Sensei’s Kata-Rx Journal Entry # 1: A Sensei Inspires . . .

11 Jan

“Goshin-Do Karate Black Belts can’t be killed. We only die when we are ready to die and not before.” Shihan Thomas DeFelice, January 3rd, 2021
———-oooooOOOooooo———-

2020 was a tough year. I don’t think anyone reading this would disagree. By New Years eve I couldn’t wait for it to end. The final straw that broke my mental state was the loss of my younger brother Rob on the day after Christmas. Bruised and battered, I had enough. I bordered on beaten.

Circa 1975, my brother Rob a purple belt standing next to me on the far right.

I had e-mailed my Sensei, Tom DeFelice, to let him know of Rob’s passing. He replied and asked how things were going. My response was that things were rough. I referenced an ethos within Sensei’s dojo – Anyone that earned the rank of black belt in our style would be physically, mentally and emotionally men of iron. This standard is reflected in the numbers. Sensei DeFelice taught thousands during four decades of operating his Dojo. Yet, only twenty-four persons ever earned black belt rank. The standards were that high. https://defeliceryu.com/yudansha-roster/

Iron can rust and crack. So too can men (of iron). I was rusted but not quite cracked.

Sensei replied to my e-mail. In addition to expressing his condolences, Sensei included the above quote. Now, obviously, Sensei was talking from a philosophical, psychological standpoint, not a physical fact. That quote was exactly what I needed to hear. It struck a cord to the point that I dedicated my daily Kata-Rx meditations to it. I meditated deeply attempting to discover each level of thought contained in that seemingly simple statement. To be sure, I continue my exploration of its riches.


It is said in the martial arts, “When a student is ready the teacher will appear.” What is not said is how a good, pure teacher knows not only when, but also how to reappear. Sensei’s profound words were exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks Sensei – With those words one of your Goshin-Do Karate black belt takes yet another step up the rocky mountain.


Submitted with gratitude,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

To learn my Kata-Rx For Wellness & Mindfulness for FREE please use this safe, convenient link – https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

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