Caregiver – A Samurai (Shibumi Kata)

25 Jan



You are a caregiver. YOU are a Samurai!


You have been entrusted with one of the most essential and defining characteristics of being human – caring for the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of another. Your own physical, emotional and psychological well-being directly affects your ability to care for the well-being of the afflicted person. Therefore, it is essential that you maintain positive physical, emotional and psychological health.

To think that you will simply exist in a positive state during your term as caregiver is an illusion.

  • You will face physical challenges of exhaustion, fatigue and maybe even aches and pains.
  • Emotionally you may have periods of sadness, anxiety, frustration and the like.
  • Psychologically, you may doubt that you are up to the task of giving care, or fear the road ahead and similar thoughts.

You must have a means of modifying these states; an outlet for your physical and emotional challenges. That outlet can be the Shibumi Kata.

First, know your status as caregiver has warrior roots – – –  the Samurai.

The word invokes thoughts of loyal, fearless warriors, or “Bushi,” for whom honor, courage and discipline were self-evident. Loosely translated, the kanji, or calligraphy, for “Samurai” translates as “To serve.” The kanji has also been figuratively translated as “those who serve in close attendance to the nobility.”

samurai kanji-red

As you can see by definition, you as a caregiver are a Samurai!

You should think and act at all times as a descendent of these honorable, courageous and loyal Bushi.

The afflicted person who has been entrusted in your care is akin to the nobility. As they are physically and possibly emotionally debilitated from their illness, treatment (such as chemotherapy) or both. They are noble in their quest to overcome their debilitation. As such, their needs are tantamount to your needs as caregiver.

Their needs come before yours. For example, if they are hungry you must feed them before satisfying your own hunger; if they need assistance in the bath or shower, you must assist whether or not you are fatigued and the like. To this end, you must seek your inner physical and emotional strength and balance.

Need for Shibumi Kata:

In times of physical, emotional or psychological difficulty, you must reach within your inner being and psyche. Use the Shibumi Kata to help you remove these difficulties. You can perform the Shibumi Kata as passively or aggressively as you need to adjust yourself. For example, if you are fatigued physically, or emotionally anxious, you may desire to perform the movements of Shibumi with an aggressive attitude so as to dispel your negative state. Conversely, if you are physically and emotionally well, the Shibumi Kata can be performed as a moving-mediation to maintain or enhance your positive state.

I designed the Shibumi Kata so that you may alter the performance as your needs may require, perform Shibumi

  • as a full kata with the connecting moves, or perform only those sequences that you may require;
  • repeat any sequence as many times as you desire;
  • perform the physical movements as intense or passive as you desire or as you may be capable of performing;
  • concentrate not only on the eight physical movements but also the accompanying psychological modifiers, select those that you feel will help you;


Now, go forth and complete your task as a Samurai!

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi, “Understated Elegance,”


Sensei John Szmitkowski

invincible summer For details on how to participate in Sensei John’s most recent cyber-group Kata session where you can perform Shibumi as a member of an online community, please use this link:

  © Copyright 2014 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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