One of my recent studies has been reading many of the quotes and life stories of the old Karate masters. Karate seems to have a mixed image here in the USA, much in part to the "Karate Kid", and David Carradine silliness, but the original masters were quite dangerous and rough men. In the next few weeks I will periodically post about some of these guys...guys that would likely never be welcomed at any navel gazing, American McDojo. One of these is Choshin Chibana the founder of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate, an Okinawan system. He was the last of the pre-World War karate masters, also called the "Last Warrior of Shuri". There are some stories about these guys and we love to read about them, but many are already available in many places online. This quote below is telling of how karate - any martial system for that matter - should be studied. In the old days we trained Karate as a martial art, but now they train Karate as a gymnastic sport. I think we must avoid treating Karate as... Read more →

This is from late 1970s. I don't recall the exact year, but it was my 3rd Dan test. Sosai Mas Oyama had made a trip to the USA and was there. As is common in the very physical system Kyokushin, there was a good amount of breaking. This is not the silly stuff with little spacers broken by fat guys wearing satin like you see today. This was stack 'em up and break them...period. Anyway this was the eleventh board stacked. All of them broke but this one. I kept it and wore my bruises with honor. At the end of the day, everyone was getting their books signed. Advanced Karate, or This Is Karate by Oyama. I didn't know he was coming so I did not bring my book. One of my dojo mates suggested I get the board signed. I recall Sosai wrinkling his brow and grunting when I brought the board...but he signed it. It sat in storage for years and the dryness of the AZ back country finally cracked it through where I had hit it,... Read more →

I learned it way back in a past century at the L.A. County Sheriff's Academy. I had been exposed to chokes before in my martial arts training, but not the finely developed nuances that the Drill Instructors showed. It was a great technique by which a smaller man...or woman, could best a bigger and stronger adversary. In the subsequent years I spent in police work, I choked out many combative suspects. Back in that era, we had Mace or OC Sprays (which rarely worked, and subsequently got over everyone and everything...including you), sticks (the PC Crowd called them "batons"), or our fists. There were no Tasers on everyone's belts and you either took care of business...or you did not. I recall one guy that I choked. He was a big wrestler, clearly on "crack" (the popular version of rock cocaine in certain social environments), and probably on Dianobol as well. He had tossed aside a couple of officers already and with a running start from the shadows I lept on his back and applied the "choke". I hit it right... Read more →

We have a discussion on warriortalk about the integration of the arts. Specifically, Karate as many of our staff have a background in this system. Karate is a thing of the heart and the mind, or as the Japanese say, spirit. One notable Karate man once commented, "Karate is an explosion of life force". Thus to hit a man in the throat with your hand, or to blow his face off with a shotgun down the hall are the same. Those who do not understand this, do not understand Karate...regardless of how many techniques they know or how many stripes on their belts. Related articles Are You Challenging Yourself? Read more →

Last night, over a course of a couple hours as I was working on the computer, I had a text conversation with another like-minded law enforcement supervisor. All the while, my Facebook feed was post after post about the 7 law enforcement officers from around the country killed within a week of the first fallen officer, Seaside Police Sgt. Jason Goodding, about 1 1/2 hours away from me. First off, I am not writing to criticize anyone. In conversations, I am the first to point out that I think Law Enforcement eats their own. It is bad enough there are groups who instantly criticize us just for the fact that we wear a badge. Yet, as soon as a Youtube video hits or a new story breaks on the 5 O'clock news, our thin blue line starts talking at training classes, on social media posts, you name it, condemning the officer on how we can't believe they did "this" or why didn't they do "that". These are the same officers who should understand from their own experiences and training, things... Read more →

Are You Challenging Yourself?

How many of us continue to push and challenge ourselves? I’m referring to physically, mentally and psychologically. If we want to keep a keen edge and continue to grow we all need to do this on an ongoing basis regardless of circumstances, age or injury (within reason). As I have become more “seasoned” (plagiarizing Gabe) I find I have a few nagging physical infringements and that it sometimes me a bit longer to fully recover from extended physical exertion. Does that mean I have stopped challenging myself? Hell no. I recently returned from my 3rd trip backpacking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back and while it was a little tougher than before, I accomplished it with vigor and I intend to do it again. Was I a little beat up and sore for a day or so after? Absolutely. Here is where the mental and psychological part comes in. These are aspects of our internal drive that don’t diminish with age nor are they debilitated due to physical impediments. In fact these grow and strengthen over time... Read more →

DTG: 120220DFEB13 (Northeastern Afghanistan) This world would appear completely alien to the average man or woman; it is enveloped fully in a dark haze of greens and greys and there is an incessant high-pitched whining noise that prevents any semblance of normal speech communication. Upon the cold air there is a smell of petroleum mixed with dust and metal. You look up to see the MH60M crew chief turn and hold up both of his gloved hands. With spread fingers he yells “TEN MINUTES!!!” ……..The doors of the aircraft slide open inviting in a torrent of bitterly cold air that immediately creates a burning sensation on your face as you slide forward into the open door and let your legs hang in the 138mph wind. The fast rope bars get extended with the thick braided ropes coiled in their release straps. The crew chief taps you on the shoulder and you look up to see the signal for “SIX MINUTES!!”……. You check your equipment from head to toe, ending with a final ch eck of your short nylon tie-in; followed... Read more →

Deep Practice Repetition strengthens and confirms. Practice makes perfect. The will to win is worthless unless you have the will to prepare. We have all heard these quotes at some time or another - we all know we need to practice in order to get better at any skill or task. In particular, we want to practice those essential and life saving skills required for winning the fight. Daniel Coyle, author of the 'The Talent Code', has researched the science behind practice, and how we can work to make those skills we practice more intuitive – and the star player in our practice is a fatty substance called myelin. In order to make our practice more effective, we need to have at least a cursory understanding on how our brains receives information, makes decisions on that information, and sends instructions to our muscles for action. Our brains receive input from our senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and feel. With a given input, our mind makes decisions based on past experiences and sends out commands to be carried out. Those... Read more →