No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;

Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.

On a purely physical level, we share how to individually and collectively use all of our natural tools as well as extended ones, offensively and defensively in a strategic and tactical manner and in all ranges of combat.

We're put through functional physical fitness training where we learn to push ourselves through our own perceived limitations. We also have much to offer on nutrition, health and optimum performance.

On a more cerebral level we learn about the psychology of violence, fear, stress & confrontation management skills, deescalation strategies and holistic survival tactics.

As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.

On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.

On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.

Everything shared here is highly encouraged to be individually researched, to “absorb what is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Little Humorous History

(The following first appeared in Senshido's "Bible of Hand to Hand Combat" volume #8 – circa 1995)

Read, enjoy, take with a grain of salt or two… and if any of it sounds too familiar... perhaps shop around for another martial art school:


Mrs. Jane Herman (Potential client)
“Hi, I’m Jane Herman, I’d like some information about your courses, I’m actually here for self defense, I have a family and would like to know how to protect myself in case the unfortunate need should ever arise.”

Master Sensei (Of no oriental origins)
“So, you are interested in self defense? Sure, Our style is the best. We specialize in self-defense. Mrs. Herman is it? May I call you Jane? Well Jane, you’ll learn things like the traditional front forward stance, six blocks and three kata’s / forms. In addition, you’ll be training barefoot and in a crisp white Gi with a white belt.

What He’s really saying:
“No one ever uses this stuff in self defense simply, well, because the shit doesn’t work. Honest, think about it... ever see anyone attack anyone during a violent confrontation using a lunge punch or side kick? But, if you repeatedly do it year after year after year in the hopes of accomplishing “inner peace” and self discipline, you may end up appreciating it, in the mean time, you’ll feel frustrated and uncoordinated just like a good white belt should.”

Jane Herman - “How about cardiovascular training and weight reduction?”

Master Sensei - “You want to lose weight and gain confidence, no problem, our style is designed for maximum efficiency in all areas. Mind, Body, Spirit, Jane. Here is your uniform, it is called a Gi, you must treat it with the utmost respect for it is your traditional garb for every time you train”

What He’s really saying:

“Lose weight and gain confidence hunh? Well, you will get in some kind of shape and no I am not a reference point, really... I uh, had some kind of back problem way back when, yeah; so I couldn’t really workout the way I used to. So don’t mind my potbelly and the fact that my kicks may tremble when I hold them up at knee level or higher. Here, let me unfold these baggy pajamas for you that I dug up from the back of this dusty shelf. Don’t worry about the wrinkles and fold lines, they’ll come out after you wash it. Go try it on.”

Jane Herman - “Uh, these are really big on me, they make me look 20 pounds heavier and I feel silly in them. Also, I’m not crazy about the white, do they come in other colors? Why must I wear this?”

Master - “This is a traditional martial arts garb Jane, you wear it to honor and respect the ancient masters. White is the color of beginners, it reflects your purity in the arts. That is why I am the master and you are the student.”

What He’s really saying:

“What? Too big? It’s to allow you to throw higher kicks Jane, how will you be able to kick in tighter pants? Yes, white is the only color you’re allowed to wear, you see, in the martial arts you must learn to be humiliated before you can become super confident like me. Call me sir or master by the way.”

Jane Herman - “Excuse me? Sir or master?”

Master - “In martial arts, you have to respect your seniors, those who have achieved higher rank and have moved on in the arts. It is a sign of discipline and respect. It teaches the student humbleness and in turn makes them grow to be better people.”

What He’s really saying:
“The first lesson you must learn is respect. You must bow to me, bow to the higher ranks, bow to the flag, bow to the shrine of Master Schmo, bow when you enter the dojo and bow when you exit the dojo. You see Jane, I worked hard for my black belt. It took me 5 years of training twice a week consistently. If you can achieve your black belt, you’ll get respect as well. And no, there are no real standards for these titles, in fact the other school down the street, their master is a fraud, he’s no real master like me. I studied in Japan, Korea and China! Anyways, respect isn’t only important inside the school but outside as well, so if ever you see me walking down the street or in a restaurant or something, you must bow to me and call me master.”

Jane Herman
 - “I see a second place trophy hiding up there on your shelf?”

Master - “Yeah, I got second place in the international competition and that rat fink judge ripped me off, there were 179 contenders in my division and I got second place, I wasn’t feeling well that day you see Jane, I had a flu and my back injury was acting up severely.”

What He’s really saying:

“Yeah, It was a local competition where 3 people were competing in my division. I trained real hard for that event and was in the best shape of my life but still couldn’t cut it. But that doesn’t matter now, what matters is your self defense training.”

Jane Herman: "So other than martial arts and black belts, do you have any other credentials?"

Master - "Well, I don't like to brag but I was a Military special forces black ops defense tactical commando green beret secret service bouncing cop and faced much violence and had over 1784 fights in which I knocked out without killing a single one of them, over 753 men during my 12 year career."

What He's really saying: 
"I was a dishwasher in the army and worked mall security when I was 18. And I was married twice"

Jane Herman - “Okay…when I feel ready to move up in belts, do I just let you know or…how does that work exactly?”

Master - “Well Jane, rank promotion is taken very seriously here. We will let you know when you are ready and set a time and date for you to pass the test.”

What He’s really saying:
“Well Jane, you will test during the slow months of business cause that’s when we need extra cash in the bank. Since you and 40 other students will be passing grade at the same time and I’m the only master, it will cost you $50 for your first exam and move up in price as we go along. There will also be a 75$ charge for every belt - administration and association fee’s, you know, to get your rank certified with the head office in Asia. The exam will consist of you repeating memorized movements in the air over and over again as well as standing in some ridiculous stance for over 20 minutes without moving. This will get you to believe that you have truly achieved something because you have memorized a sequence of moves that you have brought up like Pavlov’s dog on cue, which are solely taught in this style.”

Jane Herman
 - “Anything else I should know about?”

Master - “No Jane, that’s about it.”

What He’s really saying:

“Well, now that you ask…You will have to buy all kinds of expensive equipment that you’ll use 3 to 4 times at best because a certain Kata requires it. You’ll also have to purchase tons of different badges to sow on your uniform that will be marked up in price by about 600 percent. There will be yearly administration fee’s on top of your membership prices. In regards to other school’s, you are forbidden to sign up let alone check out any other schools of martial arts, they all suck, we’re the best. I believe that’s about it.”

Jane Herman - “Are you positive?”

Master - “Absolutely”

What He’s really saying:

“Well, no…to develop humility you and the rest of the white belts will have to clean the school every Friday night, paint it when it is required, do my laundry, dig trenches in my back yard and wash my car. Also, when you vacuum the school, you must do it in your horse stance to develop leg power and proper instincts.”

Jane Herman - “Mmmm hmmm.”

Master - “Now that you are ready to sign up, you must repeat after me, the student’s oath of good citizenship. -- I promise to develop my body and mind. I promise not to drink or do drugs. I promise not to use my martial arts skills to harm other people. -- Good Jane, you are now ready to begin your journey into the martial arts.”

What He’s really saying:

“Now that you are ready to sign up, the brainwashing must commence, repeat after me. I promise to develop my mind to master’s accordance and do only as master says. I promise not to drink or do drugs, only the master is allowed to do that. I promise not to use my martial arts skills cause I might find out they don’t really work in real life and quit training with Master. --
Good Jane, you are now ready to begin my classes.”

Jane Herman - “And why must I do all of this?”

Master - “Simply because that’s the way it has always been done, that’s the way I learned it, that’s the way it will continue to be done and that’s the way it is. Uh, Mrs. Herman, Jane, no wait, don’t leave, sign this contract first, wait, Jane, Jaaaaaane!”

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