Thursday, 28 January 2016

MAU Logo

Here's  logo I made for MAU. What do you guys think?

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Health is Wealth

As individuals we should strive to become healthy in general, in body, mind and spirit. Note that I have said "as individuals" rather than as "martial artists". I stated this because I believe everyone should value their health, as a collective consciousness, not as only a certain group of individuals (e.g. Martial artists, athletes etc). The reason for everyone striving to become healthy is that as a a population or collectives, we can evolve, as according to science in this physical plane, only populations evolve not individuals. I don't fully agree with that concept but I am going to flow with it for now. If we all worked together to become healthy as a population and evolve, we can become something much greater. Greater as in the greater version of ourselves. Though we should all strive to become the greatest. 

Many individuals out there, particularly peacemakers, are Finding a way or ways to bring peace to this chaotic world. The answer is love as most of us would know. Love creates peace; Peace can bring about evolution; and Evolution will make the population or collectives greater.

Once an individual realised that love for oneself is important, then they can start to grow and become healthy. So loving yourself comes first. Once you love yourself, then you start to take care of yourself, nurture yourself, grow yourself up in a healthy manner. Whether that can be eating, exercising and sleeping right. Those are the basis of a healthy life style. Those are also the key to success in life. Notice that most successful individuals out there, in terms of wealth, are really healthy! For example Oprah Winfrey. Just look at her, she looks healthy not just physically but also mentally and spiritually. She is, I heard, the richest woman in the world. I've been told that she does value her spiritual life and she's intelligent. That is an example of a HEALTHY (in body, mind and spirit), and  SUCCESSFUL living being. Honestly I do not know too much about this woman but I'm basing my views on my perception from others around me.

If you want wealth you need health. Despite of that, health is wealth! People should be more focussed on their individual development and health, not personal (materialistic) gains. That will come later, but what should come sooner is your health, becoming healthy. Those that value their health live longer. longevity is more greater than money. What is the point of making and having all the money when you may die sooner because you cared less about your health? 

If you had to choose whether to have less money but be extremely healthy, or have a lot of money but poor health? 

Just remember that healthy individuals can make a lot of money successfully if they want to.

Focus on longevity, because that is the ultimate wealth, not money! Still make money though because you need that to invest in your health. I am not trying to make people forget about money at all. We need money in this prison society to survive, like pay our bills and buy our food. The food we should purchase are those that are good for our health as we should strive for longevity.

We live in this society where our environment is unhealthy due to the programming (TV advertisement of junk food and unhealthy activities). We need to reprogram ourselves (population) to walk the path of healthiness and longevity. We all need to work together as I've stated before, to embark on this path. It's not fair if only a small group of people  are experiencing a healthy life. Remember we need work together to evolve, as populations evolve over time. We are as good and as bad as our worst enemy, so if that are not doing good then that makes our terrible. We are all low and we need to rise up our vibration or frequency (emotions- energy in motion which is basically our mood on a fancy way), together as one. Be one with the universe or be one with the Tao. Let's all work together to become healthy and evolve.

I will start my reprogramming for those that are reading this blog and if you are not already healthy. When I say reprogramming I mean brain washing or hypnotizing in a positive manner via the subconscious mind. 

I will attach pictures or photos of something healthy that will make you want to be healthy and I will also put a link to a subliminal video that will reprogram your mind to become healthy. You don't have to watch the video but that is just an additional tool if you are interested and very serious to change yourself to become greater. 


subliminal video to eat healthier:
Here is another one:
(it doesn't matter which one you use. However one may be more effective the the other. If you want you can just serach for other subliminal videos yourself on youtube.

If you are healthy already then the programming won't affect you as much because you are already been programmed to live healthy. My reprogramming are for those that are unhealthy. If you are already healthy, then please raise awareness in helping and educating those you love to live the healthy way. My method of changing people's motives is simple which is looking at the pictures or photos below. 

How this works is we tend to become inspired or motivated by what we see. Just like someone who wish to become like the legendary martial artist, like Bruce lee, just by looking at him (wallpaper poster on your wall or videos or even desktop wallpaper). In addition to motivation and inspiration the subconscious mind will process the information/command (pictures) and make that part of you, so you will start a new habit (habit of being healthy).

I could go deeper into details but I believe it's better if you seek the detailed information yourself or check the information I presented yourself ("do your research") as that will strengthen or expand the mind which that is healthy for the mind.

Thank you for those that are taking the time to read this long blog post that I typed up using my iPhone.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Strength and flexibility fitness test.

  • Max Strict Pull Ups in 1 minute (record number of pull ups) :22 reps
  • Max L Sit/ Max Tuck  (record max hold time): 27s (inaccurate)
  • Max Strict Push Ups in 1 minute (record number of push ups): 42 reps
  • Max Bodyweight Squats in 2 minutes (record number of squats): 100 reps
  • Max Sit Ups in 2 minutes (record number of sit ups - feet must be anchored): 48 reps
  • Max Handstand Hold (record max hold time):44s (inaccurate)
  • Splits (record depth of right and left side split) L:8cm R:6cm (inaccurate)
  • Seated Forward Bend Sit and Reach (touch toes and beyond record measurement): 6 cm pass toes (inaccurate)
  • Center Split (record depth of split): +30cm (inaccurate)
Note: I took these measurements on my own so there should be some error which o didn't take into account. I marked the exercise inaccurate for the errors. The more accurate measurement would be (for the inaccurate ones only) -2 seconds (because it takes me 2 seconds to get into the position I need to be in to hold). As for the stretches they are also inaccurate because I estimate or guesstimate. Close enough though. Lol

I recommend everyone to participate in this test. Just to see where you are at.

Also note I did the exercises straight after the others so no rest in between. (Maybe 10s). Do the test however you like. 

I did the test last Tuesday. Make sure to record your date of doing it. Good luck...

Left Fmk Blog, Now A Member Of MAU Blog

Hello I have just wrote a blog announcement on the fmk blog page about leaving. Here is a link for those that wants to read it.

I am not longer part of Tao of fmk blog. I am now part of MAU blog page. I feel more comfortable and free here which is a great environment for those that wants to express themselves and grow. I will continue to express myself as a writer on this blog page. I will support those that are part of MAU. I may continue to support the fmk blog but I will focus my energy more on this blog page. For those that are new here which you may be reading this from the future I just like to welcome you all. Much thanks and appreciation to the Founder of MAU blog page, Ben H. Thanks Ben also for the invitation.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Reasons to Learn other 'WAYS'/'PATHS' or system

I have been inspired to write this blog from reading an article/text online about why we should learn other languages. I will post a link so that you can check it out.

By having my mind expanded or developed I am able to see and understand that there are connections between everything in this universe. Every informations in this universe can be link, related and apply to anything (in life), once you have raise your awareness to a certain level.

I would like to present reasons why we should study or learn from other systems, ways or paths (martial arts and/or martial crafts). I am going to attempt to relate the information in article that I've linked, to this blog which is mainly going to be about martial arts and crafts in general. I have written a few blogs on here relating to life in general. I would like to make a change for once by relating the information to martial arts, as this would be regarded to 'martial artists United' blog page; not so much 'artist of life United' Blog page.

 If you do not know what martial arts and crafts is please check out Ben's post on martial arts and crafts:

 I believe that people with martial arts or crafts experience should learn from different ways or paths (or different systems), instead of limiting their training and studying to one system and being overly loyal to it. Just like learning other languages instead of sticking to one and being monolingual. I am not saying we should learn every single thing and master the system (or languages if I was speaking in terms of it), but just learning the basics and getting a feel of the essence. It would be great if we master and learn beyond the basics (intermediate and advance) of the system, but nowadays there is not enough time to do so, due to this modern time where work and school limits that. Learning the basics to me is sufficient, if you want to go further then do so. Again just like languages, knowing the basics of another language is enough to communicate with each other, if you are asking for help like directions. If we want to better ourselves as individual learning from other ways or paths will help.

Here are a few reasons (of course there are more) why we should learn from other ways or paths.

#1. You have or know a lot of ways or paths. More knowledge the better, because more knowledge = less ignorance. More knowledge more power. As the more combative techniques you learn and understand, the more likely people will want to hurt you as an example.

#2. You will be respected from others embarking on their path. By looking at a different lens (different perspective) we are able to understand others and connect with them in harmony. So you can make more friends instead of enemy. For a boxer to be friends with a wing Chun practitioners they need to learn from each other and grow together. A boxer should study wing Chun and a wing Chun practitioner should study boxer. Eventually they will both appreciate the knowledge they gain from their study. They will respect each other in peace. Thus no ignorance.

#3. You develop an open minded mentality, making you want to seek more. By becoming open people will like you  And respect you since people from other system or path will enjoy sharing their knowlegde. When other people teach you because you want to learn from them, they will start to also, in addition to appreciate you in learning from them, want to learn from you and be open also. So by being open you can induce others to become open as well. With that being said you can exchange knowledge with  each other, thus it is an equal exchange and also builds this mutualistix relationship stronger. This prevents conflict.

#4. It's good for the mind. When you studying a different path you are strengthen your mind (memory), just like learning new things in general. When you strengthen your mind it increases the ability to absorb more information and learn with less effort in a way. Also it creates room for creativity development. By learning more system you may want to integrate the system together as a creative way to express yourself.

#5. It is fun. Strengthen the mind is a fun thing to do. Like learning to play a sport or learning to juggle. So go try it for fun. Life is not only a workplace to work, it's also a playground to play, have fun and enjoy our living moment.

I feel that #2. Is the most important. I suggest we should stop this whole style bashing conflict between traditional Martial arts and modern day combative system or combat sport. Let's all respect each other and get along. Let's help each other grow stronger by working together, so we all can evolve. It's not good if only a small group of people are at a high level. Everyone should all be helping each other out and level up together as one. Conflict and war gets us nowhere. Peace, love and compassion is what helps us grow to become our better version of ourselves. In order to achieve that, I suggest learning other system, ways or paths from others. You don't have to believe and submit yourself to a new system, just KNOW IT. Just like learning from other religion. Don't become and believe what other religions think, just know what they think. That is learning!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun is a movie that I recommend viewing at some time. I saw this movie a while ago and upon my first viewing, this movie humbled me. Empire of the Sun reminds me not to take my life style for granted, to be grateful for what I have. The movie is very emotional. Some say it's a story of the loosing of innocence. The movie was directed be Steven Spillburge and the soundtrack done by John Williams. When these to individuals come together to produce a work of art, you know it will more than likely be great.

I won't spoil anything, but I will tell you a rough outline of the movie. Empire of the Sun is set in the British part of Shanghai in the 1930s. The story revolves around a young English boy named Jamie. He is a spoilt brat from a rich family to begin with. His life would completely change however, when the armies of Imperial Japan invade Shanghai, resulting in this little boys life radically changing as he is separated from his wealthy, protective parents in all the chaos and confusion and thus must struggle to survive. This movie is based on a true story and does a good job at illustrating how life became difficult for the British and Chinese alike, and even the Japanese as their defeat at the atom bombs drew nearer and nearer. In a way, this movie taught me to be compassionate to all people, whether they are wealthy or poor and regardless or their ethnic background. This is because we are all humans with the same emotions and are vulnerable to suffering. (I feel I should mention that ethnicity has no place in the study of Zen/Chan/meditative path to enlightenment. Ethnicity only exists in the phenomenal realm which may also be known as the realm of perceived reality. This is an artificial place that creates politics that can result in war, a terrible by product in this realm.)

Empire of the Sun is a movie that I highly recommend. I have not been able to find the full movie online for free. I did find the trailer however. Take a look and see if it's a film that you might like to track down and see.

Empire of the Sun Official Trailer (1987) - Christian Bale, Steven Spielberg Movie HD

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Knowledge vs Wisdom

In my online ninjutsu university/school (budo ryu), we are given zen or philosophy lesson which we have to understand and give a verbal explanation (during testing (on video)) of what it means to us or what it just mean according to the lesson or lecture (can just repeat what the teacher say only if we understand it and cannot put into our own words).

One of the lesson was on knowledge and wisdom. I already knew the difference before I was given this lesson (watch the video).

I will try and explain what  knowledge and wisdom is briefly in my words, down to earth. I may explain it how I would teach a two year old. That way I can make just blog short simple and informative.

Knowledges is knowing something. knowledge can come from learning from someone or a source ( text book by author is is technicallyknowing from someone).

Wisdom is understandimg and applying something you know. Wisdom can come from within your oneself rather than from outside sources.

THAT'S IT in a nutshell.

If some know something but can't or don't apply what they know they are knowledgable. On the other hand if someone know something and can apply it or does apply it they are wise. 

Bruce Lee said: "knowing others is knowledge, knowing yourself is wisdom." That seems correct but I would like to make a slight alteration to the quote which will suit me. That is: "know others is knowledge. Understand yourself is wisdom." That in a way is already been explained above if you go within yourself and think. If it does seem obvious I will explain.

"Knowing others is knowledge." What that means to me is learning or knowing from others is knowledge. So you know their experience but you haven't experienced it yourself yet. Remember that truth has to be experience which that is called understanding. Also the quote explain itself already which another way to interpret that quote in an obvious manner that is you know something or someone (others) you have knowledge of them.

"Knowing yourself is wisdom" or "understand yourself is wisdom". What that means If you realised what you know (others experience) of experience the knowledge which is parallel to applying that knowledge ( because when you apply something you are have an experience or gaining experience) , ,which you would have understood it; then that is wisdom. By looking at the last sentence of the quote in a simple manner  ("knowing yourself is Wisdom"), what that means simply is understanding from within yourself, hence understand/knowing yourself or "thyself"; or just understand yourself basically, which you have wisdom of.

If I had to reconstruct that quote completely a would say: "knowledge is external. Wisdom is internal." For Taoist sake, "knowledge is yang. Wisdom is yin". There are many ways I can word it, but the wording is not really important. It is the massage that's important. Just like in martial arts, the form of the technique is not really important, but if us the function if the technique. If the form is good enough for 100% functioning then that's perfect or okay I guess. Definition of perfect is having the necessary requirement, qualities and characteristic. So if the form is bad but it's sufficient to for it to functionwell which is necessary, then that right there is perfect even though the form made not be as perfect.

One more thing I want to mention is Clear a misconception is often people say knowledges is power. Well that may be correct but not quite. Wisdom is power. So knowing it and then applying it is where the power manifest itself. Application of knowledge which is wisdom is powerful.  It's better to be wise then knowledgeable. If you know sonething and don't use it how is that suppose to help you?


That's all I wanted to write in this blog. I also decided to write my blog on knowledges and wisdom (which is something I have to demonstrate during my testing), it's so I don't forget and can aid myself and others into expanding mind. Writing this can prepare me for my test as this is studying or reviewing.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

New Year's Resolution

Happy new year to those that are reading this post.

For my first post in this "Martial Artist United" blog site founded by Ben, I just want to share one of my new year's resolution. This one particular new year's resolution is related to writing blogs on this blog site. That is I am going to write my post more decent, meaning I am going to be formal as if I am writing a business letter. Reason for that is it can help me in the future when I am writing a formal letter to someone like a manager of a business. Writing more formal regularly can give me the habit of writing formal, so I don't have to think about it or making a huge effort in writing that way. This can help me with my courses (university or college) that I may take in the future. In university writing formal is a MUST, like for essays and reports.

In addition to writing formally I also wanted to state another resolution for this year which came to me while writing this post. That is writing at least once a week in this blog. This will actually give me the habit to writing formal, as the more I do write formal consciously, the chances I will write formal subconsciously (writing without being aware. Just simply writing that way as second nature or as a habit).

For those that are making new year's resolution I just want to say good luck.

I will finish of by writing: "Thank you Ben was creating this blog site, I hope it will grow big enough to make a good influence to the public."

Monday, 4 January 2016

Notable Individuals - Jake Mace

Currently at the age of 34, Jake Mace has been practicing Martial Art for well over a decade. Now he is one perhaps on of the most successful people that are directing people towards the Tao of Martial Art in terms of popularity. He began his combative practices as a teenager when he would partake in high school wrestling. In those days, Mace was heavily into competitive wrestling matches. However, this was to change after he went through a personal eye opening experience.

When Mace was 18 years of age, he joined a local Kung Fu school. The reason for this was because he wanted to toughen up for the upcoming wrestling season and develop his kicking ability. During a sparring session, he went for a roundhouse kick to his opponents face. His opponent court Mace's foot and swept his supporting leg as hard as he possibly could. Mace fell to the ground only to get back up immediately and continued sparring. When he tried to throw a punch with his right arm, it cramped up. As the adrenaline from being swept wore off, the pain in his arm intensified. The instructor, who was surprised that Mace kept sparring, told him to stop. The instructor put Maces arm in a sling and drove him to the local hospital. Mace stated that during the journey he felt the muscles in his arm getting tighter and tighter as if they were independent from his control. A doctor examined his arm, it was twisted into the shape of an S. His arm was broken in 3 places. His humoures  was split in half vertically and horizontally. Consequentially his elbow was also broken. The doctors cut out his tricep to apply sixteen screws and two metal plates to hold his arm together. Six months later Mace started university were he would use rollerblades to cover the distance of getting from class to class. Whilst rollerblading, he tripped and broke his arm a second time. Due to his arm breakages in his younger years, his left arm consequently appears 'out of shape'. Jake Mace learnt much from this experience, including how not to fall!However, I haven't heard stories of Jake Mace competing in anything after this incident. I suspect the experience of severely breaking his arm whilst partaking in an activity with a competitive mentality contributed to his change of approach to Martial Art.

Nowadays Jake Mace expresses and promotes what he refers to as "My own brand of Gung Fu", which has been inspired by the traditional Chinese Martial Art systems. He promotes his expression and the traditional Chinese Martial Arts by creating a plethora of videos for his YouTube channel. These videos consist of exercise tutorials, self defence tutorials, combat samplers, internal and external training, tutorials on how to do traditional Gung Fu forms, tutorials on how to use traditional weapons for combative expression, tutorials on how he makes nutritious foods to suit his vegan dietary requirements, tours of his zen inspired garden and philosophy videos. Inclusivity is an evident trend in his discourse that has contributed to his current success of attaining over 150,000 subscribers. For example, Mace might word a sentence like "This exercise will benefit you whatever your chosen style is". By wording his sentences like this, he is meeting his audience (who most likely have the typical stylistic mindset) half way, ultimately establishing a positive cohesion with the viewer. Often Mace makes videos with other Martial Art practitioners or even members of the medical profession such as physiologists and physiotherapists. These videos often attract large quantities of viewers because people for some reason like the chemistry of collaborative videos. Another method of attracting viewers can be seen in how he seems to label his videos. It's not uncommon to see his videos labeled in ways such as 'AMAZING Kung Fu Kicks!' and 'FEROCIOUS Tiger Techniques!'. The labels for his videos are often a bit misleading or over exaggerated and in my opinion cheesy, however, they do manage to attract viewers to his videos. Despite such labels, the content is a lot more what one would expect to see in a true Martial Art video in my opinion, good quality content.

For all of Maces to efforts educate people about true Martial Art whilst being cohesive, not all people have seen eye to eye with him. There is a minority of haters that criticise Maces expression by saying things like 'your kung fu is bull***t and it would never work against an MMA fighter in the cage!' and 'your kung fu looks nothing like wushu it looks more like karate. Your a FAKE! Why don't you go and find a real teacher who can teach you real kung fu.'. Others may even say "Jake you FU***N suck! You wanna know why your stuff is bull***t?" Because you've never used it in a real fight like in the octagon!'. The majority of his 'haters' appear to be what many refer to as 'MMA Fanboys'. Haters are an unavoidable byproduct of popularity. Someone even wrote a blog post speaking negatively against him:

Mace has also made several videos speaking about the purpose of training in Martial Art. In these videos he encourages people to study Chinese systems to enhance peoples quality of life whilst discouraging people from getting involved in fighting, whether it be real life fighting or combat sport fighting. In response to his haters, Mace stated in a comment section; "We're uploading great, fun, traditional, effective content that's purpose is to keep Traditional Chinese Martial Arts alive since Traditional Chinese Martial are currently dying!" Regardless of the occasional negativity, he always starts and ends his videos with a smile.

I don't feel I can write a blog post about Jake Maces work without mentioning Jocum. Jocum is the man on the receiving end of Maces technique of the attached photo. He is constantly assisting Mace in demonstrating techniques, doing forms and exercising in videos. Jocum has appeared in tons of videos, and, even though I have never heard him say a word, I really appreciate his presence. I think that him being on the receiving end of techniques a never saying anything is admirable.

Like Lawrence Tan and Freddie Lee, I find Jake Maces content to be very useful in assisting me with my own development. With the invaluable assistance of his wife Pam, who manages the growing YouTube channel and presumably does most of the camera work, Jake Mace is pumping out videos that promote an all round healthy lifestyle obtained via the vehicle of Martial Art. Jake Mace is the head instructor and owner of the Phoenix Longevity Arts Kung Fu school in Tempe, Arizona USA. He also trains daily in his back yard where most of his videos are made. I feel that Jake Mace is promoting Martial Art in a healthy way that is far more truer to the essence of our practice then those of most big time commercial Martial Art corporations.

Be sure sure to check out...

Kung Fu & Tai Chi Centre w/ Jake Mace:

Phoenix Longevity Arts:

Jake Maces website:

Jake Maces Facebook page:

Jake Maces Twitter page:

Jake Maces Instagram page:

Videos I recommend...
Kung Fu vs. Wushu vs. Karate

Real Life "Mr. Miyagi" Amazing Kung Fu Routine

The Spirit of TRADITIONAL Martial Arts!

Be sure to check out 'Notable Individuals - Lawrence Tan'

Linguistic Identification

This essay was written as a means of preparing for my year 12 linguistics examination. Language is a truly fascinating phenomenon and I hope you get something from it.

There are many factors that influence how people as individuals and groups are identified by others. One notable factor that influences individual and group identity is the use of language. In the words of linguist David Crystal, "Language shows that we belong. It acts as a sort of natural badge to signify public and private identity". This can be seen when researching occupants of recognised professions and when exchanging discourse with individuals in our day to day activities. This is a truly profound natural phenomenon that some people spend their lives researching.

It is clear when listening to the difference in speech patterns what decade speakers came from. Words such as 'groovy' and 'swell' were lexemes of positive connotations in the 1960s and 1970s. Words such as these are sometimes considered to be defining features of a generation. The youth of today however, show preference for using words like 'dope' and 'dank' to host the same meaning that cool carried for a long time an still carries today to and extent. When a listener hears words such as 'groovy' and 'swell', it can be assumed that they grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, or was influenced to a large extent by the popular culture of this era. In times to come, the popular words of today will be seen as the language of old people, especially by youth.

Jargon is a very common feature of language that signifies group boundaries. As stated by Robert on the 28th of July 2013, downloaded on the 4th of May 2015: "[C]communities tend to come up with their own vocabulary... Jargon serves to create a common identity among the members of the group. If you know the jargon you belong to the group, if you don't know it everybody will notice you don't belong to the group... In this sense, jargon is comparable to slang, which also serves to mark group boundaries". Evidence of Jargon (a set of lexical items associated with discrete occupations or social groups) being used to create an identity for a group is the Legal profession's unique use of language. Lawyers understand the language in which the law was written. To gain this understanding, they had to spend years at university studying the law and its respective lexicon to reach a level of adequate comprehension. This indicates the extent that some people go to obtain professional and prestigious careers to be part of a highly payed profession that is looked up to by many in society. Lawyers must be well acquainted with the specific terminology of the law and in what circumstances each phrase is to be used to their clients advantage. Knowing the jargon of the law will mean financial success is more attainable for its practitioners. Financial success may present higher employment opportunities that if engaged in, that may raise the practitioners position in the legal profession, resulting in a higher income. This is an example of how much language influences the lives of people.

Peoples phonological patternings and features such as accent also serve as natural markers to the sort of culture a group or individual is associated with. This especially applies with national accent. For example, Italian people who have immigrated to Australia will have to learn the English Language due to necessity. However, they will often retain many phonetic features that are distinctive of their native language. Many words in Italian end with a vowel sound and many words in English end with a strong, sharp consonant, such as 'bread'. Italian immigrants may add an additional vowel sound such as 'e' to the end of words such as 'bread', creating the interesting new lexical variant 'breade'. This is sometimes done to self differentiate ones self and retain elements of  ones heritage. This can also be a natural occurrence and will most likely be because the immigrant spent the majority of his or her life in their national community of origin. When Australian citizens phonological tendencies include the attachment vowels onto the the end of words ending with consonants, there is an underlying message that the speaker originally came from a Southern European nation such as Italy.

In sports such as the AFL (Australian Football League), nicknames are used to build and groom the rapport between team members. Building positive rapport between team members is essential for premiership success. For example, in the fast past game of Australian Rules Football, players often give each other nicknames that are either based on their actual names or their personality traits to increase efficiency of communication and/or to build strong/healthy rapport. Former Collingwood and West Coast player Damien Adkins was often referred as 'Chipper'. Language plays an important role in sports and is a largely unrecognised factor that contributes to success.

Individuals who immigrate to Australia may on occasion, feel out of place as the community they are integrating themselves into does not practice or value their culture and/or religion on a large scale. Immigrants may choose to change their names to make their personal identities feel more Australian. This lexical alteration is essentially a coping mechanism to aid the individual's integration into the new culture. It is not uncommon for this sort of action to generate negative responses in older generations in immigrant families, who may see the act as a 'slap on the face' to their heritage and a betrayal of their ethnic and national identity. This is a common conflict for immigrants caused by traditional views conflicting with the linguistic assimilation of an individual into a new society.

Language is an indication of our identity. It signifies our belonging in many realms of life. Such realms include the decades that culture had the most influence on how we express ourselves with language, our academic speciality, our ethnic backgrounds, how successful sport teams might be and how serious people can be when trying to integrate into new societies. Language is a truly fascinating phenomenon that never senses to amaze scholars across the globe.    

The Subtle Messages in Language

This essay was written as a means of preparing for my year 12 linguistics examination. Language is a truly fascinating phenomenon and I hope you get something from it.

Language is humanity's most common form of communication. Language is expressed in many modes, including written, spoken and signed, which are perhaps the most obvious forms of explicitly conveying information. However, subtle, implicit messages are often conveyed in one's speech. In fact, it is estimated that the main bulk of our entire communications with others comes from our subtle tones, pitch, stresses, prosodic and paralinguistic features. Such features are influenced by our own attitudes towards the person, object or situation to which we are referring to. This phenomenon is an integral part of the linguistic lexical makeup of the English Language.

The words we use contain great power. In the right situation, a speaker with an acute awareness of how to appropriately implement his/her words in a structured format may deliberately use language to express his/her attitude towards others. This can occur in almost all realms of life. Politicians are evident uses of a stylistic variety of language that is structured to be politically correct; being in no way offensive to any population/group. This is essential to a politician's success in any developed, democratic society where popularity can make or break a politician's career. In recent history however, Australia's politicians from the opposing parties have been using insults and dysphemisms to defame or disparage each other. This is the extent politicians will go to for personal gain. The language used by politicians and people in general depends on who the speaker is engaging in discourse with and the purpose of the interaction. When a politician uses language in a disadvantageous manor such as using inaccurate syntax, non-fluent intonation patterns or even lexical choices that may be out of context, they put themselves at a much greater risk of 'de-popularising' themselves in the eyes of the public. This was evident when Julia Gillard assumed the role of Prime Minister in 2010. Her accent was far from being cultivated, putting her at an automatic disadvantage due to the fact that most Australians expect a Prime Minister to sound like a Prime Minister. Tony Abbot suffered a similar linguistic stigma during his time as Prime Minister which would have played a significant role in him being replaced for Malcolm Turnbull, a more cultivated speaker. Speaking with a cultivated accent plays the significant role of communicating to the listener that the speaker is educated and intelligent, and therefore quite capable of assuming a role such as Prime Minister.

The language used in the media speaks volumes about how it wishes the broader Australian population to perceive the situation of refugees and asylum seekers. Often the fact that these people have come to Australia, most often outside the realms of the law, the media's lexical choice when describing these people will consist of negatively connotated terms such as "illegal immigrants" and more informally (mainly on talk shows) "boat people". Practitioners of the religion of Islam are also the targets of this sort of linguistic prejudice. Often without knowing, many long term Australians may speak down (sounding overly polite) to Muslims as they are trying to outwardly appear friendly and polite despite, even though they may not think highly of them. Interestingly enough, Uptalk (rising of intonation) may be used to sound polite, but to the Muslim or Immigrant, it could just come across as patronising. This may reflect prejudice undertones Australia as a nation has had since federation.

Culturally, Australia's attitude towards it's indigenous population has changed greatly over the past two centuries. This of course, is illustrated in the lexical usage in formal modes of English including speeches, official documents and online registration forms. It is also very important to use current politically correct terminology in informal circumstances where the register is casual. For example, 'Australian Aborigines' are often referred to as 'Aboriginal Australians' or 'Indigenous Australians'. It has become taboo to even utter the now informally used shortened version 'Abbo'. This is evident in the censorship of Rolf Harris's famous song 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport', from 1963. This song has been shortened by approximately twenty seconds due to the removal of one of its original lines being: "Let me Abbo's go loose, Lou, let me Abbo's go loose. They're of no further use, Lou, so let me Abbo's go loose". Modern Australian society seems to prefer to keep this song as one of its definitive national classics, as long as the now taboo parts are erased to meet current expectations of political correctness.

Spoken language and the forms of written language are an integral part of how we communicate as human beings. Connotations change over time and so does political correctness which dictates the lexical choice of society members. The language we use in all modes of communication can be considered to be an illustration of our current attitudes towards humanities unique phenomenon; language.

Technologies Influences on how we use Language

This essay was written as a means of preparing for my year 12 linguistics examination. Language is a truly fascinating phenomenon and I hope you get something from it.

Language is a phenomena that is unique to humanity, in the complex way humans use it. English is a modern, pluricentric language and Standard Australian English is an even newer variety that is built up of its own unique syntactical, lexical, phonological and semantic features. To get to its current stage in its history, English endured many changes that significantly shaped it into the language it is today. In previous centuries, English commonly evolved by borrowing words that were used by people that English speakers invaded or were invaded by. Nowadays however, the English language is seeing changes occur at faster rates than ever before. This rapid change can be put down to a far more passive phenomenon known as, the Internet.

"The English language is evolving at a faster rate now than at any other time in history because of social media and instant messaging, a language expert has said... parents who took part in the survey said they felt teenagers spoke an entirely different language on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter." - 1 May 2015, downloaded 4 May 2014.
This quotation speaks great volume. Online social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype provide instantaneous text messaging and video chatting capabilities at no obvious monetary cost. With increased accessibility to these modern services, the current generation of youth are essentially pioneering the next big stage in the evolution of English. As modern forms of electronic, digital communication are so fast paced, many words have been shortened into abbreviated forms and the apostrophe has been removed from many contractions. These changes have been so dynamic that even an extensive range of blended neologisms have come into existence, which plays a huge role in shaping the lexicon to most youth. For example, "OIC" is now commonly accepted as an equivalent of 'Oh, I see'. Other shortenings that utilise initialisms include "IDK" for 'I don't know', "srry" for 'sorry', "OHK" for 'oh okay' and of cause the infamous "LOL" which generally means 'laugh out loud'. However, "LOL" has also been known to mean 'Lots of love' and even 'Living on Lipitor'.

There are different attitudes towards this accelerated evolution in English. Some people think of the internet's influence on the language of young people as a destructive force that is annihilating their language skills. The Internet language used by youth is commonly known as 'teenspeak'. There are also those who are known as descriptivists - describers of how language is currently being used. Prescriptivists often claim (not necessarily in these exact words) that social media such as Facebook, Skype, Instagram and blogs are breeding grounds for the destruction of Standard English. It is true that the language commonly used on the Internet is so different that it could be considered another dialect that is most popular with young people, however, research data indicates that the quality of standard English has not dropped in secondary schools and universities. The Internet has only provided youth with a more flexible means of expressing themselves with language and as modern day students have demonstrated in most of Australia's educational institutions, they are able to interchange or switch between the two dialects with relative ease.

Language in essence is communication. If there is one dimension the Internet has had the most influence on English, it is efficiency. The rate at which people can communicate over the world is instantaneous for the first time in history. The average Australian can now have a face to face conversation with someone in Canada using their smart phones. Increased discourse with other branches of English can potentially deteriorate certain aspects of Australian English and other Englishes, creating a more unified version. This linguistic assimilation occurs through constant exposure to the phonetic/sound that speakers of other nations have become accustomed to articulating in everyday life. Speakers of other accents and/or even other lexicons may even adopt Australianisms.

Technology's intervention has had dynamic effects on the linguistic evolution of Australia's younger generations. Some see technology as a driving force of linguistic mutation, whilst others see it as a driving force for evolution. Regardless, technology has had profound effects on our language in accelerating communications between people around the world. With no indication that technology's intervention will come to a halt, things only appear to be speeding up.

Linguistic Influences on Group and Individual Identities

This essay was written as part of my year 12 school assessed coursework for my linguistics class. The acctural assessed peice was hand written under test conditions. What you see below is a draft that I prepared in advance. Paragraphs were colour coded as to make it easer for myself to memorise he the basic structure and key points of my essay. Language is a fascinating phenomenon and I hope you get something out of this essay.

GENDER.        GENERATION.             JARGON.            PREJUDICE.            INTERNET.

The English language is widely spoken throughout the world today. It has become the world's dominant Lingua Franca and is spoken either as a first or second language in countries at every corner of the globe. As with any language, speakers of English use their own sociolects to signify group membership. Consequently, there are many social and personal factors that influence individual and group identities. Perhaps the most common method of changing identity is to alter the language of group and/or an individual's. Furthermore, individuals within social groups often use unique lexical choices to signify their own identities. People also commonly manipulate their use of the English language to suit different situations/social context.

Language has historically been subconsciously used as a natural badge to signify gender. Both women and men have historically been associated with stereotyped linguistic patterns. Males have a tendency to speak in ways that make them sound as if they speak with Broad Australian accents. Young/adolescent girls on the other hand have a tendency to finish their sentences with rising intonation. This is known to linguists informally as 'Uptalk'. It is theorised that people, notably females, implement 'Uptalk' of subtly adding an interrogative undertone to their declarative sentences. This communicates uncertainty and thus makes them come across as being non threatening/non-assertive. 'Uptalk' is another rapport building strategy. As Uptalk is used so commonly and consistently by females, males are generally considered to be gay when utilising the technique in question. Gay men do have a tendency to use Uptalk, however, this assumption is not correct for every single case. It is possible that this sort of stereotyping discourages males from using Uptalk. Males possibly avoid Uptalk and to avoid being stereotyped as being gay.

Linguistic difference between generations is a notable trend of the continuous changes in English. Furthermore, lexical variation is one of the most notable differences that signifies one's generational belonging. Specifically, if an individual uses slang, a listener can gain an idea of what generation the speaker belongs to. It can be assumed that there may be a high probability that if an individual whose lexical choice includes words such as 'swell' and 'groovy', the individual grew up in the 1960's or 1970's. The current generation of youth in Australia have notable tendencies to say words like 'dank' and 'dope' as updated lexical items to host the meaning that 'swell' and 'groovy' hosted for the generations of the 1960s and the meaning that 'cool' carried for a relatively extended period of time.

It is also worth detailing that the English language is commonly viewed in two notably different lights, normally depending on the generational belonging of each speaker. In other words, it can be said that the decade a speaker learns the English language as a child generally has a large influence on how they will view their language for the majority or remainder of their lives. For example, older speakers are often ones to take prescriptive approaches to language. Many older speakers commonly make sure that their use of language meets a set/crystallised, codified standard. This version of English is known as 'Standard English'. Younger speakers on the other hand tend to disregard Standard English in their day to day lives, tending to use the language in question however they see fit. This descriptive approach has resulted in rapid changes in the English language, occurring at rates never before seen. This is partially why English is evolving quicker than it ever has.

Jargon is another area that contributes to the diversity of the language in question in a very huge way. Lexical items considered to be Jargon are associated with discrete occupational groups such as airline pilots, musicians and linguists. Jargon can also refer to the use of specialised language to obscure meaning and exclude non-members. This phenomena has historically been evident in professions such as motor mechanics. However, as cars have been present for approximately one century now, the majority of the Australian population are generally more familiar with the terminology of cars. The semantic field of motorised travel had largely been been 'de-jargonised'. Most know what a clutch is, for example. However, practitioners of some occupations such as legal workers are constantly updating their professions specific terminology/jargon. This is done as a means of 'protecting the profession', meaning that if no one understands the language they use, the more likely people will call on their services to aid them in their meeting with the law. Jargon is sometimes used to preserve the demand on professions.

As with many phenomena, prejudice is another factor that associates itself with language.
This is because humans have a natural tendency to believe that one group's way of speaking is better than another, and linguistic forms then become a source of linguistic value judgements.
Based on the way people speak, listeners make judgement about the type of person the speaker is. These assumptions may be positive such as when one hears a speaker with a cultivated accent share discourse, or negative as when a speaker with a strong foreign accent to the listener shares discourse.

Speakers may be aware of this fact and thus alter their accent to create a desirable identity for themselves. The fact that this is not easily achieved in most instances indicates the determination immigrants have to fit into Australian society. In schools, male students have a perception that to be and sound intelligent is not masculine. For this reason many males choose to alter their accents to sound less intelligible and worsen their performance in their school subjects such as English. This is an example of how individual identities or even idiolects (individual dialects) in young people may come to be.

Some of the most prominent change in many languages is taking place on the Internet. The Internet is a place where many people interact, share ideas and create new trends. Social networking websites that have seen the most significant evolution in discourse include 'Facebook', 'Twitter' and 'Google plus'. Notably, standard social etiquette of politeness seem to have been disregarded by the majority of Internet users. This may be due to the fact that if one user insults another user in such a way that would never happen if the interlocutors were to speak in person, there is most often no consequence. Punishments are almost non-existent on the Internet. Many people feel that the Internet is a place where they can just say whatever they want without any consideration for the emotional wellbeing of others. The Internet is a linguistic melting pot where fascinating neologisms and syntactical patterning are created to support Internet personalities. It is also a linguistic rubbish tip where the lowest, most un-polite forms of linguistic expression can be found.

Whether it be consciously or not, individuals and groups have been altering their linguistic expressions to create their ideal persona. Language has been used as a natural badge to signify gender and generational belonging, to maintain society's dependence on certain professions and to pioneer new ways of expressing both spoken and written language. Such diversity in a language has been a large contributing factor as to why English is the lingua franca it is today.

Features of and Attitudes Towards Australian English

This essay was written as part of my year 12 school assessed coursework for my linguistics class. The acctural assessed peice was hand written under test conditions. What you see below is a draft that I prepared in advance. Paragraphs were colour coded as to make it easer for myself to memorise he the basic structure and key points of my essay. Language is a fascinating phenomenon and I hope you get something out of this essay.

English is a language that has been the world's dominant lingua franca for over a century. As English has been so widely spoken throughout the world, it has become a prime example of a pluricentric language, meaning that, although it is technically one language, it has a broad spectrum of varieties. These varieties or multiple English's include Canadian English, New Zealand English, American English and the vast varieties of British English. One of the newest of these varieties is Australian English, which is at the most only 300 years old approximately. It has distinctive features but at the same time, clear similarities to its mother language. Australian English, as does any variety of English, has a standard variety that is preached in all formal institutions and rapidly changing informal varieties, distinctive features that are influenced by regional and cultural factors and attitudes towards Australian English, contributing to Australia's national identity.

Formally, the language of Australia is standard Australian English. It is what is promoted in schools to both foreign and domestic students, broadcasters are expected to use it on television and radio and language books such as grammar guides and dictionaries foster it. Standard Australian English is used, and thus promoted, in almost all of Australia's institutions. English of informal register is also used in Australia, much of which comes from the linguistic diversity that immigrants have brought to the Australian lexicon. Australian English originated from the London - Central Midland region (Burridge, de Laps, Clyne; 2011). These are the roots of Standard and Non-Standard Australian English. As we know it today, Australian English could have been very different if other cities in England had the same non-linguistic advantages such as social, economic and  political advantages. History and geography have been the main influences as to how Standard Australian English has developed. Further development of Australian English came with the role of immigrants and as mentioned earlier, Standard but Non Standard Australian English predominantly, is changing continuously. It can be seen in vocabulary differences (eg: "pizza" has been added to the Australian lexicon), and pronunciation differences, such as placing an "a" before "l" instead of a "e" before "l", as in 'Melbourne'. This contributes to change in Australia's national identity. In the words of David Crystal: "language shows we 'belong', providing natural badges, or symbol[s], of public or private identity."

Versions of English all have differences within themselves. Generally, the most obvious factor influencing linguistic variation is geographical location (Burridge, et al; 2011). For example, a speaker in the city of York in the UK will have different linguistic patterns to a speaker in London. A speaker that uses the  American dialect in Washington DC sound will different from someone in San Fransisco. A speaker in Brisbane will have different linguistic patterns to someone in Melbourne because those living in Brisbane have to interact with a very different geographical, and to an extent, cultural environment. and so on. The various countries colonised by Britain have their own distinctive regional dialects of English and as listed above, their own regional accents. However, although regional variation is not inexistent, Australia has very little variation over vast geographical distances for a country of it's size. An American speaker in Chicago (Northern USA) will most likely sound much fairer than a speaker in Montgomery (Southern USA). In Australia, the difference in much less noticeable. Although an Australian speaker in Townsville will sound different to a speaker in Ballarat, they will sound very much the same to the untrained ear (Burridge, et al; 2011). Regional variation is present in Australia, however, when compared to other English speaking nations such as America and the United Kingdom, Australia's regional variations are minor. For example; most Australians allegedly call the guttering along the roof "gutters". Victorians and Tasmanians however, call it a "spouting". There are few variations like this in Australia (Burridge, de Laps, Clyne; 2011).

Social variations are what most linguists would consider to be the most obvious reasons for accent differences in Australia. In terms of accent, Australian English is generally classified into three overall varieties - Broad, General and Cultivated. Groups of low socioeconomic status are commonly associated with the Broad Australian accent. The Broad Australian accent was widely used as a means of differentiating themselves from the British by many Australians. However, as Broad Australian has historically been considered to be unintelligible, predominantly by non-Australians, it has largely fallen out of favour in Australia. The second accent, General Australian, is what most Australians actually speak, as opposed to what they have historically pretended to speak - Broad. Hence, the General accent is dominant in Australia. Last is the prestigious Cultivated accent. Thought to have originated from British Received Pronunciation, cultivated Australian is spoken by the educated, wealthy class. These are the 3 main traditional variations of Australian English (Burridge, et al; 2011).

In the second half of the 20th century, there were many new factors that would add new dimensions to Australian English. One of these dimensions was ethnicity. After the Second World War, Australia received large quantities of European immigrants, particularly from countries such as Italy and Greece. Immigrant groups such as the the Italians and Greeks were seeking to assert their identities with their own ethnic varieties of English, becoming a means of signalling group boundaries. # Lexical items are transferred from the original languages of immigrant communities into the Australian community. Many of these lexical items are often nouns within the semantic fields such as family, religion and foods like "Spaghetti" and "Lasagna". Multicultural varieties of Australian English have notably impacted on the mainstream generational sociolects of young Australians, particularly in the playground. Using language variation to signal group boundaries has also been used by Aboriginal people. # To clearly signify their group boundaries, Indigenous peoples have changed their use of pluralisations. For instance, Indigenous people might say "That my Daddy car" instead of "That is my Dads car". Ethnically diverse groups such as immigrant populations in Australia are now considerable forces for change in Australian English.

Another notable dimension that influences variety in Australian English is gender. Gender specific linguistic behaviours is a growing area of sociolinguistic research. Such research has shown that women use innovative forms more often than men, especially when women are the leaders of linguistic change. Often woman have significant roles in norm setting and the redefining of status norms. This may be partially due to the belief that women are more likely to be aware of prestigious or stigmatised forms than men (Labov; 2001:367).

The age of speakers in any linguistic group will also play a large part in linguistic variation and in particular, lexical choice. The lexical choice/features used by older and younger generations often differs greatly. Expressions that are weakening and are "on their way out", are used by older generations who are generally more conservative (Burridge, et al; 2011). Younger generations seem to have a more informal and flexible approaches to language. For example, to mean "good", young people's lexical choice often consist of words such as "wicked", "sick" and "mad", changing the connotations of such words from positive to negative. Young people are often the instigators of language change whilst older aged people tend to preserve older forms of language (Burridge, et al; 2011).

English is often considered to be a factor that unites people under a common language. Australians have the advantage of being able to communicate with millions around the world without having to learn a second language. Despite such vast similarities with other countries own versions of English, Australian English does have features that are completely original. One primary area of the uniqueness of Australian English lies in the Australian lexicon. Many commonly known words that are deeply engrained in Australian English came from Aboriginal languages (Leitner and Sieloff 1998, Leitner 2004: pp 169-170, Wilkes 1978, Johansen 1988). Although Indigenous languages have made small quantitive contributions to modern Australia's lexicon, the contributions made have been of great significance. Borrowed lexemes from indigenous languages include boomerang, kookaburra, kangaroo, koala, dingo and billabong. Some of these words have, in addition to being borrowed by English speakers, had semantic extensions (Leitner, et al; 1998). "Boomerang" is an obvious example of this. "Boomerangs" semantic extensional the change in the word referring to an indigenous hunting weapon to also meaning that something such as a plan has "backfired". Place names in Australia are very diverse in genesis. Many town names in Victoria come from Britain, whilst many retained their indigenous names. Kyneton is a town of British lexical heritage. Kyneton was named after the English village of Kineton in Warwickshire. Other places like Ballarat have little known indigenous lexical heritages. Ballarat means "resting place" and Echuca means "the meeting place of waters".

Australian English also has very unique grammatical features. Australian English shows an overwhelming preference for objective personal pronouns over subjective pronouns. For example, many Australians today tend to say 'me' instead of 'I'. This preference also correlates with the preceding  of the 'ng'  sound/phonogram. Many Australians, notably Broad in accent, will often say "He was mad at me for scoring a goal", as opposed to the technically correct wording; " He was angry at my scoring a goal".  (Pawley 2004).

Speakers from Australia and New Zealand have a unique tendency to be frequent users of -ing progressive, and use ing far more extensively than British and American speakers over the last few decades (eg: I am enjoying the course of this study). Australian speakers show preference to using past tense as in "Then she's broken her leg" (Ritz and Engel 2008).

Australians are known for their very interesting discourse features. Discourse particles such as "you know", "well" and "yeah-no", which serves the purpose leaving options open whilst maintaining a friendly rapport. The "yeah-no" formula can also be seen elsewhere. Negative interrogative tags such as "your going home soon, aren't you?". The yes-no sort of question can also be detected via the rising of intonation, as in "So, you want to become a benthos geologist?" (Burridge, et al; 2011)

Australian English has a common tendency to disregard many consonants, notably "t". This phenomenon is known as flapping. Often the "t" sound is replaced with the "d" sound. "Bit" is pronounced as "bid". This can be explained by looking a places of articulation. The organs (tongue and alveolar ridge) of speech come together, but they don't part to make the little explosion that characterises the stopped consonant. Vowels are also pronounced in ways that are distinctive to Australia. The word "hat" can sometimes be heard as "hæt". This sound might well be attributed to influence from Irish English. Victorians in particular tend to pronounce the states capital city as Malbourne instead of Melbourne. The "A" sound is placed before the "L" sound, where as the "E" sound in many other lexicons. This phenomena is currently being researched by linguists at the University of Melbourne (Wellmaxx; 2010).

Prosodic features in Australia are very distinctive. Sentences often finish with rising intonation. This is sometimes known as "Uptalk". Uptalk is often used in interrogative sentences as a way of indirectly asking questions. This sort of questioning is not found in North America and Britain. Because of this, Uptalk has been stereotyped and often stigmatised as a distinctive pattern of Australian English since the early 1960s when people first became aware of it (Horvath 2004: 639).

Australian English has many distinctive features which contribute to attitudes towards it and other English varieties. Australian English has historically been viewed as inferior to many speakers of English, including Australians themselves. The varieties of British English and American English have always been considered to be superior as those versions of the language in question have been dominant for non - linguistic reasons. Britain dominated the world politically, socially and technologically for centuries until America took the platform as the worlds superpower in the middle of the 20th century. In accordance with what seems to be pluricentric tradition, speakers of dominant varieties tend to have opinionated and rigid attitudes to non-dominant ones. For instance, speakers of dominant national varieties are often unable to differentiate other non - dominant varieties such as Australian English and New Zealand English, believe that diversity is restricted to spoken language and believe that their variety, whether it be American or British, is the absolute standard. Dominant varieties of English are also common in the media. Many movies, television programs, and video games have characters with American accents. Characteristics of American English for example such as certain lexemes, distinctive grammatical features and syntactic patterning are sometimes picked up Australian youth as they are led to believe it is in some way better than their native version of English. This can be described as an example of cultural cringe (Clyne 1992: 459-62).

For the majority of Australia's comparatively short history, British English (also known sometimes as the "mother tongue") was the standard language used in Australia's institutions, including primary and secondary schools. It was only about 40 to 30 years ago that Australian English dictionaries and grammar guides were first published. Debatably this could be a reflection of when the Australian society was mature and confident enough to promote its own expression of the English Language. It was around this time that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) began to use the Australian accent on television. Before this, the ABC would either recruit people from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) who spoke the then perceived 'cleaner' and 'proper' English, or higher Australians who had received their educations from British universities such as Cambridge and Oxford. This shows progress in Australian English and that the 'cultural cringe' gradually deteriorated.

Australian English is a relatively new variety of the English Language. It is both formal and informal in register. It has its own distinctive features that are brought about by its regional and cultural influences. Based on these multifactorial influences, the attitudes towards Australian English have changed and will continue to change in generations to come.

Friday, 1 January 2016

The Rise and Fall of Japan

Hello and Happy New Year FMK!

This blog post was heavily inspired by Lxeon's post about Japanese culture and martial expressions. I recommend you check it read it if you haven't already:

Lxeon's post is fascinating and the Japanese culture is a great topic to study for many reasons. I feel that before I really get into it, I should state that I am not trying to have a go at Japan. I am simply sharing with you my knowledge of Japan's involvement in the globalised world (mainly) in the 20th century because when there is knowledge, ignorance disappears. When you gain knowledge about a part of the whole, your overall knowledge of the whole is enhanced.

When Japan's feudal system disassembled in the late 1870s, Japan abandoned it's isolation policy and hired people from Western countries such as Britain, France, Germany and to a lesser extent America to come to Japan to accelerate the nations modernisation. The Japanese saw the political, economical and technological superiority the West had worked hard to build, and they wanted it. The diagram below illustrates the class structure of feudal Japan.

Japan first started to flex it's muscles on the international stage by invading Korea and the Northern region of China which was then known as Manchuria. To gain this land, Japan had to wage a war against Russia for the territory in 1905. Interestingly enough, Aikido's founder Morihei Ueshiba took part in this war, before his spiritual enlightenment. The 1905 war resulted in Japan's victory. However, this didn't win over the Wests respect or even recognition as a nation.

Japan played a small part in fighting for the allied powers during World War One. Japanese delegates tried to play an active role in the reshaping of the world at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, however, they, as were the Chinese, were alienated and racially discriminated against by the western nations. This infuriated Japan. Japan was already a worldly, ambitious, aggressive and yang dominated nation, but the Wests arrogance and disrespect made it a hole lot worse.

When World War Two erupted 20 years later, countries all over the world sent the main bulk of their armies off to Europe to fight Hitlers Nazi empire. This left the Asia/Pacific region vulnerable, a fact that Japan capitalised on, invading China and killing 21 (approx) million people. Japan was a chain of over populated islands with little natural resources. To maintain it's growth, colonial expansion was considered the solution. America, the now 'giant of the West', saw this and thus decided to stop selling Its natural resources to Japan. This meant that Japan's colonial expansion would become unsustainable and the Japanese war machine would be incapacitated in 6 months. To avoid this, Japan went to take natural resources from those who had them. Thus Japan's expansion proceeded South, invading France's colonies Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The French couldn't defend their southeast Asian colonies as France had been defeated by Germany in 1940. The extent of Japan's power was evident in its invasion of Indonesia. Just like the French, the Dutch were incapacitated from effectively protecting their colonial property as they, like most European nations had been defeated by Nazi Germany. The island nation of Britain were a slight exception and did make notable efforts to protect their colonial interests such as Hong Kong (where Bruce Lee lived at the time as a young child), Malaysia and Singapore, but Japan's military mite could not be stopped. Most European nations focussed on their own survival first, their overseas possessions second. By 1941 the only nations in the Asia-Pacific region still standing against Japan were Australia and New Zealand. This is due to geographical isolation more than anything else. Australia and New Zealand's populations were too small to wage an all out war against Japan's Empire and the main bulk of their armies had been sent off to aid in the fight against Nazi Germany in defence of Britain, the mother country. The map below illustrates the extent of Japan's colonial expansion.

For the populations that fell under Japanese control, life became very hard. Bruce Lee was a child in this mess. Much of his hatred expressed in his movies towards the Japanese originated from this time. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, believed that Japan had become far too violent and Yang dominated at the time. He believed the Japan's militaristic government was distorting the meaning of Bushido. Later in Ueshiba's life, he stated: "There was nothing nobel about using the arts of war to seize the land of other domains out of sheer greed". By the 1940's, Japan had become a brutally aggressive nation. Often, allied soldiers were beheaded as punishment for surrendering. The World War 2 propaganda poster below describes how many people felt about Japan at the time.

Eventually Japan would surrender to the allied powers after being on the receiving end of the first and only two nuclear bombs to be used in a war. Many people put this down to the fact that they bombed Pearl Harbour four years earlier on December 7th 1941. While the Pearl Harbour attacks were a key part of the War that ultimately changed the tide now that the Americans would fight alongside the allied powers, it is very inaccurate to state that Pearl Harbour alone was why America dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many people forget, it was 4 YEARS OF WAR that got the Americans to make their history determining decision. To understand this more, we must dive deeper into the details of what the war was actually like and view it from the cultural perspectives of both sides.

Different cultural approaches to war can be seen in the technology used by both sides. The Japanese were strongly influenced by the cultural and philosophical codes that were followed by the Samurai of Japan's feudal era. Hence, the Samurai culture was demonstrated on multiple levels during World War 2. One of my favourite examples of this is seen in the main fighter aircrafts of both sides. Firstly, let's look at the Japanese Zero. I must stress the importance of how frugality, loyalty, martial skill and honour were evident in the design philosophies of these to aircraft.

The Zero had a very long range for it's day. It could travel 560 miles on a full tank of fuel; an example of frugality which was essential for the type of war they were fighting. By this I mean 'island hopping' was necessitated in the pacific war; any piece of land was a strategic stronghold and potential re-fuel point. The Zero had no armoured glass or armoured plating to protect the pilot and no self sealing fuel tanks, meaning the if one bullet penetrated the fuel tank, the plane would explode. The absence of these features meant that Japanese pilots had the longest training in the world at the time. The absence of these features also meant that the plane was very nimble. The plane couldn't take a hit, so it was up to the highly trained pilot to utilise the Zeros agility in combat. These are examples of frugality and martial skill. More examples are clearly evident in the aircrafts armaments. The Zero was armed with two 7.7mm machine guns with a rate of fire of 10 shots per second. Each gun started with 60 bullets, again reducing the weight and increasing the agility of the plane. After only 6 seconds of shooting, the plane was out of ammunition, meaning that every shot had to hit it's target with pin point accuracy. Another feature that added to the Zeros agility was absence of an electronic firing system. The Zeros comparatively primitive firing system was operated by cables which were far more light weight and less likely to malfunction. This was in essence, the 'one hit, one kill' method, as practiced by the samurai of old and Iaido practitioners today.

The Japanese pilots themselves were immensely loyal to their social superiors and to most of all, to their Emperor Hirohito, who was treated as if he was a God. There are accounts of Japanese pilots who had crashed in the ocean and refused to be saved by American navel personnel because capture was too disgraceful to live with, thus many pulled the pins out of their grenades. There's even video footage of a pilot pulling out the pin with his teeth. Life was considered to be a temporary phenomenon anyway, like a bubble on the surface of the water according to Japanese Buddhism of the day. At least they would take their honour with them and prove to their God that they would never cooperate with the enemy under ANY circumstances. The one practical issue with this was that Japan ran out of highly trained pilots towards the end of the war, unlike the Americans who had pilots in the air for years. This is because the Americans were of the 'Live to fight another day!' philosophy. This is clearly seen in their own fighter aircraft design, the Wildcat.

The American Whildcat had a medium flight range of 460 miles on a full tank as opposed to the Zeros 560 miles, however, this wasn't disadvantageous to the Americans because they had more aircraft carriers than the Japanese. The safety of the pilot was highly prioritised in the Wildcats design. The Wildcat was fitted with 10kg of armoured glass, armoured plating behind the pilot and a self sealing fuel tank, meaning the plain could probably sustain multiple hits. These features further decreased the Wildcats fuel efficiency and agility by weighing the plain down. What this plane lacked in agility, it made up for in fire power, which is something America historically seems to love.

The Wildcat was armed with two 12.7mm machine guns on each wing that were operated with an electronic firing system. Each gun had 450 rounds of ammunition per gun, which far out does the Zeros 60 rounds per gun. The Wildcats guns were far less accurate than the Zero, it would spread a cone of fire around the target in the hope that one bullet would hit it's target. This would have been considered wasteful by most military forces of the time, but America being the rich country it was had an unlimited supply of ammunition and military machinery and as such, frugality was not as important. Because the pilot was well protected and had a high supply of ammunition, military skill didn't have to be as sophisticated. The Americans interpretation of honour was different to the Japanese at the time. They put a much higher value on living and surviving because life is the most precious phenomenon known to man, in the common western mentality. Yes, life is temporary like a bubble on the surface of the water, but does that mean we should through it away just to avoid being taken prisoner when there may be a chance too see loved ones again? I think both there is truth to be found in both mentalities.

World War 2 ended when America dropped two atomic bombs over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 100.000 people in the process. Americas decision to do this was not made lightly and was done with great reluctance. In 1945, Japan was essentially a defeated nation. There was no way that they still could have won the war, but, despite receiving messages from America pleading for Japan to surrender, most of the Japanese leaders wanted to stand firm and fight until the final fight that they believed would happen on their home soil. If Japan was to lose a war for the first time in its history, then it would do so with honour (again, their common interpretation of honour at the time). Japan was preparing for an invasion from America and was going so far as to train school girls to stab Americans with with sharpened sticks. What America would have considered nonsensical stubbornness that would achieve nothing, Japan considered it honourable and dignified to fight until the very end. America counted it's casualties in recent strategic victories on islands such as Okinawa and Iwo Jima and predicted that if they were to physically invade Japan, approximately 1 million Americans would die in the proses. From Americas point of view, 1,000,000 more deaths wasn't worth just getting Japan to sign a piece of paper saying, 'Ok I surrender'. Again, from Americas perspective they were saving lives. The first Atomic bomb was dropped Hiroshima. Japan did not surrender. The second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Finally, Japan surrendered, brining World War 2 to an end and gave up it's colonial rule over Korea and China. No one at the time, not even the Americans new how destructive the atomic bombs would be because the technology had only just been invented.

In the coming years after the war, America felt bad about what happened to Japan and thus spent large amounts of money into helping Japan rebuild. Through this cooperative contact with the Americans, Japan adopted many Western cultural activities such as Baseball. This also presented many challenges for Japan's Martial Arts because the Americans saw them to be too warlike. This was the opposite for Ueshiba's art of peace Aikido, which began to flourish. This is however, a potential topic for another time. For a long time, many people didn't like the Japanese because of their brutal 'take no prisoners' attitude practised during the war'. Politically however, Japan gained a lot more respect from the Western side of the world. It can not be denied that the atomic bombs were the most horrible phenomena for Japan at the time. However, I think it was ultimately a good thing for the world in the long term. The world saw previously unimaginable destructive power of atomic weaponry and in every war since, not one nation haste utilised atomic weaponry due to the paradoxical phenomenon known as mutually assured destruction or "MAD" as historians call it for convenience. Not even a decade after the war, China resorted to communism and became the new perceived 'Threat to the free world' as America would have called it. Again, this is a potential post for another time. If you want to learn about the Second World War, I suggest watching the documentary series below...

Apocalypse - The Second World War:

Today, Japan has one of the strongest economies in the developed world. Japan became known for producing well respected technology products from companies such as a billion dollar electronic gaming company known as Nintendo, many cartoons popular in the west. Japanese car companies such as Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi (Mitsubishi also made the 'Zero' fighter aircraft) also make up a large part of the international car market. Even to disregard materialistic products, Japan has made great contributions to the world and I world be doing the nation injustice by not referring to them. The contributions I referring to are the Martial Arts and the practice of Zen. I'm sure there are more contributions that I don't even know about. Because of such practices in Japan, the people there have the highest life expectancies in the world.

I haven't had very much exposure to people from other countries or cultural backgrounds in person. A number of years ago however, a group of Japanese students came to my high school to experience school in another country and to strengthen relationships with my shire of which I reside and Toki City in Japan. They spent a short time with us and from my limited experience, they were some of the most respectable people I have ever met. Japan spread a lot of negativity around the world, but that was more than 50 years before I was born. I feel it is important to not see Japan as the nation as it was then. We should see it as the nation it is now. I appreciate what Japan has to teach in the Martial Arts that I find value in, just as I appreciate teachings from Korea and China. To me, the east is one hole that wouldn't be what it is without the interactions from each country that makes up that whole. This is how view everything in the Universe. I only break things down and enter the realms of dualism when I need to understand the big picture, and that is what the study of history essentially is.

If you want to learn more about Japan's rise to imperial supremacy and fall after years of brutal attrition, all in the first half to the 20th century, I suggest watching this documentary from my own personal studying experience.

The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire:

Thank You for Reading