Shapeshifting

“Shapeshifting” can be a very valuable dynamic in martial arts practice.   I don’t mean actual, physical shapeshifting (although, to be honest, there have been more than a few people that have suspected that I may be an actual shapeshifter….lol).  What I mean here is an energetic shapeshifting- an internal and subconscious response.  As martial artists, particularly how I practice them, everything we do is rooted in the subconscious- this drives the internal cycles of balance and energy.  I always tell my students to ‘flow like water (strike like iron’)- this constant flowing of circular energy comes into play as we shift our perception to intercept incoming energies.   In practical application, this translates as moving and changing our own energy/focus in the most efficient way possible. Truly ‘flowing with the attack’- perceiving the intent and redirecting it as needed.  So, on a deeply internal level, we must be ‘shapeshifters’ to flow organically like this- to perceive the moment and shift accordingly.  It also means shifting our perception and energy to efficiently operate even if we are physically compromised….

This is a dynamic I have been applying lately.  Though I am steadily improving, I still have  some way to go. Journeying closer to 100%, to be sure, but not there yet.  So, I have shifted how I apply techniques operationally to still be quite effective. So, I have ‘shapeshifted’- in this case, I am using alot of Snake-derived techniques to compensate for my lack of full motion.  This is applied from general Southern Snake Kung Fu techniques that my Sifu (Grandmaster Khan) had taught me many years ago.  The intention is the same, my focus is the same- I am using the same energy and focus, but applying it differently.   Snake techniques serve me quite well at present, because they offer an economy of motion.

A good example of this is a simple strike interception. Typically we use what is called a tiger sweep to intercept and redirect (or capture) a strike.  With Snake, I can do the same thing, but with a much smaller circle. Rather than a full circular sweep, I condense that circle- not moving my elbow outside of this circle- still a circle, and I still use the attack to my advantage as a resource. This allows me a quick counterstrike to an available and vulnerable target (throat, eyes, etc.)   I shift myself into a smaller circle of perception.  Sometimes you are the Tiger, sometimes you are the Snake. Sometimes you are the Dragon, sometimes you are the Bear.  It is all about PERCEPTION…

I have taken this beyond the abstract, and applying it with a tool/defensive asset that we have been working with.  As I talked about in a previous blog, I have been showing my students how to apply what they already know into quarter-staff/ ‘walking stick’ techniques.  As I have done some cross-training in Irish Bataireacht (staves fighting; part of shilleleigh fighting!)- I have integrated this Snake wisdom with my Bataireacht techniques. The Snake and the Irish Stave.   This is very ironic if you are familiar with the history of St. Patrick (please look it up if you aren’t!)

I am calling this integration ‘Snake Wraps the Oak’.   SE Asian jungle meets the Irish forest!

So,  perception ‘shapeshifting’ is a valuable skill in martial arts practice and understanding. It also can serve you in everyday life.  When you meet challenges, you can shift your perception to more efficiently deal with that challenge. You can shift your perception to see the dynamics of that challenge from a completely different set of internal eyes- perceiving a new way to handle it that you may not have seen otherwise.  Allow yourself to shapeshift your energy to flow with this dynamic. This is how you redirect it into a positive, and ultimately ‘own the challenge’,  just as we do in the martial arts.

When life gives you lemons……………. make lemon-based weapons!!!!!

Samhain Tidings

A Blessed Samhain to you.

This night is when it is believed that the veils between worlds are thinnest.

This night we honor our ancestors.   We call out to the spirits of our ancestors to join us this night. We honor their blood that runs through our veins, and their memories that run through our souls. We bring those who have passed to life through our love and remembrances.

This night is the eve that  harkens in the Celtic New Year (November 1). ‘Samhain’ literally means November in old Irish Gaelic.  When Europe (and later Ireland) became Christianized,  Samhain became ‘All Soul’s Day’.   Same traditions with a different name.  The night before became known as ‘All Hallow’s Eve’.  This then became ‘Halloween’.   Hearth Celts like myself still call this holiday by the original Irish name of Samhain.

This night we honor the harvest. The bounty of the Earth and the great sacrifices made so that we may live.

This night we honor this liminal time, this time of transition between the light of Summer, and the dark of Winter. In ancient times this is the night that Druids would light the first hearth fires of homes from the ritual bonfires of the village groves. In this we bring Life from Death, and Light from the Darkness.

From our ancestors and from the Divine, however we perceive it,  we ask protection from evil and negativity.  The ancient Celts wore masks to ‘confuse’ evil spirits, and carved totems into vegetables from their harvest to ward off all that was evil on this ‘Night Between the Worlds’.   As we shift from the Light to the Dark, we shed our negative energies, and embrace the positive to keep the Light for the winter times.

This night we honor Sacrifice. Those made by our ancestors, and by ourselves to bring health and bounty to our lives.  We especially honor the sacrifices of our Fallen Warriors.  To the ancient Irish, the souls of warriors slain in battle were embraced by The Morrigan and transported to Tir Na Nog (the ‘Summerlands’) to live in peaceful eternity.  This night  Celts wiould  also honor The Dagda, who brings life and death with the Eternal Club (and never-ending bounty with the Cauldron of Life). The memories of our Fallen are eternally brought to life by our memories as we honor their sacrifices.  To my Celtic ancestors, this is the way The Morrigan and the Dagda ‘worked through them’ to honor our Dead, and bring them to life in our hearts and souls.

This night we honor our place in the never-ending cycle of Life, Death, and Re-birth. The Light dies to begin the Dark. the Dark dies to give life to the Light. The harvest is completed to give us life, the soil becomes fallow to re-generate for planting. Our ancestors and fallen dwell in the ‘Summerlands’, but we bring life to their death by our remembrances and honoring rituals.

This day I offer you my Blessings for a healthy and bountiful winter and New Year.  May the spirits of your ancestors protect you.  Know that they walk with you always, and that their spirits live eternally through your life blood,  and through the  love in your heart and soul.

Beannachte Samhain !!!

 

 

Martial Tools for the Mind

I am always seeking new ways to expand my understanding of martial arts, and new tools to enhance my perception.  I quite unintentionally stumbled onto an old  dynamic that I know will not only re-enforce my own perceptions of the Martial Way, but will strengthen and enhance understanding and perception for my students.

I could say that I did almost literally ‘stumble’ into this.  The past few months, I have been dealing with a sciatica issue (as well as misalignment issues with my thoracic and sacral spine).  This is a result of old injuries, decades of throws/takedowns, etc.  A minor leg sprain a few months ago certainly didn’t help matters.  Apparently I am not as unbreakable as I thought I used to be!!!  Then again, I’m 53, not 20.   Even as physically active as I am, even with all the internal form and energy work I do, the intensity and realism training  just caught up to me (remember, this what I do for a living, so it is nearly CONSTANT). I am, however, pleased to say that I am recovering quite well.  Fortunately, the fact that I am very flexible and have a rather strong core (despite a ‘Beer Buddha Shield’ over it ! ), has made my chiro treatments much easier to accomplish, so my recovery is positive. It WILL take much time.  “The oxen are slow but the Earth is patient”.    One of the malingering effects of these issues is a weakened left leg,  some reduction of general functional neuropathy, and the resultant stability issues. ‘A hitch in my git-along’ as my Great- Aunt Ellie was wont to say.   So, though I am steadily improving, I have occasionally been using my hiking staff to provide stability and to aid mobility for specific situations.  Mostly, for when I am teaching martial arts………

Rather than just opt out of certain internal exercises that we do to start training and get energy flowing, I began to simply work with the hiking staff (which, appropriately enough, has a beautifully carved bear’s head to top it. Ghost Bear is everywhere!!)  In essence, I was doing an internal quarterstaff form. This was not planned, and was just an organic impulse.  I am glad I heeded that impulse!  I could do the forms, build energy, and give my low center, muscles and joints the stretching and working that is so needed.  Let me tell you, it was invigorating!  I have cross-trained with quarterstaff in the past, and have even applied my own unarmed martial training to it.  As a side note, I have to say that I GREATLY prefer European weapons (generally)- same principles as the Asian counterparts, just more simple and direct (just my perception, anyway).  Basic and direct is the name of the game, in my book. We focus so much on unarmed tactics and weapons extraction for real-world application, that dynamics like quarterstaff (and SPEAR,one of my other favorites!) just get overlooked.  Last week, doing internal form with my hiking staff was like reconnecting with a long lost friend.  Since then, I have been religiously doing forms at home with the staff- this will prove to be a net positive for my recovery and re-strengthening.

The staff, of course, is one of history’s earliest weapons.  It is fairly easy to learn, it is quick, and used properly will deliver tremendous blunt force damage.  Aside from its solid practical application, working with the quarterstaff (or any weapon) also strengthens one’s connection to ALL the martial arts principles, and allows a greater range from which to expand perception.  At its essence,  the staff is only a projection of one’s focus. It is not ‘in your hands’. It IS YOU.  When this subtle understanding is realized, there is no demarcation between the external weapon and one’s center. It is all flowing as a balanced whole. We use the staff in precisely the same way we would execute any of our unarmed techniques- there is no difference.  It expands our understanding of leverage, energy redirection, circular motion, interception and  redistribution of force, and the ‘push-pull’ dynamic that is so very critical for our counterstrikes and take-downs. Using any weapon for this type of training re-enforces our perception of circular motion, and even our internal perception of hard/soft, yielding/unyielding, positive/negative. Water and Iron.

This culminates into sharper subconscious perception.  It trains our minds with its own ‘muscle memory’.  It need not be a proscribed form, per se.  Just applying it to what we already do, moving as though we were working ‘un-armed’, makes the subconscious connection even stronger.  We move as fluidly and organically as we do with The Empty Hand.  Because, in truth,  it is still the Empty Hand. Whatever we hold for training/understanding/self-defense, it really isn’t there. It is part of our balance. It is part of our focus and intent. It is US……..

“There is no spoon………..”

Beannaithe Samhain!

A Blessed Samhain to you!

I won’t go into great detail about what this most sacred of Irish Celtic holidays means (my post last Samhain is in-depth if you are interested:      http://openhandjournal.com/2016/10/samhain-blessings/).

Instead, I would like to offer my blessings upon you.  This is the time of the Harvest, when we offer gratitude for the bounty that will sustain us.   This is the time that we honor and venerate our ancestors and those who have passed. To the ancient Celts, this liminal time- that point in the seasons when summer changes to winter- is when it was believed that the ‘veils between worlds’ were at their thinnest, and the souls of our departed can commune between worlds.     It is the time we reflect on the never-ending cycle of life, death and re-birth.  The light dies to  give life to the dark, the dark dies to give life to the light.  The light of the summer and the approaching dark of the winter exist in a balance.   The life of the harvest must exist in the balance with the death that is part of nature.    The  harvest that gives us life, the reality of death that must always follow, and the-re-birth again of new life , that  sustains our bodies and spirits.    A circle;   an eternal cycle.   This is a celebration of all that is Life-Affirming, as we recognize the reality of death and the balance of re-birth.

It is also the first season of the Hunt, where we honor the Sacrifices made so that we may survive.   We honor our Fallen Warriors, those who have been slain in battle. We honor their sacrifices, given with courage and self-less Honor to let us live.    It is a time we reflect on the importance of personal sacrifice, and how that places us in this Great Balance.

We honor this never-ending cycle of Life and Death, and our place in it.   The wisdom  of our ancestors and those close to us who have passed , lives on in our hearts and minds;  always a part of this never-ending cycle.   Our memories of them gives them re-birth, and forever makes them a part of the Balance of The Circle of Life and Death and Re-Birth.

Reflect today on your place in this great cycle. Reflect today on your ancestors and loved ones who have gone on to the Summerlands.    This is the true nature and beauty of our beloved Samhain…….

Mo sheacht mbeannacht ort

‘My  Seven Blessings upon you’

 

 

Overview of Celtic and Saxon Word Origins

Recently I was delving into the origin of my last name: Smith.   Really, that IS my last name- it’s not an alias!!!!  To my knowledge, I am not a rogue computer program gone viral in The Matrix.  Yet.

Anyway, my research into my Celtic roots uncovered some interesting findings, much of it stemming from my study of the Irish  language.  Smith.  It is an internal understanding embedded into the collective unconscious that this refers to A smith; i.e. a blacksmith.  Anyone who works metal is referred to as a smith;  bladesmith, silversmith, goldsmith. etc.  A common trade, so a common name. As the English language and Anglo-Saxon ‘English’ culture developed, professional trades became attached to names over time : a blacksmith became ‘John Smith’;   a man who repaired roofs became ‘John Thatcher’ (to thatch, of course, is to repair a roof with reeds).  If you brewed beers, your name became Brewer (the most popular family in any village!!!)  A man who fletched arrows became ‘John Fletcher’, and so on.    I discovered an anomaly with this, and I believe it is a result of English linguistic and cultural  influence over parts of Ireland.   A blacksmith in the Irish language  is called  ‘gabha’ (the bh compound in Irish is prounounced like a soft ‘v’, almost a ‘w’ sound.  So it is pronounced  ‘GA-wa’).   Smith is simply the anglicized word for the very same trade and surname . Smith is derived from the Proto-Germanic word ‘smitþaz‘,  meaning metal worker.  * This is of course where we get the verb ‘to smite’,  literally to hit. A blacksmith is one who ‘hits metal’ with a hammer to forge a weapon or tool.    The Irish God of blacksmiths is Goibhnui (GO-vhnu), derived from gabha.  Have you ever known anyone with the last name ‘Gowan’, or ‘MacGowan’?  Yep. Their name is really SMITH; but they have the non-anglicized Irish or Scots  version.   In Welsh mythology, their God of Smiths is Gofannon, derived from the very same word       ( Welsh is  Brythonic, there are linguistic and ancient cultural cross-influences across the region).   So, really Smiths EVERYWHERE.  Seems you ‘cannae swing o’ wee caet ‘thout hetten a Smith!!!!!’   Jeez, maybe we ARE viral……..

Remember that ‘English’ is NOT the native language of what we call Britain.  It has of course evolved over 2 millenia,   incorporating other linguistic dynamics.       English is at its roots a  West Germanic language originating from the areas we know as Jotland, Lower Saxony, and Frisia.  This linguistic dynamic was brought to ‘Britain’ by conquering Anglo-Saxons after Rome abandoned the island. With the exception of being under Danish rule starting in  the 9th century (Danelaw; yes,  Vikings ruled parts of Britain for a time),  Britain has technically been under Anglo-Saxon ‘Germanic’ rule for almost 2000 years.   The native languages of Britain are in fact Brythonic in the south, and Goedelic in the north (considered ‘Insular Celtic’ languages.  Welsh, Cornish, and Manx are Brythonic;    Irish and Scottish are Goedelic).  Incidentally, the name Britain itself is from the Pritanni tribe, which was the dominant tribe in the southern regions of the island. When the Romans invaded, they called them Britanni, and the island became Britannia. 

I found some other interesting tidbits in my research of this (and researching for another project).  Just for fun, I will share these as they tie in to what I am discussing:

  • CORNWALL.   This region of southwest Britain has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘corn’, or ‘walls’.  The English name for this region; ‘ Cornwall’,  is a compound of two ancient demonyms derived from two different language groups, one indigenous and one via occupation and subsequent attrition:
    • Corn- originates from the above-mentioned Brythonic-speaking Pritanni people;  the folk here were called Cornovii (“peninsula people”). This is from the Insular Celtic “kernou” (“horn” or “headland”).  *  This is actually a cognate with the Anglo-Saxon derived English word “horn” . The roots of this derive from the Proto-Indo-European word ker. (remember that though they evolved into very different language groups, both Germanic and Celtic languages have their roots in Proto-Indo-European).                                                                                                                                    *Many modern Cornwall natives refer to their homeland by the  original Cornish language  Kernou.
    •  
    • -wall derives from the Proto-Germanic word ‘walhaz’, which means “foreigner”.    When the Anglo-Saxons swept into this part of Britain, they encountered Celtic folk, and ‘latinized’ Celts as a result of Roman occupation. So, this also would refer to ‘Roman’ in a broad sense.   So, the people to the north of ‘Horn-walhaz’ ‘  they would also call ‘walhaz’;  (i.e. a  ‘welshman’).  This is also found in other Germanic-influenced areas that saw a Roman presence:   Wallachia (Romania), Wallonia, even English locations such as Walton .     Which leads us to:
  •       Wales.   This is the Germanic derived Anglo-Saxon word for this region, as described above.  So, at its roots, the English name for this region can be taken to mean ‘place of Celts and Romans’; i.e NOT Saxons.  The etymology of this word is believed to have evolved from the Anglo-Saxon proclivity to indiscriminately lump all Celtic Britons into one category (the Romans were also notorious for this).  It also could have been derived from the Roman name for tribes of this area:  Volcae.                                                                         The native name for this region is actually Cymru, which is derived from the Brythonic word ‘combrogi’,   meaning ‘fellow countrymen’.     Many modern Welsh refer to their nation AS  ‘Cymru’, rather than Wales.  The Welsh language (or ‘Cymraeg’), has seen a resurgence in use, as have other Brythonic languages and cultural studies.           If you look into Celtic nations, you will discover that, though its ancient roots are Brittonic Celtic,  England itself is absolutely NOT NOT NOT considered a Celtic nation!    As I discussed previously, England is technically an Angle and Saxon-occupied, Germanic speaking nation.   England;  from the Angles tribe, from the Jotland Peninsula and Frisia.     By no means am I bashing Saxons or Angles, or folk who we refer to as Viking. Interesting histories and culture.  I am just relating how history is replete with invasion and conquest,  and how language dynamics change as a result. Hey, I have a bit of Scandinavian genes in my blood too, so yeah, SKOL!       Of course, being predominately a Celt myself, I do feel a great deal of empathy for my ancient kin in these regions.     Erin Go Bragh!!!!        Sorry for the length of this, I get rolling and see interconnections and I just keep going.    so, go get a beer!  you earned it!

True America-MAX SCORE; Leftist Morons-0

The big issue on everyone’s minds this week is of course the tragedy in Houston.  Hurricane Harvey devastated this region this week, and I know I am not alone in sending my prayers and thoughts to our Texan brothers and sisters.  It is known that  horrible events and challenges like this will  test human character. In this particular case, it REVEALS it. I am talking about the courageous and compassionate Cajun Navy!  These folk arrived en masse to rescue Houstonians and bring them to safety, using their own personal watercraft to do it. No expectation of reward, just doing the right thing and demonstrating to the world what Americans are REALLY about. We stand together when things get rough.  Regardless of race or creed, at the end of the day we are Americans.  We have our differences, and like every family we will disagree sometimes.  But,  when push comes to shove we unifyWherever your family came from, whatever your creed is, whether you are Republican or Democrat or whatever else- all of those identifiers we may cling to fall away when we must step up and aid our neighbors. And, we do, without hesitation (as we should!)

I hope with all my heart that the hateful and violent Leftists might learn something from this. They won’t, as Marxists are dependably ignorant and are just useful tools for their Communist Globalist puppetmasters- I’m looking at YOU, Soros…..  I know they will only continue their war against  America and the virtues of REAL liberty and moral center that we are founded on.

Pay very, very close attention to who has been doing the rescuing.   The same proud, white, Southern men who have been the prime targets of alot of the destructive narrative from the terrorist wing of the Left.  Those same ‘evil, racist, white oppressors’ are out rescuing people at their own risk.   Some of the Cajun Navy have even been shot at in the attempt to rescue families.  Yes, some of their boats fly …the Confederate Flag!!!! Oh Horrors!!!  sarcasm off  *    Do you know who they are rescuing? Black families. Hispanic families. Everyone’s families. There are a few poignant photos online now, that I hope will not only go viral, but will sear into the eyes of the Race Warmongers of the Leftist Media to be images they cannot ignore and cannot forget. The photo of one of those  ‘ hateful, bigoted’  White  Southern men carrying an Asian woman and her child to safety out of deep water.  The African American man carrying two white children to safety.  The white Cajun Navy volunteer carrying an entire Black family in his boat, with another boat in-tow full of more family members.  Do you think any of these folks gave a flying yaks a** that some of these Cajun boys were flying the stars and bars- the historical and culturally relevant flag that the Leftists and their media lapdog whores are demanding to be removed everywhere because ‘slavery’?  No- they were shedding tears of gratitude for being rescued by strong, self-sacrificing men who didn’t care one iota about their skin color.  This is the REAL AMERICA. This is what we stand for.

*What we refer to as the ‘Confederate flag’  is actually the battle flag of Northern Virginia. This was the standard for General Robert E. Lee (the one whose name the Fanatical Marxists of the Left are feverishly expunging from schools and the history books). Lee was actually very much opposed to slavery- far more opposed to slavery than Abraham Lincoln was, in fact.  Both Union generals Sherman and Grant actually owned slaves. While they were serving under Lincoln. Think about that. I wrote a blog related to this some time back if you haven’t read it:   http://openhandjournal.com/2015/08/the-strategy-division-via-deceit/   It is lengthy, but I discuss the true nature of the Civil War, and it is relevant to issues today. Preview:  EVERYTHING that you may have learned about the Civil War from the communist-induction centers we know as the public education system was ALL A LIE……..)

This week we saw Southern men rushing into the water by boat or raft – or monster truck!!!!!- to help in a time of need, saving anyone they could find. Neighbors, Texans, Cajuns, all colors and creeds,  all jumping in to do what they can.  You can bet that some  proud  Southern women were on the ground, too, to offer aid and comfort and working together to help however they were able.  You know,  actual strong American women with deeply-held values and rock-solid principles (the kind that liberal media and ivory-tower academia love to hate- oh how they despise folk who have strength of character! )     Where was BLM in all this?  Weren’t there African American families in great peril in Houston? Why didn’t they drop their illogical, hateful and childish political rhetoric long enough to offer aid? Oh, that’s right- not politically advantageous enough.  Only care so long as there is a way to use it as a political tool. That’s alright,  BLM tantrum-throwers,   the ‘evil, racist’ white men of the South will launch their flatboats and rescue YOUR families as though they were their own (that’s how that culture rolls.)  And Antifa?  Just saying their name makes my blood boil, but did you notice that none of those Communist halfwits were on the scene to aid in any way?     Funny, I didn’t see one SS flag or related regalia anywhere near any of the white, Southern rescuers.  According to the Antifail vermin, we Whites are all Nazis by dint of our skin color (hint: they are the real ‘Nazis’.  They are more like actual Nazis than those idiotic ‘supremacist’ Stormdoofuses who like to prance around pretending to be ones.  Morons, the lot of them.)     I guess the weaponized Antifa ‘peace through violence’ movement only cares about destroying a society, not preserving one through cooperation, shared values, and a moral center . Marxist scum.  Maybe they were just afraid- all those good ole’ boys there, ya know (ones that absolutely would  offer an epic a**-kicking if those black mask cowards attempted their particular brand of stupidity with them).

Well,  one of the useless celebrity branches of the Unhinged Left did set up a charity for Harvey recovery. The Women’s March (Twitter). How noble!  Except, NOT FOR WHITE PEOPLE. Whites are expressly excluded from this.  And how is that not racist?   What we have also  seen across social media is the Alt-Left actually celebrating the destruction of Houston as vindication/revenge for the election not going the way they demanded it to.   They are jumping up and down in psychotic,  ecstatic glee that  ‘evil, racist Trump supporters were drowned’ (sadly, that is almost an exact quote…) !  You know, the very same demon white folk who are SAVING PEOPLE’S LIVES.  And these Leftloons  are the ones screaming in their shrill, petulant whining voices about ‘compassion’!?!?!?!
Do you know what one Libsheep  journalist was most concerned about? Not the damage, not the peril that people were in- she was up in arms that First Lady Melania was wearing…….HEELS!!!!!!!  OMG such a tragedy!  This only demonstrates the stupidity and utter childishness of the Left.

It heartens me that the forced narrative of the media- that we Americans of White European Ancestry are all hateful, racist bigots- is completely blowing up in their twisted, weasel-like faces.  The true character of this nation was revealed this week by Good People of every race  coming together to help their fellow citizens and neighbors.  The true nature of the Leftists of the media, academia, and politics was also revealed this week by their using this tragedy to promote their destructive and divisive agendas. More hate on us Whites, more hate on us evil women-hating men!, more hate on us ‘bigoted’ Conservatives. Like a light on scurrying cockroaches, the character (or utter lack thereof) of the REAL hateful, violent racists was revealed for all the world to see.

My Brothers and Sisters of America, whether you are White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or whatever, do not let the petty, truculent, and asinine demands of the Alt-Left Marxists dissuade you from helping your neighbor, or living true to your values and morals.  Do not give them any more power by even paying heed to their logical fallacies, ridiculous demands,  and overt stupidity. They have been given far too much power already.

AND FLY ANY DAMN FLAG YOU WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Remember and Reflect

73 years ago today young men stormed the beaches of Normandy and parachuted behind Third Reich lines. They did so with great sacrifice, and courage. We owe it to them to honor them on this day, D-Day.

On this day I don’t dwell on the war itself, or the reasons for it. Today I honor the men themselves.  They truly were the ‘Greatest Generation’. They volunteered to face death and the horrors of war, and willingly put their lives on the line for what they believed was right, and to defend principles of what is civilized and moral.  Those that came home simply, and quietly, just got busy going to work/raising families/running businesses and re-building a nation.  These were Great Men, and I don’t know if we will ever see their like again in our culture.  I have seen alot of memes along the lines of :

1944  College Age men Then: Stormed the Beaches of Normandy amidst heavy Nazi artillery.

2017 College Age Men Now:  Need a ‘safe space’ because of ‘words’.

While this is a huge, and in some cases quite unfair,  generalization (and I certainly know many  people in that age range who are definitely not wingeing  snowflakes, and actually give me  hope for future generations),   I am afraid it is true to a degree. True, and completely BY DESIGN AND AGENDA.

However,   this is is not a post to discuss that.   Just to put it into perspective, and to ask of you, my Reader, to do something in light of today. Reflect on the character of these Heroes of D-Day, and reflect on what has happened to our moral compass as a society since then. Reflect on what we have lost.  If you know someone or have family members in this younger generation talk to them about some history, and what kind of character these men had. It isn’t about the war, or politics. It is about CHARACTER and HONOR, something I see very little of today.  If you can somehow get them to at least glimpse what is possible, and what we have lost as a society, then maybe there is hope after all.

These Heroic Men laid down their lives to give civilization a future, and we, and I mean ALL OF US, must remember that and reflect on it. We owe them that.

The Challenge of Self Mastery

The practice of the martial arts can be quite demanding on physical, psychological, and emotional levels.  These demands manifest themselves as challenges, and can be very powerful learning tools for self-discovery, and ultimately self-mastery.  These challenges allow us to face our most dangerous opponent face-to-face ; our own Self, and our own perceived fears.  Facing ‘fear’ head on demands that we confront ourselves in critical ways.  The fear that manifests when we perceive a threat to our own survival is a powerful challenge, but one we can grow stronger from. The feeling of emotional and psychological paralysis, of not acting quickly enough or effectively, is one of the greatest obstacles for a martial artist. This enveloping fear can paralyze us; or it can manifest as a total loss of control, resulting in panic and irrational reactions. Either of these emotionally based responses could mean failure; or even death if faced with an immediate threat to our survival. We must allow ourselves a high level of  internal trust, confidence, and the ability to not think about or even fear death or failure in the face of conflict and aggression. Freedom from the conscious ‘fear’ reaction releases very powerful potentials, but for those to become actualized, we must ACT AS TRAINED.

There is a story about a great master of the Japanese Tea Ceremony (‘Chanoyu’); a man of no combat skills or martial training, but very accomplished in the meditative and spiritual arts.  One day, he accidentally offended a high-ranking samurai, and was challenged to a dual.  He went to a Zen master to seek advice. The Zen master advised him that he had little chance of surviving, since the samurai was a skillful and experienced swordsman. He did tell him that he could ensure an honorable death by treating the combat as he would the formal ritual of the Tea Ceremony. He should focus his mind, paying no attention to the conscious, emotionally -based thoughts of life or death. He should grasp his sword as he would hold a tea ladle; and with the same precision and focus with which he would pour the boiling water onto the tea, and with no thought of the consequences, he should step forward with the full intention of striking the opponent down in one blow. The Tea Master prepared himself, abandoning all fear of death, when the appointed time for the dual arrived.  The samurai, encountering the focus, sheer calmness, and complete fearlessness of his opponent, was so awe-struck and shaken that he begged forgiveness and called off the dual.

The freedom of mind, and the pure focus of one not controlled by fear and conscious thoughts of life or death,  may not only immediately gain dominance of a potentially dangerous and lethal situation, but will allow one to gain Self Mastery.

           ” Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it….”
                        – Chuang-Tze, ancient Taoist Sage and martial artist

Samhain Blessings

A Happy SAMHAIN to all on this day!   I often cringe at using the term ‘Halloween’ because that is honestly a corruption of the original holiday.   Samhain (sounds like ‘sow-when’) loosely translates as ‘first fire’ in Irish Gaelic.    When the Holy Roman Empire began to Christianize us unruly Pagans under Constantine, Pagan holidays were simply re-named and re-packaged.  So, Samhain became ‘All Hallow’s Eve’.  Now, Halloween.   This is a very popular observance in our culture, but so few know what is is really about.

Samhain is the main spiritual holiday for the ancient Celts (and for us modern pagans).  It has many facets, all of which are integrated into a vibrant whole.    First, it is the Celtic New Year.   To the ancients, life was dependent on the harvest, the birth of livestock, the change of the seasons.  This is the time past Autumn Equinox when the season begins to shift towards winter. It is the time when the last of the harvest is brought in and prepared for the winter months.  It is the time when the ‘veils between worlds’ was though to be at their thinnest, and the spirits of their ancestors could be felt.

It is that liminal space of summer to winter; from light to dark; from life to death and death to life, that was such a critical perspective to the Celts.   It is the awareness of BALANCE, and of perpetual cycles in nature and in ourselves, that is reflected in the hearth beliefs of the Celts (to whom I feel a tremendous connection, among other cultures) In our observance of Samhain, we honor our dead as we welcome life (in the form of giving thanks for the bounty we have labored to produce).   The neverending cycle of life and death, of re-birth and re-generation from the memories of our ancestors, is the essence of Samhain.

I honor the icons of the Dagda and the Morrigan from ancient Irish folk/ myth as part of my Samhain observance.   The Dagda represents the future and life- Dagda of the Cauldron of Plenty that feeds the tribes from its never-empty cauldron (this represents the harvest).  The mighty Club of the Dagda could take life, but with its handle can restore life.  Dagda was a ‘god’ of agriculture, fertility, strength, and protection.

The Morrigan, the Battle Crow, the Phantom Queen, represents War,  Soveriegnity, and is the Chooser of the Slain- she escorts the souls of the fallen, and the dead, to the Summerlands (the Celt ‘afterlife’).   She represents the ‘dead’, the balance of life. As she cares for the souls of the dead (particularly those who fall in battle and strife), she restores the cycle of death and rebirth, as one cannot exist without the other.

At this time images of skulls, skeletons, ghouls and ghosts are prevalent, and are imprinted in our collective unconscious at this time of year.  We may be modern, but our deeply rooted connections to the way our ancestors perceived the balance of life and death are very much embedded into our very DNA.  It isn’t just the Celts, of course, many cultures had this understanding, but this particular holiday, our Samhain, is pure Celt.

Here is what Samhain IS NOT:

1)   the ‘devils’ holiday’.   This is nonsense, and insulting.  For one thing, there is no ‘devil’ in the belief system of a real hearth pagan. This is mostly  a  Judeo-Christian dynamic, not a pagan one (by the way we are not ‘anti-Christian’ contrary to what many think).    Sub-human savages who play off of this  ‘devil’s day’ stupidity and use this sacred holiday to enact repulsive acts such as animal sacrifice, violence, and intentionally harmful actions have nothing to do with pagans and our beliefs.  I cannot and will not tolerate scumbags who do this.  I put them in the same boat as imbeciles who ’embrace’ paganism and call themselves a ‘pagan’ for the express purpose of ‘pissing off those Christians’.  This is childish and ignorant. These are not ‘pagans’. These are idiots.

2)  ‘a culturally misappropriated stolen holiday’.   Also complete fabrication.  If anyone did hijack this holiday, it is the IRISH who are the victims of it.    I have heard all too much of this recently:   ‘whitey STOLE this holiday from the Mexican people, because it is Dia de Los Muertos, and they turned it to Halloween’.  I almost hate to write about this it is so ludicrous, but I have actually heard this lately.   How could an ancient culture  observing this holiday thousands of years before Roman occupation,  steal it from a New World civilization half way around the world?  The ignorance is blinding.  Yes, MesoAmerican cultures had this similiar tradition of venerating the ancestors as a holiday, in the same way that the Celts did. The Spaniards recorded this when they arrived in the New World; I’m sure some of their historians may have noted the similiarities with the ancient Celt-European traditions.  The difference is this particular Meso/Aztec observance was historically done in the summer (as recorded by the Spaniards). It was moved to November to coincide with All Soul’s Day when Catholicism was imported to the New World (many thousands of years after the Celts had been observing Samhain).  NOT THE SAME HOLIDAY, and done differently by different cultures.    The veneration of the dead is ever-present in the Hispanic tradition (the skull and skeleton iconography is a big part of it).   Now, I greatly enjoy this tradition too, and the vibrant  artwork and  festivities associated with it are enjoyable and very symbolic of the rich cultures we have here in Arizona.    It is an important component of our cultural framework here.  But,   it ISN’T SAMHAIN, and no one ‘co-opted’ any holiday (though, technically, it WAS co-opted from us Pagans, but water under the bridge…..)

Today on this sacred holiday I invite you to reflect on your hopes and dreams for the New Year, and to think about your ancestors or loved ones you have lost.   As we honor our dead, we bring them ‘to life’ in the form of their memories, and the knowledge and wisdom we have learned from them. As we enjoy the fruits of our harvest, we pay homage to the never-ending cycles of life and death, light and dark, and know that the more we live within that balance, and honor our place within it, we  too shall exist forward- in this life and the next.

Blessed Samhain to you!

The Long Strategy

Like everyone else in the technologically connected world with a keyboard and internet, I want to offer my perceptions on last night’s Circus of Liberal Propaganda……er, I mean ‘debate’.    Much has been made about Trump’s missteps, and squandered opportunities to bring Clinton’s NUMEROUS crimes to light for the whole world to see.  Was his performance stellar? No. Far from it. From the perspective of a shallow observer, he came off as brash and defensive. Let’s be honest, though- this will only sway undecided voters, and observers who aren’t intelligent enough to see the big picture. It certainly re-enforced the flawed and naive perceptions of those lemmings who blindly support the Globalist Criminal Enterprise known as the Clinton Family (they would fanatically support her even if she skewered live kittens and barbequed them on live television.) Yes, he could have done better. But,  a war is not always won in a single battle……

If you have read earlier posts, you will know that I am not a blindly fanatical Trump supporter.  Anyone who blindly supports a political figure,  without admitting their flaws and shortcomings, is a sycophant and sheep devoid of any critical, independent thought.   He is not an ideal candidate. I do not agree with some of his platforms, though I do agree in principle with others.  To be honest, in some ways he isn’t conservative enough from my perspective.  He has  attributes I respect; he has  attributes that I consider to be negative.  I do respect his drive, and business acumen. He is human, and he is flawed (like we all are). But, this is not a cult of personality for me. I want a LEADER in the Presidency; not a community organizer/propaganda machine who will placate the chosen masses via socio-political engineering , all while  pretending to have a halo despite numerous crimes and deceptions (you know, what we have right now) .  No thanks. I want an ALPHA WOLF in that spot; flaws and all.  No political-correctness allowed. Our continued existence as a free society depends on it.  That being said…..

Of course  there were ample opportunities for Trump to put that lying hag on the spot. He actually did in a few instances. But, it became obvious to me that he is being shrewdly ‘tactical’ in his approach.  Remember, there are 2 more debates left.  He will have time to prep his next attack- with ALOT of ammunition left. The Dems launched ALL of their anti-Trump talking points last night. To have  her use them again in future debates would be stupid, and very costly in the court of public opinion.  Even suicidal in the political arena. They have NOTHING LEFT TO FIGHT WITH.  All they can do is issue the same hollow, pandering platitudes that they programmed her to project whenever she speaks.  She can only issue yet more false ad-hominem attacks (the default setting of the Marxist Left).    Did you pay attention to Trump when she was speaking?  He wasn’t rolling his eyes, or smirking like HillaryBot.2 was whenever he had the floor.  No, he was calculating. Sizing up everything she was saying (like an alpha predator does).  Picking his battles.    You can bet he and his strategists are taking all of that intel and applying  it to the next debate.

The lapdog media is having a field day lambasting Trump for his ‘performance’.   Pay no attention- it is all meant to marginalize and lampoon someone they are afraid of. By ‘de-humanizing’ Trump, they think they can control the narrative. It will not work, because here is the truth of what we all witnessed:   Yes,  the Queen of Death came off as very poised, very articulate. Very coached, and very ‘programmed’.  But- scripted, articulate lies are still LIES.  I am convinced she had the questions many days beforehand. It has also been revealed that she very well may have had an IPad-like  device on her podium feeding her real-time policy/talking points  (videos point this out).  This is blatant cheating, and highly unethical. But we are talking about Dems, here, so surprised I am not.    Conversely, Trump actually spoke from the heart. Genuine answers. TRUTH.  Yes, he came off as brash (even repetitive a few times). But it was also REAL.  Not a slick, polished, propaganda spewing political robot like HillaryBot is.  How many innocents did they have to sacrifice to Moloch for her to stay upright and coherent for that long?  Maybe they just upped the dosages of whatever extremely powerful neuro drugs they have her on…….In any case, if someone can’t tell how artificial she was, how FAKE, then they deserve the enslavement they will recieve if she is given the White House. If we have an election, that is.

It was also blatant that Holt was simply serving the Liberal Machine.  VERY VERY BIASED.  No wonder Trump was on the defensive, he was being attacked from two fronts!   I would have liked to see him deflect, rather than be overtly defensive, but hopefully he will shift his tactics to use it as an advantage (he needs to read Sun-Tzu, and apply it to his debates!!)   It was pure political engineering to fire at him about irrelevant issues like the birth certificate scandal, and his tax returns.  All to take the heat off of Clinton. I’m under no illusions that Trump is a saint (he didn’t get to be a kajillionare by being weak, and to turn 1 million into many billions takes street smarts. Sometimes, you have to get dirty……)  However, his ‘pile of dirt’ is minor compared to the huge mountains of crimes and dead bodies that the Clinton Cabal is responsible for. But except for a brief mention of the e-mails, Holt was all kid gloves with her. Let’s examine some of the many sinister, criminal events that HillBot is involved in and/or directly responsible for, and wasn’t questioned about during this debate:

details of the Email Scandal (intentionally criminal, and TREASONOUS), Going back to the ‘birther issues’ of Obamait was Clinton herself who started that in 2008, issuing orders to Sidney Blumenthal to pursue it. (Trump did bring that up in an effort to defend himself..),   Clinton Foundation (pay to play, and favors to foreign governments. Also treasonous), her deep ties to Saudi Arabia via said Foundation (you know, where there is real, actual oppression of women; yet Clinton is all too happy to take their massive donations and be buddies with them. Lying hypocrite…), her actual, real, oppression of women in the form of destroying the lives of her rapist husband’s victims ( all for POWER, of course. Yet Trump is a misogynist because of a few off the cuff comments he has made??)..  Let’s not forget Benghazi, and her collusion leading to the murder of Ambassador Stevens.   (Whistleblowers against the Dems tend to be exterminated, and he had found evidence of her arming and financing ISIS. She then lied to the families of those heroes who died trying to save the embassy survivors. She is such an evil, evil b**ch..) 

           These are just some of the crimes that can be laid at her feet. I hope and pray that Trump throws down with these at the following debates-  gloves off this time.  This is not just an election (again, if we have one)- it is the defining moment that will mean our survival, or our enslavement.  It is the precipice that we are teetering on right now. Either Marxist-centered Globalism, or a Sovereign Republic with all of its ‘political incorrectness‘ and liberty.  Choose wisely, because your life and freedom depend on it………….

Perceptions, Observations, and occasional Berserker Rants……..