Saturday, August 31, 2013

You Lose

It's one thing to lose a contest. Anybody who has competed in any shape or form has lost.
In the martial arts, one signifies defeat by tapping the mat or the opponent twice.
There is no disgrace in tapping - it is a show of respect for properly applied technique.
Alternately, a referee can step in and call the match for KO or TKO. 

Suppose one starts an argument with a person, and loses. That would be an example of losing.
Suppose one gets that debate mediated, and still loses. That would be another example.
Or, one could start a blog war, and lose pitifully.

A man who grows accustomed to losing will never become a winner. 

There are two main ways of losing: getting beat, and quitting. Of the two, there is no inherent dishonor in being defeated by another competitor. Though not pleasant, it is an eventuality of competition. There is, however, total disgrace in quitting a competition. It is a sign of flawed character.

How would this happen? I suppose there are hundreds of possibilities.
But this post is dedicated to one particular idiot.
Who lost by giving up.

What did it take to make this particular man give up?
A comment about someone else. 
It wasn't even a feint.

A comment about another person turns out to be the finishing move.  

The trap was walked right into. 
It was not particularly disabling... certainly not as bad an attack as the man himself had been launching.
It must have hit home... must have been true.

The comment gets withdrawn, no longer being of use.
It had done it's job, and was no longer needed; just as simple as that. 
For the fight was never desired by the warrior. 

And the bully - he gets to a point where he no longer wants to be there. 
And he gives up, and calls in for help. 
"Mommy! Come help me!"
"He started it!"
"Y'all go fight him - I can't!" 

Because, in the end, you can dish it out, but you cannot take it.

And that, my friends, is the signal of defeat. 
Not an honorable tapout, but a dishonorable act of walking away from the contest!
And the bully had sought out that contest! 

I'd wager the bully pouts, and brays like the jackass he is... but we will never know. 
I'd wager the bully displays psychological projection... it is his way. 
I'd wager the bully continues in his muck of negativity... he thrives on it. 

In the end, the bully deserves what every other two-bit bully deserves. 
The worst fate possible for an attention-whore:


Friday, August 30, 2013

Growing Up

Over the years, when one is teaching martial arts, some young students manage to stay with the art as they grow up. This leads to funny situations... especially among artists where there is a formal relationship as opposed to a closer personal relationship.

I, for one, prefer to be addressed by first name. My karate instructor, John Suarez, is this way as well. When I reconnected with him thanks to the internet back in 2005, and he insisted I call him John. That was weird for a while. As a youth, I'd referred to him as "Sensei" or "Mr. Suarez," and I found I was used to those terms. It was difficult to change.

I insist that others, when they are either A) black belts and/or B) age 18 or over, must call me by my first name. Especially when we are away from the dojo. It is more weird to be called Sensei by a grown adult out in a mall or something.

A former student of mine turned 18 last October. She had a bit of difficulty switching over, as had her two older sisters in years past. Similarly, one of Bill Holland's students, who is 2nd Dan in Karate and is now age 18 has had a bit of adjustment. I think it takes some people off guard a bit.

Still, I do not take myself too seriously - it is much more acceptable to be on a first name basis with friends.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Divorce Fighting Hints 4

From a reader:
"Recce Rifleman, you give all these hints that seem to be geared toward the guys. What are your suggestions for the ladies getting a divorce?"

Answer -
Have a naturally occurring vagina. The US court system is so heavily slanted in favor of the woman (as opposed to fair and equal) that simply showing up and being female will give you a greater advantage than any legal advice I can give you, or pretty much anyone can give you.


Small Annoyances

In July, I went on vacation to the Orlando area. Whilst there, I visited my good friends, Bill Holland and Jimmy Jackson. Link to their dojo here. They asked me to teach jiu-jitsu to their kids and adults classes, and I obliged.

On Monday evening, we went out to dinner after class. Bill introduced me to the wait staff at the local dive where he is a regular. Upon introduction, he referred to me as "Master Recce Rifleman."

I cannot stand the use of Japanese rank terms outside the dojo.
The only thing worse is to call me (or another person) "master" or the like.

"Mr. or Mrs./Miss [XYZ]" is always preferable, if one is not on a first name basis.
My friends know they can introduce me on a first name basis. I do not take myself that seriously.

The reason they did this, though, is that there are some martial arts "masters" that would get quite offended if not referred to "properly." Funny thing, we are all in America. To introduce someone as "Mr. / Mrs. / Miss" here is quite proper.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Divorce Fighting Hints 3

Observing my brother's divorce happen firsthand was a real eye opener. As things went along, it became clear that certain strategies and tactics are more effective than others. Combine that with the martial arts knowledge I've been accumulating for 30+ years, and I formulated some simple tips for someone facing a divorce.

First, let's get some facts straight, so the rest of it makes sense:
Attorneys are not necessarily very intelligent people.
Because judges are largely former attorneys, judges are not necessarily very intelligent people.
To argue one's point effectively, use facts, logic, and plenty of emotion (specifically care for people).
Hire an attorney who is ready and willing for a fight.

Court is all about the money and the visitation rights to the minor child(ren).

Once the divorce has been filed it is no longer time to reconcile. It is time to FIGHT!
Yes, you did some things wrong. Your spouse will bring them up in court.
Yes, your spouse did some things wrong. It is YOUR job to bring those up to your attorney. 
There is a LOT to be said for fighting LOUDEST, LONGEST, and HARDEST.

Divorce Fighting Hint 3: Do not agree to more alimony / child support in exchange for more visitation.
(Consult with local laws and attorneys on this one)
I've seen so many men agree to paying more alimony or child support in exchange for more visitation. In my state of Tennessee, the amount of child support is dictated by state law. Only way you pay more is if you agree to it. Alimony can vary, but rarely exceeds 3 years. Visitation is usually 50/50 unless there are significant prevailing circumstances (criminal record, one spouse lives nearer a better school zone, etc.). Why would one want to pay more to get to this level???

The other side of the coin is this: try to negotiate an arrangement in advance. It is cheaper than a drawn out process. Only bring reasonable offers to the table, as the other side might actually accept them no matter how unreasonable they might be. Mediation is a good thing.

Do not argue about a material possession, the cost of a new one would be $100, and take three hours to argue it: spending $750+ on attorney's fees to obtain it.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Divorce Fighting Hints 2

Observing my brother's divorce happen firsthand was a real eye opener. As things went along, it became clear that certain strategies and tactics are more effective than others. Combine that with the martial arts knowledge I've been accumulating for 30+ years, and I formulated some simple tips for someone facing a divorce.

First, let's get some facts straight, so the rest of it makes sense:
Attorneys are not necessarily very intelligent people.
Because judges are largely former attorneys, judges are not necessarily very intelligent people.
To argue one's point effectively, use facts, logic, and plenty of emotion (specifically care for people).
Hire an attorney who is ready and willing for a fight.

Court is all about the money and the visitation rights to the minor child(ren).

Once the divorce has been filed it is no longer time to reconcile. It is time to FIGHT!
Yes, you did some things wrong. Your spouse will bring them up in court.
Yes, your spouse did some things wrong. It is YOUR job to bring those up to your attorney. 
There is a LOT to be said for fighting LOUDEST, LONGEST, and HARDEST.

Divorce Fighting Hint 2: Do NOT Hire an "Ethical" Attorney.
"Fights aren't meant to be fair, they are meant to win."    - Pops
"If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck."     - John Steinbeck

You want the meanest, nastiest divorce attorney around. This will pay dividends. Funds permitting, you may want to put the next three or four nastiest attorneys on retainer so your spouse cannot retain them. It is a dog fight, and you need to bring the pitbull, not the chihuahua.

I personally watched an attorney, when she found out the other party was not present (and the other party's counsel was similarly not present), state her client's motion to the judge and say "I've spoken with opposing counsel and they are agreeable with this proposition." The judge ruled it to be so. I have no doubt that attorney lied through her teeth at that moment (got to see her in action enough to tell) - I do not think she had spoken with opposing counsel at all. Also, found out that attorney routinely tries to spring up new motions with less than the required one week notice, just to see if she can obtain this type of situation.

That's the type you want on your side.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Name Change

This past weekend, I decided to change the name of this blog. The primary reason is to differentiate from my dojo which, while small, needs to be completely separate in Google searches.

I have also changed my screen handle, but either name will work for me.

- RR

Divorce Fighting Hints 1

Observing my brother's divorce happen firsthand was a real eye opener. As things went along, it became clear that certain strategies and tactics are more effective than others. Combine that with the martial arts knowledge I've been accumulating for 30+ years, and I formulated some simple tips for someone facing a divorce.

First, let's get some facts straight, so the rest of it makes sense:
Attorneys are not necessarily very intelligent people.
Because judges are largely former attorneys, judges are not necessarily very intelligent people.
To argue one's point effectively, use facts, logic, and plenty of emotion (specifically care for people).
Hire an attorney who is ready and willing for a fight.

Court is all about the money and the visitation rights to the minor child(ren).

Once the divorce has been filed it is no longer time to reconcile. It is time to FIGHT!
Yes, you did some things wrong. Your spouse will bring them up in court.
Yes, your spouse did some things wrong. It is YOUR job to bring those up to your attorney. 
There is a LOT to be said for fighting LOUDEST, LONGEST, and HARDEST.

Divorce Hint 1: Sever ties. 
Presume that all your assets will be taken from you.
Presume that your spouse means to kill you in your sleep.
Presume that the person you've shared your life with for XX years will go out of their way to harm you in court.
Presume your spouse will try to drag friends into the middle of it all.
Presume that there will be no reconciliation.


The minute a person files divorce against you, they have no desire to get back together, I don't care what they say. They want to hurt you and they want to use the court system to do it. Any attempt at amicability should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Expect anything you say or do to be used against you. Expect them to lie about you in court.

Now that we have that settled, you will be ready to fight. That's good, because divorce is a fight.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fun Time

Last weekend, I attended a martial arts seminar hosted by MAUSA. We covered some Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, free-fighting concepts, and I had the privilege of being the uke (throwing partner) for Mr. Andy Stolarik as he tested for 4th Dan Black Belt (he passed!).

Here is a picture of afterwards:

Yes, that's my son in the middle (red uniform), cutting up with Mary (white uniform, yellow belt, three people to his right) - who, at 23, was a full 15 years his elder. Doesn't stop him from flirting!

Mr. Stolarik is in the blue gi immediately behind my son. He is a tough one!

By week's end, I can count on one hand the number of people in this photo who are not my friend on Facebook - and most of those because they do not have a Facebook account!


Friday, August 23, 2013

What A Train Wreck

From a reader:

Hey, thought you'd want to see this. Some guy on Twitter gets all bent out of shape because he thinks a tweet is about him (it wasn't). The tweet:

* #ironyis... a man tweeting often about being anti-abortion, then having his wife have an abortion... then calling it a miscarriage.*

Guy goes on to get all bent out of shape. Says he never tweeted about his wife having a miscarriage. But he did - three times. Once each in April, May, and June.

I'm thinking the tweet that wasn't originally intended for him hit a nerve.

Probably did hit a nerve. 


Eat Meat!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


There has been a Dependopotamus sighting in the wild!

It has also come to my attention that she is dressing lavishly with a hat!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


One year ago to this moment, I got the call my mother had passed.

She is in a better place, this I know.


A Great Honor

This past weekend, I was an attendee at a martial arts seminar hosted by Martial Arts USA. As part of the formalities at the opening ceremony, several awards were given out. My student, Sarah, was awarded "Martial Artist of the Year."

Here is a link to Sarah's blog post about same.
I suggest adding her blog to your reading list, really enlightening and entertaining stuff!

When the call went out back in March, soliciting MAUSA Instructors for input on Martial Artist of the Year (as well as some other awards), this was my reply:
"From the Usagi Dojo,
I’d like to nominate for Martial Artist of the Year, our own Sarah Caum.
Sarah started training jiu-jitsu in spring of 2011. She subsequently was forced to take a 4-month hiatus for the 3rd trimester of her pregnancy and the birth of her son, James. She returned in fall of 2011.
2012 was her breakout year. Sarah competed in 4 tournaments and won a collective 6 medals -
2 Gold
2 Silver
2 Bronze
Sarah racked up this record against primarily Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylists, despite the fact that she did not practice BJJ until later in 2012 – and then only as a supplement, and only for a few weeks. Sarah won the majority of her matches via submission. All of her submissions, save one, were gained via the juji gatame arm lock – the one exception being sankaku jime (triangle choke).
Sarah also proved to have a voracious appetite for learning new material. She progressed from a beginner (10th kyu) up to 5th kyu (Blue Belt) in 2012. She was made Sempai (assistant instructor) of the kids’ class at the Usagi Dojo due to this appetite for knowledge.
Due to her progress on the mat in several areas, Sarah was sponsored by an apparel company – Fight-2-Night. She also was featured in an article and pictorial in a magazine devoted to women martial artists.  Sarah was also tabbed to assist in a martial arts seminar at John Kennedy Martial Arts in Appomattox, VA to wrap up the year."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sad Day

My Uncle  passed away recently.

Just a thought

We evolved for hundreds of thousands of years to hunt and eat and live a certain way and now we are forced to live in cement buildings and sit at a job from 9-5.

And some people wonder why everyone seems to have a psychological disorder.



Monday, August 19, 2013

What is in a Black Belt

This topic keeps approaching me from different angles. A few months ago, Mr. Smith at Spirit Martial Arts was discussing with me his idea to bring back a Poom Belt. The Poom Belt is the Black Belt for children under age 16. The belt is half red and half black, lengthwise.

Mr. Smith stated his reasoning: he had several kids that had black belt skill, but not black belt mindsets or attitudes. Their bodies were ready, but not their minds.

Also, recently, I was on vacation in Florida, and was at a friend's dojo. We were discussing the same issue. They had several youth ready for black belt, or who would be soon, who did not possess the mental discipline for one reason or another. This school, like Spirit Martial Arts, did not at the time employ a Jr. Black Belt of any sort. They are thinking of going to a Jr. Black Belt that has a white stripe through the middle:

Why the fuss?
The problem comes mainly from parents. They pay the tuition, and they expect rank after a certain amount of time. The idea of "my child looks as good in forms or sparring as Johnny, and Johnny is a Black Belt - why isn't my child a black belt." Often, these parents are the ones who brought their children in to help with behavior issues. Even after 4-5 years in the martial arts, the behavior issues might still persist. The child is making progress, but isn't there yet.

The behavior issues, by the way, are being encouraged and molded and shaped at home, which is why five years in the martial arts may not have solved the problem.

Back to the problem at hand - the child in question may possess the skill, but not the mindset. What to do? These schools are going back to a Jr. Black Belt. It is not a bad idea. If I taught karate, it is what I would do.

I teach Jiu-Jitsu, and I tell parents when they sign up that no matter how good their child gets, he (she) is not going to wear a black belt until at least halfway through the teen years. I set the expectation early of what will and won't happen. No surprises. And, by the time a person has spent five years in my dojo, they've not only heard the speech themselves, but they've heard the speech given to other students dozens of times... and maybe they've even given that speech once or twice.


Tighten Up Your Ude Garami

Ude Garami - often known by the terms "Americana" and "Kimura," is one of the more popular techniques in Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA. Because it is easy to apply, it is often taught to beginners. When it is taught to beginners, a common description is to hold one's partner's arm in an L-shape, and then rotate the wrist one way or the other to apply pressure.

While the L-shape of the opponent's arm is not technically incorrect, there is a way to tighten up your ude garami so that you can apply pressure and get your opponent to tap, while using far less strength. Here are three of the more common applications, and ways to tighten up each of them -

Ude Garami (upwards version - Americana)
Ude Garami can be applied from tateshiho gatame (the mount) and from yokoshiho gatame (the side). To get even more leverage on ude garami when you have your opponent's arm in the upwards position, one should simply bring the opponent's elbow closer to the opponent's ribs. Be mindful - when the opponent's elbow is close to the ribs, very little pressure is needed to coax a tap out.

Here is the classical position. 

And here, the opponent's elbow is close to the ribs:

Ude Garami from Guard (Kimura)
A very common application for ude garami is from the guard position. Again, the classical L-shape hold is taught, and that is not incorrect. However, to apply even more pressure, put the opponent's hand over the spine. Please note, in the second photo, where Grandmaster Larry Beard's hand was placed over his spine, he was nearly forced to tap from simply being in the position, without any pressure applied - this is not uncommon from this application.

Here is the classical position:

And here, the opponent's hand is over the spine:

Ude Garami from top (north-south or wedge position)
Another common place to apply ude garami is from up top. This was the method used by the great Masahiko Kimura to break the arm of Helio Gracie in 1951, and thus the arm lock bears his name in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts circles.

Like with the variation from the guard, the classical method is to hold the opponent's arm in the shape of the letter L. However, for more leverage, again hold the opponent's hand over the spine. Be mindful, as the switch in angle will yield tremendous leverage, so go easy with your training partner!

Classical application:

And the hand over the spine application:

Special thanks to Grandmaster Larry Beard for helping with the poses.
Special thanks to Cael Howell (age 8) for taking the photographs.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So You Think You Can Dance?

Many times, as the teacher of a martial arts studio, people want to test their skill. Often, they will say they want to test *your* skill ("you" being the instructor). Heck, I've even been threatened via email from a blog reader: "anytime your b***h a** gets to feeling froggy, jump the f**k over."

One problem with all that: I have thousands of hours on the mat, sparring against all sorts of people of all sorts of skill levels. I've been beaten 15 ways from Sunday by skilled practitioners, and I've returned the favor to others.

There is no substitute for experience, and even though in a real fight anything *can* happen, 99.87% of the time, the better trained person emerges victorious. And when an untrained person is involved, it is most often VERY one-sided. 

Here is a video of some "self taught" fighters sparring an actual black belt in jiu-jitsu.Observe how one-sided it is:
Click to watch video.

There is one main difference between me and the black belt in that video, aside from our jiu-jitsu lineage: I am much larger and stronger than he is. Mr. Lovi is 5'8" and ~155 pounds. I go about 6'2" and 220 pounds. Therefore, I'd be on top of you most of the time. You would feel smothered. You would feel hopeless. You would feel helpless.

And if you came in for classes, I'd show you how to do everything I know. And you would have a prime opportunity to get better. And in a few years, you might even be able to make me tap.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Zimmerman Lessons 4

Zimmerman Lesson 4: Handgun Calibers

This week, we have studied several self defense lessons from the recent Zimmerman verdict. The final lesson in this series is on handgun calibers.

If you know there will be trouble, stay away.
If you cannot stay away, or if trouble finds you regardless, bring a long gun (preferably a rifle).
If you do not have a rifle, use a shotgun. Slugs and/or buckshot are the only two options worth considering.
If you have no long gun, a handgun of at least .38 or 9mm caliber is a minimum.
The only handguns you should own, whose caliber is less than .38 or 9mm are:
A) a .22LR caliber target / training pistol
B) guns used for fun or collection only.

Don't Use
Put another way: a .22LR, .25, .32, or .380 are wholly inadequate for self defense.
Yes, I am aware that there are some .380 loads (FMJ particularly) that have marginal effectiveness. But do not stake your life on marginal effectiveness.

Do Use
The other side of the coin is this: with modern self defense loads, there is not a huge difference between 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, or .357 Sig. There is evidence that .38 special is a bit on the low power end of things, but it is much more powerful than .380..38 special is also mostly available in revolvers, which can have the side effect of limiting the number of rounds available.

.357 magnum can be loaded to be significantly more powerful than the above semi-auto loads. and .44 magnum and 10 mm can outclass even the vaunted .357 mag, even to the point of providing carbine-like power. These are fine, but understand their limitations: .357 mag and .44 mag are mostly available in revolvers. 10 mm is hard to find. Recoil is also much more significant, so follow up shots will be slower.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Calvinist Corner - August 2013

Calvinism is not Biblical Doctrine. It's a human philosophy that appeals to proud-minded individuals.

Author's note: Though you the reader see these posts every month on the 15th, it has actually been quite a while since I wrote one. Most of them were written in early 2012. This was written in early 2013. It is good to be back in the saddle.

Why do I write these? 
Because so very many Calvinists are militant in nature. They seek confrontation. They attempt to bully others into yielding to their ways. They do not act as Christians should. Strictly speaking, Calvinism is not Christianity. It does not promote Christianity. But why is that?

Every cult is destined to be like its founder. Why? Simple human psychology. A group attracts like members. Those who are proud, but have no accomplishments of their own accord, seek other reasons to be proud. Especially, they will seek intangible reasons. But what about the foundations of Calvinism? Why does their founder attract this sort? Where did it all come from?

Let's start at the beginning. Augustine - a heretic and Bishop of the early Catholic church - mixed teachings from Manichaeism, Gnosticism, and Neoplatonism into the traditional Catholic teachings. It is actually from Manichaeism from which Augustine adopted the concepts of "the elect" and "total depravity" - which are not Biblical in nature.

Augustine twisted the meanings of certain passages of scripture to fit his heretical viewpoints. He wrote volumes on the subjects, interjecting his heresies all throughout.

For the most part, these teachings were not well received into the Catholic church, and were generally regarded as an afterthought at most. Then came Martin Luther...

About 1000 years after Augustine, his teachings were revitalized a bit. Martin Luther was inspired, at least in part by the teachings. Luther was instrumental in bringing about the Protestant movement and so-called reformation. In his rebellion from the Catholic Church, he adopted some of the heretical notions of Augustine. To be sure, he was more clandestine in those doctrines than was Calvin...

Here is a little article that details the life of Calvin. A life of rebellion. What Luther did to the Catholic church was not enough in Calvin's mind. Calvin "went full retard." John Calvin took each idea to an extreme. He formulated heretical doctrine that would later be reinterpreted as the "Five Points" (also known as "TULIP"). He didn't stray far from the heretical teachings of Augustine.

Calvin took things to an extreme, and that is an understatement. He killed those who didn't believe in his teachings. He called them heretics, and worse. Calvin further distorted scriptures to fit his agenda... rebellion. He sought public controversy. He longed for (and received) conflict. He tore at the very fabric of the church.

Those who believed in the Bible as written, led in part by Jacobus Arminius, published the Five Articles of Remonstrance. As written, these were simply restatements of Biblical teaching, almost exactly word for word from the Bible in context.

In response, Calvinists adopted five points of their own, which we now call "TULIP" and proceeded to try to ram this down the throats of the Christians.

Calvinists today try to poison churches with their teachings, as their founder did.
Calvinists today present themselves as bullies to Christians, as their founder did.
Calvinists today are caught up in pride, as their founder was.
Calvinists today seek controversy, as their founder did.
About the only thing I don't see Calvinists of today doing is trying to murder Christians.

Why I do this
One does not wait for the enemy to strike. A wise man takes the fight to the enemy, on orders of magnitude harder than the enemy is prepared to handle. That is part of why I do this, to combat the militant Calvinists before they attack other Christians.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Damned Lies!

From a reader:
[RECCERifleman], I've got one here for you! I was on Twitter and saw a guy who put up that he had been interviewed "a couple of weeks ago" by the IRS  because of comments he made about President Obama. 
This looked familiar, and I thought he had said the same thing before. So I checked. He had said the same thing in February, March, April, May, took June off, then again in July and August. Oh, sometimes it was the IRS, and sometimes it was the Secret Service. 

I guess the poor guy couldn't make up his mind what he was going to lie about. Anyways, thought you would get a kick out of it. Feel free to post this, if you want!

Thank you, sir. And yes, I would like to post it!



Make Up Your Mind

When I was a boy, my brother and I had a friend named Daniel*. Daniel was a decent kid, except he had a penchant for lying. For example, one time, Daniel told us that his father had built a marble launcher out of PVC pipe and they used a Black Cat firecracker to launch the marble over 100 yards. As much as the idea was cool, for some reason, we were never able to duplicate that feat... or even come close. I think we got 35-40 feet out of it once.

Daniel would often tell a different lie about the same thing at different times. So bad was the habit of lying, that my brother and I would chide Daniel, saying he should make up his mind what he was going to lie about, and then tell us the lie.

*Name changed.

Plain English

A train wreck of a person once read a phrase and completely missed the point. Of course, it was funny to watch in action. And since I have a self-directed duty to report lunacy in action, here goes:

"It's arrogance to ask God for more opportunities to serve Him when there are opportunities all around us now."
Passive aggressive response:
"Is it arrogance to ask God for more opportunities to serve Him? Paul sure didn't think so. II Thes 3:1, Romans 1:10-12, Col 4:3 #projection"

Analysis -
Let's get to it. There are some Bible verses here. Let's examine...

II Thessalonians 3:1
Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us so that the Lord’s message will spread quickly and be honored, just like it happened with you.
This statement answers several potential questions.
Pray for whom?  "Us." - Paul, Timothy, Silvanus
Pray for what? "... that the Lord's message will spread quickly and be honored..."

Certainly not a prayer for *more* opportunity to serve.

Romans 1:10-12
I continually mention you in all my prayers. I’m always asking that somehow, by God’s will, I might succeed in visiting you at last. I really want to see you to pass along some spiritual gift to you so that you can be strengthened. What I mean is that we can mutually encourage each other while I am with you. We can be encouraged by the faithfulness we find in each other, both your faithfulness and mine.
This statement, with regards to what is being prayed for, is very clear: Paul is praying that he might be able to visit the Romans. 

Certainly not a prayer for *more* opportunity to serve.

Colossians 4:3
At the same time, pray for us also. Pray that God would open a door for the word so we can preach the secret plan of Christ—which is why I’m in chains.
This is another statement that answers the question "what?" In this case, the "what" happens to be "pray for what?" Answer - pray that God would open the hearts of men and make them receptive to the calling of the Holy Spirit.

Certainly not a prayer for *more* opportunity to serve.

Funny part on this is the fact that the person who wrote it has quite the renown for being one to employ psychological projection. He hates it when called out on it, too.

It is not a sin to pray for for more opportunities to serve God. Funny, though - it is arrogant to pray for *more* opportunities to serve when one has opportunities right in front of one's face. It is man's way of saying that the opportunities that God has already placed in front of him (man) are somehow not worthy of that man. It would, generally speaking, be far wiser to pray for discernment, and that one's eyes be opened to see the opportunities placed in front of him.

To be fair, my pastor did a segment in a recent sermon just on this concept, so this was easy for me to spot. We were reading from Acts 8. Specifically, the segment on Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch.


Zimmerman Lessons 3

Zimmerman Lesson 3: Grappling Range is Essential!

George Zimmerman was at one point knocked down by Martin and Martin rained strikes to Zimmerman's face during this time. It is essential to master punch blocks from bottom, as well as basic positional escapes.

It is essential that a person have not only grappling knowledge, but a certain level of proficiency. Learning the Gracie Combatives would be a good start.

One would not even have to have many submissions in the tool box... provided you can defend the most common submissions (Arm bar, Americana, Kimura, RNC, Guillotine, Triangle). But positional knowledge, the ability to escape a bad position, and defending against strikes and headlocks are among the most fundamental grappling techniques out there.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zimmerman Lessons 2

Zimmerman Lesson 2: Striking is Essential

You must learn how to fight in every range:
Rifle range (25 yards +)
Pistol / shotgun range (25 yards -)
Blunt / sharp weapon range (just out of reach)
Striking range (just within reach)
Grappling range (well within reach)

Failure to master one of these ranges is to invite destruction. For your opponent to defeat you, he must simply figure out which range is your deficiency, and attack you there.

Notice that there is overlap in ranges: one could engage an enemy with a rifle at 5 yards, for example. Or one could step in from just out of reach to deliver a strike. This is not a weakness in the ranging system listed here (or any theory of ranges given by other sources). This is a reason to have an acceptable level of proficiency in all ranges.

It is my opinion that a person serious about training in his/her spare time could, in 5 years' time, improve to being in the 95th percentile of people in fighting from each range. That's 5 years total - not 5 years each.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Wrong Decision

Judges frequently overstep their authority when ruling. Sad, but true.

In east Tennessee, a judge was asked to determine the last name of a child. The judge did that, but extended her decision to include a change of the child's first name, as well.

The child's first name was "Messiah." The judge ordered that changed to "Martin."
On the good side, the child's last name was set.

I am really not sure who was more brainless in this case: the child's parents in naming the child "Messiah," or the judge, who completely overstepped her authority.


Zimmerman Lessons 1

Going to take a break from recounting all of Dependopotamus' weird antics and courtroom lies to talk for a moment about a lesson learned from the Zimmerman case.

Lesson 1: Avoid / De-escalate
Those familiar with actual combat know the importance of avoidance. Even the most highly trained individuals can be beaten... because so many factors exist in real life.

The best tactic to learn after situational awareness is what I call "verbal Judo." The idea of being able to speak and communicate with a person in a non-threatening way. Zimmerman should never have confronted Martin verbally. If a situation existed wherein Zimmerman thought speaking with Martin had to be done, then a better tactic would have been to introduce oneself and state one's business.

"Hi, I am George Zimmerman and I am out here on neighborhood watch. Are you lost? Can I help you?"

Asking for assistance / offering assistance are the best ways to control a conversation that has even the inkling of possibility to turn ugly. This tactic should be in every human's toolbox for deescalation.

Beyond that, it never takes much to outwit most people. Ask open-ended questions and answer questions directly.
- Those who are up to no good will give short replies and will not ask questions in return.
- Those who wish to enter into verbal altercations will ask questions with only poor reactions as possible answers.
- Most rational people will have a semblance of normal conversation.
- Those who do not converse well and are not of average mental capacity will also give short replies and ask no questions in return. However, they will return a smile and a favor... so use this as your measuring tool.

Lots more here that could be gleaned, but only so much to be covered in a single blog post. Go do some research and learn how to be an expert communicator. It really is not that hard!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Myths? Really?

I came across this article on Calvinism on Twitter this week. It was retweeted by a handful of people, so I figured I'd read it. Here is my point-by-point analysis.

The article's points are in bold, and my responses are below the respective point.

1. Calvinism is not system of theology that denies God’s universal love.
Yes and no. Calvinism claims that God loves the world (probably because this concept is listed in the Bible many times). However, a god who would choose to predestine some to Hell is not a loving god at all. The actions do not match the words (get ready for a running theme, here).

2. Calvinism is not a belief where God creates people in order to send them to hell. 
Again, Calvinists claim this. But the fact is that if God predestines some for Heaven, then He (by default, if nothing else) predestines some for Hell. This concept is often referred to as "double-predestination." While most Calvinists claim double-predestination is not Biblical, they cannot explain how there can be predestination without double-predestination.

There is no such thing as light without dark, or a front without a back. If eternity has two options, and God predestines some for option A, then He necessarily has predestined the others for option B.
The doctrine cannot coincide with the words.

3. Calvinism is not belief that God is the author of evil.
Because of Calvinism’s view of God's sovereignty (namely, that nothing happens without Him being the author), and because if there is predestination of whom, it is necessary that God has predestined some for Hell. If God predestined some for Hell, then it was He who authored evil, so that sin could be possible.
Again, the words cannot coexist with the doctrine.

4. Calvinism is not a belief in fatalism.
From the article:
"A fatalistic worldview is one in which all things are left to fate, chance, and a series of causes and effects that has no intelligent guide or ultimate cause. Calvinism believes that God (not fate) is in control, though Calvinists differ about how meticulous this control is."

And here we see the twisting of words. The Calvinists who would state this are trying to imply that fate, and not God, predestines things. The definition of fatalism is: "Acceptance of the belief that events are predetermined and inevitable." The definition has nothing to do with who or what predestines, just that things are predestined... which is the root of Unconditional Election.
Calvinism, by definition, is indeed fatalism with respect to election and, therefore, salvation or condemnation. 

5. Calvinism is not a denial of freedom. 
From the article:
Calvinists to do not believe that people are robots or puppets on strings. Calvinists believe in freedom and, properly defined, free will. While Calvinists believe that God is ultimately in control of everything, most are compatibalists, believing that he works in and with human freedom (limited though it may be). Calvinists believe in human responsibility at the same time as holding to a high view of God’s providential sovereignty.

While Calvinists may not claim people are robots or puppets, the fact is that they do believe:
A) People cannot choose to do anything other than sin.
B) People must be punished for sin.
C) People cannot choose salvation.

So, it is clear that Calvinists feel people are spiritual automatons. Yet again, the claims do not match the doctrine, and Calvinists are forced to twist words.

6. Calvinism is not a belief that God forces people to become Christians against their will.
Actually, is it such a belief. Calvinists frequently claim people cannot choose God, therefore, God has to intervene in the person's will to make it possible for the person to accept salvation. If this isn't the concept of God forcing His will on someone, I don't know what it.
Again, the claims do not match the doctrine. Again, word twisting and multiple definitions based on convenience.

7. Calvinism is not a belief that you should only evangelize the elect.
I'll give half-credit here. Calvinists never claim it. However, I have yet to meet a Calvinist who hasn't tried to evangelize the elect to their viewpoints. Similarly I have yet to meet a Calvinist that evangelized to the unsaved. In Calvinism, evangelization is not really necessary.

8. Calvinism is not a belief that God arbitrarily chooses people to be saved.
From the article:
"Calvinists believe that God elects some people to salvation and not others and that this election is not based on anything present or foreseen, righteous or unrighteous, in the individual, but upon his sovereign choice (Rom. 9:11). But this does not mean that the choice is arbitrary, as if God is flipping a coin to see who is saved and who is not. Calvinists believe that God has his reasons, but they are in his mysterious secret will."

From the Calvinist's worst enemy: the dictionary:
Arbitrary: "Based on or subject to individual judgment or preference."
"Calvinists believe God has His reasons..." cannot coexist with "based on... individual judgment..."
 Again, word twisting.

9. Calvinism is not a system of thought that follows a man, John Calvin.
The first point with which I agree 100% (or at least 99%+). What we call Calvinism, while codified by John Calvin, was originated by Satan, and first came to printed prominence with St. Augustine.

10. Calvinism is not a system that has to ignore or reinterpret passages of Scripture concerning human responsibility.
Cue the buzzer.
All of Calvinism is predicated on the errant concept that people cannot choose anything other than sin. How could a person be judged for something, when they are incapable of choosing to do otherwise. It would be like eternally condemning a bunny for hopping. If anything, Calvinism is the liberalism of the church - man cannot help but sin (removal of fault), and cannot choose God (removal of personal responsibility).

11. Calvinists do not believe that no one can do any good thing at all.
From the article:
"Calvinists believe in what is called “total depravity” (so do Arminians). However, total depravity does not mean that people cannot ever do anything good. Calvinists believe that unregenerate people can do many good things and sometimes even act better than Christians. But when it comes to people’s disposition toward God and their acknowledgment of him for their abilities, gifts, and future, they deny him and therefore taint all that they are and do. An unbeliever, for example, can love and care for their children just as a believer can. In and of itself this is a very good thing. However, in relation to God this finds no eternal or transcendent favor since they are at enmity with him, the Giver of all things. Therefore, it might be said, while all people can do good, only the regenerate can do transcendent good. "
I'll be generous and give credit here, as they adopt a position, and define it with ordinary definitions. There are certainly some Calvinists who would take exception with the article, but it is my experience that these would not be in the majority.

12. Calvinists do not necessarily believe that God predestines (wills) everything, including the color of socks I chose this morning.
Again, I'll be generous and yield the point, as the article again uses common definitions and sticks to them.

3.5 / 12

They were cruising right along to a 100% (0%?) score, when #9, #11, and #12 came up. More perplexing is the sudden shift to using ordinary and accurate definitions, and sticking to them. Why start that when you are 3/4 of the way through the article? Why not be consistent?

Maybe they were reaching, so as to get an even 12 (much like the old Hebrew authors had a penchant for).


Doesn't Work

So, several months ago, my brother was told by his son that his son is seeing a therapist, "to make him behave and act better." (words of a 5-year-old)

So, in other words, Dependopotamus' attachment parenting method is failing at providing enough security for the boy, and she must enlist the assistance of a therapist before the child is even in Kindergarten.

How is that attachment parenting BS working for you?
(rhetorical question is rhetorical - attachment parenting does not work)

By the way, Dependopotamus, your son (my nephew) NEVER has behavior problems at my place. Why do you think that is???


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good Diet Advice

Want to lose weight without strenuous exercise?

Want to kick Type 2 diabetes?

Want to improve blood work results?

Step 1: Follow the advice in this article. Very simple.

Step 2: First, see Step 1. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Said No Woman Ever

Dependopotamus actually testified in court that one of the reasons she was seeking a divorce is because my brother lasted too long in bed. She went on to state that a "quickie with him takes 25 minutes!"

Folks, it is public record.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Stand Your Ground

Here is a video from the Valente brothers (instructors of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Miami, FL) in which they discuss "Stand Your Ground" laws. Very good commentary here. I like how they start by explaining the contrast between the concepts of "stand your ground" vs. "duty to retreat."

Some quotes/concepts I heard that are very important:

Retreating from an attacker can be more dangerous than fighting back.
SYG laws also enable an unarmed person to defend herself, should they need to.
Avoid the physical confrontation.
"When attacked, many times, the safest action is to engage."
"SYG laws protect people who are attacked, and this is a human right."
We cannot abolish legitimate self defense because a few criminals might misuse SYG (or any) laws.
SYG laws are NOT the same as gun control - the two are completely separate issues.
The MAJORITY of states have "Stand Your Ground" laws.
The vast MINORITY of states have "Duty to Retreat" laws.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

For That "Special" Follower of My Blog



Really - you could just call it what it really was: an abortion. No judgment here. But calling it a miscarriage so you can retain your online persona is really quite laughable.


Saturday, August 3, 2013


Sometime back, I was conversing with a friend about the situation of a mutual acquaintance. My friend stated: "that must be a horribly unfulfilling way to live." That statement gave me pause, and has caused me to reflect over the past few weeks. Sometimes we get so bogged down in our day-to-day lives that we forget to lead a fulfilling life. And sometimes, we might consider our life unfulfilling, when we have had, in fact, great success. It is all about points of view.

So today, on my 38th birthday, I will reflect:

My son and daughter have started back to school. My son is in third grade. His teacher came with a warning from a friend: "she doesn't like boys!" Nevertheless, my son has found great favor with his teacher. Manners and good discipline are the keys. More on the discipline - my son examines for his black belt in Taekwondo next month. I am excited that he gets to join our ranks!

My daughter is immensely happy to begin Kindergarten. She has looked forward to this day for a long time. She already knows several of her fellow Kindergarteners from preschool and church. Our pastor's son is in my daughter's classroom!

My wife transitions to part time work, after having been home with the kids for the past nine years. She got the job at my daughter's former preschool. The combination of my wife's prior experience, combined with knowing the staff made the hiring easy on the director.

My brother's divorce is final. That's the good news. There may be an appeal, but at the end of the day, a bad chapter in his life is closed. His son is entering Kindergarten next week, and I know he will do very well.

My sister is married to a good guy, and their lives are going well. She might be moving soon, and that brings about certain amounts of stress and excitement, and all of that is for the best.

My father is doing well with his health. In many cases, better than a lot of people in his condition. He reads this blog twice a day, every day, as well as some of the other blogs I've listed on the side column.

Work is fantastic. My regular employment could not be going better. I have qualified for President's Club every year since 2010. My employer prior to 2009 had no such designation. This year, my numbers are outstanding. I've experienced substantial growth for the entire year, and am beating quota to the tune of over 120%. I was paid a nice little bonus yesterday, and this month is the "magic month" wherein I get three regular biweekly paychecks.

Even better than that, my dojo continues to plug away. We have a mix of newer students, as well as some experience. Moving into the church has helped tremendously. We have much more mat space, as well as a regulated indoor environment for greater comfort. Moreover, I get the opportunity several times a week to help encourage and mold children into responsible adults. I help them overcome behavior issues, psychoses, as well as having a platform to influence them on healthy lifestyle choices. And let's not forget the main theme: I get to teach them skills that nobody can ever take away.

I could go on, but some would just think that to be bragging. In the end, it doesn't really matter though. These facts provide great fulfillment to my life, and to those around me and my family.And for that, I am truly thankful.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Well Armed?

The Sumner County (TN) courthouse has a metal detector through which one must walk to enter. One takes one's belongings out of one's pockets and places them into a tray to enter. A Sheriff's officer observes this, and helps if you unintentionally set off the alarm. I had a funny conversation with the officer when I entered the court building to view my brother's divorce.

Officer: "You don't got any guns on ya?" (in jest... if he only knew)

Usagi: "Nope. Left them in the car."

Officer: "What kind of guns?"

Usagi: "My carry pistol is a Ruger LC9. I also have an AR15 in the trunk."

Officer: "You're better armed than I am!"

I smiled and walked up the stairs.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Examples of Bipolar in Action

Bipolar disorder has several known symptoms. Bully behavior, delusions of persecution, and cognitive dissonance are among the more common.

Lets focus on the last one - cognitive dissonance. Technically speaking, this type of dissonance is the holding of conflicting beliefs. Another manifestation is when a person states they believe one thing, but their actions conflict. Another definition is the intentional misinterpretation of facts or words (also known as distortion).

Lets take, for example, a specific Calvinist of whom I am aware. This individual expresses online several instances of cognitive dissonance, and combines them with delusions of persecution, psychological projection, defensiveness, manipulation, and rationalization. I handed some statements this individual made online to a professional in the psychological sciences, and requested a brief analysis - based on facts as proven independently.

(Broadly speaking, these concepts are Freudian in nature, and do not necessarily take into account Valliant's categorization, or other types of defense mechanisms. However, most of the defense mechanisms we will see herein are Level 1, Pathological. This is a lower level of defense mechanism than even "immature.")

(Also note: these were given as a series of "you know you have a stalker" blurbs.) 

Example 1:
Calvinist: "When U disagree w/ someone in a Sunday School class and they call it being 'attacked'."
Reality: the attack came the following week verbally in person. And three days afterwards verbally on the phone, including 11 calls placed to the phone number within 23 minutes (any more than thrice in an hour can be viewed as abusive, and therefore illegal by way of harassment, according to TN state law).

This is an excellent example of manipulation placed for the presumed reader.
Also displayed here is an example of intentional revision of history... this is cognitive dissonance.
Finally, this statement presupposes that all it was on his behalf was a disagreement. This is rationalization.

Example 2:
Calvinist: "When someone claims you've never paid your car registration for a year"
Reality: The state Department of Motor Vehicles showed the car registration as unpaid 90 days after expiration.

Delusional projection - mad at the one who demonstrated the tags had not been paid.

Example 3: 
Calvinist: "When someone claims they don't read anything you write, but they tweet about it."
Reality: The Calvinist himself had to look up what was written by the other in order to actually get enraged by the comment.

Projection, and a classic case of it.

Example 4: 
Calvinist: "When someone blogs about you, but isn't man enough to say it to your face."
Reality: The blog post in question was not about the individual, but rather about a position held by that individual. The grievances aired  were not published to said blog, but were given directly.

Delusional projection.

Example 5: 
Calvinist: "When someone makes threats that they know they are not man enough to even try to carry out."
Reality: The only person to make threats was Calvinist.

Projection. (happens a lot with bipolar persons who manifest as bullies)

Cognitive dissonance is not always manifest by way of projection. This individual however, really exhibits the trait in full effect. Not surprising this person is Calvinist, as it is well known that Calvinism relies on misinterpretation of facts as part of its foundational doctrine.

My additions:
1. Human nature, when there is a train wreck, it to look at it. If it were not true, reality TV would never have caught on, and none of us would know what "American Idol" or "Dog the Bounty Hunter" is. Fun to watch these things, as the failure of logic to even be used is absolutely entertaining.

2. As long as people insist on eating grains (wheat, corn) as a bulk of their diet, and spend time indoors, these episodes are going to continue. If you suffer from them (or even if you enjoy every minute of them), do your family and friends a favor and take your meds. It would be better if you lived as God intended - eating unprocessed meats and fruits/vegetables and working/playing outdoors much of every day.

3. I had this set to post later, specifically August 7 (the next New Moon) - my prediction for the next outburst from this individual. However, watching the crazy in action inspired a sooner post. Enjoy!


Calvinist Lies 10

I know, I know - redundant title is redundant.

In this series, I will not debate Calvinism vs. Arminianism. After all, the majority of the people who use the term "Arminian" are Calvinists - a very small micro-sect of Christianity. The other 6-billion people on the planet refer to "Arminians" as Christians. I also like the term "Biblicist," when it comes to matters of doctrine.

Arminian Heresy
Calvinists claim that All non-Calvinists are Arminian. They continue to claim that Arminian churches teach something other than Eternal Security (also called Once Saved, Always Saved - OSAS).

At this point, Calvinists will start reaching and twisting words (they always do).
"Arminians teach that works get you into Heaven and can keep you from it."
"Arminians teach that one can lose one's salvation."

Funny thing...
Christian (Arminian, for you Calvinists) churches correctly teach that no one sin can undo your salvation.
Christian churches correctly teach that no number of sins can undo your salvation.
Christian churches teach that if you turn away (choose to no longer believe), then you have forsaken your salvation. This is Biblical. It is also the other side of the coin of free will.

No one sin can take salvation away.
No multitude of sins can take salvation away.
Eternal Security = sins are forgiven, provided faith in God is present. 
Just as salvation can be accepted, it can be rejected.

Ephesians 2:8-9 -
You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It's not something you did that you can be proud of.