Archive for self defenseblocking


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 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.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality




Ever notice how some people are always making a plan but never accomplish anything? For years I have been complaining about certain groups that in my experience are extra prone to this behavior.  For the sake of avoiding an argument that is off the subject I will not name this group — but I’m sure all of you know one of them who have screwed their life up and yet they are always telling someone else who is more successful, more ethical, and just a better person how to live their life.

This article was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine at the gym. It started out that I was poking fun at one of the many lazy losers at the gym. It seems there is a new fad going around. I am told that I have it all wrong moving a lot of weight and working out for long durations. Apparently all you need is 20 minutes and a 5 pound dumbbell to be in peak physical fitness. I was discussing with my friend how everyone at the gym seems to always have the newest supplement or the cutting edge work out and yet they never change. They have their little notebooks keeping track of their workouts, some even bring computers to the gym to watch an online trainer I guess. Yet with all this technology and cutting edge supplement the only ones who ever show any improvement for a short time are the trainers and a few members that are always sticking a needle in their ass. But they only stay big for a few weeks and then quickly deflate.

they reason that there are in that the old ways of a basic heavy workout are no longer effective. They reason that there are shortcuts to produce the same benefits without all the hard work and long hours.

As this conversation progressed, my friend being a very humble man started to defend them a bit. The conversation progressed as I pressed on and insisted that I am not picking on them unjustly I am just stating what I see and basing my opinion on my experience. The conversation soon turned to a certain religious group and I pointed out the similarity between this group and losers in general. They are always making a plan — to make a plan — to work on a plan — then they don’t like the plan — so they want to make another plan — but don’t have time for that plan right now — so they plan to set time aside to make their plan….  and guess what — they never make the plan and if they do they never act on it.

Sounds like a bunch of crap doesn’t it? As we went back and forth, my friend defending them and me grading them, I pointed out some simple facts based on my life experience. In my life I have seen that most people are very weak and require some type of external stimuli to make them do anything. At the gym some yell at the weights before they left them, others yell at each other, and everyone seems to need some type of motivational music while they are grunting and screaming yet they are not moving heavy weight or working out for any useful duration. When I compared this to a certain religious group I pointed out many similarities. There are people who were addicted to drugs and her whole life crashed. There are others who have just lived a very immoral life and have failed at everything they have ever tried. I’m sure you know quite a few people who are always running their mouth about what they know and how much better they can do it yet they are the biggest failures that you know. My point to my friend was that in my experience people that preach the most are the ones that are the guiltiest of what they are preaching about. Why should we complement a drug addict whose life has become so worthless and nonproductive just because that drug addict has not used drugs for a few weeks. Sure it is a good thing and better than remaining on drugs but I do not see where this person is equal to or better than someone who is a productive citizen and has never had an addiction to drugs. of course we always defend our own positions and I am defending mine — I have never been involved with drugs and I have been fairly successful at life through many long hours of hard work and a disciplined life. While the conversation went back and forth — my friend defending these people and me degrading them, I stated many factual examples that I have personally witnessed — I did not voice an opinion based on a suspicion or anything that I read — I formulated my opinion based on my life experience so this cannot be in any way called prejudice as there was no pre-judging of any of these people — it can in no way be called anything except my view.

After our conversation I started to ponder a deeper meaning. For years I have looked at these people with disdain and see them as hopeless losers. The one common thing they all share is that they have screwed up their life in some fashion and fail continuously. Yet they are always telling everyone else of their success and how much better they are for having failed at the task. Case in point someone I know for many years works at a dead-end job. We were out of touch for quite a while.when we parted ways for no particular reason other than we just fell out of communication it seemed that my friend was doing much better than I. At the time he seemed quite formidable to me and I thought he would go on to great success. When we resumed communication I actually felt bad for him that he was at such a dead-end job. He works in a very bad part of town. I thought during the many years we were apart that his life would have been full of successful adventures such as mine and he would have found success in a career. Yet he chastised me for my lifestyle and bragged about his. When we first started speaking again everything that I brought up he did better but did not have to do it like I did –I told him about my experience as a bodyguard and he threw me down for it — I told him about the house I built that is quite large at 7000 square feet and he told me how ignorant I was to build such a large house — I told him that I retired at age 30 and was able to teach martial arts full-time as a hobby not as a business and again he chastised me= in essence he called me a loser for everything I have succeeded. When cars came up I told him of the many sports cars that I have owned and raced. He said proudly that he would never own a Porsche, a viper, a corvette, or any of the other high-end vehicles that I have owned — I told him of the many Harleys that I have had and still do have and he said with disdain he would never own a Harley- no, he said that if he was ever to race a car it would be the junker that he is working on — it would be a”Street terror”. When the gym came up he proudly told me that he has no need of the gym since we moved boxes during the day. Clearly I am in superior physical condition yet he chastised me for working out.  The reason for his great success and my failure was religion. He was not a failure in his view — he said God was trying to teach him tolerance.  after a few months of communication he once again chose to sever our ties. He made sure to tell me in no uncertain terms that everything I had done he had done better and that I am really the loser and he is the winner.

Many other people that I have interacted with in martial arts have a similar outlook. They claim to train in real life fighting  yet they never hit each other. They claim to train by the oldest traditions yet they miss the very core of those traditions such as the need for discipline. I’m sure you can find many people in her own life that are always telling you how to do a better and what they would do if they were in your position even though you are the bigger success and more knowledgeable.

As I pondered this conversation with my friend at the gym I started to wonder about a deeper reason for these people to think as they do. For many years I just assumed that was because they were very lazy and looking for excuses to hide their failure. Though I still see that as the truth it occurred to me that there could be a deeper reason why people are progressively more and more lazy and less and less productive.  Previously I talked about the Uber Mensch theory. I thought I would revisit that and try to make correlations between that way of thinking and these losers. The Uber Mensch theory seems to be a good thing to revisit since most of these people fall back on religion to legitimize their failures. This other person with the ”street terror” talks about God in every conversation and claims that everything in his life as part of gods plan. Personally I don’t think God has time to play games with us individually — maybe sometimes you just have to try a little harder and recognize things for what they are even if that means recognizing our own failure.

what separates us humans from animals? There are many things but let’s focus on the ability to reason. An animal has no preconception of death. An animal has no aspirations of succeeding more than other animals. An animal lives for the moment — they eat when they are hungry and sleep when they are tired. They do not have fear of the future nor do they have regret of the past. They are only interested in the moment of life that they are living. They live by instinct not ego. They cannot reason.

Man on the other hand, has the ability to reason which has been his greatest ally in evolution. A human is the only animal that knows it will die. We as humans have spectacular  emotions that animals do not have. But what makes it so great is also now making us such failures. When I look back to my childhood it seems people were not so concerned with stupid things as they are today. I think as centuries go on and life gets easier people lose focus on what is important. Long ago the thing that helped families together was hard times and desperation. A family needed each other. All members of the family were vital to the success of the family. Kids were assets  because they worked hard possibly farming or at least handing in pay. All wives stood home and took care of domestic chores and the husband went out and earn money working very hard and long hours. When he came home he was too tired from working to go hang out with his buddies and do anything wrong. She was too tired from her chores all day to go out with the girls and get drunk and bitch about everything. Kids would not answer back for fear of a swift punishment of a physical manner.

This is not about women’s lib or rights in any way,  the point is that as times get easier everyone gets lazier and society finds “reasons” why we are better off.

But as times get easier the family unit has broken down and there is little dependence on any of the members. Kids are spoiled and they go out and do as they please. Wives now work and do not need a husband to survive in the world. Husbands do not kill themselves at work and have the energy to play after their job. As life grows easier the adherence to discipline and honor disappear.

A just man that lives by an honorable code will behave according to that code and hold himself accountable for any wrongdoings. As society grows more and more liberal the honorable code becomes an obscurity to humanity and the honorable man becomes an outcast. Why can’t people maintain the discipline of former generation?

I believe the answer lies in our ability to reason. Certain religious groups reason that it is God’s plan for them to fail or for what ever they fail to do. The losers at the gym reason that they are far superior in their knowledge and do not need long workouts or to move heavy weight — they reason that they are in great shape and compare themselves to the lowest idiots. In martial arts people reason a multitude of reasons why they are training in such dishonorable schools and following patterns of failure.

In martial arts a person may reason that the black belt stands for mastery of the system and the quicker they get that Belt the quicker they become the master.  they reason that there is no reason to hit each other so they simulate striking and reason that it would actually work in a real confrontation. They reason that because they are following a path that is nothing more than a mockery of the true path that they are actually practitioners of the old ways. There are many factors that a human can use reasoning to manipulate.

In death ,  many cannot endure the loss of a loved one. The truth is that person is gone never to return. The truth is we do not know what happens after death. The truth is that person who is dead most likely change their views about life many times during their life and especially at the end. But the family reasons many things like they are in a better place now, this is what they would have wanted, we will be with them soon, and a multitude of other reasons to comfort them. They reason many ways to avoid the truth and the pain of accepting the truth.

A person may lose their job because of something stupid they did. It would take courage to admit the mistake and learn from it. It is much easier to reason that this situation happened for the best and it was not their fault.

Reasoning… The very same ability that made humans grow and survive is now the same thing that promotes a lazy population. But we must blame  reasoning with the standards of society. If society did not have such liberal views people would be reasoning very differently. Politics is full of the examples of reasoning the wrong. Every night we can watch a political show and see them go against common sense. The most logical answers are screaming to be heard. The most obvious answers are right there. But the right choices are hard choices so they reason why the wrong choices — the easy choices are the correct choices.

I believe that 90% of the time or more you can always look at a failure and reason why it was not. The ability to reason can become an addiction to procrastination. When you reasoning things out too much it prevents you from acting. Reasoning is a very important part of our psyche. A more important part is the gut feeling — the sixth sense. But the sixth sense is leaving our species. The gut feeling comes from life experience — from failure and suffering that teaches you not to fall into the same hole twice. These days there is no hole for anyone to fall and no matter how hard they try. The hole is now referred to as a day spa and no shame is ever associated with it. The gut feeling comes from experience and when people do not act they do not gain experience. Reasoning must be accompanied by other things. A decision cannot be based on any one premise such as solely emotion or solely in fact. Reasoning should take into account facts, emotions, opinions, and many other factors associated with that decision. Reasoning should be used to succeed not to cover up failure.

This went in quite a few directions . If I had just gotten to the point I fear the reader would not ponder the points as deeply. It is always my intention for the reader to come up with their own conclusions. It is too easy to just believe what you read. I think a good writer should leave the reader a little confused with the need to sort things out for themselves. This was based on my experiences in life. If you have not experienced similar things you will not have similar views. But these days I am quite sure that all of you know some loser that’s always telling you what’s wrong with your life and what you should do to make it better all while they are failing miserably at everything they do.  Most likely they are throwing a bible at you and dismissing themselves from any wrong doing.

If we just open our eyes we will see. Why can’t we call people losers? Why can’t we disagree with lifestyles? Why shouldn’t we be praised for not ruining our lives.?  We should be praised for living clean lives and we should be held in higher regard than those who have not succeeded out of sheer laziness. We should be complimented for putting more effort forth than others.

Today’s liberal society dictates that there are no winners or losers and everyone is the same. Today society reasons that there is no reason for anyone to feel they are better than anyone else. That is the reason society is failing and producing nonproductive people. The reasoning of equality is the reason there are fewer and fewer leaders to take charge and fewer and fewer followers to follow leaders. Reasoning is the reason people are more like a herd of cows than a civilization.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by thebrutalityofreality

I was just about to get out of bed this morning when a thought popped into my head. What is the difference between somebody who gives up something because they are quitter than somebody who gives up something because they see it as useless and move on to something more useful? In my martial arts career I have continually run across people who proudly state that they have given up this or that and moved on because they saw a more useful style. I started to ponder if I had become the same loser that I view them as. I started to think of all the similarities in my life to what people have told me — I view them as quitter’s — have I become a quitter too?  So I started to pick it apart — what have I given up in martial arts?

When I was young I practiced tae kwon do and tang soo do.  I have given up this practice. In my early adult years I practiced the art of aikido yet I no longer practice the art as a whole, I keep bits and pieces of it — I had given these systems up many years ago. So what makes me different from the person that I view as a quitter and loser who spouts off basically the same thing? Well the answer became clear as I looked for the reason that I gave up certain practices and the reason others give up certain practices. The answer is mostly concerned with the amount of study something has been given before it is given up.   For instance I gave up tae kwon do and tang soo do in my teens because every time I got in a schoolyard fight it never worked in any defensive way. Going all the way back to when I started to my early teens it was always the same story.  I would quickly employ the blocks and try to use the strikes that worked so well in class but here on the playground or in a crowded hall between classes it never worked. I would sustain hit after hit never be able to block them in my strikes would never land — if they did they were not very effective. If I was lucky enough to land a few hits, it was not out of any martial form.  I found out quickly that the engagements I won was due entirely to fighting with anger and dirty fighting.   In my teens I gave up this practice  and switched to judo because the art of kicking and punching proved to be very ineffective in real-life situations. Later on I gave up practicing judo as an art for the same reasons. In my adult life I gave up practicing the art of aikido for similar reasons. Though this art utilizes principles that are sound it does little to subdue a drunk that is flailing about and swinging anything he can get his hands on.

To illustrate the comparison and make the case that I have become the loser I make fun of , I will now talk about the others that have said such similar things. Many have stated that they no longer practice kicking or punching because they have moved on to a more streamlined art. A good example of this is when the mixed martial arts first started. After Gracie started beating everyone with his ground fighting skills many people gave up their stand up arts. At that time the pride fights were indeed great fights. As we watch the sport progress more and more rules were implemented and people gave up more and more techniques until recently I find that mixed martial arts has become a very small world and only employs a handful of techniques. {this comment will anger many that are fans or practice the mma – they will say I am not knowledgeable enough to see the many levels of techniques offered,  but it is my many years of training,  my understanding of the arts as a whole,  my experience that makes me view it as a small world.   They only know that world and don’t see how small it is}. They have given up their traditional striking and much of the groundwork that used to produce wins. Now you see most of the wins with chokes or possibly an arm bar but many are just lucky hits that someone happens to land. As I thought further about things that I have given up such as the practice of forms and very strict ritualized movements it became more and more apparent that I have turned into what I now make fun of.

This would be a good time to refer back to another chapter which I believe was entitled to three people in decision-making or something like that.  in that chapter I spoke about my belief that every problem must be attacked by three people — you must make yourself look at a problem and be three different people within yourself — the person who emotionally wants to — the person who has something to gain or lose by it — and the third person who was neutral and has no emotion or no gain or loss regardless of the outcome. So first I like to look at it from the emotional person — have I walked away from any of these practices because of the emotion? Yes, I guess I have. The emotion of fear. Since I have had the shit kicked out of me trying to defend myself with some of the arts , that weighed heavily on my decision to abandon training in them as a sole art form. From an emotional standpoint I feel my decision to abandon those arts was based entirely on fear — fear of getting beat up or possibly killed if I had to defend myself. The more I got into the security and executive protection realms the more I saw these arts as useless — so I would have to settle on giving them up for the emotion of fear. Next I think about what I had to lose or gain by giving them up. Was my decision based on a selfish reason fueled by greed of self gain or was it a sound decision based on fact? What would I have to gain if I gave these arts up? Well by this time I was starting to think about teaching and if I had not given these arts up it would have been a huge advantage in teaching as everyone these days has a black belt in tae kwon do and the studios have become babysitter factories. So in this case I cannot see any greedy or emotional reason based on personal gain. Actually it was quite the opposite in that choosing to distance myself from these arts I severely limited the people that I would interact with or take on as students. And finally I look at it from the third person who is neutral with nothing to gain or lose and no emotion involved. From this viewpoint we usually see the true reason for most decisions. From this third viewpoint I find that my reason for abandoning these arts was founded on the premise that they did not work for me when I needed them. But still the question remains have I turned into what I make fun of?

As usual I will get off on a bit of a tangent that seems to be off the subject but later will tie it to the point. I think this is a valid chapter that encompasses most every decision in life. Does somebody give up on something because they’re a loser or are they truly founded in moving forward? Let’s look at a college student. I have spoken with many kids at the gym who were constantly telling me that they are changing their majors. They spout off a bunch of reasons why they are constantly changing what they will do for a career and why they have given up on their previous choice. However, they never seem to move forward. Rarely have I ever spoken to anyone who benefits from giving up one thing and going to another. They usually just bounce around and it seems to me they give up when it becomes too difficult and seek an easier path. For instance one kid at the gym first told me he was going to attend medical school. A couple of years later I asked him how it was going and where he had been. He stated that he went off to college a few miles from here but still in the state. I asked him how long it would be before he got into med school and he told me that he had changed his mind. He was not going to be a doctor, now he was going to be a nurse. He spouted many reasons for the credibility of his decision such as not having large loans to repay when he graduates, getting done with school about eight years earlier, getting out of school and immediately starting to make 90,000 per year — all these things sounded like legitimate reasons for his decision and seemed to make sense but I viewed it as being weak and giving up because it was just too hard. He had to know early on what this path entailed and what he was getting into. For him to change his mind after two years of college seemed very weak and showed that he had not thought about his decision. A year later I saw him again when he came home from college on vacation. We started talking and  I asked about his nursing career. He informed me that once again he had changed his mind and now he would become a physical therapist. He spouted reasons again of not having the financial debt when he graduated and getting into the workforce much earlier. But all I saw was a loser seeking an easier path and never completing any of them. It would’ve been much better for him just to abandon college after the first two years and get into the workforce. He will probably not make it to be a physical therapist either and if he does that is a far cry from being a doctor.

Other examples that I see in life are people who are constantly changing their mind about little plans such as diets, home improvements, and my biggest peeve is when they make a plan to get out of debt and just can’t give up anything to achieve their goal. A diet needs no further consideration of explanation — it’s a short subject of the New Year’s resolution or whatever reason people say they will get in better shape and eat better but that only lasts for a couple weeks. Little projects around the house — people make a list, ponder the list, go to Home Depot to look for things that will aid them in their list, but they never actually get down to working on the list. In the end they’re too lazy and they abandon their list. And my favorite, getting out of debt. They say they will adopt new spending habits and a new way of life. They have not really thought about the sacrifice it will take to clear their debt. Many years of careless spending and no discipline cannot be resolved in a matter of weeks. So then starts the long list of excuses of why they cannot get out of debt. Honorable excuses like they’re doing it for the kids or they just need certain things in their lives.  My favorite is the “I deserve” ones like they deserve a good meal after working a long day so they have to go out and drop 200 bucks on dinner or they deserve a vacation because they work so hard. It all comes down to lack of discipline.

So as I lay there pondering if I have become the loser that I despise — after thinking of these examples — which really only took me about 10 minutes while I was laying there trying to get the stiff joints ready to rise– it finally hit me. The loser gives up — gives up for the sake of giving up. The loser gives up because things are too hard or not pleasant in some fashion. In the case of everyday life people abandoned their path because it’s just too hard. In the case of martial arts many people abandon training because they cannot see the use in continuing.  They look for the immediate advantage and never see it as a life long study,  they never give credit to the inner person side.  Many times in martial arts people abandon aspects of a style and incorporate aspects of another style stating that they are following the path of the great Bruce Lee. They justify giving up something comparing themselves to a legend. However, they have no right to do this since they have not followed the path of Bruce Lee.

What these people fail to realize is that Bruce Lee studied complete systems and hand such a raw talent that no one since has ever come close to him.  He was the fastest and moved so naturally.  How can these losers compare themselves to such a legend? They have given up something for the wrong reason. They have abandoned their training because it was too hard to follow a path. I never really hear them backing their decision with legitimate comments about a field that they may be involved in and the art not being suited for that field. Herein lies the difference between a loser who gives up any professional who specializes.

I concluded that my path has not been one of giving up but rather one of specializing. I did not totally abandon the training of my youth and my teens. I stopped practicing those arts as a whole but still practice and teach Many aspects from them. For instance I teach many of the aikido principles as a core foundation. Aikido has its roots in movement and blending. Two things that are extremely important when confronted with a weapon. The tae kwon do and tang soo do utilize blocking and striking that are common to the Japanese karate systems. Though I do not teach the systems as sole systems I do teach the blocking and striking that I learned as a child. It produces a foundation for rooting and gives the student a glimpse into traditional karate. They are easily incorporated into my base system of jujitsu. Now my focus in my adult life is Uechi ryu karate. I have abandoned the karate that I studied in my youth — a Korean style — for an Okinawan style in my adult life. I don’t have the flexibility that I did as a child nor do I have the tender body I once did.  Now I can sustain hits and not be bothered much by it.  Uechi demands physical toughness  and excuses lack of flexibility. The choice has merit.  The difference between the  loser and me is that I studied the systems as a whole. I went through the entire system and back in the 70s getting a black belt was no easy task as it is today. We did not have pads and belts were not just handed out because mommy paid monthly fees. I abandoned those systems for good reason, on the premise of self preservation. Though I am sure there are many practitioners of those arts that can defend themselves adequately, those styles did not work for me. Now at 40 years old I have turned my karate practice to the Okinawan style of Uechi ryu. I have dabbled in Uechi since the mid 90;s when I met the guy who is teaching it to me now.  But my body and mind was not ready for it to be a serious focus then.  The last few years it has been a true study of the art.  I practice the kata daily and have worked on conditioning specific to that art.  It is just the right time in my life for it.  10 years ago I couldn’t do a push up on my index knuckle, now I can rep them out with ease on a thin mat,  my shins are pretty  much dead and strong.  I don’t feel the pain I did 15 years ago.  I find that it is a much more combat effective style and blends easily with what I am already doing. It is a style that demands extreme durability and focuses on hard obliterating striking. It would do the reader well to research Japanese jujitsu and Uechi to better understand my point of combat effectiveness.

There are many things in my life that I have abandoned but few that I have abandoned because I was too weak to continue. I guess one thing that I have abandoned because of the weakness is a diet. When I first found out that I was becoming diabetic my diet was much cleaner than it is now. I just couldn’t go on eating chicken and lettuce every day and not having anything else. As I continued to play the game with my blood work and sneak under the bar of full-blown diabetes I cheat on my diet. This is just weakness — there is no good reason. Thankfully there are  few examples in my life of abandonment because of weakness. In my martial career I have abandoned what I saw as a weakness — I didn’t give it up because of weakness. I specialized in a close quarter fighting system. The more specialized something becomes the less room there is for extraneous things that have little to do with that specialty.

For instance, my training as a youth was more about outside fighting and then in my teens  judo was all about grabbing each other, throwing, and submissions. In my adult life jujitsu has been a combative judo (judo was developed in an effort to keep martial arts alive when jujitsu was outlawed — judo is a sub part of jujitsu). Though I have abandoned judo as a complete art I still teach the throws of the Kodakan and many judo techniques. For as much as I have abandoned the complete art of judo I have broadened my jujitsu. I teach my students judo throws for the sake of knowing judo and the principles of throwing and then modify them to be combative jujitsu throws.

In the end I have taken the systems that I have studied in their entirety and added them to a close quarter fighting style that is based in Japanese jujitsu. The original Japanese jujitsu incorporated much more than what people think of today with mixed martial arts when they hear jujitsu. The original samurai form included blocking, striking, takedowns, joint locks, weapons, throwing, submissions, strangulation, and a repertoire of movement to facilitate true combat. What I have abandoned was for the sake of specializing. I did not just take a few months of something and then claim the path of the great Bruce Lee by stating that I just take what is useful and trim off everything else. I have studied an entire system and incorporated the heart of the system. Unlike others that claim 15 different black belts and their own system of unbeatable fighting, I now only claim one system. My system.  Unlike the others who have spent just a few months trying to get the idea of a system and moving on I have spent years studying a system to truly understand it. Unlike the quitters who now have a bag full of useless techniques and myths, I have a system full of field-tested techniques and hard learned truths.  Each system that I have studied is now part of my jujitsu system. The only thing that is lacking is the forms and a ranking matrix. But at each level in their jujitsu training my students are required to know what is at the heart of each of the other arts.

In conclusion this long wordy spiel has had one point. A loser gives up because it is too hard, the professional gives up what is not useful because he specializes

techniques vs. mindset

Posted in special forces training, body guard, judo, tai chi, punching, kicking, blocking, stick fighting, knife fighting, kung fu, ninjutsu,, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2009 by thebrutalityofreality

all the techniques in the world will be useless when needed if you don’t train your mind.

you train 3 days weekly. someone throws a punch and you block it. you deliver a screaming punch to their mid section. you are deadly

bull, you are in a very controlled environment. you know your partner is not going to hurt you. as much as you practice, you are not training your mind.

you go to class and expect certain things to happen. you will not be ready when someone sucker puches you. you train to block not to recieve.

as part of your “real” training, do you ever take the hit to get used to what it will feel like? do you ever have someone attack you like Kato when you are tired and not expecting it.? if you are training for reality, you must train in reality. you must train the fear you will experience. you must really think about the consequences of your actions if you fail

why do so many dojos teach the one step defenses. watch the police tapes on tv. attacks are very violent, non stopping, brutal, and surprising. no thought for collateral damage.

unless you are studying an art for the sake of the art, lets take lessons from the military. you must be able to deliver when the need is there, you won’t have time to stretch, warm up, or do it over. no matter how much skill you have, you will fail if you can’t take the hits.

practice more on taking the hits and continuing than on blocking.

it’s not reality that you will block the hits and just deliver your strikes with killing power

make sure you train your body for strength. go to a gym- don’t be lazy

riding your bike isn’t a fight

hit , hit , hit. if you pull your punches you are training to pull them in a fight. you must let your brain know what it is like to hit with power

hit moving targets

if you are too tender to take hits. don’t fight

remember that at ther very least, you will get a shove punch

at the very most you will die

you must be willing to accept that if you stick your finger up or say anything to escalate the mood, a coward may shoot you or stab you,

maybe, it is a real possibility,….


on thing is for sure,

no one will bow to you, touch gloves, or stop hitting, stabbing, or shooting you when you tap out

you will just be entertainment for the bystanders

….. unless your have a personal ref. you keep handy and the criminal knows the rules