C&S Self Defense Association has its developmental roots reaching all the way back to the early 1970's. Always the smallest in my karate class, I had to make up for my size and weight difference in two areas: First was my technical understanding of force application, and second was through the intensity and ferocity in which I approached my studies and workouts. My technical analysis was facilitated through my study of physics, which I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science Degree in. During college, I also undertook a study of psychology and philosophy which aided me in later preparing the philosophical tenants upon which I built my life and my art.
The intensity and ferocity with which I trained was at first empty and forced: an actor portraying a character whom he wished to be in real life. But as my dedication to my training responsibilities did not diminish with time, I grew as strong as I previously had only wished to be. I became the product of what I had thought. But it was only with much commitment to the training process that this occurred. And as all facets of the art began to come together for me, I saw the intricate interrelationships that constituted the very fabric of life, and how I had finally begun to come into harmony with that process.
Back when I had graduated from college, I had bought a cat to study. Everyone on campus called me "cat" because of the way that I darted around. I had adopted the personality of the cat in my art: my body and muscle structure were well suited to the movements of the cat, and I used this in the development of my karate as I prepared for my 2nd Degree Black Belt exams. I studied the cat for about five years. For all purposes, I was the cat. But as my students began to advance and develop time in karate, I realized that other areas of attention would be more appropriate and beneficial to them than to begin with the cat. I chose the crane as the starting animal to teach to my new disciples in the White Cobra as I continued over the next ten years to transition from the cat to the tiger, dragon, and snake.
The crane, and in particular the white crane, became for me the stimulus for my transition from the hard forms of karate to the more subtle movements found in the traditional Chinese arts: those arts from which karate was spawned at a much later time. The crane was a marvelous way of demonstrating my theories of efficient and economical power dispersion to my students. After all, who would suspect the crane capable of generating power from its graceful and seemingly gentle movements, the grand spreading of its wings, or its picturesque one legged stance. By becoming the crane, I was able to show my students first hand how "slow makes fast; soft makes hard". It was a rude awakening for many, but those who persisted through the three to five years that it takes to understand the crane were amazed at the changes that had taken place in them. The crane is how I introduce to a new disciple this entirely different method of looking at and studying the art. That is why the crane appears on our logo.
The snake, and in particular the cobra, is an altogether different approach to our study. Where the crane teaches harmony and flow, theory and technical precision- the snake teaches tenacity, ferocity, and total commitment to the strike. The cobra is the most unpredictable of natures animals. It does not run when startled: it waits, and looks for the opportunity to attack. The cobra attacks for the sake of attacking, not just for food or self preservation as most animals do. The cobra will attack when it would be least expected, and once the attack begins, it will pursue and destroy its prey with no mercy or concern for its own well being. The cobra has no fear because it is fear. In short: the cobra is one of if not the most deadly, dangerous, sneaky, unpredictable, and fierce fighters in the world. That is why the cobra appears on our logo.
Like the crane, we do not wish to fight. To the crane, it is better to avoid conflict at all costs rather than to risk injury to oneself or the unnecessary injury of another. The strikes of the crane are meant to defend to the extent of the attack. However, when we must fight, we must be like the cobra: willing to fight to the end, to survive at all costs, to totally disable and render useless those who would try to take advantage of us.
The crane and the snake form one of the true duality's of nature, all in accord with the process of nature. When we can flow from crane to snake and snake to crane we flow with nature and can walk unafraid within our life. This is why my system is called the White Cobra: it is the white from the crane, and the cobra from the snake that proclaim a philosophy of life steeped in strict discipline and intense character development.
The crane in the logo is red because red represents life force, purity, vitality, and a celebration of life as found in the harmonious flow of peace through our life. Red is the emblem of joy for all festive occasions. Red is also the color of the gods. It is pure and unsullied. Through ancient times, red reflects the existence of sacred glory and everlasting exaltation, and has been a symbol of virtue, truth and sincerity.
In contrast, the snake is blue, a color representing strength for good and yet dark and foreboding in relationship to the peace of the crane. Blue represents solid strength for good; a good that cannot be crossed by any natural or supernatural entity. Blue holds the maternal source of ancestors and of all history. The blue dragon Ching Lung was the guardian of the Taoist temple gates. Blue means celestial; the blue of the sky after rain. When the emperor worshipped heaven, he wore blue (azure) in allusion to the sky. The snake is blue to show its power and life force.
The yellow background represents the gold of the sun and of the power of all of nature. Yellow is the color of royalty, the color of the hero, the color of heaven and of the Way. Ancient Chinese wrote charms on yellow paper to ward away evil spirits. Yellow is a sacred color. It is the color of the emperors, and is thus a fitting background for the contrasting harmonies of crane and snake. The logo is circular representing the cyclicness of all of nature's events: that which goes up must come down, that which is good must be balanced by an equal and opposing bad (but who is to say which is good and which is bad since both meet on the same plane), that which is white and pure must be balanced by that which is black and occluded, that which creates the most joy can also be the cause of the most sorrow, that which is planted can then be harvested, etc.
The Crane and Snake give us the C and the S which make up the name of our association; an association of harmony between the unique characteristics of the crane and of the snake. Our logo is a pictorial representation of our philosophy of peace and harmony within all of nature based on our understanding of the duality of all elements that comprise that nature.
Some sources for the meanings of our logo colors:
- Ron Hayes: conversations with Mrs. Ping Foong, Head China Studies Department Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
- Folktales of the World. Eberhard, Wolfram (ed.). University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1965 Revised Edition.
- Japan Color. Tanaka, Ikko, and Koike, Kazuko (ed.). Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1982.
- Myths and Legends of China. Werner, E.T.C. Arno Press, New York, 1976.
- Outlines of Chinese Symbolisms and Art Motives. Williams, C.A.S. Charles E. Tuttle Company, Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo, Japan, 1974.