“Secrets of the Masters” – the Three Primary Conditions

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade…”

Shihan Pascetta

As we proceed through life, each of us passes through similar stages of development. We can further subdivide each of these stages to examine Physical Development, Intellectual Development, Emotional development, and Spiritual development. These four “pillars” are the figurative “legs” that support the particular “table” that constitutes each of our lives.

For the serious Martial Artists, the overall journey ultimately becomes a quest to achieve “balance” in each area of development. This “quest” particularly distinguishes the difference between a “Martial Artist” and a “Martial Technician”.  A Martial Artist must also be a Martial Technician, however, a Martial Technician is not necessarily a Martial Artist.

This concept of balance is pursued further by the contrasting and integration between all four of these interdependent facets. The role of the MA Master is to create an atmosphere in the Dojo, along with pertinent activities, that provide a fertile environment for development of each of these four pillars. (more…)


Law Enforcement and Martial Arts – the “Best” Connection? – Part 3

…this is PART 3 and the final article of this 3 part series.

Shihan Pascetta - circa 1975

Liability Issues

A significant issue that has come to the forefront concerning LE physical encounters is that of both Criminal and Civil Liability. The proper “Use of Force” has advanced “front and center” as a primary concern. Along with other changes in the society where we presently live, this new “information age” presents unique challenges where any of us could be taped on a video with a cell phone and end up on “You Tube” within minutes of the occurrence.

Changing Society

The United States has become an ever increasing litigious society with less and less respect and consideration for the LE officer.  Many times the officer has only seconds to make a decision that may affect his safety and/or of that of others while the news media and even the courts have days, weeks, and months to scrutinize every little nuance of those decisions. Although some laws and precedents exist that provide some support for the officer who acts within the law, the experience of enduring all the public and legal scrutiny following any questionable encounter can be career changing for many officers. It can also quickly and easily undermine the credibility and effectiveness of any given LE agency. (more…)


“Secrets of the Masters” – Clear Vision

“The knife cuts but it cannot cut itself; the eye sees, but it cannot see itself.”

Shihan Pascetta - Okinawa 1987

As our individual lives unfold we begin to amass a volume of knowledge. This is a combination of “Firsthand Knowledge” along with much “Secondhand Knowledge”. I personally define “firsthand knowledge” as information that we assimilate and process further through personal experience. This is the “been there, done that” type of information that weighs heavily on our overall concept of life.

In contrast, I define “secondhand knowledge” as information we glean from other sources. Those sources begin with our family (mother, father, siblings, etc.) and then friends, associates, and later, teachers/mentors (in a more formal way). Less direct sources may include written, audio, or video material. In my opinion, it is extremely important to accurately and critically identify the source of all secondhand knowledge when weighing its credibility.

When weighing the credibility of firsthand knowledge we each have a greater tendency to give this information automatic credibility. This may well occur because our perspective of life is established on the basis of what is seen through the lens of our own eyes, not through the eyes of others.  It is critical to remember that the validity of the conclusions drawn from processing any information is a function of the original and underlying premise or premises. (more…)


Law Enforcement and Martial Arts – the “Best” Connection? – Part 2

This is PART 2 of a 3 part series titled: “Law Enforcement and Martial Arts – the ‘Best Connection’?” A new section adding to this article will be posted each Monday. (Please excuse the delay of this post due to technical difficulties)

Shihan Pascetta - Police Honor Guard - circa 1976

Obstacles to “Best Practices” based training

After identifying some of the challenges for officers to even receive DT training beyond the academy basics, it becomes more significant that the initial training received is efficient, effective, and practical. There are number of obstacles that commonly stand in the way of accomplishing these simple requirements.

First, the “basic DT training” that exists in LE today varies significantly from academy to academy and sometimes even from instructor to instructor within a particular academy.  It is only fair to acknowledge that there are some remarkably high quality LE/DT training programs in spite of many obstacles. This article is not intended as an indictment against the present status quo but as a fair discussion intended to inspire positive changes to benefit our LE professionals and help keep them safer. (more…)