Thursday, August 25, 2011

Self-Defense Tips

Sensei Dean and me (with black hair)
Sensei Dean always told me to keep my Karate and Self-defense simple. He gave some good pointers, like: The only time to turn your back to your opponent is when you are running fancy spinning kicks or punches.
He always emphasized movement. When you get hit, don't stop! Keep moving.

Overtime I discovered my own.

1.  Embrace the fight...
2.  Never back up...
3.  Hit hard and fast
4.  Always assume 3,
5. Don't hang around too long with one guy...drop him fast.
6.  Look and be psychotic with lots of Kiai!
7.  Use a weapon, like a chair, pen, ruler, knife before you use your hands/feet.
8. Cause I'm a small guy...get in close with knees, elbows and headbutts.
9.  Have big friends!
10.  Keep training everyday
11. Kick a guy in the head after he's on the ground...(a groin kick is a high kick on the street)

That's just a few of them...
Hands palm to palm,

Verses on the Faith Mind

Hsin-hsin Ming:

Verses on the Faith-Mind


By Seng-ts'an, Third Chinese Patriarch

Translated by Richard B. Clarke

The Great Way is not difficult
for those not attached to preferences.
When neither love nor hate arises,
all is clear and undisguised.
Separate by the smallest amount, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.
If you wish to know the truth,
then hold to no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the fundamental nature of things is not recognized
the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect as vast space is perfect,
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our grasping and rejecting
that we do not know the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,
nor in ideas or feelings of emptiness.
Be serene and at one with things
and erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve quietude,
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain attached to one extreme or another
you will never know Oneness.
Those who do not live in the Single Way
cannot be free in either activity or quietude, in assertion or denial.
Deny the reality of things
and you miss their reality;
assert the emptiness of things
and you miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it
the further you wander from the truth.
So cease attachment to talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the essence,
but to pursue appearances or "enlightenment" is to miss the source.
To awaken even for a moment
is to go beyond appearance and emptiness.
Changes that seem to occur in the empty world
we make real only because of our ignorance.
Do not seek for the truth;
Only cease to cherish opinions.
Do not remain in a dualistic state;
avoid such easy habits carefully.
If you attach even to a trace
of this and that, of right and wrong,
the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities arise from the One,
do not be attached even to ideas of this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
there is no objection to anything in the world;
and when there is no objection to anything,
things cease to be— in the old way.
When no discriminating attachment arises,
the old mind ceases to exist.
Let go of things as separate existences
and mind too vanishes.
Likewise when the thinking subject vanishes
so too do the objects created by mind.
The arising of other gives rise to self;
giving rise to self generates others.
Know these seeming two as facets
of the One Fundamental Reality.
In this Emptiness, these two are really one—
and each contains all phenomena.
If not comparing, nor attached to "refined" and "vulgar"—
you will not fall into judgment and opinion.
The Great Way is embracing and spacious—
to live in it is neither easy nor difficult.
Those who rely on limited views are fearful and irresolute:
The faster they hurry, the slower they go.
To have a narrow mind,
and to be attached to getting enlightenment
is to lose one's center and go astray.
When one is free from attachment,
all things are as they are,
and there is neither coming nor going.
When in harmony with the nature of things, your own fundamental nature,
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
However, when mind is in bondage, the truth is hidden,
and everything is murky and unclear,
and the burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived
from attachment to distinctions and separations?
If you wish to move in the One Way,
do not dislike the worlds of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to embrace them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise person attaches to no goals
but the foolish person fetters himself or herself.
There is one Dharma, without differentiation.
Distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with the discriminating mind
is the greatest of mistakes.
Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
with enlightenment, attachment to liking and disliking ceases.
All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams, phantoms, hallucinations—
it is foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong; finally abandon all such thoughts at once.
If the eye never sleeps,
all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
the ten thousand things
are as they are, of single essence.
To realize the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen without differentiation,
the One Self-essence is everywhere revealed.
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relationless state of just this One.
When movement stops, there is no movement—
and when no movement, there is no stopping.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate state
no law or description applies.
For the Realized mind at one with the Way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and the Truth is confirmed in you.
With a single stroke you are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to you and you hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no need to exert the mind.
Here, thinking, feeling, understanding, and imagination
are of no value.
In this world "as it really is"
there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To know this Reality directly
is possible only through practicing non-duality.
When you live this non-separation,
all things manifest the One, and nothing is excluded.
Whoever comes to enlightenment, no matter when or where,
Realizes personally this fundamental Source.
This Dharma-truth has nothing to do with big or small, with time and space.
Here a single thought is as ten thousand years.
Not here, not there—
but everywhere always right before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small: no difference,
for definitions are irrelevant
and no boundaries can be discerned.
So likewise with "existence" and "non-existence."
Don't waste your time in arguments and discussion
attempting to grasp the ungraspable.
Each thing reveals the One,
the One manifests as all things.
To live in this Realization
is not to worry about perfection or non-perfection.
To put your trust in the Heart-Mind is to live without separation,
and in this non-duality you are one with your Life-Source.
Words! Words!
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is no yesterday,
no tomorrow
no today.

Hands palm to palm,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Be Dead

Imagine for a moment you are on your death bed. Death is imminent...soon your body will be a corpse.

Will your mind be full of 'how to become wealthy?' or 'who am I?' or 'I am going to get revenge on so and so?' or 'Tomorrow I am going to go on a diet?' or so on and so on?

Allow your mind to take the composure of a dead man or woman. You recognize the uselessness of struggle.

Now live your life from this point and see what happens.

Hands palm to palm,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Underground Zen Combat: Sanchin Dachi

Sanchin Kata is my staple. It is the Kata that speaks to me like no other. In this post I am going to share with you a very exciting lesson that inspired me greatly. Now, if you don't do Sanchin, this is going to be a 'so what' moment. But if you practice Sanchin and are really into combat, this will crack your cosmic egg.

The first pic is an Enso. It is the circle of Zen that points to completeness and the unlimited power of your pure nature/mind. Quantum physics uses this to display the vacuum field of unlimited potential...same thing. This is the Ku/Kara of Karate.

Now...take a look at Sanchin Dachi. Super-impose this stance over the Esnso. Take the left foot and put into the center where the dot is. Take the right foot and place upon the circle. Done correctly the circle will travel from your right toe to the right heel.

Sanchin Dachi is a Living Enso. It represents unlimited power and potential. It is the 'emptiness is form, form is emptiness' of Zen. With over 40 years of doing this stance, I 'feel it'...and it is awesome. From here, I feel I can defend myself easily. The Ki, or energy, that flows up from the feet and through my body and hands is...well, no words capture it other than 'cool'.

Remember the post on Sanchin with the number 3, for 3 Battles? Three also represents infinity. It is more than two and stretches forever...Combining these two you can see, hopefully, how Sanchin shapes up to be a Kata of unlimited power and defense. You can't get it with your thoughts or feelings, only practice. So practice, practice, practice.

Hands palm to palm,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Heretic & A Saint

I've posted on Ikkyu before, but he deserves to be revisited. He is one of the most significant (and eccentric) figures in Zen history and one of my favorites as well.

To Japanese children, he is a folk hero, mischievous and always out-smarting his teachers and authorities In Zen traditions, he is both a heretic and saint. Ikkyū was among the few Zen priests who argued that his enlightenment was deepened by consorting with ladies of the evening. He wandered into brothels wearing his black robes, since for him the act of sexual intercourse was a religious rite. He was adamant against what we call fundamentalists of his day. He warned Zen against its own bureaucratic layering of useless ritual and rites.
Usually he is referred to as one of the main influences on the Fuke sect of Rinzai zen, as he is one of the most famous flute player mendicants of the medieval times of Japan. 
He is also credited as one of the great influences on the Japanese tea ceremony, and renowned as one of medieval Japan's greatest calligraphers and sumi-e artists. Ikkyu was also renowned for his poetry written in Kanbun style of Classical Chinese.
My hand, how it resembles Mori's hand.
I believe the lady is the master of loveplay;
If I get ill, she can cure the jeweled stem.
And then they rejoice, the monks at my meeting
Ikkyu is my 'hero'...he keeps me from getting too wrapped up in 'right' or 'wrong' and allows me to just enjoy where I am at. I don't plan on emulating his behavior as I don't think my wife would approve :-), I am not much of a beer drinker...but on these hot summer day, ah, they taste good. Thank you Ikkyu.

Hands palm to palm,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Underground Zen Combat

1977 Shodan
Shortly after I was awarded my Shodan in 1977, Sensei Dean told me to now go and 'steal' from everybody and anybody all the martial knowledge I could. I was 21 years old at the time and he knew I was going to be transient. He was right. 

From there I went and studied and stole from other forms of Karate, Tai Chi, Aikido, Kung Fu, Kempo.....anybody I could learn from I was there. I also began developing my own vision and ideas about Budo as I also explored traditional Soto Zen Buddhism.

So, here I am. An older Karateka (42 years of experience now) with a firm base in traditional Karate, but also full of my own ideas, insights and visions. I am not so much interested in starting another 'style' but simply putting out there, as a friend once told me, my unorthodox ways of understanding budo.

I have decided to document some of my ideas and concepts in "Underground Zen Combat." Maybe you as a reader might be interested. Maybe not. Either way, that's what I will do. Underground Zen Combat are my understandings and may or many not line up with tradition in Budo or Zen or Qigong or TCM...they are just how I see things and more importantly feel things. I am planning on turning this into an e-book as well. (It's almost done)

There is an energy (ki, chi, prana) that courses through us and that I have been able to tap into. I credit one Kata for this. Sanchin. My one steady companion throughout Karate has been Sanchin Kata. It has 'taught' me so much and my ways of seeing and doing self-defense, especially close quarters combat, comes from Sanchin. Sanchin is not only full of insights, but practical hardcore self-defense...Sanchin is about savagery on many levels.

So, here is one of my first Underground Zen teachings via the Broken Bokken Blog....

Sanchin literally means "Three Battles"...many practitioners speak of the battle of Mind, Body, Spirit (breath) and you can find three battles in turning energy in qigong as well. But for me, you have to look Underground and 'see' that the number 3 represents more than 2...this implies Infinity. Three is a number that gives way to unlimited numbers and unlimited the Kara of Karate that I have posted on before (another one of my Underground teachings)

Sanchin means Unlimited Battles. It is a Universal Kata that teaches you how to move and handle everything! It is rich with symbolism that points the way...and does more as provides unique insight into handling battle itself, with others and yourself. Karate is not so much about kicking somebody elses' ass as it is about kicking your own.

Hands palm to palm,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review from World Martial Arts Magazine

  • Check out the book review from Martial Arts Magazine by Master Richard's great!


    Black Belt Healing: A Martial Artist’s Guide to Pain Management & Injury Recovery by David Nelson, PhD.

    EDITORS NOTE: I have one great regret about reading this book... that I did not have it over 30 years ago when I first began learning martial arts. I am so impressed with the insight and usefulness of this book that I have added it to the Required Reading List for our Black Belt candidates at my martial arts school.

    Below is some information from the website. My only additional comment about this book is: BUY IT! You can thank me later.


    Pain can be one of the most devastating experiences a martial artist will ever go through, both physically and emotionally. It robs you of training time and fills you with uncertainty about your life and your ability to ever train again. As difficult as this time can be,
    your best strategy is to educate yourself and approach your pain with well-informed information and preparation.

    In this essential guide for anyone suffering from long-term chronic pain, martial artist and psychotherapist, Dr. David Nelson, shares his years of experience working with martial artists, and non-martial artists, in conquering pain. Filled with the information you need to harness the power of your mind, Dr. Nelson has taken proven mind-body healing strategies, simplified them with easy-to-use metaphors and action plans and made them available in this step-by-step guide.


    Knowledge of mind-power based on martial art metaphors and strategies can make a world of difference in your recovery. You will learn:

    • How your mind is your dojo equipped with all the weapons you need to conquer pain
    • The ability to stop pain quickly with simple and easy techniques
    • The amount of time you need to devote to your recovery
    • The natural weapons your mind has to conquer pain
    • The difference between pain and suffering

    Many martial artists find out too late that they could have gotten back into the studio faster and stronger if they had better information about pain management. So, it’s in your best interest to prepare well and apply sound healing strategies early in the process. Avoid costly mistakes and take charge of your recovery.

    Healing isn’t rocket science, but you do need guidance. Black Belt Healing is your manual for success…not only for healing, but for seeing the possibilities your mind has to offer for peak performance, health and staying strong in the martial arts.

    This book will not replace your physician, chiropractor or herbalist, but provide valuable information you can bring to them to enhance overall healing and get you quickly back into the dojo…and that’s what it is all about, right? Dojo Time!

    World Martial Arts Magazine gives this book our highest ranking, 5 Stars. Visit today.
    Your source for natural health & healing

    Hands palm to palm,