My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
Learn the Culture
In reality the arts and crafts "reflect" culture but do not create it and do not transmit it. It is said that you can view, collect and study the arts and crafts, etc. of a culture, i.e. similar to participating in those celebrations as well as practice the art of karate, etc., all your life and you will NOT become FULLY conversant with the cultures that crated them. It just ain't possible.
You can get a fundamental understanding of said culture but in order to actually know the culture you have to have been born to it and lived it as a part of your life. Even then, depending on the peoples whose culture you seek, it may only get you part way there for to be a part of that culture you must be that people, not just a visitor or guest.
It is still a good idea to try and learn as much as you can to be able to at least fundamentally understand a culture if you practice one of that culture's arts, i.e. karate-jutsu-do. It does mean you have to go beyond simply observing and even participating in the arts and crafts of that culture, the celebrations of that culture and the systems of belief for that culture. In my limited and fundamental understandings of the cultures that drive my practice and training I would say that not taking the effort to at least gain a fundamental state of understanding is like trying to create fire by clapping your hands and stomping your feet, it ain't going to create the fire - period.
My efforts at the Autumn stage of life is to gain an understanding by the study of the cultures that led to karate-jutsu-do which is Okinawa, Japan and then China. They are all interconnected and influential to that end. In addition when the time comes I would also add in the culture of India.
What could be a greater path toward understanding a culture is one posed by the author Mr. Boye Lafayette DeMente through the cultural code word approach. I can say that his books on both Japanese and Chinese cultural code words I have discovered a greater understanding of the many aspects underlying the art of karate-jutsu-do, which includes all Asian Martial Arts as well, and that of the cultures that drive the arts and crafts of Okinawa, Japan and China.
DeMente Sensei states in his book, "Language are, in fact, the repository as well as the transmitter of cultures. Languages contain the essence, the tone, the flavor, and the spirit of cultures, and serve as doorways to understanding them." Part I, page 23 of "The Chinese Mind." by Boye Lafayette DeMente.
As I study this and his cultural code word writings I also find that the characters of the language, i.e. kanji/kana of Japan as derived from the Chinese writing characters is a support or foundation of this same thought. In China there are many dialects and the one binding force that allows all of them to communicate effectively is the Chinese characters which transcend those dialects that are translated in spoken word by varying tones, etc. This is a common dominator in the Japanese language tone and quality whereby clarity is achieved by the kanji/kana.
In closing, I am absolutely amazed at the similarities between Japan and China as to language and the ideographs used in writing. As I read the cultural code words, etc. of both I was struck repeatedly with the similarities of the two cultures. Shimabuku Tatsuo-san's treatise to learn about the culture and beliefs takes new meaning for me as I continue to study.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Chinese Mind: Understanding Traditional Chinese Beliefs and Their Influence on Contemporary Culture." Tuttle Publishing. Rutland, Vermont. 2009.
DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Chinese Have a Word for It: The Complete Guide to Chinese Thought and Culture." McGraw Hill Publishing. New York. 1996.