Katannabis – Designing Your Kata Syllabus: Level II Kata

21 Feb

Detail of levels

Level II Kata

Level Two is an interesting level. The kata you choose for this level will not be selected for its physical characteristics. That being said, the Kata must be one that is, again, performed with Kime (focus) and not one with exaggerated breathing and dynamic tension. Don’t worry, such kata will play a very important role in the levels to come.

The kata in this level will be one chosen for its non-physical properties. The kata must be associated, linked, intertwined with a memory. The memory may be one of a place, event, or person. The goal of level two is to call to mind the non-physical properties of kata. Each kata contains a mental state, emotion, psyche all found within the performer. This level wants the Katannabis practitioner to awaken him or her self to the non-physical properties of kata. This is particularly so with the ability of kata to link us to past events, persons or places with still reside within our psyche.

My chosen Kata provides an excellent example.

The Kata I use for the level is Kunchaba Kata (See below for a video featuring Hanshi Frank Van Lenten). It is a kata that is not part of the Goshin-Do style I learned. It was incorporated into the style after Shihan DeFelice left the Goshin-Do Kyokai. A member of the Kyokai that became a great friend in my later years was Shihan Wayne Norlander. Shihan Norlander, or “Sensei Wayne,” as I knew him attained the rank of  Ku-Dan, ninth-degree black belt at the time his untimely death on May 18th 2011. Sensei Wayne, and I would share many thoughts, ideas, theories and yes, even kata. One such kata he shared with me was Kunchaba. In exchange, I taught his two senior Yudansha the Ufuichiku No Eaku (Oar) Kata.

Sensei’s passing, May 18th, 2011, was a Wednesday. Every Wednesday, since that melancholy day, I have performed Kunchaba in his memory. This had two effects. First, in the thirteen years, more than 676 Wednesdays, since that day, the Kunchaba Kata has been inextricably linked to Sensei’s memory and honor. In essence, it is imbued with his spirit; almost to a point of personification. Second, Wednesday has effectively become a sacred, almost “holy” day for me. Many strange events have taken place on a Wednesday – even having my life saved, you can read about that here  https://senseijohn.me/2017/02/01/a-deceased-sensei-saved-my-life/ . Thus, for my Katannabis, it is the perfect kata for level two.

Do not despair if you do not presently have such a kata in your repertoire. You can also “manufacture” the personal connection. For example, you can use a kata that you 

  • Have a special memory or story attached to, especially if it pertains to your instructor or the learning of the Kata;
  • A favorite Kata that you performed on vacation, or for a special event that would invoke a memory of that special place;
  • A Kata you otherwise enjoy that you could imbue with memory by performing regularly throughout you daily life;
  • Gasp!! A Kata you perform at tournaments. Yeah, being no fan of the superficiality of tournaments, I’m grasping at straws here to get you started on your Katannabis meditation journey.

As Katannabis ritual meditation uses the physical battles of Kata as a catalyst to explore the Non-physical Battles, to wit: the Spiritual (psyche, emotions, etc) and the Metaphysical (higher frequency and dimensional environments), it is at this level that the non-physical components of a Kata needs to move to the forefront. Choose your Kata wisely and imbue it with as much non-physical energy as you can. This will only increase in efficacy as your walk further down the path of your Katannabis journey. Most recently, I have rearranged my Katannabis Kata syllabus to begin my session with my level two Kata – Kunchaba. It has become that powerful. Though not a plant, kata is almost an entheogen in and of itself. 

Cum Superiorum Privilegio Veniaque

Sensei John Szmitkowski


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