Caveat: Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

This article is mine and mine alone. I the author of this article assure you, the reader, that any of the opinions expressed here are my own and are a result of the way in which my meandering mind interprets a particular situation and/or concept. The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of other martial arts and/or conflict/violence professionals or authors of source materials. It should be quite obvious that the sources I used herein have not approved, endorsed, embraced, friended, liked, tweeted or authorized this article. (Everything I think and write is true, within the limits of my knowledge and understanding. Oh, and just because I wrote it and just because it sounds reasonable and just because it makes sense, does not mean it is true.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Line Four: while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight


It is a matter of seeing, hearing and practicing with an open-mind and with openness to more than the obvious and literal meaning one might get from this and all the other lines in the goku-i.

We can balance the mind, we can integrate the mind and body and we can create harmonious or balanced symbiosis with deshi. It is all a matter of how many paths you can find that lead to the same whole location - proficient and morally balanced martial systems.


A person's unbalance is the same as a weight, does not always mean literally to be physically unbalanced so they fall to the ground. Unbalance starts with the mind. To get your attacker/opponent to lose confidence in their ability is to unbalance the mind. This ends with the mind leaving the moment and you begin to "think," which distracts and delays allowing you to strike first (remember this could be an opening to de-escalate vs. strike with fist, etc.).

If you are resolute in your readiness and have practiced diligently with present moment awareness you will "see" and/or "hear" opportunity to achieve unbalancing of the opponent in their mind that the rest follows and also becomes unbalanced. Their confidence will leave and allow you to dominate in a positive way.

Do not let your mind succumb and be unbalanced, remain resolute in action and thus through the strength of your eyes, face and mind cause the other to lose or unbalance their mind allowing you to strike first, fast and completely.


Three words my wife provided regarding her garden. The professional she borrowed the words from said that to have a perfect, as perfect as humans and nature can achieve, garden it must be harmonious, integrated, and balanced. This struck a cord, with me and with my studies in the fighting arts and ancient classics of China.

Lets take a look at the literal meaning of those three words, related words I have used in my postings on the fighting martial arts.

Harmonious (Harmony): exhibiting equivalence or correspondence among constituents of an entity or between different entities; existing together in harmony; compatibility in opinion and action; a harmonious state of things in general and of their properties (as of colors and sounds); congruity of parts with one another and with the whole; agreement of opinions, etc.

Integrated (Symbiosis): formed or united into a whole; formed into a whole or introduced into another entity; make into a whole or make part of a whole; become one; become integrated; consolidation: the act of combining into an integral whole, etc. ; Of, or relating to symbiosis; living together; Of a relationship with mutual benefit between two individuals or organisms; term for the interdependence of different species, etc.

Balanced (Equilibrium): being in a state of proper equilibrium; proportion: harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole; symmetry; an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; Exhibiting symmetry; having harmonious or proportionate arrangement of parts, etc.

The entire purpose of the fighting arts is to provide the tools to, first, teach self protection, i.e. civil protection, which equates to street protection. This is not true combative protection of the kind the military has to deal with but one where we as citizens might, strong on might, have to protect ourselves. This applies to two separate forms of self-protection, one is the monkey dance or what I call the schoolyard scuffle and two, the really violent kind.

Then those who desire to go beyond the mere physical can achieve a better life and living by the singular form of practice that achieves body, mind, and spirit development where we learn to harmonize, integrate and balance out the three.


Begin in academia or better yet refer to it as an acquisition of knowledge. Train the mind, store the data in the brain and then go to the practical aspect, which is also stored in the brain/mind so when perceived appropriate actions are taken.

It can be beneficial to turn this around by starting with the physical and either later or in tandem, consume the academic knowledge as well. It can allow you to tie in what you learn connecting the two into the one.

Three is a significant number in the Ancient Classics such as the Analects and the Book of Changes. As a matter of fact mathematics are significant in all of it. Binary numbers are shown to be associated with the eight trigrams as follows:

1. Heaven = 111
2. Lake = 110
3. Fire = 101
4. Thunder = 100
5. Wind = 011
6. Water = 010
7. Mountain = 001
8. Earth = 000

When you want to see balance you would then associate 1 & 8, 2 & 5, 3 & 6, and 4 & 7. One of the more significant pairings is no. 1 & 8, which are Heaven and Earth. The combination of these two forces or non-forces is held to produce the complete human being. (you find this referenced in the first tome of the ken-po goku-i of Isshinryu)

The greatest un-kept secret to our purpose in life is the full understanding and goal of equilibrium or balance. I believe this is our purpose and it extends further than anyone can imagine. To create internal harmony and integrate that into our life, family, tribe, society, etc. would be a great achievement that few have reached in history - to date.

It is taught through the classics that we as human beings must achieve wholehearted "oneness" or "balance" within. No one can achieve balance in life or society or government if they first do not achieve harmony, balance and integration of mind, body and spirit within self. The emanations of our emotions through body, etc. have a cause and effect on anyone who we might encounter. We encounter, we react quicker than thought, and the results effects/affects all it encounters. To achieve equilibrium within is achieving the ability to know and recognize these issues and then allow ourselves to step back, breathe, and then control the effects creating a peaceful and harmonious effect on those we encounter.

The first step, recognize that Isshinryu and the fighting arts is more than mere physical fighting ability. The second step, recognize the gift provided by Bushi Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei in the "ken-po goku-i!" The third step, make it a practical ability of your mind, body, and spirit.


Heaviness: This principle as explained in the Book of Martial Power by Steven J. Pearlman can be connected to the ken-po goku-i tenants, i.e. with specificity to, "A person's unbalance is the same as a weight."

Our inability to properly make use of our bodies anatomical structure in nature means we misuse our weight and cannot apply our weight to our techniques. It means that we are ineffective in martial applications, which can be a loss of heaviness properly applied resulting in our unbalanced body and weight. To achieve balance in our body regarding the bodies mass and weight we cannot apply momentum to techniques and we lose things like proper structure and posture where the triangles become skewed resulting in an imbalance of weight or heaviness and this results in our attacker, if his line is longer, having the ability to apply his heaviness to unbalance ours and we lose the battle.

Our bodies must maintain the principles so that our angles, i.e. alignments, structures, axis's both major and minor, vertical and horizontal axis control, centerline, triangle guard, posture, proper breathing, etc. all reduce our bodies heaviness for applying technique which results in our being defeated.

If our heaviness is reduced in this manner the reactions of our applications are turned inward so that those same applications against our attacker are lessened allowing the attackers heaviness to overcome the technique and turn it back inward resulting in heaviness unbalancing our bodies and so forth.

I quote, "Heaviness typically refers to sudden manifestations of weight that manifest our heaviness faster than the opponent can compensate." It must be remembered that our weight never changes but how heaviness is applied does change accordingly to how it is maintained regarding heaviness balance.

As indicated in the ken-po goku-i inference to yin-n-yang or changing opposites to balance and back all the martial principles work in either a yin or yang form with mixtures that result in efficient and effective martial power.

Another form of this heaviness is our mental state. If fear or anger gain momentum then that becomes a heavy psychological weight that can unbalance and make fall our physical selves.

The overwhelming burden, weight, of those negative emotions releases a form of chemical and electrical energies that are detrimental to our ability to implement physical actions. Therefore, our weight can be heavy, mentally, causing an imbalance within the mind that results in a fall as if a heavy weight succumbs to gravity.

When I see this piece of martial koan, a smaller segment of the entire koan called the ken-po goku-i or gokui, I think of many things of which one is the principle of heaviness. Heaviness is the transition a novice makes through the learning of principles from muscling it to utilizing weight in motion to achieve effectiveness in martial practice and application.

We as martial artists work diligently to achieve application of motion of our body weight in a "sudden" application so we can manifest our weight faster than that of our adversary so they cannot compensate fast enough to claim any advantage over us in our efforts of defense. We maintain other principles such as posture to enhance the application of weight in motion.

We must exercise our anatomy to maximize our weight as it is applied to techniques, another principle. Therefore I conclude that as to my theory on the gokui, it is a tool to teach us our philosophical principles toward other more physiokinetic principles to apply teachings in defense. Principles are a matter of effectiveness of how we learn and apply the principles of theory (as I do in my writings as they apply to my practice), physiokinetics, techniques and philosophy.


When I discuss teaching methods it becomes important to understand how the brain works, generally, so we can adjust our training methods to best suit the learning of martial arts. Some folks can do many things at one time while others can do one thing at a time. The brain on one tends to lock out peripheral stuff while focused on the one task at hand. These persons can have that exploited if you are well versed in fundamental principles of martial systems. On the same thing there are those whose brains still try to take in all of the peripheral stuff while doing the one task.

As with all things in nature, there is both good and bad for both types of brain processes. Finding that balance point in instruction; finding that balance point in learning and practicing; and finding that point as it relates to the fundamental principles of martial systems for reality - intent is a difficult but doable endeavor for any one practicing a fighting/self protection system.

In martial systems one can exploit a threats action if they can take advantage of either their monochronic or polychronic tendencies. Since most cases of a threat taking violent actions against you, a victim, you must know that the majority of said attacks come from the brain that is monochronic.

These are some of the things to consider in teaching or instructing. These are some things to consider in strategies and tactics of martial systems.

Holistic + Atomistic: Finding a balance between the two optimizes the ability to learn, and do, while an unbalanced state tends to lead one down a path that is neither enlightening or so dark one cannot see. Finding true balance here leads to the ability to remain open to finding true balance in many other aspects of martial practice.

This will sound a bit familiar; atomistic is where you divide something into separate and often disparate elements. Holistic is a means of viewing the whole with out looking or seeing the individual components and the goal is to have a whole system feel that feels right in practice.

It takes a break down into the smallest components to learn and teach martial systems and I emphatically want to express that it does not end there. It continues down that path until you reassemble the individual components into an integrated "whole." The ideal is to see in detail the atomistic aspects of martial practice with an end result of assembling it into a integrated whole that simply feels right to the individual practitioner.

I have alluded to the reasons for this method loosely and my research has uncovered more information that may explain why the human condition seems to naturally gravitate toward this method of holistic to atomistic and back to holistic aspects of practice, training and learning.

Apparently our brains run on a dualistic process. Our brains spend a good deal of time labeling everything we perceive. Our senses are taking in undefined data all the time. This is our perception through the senses; then one side or the other of various parts of the brain process that data until it is converted from undefined to defined, according to our perceptions and beliefs. Out concepts, our words, the time, the culture and ethnic groups, the power relationships, the perceiving person, the sensory input modes, the perceptions of perceptions as to truth and accurate facts, and both the internal and external environments and the labels we attach shape the awareness we experience.

Our brains are equipped with a holistic capability that will take the sum of all the individual components or parts and provide us a "feeling" for the whole of all those parts or components. This is a fundamental system of sensory organization. The left side of the brain takes care of processing and formulating information of a logical, rational and a reductionist processes, i.e. the atomistic activity. The right side of the brain is where we view the world in an integrated way and where our connectivity to all the myriad things of the world is stimulated. When something feels intuitively correct this is our holistic view of the entire whole of any combination of sensory undefined data as processed by that side of the brain.

A good example is "facial recognition" is processed by the holistic functioning of the brain. You might think that it would have been the atomistic side for the details but the process is more holistic apparently and we may need to consciously activate the atomistic side to describe a face. This is apparently the reason facial description for criminals tends to be misleading, convoluted and prone to greater error.

If we perceive the holistic aspects of reality we are less inclined to require the processes of analyzing, comparing, quantifying or justifying our perceptions and beliefs. Because it feels right we have accepted this as a belief and thus feel no need to cut it up and perform such functions on the components or parts.

We tend to have a holistic feeling toward reality when our overall impressions as identified by some previous analysis of specific features or facts give us that impression or feeling of "this feels right." Holistic is not a function of language since there is no need to express or validate the data with it. Look at the holistic side as a more "intuitive skill."

The dualistic nature of life and the brain requires us to have a left and right side as both separate and distinct functions are necessary to achieve a feeling of satisfaction and a feeling of a whole or completeness. The parts can be considered only in relationship with the whole and the whole cannot be if not for the parts so we naturally take that which does not feel correct or right or just and perform a atomistic action by breaking it down, labeling them and then analyzing, discussing and data mining to validate and then reconstruct into a whole that is either accepted as right or discarded and "not right."

Where martial systems drop the ball is they take the holistic form and break it down into an atomistic form that promotes analysis, discussion and validating actions but then drop it in lieu of reconstructing it back into its whole system.

Lets discuss a bit more detail as to the reductionist form we naturally gravitate to in sensory analysis, the atomistic aspect of training and practice and life. Atomistic is a type of reductionist activity that our survival instincts require. Our brain labels everything that the senses receive. The process then takes the data and either sends it to the right or the left side of the brain where it is either accepted as holistic or "it feels right." Then the rest is sent to the right or left side to be deconstructed into the smallest bits and pieces it can for detailed analysis. This is where we identify all the leaves of the tree and let the whole tree reside in stasis until the process of analysis, validation and identification are completed.

The holistic aspects of the brain depend on the gathering of sensory data more by perceptual elements, intuition or imagination and then comparing that with our stored memories. It may be why we tend to freeze in stress situations as our holistic side is searching short and long term memory to find an appropriate match. Anything that has no match in memory is discarded. If this is so this is important for our training and practice. Train and practice to store the appropriate data so important and previously unidentified data is not discarded when the holistic part searches memory.

I would feel personally that the atomistic aspects of the brain are more important during the training and practice functions in martial systems. It also feels right that the holistic, the whole of the atomistic, are what we depend on in stressful situations. If we train and practice right it will reside in memory and depending on the importance of the data may remain in short term memory for quicker retrieval.

It may be the reason why advice of putting the simpler and most important actions in short term memory so as to give the holistic activity of the brain the time to retrieve the more appropriate responses and actions. In short term the "break the freeze" and the "move" and the "act" permissions may be a method to give you time to act or run or what ever to avoid, deescalate, etc.

Does this make sense? Perception takes us to reality. Reality is subjective to personal perceptions. Perceptions are subjective to social and personal beliefs resulting from various sensory encounters. Reality results to the individual where a result of synchronic matching to others provides for social cohesion by certain flexibility induced due to survival instincts governing groups. Perceptions and realities seldom truly match so a balance is achieved with brain belief acceptance of a kind. Synchronic communications are necessary to achieve tribal/group cohesion and adjustments to belief systems for survival. If there is a belief disparity the group through this synchronic vibration match accommodates achieving equilibrium acceptable to all parties.


The goku-i, as a tome of living life either as a person or combatant, requires that one take the appropriate attitude with an emphasis on the mental state of the practitioner.

One who has an attitude of wholehearted intent in all they do is more attuned to how profound they are on the effects to a persons "intent". It means the difference between life and death, injury and non-injury, happiness and sadness, or even success and failure.

To achieve balance as taught through practice of karate with goku-i means that those things mentioned are the flip side of the other that to achieve balance we have to discover that median that denotes proper attitude that neither tip the balance in favor of one side or the other.

To practice with out the goku-i is one such example that leads to the mere brutality of the physical or the intellect with out the ability to move, i.e. knowledge with out the ability to put it into practice is also not balance.

Study and practice in balance!

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