Saturday, April 1, 2017

Two Hundredth Blog

Mushin University™ Self-Knowledge the Ultimate Knowledge

"Martial arts are a practice, and what you practice, you will become, who will you become?" Adam Chan

Happy April first, as this is the two hundredth blog it seems that we should look at something important, but don't worry it will not be an April Fool's Day joke. In our lives of as warriors we tend to seek the ever elusive perfection. So, this means we either learn to deal with failure, or we become delusional. Delusional in the belief that our stuff is better than any other stuff without ever testing it, or in other words pretending that the world is only as we see it. In reality, we all do a bit of both, as it is nearly impossible to cope with the injustices of life without retreating into our own personal delusions. We as individuals are called on to save the earth, the poor, the sick, the down trodden and we all do what we can. Although it is hard not to become jaded, when we give and only the middle man seems to profit from our sacrifice.

Martial arts is a haven to me as it is easy to see that we need to find a balance in its study that translates into everyday life. Working toward the goal of being as good as our seniors without tearing ourselves up in the process is a good example. We cannot expect to achieve even these simple goals overnight. Just as we cannot expect to change the world if we cannot change ourselves.
Often we understand that because of our limitations we are unable to mimic certain techniques in the same manner that people we admire utilized them. Still with time and practice, we can at least learn how to adapt them to our circumstances and situations. 

Miyamoto Musashi once mentioned, “It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way.” I am working toward this goal and my training has focused more on simplification. I am working at getting a YouTube channel going where I want to cover things that I find inspiring. Martial arts adventure and writing are what makes me happiest with what I do. It keeps my mind off of my personal failures and the things in life that I have tried to change through sacrifice as well as pain. The five gates of blood, bone, wind, nerve and mind and the guiding three principles of movement keep my martial arts practice true. While my writing (even in the fantasy and sci-fi category), gives me a bit of outreach to help those that are interested. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Guns, Swords, Meditation and Breathing

Mushin University™ Self-Knowledge the Ultimate Knowledge

Weapons like guns and swords intensify your martial art practice. Meditation helps give control to these elements, and it can be done both while moving or motionless. It doesn't matter if you are standing, sitting, or lying down each position can be used for meditation. Breathing is the key to good meditation no matter the position, I like using 100 deep breaths a day as a bench mark. In the past students have asked me what’s so important about doing one hundred deep breaths a day. Generally, as a follow-up question they also inquire about what does breathing have to do with meditation?

The answer to these two questions are very important to martial artists seeking to expand their training beyond mere self-defense. Tyson was up from Texas recently, and I included a few things here I wanted to emphasis on this subject. We tried to cover as much material as possible, but the three days flew past. I found that I never touched on half of the things I wanted too, but here are a few things that I might have glossed over. 

The act of purposeful breathing is beneficial to vitality and health as well as consciousness and emotional control training. I am reminded of the quote by Lao Tzu that in my mind fits perfectly here, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.” So what does this have to do with the first two questions postulated by my students? The answer is very simple and can be answered on multiple levels, first of all it is a simple task to perform. Well theoretically it is, but most people dismiss its importance out of hand and never get it achieved because of its simplicity. I would compare it to the drill instructor insisting on the new recruits satisfactorily making their rack, bunk, bed every morning. It is a small feat, but no matter how the rest of your day goes at least you will have achieved one goal. 

Next on the list, is that the deep breathing can be done all at once, or broken down to two, three, or four sets. Listen to your body and use what you like either twenty-five, thirty-three, or fifty repetitions followed by a cleansing breath. Of course, many of us feel that in our busy lifestyles we can't take the time. Still, this is when we should take the time, and I like to use it in three sets prior to consuming breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whenever I feel pressed for time. I do thirty inhalations followed by the thirty-first exhalation breath hold, then the thirty-second breath hold is on an inhalation and the thirty-third breath is generally just a cleansing breath, or two if I'm feeling generous. Now as for what it has to do with meditation, breathing focuses our mind on one point. Achieving one point is the first step to achieving mushin, (no mind no thought). Of course, the period that you can sustain mushin is best developed through practice. Together these elements enhance your empty-hand martial art training and your weapon training. This has very easily seen results in shooting skills and even tameshigiri.

Rand Law Books

Do you want a chance to see what my students learn? If so please become a Patron and help support the productions of this knight errant.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Situational Awareness

Mushin University™ Self-Knowledge the Ultimate Knowledge

Finally the day has arrived where I finally begin my once a month blog spots under the new banner. The new banner is only new in the sense that it is replacing the old title of Friday Knight News. I will still cover martial arts and training in my spots but I will also use this blog as an announcement board for events and adventures that I am seeking or doing.

To start off, Mushin University™ Self-Knowledge the Ultimate Knowledge first appeared in my book, "Enlightenment Kicking and Screaming (The Paradox of Martial Art Training)". I was very happy to receive three great forwards for this book from Kay Frances Brewer, Adam Chan, and Steve Smith. All great people who are well known for their character, skills, and obvious kindness. I do greatly appreciate their encouraging words. Today, I am going to outline what it is that I would like to accomplish with this new turn of events on this blog. I am planning on doing some YouTube post and also video post to my Rand Law Patreon page. The topics will vary from mental and physical aspects of the art. Most of which will focus on self-training practices and a diverse assortment of requests that students and other martial artist have requested for me to do.

Of course, I want to address the importance of incorporating the martial arts into your daily life both in and outside of the dojo, dojang, kwoon, or gym. My most recent little adventure was an eye opener for me. It didn't require any self-defense skills per say other than what is gained from paying attention. I had dropped off my mother-in-law at the chiropractor's office and a distraught individual came in begging for help in the way of getting a ride. No one was willing to oblige but I volunteered to do so after my mother-in-law's appointment was finished. After hearing the plea, my mother-in-law told me it was alright for me to go now and that I could pick her up when I was finished. I think she and the other people wanted the individual out of the office.

When I returned, several people asked about how things went and some had expressed concern for my safety. This was a big shock to me as I had gone in the course of a few short years from being called by my son's high school and college aged acquaintances as the "scary dude", to an old guy. An old guy that people were worried about my welfare for helping out a stranger. Alright, I will admit the individual was less than half my age and was dressed in a rough just out of prison sort of way. But what got me was no one noticed that the desperate person was a little gal just dressed in men's clothing. It made me realize that people who couldn't spot this were not likely to spot if a person was armed or not. Even if they had taken martial art classes, or a gun self-defense course their lack of situational awareness would void their training.

Rand Law Books

Do you want a chance to see what my students learn? If so please become a Patron and help support the productions of this knight errant.

Monday, October 3, 2016


"Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures." Jessamyn West

I have been on a sabbatical to focus on a new direction with the blog, and the end of the Dream Walker series. The final novel will included a guest appearance of Derek Chin, who will display some of his well known charm and wit as well as his JKD skills.

I hope you like the new design of the blog page as well as the new end of the month installments. The focus on a once a month newsletter type of approach should allow for more time to fulfill my obligations with less stress. The direction of the blog as well as the direction for my next books (at least for the foreseeable future), will be on the ever evolving discovery of self through little adventures. Life is best approached as an adventure, and this is the direction I wish to take in my blog and books. My Dream Walker series was a part of this adventure but it was retrospective of my life from three separate points of view. Each of the main characters in the series of eight books were part of an examination of what could have happened in this fictional world. I still based all of the stories on my life and experiences as well as some of my friends and students but with alterations in the time line, organizations, and the blending of multiple personalities together.

My next books and blogs will address adventures that I am undertaking or am planning. These will included various elements of my life's passions. Warriors arts will continue to be a central theme as well as internal and external travels.  

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” Albert Einstein

Rand Law Books

Friday, September 30, 2016

Adapting to the Art

Friday Knight News

“If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”  Bruce Lee 

Some styles seem to be geared toward adaptability for the individual. While other systems are not so inclined and they instead require for the student to adapt to the style. On the other hand that could be merely the ridged thinking of some instructors? Yet, there has always been a struggle in many systems with getting the student to adapt their body to the art. This happens no matter if the art is calling for harder conditioning or more flexible  conditioning, or combinations of the two. Still, it is hard to believe that someone could be a black belt in the Tenth Planet jujutsu system if they could not achieve the rubber-guard. Likewise it is hard to acknowledge someone from a head kicking art that isn't in splits, or are able to jump high enough to compensate for it. Also, it is difficult to accept that someone who is so out of shape that they cannot walk from the parking lot to the dojo without getting winded is an instructor of any martial art. I'm not talking about injury or illness but merely slothful lack of exercise and/or training.

Since I mentioned it earlier, there is also the injury factor to consider. I have had students and have trained with other students that were amputees, or had other injuries or difficulties to train around. It is hard to teach a kicking style to single amputees, it is impossible to teach to double amputees. This type of thing also stands to reason to be true for hand or arm injuries in punching styles. Also spinal injuries sideline many people from learning a martial art. So, if the style requires that you perform certain techniques to advance, then it is impossible to achieve ranking if your injuries prevent you from being able to participate.

The Dream Walker Series 

Then again, from time to time, we run across people that have the art adapt to them and their needs. This happens more often in styles that operate on principle as they tend to have more leeway. In my book principle based warrior arts I discuss the principles my instructor taught, which I organized after my he requested that I put together a syllabus. No matter what style you practice you should be able to adapt these following principles to your training.

Universal Tactics and Strategy
Sen no sen: (Defensively) attack first
Sen: Simultaneous attack
Go no sen: Counter attack
Preparation Lessons
Preparation First: Hands, Elbows, Knee and Feet in Safety Zone
Position of Advantage
Closes the Gap
Focus on the Smallest Point
Hands Move/Feet Move
Avoid Direct Assaults
Lead the Mind
Rotational Movement Lessons
Extend your Circle
Tighten the Circle
Control the attacker central axis
Control Tactical Lessons
Take the Balance
Ground the Attacker
Limit Motion
Control with Sensitivity
Power Lead Foot (Right or Left)
Body Isolation / Kneel, Step Compression
Fulcrum, Lever, Base
Double Lock

“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means.”  Miyamoto Musashi

Rand Law Books

The above link will take you to my author's page. Let me know if you like it and feel free to drop me an email if you like or you can use the comment check boxes below. I try to incorporate as much of my experience and observations as I can into my sci fi adventures. I come from a background that taught that should only write about what you know. As I know nothing else other than my perspective, I was left with limited options. The Dream Walker book series are tales about martial arts adventurers with an essence of the para-normal from dream mediation. Each book in the series reveals their struggles as they work to make a life for themselves and elude those that seek to use and control them.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Simple Directness

Friday Knight News

"The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity." Bruce Lee

It isn't always easy being direct, but when it is needed simple directness in life, and the martial arts, cuts right to the heart of the problem. It is easy to see this when dealing with a weapon as it magnifies speed, power, and intent. Yet, unarmed training was my foundation in the arts even if my love was with the sword. So, as you might have guessed, striking training was always a big part of my grappling arts education. Just as grappling was a big part of my striking arts education. Hitting smarter works when you can time it right, hit accurately, and drop the opponent to their weak point.

Hitting harder also works, as it stops them in their tracks even if they don't feel the pain. In the end it will give you an extra second/moment to strike smarter. It's really simple to see that both are needed. The ability to transfer power is enhanced by hand-to-hand combat weapon study. Weapon study also helps develop subtlety and fluidity. In fact, all three areas interplay with each other. Hand-to-hand weapons skills enhance unarmed striking and grappling arts, and they all take repetition to assimilate. It is just that simple.

Knowing that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line also helps. In the martial arts we use this information to make direct attacks. There is no such thing as a straight line, as a straight line extended eventual will make a circle, loop, or other elliptical shape of some sort. This can be mentally observed by imagining a line extended through space across the universe, galaxy, solar system, or simply encompassing the globe. It can be more readily observed by drawing a line vertically or horizontally across a sheet of paper. Once across draw a line down the side of the page and continue to the opposite side. Then turn it over interconnecting it with the original line.

(Adam Chan on Hitting Harder)

In the martial arts we use this information to redirect forces off of straight line attacks. Circles, straight lines, and angles are almost interchangeable if there are enough examples and space between intervals. So, when it comes to power we generally look at distance and velocity to acquire this force. However, that is not needed if you can imagine the beginning and end of terminal velocity as the highest velocity of a big circle inside of the short straight line.

Terminal velocity is the highest velocity attainable by an object as it falls through space. The less resistance by outside forces it encounters the easier it is to reach its full potential. They say that space satellites can reach near light speed given time and distance that is even with only starting from a speed of 15,000 miles per hour. We, however; are burdened by the length of our reach, and overcoming outside forces of the drag of our atmosphere and gravity. Even more so as we have to contend with friction from both internal and external sources.

The two biggest factors here are first the opponent and this can be overcome by primarily timing. Which sounds simple because it is, but it isn't necessarily easy just because it's simple. The other and bigger of the two factors is internal. It can be overcome by relaxation mentally first and physically second, in fact they go hand in hand. Relaxed muscle make a relaxed mind and the other way around too. Most of the time in life our biggest problem is ourselves. It is just that simple being direct.

"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rand Law Books

The above link will take you to my authors page. Let me know if you like it and feel free to drop me an email if you like or you can use the comment check boxes below. I try to incorporate as much of my experience and observations as I can into my sci fi adventures. I come from a background that taught that should only write about what you know. As I know nothing else other than my perspective, I was left with limited options. The Dream Walker book series are tales about martial arts adventurers with an essence of the para-normal from dream mediation. Each book in the series reveals their struggles as they work to make a life for themselves and elude those that seek to use and control them.

Friday, September 16, 2016

How to Develop Real Ki

Friday Knight News

“We learn from failure, not from success!” Bram Stoker

Ki is often described as a universal energy that surrounds and penetrates everything, much like the force. Do you want to be able to shoot energy balls across the room? I'm not talking about some goofball crap where students fall over for you based on the psychological technique of autosuggestion. Are you willing to put in hours a day to achieve such abilities? If so, then this article is not for you! Although it seems most people think that is if they could only harness this unseen magical life force called ki, chi and/or prana all of these things would fall into place. In Japan this energy is referred to as ki. In China it is referred to as chi. If you know Sanskrit, it is called prana. In English meditation circles it is often called breath energy, internal energy, the life force, and geeks just call it the force. It is the manifestations of the universe on both the visible or invisible realms. However, if you are only looking at being centered, calm, and focused as the byproducts of ki then read on. After all, these things are still magical to me and deep breathing helps control and maintain this state of being.

Image result for Bruce Lee

So yes, in my point of view ki, chi, prana and even the force is real. It is developed and cultivated only by the most serious minds after all. The thing is, at least in my experience, ki, spirit, spunk, grit, sand, or mental endurance, is formed by hardship, overcoming failure, and by determination. Discipline and relaxation are only a portion of what is needed to develop this type of ki. To truly develop, test, and maintain the power of your will it must be carried out with hard work after long hours of effort. It is easy to be calm and mindful sitting on your butt, although it is quite another thing to be calm when someone is trying to pull a shotgun from under their trench-coat, or pull a hunting knife out of its sheath to stab you. If you can endure pain by breathing through it while someone takes a razor blade to you finger, or pulls re-bar that has been run through you out, then you are on your way. However, it is better to avoid these types of things if you can, everyday stress is a better starting point. Taking beatings that go on until the beater is exhausted, or enduring hours upon hours of indoctrination and browbeating is not necessary to achieve or develop ki in your normal day-to-day routine.

I have not yet seen the movie "Unbroken", but from what I have heard of it I would say it is geared to what I am talking about. It can feel surreal when someone is shooting at you, and you hear the bullets whiz past your head and you can stay calm in these conditions. Sometimes after long periods of harsh treatment you often develop a type of apathy to these things, but that isn't real ki; that is more a kin to exhaustion as everyone has their limits. Still, it takes ki to maintain calm during such events; that is if you survive these types of situations. Often times, it takes even more ki to cope with the aftermath of living through these traumas. So, as part of your everyday training, my best advice is to start off with laying and/or sitting while working on your breathing techniques and learning to stay calm and focused. Any time you lose your focus bring your mind back to the task at hand. Eventual try this while moving around walking, training in the martial arts, or while doing whatever it is that you do for a living.

Then as you progress, you should be able to remain centered even when things are not going well. To optimize your ki try to stay detached during adverse situations such as when people yell or scream at you. You will know that you are progressing when you are able to withstand this type of abuse without getting upset. Yet, do not become a door mat, this is not ki. Instead walk away from both mental and physical abuse and defend yourself from it when necessary; keep one point, stay in tune and relaxed while doing so. Breathing will help keep you calm and centered, in times when you can't breathe deeply then that is the time you need it the most. After you have done all of these things, give it time to take root and remember to keep focused, to me this state of mind is ki!

 "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." Bruce Lee

Rand Law Books

This link will take you to my web page. Let me know if you like it, feel free to drop me an email if you like or you can use the comment check boxes below. I try to incorporate as much of my experience and observations as I can into my sci fi adventures. I come from a background that taught that should only write about what you know. As I know nothing else other than my perspective, I was left with limited options. The Dream Walker book series are tales about martial arts adventurers with an essence of the para-normal from dream mediation. Each book in the series reveals their struggles as they work to make a life for themselves and elude those that seek to use and control them.