Aging Martial Artists

When older martial arts are practice many tend to think, Tai Chi Chuan. Where older practitoners are seen in parks, etc. making slow movements that are graceful, rhythmic and peaceful. Aging martial artists have to deal with those aging issues just like people who are not martial artist but one of the great things about martial arts is that one can practice the arts regardless of their age.

Tai Chi Chuan is a wonderful and beneficial system for any age but is especially beneficial, in my view, to those who have reached the, “Winter Years” of life. It is a wonderful time of life, the age beyond the first sixty years. The changes nature inflicts on us can be mitigated by certain mental and physical efforts and this blog is about how the effort of martial arts practice can and does mitigate and alleviate the aging processes.

So, this blog will be about that aging process and how the practice of martial arts can help. The first article that will follow will simply list those aging issues that directly relate to the practice of martial arts such as balance as it relates to falling. As with any effort such as this it warrants the readers effort in understanding that this effort is from a non-professional view and with that stated I encourage each reader review the caveat provided here and at the start of each article. I also encourage each and every person who is taking up this practice to make sure it meets approval by your personal medical professional. Get that before you try to participate in martial arts or any program that would benefit you as you age.

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Bibliography (Click the link)

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Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It’s NOT Personal

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

I write, a lot, and I am honored to have people view, read and comment on what I write. I find topics in a variety of ways such as other blog articles where some part triggers something in my mind and I write about it. Sometimes, folks will perceive this as being critical of the source material but I want to ensure everyone who reads this blog, “It is NOT Personal!”

As a fledgling author I write and I love to write. My goals in writing is to learn, build knowledge and create ever greater understanding of those things to which I write about. In Boyd’s OODA it is understood, by me, that a process of analysis and synthesis is an ongoing process that helps to meet goals such as mine. I try to do that a lot but being human, I sometimes mistakenly write in a way that seems and may be perceived as “Personal” to the reader. 

One thing I have tried to add at the end of each article is to express, at a minimum, a form of acknowledgement to the person, blog and/or article that inspired the one I write, wrote and posted. It may seem that because I ‘tip my hat or ritsu-rei’ to that person, etc., that the article must be a critique of the other source and author - sometimes it is true, but mostly it “IS NOT PERSONAL!”

I am saying this here and now because, similar to Colonel Boyd when addressing seniors at his lectures, I want to ensure that the person on the receiving end understands that it is not personal and that everything I write is about “ME” and my learning process along with allowing others to be exposed because one of the most critical aspects of learning, studying and coming to an understanding is through the exchange of communications with others who have something positive to contribute. This occurs, if done properly, on the dojo floor, in the classroom, at seminars and thorugh exchanges in blogs, video’s, books and other media (through comments and reviews, etc.). You cannot achieve understanding in just your own mind because it just doesn’t work. 

Humans have survived and become the animal at the top of the food chain, so to speak, because over the centuries a few have used such strategies and tactics in learning thus building our societies and species into what it is today. If not for this we all would still be hunting with rocks and sticks, running from predators and gathering food on the Serengeti plains of a thousand years ago or so. 

If I got something wrong, if you feel it needs correction or if you just think I am full of shit, comment constructively because it is how I learn, change and grow - change is critical but only change that involves many, not a few and especially not just the ‘one’. 


Bibliography (Click the link)

“In order for any life to matter, we all have to matter.” - Marcus Luttrell, Navy Seal (ret)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Conserve to Preserve

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

How often have you heard the meme, “Use it or lose it?” How often have you heard the meme, “Conserve it to preserve it?” This second meme only came to my attention in a recent study of mine regarding our bodies as to strength and durability and endurance but in a sense of longevity, i.e., what happens as we age and how that effects our practice and application of martial arts especially for self-defense.

It also came up regarding certain maladies one may have had over the years that now, as we age, have certain repercussions that long ago were not addressed or even given any thought or concern - the durability of a young mind. 

Sometimes how you use it in order to not lose it determines actually whether you truly lose it vs. actually conserving it for longevity. In our youth we in martial arts, at least from a Western perspective and perception, relied heavily on our physical muscular strength to carry the day with a smattering of actual principled based methodologies to get-r-done. Little did I and I suspect others in those younger years even considered that a more balanced way of martial arts and life would provide us the means to get-r-done as well as conserve to preserve those very same things that would provide us longevity and ability to continue our efforts in a martial way.

Fatigue, loss of strength, pain and our endurance all start to decline as our bodies age. How we temper that decline makes a huge difference. What I have discovered is that from a Western perspective we tend to exert maximum effort, strength and spirit in order to get-r-done but now find that a more cerebral view would have made that easier, more appropriate and smarter in applying learned skills in what even application we need or use. 

I have only just recently discovered that many of the ways I did things in fense as well as martial arts was not as efficient as it could be and relied heavily on my size, strength and mind-set to carry the day. I did things, as many did and still do, the “HARD WAY.” It seems, for me anyway, as a means to an end and only as I age and hopefully become wise realize that smart is so much better than hard. 

I also find this apropos because now I have encountered, as the aging process takes firm hole in my winter years, certain obstacles that actually force me to take a more conservative view of my way to make sure things last for the duration of my life. If I had continued to work the hard way I would deplete certain energies and strengths that would in the later winter years exposed me to vulnerabilities that would actually effect the quality of life let alone expose me to the dangers in life. 

Take a look and so some analysis on the subject of “Conserve to Preserve” especially if your reaching those winter years because taking action now and adjusting how you do things, especially in the dojo, will make for a long lasting ability to remain active in the dojo and to show those young-uns just how we old guys get-r-done but smartly. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Monday, June 13, 2016

It’s Not Personal

Listen, it truly is not personal. I can’t tell you how many folks read my stuff, especially for the first time, and take immediate offense as if I attacked them and their belief systems in a personal way. In my mind, that is impossible especially if you have the confidence and understanding of what it is you do in martial arts, karate especially since that is my main squeeze martial art practice and study.

My sole goal on my blogs and wherever I find myself writing or talking about my personal understanding of my personal training, practice and applications of karate-martial arts. I often find other articles and extract things that trigger my mind into its meandering and wandering way of learning using Colonel Boyd’s “Analysis and Synthesis” model of study. I have exctracted from many authors and even if my writings and talks stray away from the original intent of that author doesn’t mean I am taking aim at the person themselves or even their intent in the original article. 

I often find things said and then deliberately take them out of the original article and the author’s intent in that article because when the quote or meme or other derived information is extracted like that it is NO LONGER a PART of the original. What I do tho is give credit to that author and their article not to make it personal but to make it known that the inspiration of the article I write comes from that extraction.

After all, analysis often, as you can find in Col. Boyd’s explanation, is taking individualized parts of a whole to study separately and then work toward rebuilding into something else that most often has nothing to do with the origins of the used extracted data. 

If you end up taking anything I write and way personally then that is ALL ON YOU, not me. If you find you become uncomfortable with anything then simply write me or a comment expressing your concerns and beliefs - you may be able to change my mind about what I wrote and guess what, many have done just that over the last decade or so - Whopee, I learnt somethin!

JUST REMEMBER DUDES AND DUDETTE’s, It ain’t personal, was not meant to be personal and ain’t about you, none of you. Your inspired me to write something that may or may not be relevant to what you wrote or said or it might be but IT IS MY PERSONAL idea’s, theories, and understanding of what the subject matter is about - loosley. 

You can’t learn shit by remaining steadfast with what you know because it is what you don’t know or what you don’t know you don’t know you don’t know about that will cause you to not know something. Yes, all that came from someone else who said something about knowing, not knowing something and not knowing what you don’t know you don’t know thingy. Yes, I kinda borrowed it because, I liked it and you can see that in my writing too like recent studies of Colonel Boyd and the OODA, its a learning process for me and … wait for it … It is NOT personal!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Aging Muscles

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

As karate-ka and martial artists age they have to deal with some interesting things of which one is our aging muscles. We can’t get past it by working out harder or lifting heavier and heavier weights. There are no vitimins or special drinks that will stay the natural effects of aging so it is best to understand, at least fundamentally, what we are in for as we age. Here is the short meme on aging muscles.

“As we age we lose muscle fibers. Remaining fibers atrophy, get smaller in size. Aging muscles are not as pliable or as able to contract quickly as is younger muscle. These changes cause a loss of muscle size and strength, reduce muscle contraction speed, and decrease muscle endurance.”

I was asked by a much younger karate-ka, what can you do then? My answer is to practice and train “Smart.” By smart I mean embrace the full spectrum of karate and martial arts practice, learn the principles and then learn the methodologies and techniques so you can apply them smarter than your adversary. Remember, most don’t know this stuff or they assume they don’t need it cause they are strong but even the strongest of men succumbs to the aging process, so learn now and make the adjustments so you can continue to dominate even those young whipper snappers out there dependent on their strength, size and testerone driven egoistic monkey brain status seeking woman impressing antics :-)

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cognitive Functioning

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

It has apparently been found that remaining busy in your life is a solid way to keep your cognitive functions healthy. I quote, "We show that people who report greater levels of daily busyness tend to have better cognition, especially with regard to memory for recently learned information," said Sara Festini, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Texas at Dallas and lead author of the study.

Now, as I have been told by recent, proverbial martial artists, trying to connect such things to karate and martial arts is a stretch don’t realize that having a direct and obvious connection does not mean that it is not relevant to those disciplines. Remember, being and remaining busy according to the study means aging karate-ka and martial artists who remain active and use both the mind and the body with such diligence a lifetime of training and practice produce means a better life in our winter years. 

Karate and Martial Arts training, practice, studies and applications all tend to hit on almost every system of human beings such as visual, tactile, emotional and mentally to name a few obvious ones. Add in the more spiritual, not necessarily religious but there are a lot of religious influenced sensei and students out there, perspective and you have a well-rounded and wholehearted discipline that will contribute to your cognitive fitness and longevity.

Movement: kata, drills, basics and the creative free style of the disciplines keep the parts of the brain involving the physical active and connected; the same things also result in the brains thinking toward things like visualizations along with creative functioning when going to the creative free style in the discipline; the study of the philosophical side hits on other parts of the brain and since the physical and mental all should involve a continued study and analysis leading to the creative through the synthesis of those studies the brain is being exercised thus keeping our cognitive abilities sharp and healthy. 

Since a dedicated study and practice often involves using our brains and bodies throughout the days, almost every day, means we trigger those cognitive functions of the brain stimulating and invigorating our brains functions of cognitive ability keeping them healthy, fit, and working well into our winter years. 

Unlike sports and some other disciplines where continuing into the winter years are not beneficial or the person is not able to maintain that intensity required to practice and train, karate and martial arts in all forms can be adjusted to the needs and abilities of the individual well into the winter years of our lives. It is one reason why it has been such a benefit to the Asian culture, it is about keeping interests alive and remaining mobile, you get that from karate and martial arts. 

Some will say, you get that with almost all mental-physical disciplines and I would agree and would add that depending on the individual it all depends on what stimulates them and gets them moving both physically and mentally. Karate and martial arts are one of the best from my seat in the stadium. Look at the practices of Tai Chi Chuan for health and fitness, a martial discipline for sure but often used to keep everyone regardless of age moving in a way that stimulates our bodies various systems remaining active and therefore alive, you can do the same with karate and martial arts. 

I quote: “The team examined 330 healthy men and women between the ages of 50 and 89 in the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study. The researchers used surveys to obtain information regarding the participants' daily schedules and a series of neuropsychological tests to determine cognitive performance. The results revealed that regardless of age and education, a busier lifestyle is associated with a higher degree of cognitive functioning, which includes increased processing speed of the brain, working memory, reasoning and vocabulary. Furthermore, the association is even stronger when specifically looking at episodic memory, the ability to remember specific places, events and the emotions that were felt within them.” -

In closing, even for the younger practitioners whether they train for competitors or for protective defense purposes, the cognitive training process is critical to learning and learning to apply such skills in the adrenal stress-conditions of conflict and violence so continuing that into the winter years seems beneficial to now and to the days when you reach those ages, right? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Editorial - Opinionated Opinions - Lecturing - Teaching - Mentoring

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

There will be days like this and there will always be days like this but truthfully that means there will always be days like this that teach and where I learn. When I editorialize, where I provide opinionated opinions, theories, ideas, etc., where I lecture as a teacher, instructor and mentor, when I lean toward a teaching form my editorialization, opinions, lectures and lessons I am mentoring but with one caveat, a need to learn, a need to understand and a need to find out more so I can editorialize, express opinionated opinions, lecture, teach and mentor. Does that make even a bit of sense?

Editorials: an article written by or on behalf of an editor that gives an opinion on a topical issue. A part of a newspaper or magazine that are not advertising. The question is in our modern tech world, are blogs and other venues of electronic publication qualified to present editorials on issues, topics or in my case disciplines such as karate, martial systems and self-defense? Or are editorials a purview of only newspapers, news television, or magazine publications? There are political editorials, there are business editorials and there are debate type editorials but what are they really? Are editorials actually just opinions form authors/writers who have some expertise on the subject of editorials because I do have some expertise on the subjects I write about in my blogs? An editorial, in general, is an opinion piece written by that often expresses an opinion of a publisher and yet it can be any other written document that reflects an opinion of a periodical but can it also reflect the opinion of an author who writes on a subject they have extensive knowledge of? My blogs are of a single topic and theme with text expressed as my opinion and is often in a lecture format, is that an editorial piece?

Opinionated Opinions: first, an opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, like karate and martial arts and self-defense and philosophies of the three, etc., not necessarily based on fact or knowledge (my opinions and editorial articles tend to come from facts researched and knowledge gained from studies, practices and experiences). As to opinionated, that is a view of a person or material presented perceived as conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions. My question is who gets to decide what is opinionated and what is not for an opinion may be perceived as derived from that persons perception of their inner world and beliefs and may not actually be a correct perception of that opinions. There can be and seems to be a very fine line between an opinion presented in an editorial article, article or blog entry  based on an individual perception of conceited assertive dogmatic opinion. Can it be a misinterpretation of an confident presentation vs. an actually opinionated piece and how do you tell the difference? Opinion to opinionated seems to be defined by terms such as dogmatic, fixed views, dictatorial, pompous, self-important and arrogance but how can that be detected in a written piece without knowledge of the author/writer, a perception through sensory data input like body language, voice inflection or attitude? The written word is only a very small part of that communications leading a belief that when one feels a persons written word without a knowledge and understanding of the authors personality, etc., is a judgement as to the persons own personality in expressing and receiving opinions. If the author of an opinion piece, an editorial or lecture type written article, how do you determine if it is truly opinionated as to conceit and dogmatic especially if that person is presented with refuted information and/or opinions that stimulate change in the authors view, opinion and understanding and does one determine opinionated views of the author before or after making such determinations, I wonder? 

Lecturing: is a delivery of an educational lecture to a class or other audience that would include readers of a blog, of a Facebook entry, of a twitter submission or a forum site, etc. It is often used to present materials in a educational arena such as an institution of higher learning, a University lecture. Lecturing, dependent on the perceptions of an internal nature of the recipient, might be also a view of a serious talk or of reprovingly nature to someone but that too is about the recipient rather than sender although one would hope the sender or lecturer would do so after a connection is made such as an empathy connection, etc. It is a difference of a scolding, chiding, admonish like deliver that in all honestly cannot be conveyed or determined by just the written word especially understanding just how difficult it is to convey such views without first knowing the person more intimately and being in physical presence while lecturing to perceive their body language, etc., as the necessary additional sensory data output needed to make such a determination. 

Teaching: is an informal method of lecturing and discussing or a series of lecture on a subject of public interest or of personal interest to say, students in a lecture hall or participants of a tech social connection forum like a blog, a wiki or a FaceBook social site. Sensei teach and to teach such a complex and difficult subject of a skill based knowledge of karate, martial disciplines and especially self-defense you have to participate in prolonged periods of “Lectures,” speeches, and editorialized written materials, etc. conducted often without interruption by members of an organization like school faculty or invited guest speakers at other education institutions or when used as a technique in  a social protest, etc.

Mentoring: is about one who comes before or one who has a knowledge of a subject and/or skill who advises or trains someone in that subject, skill and/or discipline. A mentor promotes, advocates and is a resource for mentoring but is not all knowing of the subject or skill but rather a knowledgable person who has a good understanding of the discipline, skill and knowledge, etc.

In my blogs, in my writings and in my books I am a person lecturing and teaching on a subject and skill that is about karate, martial disciplines, self-defense and a philosophy on all of that so I mentor and I teach and I lecture and I am of a certain opinion but I am open to change when properly presented and later validated by my own efforts in research, etc.

Isn’t that they way it is? Does it mean that it is opinionated and does it mean that the lecturing is negative or is it just the excuse some give to justify remaining steadfast, dogmatic, in their status quo belief system? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Regarding Age and Self-Defense

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

First and foremost Rory Miller is a professional and knows about this stuff so I tend to listen to what he says, or in this case writes. This quote is taken out of its intended context of the article. I am taking this out to write about the aging karate-ka and martial artists concerned about self-defense. The quote, “You don't have a choice about your size and old age comes to everyone lucky enough to survive. But at almost any age you can still move like an athlete.” - Rory Miller, Chiron Blog Article, ‘Logic of Violence Steps 1-3 of 6’

First the age, I can’t help but agree wholeheartedly that an aging person who presents a hard target by the way they move and the attitudinal aura they project and fend of the aggressor, mostly, long into the winter years (age 60+). I also will say emphatically that even a person of smaller stature, I am 6’ 1” and about 195 pounds, because I see people like my brother, who is about 5’ 4” or maybe a bit taller, who exudes a sense of confidence and athleticism he is a person people find kind of intimidating (for lack of a better term), that says you might want to consider others before taking-him-on. 

One reason I find the practice of karate, chi-gong and tai-chi not only healthful but it maintains that aura of fitness and athleticism that projects a certain message to those who may be searching out a target. Oh, and my brother is in his fifties so his age is getting closer to those winter years and yet I suspect, since I know him well, that his aura will dominate way into the later winter years. 

The idea is to achieve the ability to maintain and project that athleticism, confidence and ability even if you have certain physical ailments that might cause you to limp, stagger a bit or move with less finesse by the ability to mask them when out in public. It can be done, like the old maestro who conducts the philharmonic orchestra who can barley walk to the stage entrance but suddenly puffs up, stands straight and them marches with confidence and without a hint of feebleness to the stand and begins to conduct the orchestra. It can be done!

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sensory Degradation Elder Karate-ka (and Martial Artists)

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Some preparatory Information: We depend a lot on our senses to input signals that help our minds to create our realities. It is a matter of sensory input signals of what is happening in the external real world, as real as it can be considering, where the signals hit our brains so that various routines can run to extract memories of that external world to create a internal world. The internal world is then compared enough to validate the inner worlds reality while making some changes and filling in, from the data stored in our brains, blanks by assumptions made by our inner world brains. Phew, a mouthful that is and it is only a simplified explanation to get the topic started.

Some more preparatory Information: Now, there is vastly more out there in the real world, the real Universe. Our sensory systems only detect signals that are necessary for our survival and our very existence. Nature has come to set those sensory signal detectors for what we need and not what we don’t need therefore what is out their beyond our detection capabilities of sensory systems is simply hidden away, undetectable except through our innovative capabilities to build other signal capture devices that translate those hidden signals into a form our human sensory systems can relay to our brains.

The nest preparatory Information: Our basic sensory system that gathers and sends signals to our brain are the sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, vibrations, and temperature. It is through these sensory detectors and signal generators that we live and travel through our world, our Universe, to live, survive and grow or evolve as humans. 

You might be a bit surprised by the list of senses that I listed especially as it regards to vibrations and temperature. Some will assume that touch covers both vibrations and temperature but the sense of touch, tactile, doesn’t cover them all. We feel vibrations through our entire body, both externally and internally. 

Take walking, we actually feel vibrational signals as we walk when our feet lift and set in the walk with the connections made with the ground, the Earth. Then we feel and detect vibrations of others walking around us, the vehicles passing on the streets and other vibrations also often heard with other senses such as sound, that are also vibrations that hit both the external body and the hearing sensory organs. It is about an integration of a variety of sensory detectors that feed our internal world so we can build the reality of the external world in which our bodies, mind and spirits travel while we live.

What makes all this particular difficult is we modern humans don’t have the full and more comprehensive data of all these sensory signals out there to translate them into something useful and usable to make decisions, both conscious and subconsciously, to act accordingly therefore making the freeze more common and frequent. 

The Topic: Now, as we age all these sensory detectors and transmitters tend to degrade in efficiency. Take hearing for instance, we tend to lose various levels of signal broadcasts like the level that allows us to hear conversations, etc. The current way to overcome that degradation is to wear hearing aids, a great creation to which I have a close affinity. 

In our training and practice as karate-ka and martial arts we train to have a certain awareness that requires input from our sensory systems as listed above. We often assume that sight and hearing do all the work but do they really? I believe that the other sensory systems are putting out a lot of information and transmitting that to our brains. We assume and hope that our brains will be able to make sense of those signals to they are added to the inner worlds analysis process and extracting the zombie procedural memories to act accordingly. In daily life that ignorance to such things is not a bad thing, it makes our lives easier and instinctual in nature but as to self-defense through the application of principled based methodologies, etc., it comes down to encoding, changing, and creating sub-routines of procedural processes and actions to get the job done. 

As I have written before this process is dependent on a huge amount of knowledge, understanding and experience so that the signals will have appropriate comparisons to build the inner world in a way that allows us to apply actions, tactics and strategies to the external world in real-time, as real-time as the brain allows, to get-r-done. 

When we feel vibrations do we know the meaning behind them and how they should either trigger our spidey senses or tell us all is ok to continue everyday life processes? 

As we age and our sensory systems degrade how we adjust and compensate has a lot to do with creating a mind-state that knows and understands them so they become useful. Our brains have a great ability to make changes to adjust but it takes intention focused on utilizing other sensory systems to compensate such as better visual ability and the use of the bodies ability to detect things like vibrations and how the body feels them and interprets the signals so that the degraded hearing can be augmented or bypassed altogether. 

As an elder karate-ka and martial artist with a deep interest in and a good understanding of self-defense in karate who has a huge hearing loss as well as a rerouted and new program toward balance from meniere’s (vertigo, etc.) I can say with some confidence that a focus on other sensory detection methods and processes has greatly improved other systems over the hearing system, auditory systems, so that I can still achieve my goals in karate, martial arts and self-defense. 

If you train and practice mindfulness of our body, internal and external, with a focus on the different sensory systems then you are creating strong neuron signal systems that will encode in the brain, the mind, so that they are available to build your defenses both immediate for self-defense defenses and to the every day life obstacles and situations that need such sensory input to achieve accuracy, efficiency and proficiency. 

A good example, or so I think, is to practice and train with your eyes closed. You feel your body, you try to consciously detect how your body feels and interprets vibrations and temperatures to tell your mind about your environment and what that means in taking actions, etc., in the moment. How about using ear plugs to diminish your detection of sound waves, can your body and eyes provide you the information necessary to say detect things out of your visual detection? 

You are training your mind to be more conscious of other sensory signals like on a walk in a park you direct your mindfulness to feeling the breeze on your skin, your face, and your body, through your clothes and by the exposed skin, etc., to detect what is in your environment then contemplate what those sensory signals mean, a sunny warm windy day or a feel of moisture in the air with a certain darkness meaning their might be rain ahead, etc. 

Believe me, a cognitive training program like this along with learning how things are when danger exists you get a feel, especially if you experience things first hand, for what makes the old spidey sense tingle, i.e., when butterflies flutter in your stomach, your intestines begin to gurgle, the hairs on our arms and neck, etc., prickle and so on - interpret and integrate to compare and retrieve the knowledge or data necessary for your inner world mind-state can make appropriate adjustments and take actions appropriate for the moment. 

You can look at this type of process as an extension of mokuso at the start and end of dojo practice while exercising those sensory systems mindfully in practice and training as a extension of that very same mokuso. Bring the assumed and unconscious to the surface to enhance and build so when you are exposed to things, you can make and achieve appropriate goals and results. 

Add in that this type of mind training and practice provides a slew of benefits over and beyond what is mentioned in this article up to the levels that allow you to become more serenity like in mind, body and spirit. This is how we make those adjustments and create a brain, a mind-state, that easily adjusts to such obstacles and sensory degradations that effect our ability to live normal lives and to achieve self-defense when needed. 

In karate and martial arts we talk about flexibility but seldom address the need to be flexible in our minds, our brains, that allow for the ability to create those neurons connections and pathways the allow us to make changes and adjustment. We lean heavily toward the narrow ability to have physical flexibility but often assume and hope that flexibility extends into the brain. That is limited and such mindful practices toward sensory awarenesses, etc., stretches the flexibility beyond the immediate needs of the body and into the mind for a flexible mind-set and mind-state. 

Supplementary Information: I’ll write an article on sensei modes, these are modes of sensory input and often, humans, have a preferred or dominant sense mode. We lean heavily toward that dominant sense mode while having a tendency to ignore the other modes that still provide signal input. 

Supplementary Information, more: Try walking up and down stairs by not holding onto or using the rails. Then add in focusing your vision straight ahead, not on the stairs, where we are stepping, how many steps remain but become mindful of all of that and not focusing our visual sense on the process. What happens is interesting. When both the hands and the vision are taken out of the mix the other modes or sensory detectors will adjust with a bit of difficulty at first but with practice it will balance out. 

Bibliography (Click the link)
Siegel, Daniel J. M.D. “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation.” Bantam Books. New York. 2010. 

Supplementary Information, more … more: Learn to be internally aware, mindful, then begin to extend that to an external awareness through the sense modes, all of them. The final step is to integrate the internal to the external so that the entire system can create the internal/external worlds where the fill in of voids, blanks, is reduced considerably leaving sub-routines of an appropriate configuration and code for situations in each moment. 

Sources that Validate: “The power of our mindfulness internally when we direct our attention within has within it the power to shape our brain’s firing patterns, as well as the power to shape the architecture of the brain itself.” … “Mental activity stimulates brain firing as much as brain firing creates mental activity.” … “Under the right conditions, neural firing can lead to the strengthening of synaptic connections. These conditions include repetition, emotional arousal, novelty, and the careful focus of attention. Strengthening synaptic links between neurons is how we learn from experience.” … “The intentional focus of attention is actually a form of self-directed experience: It stimulates new patterns of neural firing to create new synaptic linkages.” … “Neural tissue becomes intricately woven with our musculature, our skin, our heart, our lungs and our intestines.” … “The body’s hormones, together with chemicals from the foods and drugs we ingest, flow inot our bloodstream and directly affect the signals sent along neural routes.” … “Dopamine is involved in the reward systems of the brain; behaviors and substances can be come addictive because they stimulate dopamine release. Serotonin helps smooth out anxiety, depression, and mood fluctuations.” … “The mind observes information and energy flow and then shapes the characteristics, patterns, and direction of the flow.” … “We (sic humans) exchange all sorts of signals with each other, symbols we’d share in word form or in the nonverbal realm of eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, and gesture.” 

Experience Information: Experience activates neural firing, which in turn leads to the production of proteins that enable new connections to be made among neurons, in the process called neuroplasticity. Besides focused attention, other factors that enhance neuroplasticity include aerobic exercise, novelty, and emotional arousal. We learn more effectively when physically active. Exposing ourselves to new ideas and experiences, promotes the growth of new connections among existing neurons and seems to stimulate the growth of myelin, the fatty sheath that speeds nerve transmissions. Neuroplasticity is activated by attention itself, not only by sensory input. We activate neuroplasticity when we participate in an activity that is important or meaningful to us. 

Mindful Practice: Found in body-energy centered practices such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, karate and other martial arts, chanting; and various forms of sitting and walking/moving meditations. 

Brainstem Signals: Fight, Flight and Freeze Paradigm: The goal here is to listen to those signals that train us to be mindful and aware of shifts in our breathing nd heart rate - and paying attention to arousal itself. The brainstem also works the limbic area and cortex to assess safety or danger. When our threat-assessment system tells us we are safe, we let go of tension in our bodies and our facial muscles relax: we become receptive, and the mind feels clear and calm. But with an assessment of danger, the brainstem (along with the limbic and middle prefrontal areas) activate a decision tree: If we think we can handle the situation, we enter the fight-or-flight state of alert. Our heart begins to pound as the body readies for action. Adrenaline pours into our bloodstream and the stress hormone cortisol is released; our metabolism is prepared for the energy demands ahead. If we believe we are helpless we freeze or collapse, i.e., called the “dorsal dive.” 

Brainstem Signals: Fight, Flight and Freeze Paradigm (more): If you are vertically integrated, you can read what your body is telling you about your safety or danger, including signs fare more subtle that running away or fainting. You feel a certain tension; you get a feeling that you just can’t trust the person; you create an awareness of these subcortical impulses that enable you to know how you feel, alerts you to your needs, helps you prioritize your choices, and then moves you to make a decision. This is how gut feelings help us survive. The brainstems threat states, the brainstem mediated neural shifts.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

COMFORT: Rhythms, Cadences and Patterns - Oh my!

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

One of the greatest dangers of aging humans as karate-ka, martial artists and self-defense aficionados is our falling into a comfort zone. This becomes more critical when we are talking about our brains. Our brains program sub-routines but when we find comfort in the patters, rhythms and cadences those provide we have this tendency to stick to the comfort, the comfort zone. In our brains, especially as we age, this becomes problematic.

Karate and Martial Arts are such disciplines that when trained, practiced and applied properly tend to flex the brain resulting in its plasticity to stay - plastic and therefore changeable. Take my past experience as an example, I got what is called, “Meniere’s” that is vertigo of a sort. My neurologist told me, after the initial recovery, that my brain needed to reprogram the sub-routine for balance, walking and so on. That would take time and I am still programming after about two years or more after the initial vertigo attack. 

What I discovered, since no one else in the karate and martial art worlds had any information on dealing with vertigo in training, practice and applications, is there is no information on that recovery and reprogramming and the neurologist didn’t have any advice on that reprogramming effort except time and effort. I found that when I had enough stability to practice again that doing karate and tai-chi chi-gong, etc. was still in the sub-routine created through training and practice and actually helped to regain stability and balance. Think about that, my drunk-like movement actually lessened when doing karate and the other martial arts practices. 

I actually believe that my reprogramming and creation of a new sub-routine for the stability and balance went faster. Some who suffer from vertigo or meniere’s don’t truly get the balance and stability back often resorting to actions and devices necessary to maintain stability and balance like holding on the things, looking down at the ground and feet and the use of a cane, etc. I actually started out that way but quickly left that course of action behind due to my past and recent practice and training. 

It made me think, that when we practice with the shu-ha-ri like model where we constantly change, visualize and practice that this exercises the brain and keeps the plasticity, plastic like flexible. In my studies of this I found that certain activities and brain work can actually train the brain so when certain medical maladies of the aging brain occur the brain can actually reroute neurons and reprogram and/or create new sub-routine programs that actually bypass the effects of such maladies. One report showed a recent passing when the brain, due to the persons contribution to science of his or her body, showed all the signs of a very debilitating brain disease yet the person showed none of the effects or side effects of having the disease, not a smidgeon. Reviewing the lifestyle and especially the lifestyle in the aging process it was found that certain activities and brain challenges the person did normally in life actually provided the ability of the brain to recruit around the disease, ain’t life grand?

Due to my studies, my research and my experiences I find, for me, that the disciplines of karate and martial arts as it applies to the correct way to be beneficial to the mind, body and spirit in more ways than merely the so called martial spirit and way. It actually can train the brain to overcome adversities of the aging processes and may be why, in past older Okinawans, they tended to live longer,healthier and happier winter years (knowing other factors such as diet, etc. also contributed). 

It is easy for humans to find such comfort zones and a certain adherence to such things has benefits yet if overbalanced toward only that comfort has its prices but a balance of comfort along with a bit of chaos tends to keep the body, mind (brain) and spirit flexible and able to handle all kinds of obstacles from conflict to violence to overcoming the adversities of aging. Pretty cool, huh? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Click for larger, readable, view!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

K&MA, Meditation and Aging

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

When hearing about meditation the mind often spins off into some Asian white haired sitting Zen monk assuming a seiza posture and sitting in absolute stillness with eyes closed for extended periods of time.

Although this is, "one," way, there are actually many ways to meditate. Some might wonder why one would meditate in K&MA, sitting seiza at the start and end of a training session.

Meditation is not just a K&MA thing, it is one of those ancient practices that turns out to be beneficial no matter why it is practiced. Modern medicine had scoffed at such practices along with many of the Chinese medical methods like acupuncture only to discover, for what ever reasons, that they work. 

Their have been a lot of self-help programs over the years that advocate types of meditation along with what they call today, “Mindfulness” or “The Power of Now,” and so on that all lean toward some form of mindful meditation practices. After all, the mind and therefore the brain is full of surprises and if I am correct in my theories and assumptions the brain, the mind, hidden in that dark cave we call a skull is more like a, “Matrix,” than we humans realize. 

Even tho some may make the assumption that sitting seiza and meditating to begin and end K&MA training and practices is not beneficial to the goals some assume like sport competitions it has recently come to light that the visualizations may sport enthusiasts use is a form of meditative practices. 

Health Benefits of Meditations (Psychological and Physiologically): 
  • Promotes a calm mind and therefore calms the body.
  • Promotes reduction and counters the effects of the cortisol and adrenaline dump.
  • Promotes clarity of the human logical mind processes, especially when the dump occurs.
  • Promotes better sleep resulting in a calmer mind and body when awake.
  • Promotes focus toward visualizations that contribute to refining and builds your abilities both physical and mental.
  • Enhances mental and physical performance overall.
  • Promotes more control over deep, slow, diaphragmatic breathing and overall respiration that controls and contributes to mind clarity.
  • Promotes positive thoughts that boost the immune systems and counter/slow the stress hormones effects such as cortisol and adrenaline.
  • Promotes less anxiety and counter depression and balances out the neurochemical systems. 
  • Promotes better decisions and critical thinking with proper training, practice, knowledge and understanding, etc.
  • Promotes healthy habits and breaks you away from unhealthy habits. 
  • Promotes the ability to detach from our emotional monkey brains to allow more logical control over your actions provided one makes use of proper training, practice, knowledge and understanding, etc.
  • Promotes positive self-talk and self-analysis of both the physical and mental mind-sets/mind-states for a more productive and efficient way of life. 
  • Provides and promotes the ability to remain in a present moment mindful state allowing letting go of past and/or future thoughts for a greater ability to think, act and react in the present moment utilizing all the created, developed and improved benefits presented above, etc.
There is more benefits to meditation and you can do the research to enhance your knowledge accordingly. The above list may be obvious to those who practice K&MA, especially toward self-defense models but remember even the sport and way of life models benefit greatly and the distinctions between them being important also provides and promotes one toward a better understanding toward achieving those goals. 

Yes, sitting still and meditating properly before and after dojo training and practice, if done properly with the correct mind-set toward a correct mind-state will make huge difference when you get on the dojo floor. If you train and practice for self-defense believe me the meditative process will contribute hugely to your mind-set and mind-state abilities when you train the adrenal stress-conditioned reality base training programs. 

If you don’t use meditations in the dojo, as an individual you should try to mediate at a minimum:
  • Mediate daily for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • Mediate in comfort, i.e., sit seiza if you wish; sit in a chair, use a meditation cushion to sit on the floor; and make sure that what ever sitting posture and position that you sit while adhering to structure, posture, alignments, etc. 
  • Meditate using the proper breathing of deep, rhythmic, diaphragmatic belly three count breathing (at the start and finish) and the deep rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing without the three count in the body time meditating.
  • Focus on something like a mantra to help you learn to control the monkey chatter the normal brain does to remain mindful and in the moment or even just focusing on the breathing will help a lot.
  • As you progress, especially if dojo meditation is used, use visualization to remain mindful and in that moment. Choose something you wish to improve on or practice in during the training period; visualize on the process you practiced in the dojo and its results through self-analysis after in the closing meditation.
  • Keep all thoughts and visualizations of a positive orientation, if you go negative allow it to pass away without effort by refocusing on a positive aspect - positivity and positive thoughts release beneficial chemicals in our brain resulting in a more positive healthy life and way of life.
  • Daily meditation can be enhanced by taking a few moments to write about it and your successes in a meditation journal. You can also add in training and practice notes because the act of writing is another way to help encode memories, etc.
This is not the only all encompassing comprehensive method of meditation. As you can readily perceive and understand this process is beneficial to everyone regardless of age and yet for those of us reaching, entering and living the winter years meditation keeps the mind and body positive, active and in a beneficially correct mind-state that will counter and reduce effects of the aging process. 

As a recent article mentions this type of practice benefits the brain so it can continue to live, change and redirect neurons to overcome effects of disease, etc., to promote longevity not just for the longevity itself but a more productive, happy and healthy longevity. 

Professions such as the Police, Corrections Officers, Security and Military use such meditative and breathing methods to remain mindful of the goals and objectives of the job and to prepare the mind, mind-state and their mind-set in those moments just before entering into harms way. They also use such techniques and practices for the after of entering into, handling and recovery after experiencing being in harms way, i.e., stress reduction and relief, mind process for after action reports and the ramifications and repercussions of mental and physical effects of doing the job. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hearing of Aging K&MA’s

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Part of awareness in self-defense comes from our senses and the primary sense often used is sight but for self-defense it is best to utilize the three primary senses of sight, sound snd touch. One of those three, sound, can become problematic to those of us practicing in our winter years (age 60+). Personally, over my years of enduring sounds that adversely effect hearing I ended up losing a good portion of mine. 

Of course the best self-defense is to be aware of environments and situations that would lead to conflict and violence and as long as you live, work and play in area’s of low threat you really don’t have to worry much but just the same you do have to compensate for loss of sounds. 

Everyone, mostly, may have to deal with losing some of our hearing as we travel the roads of out winter years. It might be time to enhance our visual scanning to detect things that may lead to dangerous situations. The crux of hearing is when it starts to go or is gone you don’t want your awareness to still assume you will hear things especially if an event may arrive from you rear. 

Then there is always hearing aids. Yet, as I wear mine daily and in practice I realize that it doesn’t take much to dislodge hearing aids sending them flying off leaving your hearing diminished to gone. 

How you combat such things is to practice for hearing loss before you have to live with hearing loss. My idea is to train for self-defense using scenario’s while you insert ear plugs to block out all or most of your hearing. You remove your dependency to hear a fast approaching person by their feet or rustling of clothing or some other sound. You will find that your awareness changes when one or more of your senses is removed. Use your imagination but remain within the realm of reality-based training. Another aspect is to try this with your teacher of adrenal stress-conditioned reality-based training drills and scenario’s. 

If you are lucky to still have all your senses in those winter years remember also that senses still diminish in smaller increments as we get older so training for their state of effectiveness seems - logical and beneficial. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Sight Sense in Aging K&MA’s

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

We all tend to rely heavily on our sight to see dangers in our environment. Please understand that other factors contribute toward encountering dangers and awareness for self-defense is a whole other subject for an article. Often we don’t realize just how much we depend on sight in our K&MA training, practice and especially applications. Those who tend to handle sight issues better are those who have a dominant sense of either touch, tactile, or sound, hearing. Otherwise, many of us are sight dominant meaning our entire lives depend primarily on our sight sense. 

Note: Sense Dominance is also a huge subject worth an article as well.

Aging means our senses will suffer to some degree and our sight can be effected by our age a lot more. If you wear glasses now just imagine if you lose them, break them or forget them then consider how that will affect our defense-awareness state (assuming you are required to go places where dangers are higher than normal). 

Here again, consider practicing with a sight handicap and then focus on how you can use hearing and touch to remain safe and secure. Of course, avoidance of situations that would lead to violence or avoidance of environments that have a greater level of conflict and violence would be your primary goal but for those rare instances when you are exposed how would you handle things if your sight were restricted or diminished with hearing and touch?

Try wearing glasses with strong lenses especially if you don’t currently need glasses. Use those readers to blur out your vision a bit. Take notice also that if your vision is diminished your peripheral may be even worse. Also train by putting on blinders to restrict your peripheral vision because it is safe to say that as we age both direct and peripheral vision may/will suffer. Training to use other senses to remain safe seems smart to me. 

We as aging K&MA’s just because we are old/older can become targets. I mean, some predatory types will see an older person as a possible easy victim simply because older folks are targets/victims. Granted, you may have experiences, training and other abilities that put your presence in a state  of personal aura that will deter many predators but what about that one who decides your age alone makes you an easy target. Then consider if your vision is faulty or limited how do you compensate to remain not a victim/target. 

We tend to ignore the fact that all of us are going to get older and we tend to bury our heads in the sands thinking because we train, practice and apply our skills that we don’t have to give time or effort to the aging requirements of K&MA but guess what, human bodies will succumb to the effects of aging, maybe not at sixty, maybe not even at seventy but sooner and especially as to later, you will have to deal with aging. 

One of the greatest benefits of being a K&MA is it is easily adjusted so that regardless of our ages we can practice and train and learn and change with its disciplines so why not adjust to keep it all going to the very last moment of our lives. 

Use your imagination to restrict and change your sight then do the reality-based self-defense training and while you get good at that then see if your adrenal stress-conditioned reality-based self-defense training teacher will try it out. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

K&MA Aging Brain

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Note: Throughout this and future articles K&MA refers to, “Karate & Martial Arts.” I don’t consider karate a martial art and most martial arts don’t relate to karate except in very simplistic connections. I feel that this distinction is important. 

There is something strange and unique about the brain. Not what we normally consider but “certain mechanisms that underlie memory: their purpose is not simply to record what has gone before but to allow us to project forward into the future. To imagine tomorrow’s experiences to situations, via the hippocampus, in particular, plays a key role in assembling an imagined future by recombining information from the past.”

This is about our cognitive decline and the possible “diseases as common causes of dementia: Alzheimer’s, stroke and Parkinson’s. It is very interesting to note that in recent research it was found: having brain tissue that is riddled with the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease didn’t necessarily mean a person would experience cognitive problems. Some peopler were dying with a full-blown Alzheimer’s pathology without having cognitive loss.”

Keeping active in brain oriented activities would contribute to this ability to bypass the cognitive declines often associated with such diseases, i.e., activities that provide for a “cognitive exercise - that is, activity that keeps the brain active, like crosswords, reading, driving, learning new skills, and having responsibilities - is protective.” Reading and studying such historical and factual materials on our system of K&MA along with the physical and mental challenges such practices, if done properly and correctly, along with writing articles and books as well as teaching others with increased subject matter changes and new data, etc. all contribute to that type of cognitive exercise. 

It was also found that “social activities, social networks and interactions, and physical activities also contributes hugely to that cognitive exercise.” It is becoming clearer and clearer that dojo participation is a social activity and the dojo collective along with associations and organizations that connect dojo collectives around the world all are about that connectivity and exchange that stimulates our brains and exposes the brain to cognitive stimuli and exercises. Because K&MA are very “Physical” that also contributes toward counteracting the effects of such cognitive diseases and their effects. It appears, on the surface, that our endeavors in K&MA regardless of the distinctions as to the why, i.e., sport or self-defense or philosophical, etc. or any combination means mental cognitive exercises. Add in self-defense reality based adrenal stress-conditioned training and practice models and the challenge to our minds, our brains, increases a lot. All good for our aging brains and minds.

Since these diseases and their effects are a major obstacle to aging with grace and serenity it makes such efforts on our training, practice and applications take on a whole new and greatly beneficial health, fitness and well-being light to why we do what we do. I actually have come to believe that K&MA are awesome contributors to the Okinawan’s longevity. 

Personally, as an aside to this view, I have benefited hugely in my health, well-being and fitness toward longevity simply by keeping my body, mind and spirit active in my K&MA training, practice, studies, understanding, teaching, writing and applications. Ain’t life grand? 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Eagleman, David. “The Brain: The Story of You.” Pantheon Books. New York. 2015

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

FaceBook Disabled

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

I just disabled my FB account and feel sad and sorry the step doesn’t actually remove all the data especially the data’s connectivity and residence in other forms of data-collections, etc. It is too bad our Internet systems are collection grounds for both data-brokerage as well as cyber-criminal use and abuse. It is a shame that activities of the average individual cannot be protected as well as that of cyber-criminals, cyber-terrorists and terrorism, criminal activities and so on. 

Those who followed me on FaceBook (friended and followed) will have to remember to seek out my articles on the blogs. I don’t for one instance assume that blogs are any safer but taking the action to NOT allow CONNECTIONS to other media sources like FB and Twitter as examples means I can continue with caution writing my articles. Like my recommendations in this blog, it may not remove the danger but it might just reduce the probability making my victimization less definite. 

I know that what I put out there via social media is not actually all that personal, I have managed to keep the more personal sides at a very minimum, i.e., in all probability anything out there actually of a personal nature was accidental but who really knows. Regardless, in the last day or so I came to experience something I felt was less likely, my Apple iMac actually froze up, locked completely as if a Windows machine and that made me anxious. I gravitate toward a feeling that if I had not participated in such social media the probability might not have existed let along exposed me to such events. 

In a nutshell, I don’t do twitter or other socially driven media and I did FaceBook only as a means to express theories, ideas, and information on my favorite life subject of karate and martial arts and self-defense but still, it was publishing a comment on that media that led to the freeze and hard boot of an Apple system, something I thought might not happen for a longer span of time. It is and was inevitable but still ….

So, no more Facebook and a more restricted participation in such things until someone somewhere is able to create a safety net like they use, called Tor, in the dark underworld residing below our Internet. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

Goodman, Marc. “Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It.” Doubleday. New York. 24 February 2015. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

What is the Point

In the following article written by Mr. Rory Miller the aging processes are how we handle them. In this article a friend of his makes the point, a very good point. 

Growing Old in Wales” by Rory Miller