Sea-Monsters – “… That’s OK”

28 Jul

It’s been a bit of a bumpy road lately. Though it may sound a bit preachy, my kata practice and particularly Sanchin Kata help positively adjust my physical, psychological and emotional states. Frankly, on some days, kata is the only safe harbor. On such days, I reflect upon a passage written by John Steinbeck,

Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans.
For the ocean, deep and black in depths, is like the low dark levels of our minds in which the dream symbols incubate and sometimes rise up to sight. . . And even if the symbol vision is horrible, it is there and it is ours. An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep. (See Endnote # 1)

Whale watching off the coast of Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

Whale watching off the coast of Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

I thought the passage would make for an introspective group online kata session.

Although we like to think the universe as one of harmony, it is in fact a representative balance of chaotic, opposing forces – hot/cold, large/small, active/passive, joy/sorrow, good/evil and the like. So too, we like to achieve harmony in our lives. Such harmony is only possible when we recognize the opposing forces that lie without and within ourselves. We may have little influence over the factors that are external to ourselves, but we can directly influence the factors that lie within ourselves. To do so, we must not desire to suppress them, rather, we must recognize the darkness, the sea-monster, if you will, that lies within us. Once recognized, such sea-monsters can be dispelled. To this end, I offer the next “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata session,
Sea-Monsters? . . . That’s OK

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing Sanchin in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Date: starting Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: any convenient, quiet time for introspection;
Location: Preferably an outdoor location and if at all possible, by the sea or other body of water;
Salient Points:
Prior to the scheduled session, familiarize yourself with the Steinbeck’s passage;
Read the above again prior to embarking upon your day;
If you are in a positive frame of mind, perform the traditional Sanchin Kata;
If you are having a difficult time physically or emotionally, perform the Shobu-version of Sanchin. Use this aggressive version to vent such negativity (A video of the Shobu version is in endnote # 2);
After your performance, again read the above passage and consider the “sea monsters” (negative aspects) that dwell within you.” Remember that even if these “sea-monsters” are dark and deep, they are yours. Recognize them and work to positively change them. For without these “sea-monsters” you would be empty, like a dreamless sleep.
Change the negative aspects into a positive force in your life and enrich yourself in the process;

The last requirement of this “. . . That’s OK” session is to remain in a positive physical, emotional and mental state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind.” For information on the Zanshin state-of-mind, please use this LINK:

Once again, you may wish to not only perform this online session as scheduled, but may also revisit it as you wish. Do this as an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

In closing, I remain aware that sea-monsters do exist and reside within all of our personal oceans,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

1. John Steinbeck, The Log Of The Sea Of Cortez (Penguin Books, New York, NY) p.27-28.
2. Here’s my Shobu (Combat) kime version of Sanchin (a more aggressive version)

KATA LAB   For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link:

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

Sensei John is now on Facebook, under – FLY FISHING DOJO, you are invited to send a Facebook friend request.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE  my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing
DOJO STICKER-1  the Goshin-Do Karate blog at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: