March 3rd, 2018 when I tested for my 1st degree Blackbelt under Sun Yi’s Academy of Taekwondo. The following is my Black Belt Essay that I presented to the audience of what Taekwondo means to me.

Taekwondo has led me to a life of greater confidence. To me is Taekwondo is facing and dissolving your fears and inhibitions. Sure, one may feel afraid but being afraid is something different. When are not being afraid we turn that feeling off and then we are able to focus at the task in hand.

Growing up I had a very difficult time because I feared and cared a lot of what other people thought about me. Sometimes I still do but it’s easier to not fear self-consciousness anymore because I know it’s an irrational behavior when it is not useful and inhibiting—Especially in a fight! Fear is actually a great feeling to me now because it presents a problem to me and I am able to use my Taekwondo mental skills to solve it. For example, I am sometimes confronted with fear that I may disappointed my teachers when I perform my moves incorrectly or with the wrong attitude, or with not enough power or anything that isn’t the best of my ability. When this self-consciousness arises in me and presents fear, I am able to focus at the task in hand because in practice you must be focused and I do that by the meditative practice of “checking” in and reminding myself of the present moment.

The confidence I gained through Sun Yi’s Academy of Taekwondo spread to other areas of my life. I used to sometimes be afraid of others– in mind and body, mentally and physically. I used to be hyper-sensitive of myself and my relationship with my environment due to traumatic experiences. From traumatic experiences I became despaired and suffered from the insecurity which subverted my relationships with people. It was hard for me to stand up for myself. My practice of taekwondo has given me a certain sense of devotion and confidence in myself to no longer fear or be a victim of bullying and evil ever again. Knowing that I can defend myself to my own standards, I thank Sun Yi’s Taekwondo for the devotion I now hold towards my indomitable spirit.  Because of Taekwondo, I am able to expand my relationships and talk to more people. For example, one day on my first day moving into New Mexico for my summer internship, I saw a man practicing some forms at the park. As I skated past him with groceries in both hands I yelled to him “WHAT STYLE!?” Now he has become one of my closest friends and we don’t even connect through martial arts. Rather, we connect through the culture of martial arts by having conversations about what it is to be and do good, how to be your best self and that checking in with the present moment makes life flow much easier like water. We would have never met if I had not overcome my fear of approaching (and politely yelling at) strangers to satisfy my curiosity!

Not only do I now have a better perspective of fear, I now also have a better perspective of power because and through my understanding of that phenomenal thing we call Fear. Since I started to gain the self-reliance and character traits earned through Taekwondo, I began to recognize fear as an opportunity for power and growth. It’s not that I reject fear in a manic and disillusioned state, but I recognize it while shaking and raging my mental fists at the cause of it. Not the phenomenal cause such as of a Dog about to bite me. Nor am I cursing the person about to attack me, rather I am raging at the absolute source in my heart that is telling me to be afraid. When I recognize and endure fear from this perspective, this trains my heart to react and change emotionally from the feeling of fear to the feeling of Power. The academy trains my physical and mental performance to be disciplined and focused enough to not be afraid. The tenets of Taekwondo above us in this room remind us of what we are perfecting. It’s easy to say the concepts, but understanding them and practicing them is a lifelong practice with yourself. With greater understanding of your Self through Taekwondo, comes a greater connection with your source as you walk in life.

Martial Arts Lifestyle

Out of the many ways of living, a martial arts lifestyle is free, open-minded, and available to anyone. A martial artist’s discipline results in freedom for himself, his destiny, his relationship to the world…

As Ido Portal insists, every moment is a “performative moment”. Martial Artists in this manner are very aware of the present and its surrounding conditions.

Cowards live the fullest

A coward is someone who holds fears. Unlike courageous and brave folk, their fears are different and less courageous and brave than said folk. These fears are ones that we call cowardly. So, what are cowardly fears?

For the remainder of this episode, we call them chubbas. A chubba is an inhibition that prevents a person from performing a brave task. Are chubbas virtues, vices, or something else very ordinary etc?

Ido, a person, has chubbas. He performs tasks without making big risks for fear of failure. He also has many chubbas; more than the average person. Rather than asking why does Ido have so many chubbas, what can these chubbas do for Ido?

First, he is self-aware of his chubbas because it is evident to him when he distinguishes his actions from non-cowardly men. Awareness of these numerous chubbas, constantly calculating to not make a fault and run the risk of a mistake resulting in any type of negative injury spiritual, mental, or physical, his mind is thus sharpened.

Ido is grateful for his sharpened mind. He enjoys calculating so he enjoys finding new fears once his previous chubbas become obselete. Ido thus enjoys fears. Now, we may state: Ido enjoys fears and is a coward.

A virtuous life is a life worth living. It is also a good life. So if Ido’s fears constantly provide him with fodder for enjoyment, is he living a “good life”? What if he doesn’t enjoy calculation and discovery? But he does, like any person, because working towards something and achieving a positive/rewarding result releases dopamine in the brain.

Does the dopamine release because it is rewarding or is it rewarding because it releases dopamine? Either way, I take it that many people get a rush of dopamine after a good workout. So, Ido must be living a “good life”.

A good life is one that is worth living. Doing good is being virtuous. So, Ido is virtuous. Wait, is Ido virtuous because he is a coward or is he a coward because he is virtuous? Let’s shove this under the carpet for another time.


For A Person

For A Person

Breathe out or breath out


and try it again.

But, wherever you are

I hope you’re dreaming

And never stop.

Ideal conditions like a sweet kiss.


Dear not just that, but,

Words flow and we experience

such a light daylightesque.

You, such enchanted.

I wished you say


And try it again.






I made this one evening, feeling adventurous, fearless and compassionate, and deciding to put some words on paper to capture the ebb and flow within that.

Trying breath exercises

I can’t find the video I learned this from but as a metaphor to life of giving more than you take, so that when you give you’re much more eager to take, Alan Watts suggested this powerful breathing exercise,

  1. inhale for two seconds
  2. exhale for four seconds
  3. go back to one until (and get good/comfortable).

Helps me in yoga and seriously falling asleep!

Who’s the real effing solips?

On the Limits of Language

Who is the real bloody solipsist? I think it’s me, though it may be you. If it’s you then I don’t exist, according to you. If it really is me, then why are you still reading this essay when you could just throw this paper away into the (please, recycling) bin? Unless you wrote this essay, it is very unlikely that I don’t exist. Moreover, I know I exist because I’m the one who wrote this essay and you are reading it. If I am right that I exist and that you cannot confirm objectively whether or not I exist, then I propose that either we must have a private language, or language has its limits. Ebbing away from the notion of “private languages” as nonsense, I will be arguing for the fact that language has its limits. What follows in this essay will be a series of true statements that cannot be proved true by means of language alone and for that reason I shall show that language qua (in so far as) words can be used to represent internal signs and conceptions contrary to what the conventional theory of language hopes to believe as metaphors or representations. To conclude, I will entertain an answer to my initial question “Who is the real bloody solipsist?” The point will be to present the examples.

Consider the following passage from John Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding, Book III, Chapter II:


“Words are sensible signs, necessary for communication of ideas. Man, though he have great variety of thoughts, and such from which others as well as himself might receive profit and delight; yet they are all within his own breast, invisible and hidden from others, nor can of themselves be made to appear. The comfort and advantage of society not being to be had without communication of thoughts, it was necessary that man should find out some external sensible signs, whereof those invisible ideas, which his thoughts are made up of, might be made known to others. For this purpose nothing was so fit, either for plenty or quickness, as those articulate sounds, which with so much ease and variety he found himself able to make. Thus we may conceive how words, which were by nature so well adapted to that purpose, came to be made use of by men as the signs of their ideas; not by any natural connexion that there is between particular articulate sounds and certain ideas, for then there would be but one language amongst all men; but by a voluntary imposition, whereby such a word is made arbitrarily the mark of such an idea.”


In consideration of the last part of this passage, where Locke argues that the connection between words and the ideas they stand for do not have any necessary connection and hence are in this manner arbitrarily conventional, I argue against it. I argue against Locke because if the connection between words and the ideas they stood for didn’t have a necessary connection, then there would be a serious lack of meaning in life in regards to our use of language as a means of thinking. Is it not the case that when I say something it is because there’s an intention or a sense of immediacy that provokes me to act and speak? Who can deny that by myself? Is my own self-willed action not what I intended to do and did it, and by doing it and watching it succeed I can affirm the fact that that immediacy within me caused the outcome of the word or act?


For example, if I wanted to bid someone farewell in English I would use a word like “goodbye”. They would perhaps respond by bidding farewell to me too and say something like “goodbye” or even “farewell, “peace”, “later”, etc. It would be very puzzling to an ordinary person if person A bid another person B farewell and both persons just stood there… perhaps uttering another farewell statement such as “goodbye” as a secondary or even tertiary utterance of the same word. At this point the ordinary person would claim that they are not speaking correctly—that they are not participating in language, at least not in the rules of language that the ordinary person is participating in. At this point the secondary and tertiary “goodbye’s” are quite arbitrary—persons A and B could’ve been uttering back and forth something like “pooppoo” and they would be in the same scenario: misunderstood by our ordinary person’s subjectivity.


In the above example, clearly there is something going on between persons A and B. They are communicating to each other and are both uttering words. We just can’t know for sure what they were doing with (the English) language, unless we asked them. Why don’t we ask them? Unless we’re paranoid solipsist, asking person A and B whether you could join in on understanding their “goodbye”/” pooppoo”-ing should be a noble venture, because it is a philosophical one. A faithful solipsist I define as one who understands what Locke understands as the “conventionality of language” and what Wittgenstein recognizes as “language-games”—a world and life where the thinking and the language to do so are represented in a way that cannot essentially describe itself yet is able to seemingly communicate thoughts and ideas. As a faithful solipsist, language surely has epistemic meaning according to the language that is being spoken—it’s just not possible to describe how it is so because people can’t fully reveal their subjectivity. It’s unable to be shown because, though it exists just like how the rules of a high intensity chess game exists, or how the meaning of language exists, it ends up being a never ending iteration of explanation if we ever try to “reveal” our subjectivity, describe how meaning in a language exists, or how I exist for you to know it without a drop of doubt.


Locke follows his claim of conventionality by stating that the meaning of words come from “a voluntary imposition, whereby such a word is made arbitrarily the mark of such an idea”. I agree and think Locke is correct in his claim that there is a “voluntary imposition” when we choose to say the words we say, but not that it is arbitrary nor is the word that it is composed of. I know that words have meaning the same way I know how to will a spinning heel kick—sometimes I don’t mean what I say, and sometimes I miss my target. Nonetheless, the meaning is there for me to confirm. If I need to be more clear, I’ll be clear enough. And, if I need to be more accurate, then I’ll be precise enough. The meaning of words should not be accounted for by some phenomenological construct that blurs the “meaning” of when I speak. If words were merely sensible signs without a natural or necessary connection between itself and the ideas they stood for, then this would be analogous to not feeling pain when you are hit with a baseball-bat or depression. These things are very undeniably real for the ordinary person, to persons A and B, and to anyone else reading this. The only things that aren’t real are what Wittgenstein states as “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”[1] So if we can’t talk about my subjectivity or your subjectivity in a meaningful way, are we real?


“If one has to imagine someone else’s pain on the model of one’s own, this is none too easy a thing to do: for I have to imagine pain which I do not feel on the model of the pain which I do feel”[2]


            Taking the passage above as analogous to someone feeling another person’s subjectivity, Wittgenstein would assert that this would be nonsense! If one had to imagine someone else’s subjectivity on the model of one’s own’ – one wouldn’t be able to: one could not even be skeptical about others’ subjectivity. This very idea would be nonsense.[3]


What seems to be left at this point are the things that we can talk about. That I’m sitting here at the university library, writing an essay, that I got an X-ray today, that I worked two jobs this week, that the end of this essay is about to come, etc. In all of these examples, the skeptic would insist that my words don’t have meaning because meaning requires necessity. The skeptic would follow by forcing me to a corner and demanding me to show my subjectivity otherwise she would not take me seriously because her objection is that I “lack meaning”. I, however, would turn the tables on her and present this essay again to her and add the question, as if Gödel[4] had flown down from heaven and presented to me a sapphire trump card, “assuming this is true, prove me wrong?” In her response, she would not be able to because she would either be bringing up my claims or making her own assumptions about meaning and ways to reveal her own subjectivity to me. In either case, I would accept as an answer so long as I understood it.


From what has so far been said, we see that there is a limit to language. One of which is very important right now: we cannot give an answer in regards to “who is the real bloody solipsist?” This is because this question is nonsense, it rests in a private sphere that is beyond any possibility of conceiving in a form of language what the answer may be. If it can’t be conceived in language, then how else could it be conceived? I repeat my claim that it cannot be conceived in any thinkable way. All I know is that I am a thinking thing and although I don’t know if you or anyone else outside of my subjectivity is, I can at least find it more reasonable than not to participate in this thing we call language and life.


Philosophy concerning the notion of a private language is thus regarded as meaningless. It seems more reasonable at this point to not talk about it if what we are seeking is a sole answer. A language that cannot be known to anyone except the person who uses it could be said to be intrinsically valuable to the person herself. However, I don’t see how this value would be portrayed if the person couldn’t even articulate it in her public language and life. If philosophy would like to continue to discussion of a private language, then it would start by discussing the limits of language and seeing where we go from there. So far in this essay, we have discussed in philosophical terms the notion of solipsism and the fact that it is something philosophically meaningful yet ordinarily unproductive. For what other meaning other than a safe practice of “mental masturbation” could the notion of solipsism qua philosophy provide?


Philosophy dating back to Plato has been the practice of seeking Truth through linguistic analysis. As shown in Plato’s dialogues, particularly in Euthyphro, contemplation has always been an analysis of what we mean by certain words in order to get closer (or not) to the truth of the world and life we live. So, from our present example, why do we even need to entertain the idea of solipsism? Because if we didn’t have this idea lurking behind our consciousness when we speak, then we would be able to do everything that it prevents us from doing. Language may not even be possible since knowing the existence of others implies knowing their subjectivity. How would we understand the existence of others if we didn’t experience it for ourselves? Moreover, a world of “unsolipsistic consciousnesses” would also be able read other peoples’ minds, feel their pains, etc. We would all be subjectivity connected as one and solipsism as a notion would not exist because it may be unthinkable, unheard of, and closed out of thought. But even if it were to find its way into the language of the world of the universal consciousnesses, it would be considered as nonsense like a flying unicorn. However, they may have their own philosophical problems that may also be considered as nonsense perhaps even solipsism.


From what has so far been said, it seems like philosophical problems are necessary to dissect and analyze the nature of our relationship to the world. Problems like solipsism and duality present to us, respectively, the subjective and objective problems of language and experience. For the former we cannot feel another consciousness’ pain or subjective understanding of language, and for the latter we cannot accurately depict what is out there in the phenomenal world through our senses and thus language as metaphor for those perceptions. What other problems do we thus have? By understanding the issues at stake in our experiences, if we are to live moral lives, then we must find a way to rationalize the foundations of knowledge such that it would be more rational to be a faithful solipsist and thrive in the world rather than a pessimistic one that goes under and gives up on meaning because it’s too difficult to will faith. I conclude with quote by Bruce Lee while remarking that we are all solipsist and it is our own decisions whether or not to live with an intention of meaning, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

[1] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, passage 7.

[2] Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, passage 302.

[3]This example was adapted by me from an essay by Severin Schroeder at the end of part 2 of “Schopenhaur’s Influence on Wittgenstein”

[4] Godel’s “incompleteness proof” was published as a revolutionary paper that challenged basic assumptions underlying the foundations of mathematics and logic, especially against Whitehead and Russell in “The Principia Mathematica”. Here, Godel proved how the foundations of mathematics could not be supported by a complete logical structure because it required its own system to describe its own underlying foundation.


Oh time,

This time of spring. It’s beautiful with the sight of vegetation bringing to many people a peace of mind, but quite disappointed as I write this…:(

just realized that I’ve been having seasonal allergies ever since I could remember, my nose is constantly plugged and I can’t breathe easily! That’s why I’m down –or I’m just being dramatic and charming the reader to feel sorry for me for such a small misfortune. But, if you think I’m being dramatic, then clearly you have not experienced this!

Back to Time; James’ birthday was a good time. I was just there an hour ago and came home because it was time. By time I mean where I didn’t want to be in that space-time. It was getting late and I  knew I wanted to go home and get some rest since didn’t want to spend anymore time there. No offense to James or anyone there but it was awkward when dude was trying to steal Nolan and I’s beers before he dipped. Awkward and right in front of me so I called him out on it. It was a tense time after that. That’s why I didn’t want to spend any time in space and time there anymore as soon as it was time to go.

How and why do we measure time? Let’s first, throw out the window for this examination the fact that time is actually an attribute of space-time, and recognize it as an internal concept of how we experience the world. Let’s also agree that time is a relative concept. The measure of time can be fast for some — Years can seem like days/ an hour can seemingly pass by like a couple minutes minutes. Or time can be slow — particularly when you’re waiting for something. Personally, I find that time passes slowly when I’m anxious and it passes by quickly when I’m sparring with my taekwondo buddies in “flow state“. This makes me think… What are we talking about, exactly, when we use the word “time” to signify or point to our internal conception of what we want or mean to say? If time is something we measure by seconds, hours, days, years, moments, etc., then it’s simply a matter of counting or looking at a clock. Time in this regard sounds simple; it’s just a matter of counting, right? If so then to talk about time and its kinds requires that we carry a watch and speak of it strictly in terms of “Time”. However, Time isn’t like this because we speak of time in a relative way: there are good times, bad times, slow times, fast times, etc.

Let’s now consider go time, overtime, over-time, primetime, standard time, pacific time, potty time, class time, sexy time, play time, flight time, my time, this time, that time, fun time, shower time, closing time… Let’s also pull from Bousma’s “The Mystery of Time“,

“There are good times, corking good times, uncorking good times… There are bad times, perfect times, dandy times, nice times, high old times, hard times, grand times, gay times, sad times, rotten times, times that are out of joint. There’s railroad time, Greenwich time, five o’clock shadow on the sun dial, exact time. We have, we make, we spend, we gain, we buy, we save, we sell, we put in, we waste, we while away (“wit a whittle whittle stick”). We give, we fill, we take out, we steal, we shorten, we squeeze out, we spare, we stretch, we lengthen, we cut, we halve, we keep, we hoard, we get, we take, we seize, we use, we watch, we pick up, we lack, we find, we need, we divide, we lose, we fritter away, we kill, we beat, we invest. What? time. Time is money. Put time in the bank. Invest weekly.”

What a mouthful! Have we come to a realization yet? Of course. That is: time is used and predicated in a myriad of ways. Words are constantly receiving new meanings, that’s not a surprise to us because I’m sure back in the 19th century “It’s lit” had a totally different meaning that it does today. “Language is conventional”, right? Is it really though? Taking my philosophical flamethrower granted to me by my Ordinary Language philosophy professor, John Powell, I’d like to show you how it is not. However, my inner pyro shall have to be on stand by since I can’t figure out how to use this flamethrower yet. I just have it… but this could be a safespace to mess around so let’s try and hope nothing important gets ruined:

….(To be written) ….

Time can be as unique and special of a word as we’d like it to be. However, I’d like to make a point that it’s not that hard to figure or parse out the meaning of this “special” word when it is used… The method for that shall be discussed in another post but for now, “keep it real.” 🙂

“…My interest is in showing that things which look the same are really different. I was thinking of using as a motto for my book a quotation from King Lear: ‘I’ll teach you differences’.

‘You’d be surprised’ wouldn’t be a bad motto either.” – Wittgenstein

Birthday James(James on his birthday)

Sunny Saturday after Some Crappy Weather

Hey everyone! This is my first blog, and I want to share it with the world– certainly and especially including my friends and family. I am always on the move, traveling, learning, living, loving, fighting, getting twisted, spinning out and then doing it all over again. Let’s start with what I’ve been up to to today!

I had a chiller morning. Trevor slept over last night and we woke up to go surfing at College Cove beach in Trinidad, California. It’s a really pleasant space for surfing and beach chilling because unlike other surf spots in Humboldt county, it’s totally protected from the wild and messy currents that could drift you if you’re not careful on breaks!

At the parking lot, before we headed off to paddle out, a fellow surfer bro noticed how fun my surfboard looked. It’s a 5’4 fish made out of foam so it’s super buoyant and perfect for those types of waves where there isn’t much force but also not ugly. Ugly waves are those ones that just look plain disastrous– like, it just comes up and crashes on you. It’s not a left, not a right, just a “come here and i’m going to swallow you and put you in a washing machine so watch the fuck out.” Sure, this board is special, unique, fun and I can’t really ride it the way I’d like because I can’t catch faces of waves yet. haha. What I found insightful today was when fellow surfer bro mentioned, “people who start on longboards learn to surf for the first one and half years; people who start on shortboards learn how to paddle.” That’s totally true. I’m cool with both but I like the idea of becoming an awesome paddler before I start having some even better surfing sessions *flexEmoji. I totally don’t want to drift away from a fuckin’ current that I can’t paddle out of. What a waste of time…I’d like to talk about Time in my next post… I’m sure talking about metaphysical entities is more than a mental masturbation… but more like a mental massage.

Me at the beach