Empty Hand vs. Gun

Empty Hand vs. Gun

When Indiana Jones faced a massive scimitar-wielding warrior he smirked, drew his pistol and shot the swordsman dead.  For some people that incident put a bullet in the head of martial arts. Done. Outdated. Silly. Gone the way of the cavalry charge, the knight in armor, the sword and shield. That has not proved true.  […]

How Things Get To Be The Way They Are

How Things Get To Be The Way They Are

The first day of after-school karate at the elementary school was, in the beginning, not quite chaos, but it was not the orderly, focused, respectful atmosphere of the dojo either. The kids there for the first time lined up when I told them to, but they wiggled and talked and did what they do after […]

Action as Medicine

Action as Medicine

He sat alone on the wooden floor of a little cabin, miles from town. Deep in the night the clouds parted. Moonlight came in and made its way softly across the floor. From time to time the sound of voices far away, talking, maybe singing, were carried in on the breeze.  Someone strange jumped in […]

Kensho: Phase Transformation, III. 3

Kensho: Phase Transformation, III. 3

  “The Path of Seeing” – Kensho, Entering Phase 3     8th century Indian Buddhist monk Kamalashila, in his Stages of Meditation, says there is only one way to reach the path of seeing: through the “thorough analysis of the nature of the mind.” This point is not disputed in Zen.     Bodhidharma: […]

Podcast – Mistaken Zen in Martial Arts, II

Podcast – Mistaken Zen in Martial Arts, II

How much can a teacher really do for you? What does Zen have to do with martial arts?

Podcast – Zen Confusion in the Martial Arts

Podcast – Zen Confusion in the Martial Arts

D.T. Suzuki, who introduced Zen to the west, blamed the devotion of Zen priests to militant Japanese imperialism in the years leading up to World War II, on the fact that the priests were uneducated. Zen priests, he said “…have no knowledge or learning and therefore are unable to think… independently…” (Cited by Brian Victoria, in Zen at War.) Many modern Zen practitioners…

Podcast – Dope and Freedom

Podcast – Dope and Freedom

… …”You want to blame the cartels, the companies, the poison factories which take advantage of people like that boy… they can’t make you buy their poison… or join them in the extraction of the wealth and freedom of a whole world. Not even if they put a gun to your head”… “The Good Fight” […]

Matsumora’s Hara Story

When Okinawa was absorbed into Imperial Japan in 1879 the Okinawan men were conscripted as laborers, the women and children were abused. All were intimidated, forced to abandon their native language and way of life. The new leaders did not believe they were taking Okinawa from the Okinawans. They thought they were taking Okinawa from […]

Zen Confusion and Martial Arts

Zen Confusion and Martial Arts

D.T. Suzuki, who introduced Zen to the west, blamed the devotion of Zen priests to militant Japanese imperialism in the years leading up to World War II, on the fact that the priests were uneducated. Zen priests, he said “…have no knowledge or learning and therefore are unable to think… independently…” (Cited by Brian Victoria, […]

Matsumora’s Grasp

Matsumora’s Grasp

空手に先手なし   ‘There is no first attack in karate’ means that we respond when the cause is just and the need is present. People think that Gichin Funakoshi used the “no first attack” idea to communicate to non-Okinawans that his karate was a cultivated art, for cultivated people. The presumption was that karate and other arts […]

The Case of Hawk v. Rabbit

The Case of Hawk v. Rabbit

  The hawk looks down and sees a rabbit on the grass.  The hawk feels excited. Her stomach is empty. Her chicks back in the nest have their mouths open right now and will be so happy to see the hawk return to them with something nice to eat.   The rabbit is on the […]