueling day and try to ignore your fatigue and keep from falling asleep at your job. But was it truly a selfless act? You may say that it was but if you look at it from a very logical viewpoint you would expect that friend to do the same thing for you. Now how would you feel if the exact same thing happened to you and your friends scolded you for waking them up at 4 AM and hung up on him? Let’s look at another example. Your friend loses someone very close to them. They are distraught to the point of a nonfunctioning blob. You can install them in every way you can try and take their mind off of their problem but there is nothing you can do. So as a friend you just keep calling them and try to interact with them as much as you can to keep their mind occupied. Being the good friend that you are you now how they react in times of sorrow and you do not force your own views upon them. For myself when I feel sorrow I do not want anyone telling me to look on the bright side for a see that as a weak mind that cannot deal with reality. I need a friend who’ll just let me talk and a friend who will show me that I am not alone in the world because they are my friend. This will be different for each one of you and many of you will want to be told to look on the bright side. But that is not the issue how one would react to losing someone close to them. So let’s get back on track. A good friend is the one who is there for you when no one else is. A good friend is the one you look to to share your happiness and to lean on when you have trouble. But all of these things are indeed a selfish reason for their friendship. If that friend was not there for you, would you still call them a friend?

Friendship is not a concrete formula. It is not something that is definable and a broad basis. Friendship is only definable from person to person. What I call a friend you may not and vice versa. So far we have discussed the need of friendship and that the basis of friendship must include an advantage or you would not be in that relationship. I’m sure this point many of you have strong disagreements towards my viewpoint but keep an open mind and I assure you the intelligent reader will agree with me and hopefully go on to ponder friendship when this article ends.

One of the hardest things that I find in friendship is the constant letdown. Now many of you are probably thinking “poor guy doesn’t have any real friends”. And you may be right. Throughout my life I believe that I have always been a good friend. I have always been in a position to afford others many advantages because they were my friend but when it was time for me to call and then, rarely were any of them they are. A few examples would include calling a friend just to talk out of problem but they were too busy to pick up the phone. Another reoccurring theme is that I get close to someone, usually a student or someone at the gym, and I cultivate a friendship for a couple years or more. I get very close to them and for some reason they move out of state or just to another town. My friendship continues and I call them often to reassure them that just because they are not physically here daily I have not forgotten them but the favor does not come back. After a few weeks I rarely ever hear from them again or if I do it is in the space of six or seven months between calls with the excuse that they have been busy. Wow! They must be really busy not to have 45 seconds to leave a message. Now if any of you are calling me selfish and say I am too demanding, then I would not consider you a friend, but that is just my personal view. It seems I am always in the position to extend favors but others are rarely in a position to return them. A good example is that I am very handy. I can fix most anything. I can do drywall, framing, light construction, tile, molding, and many other things. When I had my pressure washing and carpet cleaning business I was always doing favors for my so-called friends. Many times if I did a little extra work for free at a restaurant they would give me a gift card for a free meal. Rather than use it myself I would give it to a friend. It seems my truck was used for their needs more than my own. Conveniently when I needed something they always had the great excuse of not having a vehicle or a talent. If I asked for help laying sod when I was building my house they would say they didn’t know how to do that. When I asked one friend to give me a pressure cleaning and painting job that paid very well, he passed it on to a stranger but offered me the job of pulling weeds and using my truck to haul stones for the planters around his development. The pressure washing and painting could have been done in a weekend — it was a $3000 job — but he offered me a seven dollar an hour we’d am hauling. This friend had an agenda to look good in front of the home committee and that agenda superseded our friendship. As for students, when I call someone my student I am pledging my complete commitment and loyalty to them. I make this known to them. Interviews to be taken on as a student last a year or longer. During this time I was taught John the value of friendship and the importance of loyalty over and over. At the moment that I accept them as a student I tell them that this is not like going to a commercial class where you pay your money and get in. They interview was to see if we could get along and to feel each other out to see if the bond could be formed. I tell them that at the moment that I call them my student they have all of my loyalty — it is not something that will build over time — they have it right and they are at that moment, all I have to give. All they can do is lose it from there. But over time the value of friendship fades and my humbleness becomes my failing as one guy who is training keeps telling me.

At this point on I hope that your mind is somewhat scattered. As is my style I like to lead the reader down a path that is straight and to the point and suddenly turn it and make a case that contradicts the former. First I started with a cynical approach to friendship then pointed out the positive attributes of a good friendship, and then got off track to let your mind wander and sort of cleanse you of any concrete thoughts. There is an argument both ways for friendship. It can be the best thing or it could be simply an act of greed to get what you want. There is one point that I have been withholding which is the cornerstone that will determine the success or failure of the friendship. Early on I asked you to take a few moments to think about what a friend is and what you think friendship is. The issue to discuss now is not your view on friendship but what you are willing to do to be a friend. So let’s explore this. As stated before noon’s law expresses the equal and opposite reaction for every action. As applied to friendship this can be very detrimental. Some people call everyone they’re friends. Personally I think these people fail to understand the fundamentals of what a friend is. I don’t trust anyone who knows someone for just a few minutes and introduces them as “my friend”. These people do not take the word friend seriously or they would not use it so carelessly. Some people will say that a true friend does something for you without expectations of her ward. This is also a person, in my opinion, who does not understand the honor involved in a friendship. A quick example would be this, friend A task’s friend B to come to his birthday party.friend B. agrees and goes to the party. He has a great time, eats all the food, drinks all he can, and bring is a cheap shitty a gift. Friend A, being the humanitarian that he is, takes the position that he did not care about the gift and was happy that his friend could partake until he could take no more. I’m sure at this point many of you agree that friend A is the bigger person — bigger than I according to the examples of what I believe friendship is. However, the attribute of honor and loyalty has not been discussed yet.

I would say that each person dictates the parameters of a friendship according to what they are willing to do to be a friend. If friend A and the former example did not care about the shitty gift or gluttony then it is likely he would do the same thing and not think anything of it. If that is the case then the two can be the best of friends. However, if one has more honor and integrity than the other the friendship will surely suffer. Let’s turn our thoughts to honor and friendship rather than what we think of friendship is.

If we are to truly honor our friends then we ourselves must have honor. That honor must be self-evident and be given the utmost attention at all times. We must scrutinize our actions to ensure that we don’t fall short of our own expectations. As I see it today’s society releases itself from every responsibility and condemns anyone of honor when they complain about the lack of said honor and others. Personally I have never missed a student’s birthday or any special event. I have always sacrificed my personal time and made sure that I gave them a gift that showed my loyalty to them as a friend. For instance, for Christmas and sometimes her birthday I will work for weeks making them a stick. It may be out of bamboo or just hardwood like oak or cedar, but in order to give them this gift I put many hours of work into it and suffer many blisters — truly bleeding for their gift. Anyone can whip out a credit card and buy something but to give up many hours of your time I think shows an exceptional dedication to a friend. Outside of martial arts I have always been there to help them as I have many handy talents. For me friendship means being there for your friend no matter what. Now let’s turn our attention to what forms the bonds of friendship.

As always I turn the focus to martial arts. I have always said that bonds or friendships born in battle are among the strongest that will ever be. My classes are based upon the old codes which continually pushed a student to the edge. There are no free belts or money belts — there are no promotions for the sake of politics — I do not have try before you buy classes or walk-ins. Bonds that are formed within the class are usually very tight and for a time we are very good friends. However, when the younger ones go off to college or enter the workforce they become complacent and forget the old ways and start to live like the rest of society. If we look at military personnel, we can see that there is a drastic difference in the so-called friendship between the soldiers who have never been to war, the soldiers who have seen some battle but were never in anything life-threatening, and the bonds formed among the elite few who are called to task to perform specific missions knowing that they may not come back. Indeed those relationships that are formed on the battlefield are the strongest. If you look at a college fraternity and a special ops team that has gone to battle and relied on each other for their very lives, I think the point is clear. So what does all this mean? It means that the standard that you place on calling someone your friend and the criteria in which that friendship is formed is what the relationship will be. If one calls few a friend and the other calls everyone a friend — one is doomed to disappointment and hurt.

Friendships are formed to easily these days and when a real one comes along it is just tossed in the basket of bullshit with the others. The society we live in is all about complacency and never being held to a standard therefore modern friendships are only there for a fleeting moment. One of my students is in his 60s, and airborne sergeant from the Vietnam error and a retired firefighter with the rank of lieutenant. When this guy talks about friendship and his friends you just know there is something special about it. He speaks of his friends with admiration and loyalty — they are friends from the fire service or the military — and also martial arts. I don’t find these qualities in people anymore and now in my 40s I am becoming “that old guy” with the crazy ideas. A friendship that is born in some type of tragedy or necessity is not always a good one but the same that was born with honor is what we should all look for.

People forget too soon the favors that were done for them in the name of friendship. People often look at the deeds of friendship as “no big deal for him”. For instance I have always been in the position to do physical favors while someone else may have just signed a letter for me. I wish they would have value my friendship more and been there for me in my times of sorrow. Now onto my personal experiences which inspired this article which I hope will be read by my future students and they will pass it on to their students or family.

This last year I have been sick. For the past six years I have been battling a high sugar problem with the ferocious and tactical plan. Every three months I get my blood checked and every three months I change one thing in my diet or in my activity. If I am eating chicken with peppers and onions, that’s all Eat for three months and then I compare my numbers. Then I would change one thing such as taking the peppers out of the equation and just eat chicken and onions every day. This one on for six years. I don’t think anyone can quite understand the discipline that it takes to live it every day closed to exactly the same with food and activity and change just one thing for 90 days. About a year ago my sugar seemed to be under control and I wanted to get off my cholesterol pills. I did some research and talked to a few people that seem to be knowledgeable and started to cut down on meat. I must admit that the biggest reason for going total vegetarian was looking at the slaughterhouse videos on YouTube. After seeing how those animals are tortured and how slowly they die I could no longer stomach meat. In any case I was determined to beat my sugar problem and not become a diabetic. My blood pressure had improved over the last few years and I got my medication down significantly. I felt good being off of the cholesterol pills as they have many side effects. Then about nine months ago I was talking to a doctor and a firefighter who seem to be very healthy and knowledgeable. There was a big fad of eating brown rice going on at the time and they convinced me that adding brown rice to my diet would give me more energy in actually lower my cholesterol. So for the first three months I ate brown rice with vegetables. My blood work improves. It’s a crappy diet and am always hungry but I found through my own experimenting that my blood sugar is best when I only eat once or twice daily. Early on I had tried the 6 to 8 small meals and my sugar went crazy. So the next three months I would have 2 cups of rice before the gym with a couple eggs and night around 11:30 PM after my second workout I would have rice with a can of black beans and perhaps a fried onion in it in again my blood sugar seemed to be okay. I thought I was onto something good but then I started to become very lethargic and fatigued. My blood work seemed to be okay so I just thought that I had been working out too hard and doing too many projects around the house. Well over the next three months I started to develop chest breathing problems. I had noticed that during the prior six months when I got totally exhausted after weeks of pushing myself I would start to develop an asthmatic type breathing and have just pains. It would get very bad to the point where I thought I may be having heart problems but then after resting for a couple of weeks — I don’t mean just lying in bed, I would just take a little easier — it would go away. The doctor assured me it was a breathing problem and not a heart problem — most likely my asthma. While the next three months I thought I was having heart attacks daily. I never felt so bad in my life. I had such bad chest pains that many nights and was ready to go to the emergency room. I’m sure many of you are thinking that I should have just gone but it’s hard with no insurance — wish I could just walk in stating I don’t have any money and camp out for a couple of weeks — but stupid me I paid for everything I own. When I scheduled some heart scans and thankfully they came back okay. So I went back over my blood work for the last year and what I found was that my iron was below the limits — practically not even there. The big thing was that my thyroid, which I am on medication for, had basically shut down. I was very short of breath, couldn’t concentrate, very forgetful, and just wanted to go to bed. I pushed myself daily to get out of bed and to take care of my doggies. I never stopped going to the gym though I didn’t work out very hard while I was there. Most of the time I was just sit around gasping for air but I couldn’t stop going. After bringing this to my doctor’s attention he doubled my thyroid medication. Well it’s about six weeks later and though I still have some slight breathing problems I do feel much much better. I never want to feel like that again in my life. There was so much that had to be done around the house, so many projects I was looking forward to completing when the weather got caller and now I am very behind. More than anything I hate being an active, I felt like such a loser but I could not complete tasks and many times had to roll on my girlfriend to do things I just simply did not have the strength or will to do. My manhood was suffering. My martial arts training was practically nonexistent as I felt frail and did not have the will to do very much. I still did my time as two or three times a week but not with very much intensity, I still taught class but actually fell asleep standing up several times. For all that I’ve been through with physical pain this was the worst thing I have been through in my life, but constant unending feeling of fatigue, just so tired I didn’t want to move. I actually spent an entire day on the couch with the goal of emptying my garbage can. I would tell myself that it was no big deal and on the way to the bathroom I would just take a bag out and tie it up and then go back and lay down for a while and eventually get up again to pee and I would put the new bag in. While it never happened. Could you imagine feeling that tired and that’s sick that you couldn’t even change your own garbage bag? I am ashamed that I was so weak but I just couldn’t move. I started researching low thyroid symptoms and found that my blood work showed signs of my low thyroid and that everything I was experiencing could be attributed to it. My doctor denied my thyroid as being the problem but now six weeks after the medication increases and a change in diet I feel so much better that I have to point to the thyroid. During this episode the doctor did an ultrasound scan and found a nodule that may be cancerous and my thyroid. I have to get a biopsy. I am afraid of needles, I’m sure laughing, and they will have to stick what I imagine looks like a soda straw in my neck. I’m sure it will hurt and I have confirmed this with several medical professionals that I trust. In the meantime I looked back at what could have caused the sickness and it all makes sense now. My thyroid, which needs iodine to be healthy and perform, was depleted of its nutrients. Eating nothing but rice and beans depleted my body. It makes sense now and I look back feeling very stupid but my focus was on my sugar in it never occurred to me that the rest of my body was severely out of balance and lacking nutrition. I wasn’t getting any protein except from the beans. I stopped my protein drinks so that I could have an accurate reading and judge my new diet. I wasn’t getting any vitamins or minerals that my body desperately needed. Due to my lack of strands I started to get injured because I couldn’t do what I normally could. Though Rice is a carbohydrate and muscles felt that pleaded and drain. If I took a strike had actually started to hurt — I just couldn’t go on like that.

So now I have a clean bill with my heart and my thyroid is back doing what it should. I am scared of this biopsy and can’t wait for it to be over with. But I figure that many times they have to redo them as they don’t get a good reading — just my luck I’ll have to go back. I am taking two multivitamins daily and a host of other singular minerals and nutrients such as vitamin E., C., flaxseed oil, fish oil, magnesium, and a few others that I was taking before but systematically cut out to see if I could do okay without them. So for now I’m back on track and actually looking forward to going to the gym instead of dreading it as the last nine months have been. So how does this tie into friendship?

Well, my so-called friends all disappeared when I was no longer useful. I sent out an e-mail to all my contacts and made a few phone calls to tell my “friends” how bad I was feeling and that I was getting worse. I would call them frequently just to talk because I felt so bad and was gasping for air with horrible chest pains and just needed someone to talk to to get my mind off of my pain and stop the panic. But my phone calls weren’t returned were picked up. E-mails would come back with short choppy replies such as “praying for you” or “hanging in the air — you’re the toughest guy I know”. One person in particular who I had gotten very close to while he was here only called me two times. This kid went off to college and stood in touch with me for a couple years. He owed his proclaimed his admiration of Me and thanked me for many things that I had taught him. But when I really needed a friend to talk to he was just too busy with his college fraternity and parties. The one night that he called and I picked up, I said meekly that I could not talk as I was too sick. He asked what was wrong. Again I said I was too weak to talk and needed air. He just kept asking what was wrong. This really puts me on because he never took the time to be a friend when I needed a friend. Just to talk on the phone would have been great medicine. But he never took the time to call me to see how I was doing and the one night when he had time to talk he was inconsiderate of my condition. It was weeks before I heard from him again. Again the only two that checked up on me that I didn’t have regular contact with were the two old guys — the old guys who understand the honor and friendship. Everyone who knows me knows how particular I am about my vehicles in my house. None of my so-called friends offered to cut the grass or do any chores that I was incapable of. However, when these so-called friends needed my help I was there.

Several years ago I went through a very hard time as I lost someone very close to me — someone that was my whole world and my life changed that day. Since then I have tried to see the good and keep a positive attitude which I despise so much. Every day before I get out of bed, I lay there for a few minutes plotting my day and thinking about all the good things that I have. I think about my beautiful house and my great vehicles, how lucky I’ve been to have stopped working at the age of 30 and dedicated myself totally to martial arts, how fortunate I am to own what I have and not worry about payments, I think about my great girlfriend that puts up with all my faults, I think how lucky I am to have the soft bed that I am laying in and know that there is food in the fridge for that day. And yes, I think about my great friends. But a few years ago my friends abandon me in the saddest time of my life. I tried not to carry that with me and to move past it but this experience has proven once again that when you can no longer afford your friends you won’t have them. My so-called friends, some of the old ones and some in new crop, couldn’t even pick up the phone to see if I was still breathing. Sadly this is not taught me a lesson — I’m sure I will extend myself again and again to no avail — but it is a harsh truth that I think I must finally accept.

I have been told by my friend who teaches me Uechi over and over for many years that there really are no friends and that we’re left here to fend for ourselves. I never want to turn into an as I always saw him as a very angry person and also a very skilled martial artist. But I guess as they age, I have to agree with his point. I find myself discussing it with him and telling him more and more that he was right. What a sad realization, I had hoped to prove them wrong.

Disturbs me the most is that friendship is out of our hands. It is not something that we can control. As good of a friend as I am willing to be, it does not benefit me unless there is another who would value the things that I do. There was a time when I had great influence and anyone who stood with me and enjoyed many perks. When I stopped working and could no longer provide these networking favors it seems 90% of my so-called friends disappeared. Some use me for handyman work while others stood behind my tough reputation to keep others at bay stating that they were my friend. So whatever reason when I was making a lot of money and able to do a lot of favors I had many friends. When I dedicated myself to training I wasn’t very interesting to anyone anymore.

So how does this apply to martial arts? Well let’s take an honest look at organizations and teachers. Let me correct myself and say instructors as I believe teachers have gone the way of the dinosaurs. People join organizations for status and a hanging around certain schools for their own personal gains. They profess their unending loyalty to their instructor in their system but only for selfish reasons. Recently Uechi friend told me this. There are only a handful of top practitioners in that system and one of them is named gushi.   I would encourage you to watch his videos on YouTube, just type in Uechi Gushi. He’s a thin man in excellent shape. The epitome of the art. As far as I’m concerned if you are interested in the art there are only two that can show you what it truly is, he is one of them and the other is Shinjo.  Well my friend informs me that Gushi Sensei has some kidney problems or something like that. It looks like he will die soon. Well get this, his long-time loyal, faithful, give their life for him, can never pay back his teachings and kindness, best friends in the whole world are leaving his school, word is that with his failing health they will have no one left to promote them so they are jumping ship and moving on to whoever else can benefit them the most. Now I don’t know if this is true but I suspect that it is because it came through some pretty reliable sources. There must be some truth to it as rumors and stereotypes are never totally faults. So here the poor guy is dying and everyone is leaving him because it no longer benefits them to be around him. Such is the modern way and gone are the days when students would sit by the master trying to learn everything they could and pledging to carry on his teachings.

So in the end, as far as martial arts is concerned, I personally don’t see where they are are any last who wish to train by the old codes. I base my feelings on the factual content of my life. Now maybe some other people have the greatest students in the world that I am searching for, but it is my experience that the way I train is just too hard and takes too long to get anywhere. I am not part of another organization so there is little bragging rights if you don’t cut the mustard. When someone is part of a national organization, no matter how much they suck they can only stand on national organization to brag about their rank. With me they can only stand on their skill and knowledge. Sadly I must admit that I think I have finally succumb to the realization that I shall never have another true friend. It is Christmas day and as I am writing this my phone just now rang at almost 12 AM from a couple of my so-called students and friends. They all now how sad I get around the holidays as I am alone in my mind is haunted of happier times and people that I have lost. The ones that I’ve lost were my reason for living, my reason for trying, the light in my life — without that Christmas is not much of the day may and I just want to get through it. I didn’t want to believe that I wouldn’t get any phone calls on Christmas Eve but I have to believe what is the truth. Everyone has e-mail and everyone has a phone with them at all times. So I guess I have to look at the true that there was no advantage in giving me a call to wish me a Merry Christmas. I bet if anyone needed anything they would’ve found time to call. I’m sure they were all busy with their families opening presents and hiding from their wives. I long for the old days when I had a class full of true students. Every Christmas was a great Christmas with them, I always threw a big party and everyone always brought gifts for each other. I had to stop the ritual of celebrating holidays and birthdays as the ones I have now were very disrespectful and forgetting birthdays and even at Christmas a couple years ago two of them failed to bring gifts even though they received them. So I stopped the practice and stopped them from following “the Path”. My biggest criteria for following the true path and getting my secret teachings is to be a friend. They all used to get that and cherish that but it seems this older crop just doesn’t understand it. I guess most of it is a demographic problem as I used to have students that were not from Florida. It seems down here your friend is willing to throw out a rusty nail unless you need it, then he wants to sell it to you.

So as life goes on I have found that the good times don’t last too long and friends are something of a fairytale in this modern age. I truly hope that my experience is not yours but I suspect that if you think about it and take your emotion out of the equation you will find that you have many of these “friends” and possibly you are one of these “friends”.

So the reference to the pictures in the header is this… The friendships born in battle are the ones filled with honor and respect. As it relates to martial arts the class of black belts seem to rally together for selfish reasons — I would not call such people who black belts were true friends. But the black belt who walks alone, who does not need an association to dignify his actions or validate his skill — he is the one that I suggest you search out as a friend. For a person that has the need to be part of a group will often do the wrong thing for the wrong reason because their need for acceptance is so strong. But the loner who is not part of a group nor does he need a group — that is the one who will do the right thing for the right reason and not care what anyone else thinks.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by thebrutalityofreality




as usual i’m using the dragon head set so please forgive the mistakes,  the head set doesn’t always get it right,  I’m writing on short breaks, so forgive the more than normal jumping around.  Honor is something that cannot be stated too harshly, it must be eluded to and pointed out to allow someone to come up with their own meaning personal honor.

I’m sitting here the last few days on a security detail,   watching the hustle and bustle of the upcoming event.   Everyone wearing patches and symbols of their agencies or something.   They are all full of “honor:”   They are all walking around being seen and showing their expert skills.

However,  behind the scenes,  a few of us sit,  never noticed,  no uniform,  no title,   just floating around in casual dress blending in and trying to listen to  the crowds and workers.
We are lost in the craziness and when the event is taking place,   the majority of these ‘pros” will be hailed as the example of honor and professionalism.   The cops have gear, weapons, and massive numbers, the average security guy is just standing there staring off into space thinking about everything but his job- but making a presence,  no one really in the presence of danger.   But the few that are not seen,   the ones that are alone,   they are the warriors.   Those who walk among us that are never noticed are the ones with honor,  the honorable let the jerks shine.

“HONOR”      if you think too much about it,   it just doesn’t make sense


There are many different interpretations of the word honor. Honor is one of those esoteric things that everyone claims to have, but rarely do we see it with our own eyes. From a young age we hear the word honor frequently throughout history. The word honor is thrown around so often that it has lost its meaning. So let’s start off with a few things that everybody can associate honor with. When we think of the elite fighting forces of our military the word honor comes to mind. Perhaps when you think of firefighters or law-enforcement you think of honor. It says it right there in the logo.   A symbol says they are all about honor.  It  has brainwashed everyone into believing that anyone in that line of work is honorable. Just take a look around and you will see there are few are on an honorable path.  Most are in that line of work to feed their egos,  for a power rush, and other reasons that have no honor.  On a side note,  I have a friend who is a retired fireman.  He was in Vietnam, Airborne Ranger,  now this guy has honor,  but he’s old and retired.  Even he sees the lack of honor in the young ones.

Honor was spoken of in the Bible through many references. Honor was the basis of life itself for the classical samurai. Honor is what this country is said to be founded upon. However, there is little honor left in the world.

It seems the more a culture or particular group speak of something the more they lack the something they are boasting about. Whether it be a rich heritage or honor itself, the more someone speaks of it the less there is of actual substance.

So what are we to think that real honor is? As is my style I always let the reader come up with their own conclusions. I will just throw out some ideas to spark your thoughts.

As I see it, the biggest thing about honor is doing something because it is right even though it is usually the hardest thing to do- you don’t take the easy way out even though there are much easier choices. I have found that a good rule of thumb is that the hard road is usually the right road for nothing easy is ever worth very much. In training, a true martial artist spends years trying to perfect the art. After all those years the true martial artist understands that it is much too big of an undertaking to try to perfect the art and chooses to start practicing a single move and trying to perfect that.  I keep saying that “true martial artist” because only a true warrior would spend so many years trying to accomplish a single thing. As the years go on by true martial artist sees flaws that never existed before. Perhaps in the first five years of training he thought that his techniques were coming along quite well and perfection was right around the corner. After some time, he would start to realize that there is a lot of room for improvement and turn his attention to a more detailed regimen. After another 10 or 15 years he would soon see that his techniques are very lacking and now instead of trying to perfect the entire art he would start chipping away like a sculptor – trying to perfect bits and pieces. There is honor in this as the true martial artist has embarked on a journey and basically given his word to someone or himself that training will be part of his life — a lifelong journey that can never be fulfilled until death. The honor comes from  never ending training. Through all the disappointments and all the self-realization of failure emerges the honor of the warrior who does not run but stays and makes it better. This, in contrast to today’s mockery of a martial artist, shows honor. In these modern times people rarely stick it out in one dojo for more than two or three years and actually get their black belts during that short time. The ones who stays longer usuaully stay because there is always immediate gratification and someone is always telling them how well they have done. But there is no honor in that. There is no honor in the easy way.

Now let’s turn our thoughts to honor in our daily lives.  For the sake of this article let’s talk about keeping our word. Whether in the office, on the sports field, within your family, among my friends, or in a bar were a bunch of drunks often give their word, we can see today the lack of honor at work. In the workplace people give their word all the time without any intention of keeping it. You may tell your boss you will complete an assignment when you have no intention of doing so while you already have an excuse lined up. You may tell coworkers a fabricated story to make yourself look good because someone has found out something bad about you. On the sports field there is no honor that I can see. Everyone speaks of winning and how they improve their game with that great “positive attitude”. I hate sports because of their lack of honor. I hate the “positive attitude” crap they are always spouting off about. Both sides say they have a superior attitude and yet one has to lose. Is it because of their attitude? I see positive attitude as the mark of the loser — I’m sure this raises quite a few eyebrows but it’s deeper than what you would think from the statement. In short someone who relies on a positive attitude but does nothing to back it up or quit as soon as their attitude is broken is a loser. I prefer to release attitudes entirely whether good or bad and just look at things realistically. There have been times in my life when I was sure that I would succeed and yet I failed. Conversely there have been several times when I was wholeheartedly convinced that I may not survive a certain ordeal and somehow I did. I won’t bring religion into this as everyone is religious when they are about to die, nor will I say it was just a superior attitude. It was a never quit attitude that had nothing to do with positive or negative- only the will to survive. However, when it comes to honor — I don’t see attitude as having any important role. Honor is something within you and it is something very personal. It cannot exist without ritual.


just stop and think about that statement for a minute. Honor cannot exist without ritual. Think about what that means to you. I bet so many of you never really thought about honor so therefore you never thought about rituals or the role the ritual would play in keeping honor.

Honor in itself is a ritual. It is the ritual of doing the right thing for the right reason at all costs. Now sometimes honor can be taken to the extreme and things are done in the name of honor that are not very honorable. Other times honor can be used as an excuse to get something that you want. Let’s explore just a few examples of how the weak mind manipulates honor. Probably the most common example would be a fight. You’re sitting in a restaurant or even worse a bar with your girlfriend who is dressed like a slut and of course she keeps getting looks from all the guys trying to get a look up her skirt or down her blouse to rate the surgeons work. So you, being the honorable fellow that you are,  defend her so-called honor. You probably give a very threatening look back at all the drunks and eventually when someone makes a comment you feel that you must defend the honor of your slut bag girlfriend. Words are exchanged and if you had enough alcohol you engage in a physical confrontation all in the name of honor. I’m sure there may be a few of you out there reading this who have an issue with the way I keep referring to a male figure in all of my examples — nothing towards you manly females I’m just too lazy to keep writing he/she and I really don’t care about political correctness. By now you readers should now I write from the heart not the political manual. As far as my reference to the slut bag girlfriend it is pertinent and if you are offended by it perhaps you are someone;s slut bag girlfriend or you just have one of your own.    GOOD LUCK!

The first thing that we should explore in accordance with honor is who we give it to. If you’re a douche bag girlfriend or wife walks around with her tits hanging out or wearing a skirt so short that people think the former president came to town because all they see is “Bush”- then maybe you shouldn’t be fighting over her — maybe you should be making some money off of her. Though the concept seems correct in fighting for your woman sometimes it is not. The old codes of chivalry demanded that a woman’s honor be defended but it was meant to defend an honorable woman. In the aforementioned example there is no honor in fighting for a woman who invites comments. If you know that you will invite problems you should not be too surprised when they arrive. To make this an honorable example we will change the slut bag girlfriend to a conservatively dressed businesswoman type who is sitting there with her well behaved children who say yes ma’am and yes sir. And the husband, not boyfriend, is a well-built man exuding confidence and love for his family. In this example, if someone started making lewd comments to his wife, it would be honorable to smash their teeth out.

Let’s look at another example involving inter-office politics. You work in an office where gossip runs rampant. Promotions are coming up and you don’t want a bad rumor spread about your late-night antics at the bar a couple of months ago as it possibly may have involved a close female friend of the boss. In knowing that your ass is on the line if that should ever get, out you need a way to make yourself appear honorable. So Friday night comes and the same woman is at the bar. In an effort to erase your liability, you wait all night knowing that someone will make the same comments or be guilty of the same actions that you were a few weeks ago. Only this time you will defend her honor. So you sit around and wait all night. Finally, someone goes up to her and makes a comment about getting out of there and going somewhere else s for some fun. You casually stroll over and put yourself in a tactical position and even tell a few friends, “hey, I’ll be right back — I know that girl- I think that guys giving her some problems and I’m not going let that happen”. You take up your position and wait like a sniper or a recon ranger. And then you hear it -he finally offends her. You promptly step into action and ask her if this guy is bothering her — well you can use your imagination to figure out the rest. Monday morning rolls around and you quickly go to the boss stating that you hope you didn’t overstep any bounds as you have gotten wind that the boss may indeed know this woman — you go on to explain how things happened and, you being the honorable fellow that you are, could not just stand by and watch this abomination. You had to get involved and defend her honor. All this because you’re trying to cover up what you are guilty of. Clearly this is using honor for self gain. If we take out the wrong dishonorable actions long before the so-called honorable ones it may have indeed been an honorable act. However, it is rare that anyone ever does anything that does not benefit themselves.

I could go on all day with examples like this but I think you get the idea. Now let’s turn it to keeping your word. Honor cannot exist without rituals. You must have rituals in your life that continually ensure that you will do the honorable thing. For instance, it must be a ritual that when faced with failing at a task or completing one at all cost, it is your ritual that you will put everything else on hold so that you can complete that task. A good example of my own life is welding. I always wanted to learn how to weld and last year I bought a welder. I didn’t have any experience — I never even touched a welder. I watched YouTube videos for two months – 3-4 hours a night — and read all I could. I bought the welder, having no experience and made every mistake in the book. For eight months all I did was practice welding. I made security gates for my girlfriend, my parents, and myself. I learned as I went and screwed up so much that at times I just wanted to put a bullet in my head. But I did not quit. My ritual in life is that once something is hard and I see that I am failing at it, I see it as my enemy and diligently worked to conquer it. That welder was my enemy for many months. I would see it in my sleep and see the weld puddle in my mind every time I closed my eyes.  My dreams were filled the the mistakes i made that day- it was an unending torture.   Every night I would work for three or four hours on those gates and most of the time I would have to cut them up the next day and redo everything because I screwed up so bad the night before. But I kept trying and working through my problems. Now I am a pretty good welder. I have shown my welds to a few guys at the gym who work at a place that manufactures ambulances and fire trucks and some military equipment. They are very skilled so I trust what they have to say. In the beginning they roll their eyes and told me I should go to school. Every time I would go back to show them what I was doing, for months they would just keep telling me I really had to go to school to learn. In the end they couldn’t believe that I was showing them my work as the welds looked so good. One even offered me a job.

The point is I found honor in becoming a good welder. I had a task that I want to complete and my ritual is to never quit. If I had not been able to learn how to weld I would have felt a great dishonor and looked at myself as a loser because I could not complete something. However, I feel great honor in becoming the welder that I have become. No instruction, no formal teaching, just a lot of frustration, a lot of swearing and throwing shit around, and finally success.

So as usual I have taken a long way around to get to the point. The point is keeping your word and the honor that comes with it. This would be a much better world if everyone kept their word even when it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Everyone gives their word about everything these days but they never keep it. People freely give their word because there is no consequence for breaking it. I think we would all have a much better society if there were dire consequences for breaking your word. For instance, let’s say someone offers to help you with the task around your house and give you their word that Saturday they would show up for four hours and help you complete that task. When Saturday comes around and they don’t show up — you call them and they calmly say, ” something came up will have to make it another time”. It should be legal and thought of as honorable that when you see them, you inform them that they have offended you by breaking their word. Their lack of honor now has to be dealt with. Wouldn’t it be great if after informing them you could give them a choice to either perform some duty for you or you would beat the crap out of them? Imagine how few people would give their word if there was physical violence coming their way as a consequence of them breaking their word. But in today’s society of civility and laws that govern everything — even how many times you can flush your toilet in some areas — you cannot impose a penalty on anyone for breaking their word.

I live my life with honor and now in my 40s I take great pride in being able to say that I have rarely ever broken my word and when I have, I have punished myself far greater than anyone else could punish me. Recently I was faced with the dilemma of keeping my word and bringing great pain upon myself or breaking my word and losing my honor. So now we get to the meat of this article. There is a price to be paid for keeping your word in showing honor. The lesson is to ponder heavily what you give your word about and be ready to give up everything to keep it. We must all develop doctrines in our life that will guide us. Too many people lack these doctrines and rituals. Therefore, just float through life making the same mistakes and always breaking their word. They are certain things in life that I cannot tolerate. Many people have told me through the years that I was just being stubborn when I kept my word but I don’t see it as stubborn, I see it as honorable. You must be willing to suffer for honor. You must be willing to lose everything to keep your word.

In my own life I have always made a point to be very clear with people about things that I cannot tolerate and what the consequences would be. But because they have little honor in their own lives they never take these words seriously and then blame me for what they bring upon themselves. Sometimes it has been business dealings where I would tell someone don’t ever break an appointment with me. By breaking the appointment you will break my trust and I cannot do business with someone I do not trust. They give their word but then they fail at keeping it. So even though we are making money together I walk away from the money because I have given my word. My word was the business dealings would stop as a consequence of them breaking appointments — for whatever reason they failed to show up, it does not sit well with me-short of death there is no excuse that is valid. As stated earlier honor a very subjective and personal thing but I feel that when you tell someone a certain action will bring a certain consequence they should not be surprised when a consequence arrives. Sometimes there are actions that cause great distress and loss and other times there are actions that are so negligible in the theme of life that people see them as unworthy of attention. However, I don’t look at things that way. I see a broken word in any manner as a broken word. If someone cares about you — values your friendship — or even professes to love you — they will heed warnings and not break certain protocols. Now this is not a one-sided game. If you are to expect that honor you should also be willing to give it. If someone tells me to never do something and informs me of the consequences that will follow if  i do preach the protocol, then I have to weigh the consequences with the action and if that person is important enough to me or the cause is important enough, I will not breach the protocol. Sometimes, however, people that care about us very deeply just let their guard down in a moment of weakness or frustration and breach of protocol. This leaves us in a very precarious situation. If we overlook the breach and no consequence follows the action, what we’re really saying is, “you can do this over and over and no consequence will follow”. They will surely commit the same act again and again knowing that there is no consequence. When someone breaches of protocol that you have emphatically stated never to do they have lost respect for you.  It is at this point that you must give the offender a chance to make it right.  Perhaps you tell someone to never sit on the hood of your car.  If they do not immediately apologize,  then you know you have lost their respect.  Sometimes the offender may breech protocol because they are pissed off about something,  but it’s at that point that they must ensure they are right in being pissed off and not bringing past emotional baggage into the scene.   If you are to impose the consequence,  you owe the offender the chance to make it right.   You must be right in being offended.  YOu cannot make a mistake here.   Let’s say the offender stopped texting you in the middle of a conversation.   You owe it to them to ensure they deliberately stopped texting.  In today’s world technology can fail.  You cannot assume they broke protocol.   Perhaps a call to  them asking if the offense was intentional is in order.   If they tell you they knowing broke the protocol because they were just pissed off about something,  then you know you lost their respect.    But you have kept your honor.  You didn’t act out over emotion.  You got it straight from them….  they intentional did what you asked them not to.    The only thing you have to count on in the future is more of the same on all levels of interaction.   Today a text, tomorrow a promise,  and disaster if you are making life changing plans with that person.

A very general example would be this. You have someone in your life that you care about very deeply, perhaps this person is the most important thing in your life. For the sake of this example and to drive home the point we cannot let this person be a casual relationship — let’s say that it is a person from your childhood that you have lost touch with. You are eager to show them that you turned out to be a pretty good person and have success. But you remember a childhood fight were you hurt them very badly. Let’s say for many years through your life, no matter how much success you attain and no matter who in your life made you happy or sad, you always felt a heavy guilt that you hurt this person when you were a child. Maybe you beat up your friend over a piece of candy or said something very hurtful to them in the heat of an emotional flare up. Perhaps it was even an honorable thing where you gave your word and told them if a certain thing happened again that you would no longer be friends and that thing happened. Perhaps that friend tried to come back and make things right but you kept your word seeing it as the honorable thing to do and knowing that for as many times as that protocol had been breached it would definitely be breached again so you finally reached a boiling point and walked away with some sort of honor. However, through the years as you grew and matured he looked back and saw your own flaws. Now that you have regained a relationship with your childhood friend whom you have tried to explain that being so young you couldn’t handle certain problems and didn’t know what else to do. You realize that you were wrong in many ways but when you look back at the circumstances stealing that piece of candy or saying that hurtful thing was forced upon you — it was not done out of vengeance it was done out of desperation and despair. So now in your adult life you want to show your childhood friend that you have matured and move beyond those childish emotions. Now they see you as a commanding personality and a power to be reckoned with. When you first meet you are both very professional and on guard and keep the motion out of the mix. There is an honor between the two of you. You are both older now and both have achieved success — there is no reason for childish emotion. However, knowing that perhaps you were the stronger child and your friend still sees you as a bully, if you truly want to be honorable you will allow your friend to now see you as the week victim.

So your honor will dictate your path. If you truly want to make up for what you have done as a child you will let your friend feel pity for you so that the anger and hurt will subside.  After establishing your success in life and gaining the respect of your childhood friend it is now time to show that the monster they once thought you were is actually still that helpless little child who is easily hurt. This selfish thing would be to go on letting the friend think that you have no remorse for what you did as a child. Your ego can easily direct you at this point because your friend sees that you have turned out okay. Why would you want anyone to think less of you? Well it comes to honor. If you know that you hurt this person as a child and for many years wanted to make it right then you must put your ego aside and let this person sort of walk on you to give them back the confidence that you took from them. Perhaps when you were a child you were quick to lash out and engage in a physical correction. Now, to make things right you must show your friend that he can do things to you and get away with it. Perhaps your friend has lived with a lack of confidence in some area because of what you did to them as a child — how you bullied them. Now as an adult to redeem your honor you must let them bully you and see you as a helpless child. The problem with this is the lack of respect and continuing lack of protocols that will surely follow. As time goes on and you show your friend how much you regret your childhood antics and try to explain that had it been a different time with different circumstances none of that would’ve happened, your friend will slowly put down the bags they have been carrying all these years but they will also enjoy new freedom and confidence at your expense. Perhaps your friends parents were the ones to blame. I know in my own life my childhood friends would come over and my mother would promptly put out a buffet of food. Their parents did not cook — I was not invited to their parents house — I was never cooked for or cared for by their parents — so when they came to my house I felt cheated that my family would be so good to them when I had nothing from the theirs. Most of the time it would end up that they grew very sleepy from eating a good meal and just wanted to go home — that was the end of my play date. Many times when we lash out at someone and we lack honor, it is not because we want to, but because we don’t know what else to do. Many times we lack the control to make anything better especially when we are young. Whether it be a friend, a boss, family, or anyone that holds authority above you or the one that you care about, it usually resolves into people that care about each other suffering and the ones that caused the suffering who don’t care to never have a bad day. Divorce, loss of family and friends, usually anything that hurts us is because of an extenuating circumstance beyond our control. Rarely is an argument between spouses about what they are arguing about. It is usually about something outside of their control for  if they were able to control it they would laminate the problem.

So I’m getting back to our example of childhood friends, now you want to do the honorable thing and allow your friend to put down the baggage they have carried with them all these years. Now that you are successful, you no longer claim ego. Now all that is important is to let your friend know how much you thought about them over the years and how much you regret your childhood actions and to make them understand that you never really wanted to hurt them but circumstances were beyond your control, and at that young age you didn’t know any better. So you let time heal the wounds and allow them to grow strong. However, during your interaction you make them aware of your doctrines of your adult life. Perhaps you still carry with you not tolerating anyone who breaks the word. You inform them that as an adult you no longer get mad and lash out when people break their word you just simply stop dealing with them. Perhaps you tell them right up front about all the things that will terminate the relationship. If they care, they will never break these protocols. In my own life I have matured beyond lashing out and now I tell everybody upfront- especially my students, as long as I am bitching at you — complaining to you — complaining about you and telling you all my problems to the point that you no longer wish to hear them —  it is only because I care about you and I am truly your friend. It is only when I start to complement and no longer share my problems that you know that I don’t care anymore. For instance, a student that I care about- I will continually bitch about and  degrade further the lack of technique and many times their lack of honor in their personal life. It is my job to teach and complements do not teach. I tell each new student as long as I am complaining and insulting your techniques you know that I care that you and they will continue to learn — I will show you the personal things specific to you that will make you succeed. At the point that I say good job and  “you can make it work that way so keep doing what you’re doing but everybody else try to do it this way”, that’s when you know I don’t care anymore. Unlike everyone else, I am the most hard to get along with when I truly care about someone because I care about every aspect of their life. When I no longer care, then I agree with everything and distance myself. Many times keeping my word has hurt me. But I have put myself in a pickle. I either keep my word and do the honorable thing or break my word and break my honor. I have tried both ways and find that it is better to keep your word in your honor. If someone is to breach a protocol that you have set forth and there is no consequence they will most certainly do it again and again. If you do not keep your word and walk away you will only invite frustration. You have to look at what is and not what you hope that it will be.

So you have to be very careful about what you commit your word to if you intend to keep it. You cannot give your word about too many things because then you will be forced to keep it. The things that you are forced into doing because of your careless word will not be pleasant or good for you. However, you cannot be scared to give your word because then you will commit to nothing and you will have no honor because you never sacrificed anything. It definitely is a fine line and there is no other way to learn except by mistakes which cause suffering consequences for breaking your word. The price you pay is suffering the consequences of keeping your word when possibly you should not have given it in the first place. The price of keeping your word is definitely a hefty one many times. It requires you to give up what is most dear to you or  what will benefit you the most.

In the end, at the termination of life, the only thing that lays in a casket with you is your honor. It cannot be seen, it cannot be touched, it cannot be felt — it is just something ,that hopefully a few people will show up, and they will know one thing- that what they remember about you is that you are honorable. In my own life I have no siblings, my parents are old and will be gone soon.The greatest mentor, friend, hero and strength in my life i lost some time ago and now i am alone on the planet.  I have no other family and sadly I have just broken up with my girlfriend of 11 years. My breakup was an example of honor. There were certain things that I said would pull us apart and things I gave my word about and now I am forced to keep them. In talking about honor with someone it was brought to my attention that I was lacking in and I had to get my life back on track. Though it pains me greatly and I am so very alone, it seemed that nothing was changing and to live without honor was more painful than this loneliness. I am a very needy person and now I have no one but I do have my honor. My girlfriend was the greatest – put up with all my faults. She literally saved my life more than once — a debt I cannot repay. Without going into it , i have had the connection that I had with my girlfriend — she was my student long before she was my girlfriend. But to appear honorable to one I must lose the other. I don’t know what could show more care to someone then when you give up what you truly need — what you need to just live daily if you’re such a needy person like me,  than to say I threw all this away for the sake of honor. Few would understand.

To go back to the example of the childhood friend, perhaps your career was the most important thing to you — the thing that made you get out of bed every morning because you loved putting on a suit and going to work and sitting in your big office telling people what to do all day. Over the years,  you have started to complain about little things.  The job just isn’t what it once was,  but it’s still better than any other that is around.  But your friend is tired of hearing you bitch.  Perhaps to restore your honor with your friend you would give it all up. Perhaps your friend would throw it in your face that your whole life has been driven by ego- that if you truly wanted to appear honorable you would throw your career away and get a meaningless job but you would have your honor. So you follow the advice and make yourself miserable in hopes that your childhood friend would see you with honor – that after all the years of making them carry baggage from you – you go and allow them to set that baggage down and get on with their life, and now you pick up some bags and carry them yourself.   The honor in following your friends advice has surely not been the easy choice, or the best,   but you do it honor your friend.

A few things come to mind that I would like to close with on the subject of honor. As stated earlier, honor is a very subjective thing. There is no finite line of what is honor. You must develop honor through your life by contemplating your mistakes and evaluating yourself from a neutral third party point of view. You can’t go back and undo what you’ve done so it is important not to make too many mistakes along the way. The only thing you could do is suffer the penance to try to make up for what you have failed to do. I hope that I have given a reader many things to think about. As usual I have jumped around from subject to subject and touching on things that probably seems very irrelevant to one person while another person may see them as very relevant and very personal. I hope that there is a reader out there that can identify with the things that I have talked about and understand that there is more to this article than the written word. I hope in general that everybody will ponder the honor in their own lives and understand that honor requires suffering. Several things I’d like to leave off with is the honor of martial arts, the honor of a warrior, and the honor of a friend.

The honor of martial arts is the commitment to the undertaking of seeking perfection not only in the physical but as well as the mental and spiritual aspects of your life. First, it starts out about violence, then it turns into a fitness type training, then you start to see things differently, and finally — and only if — you have acquired a deadly skill — the skill to take the life of another very easily and the experience of battle — do you start to contemplate life and see things for what they are. A martial artist who has never been in battle — in real fights- suffered real injury — is like a hot dog. It may look like a solid piece of meat- it claims to be made from prime cuts — but it’s really just all filler and scrap –bits and pieces of nothing like the guy who has 15 black belts but really know nothing about any of his arts-                                                   nothing of substance it’s not a porterhouse steak.                                                                                                                                                 No matter how much physical you practice and how good you get at it, the spiritual and mental come from actual battle. That was the foundations of the old ways and that is what’s missing today. Only after facing death can you appreciate life but you must be prepared mentally for that. I feel that there wouldn’t be as many suicides with our returning soldiers these days if they had a martial upbringing. I don’t think these kids have the discipline to go to war. They come from a world of iPods and texting — the military training is not what it used to be 50 years ago as they can no longer abuse the troops physically — the training simply does not prepare them mentally for hardships of war. In my own life after I have faced death several times and now in my 40s I feel my body aging – I look at the gray in my beard and hair daily, I am definitely changing my view on what is important in life. Sadly what I had no use for and abandon is now very important to me and I don’t have it. And what I work so hard to get is starting to mean less and less. My big house is starting to become more than I can handle for upkeep — my porche and my big truck are becoming a burden to keep clean as I am so anal about keeping a show car finish — I am starting to get more and more fearful about riding my Harley as people are getting killed almost weekly around here. What I want now is companionship and someone who truly cares about me but I don’t want the headaches that come with it. It’s like starving and having Liver put in front of you. Sure you can eat the liver and live another day but I really don’t like eating liver. I do want my cake but I can’t have that as I have a sugar problem and am prediabetic. I am still tough as nails — perhaps the toughest I’ve ever been — but now I have no need for it. When I was involved in operations that demanded physical and mental toughness and a lack of care about living for another day I did not have the skill nor the physical toughness that I have right now. Now that I have it there is no use for it and it is actually a liability the way the laws are today.

The honorable warrior. That is a deep subject. It is easier to keep honor in the battle of war than it is in the battle of daily life. When bullets are flying and death is imminent the adrenaline rush and proper training and mindset can make you do miraculous things. You’re forced to live with a constant awareness that you may die but the brotherhood and the mission supersede your fear. This has been proven over centuries as far as military tactics and training. It is still practiced today. These young soldiers are wounded but keep firing to save their brothers — they embraced death for the sake of the mission. They are in a world that they cannot find in civilian life — your brother has your back and you have his — single-minded in purpose and operating as a unit. That is honor. But then they come back to civilian life where no one keeps her word and no one could give two shits if you take another breath or live another day.

Honor and friendship. Definitely the hardest to find, the most obscure to see, and the easiest to be overlooked if it is ever there at all. I would say the most honorable thing anyone could do for another person is to sacrifice themselves, their happiness, their wants and needs, for the betterment of the other. And as far as giving your word, sometimes when you give your word it dooms the relationship from that moment. Whether you give your word about never advancing sexually towards a friends wife and break it which ended your relationship or telling someone to never hang up on you – even if the  conversation was out of frustration because that would definitely end that relationship. However you break your word or they break their word — the word must be kept. The tragedy about honor and friendship is that the honor that keeps you together is the same honor that will ultimately keep you apart. Once frustration takes over and the protocol is breached the person who has promised a consequence must keep their word or they will not have honor. Sometimes you have to push away the person that is closest to you — sometimes you lose the one that you love the most in life — sometimes you lose your family — sometimes you lose your life. It will never make sense to anyone but you what you see as honor. Only those who truly care about you will respect what you see as honor and perhaps if they have dishonored you, the too one day will try to make good on it. So in closing I will leave you with a short story about honor

There was a village and the young people were starting to discover new technology — the ways of the West. The village had survived for centuries by the old ways — no power — no running water — the toilet was a hole in the ground. You get the picture. The old ways were dying out and it eventually became so bad there were only a few elders left,  a few very young children who couldn’t leave, and the ancient way of life doomed to parish. As the elders died off, so did their knowledge of how to live.  The farming techniques, hunting methods,  everything that was traditionally passed on from old to young was dying out.  No one was talking of the old ways.  Rivals were seizing the advantage of the weak village – taking their food and killing off the few warriors left.   Certain doom awaited this village. There could not be another generation as the knowledge to survive was not passed on.  One old martial arts master lived in the village. He alone carried the secrets that were passed down from the original master when the village was settled. He alone carried the knowledge to produce another warrior and carry-on the tradition of this proud village. As the young people were leaving one of his students came to him and informed him that he too would be leaving as the village did not seem to have a bright future. Wars were starting with neighboring villages about land disputes, food was getting harder to find as the population was growing, and in general the life had just become too hard. He wanted to experience the comforts of new technology. The master asked him why he wanted to leave and what honor there was and taking on this easy way of life. The student replied telling the master about all the new inventions like microwaves, air-conditioning, and how great it would be to take a crap on an indoor toilet that flushes. The master again asked what honor does this lifestyle have to offer? The student again went on to tell him about all the conveniences of modern day life- it was just a short journey away to get on a plane and embark on this new easy life. After much conversation the master he did not understand this way of thinking and did not see any honor in the student’s decision. The student asked the master, “well what do you have to offer me if I stay?” The master replied, “all I can offer you is a hard life, hard training, and when our village is taken over- a short life and a painful death –” the student looked at the master with great confusion and before he could utter a word the master said, “stay anyway and keep your honor”.

Be careful what you can give your word about. Think about what it will mean to keep your honor if you are called to task and have to keep your word. At the end of life you may discover that keeping your honor has lost you everything or you may die peaceful knowing that you kept your word and your honor – that if you had neglected these things your life would have been far more cluttered and those who have hurt you would’ve kept on hurting you. Honor is not just about keeping your word, it’s also about when you give your word. It’s hard to give your word about anything these days when it concerns other people because no one will take you seriously if they lack honor. In a rare occasion when you do find someone who truly cares about you and you give your word, sometimes down the road in the heat of frustration something will be said or done that will put you to task in keeping your word. It may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, it may be that you know you are throwing away what you searched for her for so many years, it may be that you bring a sadness on yourself that you can never get rid of, but you must keep your word. The trick is to exhaust all possibilities of rectifying something before it ever comes to this.

I think the greatest advice to end with is to be sure that you know what you are committing to and be sure you are able to keep that commitment. In the case of relationships, where things are usually blown out of proportion due to some type of emotion, it is important to look far down the road and know what the facts are before you act on them. Perhaps you meet someone who you think you want to spend rest of your life with, you better test the waters and piss them off to see what the outcome would be on a trivial matter because if you are living together you know there will be far worse things that will come along. If a joke or something trivial turns into a big thing then you know there is far greater things to follow if you embark on a journey together. If you’re looking for a business partner, you had better test the waters when it only concerns a few dollars to avoid bankruptcy later on. If you’re looking for a best friend and you casually say one day, “you are a bit of a bitch” — and they get all pissed off, then you known some day you would’ve said something bigger and that would’ve been a much bigger issue ending in a much bigger loss.

When people get upset is usually for something other than what they appear to be upset over. For instance, I cannot stand to be hung up on — early on I had a girlfriend that would always hang up on me. I was young and emotional. Now in my adult life it is my protocol that once someone hangs up on me I cannot go back to speaking with them. I make this very clear in the beginning of every relationship to ensure it will never happen unless they want to terminate our relationship. An old martial arts training partner who I was pretty tight with once hung up on me. I was trying to tell him about my girlfriend’s daughter helping me detail a van that had some chemical that I had put on the roof to get the scum off that had built up.  I sent the kid up there to scrub as I was too heavy and would have dented the roof. The strong chemical had burned her knees.  My girl was inside with her daughter trying to wash the chemical of. I felt so bad and scared of the consequences that I turned to my friend. He could not have a serious conversation with me and kept making jokes. I snapped at him telling him that this was a serious matter and that I just needed someone to talk to — he got all upset and yelled “fuck you” and hung up the phone. I never called him back and we never spoke for 12 years. The only reason why we ever made contact again was because his son was working at the grocery store and remembered me. I told the son to tell his father hi for me,  and the father told the kid to tell me high. I gave the kid my phone number and the father called me. It took another few years of casual calls every couple months or so until we started getting tight again but now the second time round I have laid down barriers that are not to be crossed as in my youth this guy used to pick on me and literally beat me up in martial arts class because I could not defend myself against such raw power and skill as he is 20 years my senior. When I look back, he showed little honor in abusing a young man that just wanted to learn. Now in my 40s, the age he was when I met him, I see I am very different — very honorable — compared to him as I would never treat a young kid as he treated me. But it all comes back to honor and giving our word. My first girlfriend had scarred me so badly by hanging up on me all the time that I could not take it as an adult when a grown man did it to me. Since then there have been a few that I’ve never spoken to again because of that. But I am always careful to tell somebody going into her relationship that the one thing that will definitely and are communication is to hang up on me because I had too much of it when I was a kid. So even though someone may hang up on me that means the world to me, whether it be a family member, a best friend, a business partner, a student — anyone — no matter how much they mean to me — I have given my word that once someone hangs up on me that will terminate communication and I am bound by honor to keep that word.

In closing I would refer back to the childhood friend. Let’s say that childhood friend hung up on you and it was your doctrine to never communicate with someone who hung up on you. If you have fulfilled your duty and allow them to put down the baggage that you made him carry all those years, then you have acted with honor. If you have allowed them to see you as a weak child and get rid of the view of the monster that once bullied them — if you have succeeded in making them understand that your childhood fights were not about you and him rather about people around you making the fights such as parents that would not let you play together or imposing curfews that interfered with your playtime, then you have acted with honor. In the end if your childhood friend is better off and you are suffering to make up for your past sins and you have acted with honor. It is rare that anyone sees this as honorable for doing the right thing but the one that cares about you — that truly loves you — will see that everything that you have done was for them and out of honor. Whether it be a girlfriend, family, or your gym buddy —  it takes people with honor to see honor and people without honor will never understand.

I hope the reader can come up with some examples of honor and dishonor in their own lives and from now on will act more diligently with the consideration of honor. I hope the reader will not be afraid to give their word and commit to things but will always evaluate what they are committing to and not give their word to freely. In as far as the martial artist, well I think we are the last dinosaurs soon to be wiped out by modern civilization and immediate gratification. It seems there is no place left for personal honor -only what the collective society sees as honor.

The ignorant are truly the bliss. A bird who has lived its life in a cage with clipped wings does not miss flying and soaring to great heights looking down on the earth. But a bird who has lived his life doing such things, being free, living life to its raw limits would rather die than have its wings clipped and finish its days in a cage. People who have done nothing with their life, who have not experienced hardship and looked death in the face cannot understand many things such as honor. It is sad that when people of honor come together the very thing that makes them honorable usually keeps them apart. A good friend would never have an affair with his best friend’s wife. Sometimes two people are meant to be together but because of honor they cannot. A good business partner would not cut a deal that would be the best financial move of his life for the sake of personal gain if it was not honorable.  For the sake of honor and not being a cheat to his partner, he must pass up this one time opportunity.  But that honor is what may very well destroy his life – he is giving up the one time chance at being a multimillionaire.

So think about the end of life so that you can direct your journey. If you just live life day to day there is no reason for honor. If you think about your final hours and what you’ll think about when death is approaching, you will carve out your journey a little differently.

“Not being tense but ready.
Not thinking but not dreaming.
Not being set but flexible.
Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement.
It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done



I suppose the best compliment anyone could give another person,  “I’m proud of what you have become,   even if you had to throw me off the cliff to prove your strength”.


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by thebrutalityofreality


THE flaw of positive reinforcement and classical conditioning…….. It can be seen in any modern arts dojo. I say modern arts because whatever style they may be teaching,  teaching it in the old ways were disciplined and consequences were the heart of training — now they are teaching it with a paycheck as the main focus. If the student does not progress mommy will not cut a check. If the adult does not succeed they will quit and so will their payment.

So first let’s define a few things. Let’s talk about a method of training that everyone is very familiar with. Class starts in a usual way and the classes run in a usual manner. There are no surprises, no real threat of dying, and always the psychological comfort of knowing that at any moment you can quit, take a break, get a drink, or really do whatever you want. You can even leave and never come back. Yet all these schools boast discipline. I fail to see it.

First we must always take into consideration when judging a type of training or school what the goal of training is. If the goal is a spiritual enlightenment then you had better seek out a school with a master who is everything that you want to be and has at least most of the answers you are searching for. If the goal is something to do for Junior after school and the kid just has to have fun, then you have many options. If the goal is purely fighting, there are plenty of schools that will accommodate what you are looking for. However, if the goal is a true martial path in a school that truly thrives on discipline and hard training ,then you have quite a challenge in front of you to find one that will fulfill your needs.

I will limit this conversation to the old training (koryo) and speak about the flaws of the modern schools and society as a whole. Everywhere we look today we can find examples of people who state that they are very disciplined yet are very weak. Anything that is to be compared is only a subjective view. If you could only lift 50 pounds someone who could lift 100 pounds is much stronger than you. However, we are conditioned to look at very narrow views and would generally say that the person is strong — not stronger. The willingness to accept the fact that a person that could lift twice as much as you can is strong is a failed view. Though the person is indeed stronger they may not be strong. Strong is a subjective term that can only be proven or unproven by comparison. The key is what you will compare it to. By comparison to someone who could lift 1000 pounds this strong champion is just a whimp, but in contrast to the even bigger puss that could only lift 50 pounds on his best day the whimp is quite a role model. It is this subjective view that has been so detrimental to martial arts and society in general.  What is a black belt worth any more?  Is the black belt the master or just a long time novice?   Without getting into martial philosophy of what a black belt means, one thing is certain….  There seems to be an over whelming amount of blackbelts out there.  Can they all be this good?  Even at the ages of children starting school?    They are blackbelts by comparison.  The standards have dropped so much,  that in my experience, today’s black belt is no more than a beginner in if we compare them with a black belt of 30 years ago.

We must first discuss the parameters of subjective views if we are to truly understand the value of the old ways. For this conversation I will limit the problem to this. The standards are so low today that everywhere you look in every field, and every dojo, and every job — everywhere… The standards of comparison have dropped dramatically over time. It is a simple fact that every generation is softer than the preceding generation. My generation grew up with more advantages in a softer lifestyle then my parents, my parents had it better than my grandparents, and when I look at the youth of today I am quickly turning into the generation before me saying the same things about how soft they are. Yes I even have used the phrase “when I was your age…” I find that I am using it more often. So speaking of training will naturally include a subjective view of what is good and bad, what is hard and soft, what is discipline and lacking thereof.

Today’s society is so empowered with the rights of the individual that the rights of the whole, such as the whole class or the whole of society are ignored. The needs of one seem to outweigh the needs of many. A few examples of this would be a whiny person who is always getting hurt and never succeeds in class. Though that person should really be told they don’t have what it takes to succeed and be booted from class they just keep on going and they seem to get their belts and at times even win trophies for some stupidity. The need of one outweigh the needs of many. At this point you’re probably thinking that it is the need of that one disaster of a student — that one talentless pain in the ass that keep showing up, however, I’m not referring to the student. I am referring to the owner of the dojo. The owner of the class is the one need that outweighs the many. That need is money and ego. Throwing a student out would decrease his money. If he threw out enough  he would destroy his ego. Simply he would not be able to boast of a large class. Society seems to teach to let things go rather than uphold standards and have to sacrifice. Though this talentless student may show great dedication he is still holding back the others due to lack of progress and talent. On this note I would like to emphasize in the strongest way possible that I do not believe anyone who tries should be denied training or the chance to prove themselves simply because they do not have the talent to succeed — no, my point is that the owner of the dojo does not even see this, he only sees a paycheck.

To stress this point for a moment, I would like to briefly speak of my own school. At many times I have taken on students that just do not have the physical or mental capacity to train at a high level. However, they are genuinely interested in training and have a great deal of heart. I would never turn anyone genuine away because they do not have talent or skill. But I would not put them in an advanced class and hold the others back. I have always separated my classes and taken people out of one training and put them into another which is usually a downgraded and softer path. I know as a few of you are reading this, those who are involved in martial arts, you are judging me and thinking that every school does this – but again it is a subjective view. My advanced class uses real weapons and we really strike each other quite hard. I teach in great detail and keep the students on the phone for many hours discussing the philosophy of many things. So it’s back to the conversation earlier of the subjective view on the guy who can lift 50 pounds {which I would equate as the standard dojo} thinking the guy who can lift 100 pounds is strong. The guy who can lift 100 pounds I would equate to the Premier dojo’s to be found anymore and people classifying them as the best. They are not the best  just as the second guy is not strong. They are better in the same manner that the second guy is stronger but neither is the best or the strongest. They only shined in contrast to shit. However, they become shit in contrast to the real way whether it be working out or training in the dojo.

So how does this tie into the title? Very simple. Everything these days that is to be taught ,whether in school or in the dojo, seems to revolve around one theory that I believe was instituted for the week mind. It was construed out of necessity to deal with the weak mind and derived from a choice between quality and quantity. It has been taken to extremes and I believe turned into the biggest scam and amoral way of teaching. It is positive reinforcement. Let me explain why. At this point I’m sure most readers have closed their mind saying this is ridiculous and have formulated their own opinion. Such is the goal with my writing , always to let the reader form their own opinion and then throw a curveball to open their mind. Positive reinforcement has been drilled into us as being correct — there have been many studies in psychology suggesting its validity. However, we must again look at the subjective side of positive reinforcement. So open your mind and try to understand rather than debate the negative side of positive reinforcement.

Let’s examine the qualities and advantages of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is giving someone credit for doing something good. In the case of the dojo a kick A. be lacking in many ways yet the instructor would give positive reinforcement stating that perhaps this stance is very good and the kick will come. The student being of a weak mind would not feel too hurt by this and would focus on his good stands rather than his poor kick. Being in business is a classic scam. It’s the sandwich of a compliment to ridicule and another compliment. Telework or something good then bring up the problem, Ben and off with the criticism and followed up quickly with a positive reinforcement of sorts. I will bluntly state that I believe people are of the weakest nature if they need positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement stroke your ego and gives a week mine that little something it needs to continue one. Positive reinforcement says “it’s okay to fail”. Positive reinforcement can be the most attractive team thing to anyone especially a young mind. Put this aside for a second and don’t judge it, just take it in and sat in the back of your mind like a piece of the puzzle as we discuss the next one.

Everyone is familiar with the experiments of Pavlov and that poor dog. On a side note what few people don’t know is that the dog was not given to meat but a meat powder and I have also read text stating that the poor animals had tubes inserted into their organs to test for the reaction of digestion. Though we have learned so much I think it is a horrific price to torture animals in this way. But back to the nature of positive reinforcement. In Pavlov’s experiment the poor dog was conditioned to think that every time he heard a bell he would get a pleasing treat. I won’t go into the rest of the experiment as an intelligent mind is already familiar with it and if you are not, you should research it on your own time. He showed that planning on something is a very powerful emotion. One that will not let us easily change our course once we have adopted the belief that a certain stimuli causes or gets us a certain thing. This is done in school, jobs, and especially in the modern high money dojo. Let’s examine the cause and effect of conditioning responses. You can make the argument that a worker shows up for his job, completes the task, and is paid money. That is a condition response much like Pavlov’s dog. Perhaps when the alarm sounds in the morning knowing that there is a shady day of work ahead we all have that gut wrenching feeling and don’t want to get out of bed, yet on a day off no alarm is needed to rise and a better feeling is accompanied with a morning ritual. The differences is the conditioned response. It is that on certain day we have to get up early and go to a task we do not enjoy versus days off being easier to rise since the threat of the job is not there.   If you enjoy your job then  you have the complete opposite effect — you can’t wait to get to work. In the dojo the conditioned response is that class starts in the usual manner and is taught in the usual way with the usual people going over the usual mistakes with the usual amount of safety and the usual class duration ending in the usual manner on the usual nights. Nothing really ever changes. The conditioned response is that if you go through this, you will get out and have positive reinforcement that you have succeeded. Let’s look at a more specific example of how a particular class would deal with strikes and blocks. The student pairs up with a partner. Let‘s just use Bill and John. Bill is paired up with student  John. Bill is a bumbling fool and not very coordinated whereas John is succeeding quite rapidly and has a natural ability. Bill and John are always partners. Always doing the usual stuff and nothing really changes or surprises them. Over the next year or so Bill, being a bad uke and not much of a martial artist imparts  a great deal of knowledge on John with his mistakes. However, in this scenario we will say that Bill and John both get constant positive reinforcement for their efforts. They are conditioned to believe that what they are doing is really training for real combat.  Here’s the problem. The lack of discipline and the role of positive reinforcement has made John come down to Bill’s level rather than making bill go up to John’s level. In my personal experience I have seen this so many times and been the victim of it a few times. John becomes complacent because Bill’s attacks are not very powerful or real. Bill is telegraphing and John has a little bit of sense to be preemptive  making John look like a superstar. John and Bill are always selected for demonstrations as John is easily able to manipulate Bill and Bill is happy to take it. Imagine this super duo in class. They would always appear to be the best students and probably get promoted the quickest. Bill standing on John’s ability and John succeeding through Bill’s inability.

Just take this all in for a second and look around your life. I’m sure you will see many examples of this. Somewhere in your daily life whether it be at work or possibly even at home by comparison you are much better or much worse than someone at something. Therefore, you probably avoid the things that you’re bad at and lean towards the things that you’re good at. You probably get positive reinforcement for shining on some tasks while you’re failed attempts are never discussed. Therefore, you have been conditioned to go after what you succeed at and avoid what you fail at because you are seeking positive reinforcement. The positive reinforcement in your life is what holds you back. What you feel you are succeeding at is always subjective. You are only more successful than the next loser in line but you are the loser when there is someone more successful ahead of you. So in the dojo that boasts practical and real training positive reinforcement is detrimental.

The positive reinforcement overlooks mistakes and produces a weak mind. You’re probably wondering how I can come up with a skewed view of positive reinforcement. There is another essential element to this conversation that I will leave till the end but for now let’s add a few more concepts to positive reinforcement.

The worst of the losers is the neutral person who never takes a side and just respects everyone’s ability and opinion.  At some point you have to take a stand.   Neutrality if for the lazy and cowardly.

Positive reinforcement goes hand-in-hand with classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is the example of Pavlov’s dog. Do something and get something. It happens over and over and over until you expect it and then you are conditioned. You put money in a machine and expect to get something of value out of it whether it be chips or coffee or whatever. You take a certain pill and expect a certain feeling. You stab yourself with a knife and expect a certain outcome. You get the idea. Classical conditioning done in the correct manner can be very good and produce a winner and a strong mind, however, society has a large role to play on what the conditioning consists of. In order to make a fair argument we must look at the current times. You can no longer tell people outwardly and publicly about their flaws. If you tell a minority something that is associated with the stereotype you may even get charged with a hate crime if a fight ensues. Gone are the days when you could freely make jokes and have the butt of the joke laughing with you. There is a smaller and smaller group that is willing to make fun of themselves. Yet making fun of yourself is the greatest thing that you can do for it says that you are aware of your failure and shortcomings. The key is to do something about those failures and shortcomings. Hell I used to have a little bit of a gut and people would make fat jokes about it. I am just the type of person that no matter how lean  the rest of me gets, I still have a little belly. This would always give me two choices. I could either be very bothered by someone else’s opinion and do nothing about my belly which would keep the hurtful remarks coming or I could lose my belly and eliminate the cause of the remarks that hurt me so much. I bet that sounded really good and everybody agreed with that. However, that was just a bait for my next point. I would count myself as a very big loser, a non-warrior, a disgrace in general if I let a comment about my belly bring me down. Follow this. Someone says my belly is fat and it hurts me. Why would that hurt me? Generally when you make fun of someone’s flaws, especially someone who is fat it hurts them deeply. Meaning=  it would hurt me only if I had nothing else going for me. But in my case I was always very powerful and that power only came from a lot of hard work and discipline at the gym. I also had a lot of hard work and discipline in my daily life and still do. So my fat belly was something I could not do anything about even though I tried but it was a minor infraction of my overall being as I was still much more powerful than those who called me fat. I had greater muscle mass and power. I could beat the shit out of them right there on the spot if I chose to. So this comment did not bother me much at all, in fact ,I would make jokes about it myself. Many times in class we would do an arm bar and I would be able to trap an arm under my belly across my legs and do an arm bar without using my hands. Since then I have leaned down due to health issues and no longer have my belly. It’s just a small little flabby pouch and now hardly worth mentioning. But I would make jokes about it myself and I was never embarrassed of it. He the source of my confidence came from the discipline of my life and succeeding at other things. I did not need anyone to positively reinforce those other things.

Confidence and self-esteem only come from the hard path. You don’t build confidence by not pushing yourself and you don’t build self-esteem by taking the easy way out. Positive reinforcement and classical conditioning often promote the easy way out and condition the weak mind to be even weaker. So getting back to John and Bill, let’s say some years have passed and the two have just been superstars. John and Bill are in a dojo that boast very hard disciplined training for real life. John and Bill both know through positive reinforcement and classical conditioning that their techniques are bulletproof. Somewhere in John and Bill’s future a giant ass kicking is waiting for them. At some point if they engage a real fighter Bill will quickly find that in a real fight no one will have the courtesy of pulling their punches and working in the form that he is classically conditioned to respond to and John will quickly find that not everyone is as soft as Bill and his strikes that he has been classically conditioned to believe will disable someone will most likely go unnoticed.  For reasons of his conditioning thru positive reinforcement, he will suffer great bodily damage in the fight.

Positive reinforcement and classical conditioning is totally dependent on the view of what a positive and negative reinforcement is from both the student and teacher. Again it is all subjective. I think positive reinforcement — focusing on the good =is a total waste of time. It’s like a fortuneteller saying something good will happen to you. Who really gives a shit if something good is going to happen? Let it! I want to know about the bad that will happen so I can do something about it. I call positive reinforcement focusing on the failure but everyone else calls it negative. The difference is subjective — it is the difference between a warrior mind and a loser. The loser wants to hear only good things , maybe a sprinkle of criticism here and there, but generally good things. Whereas the warrior is more interested in the negative because it is a negative that gets you killed. The negative of not blocking correctly will get you killed. The negative of not striking correctly will make your strikes ineffective and possibly get you killed. It is the negative that we should all be concerned with when we  think about our daily lives, not a positive. Only through focusing on the negative can you correct those things. Focusing on the positive makes you ignore the negative and therefore conditioned you to be a loser.

I think now something has sparked in her mind. It you are starting to get the idea that I am trying to put across. The key is that Paul the parties are winners and mentally tough. The key is that both parties are going in the same direction looking for the ultimate same goal. If the student is looking for belts they cannot train under me for it that is not my goal to promote students. If there is a conflict of goals what is seen as negative and positive will also conflict.

The missing concept that makes positive enforcement and classical conditioning a success or failure is the goal. It is essential that both parties have the same goal and look at training in the same manner. I would much rather be told all the things that I am doing wrong so that I can correct them. Being told that I am doing something right is of little use to me. I don’t need a compliment to  make me feel good, and I don’t need it to give me the strength to go on. My goal is to master something so ,therefore, I need the information of what I am not mastering. It is just a waste of time to know what is good. I tell students over and over how bad they are doing. Rarely do I ever give them any positive reinforcement but when it does come it means a lot because it is so rarely given. However, the positive reinforcement is only the perception of the person getting it or giving it. So in the classical manner I give very little, almost no positive reinforcement. The classical conditioning in my way is that if you’re not doing it correctly, there is a consequence. I want my guys to be able to defend themselves not be bullies. It is the responsibility of all of us in class to develop a strong warrior mind that does not fight with ego and does not seek to hurt someone unjustly. It is my responsibility to carefully hand out knowledge and make sure that I do not arm someone who cannot handle the responsibility. This method of guarding knowledge  in itself is a positive reinforcement. When someone in my class is shown a better way to do something they instantly know that they have succeeded in proving themselves and that is why they are getting this extra bit of knowledge. That is the classical conditioning. However, I see these examples as being far different from the commercial dojo that classically conditions the student to get belts and trophies.

In classical conditioning we must have other support systems behind it. Classical conditioning requires other elements for the conditioning to take place. It would not be conditioning if there were not a negative and positive associated with the action or a fear of consequence or an extinction of the habit or consequence. Let’s examine these other attributes. Not only does classical conditioning involved positive reinforcement but also negative reinforcement. Let’s look at negative reinforcement for a moment. This is probably the most common practice in all of our lives. Usually brought about through loss of control and resorting to last resorts. Someone can nag too much about a certain topic. Let’s say,  taking the garbage out. You don’t want to perform the task .  By not fulfilling the wish of the nagger,  you keep hearing the same nagging.   You finally get so disgusted with the nagging that you take the garbage out. This was negative reinforcement. You were taught that if you have a certain action or lack of a certain action that the consequence will be negative in nature. I’m sure all of you can think of it least 1000 things in your life that are examples of negative reinforcement. Those of you with children most likely use negative reinforcement all the time without knowing it. Now that the word “negative” associated with something you do it probably gives you an uncertainty about your actions. Many parents will take a privilege or a toy away from a child when they are bad. This is negative reinforcement. Using negative reinforcement is indeed a powerful tool and I believe if used in the right manner can be much more advantageous than positive reinforcement. Many will disagree simply because it’s negative in nature, however, the undisputable proof is there that when someone won’t do some thing for the right reasons,  negative reinforcement is the only solution.  It is the foundation of our legal system.  Break the law and go to jail.    Negative reinforcement  keeps many  from getting in trouble.   

The next element that we should look at them is a side effect of the reinforcement. It is a punishment or reward. The punishment is of course naturally associated with negative reinforcement, however, if you open your mind you’ll see that positive reinforcement can create a much greater punishment than negative reinforcement for it never addresses what has to be fixed.  Example: The child does not complete a task and negative reinforcement is enacted by taking away the child’s phone. This act in itself is to be called a punishment. Through classical conditioning the child will soon learn that when an act or lack of act is committed it will result in the loss of privileges to use that phone. Now the only choice is — is the loss of the phone a harsh enough punishment to make the child act in a certain manner or is the task too great and makes the loss of the phone the easier way out?.  Again the character of the participant must be studied in great detail.   A child who never wants to disappoint the parents will comply for a greater reason than just the loss of the phone.  The phone is simply a symbol of failure and the disappointment of the parents.  However, the child who lacks character and does not care about the parents’ disappointment will only see the loss of the phone,  and only if the loss is too great,  will the child comply.  So it is with a student.  A good student will see correction as gift and duty to make it better while the loser sees it as negative and doesn’t care about the failure.  Any type of reinforcement and conditioning methods should be dictated by the character of the student.

Another important example is an extinction or removal of a certain stimuli. The phone is the stimuli that is removed in the former case. In any conditioning there is always the response to a stimuli while the removal of the problematic stimuli is usually involved. Let’s look at this in martial arts. If Bill throws a punch at John and John does not correctly block allowing Bill’s fist to make contact with his face,  then John’s goal is to block correctly in order to facilitate the extinction of the fist in his face. If we look at things in this manner I think you will gain a better understanding of the whole picture and the problem with positive reinforcement . Positive reinforcement usually does not deal with what the extinction of the problem rather with the avoidance. A positive reinforcement in this manner would be that John did not block correctly but he sure can take a punch ,what the guy. Bill’s positive reinforcement would be that he is a very good striker. My method would be to use negative reinforcement and make fun of Bill for his poor strike. The goal would still be the extinction of the fist in the fist in the face but I would use what is deemed negative reinforcement.

There are a few more things associated with classical conditioning whether negative or positive. This will be best understood if we use a dog being housebroken as the example. The doggy pees , two hours later you see the puddle and proceed to beat the poor thing for peeing in the house. The dog has no idea what he is being beaten about since the incident has happened long ago. In housebreaking a puppy you must discipline the animal at that very moment that the infraction occurs or the poor dog does not know what is being disciplined for. This brings us to correction. It is very important in any type of conditioning correction that it take place at intervals. No one ever really stopped to think about this part therefore conditioning is a failure. Let’s look at a few types of conditioning. There is fixed and ratio meaning that one conditioning is every time something happens. You can expect a consequence. The other gives you a ratio of infractions before the consequence is realized. A couple of examples of ratio reinforcement is that of your work policy. There are most likely some parameters laid out that you get written up a certain amount of times and then a certain consequence is invoked. Of course this only works when the threat is always delivered. If you work in a place where some get written up 50 times with no consequence and others get fired for getting written up three times as stated the conditioning now comes beating the system not the write ups. Ratio reinforcement is simply that there is a known amount of infraction or stimuli between cause and effect. In the case of Bill and John, the ratio stimuli would be that John, being a sound fighter, would always put his hands up signaling  he is ready to fight or as Bill being a bumbling idiot would shake his hands like he’s making martinis because he is nervous in class and his palms are always sweaty. When John sees Bill shaking his hands he would know that Bill is defenseless and therefore always get a strike in whereas when Bill saw John’s hands in a certain position he would know that John was at his peak of readiness and would be able to block easily so Bill would not try to strike at that moment. That’s a bit of a stretch but it applies in the same manner. A more accurate dojo concept of a  ratio reinforcement would be on your test. If you fail a certain amount of techniques then you would fail the test. This would be a fixed rule that would not change and you could count on. After failing a certain amount of techniques you would not have to be told that you would fail the test , you would know. Anything that has a specific schedule of warnings or some type of stimuli before a consequence whether good or bad is enacted could be a ratio reinforcement.

A fixed reinforcement would be anything that is set in stone and does not change such as time in grade. Many schools have this concept that no matter how talented you are you have to spend a certain amount of time as a certain belt before you can be promoted. So you know that if you spend this time and do certain tasks within that belt you will get promoted on a schedule. Another example of a fixed reinforcement would be an interest rate. You know that over a certain amount of time you will collect a certain amount of interest on a certain amount of money yielding a certain return.

Whether a ratio or fixed reinforcement, the key is that the reinforcement always be delivered in the terms in which it was laid out. You cannot tell a child that the third time you tell them to complete a task and they don’t will result in a punishment, then sometimes tell them five times and sometimes only once. This is confusing. Any reinforcement must be delivered at a constant interval and in a constant manner otherwise the conditioning will not be learned. The use of making the extinction of a certain stimuli the goal is perhaps the underlying reason conditioning works. In the case of the child they are seeking the extinction of the punishment and in the dojo we are seeking the extinction of pain from being hit or fear from being an inept fighter. Without these elements conditioning will usually be confusing and fail.

Another element which is usually part of the conditioning experiment is the variable of success. A variable ratio is basically your odds. If you play the lottery and lose three out of four times but consistently win on the fourth ticket you will be conditioned to always lose three times and most likely place a small little wager but on the fourth time, expecting to win, you will spend a lot of money to increase your return. In the dojo we can see examples of this in sparring. Let’s go back to John and Bill. Bill has been conditioned that the ratio of John’s steps dictate when he is going to move in and try to grab Bill whereas John has been conditioned that the ratio of Bill’s jabs tells him when Bill is about to fire the haymaker and John easily blocks it. So every time Bill does three little jabs he is going to fire a wild haymaker — John knowing this always blocks it and looks like a hero but is only a hero because he has figured out the variable ratio of bills jabs.

As usual I save the keys for last. Variable interval is perhaps the best way to keep the performance. Again let’s look at your job. If you have a job that requires inspections — perhaps a restaurant, then you may or may not know when the inspections will take place. If the inspections are fixed you will quickly get ready for them and once they are gone you will feel that you don’t have to be as aggressive in your duties since another inspection will not come for a while and you will know before it happens. With variable interval concepts the inspection can happen at any time. You would have to keep the restaurant clean and perfect every day as you don’t know when inspection may take place. In the dojo the same concept is valuable when the students are constantly thrown into chaos. A class that is very familiar and never changes is not a class that teaches very much but a class that keeps the student in constant chaos with techniques constantly changing dictates that the student must be very aware and at peak performance all times or there will be consequences that are not wanted such as injury or dismissal.  In the case of Bill and John,  if  Bill and John are to be graded every three months they may slack off around the fifth or sixth week taking a break and start to become complacent but when the three-month check is near they will quickly regroup and move back to a higher level of training to get through the past or review.

The problem with anything fixed is that we quickly learn that it is fixed and are able to compensate it. An inspection that is to be done on a known date will allow employees to slack between those dates and quickly get ready for the inspection of the job review. But once they’re past that, they can quickly move to a complacent state again with little consequence. Whereas anything that is unknown, interval, dictates that you can get in trouble any day. The only consideration here is how valuable is the job or in the case of the dojo ,training? Only if a student is truly worried about getting thrown out will they always do their best. If surprise tests are given then the student must always know the material or fail. If there is a fixed schedule on which the students test or a certain material that is to be known in a certain time, the student can slack and become very complacent as long as they can manipulate the system and be sharp for that moment.

So far we can see that the simple concept of positive reinforcement is indeed a very complicated one and to be done correctly it must interact with classical conditioning. There are many elements that must be adhered to and the teacher must be diligent even more so than the student. If there are no consequences the reinforcement will not be taken seriously. In the case of positive reinforcement the consequences of good feelings and a conditioning is always taken to heart because it produces those good feelings. In the case of negative reinforcement the feelings produced are usually sullen and depressing and the weak mind will quickly lose motivation. The problems with anything fixed is that you can manipulate the system. If a child knows that a certain amount of warnings will be given before a punishment is enacted the child will push those warnings right to the edge and just before the punishment is about to be stated the child will complete the task or stop the behavior. Anything that is interval requires the student to always be at peak performance but there must be a clear and present threat of failure or dismissal or the will to succeed will be diminished.

Classical conditioning interacts with all of these concepts according to the skill and dedication of the teacher. However there is one last point that is always overlooked. Whatever you are training for, whatever you hope to succeed at in life requires that you train for it. In the work force world we see that a welder is actually trained in an environment that he will be working in with the equipment that he will work with. A mechanic is also trained in the environment that he will work in with the equipment that he will work on and with. A surgeon is trained in the environment that he will be in the equipment and problems that he will work with. Yet in the dojo they train for real combat, or so they claim, but they do not train in the environment that such combat will take place in.

How is it possible to train for something if you do not train in the environment that will take place in and with the tools that you will have to work with? Herein lies the problem with positive reinforcement and classical conditioning. Today’s commercial dojo is a plethora of safety. They are nice soft cushy mats and soft cushy pads for the students to wear. There are no sharp weapons that could hurt you and sticks are usually padded. It is air-conditioned in the summer and he did in the winter. There are plenty of lights and a good atmosphere. At this point I think some people who train may be confusing the point of this last paragraph. I am not speaking of discipline and safety I am merely pointing out that in all aspects of life we are trained in the environment in which we will be working in with the tools we will work with , and the problems that we will face when at work,  yet in the commercial dojo  the students are trained in the opposite faction. They are positively reinforced and classically conditioned that they are combat ready when they are only blocking a rubber knife or disarming the rubber gun. How can a gun defense be taught if the student does not have a real gun to work with and lacks knowledge of how a real gun works and what the bullet will do.? How can a student be prepared for a knife fight by practicing with a dull knife? How can anyone be taught to fight if there is never any fear of getting hurt.? After all if you are seeking a combat  art that will help you in a real fight in the real world, how can you learn this if you train anywhere but the real world? Discipline and ritual are the heart and core of any classical fighting system. You cannot be a great warrior without those elements. There is just some esoteric goodness that comes from a strict discipline and ritualized class that cannot be explained only experienced. However, I do not see how a rubber knife, a  rubber gun, or padded stick can prepare you for the real world. This brings us to the last part ….
operant  conditioning.

Operant  conditioning is the most useful and the most overlooked part of any type of training.   There is no need for safety pads.   Your partner should have enough control not to break your ribs but you should also have enough toughness to take the hits. A pad only teaches you to let your guard down and takes the fear away from the strike but in the real world, the first time that a real strike is really felt you won’t know how to deal with the consequences of your failure.  You have been classically conditioned to think that the strike will not hurt you. In the real world you’re killing blow that you have been classically conditioned to think will disable your partner , the magic strike that you have been positively reinforced in the notion that you are a powerful killer because your partner is compliant and your instructor tells you it will work will be greatly challenged in the real world. Operant conditioning is simply putting someone in a situation over and over and allowing them to know what to expect and to learn from that situation. A classic dojo example would be that a grappler who is inexperienced & keeps getting choked. This will work for a while until novice figures out that every time he leaves his neck exposed the opponent will quickly seize the opportunity to get his arm around it and quickly choke him. Again the key factor here is fear and pain — reality. If they are simulating chokes the novice will have a hard time learning because the consequence is not distasteful. However, if the novice is quickly choked to the point of passing out the fear of this will quickly teach him to guard his neck. If someone is continually punched in the face because they steal drinks at a bar they will quickly learn not to steal drinks. This type of conditioning is based upon consequences and cause and effect. There cannot be a true learning in a combative nature if the environment is left out. In the real world there are no mats and I’ve never been attacked by a mugger with a rubber knife or gun.

 Classical conditioning can be a great tool or the greatest detriment to learning depending on the goal in view of the student and teacher. It has to take into account the character of each. If the student is sensitive and is seeking confirmation of greatness and the teacher is seeking to teach a very real and effective course of combat there is a conflict. The student will want to hear good things — complements- yet the teacher who feels an obligation and duty of honor to point out the flaws that could get the student killed in real life will constantly tell the student about his failure. Whereas the student with a weak mind takes criticisms as negative the warrior mind takes them as positive reinforcement. Someone who really wants to learn will be grateful for all the criticisms and critiques. If you do not train in a real environment with all the climatic variables and terrain differentials you will not really be training for combat. In my class I am not concerned with competitions or titles. I do not base my teachings on anything other than reality and the old ways. The old ways were much better and produced much stronger students with much more knowledge. Today everyone wants to sue somebody for something and has this self deserving attitude about everything. Parents feel their kids should succeed just because they showed up and adults feel they should succeed for  the same and other stupid reasons. Again we must look at the military and their special forces. Not just anyone becomes a SEAL or Marine Recon or Airborne Ranger because they had a good attitude and tried hard. There are strict criteria that must be met in the selection process that must be gone through. The ones who do succeed are filled with pride that cannot be described only experienced. They emerge with a strong constitution that cannot be knocked down. They have been negatively reinforced with many variables. Always on the brink of being thrown out for failure which causes them to always try their hardest and be at peak performance and awareness.

If you’re looking for spiritual ride or a hobby than this entire article will be useless as it goes against the fundamental tenants of such things. If you’re looking for a dojo that will get you promoted quickly and a wall full of trophies, then this article will not make much sense. But if you’re looking for training that will produce a warrior who can indeed hold himself up to the world and claim himself as a true martial artist or even if you are not in martial arts and just seek to live as a citizen above the rest , I think you will ponder this and make sense of it. As is my style I want the reader to always walk away slightly confused with new thoughts and questioning their old beliefs. I do not want to state my views strongly nor do I seek to use cunning words to sway the readers opinion and judgment. It is my intention to just offer facts and make clear that we all are involved with classical conditioning and reinforcement of some type in our daily lives. If you take the time to understand it I think you may do things a little differently. If you are a parent, possibly parent a little differently. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the complacent way of society.

In the end you can’t grow a dead seed. Conversely , the most fertile seed will not grow without the right nutrients. A teacher must have the welfare of the student in mind always. A teacher must not look at financial gain or trophies. A teacher must not let ego get in the way and seek to always be right. A student must not want these things either. A student must look at the negative as the most useful for it tells the student where he is failing. A student should not seek complements or any type of positive reinforcement for those are the signature of a weak mind if that is what is needed to go on. In our daily lives if we get offended about comments that concern our physical appearance, perhaps there is not much else in life to be proud of. Thru discipline and hard training you should have much more in your life to compensate comments about your physical appearance. When your feelings get hurt too easily that is the sign of the week life filled with failure. Every day we are victims of conditioning. We must keep vigilant not to be conditioned in the wrong ways. After all that big Mac on TV does look a lot better than a plain piece of chicken that we should be eating and it would be easier to skip the gym and just watch TV all day. I hope that the reader won’t walk away from this article lightly and will ponder it often throughout their lives. Philosophy is integral to our lives and those around us. Often mistakes are made and we don’t even know it. Knowledge is key to everything.

 So give yourself some negative reinforcement today and think about all the things that you do wrong. Don’t get down about it — do something about it. If you are fat and lazy , change your diet and be more physical. If you are emotionally weak , get strong. It’s just that simple. If things don’t matter to you enough to change, soon nothing in your life will matter to you at all.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality

















  My name is …., and I am interested in what you have to offer.  I HATE the styles of self defense where you have to train with someone who has trained to “fall”.  If the technique works, it works.  I am concerned with ending any conflict quickly and efficiently, by any means necessary, for my family’s sake.  Any more information you could give me would be appreciated; cost, your training or experience, times, anything you feel may be important to my decision making as to me choosing to train.  Thank you for your time.

most replies get deleted,  I’m replying to you due to your no bullshit approach and the content of your mail.  It shows that you have some thought of what you want and the ability to communicate

most students are required to take a couple private lessons before class is discussed,

Yes times are tight, but training here is not a commercial event.  many are tight on money now, but sacrifice is part of training

If you make the cut,  it will be given back in training many times over,  but I can’t waste any class time with a new guy who can’t cut it then quits

the new guy takes a lot of time, everyone suffers –  if you train here you will appreciate this protocol when you are on the other side

There is a great deal of communication between my and the trainee

notice I didn’t say student.   Only a select few will be a student

via email  aside from class I send a great deal of info ,   vids, text,   things you need for class,  but don’t have to do in class,

training here takes discipline and dedication

there are many things you can do on your own,  class is for physical correction,  class is not a college lecture

I started training in 76,  was beat up a lot in school.

just kept training and searching for what works,  found that what I did as a kid didn’t work outside the dojo

the last 20 years or so have been dedicated to solving the riddle of “why”

why does it work and why doesn’t it

I have experience in close quarter protection and other areas that allow me to bring a very real edge to the training commercial schools lack

I have experience in multiple styles and have studies a few in their complete form

many aspects of many styles are similar,  I am now Japanese Jiu jutsu based as it encompasses all aspects of combat

I don’t train with compliments,  only correction and discipline

there fore I cannot open a public place with a rent as I would not have students,  people are too soft and feel they pay to succeed not to fail

I don’t do competitions, and my people are forbidden from that crap

no walk ins

class is one time weekly for 2hrs+

$100 per month to be paid the last class of every or the very first of the new month,   late means you are gone,  if you can pay your fpl on time, you can pay for class,    payment is an honor issue,  not just a bill you get around to

training is available at several levels,

the highest is the old path,  requires study and dedication

at this point I have not found anyone who is disciplined enough to follow the path in years

next is training that incorporates the japanese terms,  but the with less study comes less teaching,

If you can’t be totally dedicated to learning,  I won’t waste my time being totally dedicated to teaching    you have to practice on your own time

techniques are very real, class is ever changing,    the flaw is that with the old path you spend the first year learning stances and basics , the next several years still working on the same 5 throws, the same few things but get very good and understand your body and combat,   at the lower levels,  the classes change and though it seems like you are learning much more,  you never really get it down,  and when it’s time to fight you have to relay on aggression rather than technique

the less effort the trainee puts in the less I teach.
example”   some one throws a hook punch and you want a tech. to block it and take them down
If you just want a move,  I will instruct you to keep your arm high and move into the punch with your body to stop it as it has a great deal of force coming your way,  then hit the guy as hard as you can,  and if you see an chance to trip him,  do it.  the hit could be right in the face and followed by a knee to the crotch     sound good?

the next level up would be”
you have to determine what type of hook it it, close=wild- short boxer,  many different types,
do you have enough time to get in on it or should you pass and then attack.   or maybe in reading the fight you see  that you can win by using kicks and staying out of range,  many things to consider,  possible this guy is drunk which allows you to control him as he lost his balance with booze,  or he’s just pissed and you can’t out power him  so you have to use joint manipulations,   and watch out for the law,    make sure you are not getting outside of self defense
then i would demonstrate several possibilities discussing the variables and different types of strikes and specific spots and pressure points.
possible throws and take downs,  the possibility of multiple assailants,  the terrain,  stances, presence of bystanders, weapons ,  and that’s just a start

the true path would not address a stupid question like that as the training would take you thru so many basics that a question of what to do off something would be grounds for dismissal,    in the true path there is no “what would I do off of”   there is only what you would do at that moment and it will be different each time as nothing is ever the same even in training,  changing 100th of a degree of angle or less can change everything,  mind intent changes and changes your reaction     the true path answers all the questions before you have them
but that is a tough path,   and these days it seems everyone is too soft

and finally the lowest is the one teaching “moves’
no study,  just come to class and get a move
it will work for me ,  I make the whole thing seem very sound and a killer move,  but then the trainee quickly finds that they can’t make it work
I can show a very simple take down and make it work by being the fall down guy,  but in reality it’s not going to do anything
so why train at that level.  it’s still far better than other schools as it teaches very real techniques,  the problem is that I can take a simple move and make it work due to my years of following the  true path and working the basics,  if you don’t have a foundation it won’t work
this is usually reserved for people who have a great many years of experience and just want to make their techniques street worthy
like you said, the dojo is full of fall down guys.
many times I have had someone who trained at another school for 20 years or so,   very high rank,  come thru seeking “why” they got the shit beat out of them in a real fight,   all that rank and all those trophies were worthless in the fight.    I bring reality to the table,  but it’s bad for business
it’s only for those who seek a way of life,   not promotions

so at this level,   if the trainee has a great deal of knowledge I will be able to give specific advice on specific matters,   but again there is a base of many years of study,   the novice will just ask “what do I do off of”….    and the answer for someone seeking a quick fix is.
don’t get hit and smash the fucker hard,   get mad, get on him and don’t back off
aggression must compensate lack of skill
so jump into that hook punch and use your forearm to stop it,  hey maybe you get hit on the way in but it’s a fight…  try to grab something and control him, take him down,   then i will show you some very simple trips, not throws as they require years of study,   and then maybe a simple joint hold and lots of kicking  a simple and very correct aikido tech.    I don’t see it working in an real fight,   and the attack is not real, we attack each other in a very real manner,   you can only train as good as your partner attacks
I would add much more movement, variations, and hitting,  and consideration of the law     but this is very good and correct  typical bullshit,  here’s a key for you,   the person teaching will have some common attributes across the board that ties them to what they teach,  a fighter is usually in good shape and teaches athletic techniques,  a fat slob teaches lazy bullshit ,   a woman teaches tech. will always win over power,   get it?   everyone teaches to make themselves look good,   you would never see a fat woman saying she can’t really defend herself and her skills are worthless,  but reality says that a fat pig won’t do too well after getting thrown down,  they can’t get off the couch let alone the ground,  and the worst is the kids defense,   I bet any adult could slap the shit out of any kid and the kid can’t do a thing about it,   unless the adult is in such poor shape and so frail that the kids hurts them—teaching self defense is a moral issue,   you are telling someone to trust you with their life and trust what you tell them to save your life.
if you open your eyes to reality,  you will see there are fighters who are just tough but really don’t have much to teach other than fighting,  there are technicians like the one above but they can’t really fight,    the key is the technical fighter that has so much knowledge that they “see” everything and can teach individuals
this chick clearly has no talent and is a shameful example of the bullshit out there,   she is saying there is no reason to be in shape,  she doesn’t demonstrate any command of body mechanics and can’t even speak well     yet she is telling a child to trust their lives to this bullshit so her ego can feel good
I teach kids very differently,  and families differently,   sometimes you have to accept you can’t win if you engage   much better instruction and points,  I would consider this the second level,  though I am more open to variables
but this takes time and dedication   there is a lot of movement here,  the green belt is intermediate,  hapkido is korean jiu jutsu
she has atleast a couple years behind her and she still really couldn’t do it,  but it seems she is in it for the long hall and seems in good shape   most common today is the brazzillian fihghters.   they don’t address the terrain of the real street and multiple assailants
and this kid isn’t really fighting ,  his left is down and he’s weak
but this is why we train for all aspects,  have to be a ground fighter when someone takes you down
this is more of a trip not a throw,    it works,   I would call this more the 3rd and lowest level of my classes,   and actually lower than that,   it does not address variable hooks, size, and terrain,  it is just a move and requires strength and agility    not a good move for someone with bad knees or back,   it is a young guys defense and won’t work when you get older   this fat slob has good things to say but is horrible,  the throw he is attempting is o goshi,  hip throw or maybe uke goshi
can’t tell cause he don’t know
the block is weak,  the yelling is useless,    I would put my 16 year old trainee against him any day,   kid would rape him
tooo many things wrong here to discuss but I think you get it,
next guy.    no talent,  hips too high on throw    and if this is a defense why don’ tthey hit each other?
we hit,   this is dojo bullshit

everyone comes in saying they want the old way, but I find those strong hearts are gone quickly- that’s why there is such a long probation time

the old path is a one year probation to prove yourself

think of it as selection for special forces,  try out to try out to try out,   if you make the cut,  then you actually get to try out to be part of that class

I doubt that will be possible,   let’s focus on the latter

all aspects of combat are in class,   standing, grappling, weapons, joint locks, the whole nut

class touches on different styles so you know what to expect from different fighters and how to beat them

heavy focus on dealing with mma and boxers as that is so popular

if you are looking for the quick fix,  I suggest private lessons,   you get just what you want ,   cover your specific needs and make the tech. work for you

privates are $100 per session ,   60 min, but usually runs over as i love to train and don’t watch the clock

however,  I am pretty booked and don’t do this as a business,  it’s a way of life.

now for you,  you have to be in good shape to fight

it’s bullshit that techniques compensates strength,   only if you have power to go with it,  especially if you are not going to train for years before using your tech.

you have to go to a gym,  or workout at home,  we all hit each other in the body hard,   you have to be able to take the hits

the best technician that gets hurt easily is a victim

you have to condition your body,  this takes time but you can’t be a baby

if you are concerned about your family,  you should train with a weapon,

I’m down on guns due to the extreme training i believe someone should have,  a bullet just keeps going,  I love guns but feel too many use the gun as a fix all   they are whimps playing a game,   the gun is the last resort,  not the first,   a gun is great when it is needed but requires a fit body and perfect technique

training and always thinking about the weapon and the back drop,  not just randomly shooting like a gang member

I would suggest a knife,  great weapon,   lots of damage quickly in a close range

easy to carry,  but again requires body movement that is learned over years not a day and good blade,  not a flea market junk

in closing,  I hope I have given ample info to your questions

I have given almost 2 hrs of my time for  this reply,  I get things moving quickly and hate to waste time.  hopefully you see how much time I put into each person,    you are a person not a paycheck

so naturally I expect the student to put in at least as much time as I do,   but students are hard to find,   so I settle for trainees waiting for the student

it’s serious training,   if you want a few techniques “just in case”    take privates,   there you are the only standard- you are always the best

if you join class then you are held to a standard that is mine – you will be the worst and i will be critical

depending on what class, the standard could be just tough and train hard or knowing many things aside from the physical

we train outside,  bugs, heat, cold,    we train hard ,    you will get bruised but not injured

class is a brotherhood,  we care for each other,   unlike commercial schools where everyone is a stranger and hurts the other guy to prove something

we are a small group and get to be pretty close

we beat the crap out of each other,  but there is more laughing than crying

reality is hard to accept

if you close your eyes to your own failure and shortcomings,  if you don’t look around to see how shitty the world is,  you will be happy and feel safe

if you want reality you will lose your security- if you train for reality,  it will be a way of life not something you “do” on tues. afternoon

the reality of these times, =   crime is up,  life is worthless to the criminal,  every night there is some death on tv news

the chances of it happening to you are slim,   but if it does what will you do?

if you train seeking the magic bullet you will always be a victim

if you see reality you will see your weakness and train to improve it

if you want to continue interview

let me know how you feel after all this,   maybe a commercial school with a good pitch is for you

if you are excited, and feel this if for you,  then I will caution you to check yourself and make sure you aren’t feeling hype

once you start,  it’s a hard place to survive- careful what you ask for,  when you choose a path you obligate me to act and interact with you in a certain way,  the higher the training the less forgiving the training.   You have to look at yourself realistically,   how much time do you have for this and who runs your life.  Many times the spouse or kids are the barrier.

Something that cannot be explained , only experienced is that without the study of the japanese terms and rituals,   without the slow study of basics,  the advanced cool stuff will never work.   When you look at the finish line,  you will never finish the race,  when you embark on the endless journey all is possible,

If you don’t have a couple hrs daily to dedicate to training, don’t even consider the true path,  opt for the basic and try to learn quickly and have heart

please include your physical fitness level,

how much can you bench?   push ups in one min.

core strength

pain tolerance

any limitations


classes are late at night,  early one starts at 9 30pm

could be starting a new friday class to use as a testing grounds for others who wish to train but that’s in the air   no commitments

good luck in what ever you do.

as you can see,   I have already demonstrated I am different from other schools

they would offer a free class or a week, uniform and try to get you in quickly to sign,

I push people away,  don’t’ need anyone else   i’m pretty full

don’t have bills to pay with class and don’t do kids,  it’s a scam

Please let me know about your experience and what makes you hate the fall down class

have you looked into any place else in town?

don’t want anyone who trains for a few weeks and then “tries” another school

In the end you must consider how much of a threat you feel is out there and how much you are willing to lose

If you want to gamble that it will never happen,  train a little,

if you feel there is a clear and present chance of harm to yourself and your family,   you must determine what your safety and theirs is worth to you.

Is it worth half ass study or is it worth dedication?

what a criminal does to you and your family cannot be undone.













Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality


One of the biggest things lacking in today’s commercial schools is the absence of training to understand the pain. When I talk to members of other schools all I hear is “we simulate” or “we practice but would never do that“.  Training for combat requires you to practice something to gain knowledge of it and how it makes you feel and react.  If you only do what you feel you can and never push yourself past you limits,  if your training is all simulated and safe, it cannot be counted as Koryu – which is the Japanese word meaning the old hard way of training. Very few systems practice  koryu today. they all claim that they do but the reality is they are just a hobby class for the weak to feel like they have some importance in their otherwise boring and useless lives.  In reality they only function they serve is paying the rent.


Let’s explore the difference between a true koryu and what goes on today. Without getting into a lengthy discussion of each style and every school, let’s just leave it at the military trains their special forces in a very harsh manner to expose them to every possible scenario and make them experience every possible emotion. Special forces personnel are indeed tortured so that they can understand how their bodies will react and become familiar with this unpleasantness. That could be considered a system that is based in koryu.  Another example of military koryu is S.E.R.E training. It stands for survival evasion resistance escape.  It consist of taking personnel through very real scenarios of trying to hide from the enemy and surviving in the wild. They are taught primitive skills such as fire starting and living off the land. They actually have to start a fire and they actually have to eat some pretty gross things. They experienced the training. They don’t just talk about it and act it out “just in case” but never really do it/   they live it.  The resistance and escape training encompasses a very real exposure to what the enemy may do if they were captured. Some personnel go through it just fine and others crack. The week are quickly exposed.  Without getting into any specifics, we will leave it that these people are put through a great deal of unpleasant training to prepare them for a real encounter,  they emerge stronger and more confident.  So why would someone want to avoid pain and call it “real” training?


The military puts their people through training that mimics real life and real situations as closely as possible, those things in the military have also become very lax and subdued compared to what the troops went through years ago. Even the military has become soft due to politics. But the basic point is still there that you cannot train for something if you are not exposed to it in all its facets and made to go through the unpleasantness and unpredictability of the situation. It is quite different when you are at the mercy of someone who wants to hurt you and you do not have an option to tap out or rely on an instructor or coach to intervene when it seems you have had enough.


In the so-called “Martial” arts schools of today they do not trained in anything close to reality. They train in simulations and theories. Many times I speak with students from other schools and ask them why they do a certain thing or how do they know it would work — it’s always the same answer — pretty much they don’t know and are just going on what someone told them. They never test the magic killing techniques, and even worse they never ask for any evidence from the instructor that it works.  Sadly I have been the victim of an instructor who  was nothing but a self anointed guru of bullshit.  I wasted years with this jerk, the only training that provided any learning was what I did on my own time with another student.  Class was full of claims but the instructor never let anyone test his knowledge or skill,  he just hit me but I could never defend.  A true coward.  Sadly,  very few schools make their students actually hit each other and even fewer schools use any type of striking that is very real in any manner.  These days there are so many constraints if you have to conform to an insurance policy that it is impossible to train with any type of reality. So  people are soft, lack  motivation, have little integrity to finish what they have started, and most of all just simply can’t take pain.


So now let’s talk about pain. Think for a moment before you read on what your perception of pain is. Would you say that pain is simply something that hurts? Many things can hurt you. So is pain broken up into emotional or physical? Possibly you feel that pain is both. Just stop reading for a moment and think about things in your life that have caused you pain.



for some readers many things came to mind and for other readers only a few things came to mind. Before we get into the science of pain lets explore why some things seemed to hurt one while it does not hurt another. Let’s start off with insults. Why are some people so fragile and others so thick skinned? Personally I do not get hurt by words. But many that I am around seemed to get hurt by all words. At the gym I find examples daily of people who get offended by every little thing. I can’t joke with them or even have a serious conversation — everything “hurts” them. Perhaps their pain is due to their failure in life or their low self esteem.  Whatever the reason,  they get upset over little things because they don’t know what real pain is from really  large things.   Many adults need the lesson I got as a kid.   I remember crying and being told that I better knock it off or I would really have something to cry about,  and sometimes I did.   And the little thing I was crying about wasn’t so bad any more.    Now let’s not turn this into a parenting issue,  the point is that when you don’t experience things,  little things are the end of the world.   So to it is with pain.   People that are afraid to get hit live a sheltered life.  They probably never hit their finger with a hammer or fell off a ladder.   When a prospective student wants to train,  a large consideration is how they live their lives.  A desk jockey usually doesn’t have the mental or physical toughness to train.   A person who isn’t handy and has to call someone for every little problem usually is too frail.   Why? Simple, they do not have much to compare pain to so their tolerance is very low.  Whereas myself and my students that are handy and do a lot of physical work have sustained a great deal of painful injuries,  we are used to pain in some manner so it naturally makes us tougher.   A good example is my back today.   I pulled it a couple of weeks ago and yesterday I really hurt myself squating.  Many would advise me to take some time off to heal but that is the weak mind talking.  Pain would cause the average person to avoid anything that would make it worse.  I still finished my leg workout in pain and today I did my usual chest workout in pain.  I will continue to do my normal things in pain.   To me it’s training and I would be humiliated if this little thing would keep me down.    Though I can’t move and I feel like crap…. suddenly my leg just goes out and I can’t sit up… I have to roll off the bench each set,   compared to other pain I have experienced,  this is nothing.


Emotions can truly be hurtful and cause pain. We have all experienced the pain of losing someone we loved dearly or watching someone we care about suffer. Emotional pain is indeed a very real thing but the question still remains why do some people experience pain and in the same scenario others do not? Emotional pain gets into a personality difference but let’s stick to this point about training.  In koryu training, you cannot get your feelings hurt .   You can’t rely on constant positive reinforcement.  You have to take your insults when you fail and count it as an opportunity to learn.


Now let’s talk about physical pain. Physical pain affects everyone differently. Stop and think for a second about physical pain that you have experienced and how bad it hurt. Everyone is familiar with the scale of pain. The doctor will usually ask how great the pain is on a scale from 1 to 10. Take a moment and think about times in your life when you have had 1 pains, 5 pains, and 10 pains.  This is a point that you should discuss with others. You will quickly find that there is a majority that has a common perception of the same type of pain. If you ask someone about a migraine headache everyone will instantly tell you it is definitely a 10 pain. If you ask someone who has had kidney stones they will most likely agree it was a 10 pain. Yet others may tell you that a paper cut was a 10 pain. There will be discrepancies but generally the degree of pain interpreted is pretty close these days as everyone is generally soft and makes a big deal out of nothing.

So far we have established that pain can be emotional and physical. We have established a basic understanding of koryu training and given attention to the lack of it in todays schools. As usual I will get off the martial arts path for a bit and apply the concept of pain to life and daily living. Think about times that you have stayed home from work or neglected a duty because you are in just too much pain to do it. Think about coworkers who have stayed home because they were in so much pain they could not possibly come to work. Think about all your legitimate reasons for using pain as the sole reason you did not do something or failed to do something. Let’s just take a moment to explore in totality all the criteria involved in those decisions…………………………………


To start our understanding of pain we must understand our own weakness. Some people make a big deal out of nothing while others take a great deal of pain and think nothing of it. In my own life I have had broken bones and surgeries that were quite painful. I remember on a nose surgery… the doctor laughed at me when I told him I would be teaching class that night. He chuckled quite arrogantly and told me that after surgery all I would want to do is take painkillers and lay in bed. I replied that I have never missed a class and would not start now over something as small as pain. I did indeed prove him wrong. That night after surgery I did have class. I had to sit on a bucket and bleed into a garbage pail as there were no packings used in the surgery. My nose would bleed for several weeks as it healed but every week I was in class. I demonstrated techniques quickly with a rag under my nose.  But I did it and did not let pain be an excuse.  If someone asked me on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad was the pain, I would have to say that it was at least a five, maybe even a seven at times. The surgeon informed me that the pain would most definitely be a 10 and warned me about taking too many painkillers. I must admit that during the first night after class I did cave and after shaking with intense pain for several hours I did take a pain pill — however, it was quite a letdown when it did not relieve the pain.  Since then I had a second surgery and on my way to a 3rd but I never missed class or work.   I also had a knee surgery and trained with a crutch, went to the gym limping and using a cane,  but our of respect for the code and my own integrity,  I never missed anything due to pain.

Another instance in my life took place a few years ago. I had a severe backache. It hurt for a few days while I was working out and then the pain became more and more constant. I had class that week and figured my backache would go away. The following week my backache was getting worse and the pain was pretty bad. I was also painting my house at this time.  Going up and down the ladder with a bucket of paint was quickly becoming a painful episode every time.  Bending over and lifting heavy doors off hinges and carrying them was hurting pretty bad.  But I pushed thru.  A doctor had just signed up for class a few months prior to this. He really did not know much about me and was not familiar with my perception of pain. When he came to class the following week I informed him of my pain and asked him if it was possible that I had a kidney stone. I had never had one but heard stories from people who did.  I didn’t think it could be as they all told me horror stories of how much it hurt and how they couldn’t move. After almost 2 weeks of this I thought it was something else. His first response was an arrogant chuckle as he looked upwards rolling his eyes during which he informed me that there was no possible way it was a kidney stone. He looked at me in a sort of demeaning way and told me that people with kidney stones run to the emergency room and many times wished for death it is so painful. Hearing this I was relieved feeling that there was no possible way this could be a kidney stone. After all I did not want to go to the emergency room and I certainly wasn’t praying for death to come — it was just a pretty bad backache and with all the physical abuse my body takes I figured I just pulled something. He suggested that I just take it easy in class. Well we started fighting and every time I would get squeezed around my kidneys or punched I reacted quite differently than I usually do. Other students started asking me what was wrong and I again used this backache as an excuse. I really felt terrible and humiliated that I was leading a backache in the way of training. After all my preaching about never quitting in class I had to uphold the standard myself. About 45 minutes into class and a few kidney punches later I again asked the doctor if there was any possibility it was a kidney stone because I never felt the pain like this before. He stood me up and asked me on a scale of 1 to 10 how great the pain was. I didn’t understand the question as we had already covered this in the beginning of class and I told him the pain was about a 2. Before I could ask him what he meant he gave me a pretty good chop in my kidney. It startled me more than hurt and I reacted quite theatrically. He asked if it hurt that bad and what it was on the scale. I explained that I could not honestly answer because I was not ready for it and asked him to do it again so that I can accurately describe pain. So he again chopped me and I suspect it was harder than the first time but this time I was ready for it and did not flinch. It hurt pretty bad and I told him it was somewhere between 2 and 3.  He again told me in no uncertain terms that there was no way it could possibly be a kidney stone so I got on with class and just ignored it. I’m sure you figured out where this is leading to. A few days later I contacted him and told him that my backache would not go away. He reluctantly said that he would bring a urine test strip by and that would tell the story. Well it turns out I had a good-sized stone and gravel. He was amazed that I could take all that pain and still fight. I don’t know why he was so surprised when later on he recounted the story of his own kidney stones and stated that he did not miss work because of it. He stated he sat at his desk shaking and sweating and at one point had to lay on the floor but he still made work. I guess he just didn’t think too much of me at that point. Since then I have earned his respect and he knows how much pain I can tolerate. Now if there is a problem and he asked me to describe the pain he knows that by the time I say it hurts any normal person would be screaming and calling for death to come.  He and another student also had knee surgery at the time I had mine,  we all had our surgeries one month apart and each of us were in class that night.  On crutches and training in a chair but training.  No one missed work.  The other student owns a restaurant .  He was at work and completed his tasks/  we all said it hurt but it wasn’t too bad.   I’m sure others would have been drugged up and not able to move.   According to our experiences and personalities,  it was more of an inconvenience rather than a painful experience.

I want the reader to always form their own conclusions. As is my style I throw many different angles on the subject to allow the reader’s mind to be open minded and explore their own thoughts. Only a weak mind believes everything that is in print – only a writer with ego and a small mind wants the reader to only see his point of view. I want intelligent readers. Only intelligent readers will explore the ideas and come up with their own facts. So why do you think there is such a difference in what I call pain and what others call pain? The answer lies in our anatomy and in our mind


Pain alone does not hurt. It is the perception of pain that causes the emotion of pain. There is a difference between a threshold of pain and a tolerance of pain. Our human anatomy makes us all pretty much the same on our threshold of pain — the point at which we feel pain, however, it is our personal experience and mindset that gives us vast differences in our tolerance of pain.

Pain is a very complex issue. If we categorize it as an emotion it really does not have all the characteristics that every other emotion does. Pain is the one thing that cannot be duplicated. We can remember it, we can remember how it felt, but we can never really duplicated and feel it again in our minds. Unlike other emotions such as love or fear, joy or sadness, pain is but a memory of something. If you stop and think about your first love you get a certain feeling, if you think about a time that you almost sustained serious injury or nearly escaped death you can experience that fear to some degree all over again. If you think about most any emotion other than pain you can experience some type of feeling that mimics the actual experience yet with pain you can only recall an unemotional memory. You can remember how hurt but you cannot actually feel it again. I’ll make one amendment to this concept. Though this is generally recognized as a rule I do believe that with meditation and training of your mind you can relive pain. I say this because I can but it has taken many years of meditation and training my mind to be able to do this. But the reason for it is not relevant to this chapter.


let’s talk about the positive side of pain. Pain is a much-needed tool for the body. People generally associate pain with bad things but pain is a good thing. On a physical level pain tells us what we should not do something. Imagine if you could not feel pain and you put your hand in a fire or smashed it with a hammer. How would you know to stop if he did not have pain? Fear of pain dictates our choices. The law revolves around fear of pain and unpleasantness — if you do this the consequence will be… Pain Can be a good thing in many ways. But sometimes the body malfunctions and the receptors that tell the brain to make you feel pain are damaged.  So you don’t feel anything.  Sounds great but it could be very dangerous.  There is a condition known as congenital insensitivity to pain whereby the body simply does not send signals and the person does not react to pain because there is no perception of pain. Imagine if you couldn’t feel pain. Not only would you hurt yourself but there are many things that you would not learn.


Let’s break pain down in a more medical and scientific level. Up till now we have spoken of pain as physical and emotional. We have interpreted it as some type of sensation. We have explored examples of one person saying that the pain is excruciating and unbearable while another person may say the same pain is not so bad. Why do you think this is.? Once again I will deviate and briefly talk about my teaching style. I teach my students to look at things from a spiritual point of view, a medical point of view, and a very commonsense point of view simultaneously. Other schools teach a very flat one-dimensional way of everything. It’s either right or wrong-it this way or that way. I really do not know of any other school that gets into the physiology of the human body or teaches students about emotions and philosophy. The key here is how we view pain.  As stated earlier and in the title pain itself does not hurt…. it is the interpretation of pain.


Let’s break pain down in a very scientific manner. Pain itself is noticed at the “threshold”. Pain becomes a degree of discomfort according to our “tolerance” of pain. Pain alone is not real — it is not an absolute it is merely subjective. Pain is not a stimuli. That is why people interpret pain on so many levels and so differently from each other. What I believe is pain is much different than what you believe is pain. What my students perceive as slight discomfort other schools perceive as intolerable pain. Later on we will discuss how to use pain to your advantage in daily life but for now let’s just seek to understand it. Pain can be broken down into three basic categories. Take a moment and think about the pains that you have experienced and the reason that you have experienced these pains. You would be hard-pressed to come up with more than three categories. Something that causes pain from a physical stimuli would be much different than something that causes pain from an emotional stimuli. If you stick your hand in a fire that is a physical stimuli which is causing physical damage and though there may be an emotional factor to it generally it is a physical pain that is the main culprit. Matters of the heart really do not cause us  physical pain though there may be physical side effects from the emotional distress but generally the pain is an emotional response. Lastly there is a cognitive response which causes pain. If we break pain down into these groups — sensory, emotional and cognitive, we start again a much greater understanding of pain and how we perceive it. So taking this into consideration and understanding that pain is subjective we can see that there is no possible way to measure pain with an absolute certainty there is only the individual interpretation of the particular person of the particular pain on their particular scale.  This brings us back to the problem with trying to understand someone else’s perception of pain. You can understand someone who was crippled — you can understand how it is to sit in a chair and not be able to get out of it. You can understand many physical things. You can understand a person without an arm cannot use that arm. But you cannot really understand another person’s pain.

How does this fit into koryu or real combat?  If you have a higher pain tolerance than your enemy, you should have a great advantage and prevail.  If you know how you will react to injury or pain,  then you should be able to make good choices during battle that will save you as you do not have to assess your injury.   If you understand the difference between pain and actual injury you should be able to keep fighting.   If you become familiar with very real scenarios and practice taking hits,  hard hits,  then you won’t mind getting hit in a real fight and should prevail.


Let’s touch on martial training for a moment. Though I cannot understand the perception of pain that a student has I can rate them as to what I believe they are capable of tolerating based what I see in their reactions and emotional responses to certain stimuli. Then , based on my years of experience, I can draw a very accurate assessment of what they are able to withstand and how far I can push them. Many times during private lessons or seminars  someone says “it hurts”. I know that their perception of pain is not the same as mine or my students. My students nor myself would not even count the same stimuli as uncomfortable. We train so hard that our perception of pain is far beyond the normal person. So back to the commercial schools of today that simulate and just take things as fact never testing them. If they get in a fight their perception of pain will defeat them. They do not train to understand pain. They are subjective in their understanding of pain. Their understanding  is that any little thing hurts like hell. When the fight comes you have to be able to take pain or you will most definitely lose.


Think about this for a moment. Someone goes to the hospital with a regular headache and the doctor asked them ‘how much pain do you have;? They reply with a 10. To them the pain is absolutely unbearable and there can be nothing worse after all 10 is the top of the scale. Of course there are the losers who say it’s a 20 or something higher than 10 to indicate their extreme pain. Maybe these losers should just be swatted to give them something to compare their pain to. However, this is most likely because they have lived prior to this pain without any pain. Again look at it as a subjective. So if this same person that is claiming this unbearable pain is given a drug and the pain subsides to a seven, how can we accurately know exactly how great that pain is? We can’t. This person is merely comparing what they perceived as unbearable to somewhat bearable. It is subjective. This person perhaps never has any pain and now has a tiny wee bit of pain and calls it a 10. Now let’s reverse it. Let’s say a person suffers from migraine headaches daily and on one particular day has just a normal headache. This persons subjective perception of pain would be that the normal headache is probably a one or two at the most. Whereas a person who never has a headache would count the same perception of pain as a 10. Now you are starting to form a new thought and idea about pain. Pain is subjective to your experience. I tell my students all the time that if they live a soft life and don’t push themselves then they will not be good fighters nor will they be good people. If they do not push themselves with some degree of pain and discomfort daily it will overflow into their lives and they will find an excuse for everything. A child who grows up in a foreign country who was constantly hungry and thirsty, who was beaten daily for no reason has a totally different perception of pain that an American child who is spoiled and never wants for anything. At the gym my subjective view of heavy weight is quite different from the losers whose subjective view of heavyweight is 20 pounds.


First let’s break pain up into two categories. The first is pain sensitivity, the second is stimuli in intensity. When we first experienced pain it is based upon these two things. If we are extremely sensitive to pain only a small amount of stimuli is required for the perception of pain. If we are quite insensitive to pain than the intensity of stimuli will be much greater. Getting back to martial arts and koryu training, it is imperative to train hard and grow accustom to the stimuli and constantly push yourself to endure greater and greater intensity plus reducing pain sensitivity.When we move in our daily lives we do not experience a perceived pain or if we do it is so little that we don’t pay attention to it. This can be classified as” innocuous” pain. When pain becomes so great that it is about to cause injury it is called “noxious” pain. At this point the body is telling us we are about to sustain damage. However ,without proper training and experience this is not possible to interpret accurately. For instance someone who has never had their arms twisted until it is almost about to break cannot know how far it can be twisted before damage is sustained. In the case of training when schools simulate strikes and simulate arm breaks both the aggressor and the defender are being cheated. The defender is being cheated because he never experiences how far past the threshold of pain his tolerance will allow him to go and furthermore going to the “noxious” stage of pain we cannot have any real idea of when he is in danger. He will merely perceive a certain amount of pain that he deems to be a noxious point and in a real fight will most likely give up much sooner than he should have and be a victim. The aggressor who is simulating all these devastating strikes and bone breaks is also at a loss because the defender gives up so easily it puts a faulse sense of security into the aggressor. In a real-life confrontation the aggressor who has been conditioned to exert a very minimal amount of pressure  has been fooled into thinking that it is actually a devastating amount of pressure will get his ass kicked very quickly in real life.


Everyone has taken some type of drug for some type of pain. But do you know how it works? Without getting into a medical lecture Let;s just think of it this way. There are large fibers and small fibers in your body. A nerve basically works off the small fibers to produce pain. The large fibers do not really have too much to do with pain transmission. A drug either subdues the signal or totally blocks the signal from a particular nerve to the brain. On a side note pain can also be blocked by physical stimulation. For instance, maybe some of you have heard of a remedy for a headache. If you squeeze your head around the temple area and suddenly let go after about 30 seconds it appears that your headache subsides. Sometimes you have a pain that is muscular and a vibrating massage appears to alleviate the pain. It would be a long medical discussion of why this works but let’s just say that pain can also be masked or manipulated to be interpreted as something other than pain. In Eastern healing arts they believe that channels of chi or your life force are blocked at certain junctions and therefore the life force cannot heal an area. Acupuncture is said to open the channels and allow the life force to heal the body. Many of the spots, however, lie over clusters of nerves and the Western mind explains it as nerve manipulation rather than a life force manipulation. Again the large diameter fibers within your nerves are your friend — they tend to block pain. This gives validity to the home remedies of vigorous vibration or compression and also explains acupuncture in a more scientific way. When a needle is placed on a nerve center at the point of injury it stimulates the nerve and could be explained from a Western point of view as a type of vibration therapy. Conversely when a nerve is manipulated with acupuncture distal from the injury it is in essence blocking the nerve the same as a drug would do. When the nerve is blocked at some point there is no signal of pain being sent to the brain so you do not perceive the sensation. The greatest and simplest example would be the dentist giving you the numbing shot in your gum. While the dentist is mercilessly drilling your teeth and laughing at you, the pain can’t be felt.  This is because the nerve function has been disabled as evidenced by your drooling and lack of control of your face as the drug wears off.  Yes you look like a retard and everyone is laughing at you ,,,,  not with you.


Many times something that we see, hear, smell, feel — anything involved with our five senses brings about an emotional response. This is particularly true with the perception of pain. Again remember that pain is subjective. When the threshold of pain is met and the intensity of stimuli is perceived as pain it can bring about emotional distress or some type of emotional response. In the case of martial arts I train my guys to look at pain as a motivating factor — to embrace it. When we use pressure point tactics on each other I tell them to not move away from the pain rather pushed into it. To most people this sounds absurd and sadistic. It is retraining their minds so that the threshold of pain is not easily met and the intensity of stimuli is increased to where ultimately the threshold of pain is just barely met in the stimuli is not great enough at any point to perceive pain. In eastern fighting arts they have been doing this for thousands of years. Armed Forces trained soldiers in this fashion but today’s schools lack any remnant of this koryu due to the restrictions of insurance and the weak society that applauds failure and scorns true success.I’m sure you have heard of the expression “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Well the same holds true for pain — pain is in the eye of the beholder also. Pain is an emotional response. In the case of combat the threat of being hit makes the actual strike seem more painful because you fear it. Once you get over your fear the pain is very minimal. From a  medical point of view the cortex of our brain is the giant computer with all the programs but the limbic part of our brain is kind of like another hard drive with its own set of programs. The limbic system controls the multitude of functions in our body but for this article we will simply say that the limbic brain is the emotional brain. Emotions such as anger, fear, happiness, sadness, hate, envy, self-esteem, and all the other emotions are created here. From a combative point of view it is important to understand the limbic brain and be able to manipulate it during battle. For instance, someone gets in your face and threatens to rip your head off and shit down your neck.  the typical response could be fear or anger or any multitude of emotions but the emotions felt will be random and with no purpose. If you understand the limbic brain you can quickly assess your adversary and use his limbic emotions against them. He has confronted you with the obvious intent of backing you down by threat, trying to use your fear , your fear of pain, to win a victory before the physical confrontation even starts. If you can change his perspective on the matter and take away his confidence you will take away his position. Perhaps you can explain to him that no matter how hard he pulls your head will not come off and it would be quite difficult for him to shit down your neck as the angle would be all wrong. Just by reading this your limbic brain has sent signals out and you feel some type of emotion. Probably laughing if you are not a tight ass.  The assailant will also feel some type of  emotion, it’s not important what it is, but during this time that he processes what you are saying you can kick him square in the crotch and produce another emotion in his limbic brain. Pain activates the limbic brain.The limbic brain then sends signals out causing you to begin to experience emotion. Studies have shown that when the intensity of perceived pain is increased the limbic brain increases in activity. The more activity in the brain the more emotions you’re flooded with which ultimately causes decisions to be made based solely upon your emotion and not on sound logical reasoning. This is why training to the extreme is so important. When you are faced with an overwhelming stimuli you will be able to put your emotions aside and react calmly and logically. You will always revert back to what is natural.  If you don’t train enough your natural reactions will be emotional.  If you train correctly, you will revert to your training without thought or influence from emotion.  Many times people are caught in emergency situations and freeze. The stimuli is too overwhelming and there are too many emotions associated with the event causing them to not react or react in the wrong way. When I fight with my guys we hit each other full bore in the body and if we should get an arm bar or joint lock we put it on until the bone or joint is about to break. It takes great skill not to injure each other while training in this manner. Once again commercial schools cannot do this because of the inept student base maintained and the quest for money instead of quality students. Only through training and the experience of pushing yourself to the breaking point and beyond will you be able to react in a proper manner when the real situation confronts you.


one of the treatments for people with chronic pain is to get them active stimuli. This makes a lot of sense. Instead of relying on a drug to block the signal of pain you can also block the signal of pain with outside stimuli. For instance someone who has a toothache and just sits in the chair focusing on a toothache will soon become so frustrated they won’t know what to do and the pain will be too great to bear. If you think hard enough right now, I bet you have a headache, and it’s getting worse as you are suddenly aware of it.  It’s throbbing a bit and now you really can’t stop thinking that your head actually hurts.  wow it really hurts.

But if that person has a good mindset and engages in some activity that they enjoy the stimulus of enjoyment will override the pain to some degree if not totally. I use training and the gym in this way.  Once I get there and start working our and chatting I tend to forget about my pain.  There should have been times in your life, unless you are a total loser, when you have had pain and something took your mind off of it letting  you forget about that pain for a while. Wouldn’t it be great if you could learn to do this at will and block pain? It is possible to do if with study. Certain meditations and internal arts such as tai chi and chi gong can train your brain to override certain emotions with other emotions into use certain stimuli to override the perception of pain. Chi works like this to some degree though there is a much deeper basis focusing on the exact points on your body. But to some small degree acupressure causes a pain that overrides the pain you are trying to alleviate. It is very important to train your mind to be able to focus on things other than your perceived pain. For instance ,if one of my guys uses a pressure point tactic on me and it hurts I cannot focus on the pain or I will quit. I must use some other stimuli to override my emotion and mask my perceived pain. Much of this is just a mental attitude produced by many years of conditioning and of course you have to have a fighting spirit. You cannot throw a beagle into the ring with pitbull — the beagle just doesn’t have the spirit or the body. If you are a total whining whimp and think training at a commercial scam school will make you a fighter,  well go pick a fight and see how your training works,  then sue your instructor for your injuries.  Another interesting point of one emotion to block the perception of pain is classes that pregnant women take. Birth will hurt a certain amount no matter what they do but they focus the classes on teaching the pregnant woman to breathe in a certain manner. The husband is supposed to encourage her.  This is just external stimuli to divert the perception of pain.  In the Western mindset the breathing is something to focus on to take the attention away from the perceived pain, however, there is a deeper value to this breathing. Breathing, if done correctly, can release endorphins and block sensations. Not only does it give you something to focus on and take your mind off of a perceived pain or emotion but it helps the body to do what it has to and allows your life force to move where to where it is needed. Being a big believer in the eastern arts I see breathing as a way to move things internally in your body. For many years there has  been much doubt about the eastern “voodoo” of the internal arts. Acupuncture was not understood because technology could not explain. Now that technology has come so far and computers can produce images of our internal body there is a better understanding and a medical foundation that supports the internal arts and their legitimacy. If we go back to the old ways we can understand our bodies better and learn to block pain without the use of drugs. More importantly for the focus of this article you can train yourself to block out pain while in battle which could save your life.

An interesting medical practice for people with chronic pain is to implant an electrode in their brain. Without getting into a long technical debate about morals and how it works, basically when the patient feels pain they zap themselves. The brain now has a direct stimuli which causes it to release certain chemicals which mask your perceived pain. Once you realize how great and magnificent the brain is in all its capabilities you can begin to utilize it. I tell my students all the time that knowledge is the key. Sadly many who want to train in martial arts are only interested in the physical side and have no desire to study. This article alone is very useful to a martial artist because it will allow them to manipulate their brain and their tolerance of pain once they understand how things work.Once you are open to something you can begin to use it.  But it is not interesting to the loser mind whose only driven by ego and who has little self-worth. You cannot manipulate anything — you cannot work the machine if you don’t understand how the machine works. By understanding how our brain works to some small degree we can begin to enrich our lives and be more successful. It is only our brain that holds us back and makes us lazy, weak, or lack sufficient goals. It is only our brain that gives us our perception. If we can understand how our brain works we can do much more in life. A side note,  I’m not suggesting anything associated with a positive attitude.  I view needing a positive attitude as the need of a weak loser.  Sometimes you have to see things for what they are,  and reality sucks.  But you should still try your hardest and not be held back.  See other articles on positive attitude.   So back to the wonders of the brain as it relates to pain. As the patient introduces an external stimuli into the brain from an artificial source the brain is signaled to do its thing. This medical procedure is quite amazing in that it will block certain pain but not all pain and it doesn’t disable you. But wouldn’t it be much better if you didn’t have to go through surgery and to learn to manipulate your brain without an external mechanical device? I’m not saying that there is not a need for these medical interventions. I’m simply relating this to the fighting arts in our daily lives. Once you learn how to manipulate your brain and look at things from different points of view you will become much stronger in all aspects of your life.


For the sake of this article and as it relates to fighting we will limit the manipulation of the brain to endorphins. I’m sure everyone has heard of endorphins and their function. The brain needs a reason to release these endorphins in the brain needs a reason to reroute electrical currents. In the case of pain the brain can mask it with endorphins and by blocking nerves. In the eastern training meditation and certain body movements that were once thought to be hokey Pokey are now seen as having an absolute medical base and substantiating claims of healing and other miraculous feats previously thought to be just a voodoo of sorts. It is no surprise that the postures of the internal arts such as tai chi align the body in such ways that pressure is taken off of nerves and pathways of information. The deep, controlled, rhythmic breathing inflates the diaphragm causing it to put pressure on certain nerves and release certain chemicals. Yoga is very effective in that the methods of stretching do much the same as tai chi and allow the body to let its life force flow as it should. Stagnation of chi or the life force can cause a myriad of problems. In the Western mindset you would say that if you do not stretch you become stiff and your joints don’t move. In the eastern mindset you would say that that the chi has become stagnant and your body has become toxic. Western medicine does not buy into toxicity of the body unless you’re referring to a stagnation in the bowels or some physical manifestation or a virus. The eastern mindset refers to stagnation in the body as  the inability of the life force to flow causing a sort of poisoning of the system. Now that technology has come so far we can see that both East and West are saying the same thing on many levels but the Western medicine and science can only explain so much. Eventually there is the question of what makes us alive? The eastern mindset says it is the life force the Western mindset says our bodies run off of synapse and electrical pulses. I have devoted my martial career to correlating similarities between the two not disputing differences.In the end I have found and personally experienced several key things that I think will help anyone in their life through martial training. The first is you should seek knowledge about everything. Once you understand how something works you can manipulate it and use it to your advantage. The next thing is to not fear what your body does. You should try to understand what your body does and embrace it. You must let go of your ego and explore why you feel what you do. If you feel that you are too macho to admit that you are fearful you will never conquer your fear because you will never embrace it to find out why you are fearful. Much like a bully that scares the hell out of you, beats the crap out of you daily and causes fear, years later when you look back you see that there were options. Maybe you couldn’t do anything about it at the time because of physical limitations but it’s not as fearful as it once was because you look at it from a neutral unemotional standpoint and see it for what it was. Most likely looking back you will feel you should have just beat the shit out of the bully when he wasn’t looking with a pipe.   ….  or maybe not.  Embrace your fear whatever it may be and seek to understand it. Many people are afraid of knives yet they train with fake knives for real-life attacks. How stupid!!!! if you are afraid of a real knife then that is the most important reason why you should train with a real knife. I used to be very afraid of blades. I remember a few classes in my youth when we would use fake knives or a pen and just the thought of a real blade would get me very nervous and not allow me to train correctly. Now in my adult life after being cut both in training and in real-life altercations I do not have a problem training with the real-life that will cut me or take my life. My only concern is that my partner be responsible enough to ensure some reasonable aspect of safety and not actually cut my throat open. But I will put a knife to my throat and press my throat into it trusting my partner that he won’t put any more force  than what I put on it. If I get cut in training it is no longer fearful -it is actually a bit of a pump to know that I took the cut and did not flinch. When I have had to engage someone with real knife and in a  real confrontation this training  mindset has been invaluable. Again, today’s laws will not allow such training in the public forum but the other schools do not recognize the fallacy of training with a rubber knife.  It’s like tactical shooting from behind the line with no movement or stress, or relying on that magic one shot killing strike.   BULLSHIT!

Whether you have a physical ailment or some disease causing you pain I hope that you have a better understanding of it now and can manage that pain in your life. I would strongly suggest that you look into the eastern internal arts but be forewarned that they take many years of diligent practice and dedication to even begin to understand them. You cannot go on YouTube and watch a two-minute video and be able to heal yourself. You cannot take a two-hour seminar and just because someone gives you a certificate for the money you paid don’t feel that you have any skill in the internal arts. As for the combative side, train with as much pain as you can. Pain is subjective. What the beginner thinks is excruciating pain the intermediate student sees as tolerable and the advanced student sees as a mild distraction. The problem with America is that everyone has grown up so sheltered and spoiled that the slightest inconvenience is translated into a torturous pain. If you want to truly ready yourself for combat then you must experience on a regular basis all the pain that comes with combat.  This can also be applied to living a productive life.  Don’t let every little excuse make you fail.  Don’t stay home from the gym because you have a little pain.  Don’t call into work over discomfort.


If you learn how your brain works and what causes the perception of pain, you can learn to manipulate it.  Science can now prove that through the ancient internal arts you can indeed release your bodies natural pain killers at will.  Through the practice of chi gong and tai chi you help your body to regulate itself.  Exercise is indeed the fountain of youth but you must work the internal as well as external.  With years of dedicated study and practice, you can learn to divert your attention from your pain during battle or just daily life from injuries and pain at a an instant.  Through an intimate understanding of your brain according to western medicine you can begin to make sense of the eastern philosophy of the body.

Once you have gained this knowledge it will forever aid you in your life.  In my own life I credit my study of the internal arts with my power at the gym.  Feeling as badly as I do with my injured back and taking into account that I have just finished a grueling 9 weeks of very physically demanding work which did not allow me to eat for 12 or 15 hr intervals,  – I lost 12 lbs –  I still put up 315lbs  for 4 reps today and worked out with 295 doing about 15 sets.   Sure this is down from my usual but feeling like I do, at least I made the workout.

There are so many things our bodies are capable of.  We just have to take the time to learn about it’s function.

The old “voo doo” rituals actually were very advanced.   They produced results that modern medicine is just beginning to figure out and in many cases cannot duplicate even with drugs.

Pain is what your are not familiar with and what you fear.   If you become familiar with heavy lifting, soon it’s not so heavy,  if you get used to a hard schedule , soon it’s not so hard= if you get used to pain, soon it won’t hurt.

So you can study for many years, meditate, research, make your mission to study multiple arts and in 10 years you will have a basic understanding of things.    or just take a pill,   it’s a lot easier.

but the easy path leads to no where,  the short path leads to a hole of nothing.   The long path is the journey of life.