Starting Your Engine At the Same Time

In kendo there is an emphasis on group unity in the warm-ups and initial drills. In my dojo (NW Kendo), our sensei is looking for us to have loud and powerful kiai in unison early on so that, by the time we are in jigeiko (individual bouts) our spirit is powerful and the kiai remain loud and sharp because that keeps one’s energy up so as to maintain performance and have a tactical edge over the opponent.

If that sounds esoteric or just not compelling enough, consider this lesson on group unity from Jocko Willink (@jockowillink). When his unit was deployed in Iraq and were going out on a patrol or assignment, they had a tradition of starting up their truck and jeeps at the same time. According to Willink, that sound created a powerful feeling and sent shivers down their spines; creating a sense of power over their enemy.

So start your engines!

Sumi Sensei instructing on kiai:


Jocko & Louis

Life. It’s full of questions and the answers can be approached in multiple ways. In my search I am open to those multiple approaches and this is why I am hooked on a few podcasts and the FX show, Louis. My podcast of choice right now is the Jocko Podcast with Jocko Willink and Echo Charles.

Jocko_EchoWillink is a retired Navy SEAL but his show covers everything from the expected to the unexpected. Case in point, his recitation and review of the WWI memoir by Ernst Junger, Storm of Steel, was both insightful and touching. Willink discusses a lot of subjects including his military experience, his life now as a consultant, and his love of fitness and MMA.

Polar opposite to that is Louis C.K. who tackles the same subjects through his portrayal of an insightful schlub who embraces and yet hates his life and his persona.

Despite the huge difference between the two, both Jocko and Louis tackle issues that range from the singularity of human existence to the mundane. Their shows help me answer my questions and I enjoy them in the process. Really can’t ask for more than that.

Though Louis really should consider going to a gym…

Masks By Mishima

Mishima Mask BookI don’t know what Mishima’s goal was, and maybe he didn’t either, but his actions signaled his understanding of the many masks that we all wear. Suicide pulled the last mask from his face.

Whenever I get bored or frustrated, I think of Yukio Mishima because he is the example of a truly less-than-heroic person who had nothing special except for an rich mind and inner life and he was able to externalize that life in some spectacular ways, including his own death.

I have no such need to die quickly or even spectacularly but I can learn from someone who did.

Meditation on Death

In general, death is not an exciting topic for conversation but it is the ultimate destination for every single living creature so it merits some attention.

The idea of an afterlife Renaissance Skullsatisfies the human organism’s desire for continuity since the alternative, obliteration, is so difficult to comprehend. Nature imbues everything with a will to live, from the simplest bacteria to humankind. The continual drive to exist is what enables life to grow and evolve but it also contributes to the inability to imagine no life after death.

This chapter from The Demon’s Sermon on the Martial Arts entitled, Transformation of the Sparrow and the Butterfly, encapsulates my view or understanding of death. It somewhat ties in with the Hindu concept of the deshin, or life force, that exists in every person but somewhat as a third-party identity or energy that exists in our personas but then migrates on after biological death.

This is similar to Aristotle’s meditation on death by comparing it to the burning of wood. The wood burns and becomes ash. The smoke and heat rise up and disappear but, since energy in nature only changes but does not wink out of existence, they must go to some other place or time.

Existence, according to the dying man in the story of the sparrow and the butterfly, is dependent upon form. Form is what drives the various types of behaviors and thoughts and, when that form is destroyed, so too is the persona of that creature.Yet, the energy of that creature moves on to something new, forgetting what it once was; living in an eternal and universal present that goes beyond individual consciousness.

Going back to the Hindu concept of deshin, our life is a gift that we hold temporarily. It is our duty to make the most of it, to grow and develop it like an organism; simple or complex, striving to to be our best. Then we die our works embodied in that energy migrate on.

Is this empowering or is this so frightening that it stifles action? For me, it empowers because it frees me from consequence save for the consequence of wasting time and opportunity.


Buddha StatueMindfulness is all the rage right now with studies showing that living fully in the moment and being aware of your surroundings and body drive the right behaviors in terms of nutrition and stress reduction.

More importantly, being mindful opens you up to your immediate surroundings and enables you to see more broadly and deeply.

In a stressful situation, being mindful allows you to see details that you wouldn’t if you are overwhelmed and in tunnel vision. Being mindful also helps you avoid those situations!

This also includes non-public safety situations like tense meetings, aggressive co-workers and managers, etc. Frankly, being mindful during the job interview process will reveal those issues and allow you to make the right decision.

Being mindful essentially allows you to say “no” to negative experiences. It empowers you to live the life that you want.


Repost from my hitherto forgotten blog on Google’s Blogger.

I must have 5 versions of blogs across different platforms and it is the equivalent of screaming into the wind.

Anyway, I’m in a Tully’s waiting for someone so I will write something about…something.

One of the best shows on TV is definitely Hannibal and the books are equally as good, though I think that the books portray the Anthony Hopkins version while the TV series speaks more to me because of the excellent cast, especially Mads Mikkelsen. 

In a nutshell, Hannibal is a the fusion of passion, steel, love, and desire. A keening want that exists in all of us. To be heard and to be special; to be remembered even though we know that dust and air are our ultimate destination.

It’s the grisly now that holds us in awe and keeps oblivion well away.


Coming Back

Dying GaulI’m returning to the interwebs.

Unlike the Dying Gaul (pictured here), I am standing back up. I’d like to post more thoughtful and open posts, with the understanding that I am probably the only reader.

In life, we are always alone so why not too our blog?