Eastern

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East.png
These are just the basic philosophies of the east, or at least ones that I took from Martial Arts and influenced me, and the ways I look at things. There are many perspectives into the same concepts. Two different people doing an artistic representation of an object; using different mediums, skills, and from different points of view, may believe the same core concepts, but the expression may be quite different.

Math is a man-made construct to help us to understand interactions in nature. Philosophy and Religions are also man-made constructs to help us understand nature and ourselves. This does not mean that any of them are wrong, but they are just tools of knowledge, not knowledge themselves. They aren't answers, but questions. They teach people how to be introspective and reflect on the how/what/why. Either we are growing and changing, or we're are decaying towards our demise. So these are here to remind people to think, feel, and live.

πŸ₯’

Needles.png
I studied it enough to know there no such thing as a "reheater organ". I also studied it enough to know that there's general benefits that extend well beyond the placebo effect. So it is both wrong and right at the same time. Whether the explanation for why is right or not, doesn't change the efficacy. And denying the efficacy because you don't like the explanation is probably more dumb than the other way around. more...
Buddhism.jpg
Buddha.png
Buddhism: always working towards Enlightenment. Buddhism is based on one mans enlightenment, Buddha. The philosophy originated in India, but traveled to China, Japan and influenced much of the Orient. Many cultures have a mythology that goes along with the tales of their ancients, and Buddha is no exception, there is a lot of mythology associated with his life. But in the end, the ideas that stick are that of a human learn peace, self-discovery and enlightenment through meditation. more...
Chi.png
What is Ch'i or Ki?

Ch'i (Chinese) or Ki (Japanese) is the internal force in our bodies, the manifestation of our spirit. It comes from the Taoism, and the universe, or our center (which is our center of balance). And the idea in Martial Arts and Eastern Medicine is that if it is out of balance, you must balance it. And if you're balanced, you can harness it to do things things you might think are impossible.

It varies from a very useful visualization tool (mind over matter), to mechanical techniques (physics), to supernatural force, that George Lucas borrowed for Star Wars. It is real, and can be demonstrated: it just doesn't always mean what people think it means. more...
McDojo.png

A few people have asked me about Martial Arts schools, and how they should choose. I did teach Martial Arts for a decade or two. This might aide some in having more confidence in deciding on which studio may be best for them. Most people start off backwards, they want to leap to Choosing a Martial Arts Style, and while that's not bad if you really have your heart set on a particular system. If you don't know where to start, I want to start more basic -- find an Instructor, Student, and then Art, in that order.

Do not be afraid to go to many schools in your area before deciding on the "Right School". (I recommend trying at least 3). These guidelines apply whether you are looking for you or your child. Just watch 3 classes (or part of them), and decide which seemed the best. more...
MAStyles.png
In Choosing a Martial Arts School, I stated that the instructor may be the single most important of the variables in choosing a school, and the quality of the Students is a reflection on the teacher. But they are not the only factors. Here is some information on what to expect from different styles, cultures and arts. This information can help you choose a "style" as well, and maybe give you a starting point. more...
Confucious.jpg
Confucianism was best summed up by Rodney King, "can't we all just get along?" With way too many people in close quarters, a religion about how to get along was bound to spring up. Confucius was a man, alive from 551-479 BC. One of the major concepts of Confucianism is li, which translates roughly as propriety, order, and courtesy, and is often expressed through ritual and ceremony. Li is basically the laws by which we are governed. more...
Ego-chess.jpg
What amazes me is that one of the most important things in a beings life, their own ego and sense of self, is one of the most ignored areas of their lives. People often run on autopilot of their emotions. To me, to be consciousness means to be aware of your surroundings. You, your body, and your personality is your closest surrounding. Thus people that aren't aware of their own motivations and actions, are ignoring who and what they are, and are by definition subconscious (below consciousness). This is probably far greater than half the people most of the time, and too many people all of the time. more...
Ethics board.jpg
Ethics of a fight: know yourself, and know others. Since nobody wins a fight, the best way to avoid loosing one, is by not getting in one. To avoid doing that you should understand your motive and theirs, understand aggression, escalation and take responsibility for your actions and even reactions. more...
FightingSpirit.png
Fights are often more mental than physical. It is a battle of wills, and an important factor is who has the most to lose. This is a reason that you don't want to corner wild animals, or wild humans. If they have no path out, then they are much tougher combatants. more...
James-Mitose.jpg
James Mitose was an Japanese American that learned the hard way about our legal system and how the public views Martial Artists. He is well known in some Martial Arts circles, because he brought Kenpo/Kempo over to Hawaii and the mainland from Japan, and is one of the important Masters of the art. more...
This is a rambling life lesson, that I once learned, and often ignore.
Tiger.png
My Karate Instructor used to say, "keep the tiger behind the bamboo". The lesson being that if no one knows you or how you think/feel, it's far easier to keep the business professional and not lose customers (since they can't disagree with you, and can only imagine what you do/are). Their imagination of you, is likely more grandiose than any mundane realities, so their ignorance (and fear of the unknown) plays to your benefit. more...
LegalitiesOfFight.jpg
If you thought the fight was over when the last punch was thrown, you don't know much about the law and societies need for justice. Legalities are different than realities. Laws vary from state to state, and sometimes city to city. It is hard to prove "your intent" or the intent of "the other guy". So just like it is best to avoid a physical fight, it is also best to avoid a legal fight. The law rarely looks at either person as a hero... they more see two people who weren't smart enough to avoid combat, and each side is trying to prove the other side was worse. more...
Pacifism4.jpg
Pacifism: when is fighting is better than the alternative? These are my thoughts. To me, the aggressor is not the one that throws the first punch, but the one who insists on fighting -- and it is not the person who won't fight because they can't win, but is the person who tries to avoid fights and exhausts all alternatives despite knowing that they would probably win. more...
Shintoism.jpg
Shintoism.jpg
Shintoism is the Japanese religion that believes in millions of spirits (Kami) in all things. These spirits are good and bad, more powerful or weak, flawed or not. Because no "founder" of Shinto and there is no supreme book or reference, this makes shinto very adaptable. more...
Taoism.png
Taoism.jpg
Taoism.png
The 'Tao' is an indescribable abstract. Since I enjoy a challenge, I'll try to describe it. Taoism is a philosophy of harmony and balance with nature and self. The word 'Tao' means path, road or way. It can be interpreted as method, principle or doctrine. The 'path' is the harmony and orderliness of the universe, it is this manifestation of 'Tao' that is the "natural order" or "heaven on earth". A person need not strive to achieve the Tao, one just yields to the natural forces and follows the path of nature and Taoism. more...
Aow00.png
by Sun Tzu, Translation by Lionel Giles,Interpretation by Ari Sabouni
❝ One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran, but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice... As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine... Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth... It was incredibly delicious, the best strawberry he ever had! ❞
more...
Unbendable.png
What I use to demonstrate Chi (internal energy) is called "the unbendable arm".

First without Chi: Stand upright. Extend your dominant arm out, palm up (but in a fist). Have your partner put the back of your fist on top of their shoulder, and they can rest both hands at the crook of your elbow. With every muscle in your arm tense, when they slowly pull down, they will be able to bend your arm.

Next with Chi: Stand upright. Extend your dominant arm out (on their shoulder), fingers extended, hand vertical (palm to the side), close your eyes and relax. Say, "go". Stay relaxed (only resist whatever force they're pressing on you). And as they push down, imagine your arm is steel rod extending in the distance, or a hose with energy flowing from the earth out through it. Imagine they can not bend or budge it. If you're both doing it right, they'll be unable to bend your arm. (Or at least it'll be MUCH harder).

What happened Easterers call Chi, Westerners would call body mechanics, technique and visualization. But it doesn't matter if you believe in their explanation or not, we just proved it though demonstration. more...

πŸ₯’

McDojo.png

A few people have asked me about Martial Arts schools, and how they should choose. I did teach Martial Arts for a decade or two. This might aide some in having more confidence in deciding on which studio may be best for them. Most people start off backwards, they want to leap to Choosing a Martial Arts Style, and while that's not bad if you really have your heart set on a particular system. If you don't know where to start, I want to start more basic -- find an Instructor, Student, and then Art, in that order.

Do not be afraid to go to many schools in your area before deciding on the "Right School". (I recommend trying at least 3). These guidelines apply whether you are looking for you or your child. Just watch 3 classes (or part of them), and decide which seemed the best. more...
MAStyles.png
In Choosing a Martial Arts School, I stated that the instructor may be the single most important of the variables in choosing a school, and the quality of the Students is a reflection on the teacher. But they are not the only factors. Here is some information on what to expect from different styles, cultures and arts. This information can help you choose a "style" as well, and maybe give you a starting point. more...
Ethics board.jpg
Ethics of a fight: know yourself, and know others. Since nobody wins a fight, the best way to avoid loosing one, is by not getting in one. To avoid doing that you should understand your motive and theirs, understand aggression, escalation and take responsibility for your actions and even reactions. more...
FightingSpirit.png
Fights are often more mental than physical. It is a battle of wills, and an important factor is who has the most to lose. This is a reason that you don't want to corner wild animals, or wild humans. If they have no path out, then they are much tougher combatants. more...
James-Mitose.jpg
James Mitose was an Japanese American that learned the hard way about our legal system and how the public views Martial Artists. He is well known in some Martial Arts circles, because he brought Kenpo/Kempo over to Hawaii and the mainland from Japan, and is one of the important Masters of the art. more...
LegalitiesOfFight.jpg
If you thought the fight was over when the last punch was thrown, you don't know much about the law and societies need for justice. Legalities are different than realities. Laws vary from state to state, and sometimes city to city. It is hard to prove "your intent" or the intent of "the other guy". So just like it is best to avoid a physical fight, it is also best to avoid a legal fight. The law rarely looks at either person as a hero... they more see two people who weren't smart enough to avoid combat, and each side is trying to prove the other side was worse. more...
Pacifism4.jpg
Pacifism: when is fighting is better than the alternative? These are my thoughts. To me, the aggressor is not the one that throws the first punch, but the one who insists on fighting -- and it is not the person who won't fight because they can't win, but is the person who tries to avoid fights and exhausts all alternatives despite knowing that they would probably win. more...

πŸ₯’

Agnostic.jpg
Agnostic.jpg
Confessions of a recovering atheist. I used to call myself an Atheist, because I don't believe in an anthropomorphic (humanized) "God". But most of the atheists I heard talking or writing, were kind of douche's, so I was almost embarrassed to be associated with them. Plus there's always doubt: we don't know what's out there beyond our comprehension, so being too definitive is being close minded. I think it's highly unlikely there's a temperamental deity out there who cares where I put my penis or how I often I gratify myself, but the idea that our reality or existence was tampered with seems reasonably likely. So I had to put so much prefacing or qualifications in my atheism, that it became easier to say, "I'm agnostic". more...
Buddhism.jpg
Buddha.png
Buddhism: always working towards Enlightenment. Buddhism is based on one mans enlightenment, Buddha. The philosophy originated in India, but traveled to China, Japan and influenced much of the Orient. Many cultures have a mythology that goes along with the tales of their ancients, and Buddha is no exception, there is a lot of mythology associated with his life. But in the end, the ideas that stick are that of a human learn peace, self-discovery and enlightenment through meditation. more...
Cargo-cult.png
There is a true story about some South Asian Islanders (Melanesians) that sort of sums up a lot of human behavior for me. During WWII, Americans used small islands as airbases to launch various attacks against the Japanese (and vise versa). When they war ended, they left. Later, someone went back, and found that on one of the islands the landing strips hadn't grown over. And when they got there, they found that decades later the natives had built a whole religion around the airbase. They had made mock-up planes out of straw and bamboo, had kept the strips clean, and had various relics and artifacts that they used in their rituals.

When the westerners talked to the natives they learned that the natives were trying to lure back the planes; because the planes held mana from the Gods, called "Cargo". Cargo was all sorts of magical things that the islanders didn't have or understand, but they wanted. They didn't know who the men were that tended to the planes or who were the priests of this Cargo, but they knew that if they mimicked them, that maybe they could lure the planes and Cargo back. The Cargo-cult, as they were named, built a religion around things that they didn't understand and on the fables of the people that had been there but couldn't accurately describe what they had seen. (I don't know enough about other attributes about the Melanesians to know how to score them on all the other aspects -- but as they were the opposite of hateful of outsiders, I don't think they would actually score very high at all).

I've always felt the Cargo Cult, and other religions were the exact same thing; Mans need to describe things that are beyond his comprehension. more...
This section is to discuss a persecuted minority in America: Christians. Of course, that's a bit overstated, as they have wide swaths of the country where they are no looked down on or condescended to. But in Urban and especially Liberal areas (California, NY, etc), they're treated like superstitious ignoramuses. This is just some examples of the problem. more...
Confucious.jpg
Confucianism was best summed up by Rodney King, "can't we all just get along?" With way too many people in close quarters, a religion about how to get along was bound to spring up. Confucius was a man, alive from 551-479 BC. One of the major concepts of Confucianism is li, which translates roughly as propriety, order, and courtesy, and is often expressed through ritual and ceremony. Li is basically the laws by which we are governed. more...
UndocumentedPharmacist.png
Because I have a reasoned view of immigration, some have called me a xenophobic racist, showing they don't know what either word means, and aren't listening to what I actually think (or are missing the nuances of life).

I love immigrants. I am one. Well, 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation immigrant. (Iranian Dad on one side, Italian Grandma and German Great Grandparents on the other), raised mostly by a British Step-Dad. Many of my friends (now and growing up) and coworkers today (and historically) have been immigrants as well. I've dated immigrants, I taught immigrants, and I hang with immigrants. I love variants in culture, language, food, and people. So if you think I'm against immigrants, you're a moron.That being said, if you think all immigrants are equal, and we should have open borders, your reading comprehension needs work. (I say that because lots of people will read the following, and then claim I'm anti-immigrant. more...
IsraelPalestine.jpg
First you need to understand the History of Israel and Palestine. Once you do that, you can loop back around and understand why Iraq had nothing to do with either. Yes, Arabs think it's a great injustice that they can't murder all the Jews and drive them into the sea. But they're a feudal tribalistic culture, so the problem isn't with Israel wanting to exist, it's with those that want to kill them and refuse to see anything they do as wrong. more...
Islam.png
Islam.jpg
Islam.png
Islam is a monotheistic Judeo-Christian sect (broken into one of two denominations; Sunni (85–90%) or Shia (10–15%)), which teaches the following: This 2nd largest religion was created in the 7th century in Mecca, by Mohamed sharing his visions in the form of the Quran. There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God (as was Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus). That quote is called the creed (Shahada) and takes on spiritual meaning as one of the 5 pillars of Islam (the creed, daily prayers, alms, fasting, pilgrimage). Following Islamic law (sharia) touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, from banking and welfare to women and the environment: there is no separation between church, state, and law. Islam believes in social justice, and a hierarchy where: other Muslims are better than the other Abrahamic religions, which are much better than pagans or atheists. Islam replaced tribalism with Religionism: God, Family, Other Muslims, Country, Infidels. God is merciful, all-powerful, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs, as well as intervention in all outcomes (God is far more "involved" in day-to-day than Judeo/Christian flavors of God). Which is a source of frustration (God's anger) since Islam has gone down hill since the 10th century which to some, shows that they are not being pious/Godly enough: resentful fallen empire chip-on-their-shoulder. more...
Islamic.png
I'm not a cunning linguist, nor a middle eastern expert -- but my Dad is Iranian and Muslim, as is 1/2 my family, and being "not from here" means I've been more observant of different cultures than most. Just like when you say "Fuck you", it rarely means want to copulate with them, when middle easterners say some phrases like "Death to America", or "God is good" (Allahu Ahbar), it probably shouldn't be literally translated either. more...
MuslimElection.jpg
"Muslims aren't capable of a successful democracy". People said the same thing about democracy in America or Europe before is succeeded there too. I think the elections proved the myopia of those saying that you can't do Democracy in the Middle East. The truth is Turkey, many Asian muslim nations, and now Afghanistan and Iraq are now democracies, with some thanks belonging to the U.S. and our policies. People that said it would never succeed said the same things about Russians, Asians, Africans and others. more...
Religion.jpg
Religion.jpg
Religion is a mirror on out soul, it tells others who we are, and what we believe. more...
The First Amendment reads in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;".

At the time, this was pretty clearly meant that there would be no single Federal Church (like the Church of England), and that the Federal Government would be forbidden from interfering with the States and communities enforcing whatever religion they wanted. What it did not mean is that there would be a clear separation of Church and State or Local Government -- just strictly the Federal Government could not put one religion above the others. The Founding Fathers would have been appalled that anyone would use the 1A to restrict religious practices, in school or anywhere else for that matter. A decade later, Jefferson had wrote the line called "the Separation Clause" in a private letter, but even that didn't mean what progressives later pretended: at the time of the writing, and long after, States had official religions, Prayers were done in Congress and Courts, and no one had problems with prayers in School. In fact, the government's first Holiday was Thanksgiving whose purpose was specifically required "...shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

So you can argue that you WANT the Separation of Church and state, or that a few rulings over the years by the Supreme's help reinforce that. As long as you're not dishonest enough to imply that was the Original Intent, which is most certainly was not. more...
Shintoism.jpg
Shintoism.jpg
Shintoism is the Japanese religion that believes in millions of spirits (Kami) in all things. These spirits are good and bad, more powerful or weak, flawed or not. Because no "founder" of Shinto and there is no supreme book or reference, this makes shinto very adaptable. more...
Taoism.png
Taoism.jpg
Taoism.png
The 'Tao' is an indescribable abstract. Since I enjoy a challenge, I'll try to describe it. Taoism is a philosophy of harmony and balance with nature and self. The word 'Tao' means path, road or way. It can be interpreted as method, principle or doctrine. The 'path' is the harmony and orderliness of the universe, it is this manifestation of 'Tao' that is the "natural order" or "heaven on earth". A person need not strive to achieve the Tao, one just yields to the natural forces and follows the path of nature and Taoism. more...
As an overgeneralization: the middle east (and Islam) as a culture are more tribalistic than Western (or Eastern) religions, this is magnified in expats where they're a minority in a country. They have less interest in integrating than many other groups, as they see their separation as respectful of God -- and they see that those in their religion should be treated different than those outside it. Their religion blurs secular interests with political agendas: muslims are SJW's that would love to for Sharia law on everyone else. more...
Unexplained Phenomena.png
People love to focus on how smart we are, and what we know. And that's fine and all. I love what we do know. But to keep one humble, it helps if you remember that there's stuff out there that we don't really know, some we understand what happens but not why it happens, and some stuff we may never really understand. A lot of this is just stuff we can't test, so can't understand. Some is stuff we can test, but still don't understand. The scientific method is great and all, but some things might be bigger than us. I'm OK with that. I'm just not OK with pretending we know things that we really don't. more...
God.jpg
What is God? Why ask an atheist/agnostic? My short answer is going to be, "No Virginia, there isn't a God"... but my longer answer is more tolerant and agnostic. I believe in the absurd notion that "first there was nothing: then it blew up". With a view like that, I believe I have no room to criticize others beliefs. Science and Religion merge in astrophysics (since you can't run experiments or prove anything). Heck, like 90% of the Universe is supposedly (dark) matter and energy we can't see, hear, touch -- it's just variables that make our equations balance out. So I'm not trying to claim I have the only answer, just an answer that works well enough for me. more...