"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
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

"Providing a first step on a path to self-reflection." - C. E. James

"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.

Kenpo Gokui

The lines of the ken-po goku-i are set from an atomistic aspect simply because it is the manner in which the brain learns. Its nature is completely holistic and like the I Ching must be in a form that promotes learning and understanding so a person can see, hear and grasp the nature of a holistic system. The gokui is a method to teach us how to be holistic. Its terseness is the best that can be done to convey its holistic meaning.

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.

Master Zeng said, "Am I preaching what I have not practiced myself?"

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All Bottles are Truly Good

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How Do I Tell a McDojo from a Dojo?

McDojo is defined as, “McDojo is a pejorative term (in the same vein as “McMansion” and "McChurch") referring to martial arts academies (generally located in the Western world) which, rather than being honestly committed to teaching students, are instead concerned primarily with amassing a profit.”

There are apparently indications one can look to that may say, “Ops, a McDojo - buyer beware.” Lets list a few:

1. Multi-colored uniforms with a path covering most of the uniform.
2. Awarded black belt in short time, i.e. often one year or even less.
3. Belts are expenses primarily while requirements are moving targets.
4. Membership and equipment/clothing sources required to be a student/member.
5. Fee use of titles such as master, grand master and urber-grand-master.
6. Teacher with lots of trophies, many black belts from many systems and barely reaching is thirties.
7. Lots of secrets you have to be a member for a period before they are revealed and you have to sign a blood oath to keep.
8. Special course requirements to achieve a black belt in half the required time and that is kept secret as well.
9. Preaches that they teach the ultimate defense system.
10. The teacher can’t spar/kumite with students due to his deadly ability that might mean death.
11. The before, during and after math of self-defense is non-existent and the teacher says, “huh,” when asked about those subjects.
12. You are not taught bunkai.
13. Claims of notoriety without proof.
14. Signs that say, “Guaranteed <fill in the blank>.”
15. Claims of superiority to other systems.
16. Black belts under age. 
17. Dojo says they are, “combatives, fighting systems, 100% effective, secret, deadly, ultimate anything and so on.
18. You can attain a black belt vis on-line dojo training.
19. Dojo merchandise is mandatory as source of equipment, etc.
20. More kata in quantity over the quality of kata training and practice, i.e. the higher the number goes hand in hand with black belt rankings.
21. Contracts, etc. required and minimal time requirements, i.e. three year non-refundable contracts with minimum of three years attendance as dictated by the dojo.
22. Militaristic atmosphere and strange etiquette requirements.
23. Performing kata, etc. to music.
24. Dojo printed on back of uniform; dojo URL printed on back of uniform; dojo phone number, email address and text address printed on back of uniform.
25. Paying up front, non-refundable fees.
26. The teacher sounds like a salesman and promotes sales throughout instruction, etc.
27. Promotion of other types of fitness in the dojo, i.e. cardio kickboxing, etc.
28. References to street effectiveness by teachers who have never been in a fight in their lives.
29. Your teacher cannot explain things and defers you to “just doing the basics.” 
30. Time in grade requirements.
31. Nobody ever, ever fails a testing for rank, level or grade.
32. The majority of the student body are children under the age of 10.
33. The entry had a receptionist and displays about the various program contracts available along with a cash machine and the receptionist is not a martial artists or attends this dojo and so on. 
34. The teacher claims required to “register” his or her hands as deadly weapons.
35. Other martial arts systems are denigrated during lessons as inferior to your ultimate deadly system.
36. Assistant or Associate teachers are in the kyu grade levels.
37. Teachers are dating students.
38. There are forbidden techniques.
39. The chief teacher/instructor never actually teaches.
40. You are required to purchase books and video’s, etc. as a test prerequisite for next rank, level or grade.
41. You are taught how to succumb to “projection of Chi/Ki power.” 
42. You are rarely exposed to legal ramifications, economic repercussions or health issues when training self-defense.
43. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to force training.
44. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to the laws regarding self-defense.
45. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to levels of force in self-defense.
46. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to alternative to becoming physically involved in self-defense.
47. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to training on how self-defense works and the process of law regarding investigation, arrest, prosecution and sentencing to imprisonment, etc. 
48. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to the subject of adrenal stresses let alone provided any kind of stress reality training to deal with it all.
49. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to instruction or references on “What is violence.”
50. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to instruction or references on threats/pre-attack indicators and so on.
51. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to instruction on social and asocial violence.
52. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to instruction on social violence in real life.
53. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to instruction on the Monkey and Weapons in the Self-defense world.
54. You are rarely, if ever, exposed to instruction and references on what is self-defense, JAM, Five stages and when you are within and outside the legal definitions of self-defense.
55. How pretty you perform is rated higher than effectiveness.
56. Your dojo and teacher don’t have any experience in the effectiveness of the system outside of the sales promotions provided.
57. Quantity is valued and utilized for promotion over quantity, effectiveness and application in a reality based system.
58. The teacher is always right, even when they cannot explain why it is they are right - it is just done that way suffices.
59. Questioning is forbidden especially questioning the teacher/master.
60. You are not allowed to watch/observe training, practice and whatever, it is secret.
61. Your teacher instructs you how to defend empty handed against weapons of all types.
62. You block heavy implements such as bats with your forearm, etc. as self-defense.
63. You fear your instructor and senior students.
64. Your memory is tested in lieu of your ability in self-defense, fighting and combatives.
65. Your applying of the system in real life fails dismally and then appears ineffective and not even relevant to that situation or even self-defense.

The greatest danger with McDojo’s are those that profess to teach self-defense when in reality they sell the sound bites that make you feel secure in order to get the most money. It tends to be about the money flow over the reality of violence and conflicts. Even those that profess being traditional and a “way” tend to spout out the platitudes and sound bites that make the system appear mystic and enlightened but when asked to explain and elucidate they defer to other sound bites and defections in redirection away from answers. 

McDojo’s are watered-down and impractical in the sense they are assumed to be fighting, combative and defensive systems. Profit is the game while the true essence of martial systems is used to promote and sell while remaining mysterious and unapproachable to the uninitiated then regarded as secrets that time in the system is required to reach that level where secrets are revealed. It is more about the accumulation of symbols, certificates and belts over the substance that is the core, the principles and the essence that makes the system, the system. 

McDojo’s are about instant gratification and achieving something without having to actually work hard, diligently and to seek out the more mundane and boring efforts it takes to become proficient. 

KaratebyJesse. “Warning: 93 Signs Your Dojo is a McDojo.” http://www.karatebyjesse.com/93-signs-of-a-mcdojo/

MacYoung, Marc. “In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It.” Marc MacYoung. 2014.

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