Fang and Claw

One must prepare one’s body. This is the core of the true martial arts. All technique put to the side. The methodology of this is rarely practiced. Rarely taken to the extreme. The extreme in that such training creates a weapon vastly superior to nearly all other humans. This is not about physical fitness. This is not about weight lifting. This is not about technique training. This is the act of shifting ones being. This is the act of taking “hard” martial arts, and creating the hardest. Many of the martial arts that partake in such training are not exclusively “hard” in style. In this day and age, we are of the world that many believe “mma” training is a form or “hard” training. Rolling around on pads while striking pillows is not what I speak of. One will find what I speak of in few martial arts, especially as partaken by westerners. You will find this amongst some Kung Fu followers. Remember the “romantic” Shaolin training in movies. There is truth to this. You “may” find this in Silat, Karate and others. You “may” find this in some Muay Thai gyms. Some. The best strikers in the world you have never heard of. Styles such as these all fall into, mixed with, esoteric spiritual practices and perceptions. That is from a martial perspective: the practice of chi and energy. Of heightened combative power. A changing of biological and energetic magnitude depending upon the state of reality. We may also refer to such practice as shape-shifting. Perhaps even Berserking. Not now. Not here. This opens a path of many directions or perhaps one long path. For the study of martial energy touches upon many subjects. Empty force, depending on the degree you wish to take this. Elemental energy harnessing. As hinted upon in the Book of Five Rings, as well as a multitude of other cultures. Another, the Hindu chakra system in elemental form. The practice of energetically taking on the aspects of animals, sometimes in addition to the wearing of pelts and such. This is what is called shape shifting in an animal sense. Which is also the path of animal totems and familiars. As well as the projection of ones self in animal form. As seen in Viking sagas. Alongside actual supposed shape shifting (animal pelts and energy, etc). Yet this will touch upon the simple to grasp aspect of energetic elevation within the human. This is not simple excitement nor adrenaline. Just as Berserking became illegal under christianity, this shows the actual act was distinct. Not getting angry or adrenaline becoming aroused, as common. Regardless of ones belief. Many men will show you truth in ability. Abilities that one can not defy. If such a master performed such an incredible feat because he changed his energy to that of the Tiger. Then he did. As the practice whether magical, psychological, biological, or all, still took root to effect reality.

It is from such practices that we have the lore of the shapeshifter. Such as the “Berserker” of European history. I once read a greatly puzzling study, one of pure ignorance. Comparing the viking Berserk to soldiers “berserking” in Vietnam. This is a horrible train of thought to walk upon when studying many subjects and using such equivalent comaprision. One compares fire to ice. On one hand. You have an elite band of warriors. Individualistically proud. Warriors who wish to be were they are. Are there for personal gain. Train specifically in physical and religious practices with a sincerity you could never imagine. An attitude that would terrify you to be around. Ones who truly enjoy the domination of others in combat, killing, taking blood, in the name of spirituality. Most likely intense alchoholics, perhaps partaking in other substances with extreme tolerance. Spiritually and sincerely altering their state to berserk and come down after victory. Again and again in spiritual prowess. Seeking Valhalla. On the other hand you have a young man who is working for a pay check, or perhaps worse, drafted. Thrown into a land completely foreign to his body, hot, bug, disease infested. Fighting for a cause that has next to no effect on his homeland or personal gain. Moral as low as possible for such things. All individuality stripped. Spoken down to constantly. Fighting a force of high moral enemies. Oppossing country is actually too poverty ridden to be an actual threat far from their borders. Desiring anything but the here and now, regardless of the degree of propaganda belief. So when said american soldiers completely break down psychologically, do not compare this to the Chosen of Odin. Such ignorance. Such warped propaganda. Yet we westerners live off of propaganda day and night. When watching news to cause one to believe lies or false threat. Watching sports athletes feed you vomit you hungrily eat. Watching theatrical actors and musicians shower you in their piss. Society eats it up. With great gluttony.

Regardless of such distraction. Onward to such training techniques of importance. What I speak of revolves around combatives. What does such a thing mean? Abstract life and death situations. No form to point one into. For combatives vary. Many people immediately look to military. There are so many training curriculums. Many to stay far away from, for many are oddly influenced by MMA sport. Due to technology military combatives are not were to look, nor for the degree training is taken to. Combatives are true “free form” combat. MMA is not “free form” as many say. Such a statement is an extremely bad joke only showing ones ignorance. MMA is no longer even mixed. It is a single specific sporting style, bound under extremely caging rules. Nothing is free form of such a thing. Thus combatives are open ended, with the binding concept of killing quickly. While many MMA moves may lead to death and breakage, it takes too long to cause, and causes one to be extremely vulnerable. This is poison to combatives. Both attacker and attacked must understand consequence. Something you learned in the gym might have just given someone probable cause to defend themselves as if life is threatened, or body is to be maimed. Blades and guns are common. There is evidence of this on video. Be very careful what you learn. Understand what you are being attacked with and to the degree you may defend. Many submissions performed with criminal intent can be countered with knife attacks, maiming, etc. Understand your rights. This is not the Octagon.

What is killing quickly? Techniques that have an immediate effect of ending threat. Specific targets trained again and again. Knee, neck, face, wrist, testicle. With the perspective that one is willing to bite their enemies testicles off with their teeth. Knees are to be broken with striking, immediately collapsing opponent, the same move again and again, executed with the perfection of tens of thousands of practice strikes. Necks stun or kill in an absolute way, dislocation of throat,etc. The face is to be maimed, and focused on in ground combat. The wrist controls the entire body. The wrist is to be focused on in ground combat. Testicles self explanatory. Very important in ground combat. Punching is to be frowned upon, unless gauntleted in some form. One is to use the open palm strikes leading to pokes, tears, and clawing. With such strikes we break coconuts and stone. Pinching is of horrendous effect upon the body. Onward and onward. If you have a knife use it. A gun, use it. Laws are to be mastered above all else. Evasion and escape of first importance.

The body is to be forged to cause such combative perspective to be horrible. There are countless ways to practice such a thing. This has been developed over many years. The most important is the formation the Claw. Many may call this iron fist techniques. I use granite blocks. Hammer fisted repeatedly. Open palm strike. Finger tip strike. The grip is to trained to death. I grasp said granite blocks until they slip from my grasp with shaking hands. For this causes the grip to be as death. The finger tips to harden even more, and ones pinching able to tear away flesh from body. Again and again. Until the hand is as a claw. The body must be struck repeatedly. I use an oaken staff. At least one hundred times in such a session per target. Targets should consist of the rib cage. The inner and outer upper leg. The shins. The upper arms. The shoulders. The collarbone. The solar plexus, etc. Strike the wooden pell. Not a swinging punching pillow sports style. Knee strikes, elbows, heel, shins, forearms, knuckles to a degree, head to a degree.  Always practice the bending of metal with ever stronger metal. It is this training that forges the body into a power that no technique will ever create. Such training causes a shift in perspective. A shift in energy when such training is undertaken. For the martial way is one of shifting shape. Shifting intent.

Technique of course is of great importance. As we all must practice a technique. For the “combative” only practitioners are typically a martial arts disgrace. Therefore I train in specific styles. Attempting to capture the heart of the style while training. Ringen, Muay Boran, and Budo are the martial arts I study. Combatives what I express as my own understanding. For Ringen teaches one to deal with force and control ones body under sincere environments as the art is expressed from. Muay Boran teaches one the power of striking, and what it forces your body to become. Budo technically teaches one the importance of the wrist, that one controls life in his enemies wrists (obviously amongst other things) and combative distance. Budo teaches one the power of the Shadow. For combatively I must strike from stealth and Shadow, contacting with the frenzy and wrath of the Berserker. A metaphor for all aspects of life…

Weapon Anatomy

There is no such thing as a standard close combat weapon. Just as there is no such thing as a standard human body. This is in the study of martial arts, in the sense of individual close combat, both upon the field and duel. The bearing of a warrior who would be extremely well versed in close combat. Not the “modernized” soldier or technology. In regards to 17th century warfare and onward in the European theatre. That is, when weapons were massed produced for the hands of a quickly trained warrior. Of course through all time weapons would be massed produced and placed in such hands, depending upon time and culture. The “perfect” weapons I speak of are cultures that maintained an aristocratic elite, trained for war from a young age, or elite bands, having the wealth to produce weapons individually crafted for the wielder. Amongst all cultures, particularly the “technologically advanced” ones. Such as European longswords, or Samurai katanas. This will not be a post of technology comparision. Another time for there is much to write.

When I refer to trained quickly, a year of training is quick in my understanding. And yet this far outstrips many of the “modern” armies I speak of. Yet when you approach an individual who has trained for three years and more, things begin to change. Especially when you reach the ten year mark. These are the warrior elites I write of, often based upon feudal systems of management.

There is no standard weapon. Every weapon is to be made to fit your own standards. A longsword that works explosively for me, may not for another. Just as the clearing room of the handle will be different as another. Just as the tip clearing the ground upon techniques will be different. Vadi states the longsword is to measure to ones armpit. Based upon these measurements I am in the 57” area. Many modern practitioners base a longsword as being no longer than 54” with a 40” blade, before it becomes a greatsword. This is debatable, based upon skill of the smith. A 48” longsword is excessively short to my standards, a drawback to my height. For length wins a sword fight. Yet at a particular length, a weapon obviously becomes weaker. This is to be found. The same is said of all weapons. This is extremly expressed upon renaissance rapier fighting systems. One’s sword length upon ones body proportions. When studying historic originals, one must take into regard the height of the wielder. Men were shorter, not greatly, and often due to diet and health than any form of evolution, yet shorter. Therefore filter the average height of a man from a particular race and apply it to said historical artifact. The mathematics are simple and easily transferable to find the proper height of artifact for a modern practitioner. A silly thing you will always see in the west is the practitioner of eastern martial arts using weapons based upon artifacts of medieval eastern races. One is using a vastly small weapon. The katana is the perfect example. A very popular form of martial arts in the west. Medieval Japanese were small in comparison to modern western Europeans. Based upon skeletal evidence and handprints we have of Japanese warlords. Placing ones hands atop these prints is as covering a child’s hands. I am 6’2”, I speak from my perspective. It is strange to use such a piece of technology, created for a man of this stature. The average Katana is roughly around 40” in length. Upon simple mathematics, a 6’ man should use a katana of roughly 48” in length and will be wielding it in the same nature of the average medieval Japanese. 8 inches is life and death. “Medieval” based upon their timeline, not the west. This is to be repeated in every single weapon one can find. Something to pay attention to in all martial arts.

In combat and the duel: reach will win, when using well crafted respectable weapons. This is simple martial arts theory and law. Of course there are variations. Especially with pole arms when their edge is “penetrated”. Therefore bring the proper equipment to a duel. Just as each martial artist carries a custom body. Each martial artist must carry a custom weapon. This is the nature of history. One must find himself.

Wood and Steel

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Wood breaks. Steel bends. In martial arts training there are obviously two types of proper training tools. Steel and Wood. It is best to have both, used depending on the occasion. Please do not use plastic or aluminum, based upon principle.

The most beneficial is a steel blunt. Created to immediately mimic the use of a sharp one. Never shy away from training using sharps in solo practice, never fear your own blade. There are few drawbacks of steel. It is wonderful when training in dual, mutual technique. When sparring, it demands one to wear proper protective equipment. Which can be a nuisance when you are switching between various things and simply wish to train shirtless, or unarmoured. The draw back is pell work. The steel bends. Steel swords are expensive, if this is not a problem, train with steel on the pell. Steel bends easily. Understand the old strong man techniques of bending such things, and then the sword seems less impressive. My albion training sword pent at the pommel at some unknown point, I apply a lot of pressure at the pommel. Only slightly, perceivable when spun upon it’s tip, yet perceivable enough to be annoying for 500 dollars. Needless to say, I will never buy another training steel. My own way of making such things will be finalized in the near future.

Wood has many benefits as well. Firstly, yes, even a well made wooden tool feels as a graceful club in comparison to steel. Yet this can be a good thing as well. Hickory and Oak are most recommended. I always use oak, just because. I have purchased training swords of wood (hickory) in the past. My true opinion is they were made too gracefully. Causing their weight to be too light. Also causing weakness of instrument. Needless to say there have been repairs, fortunately wood glue is very strong when used properly. A quarter inch here and there makes a profound difference in strength and weight. I will never buy another’s tools again. My own are simply too easy to make. Also allowing to make tools slightly above average height, as my proportions are a little above average. I am 6’2”. Wooden tools allow for vigorous pell training (wood pell, punching bag wrapped in tape, etc.) Always let the pell be of a “light wood” to protect your tools, steel or not. I have gone thru 3 pells in the past 2 months, yet breakage is due to elbow strikes on taped pads. Wood also allows for unarmored dual technique, while still allowing force, as well as sparring without protection to a degree. Always wear gloves, hands and fingers are constantly plowed through.

Something to pursue is obtaining the tools and ability to make your own training instruments. It is well worth it, the weapon feels as you. One can immediately make Exactly what they wish, not just find something close enough. Matched to your proportions or a particular historic original. Or something completely new, such as extremely heavy, well balanced training tools. Do not believe the skill is beyond you, it is not. Both in steel and wood. The skill set is basic once defined. Simply follow the process and pursue effort. If someone asks to use your weapons, simply say no if the two are not intimate and you do not wish to share energy. Another’s touch taints a weapon. “No” is easily spoken and enforced, in all things.

The High Master

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‘There is only one art of the sword.’

When studying the art of the longsword, one must begin and end with the one High Master. Johannes Liechtenauer, as recorded by ‘Hanko Döbringer’. The words attributed to this man hold the upmost importance. As the art builds through time, one can argue that the tower has been built too high to stand firm. As later masters within the tradition compile new material, new forms, techniques and so forth. We are immediately attracted to this for it seems exclusive, complicated knowledge, these multitudes of guards, strikes, etc. This must be seen through. Just as the modern, and very old, curse of “fencing around”, another aspect to be touched upon that is a bane of the true art, that has flooded the internet and the fallacy of solo video drills. While the videos of worth reveal too much to those who should not freely learn. Words allow purposeful misunderstandings, something to understand when learning from the old masters. Only flesh to flesh dealings hold any worth, in all things. The internet is a strange thing, many strengths, many weaknesses.

Approaching combat from an advanced perspective, basics bound within body, there are many things to do away with in your mind. This will be a focus of the guards, for it is moving through such that all attacks present themselves, and all protection is guaranteed. The strikes are important, yet as water. As the Sword Saint stated, combat is simply striking your opponent down. While at the same time he continues to speak of complexities that have little substance save the sake of art and artful writing. The aspects of Before, After, Feeling, Just As (reading intent before ones action), this is the heart of combat, everything else aside. Only bound within free form. Writing of this is redundant and encircling… Striking is striking, learning to separate the four openings, with both edges and knowing which opening opens the next. The “twitch hit” is the beginning of all… With the basics embedded you will strike as you must. Most importantly master the guards, that offer strikes and defense, the forms in which your body moves through. Most importantly the guards mean little when compared to the other principles. This is the beauty of Liechtenauer, there are only four “main” stances. Ox, Plough, Fool and Roof. Ox, you find yourself in often when one displaces the opponents blade, at the same time attacking, this should happen often. Roof is were the majority of all strikes come from, once again upon displaced sword. Fool, you are a fool if you believe killing blows do not come from here. This snaps to barrier in less than an eye blink. Fool techniques are anything you find yourself in when point is downward of the horizontal line, while not in a movement weakening side position. One should recover in offense. Plough is open to interpretation. Meyers plough? I say not. The original seems to be the one true opening stance, arms ‘extended’ and high, point towards one enemy. The beginning of any other form you may find yourself in. Later traditions do not give a name to this stance, and plough becomes this strange low thing. An enigma that makes sense. While other stances exist, one moves through them very rapidly and less often, or are small variants of one of the four, thus these four are the core.

A curse of swordsmanship is as the High master calls: “Fencing Around”. That is when ones sword makes circular movements. This is just silly. Imagine a boxer who performs circular punches, a comedy. The High master instructs that one should fight as if there is a string attached to the tip of your sword and your opponent. For literal sake, actually do this and understand. When ones sword begins to circle, it often appears more as a fishing pole pulling in a catch. The string immediately shows that nearly everything is a thrust and cut combo. For when fencing a skilled man, a thrust is often displaced, thus becoming a small strike/cut. A strike is often impossible, being intercepted and becoming a thrust. An intercepted thrust towards empty space followed by cutting is a beautiful thing… You will only see such movements in some, some, sparring demonstrations. When both opponents understand. ‘Fencing around’ is a curse. Yet it is attractive to those who do not understand, students of the art and outsiders. One believes he is watching fluidity and skill, when in fact he is watching theatrics, and saddles with no strap. This is written of for centuries, from Döbringer, onward. Yet even many “masters” stand guilty when put on trial. Certainly this day of internet videos stand of guilt, for it is truly the only thing attractive to look at. Watching one actually train solo for true combat is not as pretty. All martial arts stand guilty. While one may still train in “fencing around”, as it increases handling ability, the masters agree, one should never fight this way, or claim the art appears this way. Thus every Way has misdirection. Not ‘fencing around’ means one must have complete control. One must be able to stop his strike on a dime, and begin again with no need for momentum. This is why I train so heavily with the greatsword. The longsword teaches one to wield anything properly, the greatsword takes this to the extreme. ‘Fencing around’ the greatsword is the only thing you see done, a great shortcoming to pigeon hole this weapon, yet understandable if the opponents weapon has less length. Or the opponent is obviously limp of guard, or strong of guard depending, for this weapon will break guards. Combat against formations is something else to be touched upon entirely. For I write of the duel. Once again control on the dime, this amount of control causes the longsword to feel as if it floating in front of you, with a breath changing path, truly a feather. The greatsword causes all weapons to feel this controllable. While fighting with the great sword is simply a very long path to push into, a very long blade, eager to cut. The cross of any sword acting as a “round shield”. Swordsmanship is a vortex, not a sphere.

The rest of combat: footwork, moving, crossing, the fundamentals of what immediately happens, are more important then the multitude of mid range techniques. Pulsation in and out, never be “jousting knights” with long razor blades and no armour, this is stupid. Stay away from mimicking these men who act modernly without fear for their life. Cuts are extremely bad to experience, your body flays open with nothing but a gentle caress. The blood loss, the immediate effect of causing inability, etc. Stay away from the men who care more about how hard they strike as opposed to how easily they cut, because everyone is padded and using blunt swords. The fallacy of sports combat. Metaphorically, all combative sports included.

Thus the High Master is the beginning and end. Beginning with the basics, learning the complications, and ending with the basics. When you train in martial arts daily, never look at daily progress, there is no such thing. I choose three month intervals of a specific weapon, and overload on it. With some variation, and always maintaining unarmed combat preparation. Day in and day out is extremely repetitive. Yet at the end of three months you truly realize how tall you have grown. Not daily, not weekly, even monthly can be difficult to tell. Feel the burn of the shoulders and thighs. Guard always up, never around…

Artwork: Portrait of Liechtenauer 2012, inspired by a medieval manuscript.

Martial Archetypes

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The path of martial arts brings one’s sight towards warriors of old. Inspirations, so to speak, of past men. Whether Samurai of Japan, Knights of Europe, etc, there is always an archetype lingering over the traditions. Yet when viewing these past men, it is important to see truth, and understand ones inspiration. Understand ones time. The truth is, that as modern men, true modern practitioners of martial arts, we are often above these past men in quality of character. Yet what of ability? This is up to the practitioner. You must sift through the fantasy and truth. Understand the archetype of the art.

When studying history, one must understand the truth and quality of men. That is the disgust of mankind and our behavior, if you choose to learn the details. A perfect example is the modern obsession with vikings. This is so lost and disconnected from reality to be laughable. The vikings were horrible people on average. I speak of the mob. They were not unique, everyone at this time, on average, was a horrible person. The knowledge that we have of their true religious rites, later mythology recordings aside, are quite disgusting and unneccesary. Acts of social dominance and fear that have little place within an enlightened society. Yes, the old laws of Christianity were often horrendous, yet the ways of paganism were often far worse. This goes hand in hand with the false aspect of feminism and viking times. This may be the most ignorant romance of modern minds and history. Sexism within norse society was extreme. The idea of a shield maiden is one of mythology. The pagan truth of mythological woman attendants in the hall is a representation of the actual countless sex slaves held by chieftains, shared with his warriors, serving the mens food. Funeral rites when such chieftains died were disgusting, slaves recorded to be raped and sacrificed, sent alongside their chieftains. This was not a society that valued women as you would wish to believe. Women fighting in old war is a romantic and fantasy driven concept. I speak of the warfield. Women can become great combatants/duelers with blades, thus perhaps the true shield maiden, the extreme rarity. Yet, within the shield wall, or any formation of close combat, this falls apart. This is simply nature at work, there were no sports supplements then. Most modern minds can not even properly imagine close combat in a reality based sense. Therefor are not envisioning what I speak of. Many examples could be given. The viking romance is only a romance. They are not unique, so many cultures through history are this way. This is the end perspective of history, to be completely jaded and disgusted by it all. Samurai of Japan are similarly lost in romance. The qualities of these men, their actions. The laws of Samurai Japan when one understands, there is nothing romantic here. Nor nothing too unique, regardless of religion or not, men will always be monsters. The same can be said of Knights of Europe, on and on.

So, what is it that inspires us? Truthfully it often comes down to artistic style and idealism. Idealism, in the sense that very few strove to high standards as human beings. That some men were worthy of respect. That “these” Knights truly followed chivalry to the grave. That “these” Samurai truly followed Bushido in a righteous way. Vikings who embodied the higher aspects of the later recorded Thor, I want to believe. These men are worth inspiration. One must always remember, the “average”, was nothing but disgust. Artistic style drives much of what humans partake in. What it is we are attracted to. For example, I really enjoy the style of medieval and renaissance Ireland and Scotland. The arms and styles of the Gallowglass. From the early Scottish “aristocratic” warriors, to the later native Irish “recruitment ” fighters. Am I inspired by the average Gallowglass. Of course not. The average was an ignorant brute, destined to live a short life, trained “quickly”(especially of the later), and cared nothing of right from wrong. His life was valued equally to his equipment. He was replaceable. It is up to command, and the veteran/clansmen immediately surrounding him, to be the intelligent ones (hopefully), this is why they filter into command. Are there a few that lived worthy of respect of character and true skill? Yes. Were most simple idiots, meat to fill armour and form a wall of axes? Yes. Therefore the old style appeals, simply as a modern perspective. This is the ideal of vikings for instance. It is the appeal of the artistic style that holds sway over us. Not the appeal of their truths. The romance of their mythologies, which were romantically recorded at the time of writing. Never facts of a religion and ritual. In the sense of artistic appeal, the Vendels are far more inspiring, the “pre-vikings”. The same I would say of the Landsknechts, and their great swords. Inspiring artistically, yet most falling short in truth. The Doppelsoldner being the backbone of skill amongst them. Same words to write of as the Gallowglass.

As modern martial artists, we are above most of these men. Our minds, our intelligence, our creativity, our diets, our fitness, and oftentimes, our martial ability. Does this make us greater combatants, that is up to you. For ones martial arts ability does not always translate into the ability to quickly win. This is the ability of the man. For this day, men are weaker in this sense, far weaker. The success of society has broken us. We have become limp and incapable on a mass scale, not all, simply many. Ever decreasing generation from generation. The strange hormonal exposure found within commercialized diets have affected all humans eating such a way. The combinations of such factors are taking a heavy toll on natural balances or lack of. Partake as you wish. Yet equally, we are still the same monsters. Controlled, hidden, veiled. Kept in line with just law. What would happen if such law was lifted? Well, horrible things would happen. For it is our natural behavior to act with disgust and hate. To dominate those weaker and create pain. This is the nature of the mob. Never to be trusted. The mob is always low and ignorant. It is the responsibility of righteous men, leaders and higher examples who stand above the mob, to control the mob. Therefore the control exerted upon society is a necessary one. Humanity does not deserve anything else.

Thus in this world of martial archetypes, understand the truth. Most importantly, create your own archetype. Take the greatest aspects of everything that inspires you. Everything that stands true and tall. Combine it all into a pillar of higher humanity and conciousness. Will it stand as unique and new? Of course not, there is not such thing. We only continue to build and develop what was. Therefore choose with honour. Truly become. Become your own Archetype.

Art: Gallowglass Concept, 2011

Safe Place

As human beings it is important that each may have a safe space. Both physically and spiritually. This is not a place of escape, for there is no such thing in this world. This is not a place of weakness, for strength most be given to others at all times. This is a place of regeneration and peace. As a martial artist, there are only two such places one may find. This must be one’s home and one’s training hall.

The world we live in is not a safe place for anyone. To believe this will only bring hurt upon your path. This is due to the innate instinct of the human. There is no such thing as community. The world is directly one of competition. The world wishes to see you fall. This is found in professional relationships, close relationships, and everyday passings throughout the day. Without armour, one is to be harmed. Therefore, it is your responsibility to wear the armour, especially when others can not. To give respect and honour to those who carry high morals. For this is a rare thing to find.

Of the home, one can say I am a “traditionalist”. I care nothing of debate as to how anyone wishes to live their life, as long as it brings harm to no one. It is the responsibility of a man to make his house a safe place for his wife and family. To be both the foundation and the roof. To give the support, guidance and protection. The security that there is no anxiety to feel in this ever chaotic world. Thus allowing your wife to give the care and love that a man and his children desires and needs. To make the house a safe place for him. For it is easy to fall into hatred and warlike perspectives when left to ones masculine self. This is a topic that can be wrote of extensively. The modern quality of men, and the lack of many qualities we now face.

Next is the safe place of the training hall. This is to be a place to both cultivate the body and spirit. A place of safety, to prepare for the world of hate. Mutual respect, alongside constant forward development, and what the entails. A place of training and ever testing. Inner self exposure to reveal paths of growth. A place to inspire the heart to greater acts of courage and dedication to a noble cause. Yes, a place of romantic idealism, for both the child and the elder. I have no training hall. Yet, one day I wish to have such a place, one not a public entity. Not all halls are created equal. Both in quality of leadership and atmosphere.

In leadership, we are in an ever losing world. I stand behind traditional martial arts behavior and teaching when it comes to leadership, and man to man dealings. In a world were sports gyms are ripe, and behavioral desires have fallen to the absolute lowest examples, we are in need of noble Tradition. We are in need of respect and true spirit. We are in need of humility veiling a true Dragon. There are many types of leaders. The highest position, must be willing of completing the lowest task, else he is unworthy of leadership. The highest ranked must still be able to place himself upon his knees to replace floor boards alongside the white belt… Mankind’s desire for importance of position, and the insecurity that brings if ones spirit is undeserving is a disease this day. “Leaders” who are desperate and embarrassed of their true personal traits, ever seeking dominance in insecure ways. These men are many and one of true spirit can easily see such men. These are the pitfalls and relationships to be avoided. I have experienced first hand the lowness of leaders, insecurities and self hatred that manifest into the hall, upon students. From sporting gyms, to traditional arts. Every man must live in the solitude of their own home, for the qualities they bring to the hall they take home. Every man that walks, travels towards an end, unfortunately dragging others alongside the way. Some men never create a safe place, for themselves or others, for their armour is unforged. Therefore understand what you take part in, with who you choose to associate, with who you give and take…

In the training hall, the current lowest, must be able to see himself in the current highest, and vice versa. A relationship were all can meet in the middle, with the respect that we are here together. This is the heart of the Training hall. Yet this is were the discipline of the hall comes into play. Ritual, and the importance to always maintain such a thing. A safe place is not about the classes being full of laughter and uncontrolled smiles. This is giving out a shortcoming. It is not about belts given too rapidly. It is not about pretending to be in the modern military and such breaking abuse. This is not the legacy of the martial arts. Not what is being created. Not about massive classes to pull profit. For a teacher is to be as selective of students, as a student is to be of a teacher. It is about ritual, past legacy and spirit, the maintenance of such a thing. For only here and in ones home is such a thing possible. It is to find the sage and the warrior. It is about the atmosphere, the temple.  I am an artist, it is called martial “arts”. The spirit should be tangible in the setting. A place to inspire in silence. The setting, the floors, the countless weapons and decor. It must be an inspiring place, the spirit saturating the walls. Respect for tradition and guide, a separate world momentarily, a world of empowerment and safety. It is in this empowerment, that one will then bring forth this spirit into a spiritless world. And thus righteous ritual and tradition will live that much longer. It is my desire to one day create such a place. A training hall that when one steps into, they have entered through a portal, a portal closed to many. Into a time long past, or perhaps a time that never existed. Were the rare ideals of chivalry may still be harnessed. A safe place, not of ease and relaxation, of empowerment and ever striving. To carry this forth into a deadening world. For it is these ideals that build our houses, or businesses, our world, our legacy. Our place of silence in this world of noise. It is carrying such tradition that the great masters of old smile down upon us. That in a world of darkness, some men still carry a torch.