Kata Lab # 1210 – Kata Of The Mind

20 Jun

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My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.




Summer. Two months when most students leave the Dojo for summer vacation. More likely than not when the students return from vacation, they forgot at least one kata. Except one summer and one student, whom I’ll call Jacqui. She taught me a lesson. That lesson led to this Kata Lab. Jacqui was away at camp all summer. She was a relatively good student though a bit lazy. Her first night back at the Dojo, I wanted to gauge how much she forgot. While her kata were a bit awkward, I was amazed that she did not forget any kata. I told her that I was happy she found time to practice while at camp. To my surprise, she told me that she did not practice any kata the whole summer. Rather, she informed me that “lights-out” was rather early and she often laid in her bed bored and unable to sleep. To alleviate her boredom, she thought about her kata and mentally “practiced” them. With that conversation with Jacqui, the seeds of this kata lab were planted. Before the next summer, Jacqui stopped training. Her “legacy” lives on.


Notwithstanding the motto of my Kata Lab, “Think * Sweat * Experiment”, this kata labs involves very little sweating. For this lab you should:

Find a quiet place to sit comfortably. My preference is always an outdoor location; however, the first time you try this lab, you may wish to preserve a “martial atmosphere” and do the lab in your Dojo and while wearing your gi. Now, mentally perform your kata as if you were performing it physically:

• Strive for technical perfection;
• Speed and power should be as appropriate within the kata;
• Timing of breath, inhalation and exhalation must be accurate;
• Kiai where called for and in the appropriate manner;
• Maintain the proper focus and mental attitude as if you were physically doing the kata.

Once you are comfortable with this kata lab, move your mental practice outdoors. Concentrate on:

• Visualize how the different terrain affects your mental kata. Should you be aware of slippery surfaces? Is the kata being visualized going up or down a hill, if so, what is the effect?
• Is the air temperature hot, cold, raining or snowing? Visualize the effect


Not only is this kata lab a fun mental exercise, but as Jacqui did, it allows you to remember your kata in a convenient manner. You can mentally practice your kata any place and any time. It also provides a convenient introduction into the spiritual aspect (state-of-mind, emotions and psychology) of kata.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is


This weeks featured video:

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)


Sensei John Szmitkowski

   300-cactus.jpg   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

© Copyright 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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