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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Patrick McCarthy




 It was with great pleasure and excitement that I first met and started a correspondence with Sensei Patrick McCarthy back in 2007. I was living, at the time in Torquay, South England (UK), and last minute managed to organize a place for Emma and I on a local seminar with him. For the duration of the evening seminar, I was in awe of McCarthy’s ability to engage with the class, and was enlightened to some fascinating concepts and training drills. Further research, and reading into the work of Patrick McCarthy further proved my immediate gut reaction – that this gentleman was truly a special martial artist working hard to break down barriers, open eyes, and further expose the truth embedded within the Martial Arts.

In truth, I was just a year into the path of TSW when I first interviewed Patrick McCarthy, and upon reflection, I was not ready to interview him; being too fresh and perhaps inexperienced. I gave the interview a good stab, but felt I could delve deeper.

 

Therefore in early 2012, I got in touch with Sensei McCarthy to ask if he would be willing to do a Part 2 to the interview. I am very pleased with this interview, and I feel there are absolute gems inside that will provide some great insights and food for thought for you all to chew on. Enjoy!!! S. Banfield 2012



 

(Shaun Banfield)     Patrick, thank you so much for agreeing to this new interview. I am incredibly eager to delve even deeper than last time. How have you been?

 

(Patrick McCarthy)     Thanks Shaun san … I’m well and have no complaints. Life is a beautiful experience and filled with valuable lessons from which I continue to learn…everyday.  

 

(SB)     It has been quite some time since we last met, how has your life changed over the last five years?

 

(PM)     Oh, has it been five years already? The time has really gone by so quickly that I really hadn’t noticed.  I think the simple reply to your question is, “my life’s become busier!” With the success of our international movement, our membership has grown significantly and my workload proportionately!

 

(SB)     Does this involve an increased travelling schedule? Where do you teach regularly, could you give us an insight to illustrate the breadth of your travels?

 

(PM)     We have a membership in about forty countries and I do my best to get out to as many as I can whenever possible. This year we’re hosting our 15th annual World Gasshuku here in Australia, which will be followed by a 4-month international seminar tour: The Netherlands, Finland, Italy, England [London, Southampton, Devon, Burton-on-Trent], Ireland, Spain, Germany, Poland, Canada, the USA and Brazil.  A couple of trips like this a year is about all I can handle! Fortunately, I also developed some younger and very talented instructors who have been meeting with success teaching seminars around the world. Some of the best known are Olaf Krey [Germany], Ante Brannbacka [Finland], Ludovic De Cuypere [Belgium], Cody Stewart [Canada], Don Ouellette, Wolfgang Vogel and Frank Barca [Australia], Darrin Johnson, Paul Lopresti, Erik Angerhofer, Danny Spletter, Tyler West, John Ingallina & Nick DePaolo [USA], Johnny Kennedy [New Zealand], Marco Forti [Italy], David Fernandez Parra [Spain], Andrzej Kazmierczak [Poland] and Jim Sindt [Denmark].



 

(SB)     You are the leader of The International Ryukyu-jutsu Research Society (www.koryu-uchinadi.com). Can you outline the primary functions and objectives of this organisation?

 

(PM)     Our services include an on-line network for intellectual exchange among members. Our principal activity focuses on mentoring learners and teachers of Japanese/Okinawan Karate/Kobudo [both classical & contemporary] through dialogue, lectures, journals, instructional DVD and special-interest activities. We have successfully built bridges uniting like-minded learners all over the world for nearly two decades by eliminating ambiguity, and imparting the true origins and evolution of Karate while specializing in the functional application practices of ancestral and traditional-based Kata…and more.

 

(SB)     Having such a widely spread, international group, how does one maintain and ensure standards, for surely when they are attached to you and your name, you want to ensure they are reputable?

 

(PM)     Agreed! It’s not an easy task…but then again there are “standards” and there are “standards!” Much of our organization has been built by attracting black belt students & instructors from other styles [predominately Shotokan, Goju, Wado, Shito and Shorin Ryu]. Along with them come pre-existing competencies. In addition to the myriad application practices around which the KU method focuses upon, we embrace vibrant body mechanics, hip rotation and constant mobility, which can be rather challenging for other styles that have not used them before. Beyond this, and as we are not a competitive-based group [i.e., we don’t practice sport karate nor partake in competition karate] the focus of our attention is individual and totally application-based.  As such, the standard we seek to accomplish is exclusively based upon function… not form!

 

Also, if I may just add something about your comment “reputable.” It’s been my experience that reputation is largely subjective. For example, one might have a stellar reputation with one group this year but be ostracised by them the following year, or vice versa. The reasons for such a thing might be entirely political and not actually based upon that person’s standard or skill, etc. Depending entirely upon how influential the person or group is would subsequently determine the status of the reputation.  How many times have you heard, “so and so is a terrific instructor,” but when you actually observe the ability of the said person you’re left shaking your head in disbelief. Alternatively, how about the “world champion” competitive athlete who teaches a class/seminar and, in spite of his/her athletic prowess, they’re actually incompetent instructors, etc? There are many variables when it comes to standards and that is why the IRKRS focuses so intently upon the KU HAPV-theory and 2-person drills; it’s all about function.   


 

 

(SB)     It states within the website that you adopt a ‘contemporary insight to better understand classical tradition’. Could you explain this further for readers, and discuss this ‘contemporary’ approach to perhaps stimulate readers’ introspective analysis into their own training processes?

 

(PM)     There are significant differences between the East and the West, and specifically between Japanese culture and Western society. With a long history of homogeneity and conformity, Japan is typically conservative, highly discriminatory and fiercely protective over its cultural identity of domestic ‘harmony;’ everything is about the group, not the individual!

 

To the contrary, and while the West may certainly have a history steeped in rich traditions, our multi-culturalism, social values and non-conformist behaviour have nurtured a much more individualistic outlook upon how, where and what we place importance upon.  As such, our ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to studying and teaching the art of karate reflects this Western mindset. Without losing any of the rich cultural heritage, or timeless teachings, we lean heavily upon a contemporary approach to working with like-minded learners. While we greatly respect the Japanese heritage of this tradition, and the cultural legacy of its Okinawan pioneers, our success has been built on attracting students and teachers who have outgrown overly ritualized and rule-bound practices being taught as the original art, and the propaganda associated with promoting one style over another. We strongly believe that tradition is not about blindly following in the footsteps of the old masters, or even preserving their ashes for that matter, as much as it is keeping the flame of their spirit alive, and seeking out what they originally sought.

 

(SB)     Would I be right in thinking you believe therefore that the ‘Western’ mindset has the capacity to achieve a deeper level of understanding due to the liberation from the restrictive conformist behaviours?

 

(PM)     I think your observation may be overstating my beliefs and, “tarring all Japanese with the same brush.”  Japan is a mighty nation with many out-of-the-box thinkers, enviably successful businesspeople and hugely creative artists of every kind imaginable. In fact, it’s no understatement to say that there’s even an entire new generation of young minds bent on bettering the West in every way. That said, long-standing policy, time-honoured ritualised practices and criticising established traditions are in no fear of changing anytime soon!  



 

(SB)     Playing Devil’s advocate slightly, Stan Schmidt once said ‘Shoji describes Shu-Ha-Ri as a freedom from all restraints from the standardized movements’ and that ‘it is traditional for the Japanese to break tradition’. So is there a paradox within the Japanese culture do you believe?

 

(PM)     Well, every culture has contradictions and Japan is no exception. I know Schmidt Sensei; we’ve sat and discussed the merits of kata, my HAPV-theory and 2-person practices in the past and I greatly admire the man.  With due respect to Schmidt Sensei, however, my description of Shuhari is best understood as a continuum of learning exampled throughout life:  Learning from tradition, breaking the chains of tradition and transcending tradition…only to wind up on the doorstep of tradition all over again. I believe this is what writer, TS Eliot meant when he wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration and in the end of all our exploring we’ll arrive back at where we started and know the place for the first time.” Physical, philosophical and spiritual learning represents different things to everyone during our youth, adulthood and old age.  As I mentioned before, when a practice is ritualized and ultimately transformed into a tradition, especially one that has stood the test of time [as modern karate has] it becomes, “etched in stone” … so to speak!  That it may be historically inaccurate, functionally inadequate or lacking in any other technical way, is of less importance when compared with maintaining the status quo and or challenging an established tradition.    

 

(SB)     In my experience, Western Karateka use the term ‘Tradition’ a little loosely, especially when discussing styles or systems that don’t conform to their perception of ‘tradition’. In my eyes, karate today is ‘different’ from that of Nakayama, Nakayama’s different to Funakoshi, and Funakoshi’s different to his teachers’. So what is ‘Tradition’ when change is the only constant?

 

(PM)     Well, I can’t disagree with you about this observation… it’s textbook Patrick McCarthy!  I think, however, if you read enough of my work, such changes are all well explained: Itosu Ankoh’s timely modification of Karate exampled that of Kendo & Judo on the mainland; Conforming to Japanese [Budo] culture, Funakoshi [et al] supported wartime mandates; post-war foreign interest, commerce and competitive agenda set the guidelines for its continued popularity and subsequent proliferation.

 

Tradition Defined:

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Tradition,” the following ways:

 

1a:  an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behaviour (as a religious practice or a social custom)

 

1b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable

 

2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction

 

3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions

 

4: characteristic manner, method, or style <in the best liberal tradition>

 

I see nothing in this description that varies from how tradition is defined in Japan … except the culture in which it is practiced. Tradition should always serve to inspire, not impede!




 

(SB)     As you said, within a multi-style organisation, is there a threat of being a ‘Jack of all trades and Master of none’, or do you believe that the skills are transferrable across all the styles you encompass?

 

(PM)     That’s a fair question and one I believe that perception and understanding has much to do with. Although, an entire dissertation might better address this issue, my experience has taught me that many people become too emotionally tied to “style” and tend to forget, ignore or never learn the more important message; how and why it came to be in the first place, what it actually represents, and the less-than-productive propaganda, which inherently pits one against another! I believe learning how the art was meant to be practiced satisfies a desire that all karate-ka seek to understand sooner or later. The contextual premise of self-defence transcends race, culture, gender and time. It is unique to the human condition and style is little more than varying interpretations on common [self-defence] themes, modified by understanding [or the lack thereof], outcomes and political agenda.

 

(SB)     Do you think that martial artists being ‘too emotionally tied to style’ is one primary reason that prevents the potential functionality of the martial art they are studying?

 

(PM)     Not necessarily. The issue is, as Funakoshi poignantly asserted, about, “parting the clouds in order to see things clearly.”  I don’t believe many traditionalists see clearly!”



 

(SB)     Where and why do you think the ‘obsession’ with style emerged?

 

(PM)     I doubt I could locate an actual date, or even place for that matter, but am confident it is closely linked to insecurity, protectionism and the desire for control.

(SB)     Many perceive kata study to be an antiquated process that, perhaps, has no real relevance to modern conflict. It is my observation however that you, and a select few others, are working to illustrate its function as a ‘central’ training tool to develop fighting skills. Would I be accurate in thinking you are eager to explore and promote Kata as a fighting textbook?

(PM)     On kata, as an antiquated practice, I believe your observation is accurate! Sadly, too many do think of the tradition in such a way. I don’t believe, however, you can blame most people for thinking the way they do!  After all, the terribly impractical way that kata has been portrayed, and subsequently passed on over the last century, has done little to inspire much confidence in understanding its functional value. 

On working to help bring about a change in the way we think about kata … my response to your comment is a resounding, “Yes!” I am definitely one person very committed to helping make a difference in this area. Considering its ambiguous history, and very misunderstood application, I’m not sure that I’d refer to kata as, “fighting textbooks,” but rather as, “mnemonic time capsules;” kata not only links us to a fascinating history it has long served as the principal vehicle through which immutable application concepts have been preserved. Originally, I don’t believe that kata were ever meant to impart the lesson but rather, “culminate what had already been taught!” 

It is this history, culture and technical application that I [the IRKRS] am most committed to passing on, and Koryu Uchinadi is a very user-friendly vehicle through which to pass along this important cultural heritage.

(SB)     You mentioned that you don’t believe ‘kata were ever meant to impart the lesson but rather, “culminate what had already been taught!” Can you please explain this further?

(PM)     Form follows function! Therefore, any prescribed movements, or sets of prescribed movements, which re-enact the application of how to attack, counter and or escape specific acts of physical violence must, by definition, culminate lessons already learned?  That they can also be used as instructional mechanisms support their creative use. Today’s confusion with kata application dates back to the practice falling quietly dormant following Itosu Ankoh’s campaign to support Japan’s radical period of military escalation. When contextual premise–based training and 2-person drill practices were replaced by outcomes that focused exclusively upon physical fitness and social conformity, in support of producing able-bodied male military conscripts, something different from its original intentions unfolded.

Kata represents form and its application is the function. Kata are an abstract collection of conceptual application practices linked together into creative practice routines. What breathes life into this abstract formula is its, “contextual premise!” Long ago, empirical study provided a unique opportunity to identify the acts of physical violence, which plagued domestic society. In doing so, tactical fighting practices ultimately unfolded allowing average people to effectively deal with domestic-based physical violence. Such conceptual practices were customarily learned and rehearsed in 2-person re-enactment drills. As a learner’s repertoire of application practices grew larger the idea of linking such individual concepts together into dynamic solo routines became the basis from which style unfolded. Such routines not only culminated important lessons already learned they also provided creative mechanisms through which to impart timeless teachings and express individual prowess while strengthening one's overall mental, physical and holistic conditioning.



(SB)     Last time I interviewed you spoke briefly about the Habitual Acts of Violence, mentioning that understanding them is ‘key’ to effective self-protection. Could you please talk us through this theory a little further for me please?

(PM)     The HAPV-theory focuses upon contextual premise; i.e., identifying and recreating those empty-handed acts of physical violence most commonly exampled in one-against-one domestic scenarios. In addition to the typical stand-up frontal assault behaviour, and shared variations, the HAPV-theory identifies other acts commonly associated with clinch-related scenarios, being seized and beaten, tackled, taken down, choked, and everything in between… including the violent behaviour mindset! Concepts, mechanics and principles play a huge role in learning and understanding this process. Escapes and counters are rehearsed against the HAPV under varying circumstances until familiarity and functionality are established. 

HAPV is also a pathway to Kata

Understanding the HAPV-theory/2-person application drill practice also provides a plausible explanation to understanding the origins of kata. Each escape, counter and application concept can also be rehearsed and performed individually, as solo practices.  If and when linked together, into larger routines, the practice becomes something greater than the sum total of its individual parts… kata! Kata not only served as a mnemonic mechanism to culminate lessons already learned, and impart lesson yet to be taught, it also became a creative form of expression through which improve physical skill, mental focus and holistic conditioning, hence strengthening the overall learning experience.

(SB)     Most of my readers will be Shotokan practitioners that perhaps won’t have many possibilities to study beyond the style – due to location, time etc. Do you think Shotokan alone, as a style, has kata that - if studied effectively - contain the fighting strategies required to create a balanced fighter?

(PM)     Yes, I do. If I may say, it’s not the Shotokan kata that presents the ‘problem’ here but rather its rule-bound application practices, and the incongruous contextual premises, against which they are linked!

(SB)     What are these rules that you think limit karateka?

(PM)     Unrealistic attack practices, and compliancy.


(SB)     In studying kata, can you talk us through your process of deciphering the possible ‘functional’ meanings of the techniques, and the fighting strategies embedded within them? Is there a formula to your interpretive ability?

(PM)     A formula? Yes, there is a formula, of sorts. Surprisingly, it’s actually quite simple. Yet, in spite of its simplicity, seniors tend to have some difficulty grasping it right away largely because of a preconceived mind-set impeding their ability to look beyond or outside their style.  Beginners, however, understand almost immediately simply because it makes sense and they have yet to be indoctrinated. Kata are time capsules of sorts and contain defensive fighting application concepts for dealing with the kind of physical violence that has long threatened domestic life. Perhaps, if I could summarize the journey, which led me to discover “the formula,” it might help readers better understand it. 


“My Journey”

By 1985, twenty years of training in traditional karate had left me rather disappointed by its rule-bound practices, inflexible rituals and cultural ambiguity. It wasn’t that I disliked traditional karate or wanted to leave it but I could no longer accept the modern interpretation of its ritualized practices [i.e. kata], which were being passed off as the original art! Having heard talk about more functional practices, which predated the modern tradition, I decided to search for a teacher, a style, or an organization where I might learn the more original teachings. Specifically, I was looking for someone who could teach me how to understand kata, the way it was originally meant to be understood.  My journey ultimately took me to Japan…  where I remained for nearly a decade.   

 

Japan

I found a fascinating culture in Japan and quite unlike anything I’d ever experienced the West! With a most interesting people, I was openly welcomed in what felt like almost childlike enthusiasm. Although I had yet to understand the tatemae/honne [1 - See additional notes below] cultural mechanism, or their principle of “Wa[2] , the Japanese always made me feel welcome and comfortable almost everywhere in their land. Coming from the West, the idea of suppressing one’s true feelings, avoiding confrontation, and sacrificing one's personal interests for the sake of communal tranquility, is not exactly the benchmark of our culture. Therefore, discovering how an entire culture was able to consistently exercise such etiquette and restraint was a remarkable learning experience. In retrospect, I must admit, it’s one of the cultural qualities I miss most since returning to the West.

While I met and trained with many excellent karateka everywhere I traveled in Japan [and Okinawa] I found no trace of the teachings I was searching for! Dissatisfied, I turned my attention to cross training… something I’d first experienced in the early 1970’s when Bruce Lee challenged us to question the “classical mess” and ‘think outside the box.’

With “new eyes” cross training in a variety of fighting methods [3] opened many new doors of opportunity for me while providing valuable insights about contextual premise, mentality and politics, all of which had previously gone unnoticed. Based upon that experience, along with my unique understanding of karate history, and knowledge of the journey that many of its pioneers undertook, making my own deductions no longer seemed daunting but rather inherently natural. Such findings gradually lead me to understand the simple nature of application practices and delivered me back to the doorstep of tradition, only now to truly understand it for the very first time. Combined with a lengthy study of the pioneer’s original writings [in Japanese], the source of what had been kept secret for so long finally revealed itself to me. Collectively, the experience was culminated with establishing the HAPV-theory [Habitual Acts of Physical Violence] and two-person drills concept. I systematized these teachings into a comprehensive curriculum of learning that my teacher, Grandmaster Kinjo Hiroshi [DOB 1919], under the name, Koryu Uchinadi [流沖縄手].


Contextual Premise

Defensive-based traditions, like karate, have always looked at domestic physical violence exclusively from the perspective of self-protection. Based upon this contextual premise alone, and irrespective of the myriad empty-handed forms of self-defense [4] that exist, a surprising amount of violent encounters are common and share habitual similarities. This factor has provided the platform necessary to further identify which acts of physical violence are typically common, what makes them potentially dangerous and under what circumstances they are most effectively dealt with. Eliminating the fact that we’re not discussing competitive fighting [5], nor any form of “mutual” confrontation [6] , the art of self-defense must then, by virtue of its implication, provide the functional concepts necessary to effectively deal with the full range of possibilities; just to reiterate, my HAPV-theory deals exclusively with empty-handed and one-against one domestic scenarios…not weapon-based, multiple attackers, gang-related and or military scenarios.

 

Toolbox Theory

I like using creating analogies to help learners better see the value in certain teachings that might not be part of their style but are nonetheless vital in fully understanding the art of self-defense. My Toolbox-theory is one such example; Liking an instructor of self-defense to being a local tradesman, isn’t preparation better served having a complete toolbox and never needing everything than it is to be caught off guard on a job that requires a tool you don’t have?  Our art is terribly misunderstood and most karate instructors teaching “self-defense” have little or no understanding of how to effectively deal with the habitual acts of physical violence, escapes, counters, clinch-work and or ground-fighting, etc.  Even worse, is the naïve belief that one will have the luxury of facing their attacker and or that a reverse punch can swiftly and effectively dealt with most encounters!

 

Attitude

Another aspect of preparation, which is rarely discussed, surrounds attitude. One of the most neglected aspects of preparation is developing a warrior-like attitude. Effectively dealing with the kind of relentless brutality and predator-like behavior commonly exampled in physical violence requires developing a similar-like mindset and identical system of attack scenarios. Like the toolbox-theory, anything to the contrary leaves effective self-defense purely to chance…and that is simply unacceptable!

 

Duck-theory

To date, there is no shortage of creative theories and opinion surrounding how kata works. I do not support the compliant attacker/rule-bound theories, which seemingly dominate the modern interpretation of karate. Replicating the said violent scenarios, in systematized practice modules with aggressive resistance is a proven pathway to functionality as it conditions instinctive response behavior.  This vital component is the central mechanism in our HAPV/2-Person Practice “formula.”

During the early 1990’s I served as the in-house gaijin [foreign] sparring partner for one of Japan’s top MMA groups, the UWFi. It was a fascinating learning experience having the opportunity to work with so many excellent coaches, shoot-fighters and catch wrestlers including Sayama Satoru, Cezar Takeshi, Lou Thesz, Billy Robinson, Karl Kotch, Takada Nobuhiko [aka the owner of Pride Fighting], Tamura Kiyoshi, Billy Scott, and Gary Albright, to name a few of the most recognizable names. Beyond many great training memories, and lasting friendships, what amazed me most about that experience was watching submission fighters rehearsing solo application practices... which, in theory, was not any different than what we do in Karate. With the exception of their scant practice apparel, lack of ceremonial ritual and less-than-Zen-like training facilities, I literally observed no difference between what they were doing and the typically ritualized fashion in which kata is customarily performed! This was a huge learning curve for me! 

Whenever I queried them about kata they all answered differently but yet their principles were identical! By this I mean that they all identified specific challenges [i.e. the “HAPV” according to their disciplines] and a desired outcome, which required specific application practices. In every case their application practices were conceptually based, explained with sound mechanical principles and delivered a system of ritualized 2-person drills. Not surprisingly, I experienced the vey same thing through Japanese swordsmanship when studying Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu under the late Grandmaster, Sugino Yoshio.  

By applying such mechanisms to my conceptual practices I gradually started identifying recognizable techniques located within many of the kata I knew. What stared with a trickle of enthusiasm ultimately resulted in breaking open the floodgates of discovery rescuing me from the depths of misunderstanding. I didn’t find the odd technique here and there but ultimately a myriad of templates identical to those found in classical kata. Although the following example can and is applied to the entire range of HAPV, I believe further deductions can be effortlessly made from the abstract: Rehearsing any of the many ways to effectively counter the HAPV reveal all of the ritualized templates that kata culminate. This reinforces the belief that, “kata was never meant to impart the lesson but rather culminate it!” If and when solo-application practices are linked together into geometrical routines something greater than the sum total of their parts appear … Kata!

Therefore, if and when the functional solo-application rituals to any of these HAPV scenarios happen to look roughly like the movement in classical kata I’m confident that this is more than simply a coincidence. My “Duck-theory” may not be Occam’s razor [7] nor even a cheap interpretation of KISS for that matter, but until someone proves me wrong, that’s my Satori and I’m sticking to it!”  At the risk of being redundant, the Duck-theory says, “if it has feathers, quacks and flies it’s most likely a Duck!



(SB)     The study of basics is to co-ordinate the body, and learn how to use it as a striking unit to create devastating levels of power in an exaggerated and extreme way, so that when needed - in a close proximity - comparable levels of power can be created in a shorter distance. How important is ‘basic’ practice to you and your organisation?

(PM)     Basics are everything! There’s a timeless expression that describes how useless any structure would be without a strong foundation!  Liking the art of karate to a structure, I don’t believe it can ever be fully functional without a strong foundation. Old-school method advocated technique over power and this is something I/we wholeheartedly support, too. 

(SB)     Through most of my time talking, interviewing or training under karate-ka and fighters that focus on close proximity conflict, one feature of self-protection that is repeated most emphatically is the importance of ‘pre-emptive’ striking. Do the kata have explicit or implicit examples of pre-emption do you believe?

(PM)     No I don’t believe so! This is an issue that deals with threat assessment and tactical strategy … in which many kata-based techniques can easily satisfy the desired outcome depending entirely upon the person and circumstances. Although I can guess you’re probably thinking about striking the opponent with your right clenched fist [it is the most common tool used], the idea here is to eliminate the threat of danger from materialising by taking the initiative.  Understanding the circumstances, learning how to seize the initiative and what tactical strategies to use are issues discussed and imparted when learning the HAPV.

(SB)     Many law abiding citizens that prefer to avoid physical conflict at all costs may shy away from pre-emption, seeing it as too extreme – hoping the conflict will deescalate without physical conflict. What are your feelings on ‘knowing’ when to pre-emptively strike?

(PM)     In my youth I worked “security” [we were actually called ‘bouncers’ in those days] in several very rough Toronto and Vancouver ‘watering holes.’ The men I worked with, the volatile circumstances of the job and the brutal fights I encountered provided an experience unequalled anywhere in my karate training. That collective experience allowed me to become VERY familiar with violence, social behaviour patterns and the typical circumstances leading up to, during and after physical conflict and how to effectively negotiate it. For the average person, however, the idea of a pre-emptive strike is simply unthinkable let alone possible without training the kind of training that example such circumstances.

I’m nearly sixty-years old and would, at all costs, prefer to avoid physical conflict…for many reasons. That said, if I were in a situation where the threat of danger, to family, friends, or myself was imminent, and I could not verbally diffuse it, I am confident my training has adequately prepared me to seize the initiative and eliminate it with the use of force.  So, if you were looking for support on the pre-emptive strike issue, my hand is up!


(SB)     Where do you see your own study and research taking you in the future?

(PM)     I’d like to continue to simplify our message and develop more user-friendly ways of reaching larger audiences.  

(SB)     And what area of the Martial Arts study, technical or philosophical, is occupying your current thinking processes and research?

(PM)     I’m totally focused upon revealing the commonality of kata, simplifying their application-based practices and breaking down barriers, which prevent or impede the dissemination of such learning.  

(SB)     Are there any points that I have neglected to ask you about that you would like to discuss?

(PM)     Many, but maybe we’d best save those for interview #3 …

(SB)     May I please say a big thank you for this interview, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you!!!

(PM)     You’re welcome but just the royalties from the book deal will do J

 



[1] The tatemae/honne divide is considered to be of paramount importance in Japanese culture.[1] The very fact that Japanese have single words for these concepts leads some to see this conceptualization as evidence of greater complexity and rigidity in Japanese etiquette and culture.  Tatemae (建前), literally "façade," is the behaviour and opinions one displays in public. Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one's position and circumstances, and these may or may not match one's honne.  Honne (本音) refers to a person's true feelings and desires. These may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one's position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one's closest friends.

[2]Karel van Wolferen, in his book `The Enigma of Japanese Power' (Macmillan London Ltd. 1989), describes the Japanese principle of `wa' as the uninterrupted display of a readiness to sacrifice one's personal interests for the sake of communal tranquility.

[3] I made several trips to China [including the Shaolin Monastery], SE Asia and the Philippines to study quanfa, Silat and Kali while continuing to train with local instructors of Katori Shinto Ryu, Jujutsu and Yuishinkai Karate-jutsu along with serving as a foreign sparring partner to several well-known Tokyo-based Japanese Shoot Fighters and Catch-wrestlers.  

[4] Here, and throughout my entire HAPV-theory, I am referring exclusively to, “empty-handed and one-against-one domestic acts of physical violence,” in contrast with, “one against two or more attackers, weapon-based assaults and or military combat situations,” as the dynamics are completely different.

[5] Competitive-based fighting is mutually agreed upon and deals with preparation, regulated terrain, safety equipment, rules, time limits and a referee, etc.

[6] Agreeing to fight with someone because they “called you on,” hardly amounts to “self-defense” in the traditional sense.

[7] "The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations." "If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, choose the simplest." "The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct..." … or in the only form that takes its own advice. . .
"Keep things simple!"