The Quantum Karateka

…step outside the dojo.

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That’s the term I like using to refer to when our study group sessions are over and we all sit down and go around in a circle and give some commentary on what we’re thinking, etc. It helps me obviously to gauge what people are taking away from this group and any possible suggestions on how we can run it better.

So that’s what we did after our session this afternoon. And I always love hearing comments from one of the members, Juan. He and I were educated at the same dojo and in talking to him in the past, I always felt that he had a mind for this stuff. So I’m very glad and happy that he’s been a regular at these sessions. Anyway, just wanted to talk about something Juan commented on which made me feel like, 1) Quietly confident in my ability to successfully transmit information, and 2) Very happy that another fellow student was able to gain some clarity on what karate is about. Paraphrasing what he said:

“I can see now how karate is not just punching and kicking someone. There is a goal.”

Yes! Goal! Key word here. Or as Sensei Wilder explained it when I asked him to clarify for me in an email what he meant when he talked about being “sticky” versus “entangled”:

“Entanglement is confused it has no direction. Control has a goal, right in its name. What McCarthy is doing is not entanglement. The next question you ask is in essence, “What is his goal[?]”  [I]t is all context. What he is doing as a SAS member infiltrating an enemy post – perfect. A citizen trying to make the bad stuff to stop happening, no.”

(“McCarthy” refers to a Patrick McCarthy video I had sent in which he demonstrated a kata application. “SAS” refers to the “Special Air Service”, a British special forces unit.)

Anyway, so what Juan said for me really was like “Wow. Cool!!! You’re getting it!!!” This kind of clarity of understanding is what makes the difference between people who kick ass with what they’re doing and those who aren’t. And that feeling of not knowing what you’re doing is at the root of my training frustration and searching. I needed to gain clarity for myself about what I was doing. I am not a happy camper anymore when it comes to following rules whose only legitimacy is “Because Sensei said so”. That’s bullshit. Straight up. If I’m gonna spend my money and my time to learn something, then I wanna know what the fuck I’m doing. Dig? Yeah, so hearing that from Juan was like, “Awesome!!! We’re getting somewhere!!!”

And that’s something that brings me a lot of light and joy. It’s like I’m witnessing the other person’s mind opening up. It’s really a great feeling. But again though, as I mentioned in a previous post, the key isn’t just my personal ability to successfully transmit information in a streamlined and understandable manner. The other half of that is the learner him/herself. Without first having a mind for it, the information just sort of sits there. But having an inclination or an attraction towards wanting to understand something, the information becomes a doorway into another world. Which is why I call one of my three key learning pillars for the group, “kata literacy“. To be literate is to be fluent in a language. You are able to maneuver around. Get from one place to another successfully (for the most part). To be illiterate is to be lost and bumbling. You can’t speak the language. You don’t know what’s going on. You’re relying purely on some kind of faith or luck. Not really something you wanna rely on in a dangerous situation.

So yeah, this study group is really cool. I mean, not just cause it’s my idea. I mean more that it’s cool that I’m able to finally have some training partners to learn from and with. I feel like my mission is basically to get in the ballpark of where McCarthy, Abernethy, Enkamp, Wilder, etc. are at. I don’t expect myself to master any of this anytime soon. I think it’s more accurate for me to say that I’m like a guy/gal who likes to tinker with their car on the weekends. An amateur mechanic of sorts. A karate mechanic.

Anyways, I gotta go to sleep now. I got work tomorrow.

Peace y’all.


Juan and Anthony playing a game called “Escape or Submit”. Juan has zero ground experience. Anthony is a regular BJJ practitioner.



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