Tag Archives: samurai

Samurai Poetry and the Meaning of Life

Newsletter 909

The Martial Arts Poetry of Dying

Glad to see you’ve recovered from my Xmas poetry.

You know,
some people don’t like poetry,
think it’s sort of stupid.
on the other hand,
am a big fan.

Before cell phones…
men would write poetry to their lady love.
I could quote a few limericks
that would make you blush.

There once was a man from kent,

I know you don’t want to hear such filth.

But how about this…

Haiku is very rigid poetry,
a precise number of syllables,
a precise number of lines.
And one of the purposes of Haiku
was for a samurai to declare his death.
That’s right,
the emperor says you’re a chicken gut samurai
and you are going to cut your guts out.


before you do so,
you have a night to contemplate,
a night to write a poem to sum up your death.
One last chance to give your life meaning.

What would you write?

Here’s a couple of samples…

old pond
frog leaps in
water’s sound


the first cold shower
even the monkey seems to want
a little coat of straw


how many gallons
of Edo’s rain did you drink,

These are literary samples,
what do you think a samurai would write?
Here are some samples of American students
trying to duplicate,
or at least describe,

Brave as a lion
Fights with no fear or any doubt
Heads into battle

Sneaky as a snake.
The way of the samurai.
Meditation helps.

One swift and strong blow.
No motion of his body.
Yet his sword is still clean.

Not bad, eh?
Well, here’s the real thing.
It doesn’t have the same structure,
but these are real samurai haiku…

Minamoto Yorimasa2

Like a rotten log
half buried in the ground –
my life, which
has not flowered, comes
to this sad end.

Ota Dokan3

Had I not known
that I was dead
I would have mourned
my loss of life.

Shiaku Nyûdo5

Holding forth this sword
I cut vacuity in twain;
In the midst of the great fire,
a stream of refreshing breeze!

Takemata Hideshige6
(After being defeated by Shibata Katsuie)

Shall Ashura
subdue a man like me?
I shall be born again
and then I’ll cut the head
off Katsuie…

Toyotomi Hideyoshi8

My life
came like dew
disappears like dew.
All of Naniwa
is dream after dream.

Uesugi Kenshin9

Even a life-long prosperity is but one cup of sake;
A life of forty-nine years is passed in a dream;
I know not what life is, nor death.
Year in year out-all but a dream.
Both Heaven and Hell are left behind;
I stand in the moonlit dawn,
Free from clouds of attachment.

I hope you took the time to read,
and to consider these things.
Deep thought from men on the cusp of battle, disgrace, death.
What are your thoughts,
I repeat,
if you were to die tomorrow morn…
what would be your poem?
What would sum up your life,
and death,
and you only have a handful of syllables to do it in.

your time in the martial arts,
the long work outs,
the years of sweat and vigor…
they are all but a haiku,
a fleeting moment
in the vagaries of the universe.

So short
make the best
your time is short.

Here’s the obligatory link…
It is an old version of karate,
before shotokan,
it was used to defeat samurai in battle.



And have a great work out!



George Washington’s Martial Arts

Making the Martial Arts List

I first got this idea from George Washington.
The 9th president of the United States.

what made Georgie so much better than the first 8 presidents,
and all the others after him?

the yoga kata book

know martial arts

Is this really the way to solve problems?

To understand that question
you have to understand one neutronic datum:
what you do comes back to you.
This is an absolute truth of the universe.
If you throw a rock at somebody’s head,
then sometime,
you’re going to get hit in the head with a rock.
And if you compliment somebody,
you’re going to get complimented.
That’s the way this universe works,
and for a simple reason:
you create it.
And what you create will do what you say.
That’s the truth of:
what goes around comes around.

so why was Georgie the best?

Because he made the constitution work.
There was no constitution for the first eight presidents.
But George made the constitution work,
established this country so it wouldn’t fall on its face,
and that made him great.
inside George,
drove him to be great enough
to do something that great?

And here is the little known fact,
George read, and apparently acted upon:

Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation

This is a list of how to ‘behave’
first written by Jesuits in 1595.
George had to write them down
as a school exercise.

Here’s a couple of the rules…

1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
11th Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.
40th Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.

65th Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.

Interesting tidbits, eh?

The interesting thing
is that even the ones that seem dated,
have far reaching conclusions.

You can find this list on the internet,


And it is well worth going over
and considering whether you break those rules,
if any of the rules don’t count any longer,
and how you can better yourself using these rules.
Just translating those rules into modern language
can be positively enlightening.

The point is this:
there is a neutronic maxim:

Politeness is the Greatest Strategy.

These rules of civility
make you consider this maxim.
And then you start living with a bit more quality,
being more careful of the things you do,
how you treat people,
and then the universe starts becoming kinder to you.

It worked for George,
didn’t it?

So why wouldn’t it work for you?
if you think this whole exercise is silly,
consider that the samurai
had a huge and penetrating code of honor.
Bodyguards MUST act a certain way
if they are going to be allowed to function
in certain areas.
And you need to know this stuff
if you are going to be any kind of real warrior.

Remember this one incredibly important fact:

who you are spiritually
is the most important thing in the universe.

if you want to tap into the inner you,
work out.
Don’t stop,
day after day,
and you will wake up.
You will become the real you.

And I suggest doing Matrixing to make it happen faster.

Why spend thirty for forty years,
risk dropping out because of injury,
getting old,
and all the other distractions of life?

Do matrixing now,
and you can pack forty years of wisdom
into a year or two of streamlined,
martial arts.
Martial Arts that work,
and not on just the physical level,
but in the heart of hearts level.

Here’s the Kung Fu package,
so you can save some money,
and get the whole line up…


That’s Shaolin,
Pa Kua Chang,
Tai Chi Chuan,
and even How to Create Your Own Art…

Okay dokily,
you guys and gals have a fantastic time,
and start thinking about reading and doing
The Rule for Civility,
and changing your whole life
from a spiritual point of view,
this summer.

Have a great work out!



Meeting the Ultimate Martial Arts Warrior

This is How I Met The Ultimate Martial Arts Warrior!

I am currently living atop a mountain, caretaking a ranch, and putting together a ‘dojo in the sky.’

If you have lived on a ranch you know how rough it can be. The wildlife is hard at work surviving, and even the tame livestock can be pretty fierce.

The mice, for instance, will crawl atop your warm motor and chew on the wires. Thus, we need cats, fierce cats, to control them.

But the cats are risk from coyotes, so we need fierce dogs to protect them.

My dog happens to be ‘city stupid.’ He wants to hide in the cabin all night and snooze. And even if he did go out and patrol the property, Mrs. Coyote is liable to give a yodel and lure him out…a fresh plate of coyote food.

So I talked to my partner about the situation, and he said, “Al, I’ve got just the dog for you,” and a couple of weeks later he brought out a pregnant Malenois.

A malenois is a small version of a German Shepherd, it has smaller jaws so it won’t break bones and cause lawsuits.

This particular Malenois earned a quick reputation as ‘The Hell Bitch.’

First, it rolled my Labrador over, introduced the poor, loving smurf to the matriarchy.

Then it went after the cats.

Cats! But it was supposed to protect the cats.

My partner said, “I‘ll bring you a couple of feral cats.”

But we had feral cats! And The Hell Bitch had made short work of them!

My partner didn’t think about that; didn’t consider that he was just bringing up more ’dog food,’ and a couple of weeks later he brought a couple of feral cats to the ranch.

“These guys are extra vicious,” he promised, and he let the first one go.

ZING! The Hell Bitch was on that cat like a rocket, and the cat disappeared into the wilderness.

My partner just smiled. “She’ll show up later.” then he released the second feral cat, and that was when I met the ultimate martial arts warrior.

Before I tell you about this warrior, however, let me tell you an old story.

Two samurai decided to see which one was better. So they exchanged invitations and arranged a meeting.

One morning they both arrived at a clearing.

They circled, and then stepped towards each other.

They drew  their swords, and they edged closer and closer. They arrived at striking distance, and became motionless.

Hour after hour they stood there, each waiting for the other to make a mistake, to leave an opening.

Finally, just before dusk, they backed away from each other, sheathed their swords, and bowed.

One of them had made a mistake, an internal flinch, a moment of lost concentration, and the other had seen it. They never acknowledged who was the better, but they both knew who had won and who had lost.

So my partner released the second feral cat.


He was white and orange, and he crossed the yard, coming straight for The Hell Bitch.

The Hell Bitch. whose name was Bel, gathered her legs, prepared to leap upon the cat.


The cat walked right past her.

Bel growled and barked.

The cat ignored her, came to my wife and rubbed up against her leg.

Bel circled, snarling and snapping, waiting for the moment of weakness so she could charge in and tear the tabby apart.

“Mew.” The cat walked past me, up the steps to the house, and went in.

Bel followed her, looming over her, drooling and moaning with the desire to fight.

The cat jumped up on a chair and curled up.

Arrrooo! Grrrr! Bark!

Drool and slobber foaming out of her mouth, Bell snapped her jaws over the hair of the cat.

The cat rolled over and went to sleep.

Two days later, totally defeated, her whole DNA betrayed, her pregnant bitchery stymied, Bel took sick. She nearly died before my partner could come get her, hook her to an IV and drive her to an animal hospital.

The cat, you see, never showed a weakness. Did not hesitate or falter, and entertaiend no thought of resisting, of cringing, of shrinking, of reacting to the mad, foaming, insanely rabid hound.

The cat manifested, exactly, the attitude of Daniel in the lion’s den.

My question is this: how many of you have this concept in your martial art? How many of you can claim to have ever demonstrated even a fraction of this kind of behavior?

And, can you see this type of attitude emanating as a result of your training?

You are advised to examine Matrix Martial Arts if you want to develop yourself into the ultimate martial arts warrior. Make sure you pick up a free martial arts book.


Martial Arts Weapons: Hiding Them From the Police

Martial Arts Weapons Protection!

This article on Martial Arts Weapons walks a fine line. On one hand, I can’t recommend anything that smacks of breaking the law. On the other hand, what do you do when the police break the law?

martial art weapon

Monkey Boxing is the best Way to Learn Weapons!

That the police do break the law is plain and obvious. A small picture of this is the fact that one of my martial arts students had her engraved arnis sticks confiscated by the police, and they were somehow ‘lost’ when she tried to get them back. She was on her way to class, the sticks were in plain sight on the passenger seat, but her explanations were brushed aside by less than honorable cops.

A larger picture is presented by Hurricane Katrina, when the police went through neighborhoods and confiscated all weapons. This is breaking the law–the Constitution, to be exact–and when the police were done gangs of thugs followed along. Thus, the simple truth is that the police, when they feel like it, will ignore the law of the land and do what they feel like, or worse, what they have been ordered to.

A quick aside, before we get on with this article, one of the most stark examples of this is when cops refer to citizens in demeaning tones when the citizens start quoting the constitution. This sad fact points to an elite that has put themselves above the law. The problem is even more powerful and insidious when one considers that the police oath of honor charges them with protecting the constitution.

This all said, understanding that there are good cops, but there are also bad cops who do not respect the constitution, how do you go about getting past the bad cops, and without breaking the law? One answer is to ask to be arrested. The other is to hide and disguise your weaponry. 

To ask to be arrested is an interestingly dilemma for the cop. If he arrests you, after you have made known your concerns about him breaking the law by taking away your right to self protection, he is opening himself up to lawsuits of magnitude. You can expect, should you choose this avenue, that he will do everything in his power to bully you, to intimidate you, and you should have the cameras rolling because you can expect he’ll look for a way to trip you, shove you, or otherwise put you in a compromised position of having to fight back.

To hide your weapons is the best answer. This involves blending the weapon with the body line, covering it naturally, and yet leaving it accessible. This is if you want to protect your expensive, quality handgun, knife, or whatever.

A better way is to learn good martial arts, and dummy down the weapon. A table leg made of hard wood, with the screw tips exposed, can sit on the car seat next to you, be placed next to the house door, or whatever. Or, another weapon that can be placed in plain sight…break a shop tool so it has sharp edges, and wrap the handle with duc tape.

There are many creative ways of making and hiding and handling every day objects that be used for real self defense. As mentioned earlier, however, one should arrange to have a camera rolling, and even uploading to the net simultaneously. This is the best way to protect yourselves from cops gone bad, and of making sure that you retain possession of your martial arts weapons.

If you want to learn more about martial arts weapons, the Blinding Steel Course is highly recommended. This course takes you through drills and exercises from basics to effective disarms. If a bad person actually wanted to take your Martial Arts weapons away from you, shouldn’t you be able to turn the tables?

martial arts weapons


Classical Martial Arts Originated in Life or Death Combat!

Had a guy say something interesting today, he said that MMA originated in the ring, as a way to beat people up under certain conditions.

His point was that Classical Martial Arts, Shaolin or Karate or Aikido or whatever, originated under life and death circumstances.

Check out the video, it’s my classical take on the Iron horse form, and then I’ll finish up this point.

The priest had to defend against cutthroats with knives.

The Samurai had to fight armored men with long swords and spears on the battlefield.

Aikido was born of Aikijujitsu, which was from those same Samurai battlefields.

Life and death, rolling in the mud, training for all manner of weather, all manner of terrain.

Sometimes traditional martila arts get the razz, but the truth is, dig a bit, uncover the origins, and you have something with much more potential than a mouthpiece and referees.

No offense to anyone, there’s some tough guys out there, and tough arts.

I just prefer the Classical Martial Arts. Love the tradition, the training methods, and the idea that there is a zen beyond war.

Pick up a free ebook at Monster Martial Arts. Top left of the home page.