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Kata – My Curse?

22 Sep

November 3rd, 2014: UPDATE: I have completed the “Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata” article and video which was inspired by this article. A link is at the conclusion of the article. Enjoy.

October 20th, 2014: UPDATE: I posted the “Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata” which is referred to in this post. There are links to the video and full article at the end of this post. Enjoy

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I live for karate kata. It sustains and fulfills me. My desire to share my kata insights beyond the dojo walls led me to start this blog in 2010. In 2013 I introduced Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory. My goal is to stimulate those readers that may have lost interest in kata. (link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/ ) With my over four decades of karate experience behind it, my Kata Lab is a fresh look for those with tired, uninspired kata eyes.

KATA LAB

But, I wonder whether my love for kata is a curse. If it is a curse, then am I wrong to encourage practitioners to passionately pursue kata and bunkai? How can my love for kata be a curse? Here is one example. Coincidentally, it comes from the world of chess which requires as much deep practice and analysis as kata. (See Endnote # 1 for my comparison of chess and kata)

Saturday, August 30th, I was feeling quite ill. I spent most of the day in bed exhausted. Though a mere recreational amateur, I enjoy the game of chess. I had my laptop in the bedroom and was watching a live feed of the highest ranking chess tournament, the 2014 Sinquefield Cup held at the St. Louis Chess Center. The broadcast was moderated by GM (Chess Grandmaster) Yasser Seirawan and WGM (Womens Chess Grand Master) Jennifer Shahade with analysis by GM Maurice Ashley.

3 commentators

I lay in bed, half awake, listening to the games, analysis and commentary. Every so often, I would watch when an innovative move was played, or there was an uncommon analysis. But for the most part, it was background noise. Until, the moderators commented on a game in round six between GM Levon Aronian and GM Fabiano Caruana.

aronian-caruana

It was noted that GM Levon Aronian was once a world champion of 960 chess. That penetrated my brain. “What the hell is 960 chess?” I wanted to stay under the covers, but I had to know. I pulled back the covers and looked online.

960 chess is also known as “Fischer chess” after world champion GM Bobby Fischer. GM Fischer invented 960 chess. He randomized the starting position of the major pieces on the home ranks (King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Rook). According to Wikipedia (I have a link in Endnote # 2),

Fischer’s goal was to eliminate what he considered the complete dominance of openings preparation in chess today replacing it with creativity and talent. (My emphasis)

Damn! I had to read that! I kicked off the covers, took my laptop into my office and began to write. My mind was swirling with a kata idea. I had already written a Kata Lab discussing the merits of performing the movements of Sanchin Kata in reverse order. Now, I was haunted by the idea that I could use the concept of Fischer chess to advance that Kata Lab one step further. I thought of a randomized “Fischer-Sanchin” Kata Lab. Worried that I would forget my thoughts, I hurried to write them down. So much for being sick, trying to recuperate in bed.

And that is my kata curse. Ideas and innovation occur at any time; whether you welcome them or not. I would like to say that the motivation for my Kata Laboratory is to motivate you to practice your kata with imagination, talent and creativity. Perhaps; however, I simply want to lure you into the dark depths of my kata curse.

The motto of Sensei John’s Kata Lab is, “Think * Sweat * Experiment.” I’ve thought about the concept of “Fischer-Sanchin.” Now, I’m sweating and experimenting, practicing it daily (another part of the kata curse). Eventually, I’ll post links for both the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab and the Fischer-Sanchin Kata Lab together with accompanying videos when I finish them.

November 3rd, 2014: I have completed the video and article “Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata” which was inspired by this article. Enjoy.

Link to full article (which also contains the video): https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/

October 20th, 2014: I posted the video and article for my “Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata.” Enjoy.

Link to full article:
https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/

Until then, please enjoy two of my Sanchin variants, “Shobu (Combat) Sanchin” filmed with watching vultures and “Four Direction Sanchin.” Both were filmed in 2011 at the beautiful Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

Until the next submission, I remain haunted and cursed by my beloved kata,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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ENDNOTES:
1. I find it interesting that there are other similarities between kata and chess including the following:
A. both have exotic names, for example;
Kata                                   chess opening
Gekisai (To destroy)      Benoni Defense (“Son of my sorrow”)
Seienchin                         Pterodactyl Defense
Suparunpei                      Fried Liver Attack
and so forth

B. both have rankings for experts, black belts are ranked by belt level, chess masters are ranked by ratings points

C. both inspire the most enlightened participants to use their imagination to develop a more creative approach (Fischer chess being one example). Another example is found in the case of GM Seirawan (shown above) who created Seirawan-chess, also known as “Sharper-chess.” For more, please use this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seirawan_chess

2. Here is the link to the Wikipedia article on Chess 960: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960

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 that is dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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Bunkai – A Dirty Little Secret

18 Aug

Here’s a dirty little secret. Martial artists, karate practitioners and even my circle of Goshin-Do colleagues may disagree with what follows.

Bunkai, a Japanese term for the analysis of kata, is a closely guarded secret of karate practitioners. For a price (seminar fees, videos, books, etc) the purse strings around the secrets of bunkai can be loosened. So what is the dirty little secret about kata analysis?
Simple.
Anyone, even those without five minutes of traditional karate lessons, can engage in kata analysis. Bunkai is for anyone.
How? First you need to know a kata. A fortiori, anyone can and should acquaint themselves with Sanchin Kata for free right here on this blog. Link: https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/

Next, you need to understand what bunkai is. Karate practitioners often mistakenly define the term bunkai as the practical self-defense applications of kata movements. This is limited and wrong. Bunkai is defined as “analysis.” Karate practitioners, to their detriment, limit their analysis of kata solely to the practical applications of the self-defense techniques within the kata movements.

It is my goal to broaden the concept of kata bunkai to include omitted aspects of analysis. In their bunkai practice, martial artists tend to ignore two fundamental aspects of kata. These aspects are the spiritual aspect of kata (the manner in which kata affects your mental, psychological and emotional state) and the metaphysical aspect (the manner in which kata connects you to the environment).

My non-martial artist readers can readily appreciate the value of kata analysis beyond the physical analysis of kata.

In my over four decades of karate-do, I have observed the application of time spent on kata bunkai (analysis) by martial artists is roughly:

  • Physical bunkai – application of self-defense technique within kata movements – 88%
  • Spiritual bunkai – the aspect of the ritual that is kata (how it affects our mind and emotions) – 7%
  • Environmental bunkai – the manner in which our environment affects kata and kata affects the environment – 5%

Those non-martial arts readers that avail themselves of my free Sanchin, can engage in analysis from an entirely different perspective. The time spent on such analysis would downplay the self-defense application and emphasize the remaining two aspects. Further, once a karate-ka (practitioners) have sufficiently studied the physical aspects of kata bunkai, they must expand their study. It might look something like this:

  • Physical bunkai – application of self-defense technique within kata movements – 5% (mostly from curiosity in the case of a non-martial artist; for karate-ka, this is to maintain a “sharpened-sword”)
  • Spiritual bunkai – the aspect of the ritual that is kata (how it affects our mind and emotions) – 50%
  • Environmental bunkai – the manner in which our environment affects kata and kata affects the environment – 45%

I’ll post future submissions to illustrate the idea that anyone can perform kata bunkai (analysis) and guide the non-martial arts reader through the process.

Featured Video:

Until, then, I remain ,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy Sanchin and the accompanying analysis of Sanchin, please help support this blog, visit my store.

Come visit my store on CafePress!

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: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/

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 that is dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

DOJO STICKER-1  the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

SOLUTIONS TO: (Sanchin) KATA: A Puzzling Experiment

30 Dec

Some weeks ago, I had posted an experiment concerning my hypothesis that kata can act as a mechanism to enhance brain function. The experiment was designed by Dr. Alan Snyder of the Center For The Mind in Sydney, Australia. The protocol of Dr. Snyder’s experiment used puzzle solving to test the effects of electric stimulation on specific centers of the brain. Using Dr. Snyder’s experiment as a basis, I modified the experiment to replace the external electronic with deep, spiritual kata practice. The protocol of the experiment may be found by clicking the following convenient link:   https://senseijohn.me/2012/11/12/1605/

As promised, here are the solutions to the four puzzles (The matchstick to e moved to correct each equation is shown in red).

 

Until the next submission, I remain,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a convenient link a promotional video about the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

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

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com ** If you experience any difficulty in purchasing online using the above links, please contact me via a “comment” on this blog & I will e-mail you instructions on how to purchase a Sanchin product using a check or money order ***

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

(Sanchin) KATA – A Puzzling Experiment

12 Nov

I have often wondered whether an experiment can be designed to test my hypothesis that the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of karate-do kata can empirically stimulate and increase brain function. I now think such an experiment exists and I invite you to participate in it. Frankly, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain; the least of which is extra kata practice. Such an experiment can, in my opinion, test my Jiriki Kata-Do philosophy (see Endnote # 1). The cornerstone of this philosophy is that karate-do kata ultimately serves as a means of spiritual and metaphysical awakening.

Background:

I recently watched one of my favorite television shows, “Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman.” The specific episode was entitled “Mysteries of the subconscious.” During the episode, an experiment devised by Dr. Alan Snyder of the Center For The Mind in Sydney, Australia was featured. The experiment required a subject to solve a series of mathematical puzzles. The first few puzzles required the subject to make use of the analytical areas of their brain. These puzzles were solved with relative ease. The solution to the next series of puzzles required the subject to use the creative area of their brains. These puzzles presented difficulty, which, more often than not, resulted in the puzzles being unsolved. Dr. Snyder then stimulated the brain’s creative areas with electrical impulses and the subjects were able to solve the puzzles. As I watched the experiment, it occurred to me that it can be used as a potential means to evaluate Jiriki Kata-Do as a methodology of improving and expanding cognitive perception. Jiriki Kata-Do dictates that kata can (and ultimately MUST) be extended beyond the martial application so as to improve not only general physical health, but also spiritual awareness and metaphysical cohesion. Jiriki Kata-Do accomplishes these goals by stimulating the brain so as to enhance the function of mind, cognition and perception. There have been studies as to enhanced brain function resulting from zazen (seated mediation) and prayer, most notably the experiments of Dr. Andrew Newberg, M.D.  (See Endnote # 2) The idea that kata, like prayer can stimulate specific areas of the brain is by far no “leap of faith.” I have previously submitted the idea that kata is the functional equivalent of the Apostle Matthew’s “inner room.” (See Endnote # 3) Not withstanding the effects of kata as analogous to prayer, no experimentation has been done as to kata and enhanced brain function. Dr. Synder’s experiment offers a means to test this enhanced brain function as it relates to kata.

The Experiment:

By using the puzzles from Dr. Snyder’s experiment as a foundation, I propose that deep, spiritual kata practice can be used in lieu of Dr. Synder’s external electrical impulses to stimulate the creative centers of the brain. With this in mind, the experiment is as follows. As in Dr. Snyder’s experiment, there are a series of puzzles which you are to solve. Each puzzle is written in matchsticks using roman numerals and depicts an incorrect mathematical equation. You are to move the position of ONE matchstick to correct the equation. For example, the first puzzle, as written is 1 + 3 = 9. You must move any one matchstick to correct the equation.

Puzzle # 1:

Puzzle # 2:

Puzzle # 3:

Puzzle # 4:

Most of you can solve the first three puzzles. Many of you will have experienced difficulty in solving the final puzzle; in fact, many will not have solved the puzzle at all. The reason for either your failure to solve the final puzzle or if you solved the puzzle, the difficulty experienced is that the final puzzle requires the use of the creative areas of your brain. In his experiment, Dr. Snyder applied electrical impulses for a prescribed amount of time to stimulate specific areas of the subject’s brain. After stimulation, the subject was able to solve the final puzzle. In our experiment, we will use kata to stimulate the creative areas of your brain so as to facilitate solving the puzzle. As outlined below, I ask that you engage in deep, sincere kata practice for at least half an hour and attempt to again solve the final puzzle. Preliminarily, I note that in the event you could not solve the first three puzzles, you should still embark on the experiment and attempt to solve the puzzles after such practice. Please keep the following points in mind:

Kata Guidelines:

  • It must be remembered that the fuel of the brain is oxygen; in order to function properly and efficiently, the body needs to maximize the exchange of oxygen to the brain. Thus while the ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do applies to any karate-do kata, it is more evident when kata based upon deep abdominal breathing and bodily movement are performed.  To this end, kata derived from Goju-ryu, Pang-Noon-Gai-ryu or Uechi-Ryu are preferred. It is for this reason that I introduce the non-martial artist novice to Jiriki Kata-Do utilizing Sanchin, Seienchin and Suparunpei (Pechurin) Kata (To view video of the Jiriki Kata-Do version of these kata, please see the video links set forth in Endnote # 4);
  • For those readers who are not martial artists, but have or are learning Sanchin Kata and/or Seienchin Kata using my DVD’s, please practice these two kata as set forth herein;
  • Your kata should be deeply, sincerely and spiritually practiced; NO interruption should be tolerated and practice should be continual for at least one-half hour; do no stop (if you must catch your breath slow your pace and decrease the intensity of the kata, but keep active). You should strive to use your kata to enter “your inner room and close the door”;
  • After your practice, try to solve the puzzles;
  • More than one kata-problem solving session may be required to achieve success. Do not give up if your first attempt does not result in success.

Conclusion: Based upon my own personal kata practice and theories that gave rise to Jiriki Kata-Do, I submit that kata will stimulate the applicable cognitive and perception centers of your brain so as to facilitate the solving of the puzzles. In a few weeks, I will post the solution to all four puzzles and provide a link here to the solutions. Link:https://senseijohn.me/2012/12/30/solutions-to-sanchin-kata-a-puzzling-experiment/

In so far as I know the outcome of the experiment and the solutions to the puzzles, I cannot subject myself to the experiment, as such, I wholeheartedly welcome your participation and comments. Please do not let ego prevent you from participating. You are encouraged and welcome to e-mail me your results, comments, observations and even criticisms.

HANKO

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

1. For those unfamiliar with the term, Jiriki Kata-Do is my dynamic-philosophy of using kata to attain salvation from within oneself. Salvation in this context is physical, spiritual and metaphysical well-being. To understand the manner in which I conceived of Jiriki Kata-Do from the practice of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, please feel free to read the following article: https://senseijohn.me/2011/10/02/jiriki-kata-do-an-epiphenomenon-of-goshin-do-karate/

2. You are wholeheartedly encouraged to read Dr. Newberg’s experiments, findings and conclusions contained in his book: Newberg, Andrew, M.D., D’Aquill, Eugene, M.D., Ph.D. And, Rause, Vince, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science & The Biology Of Belief (Ballantine Book, New York, NY 2001).

3. “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men.” . . . “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray. . .”Matthew 6:5-6 (Emphasis added).

4. Video links for the Jiriki Kata-Do version of:

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a convenient link a promotional video about the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html ** If you experience any difficulty in purchasing online using the above links, please contact me via a “comment” on this blog & I will e-mail you instructions on how to purchase a Sanchin product using a check or money order ***

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

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

Cape Cod – Seienchin DVD Update

16 Sep

That’s a wrap! 

Summer is over and that means I finished the last filming for the Seienchin DVD. The final video sequences were filmed in beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As with the Sanchin DVD, the Seienchin DVD will include the physical, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of Seienchin, all filmed within beautiful, natural environments. In addition to insightful teachings, the DVD will promise an aesthetically pleasing visual experience.

To heighten your anticipation for the Seienchin DVD, I will share with you a few photos and videos from the Cape Cod filming.

First, I would like to express my thanks to all at the Sandbars Inn in Truro, MA (WWW.Sandbars.Com) for their courtesy and hospitality during our stay. The Sandbars is so beautifully situated on Cape Cod bay that we were able to film a number of videos a few yards from our bedroom door. To see, hear and otherwise experience this wonderful location, here are a few short videos that I produced for the Dojo’s Karate-Do website (WWW.DeFeliceRyu.Com) Portions of these videos made use of this convenient and pleasing locale (See Endnote # 1). For now, these videos are ONLY available to reader’s of this blog using the following convenient links:

As an added bonus for martial artists, the videos feature rare footage of Shihan Frank Van Lenten, the founder of the Goshin-Do Karate Kyohai performing the above kata.

Here are a few photographs from bayside at the Sandbars, Inn:

       

Highland Lighthouse, Truro, MA:

       

Scenic view at the lighthouse:

       

Ocean side at Highland Lighthouse:

       

We all had a great time filming for the DVD and highly anticipate its release to you, the readers and followers of Jiriki Kata-Do (The Way Of Inner Salvation Through Kata). As in the translation of the kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for Seienchin which is, inter alia, “Calm in the storm, Storm in the calm”, we had our good (calm) moments and our “not quit as expected” (storm moments).

But, all of us on the film crew (Di, Chloe & Me) had a great experience filming the final scenes for the DVD.

       

Until my next submission, enjoy this last photo from our final night, bayside at the Cape:

 Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

1. My deepest thanks to my friend and comrade, Kyoshi Thomas Van Tassel for providing my Sensei, Shihan Thomas DeFelice with the archival videos of Shihan Frank Van Lenten seen in the above Kata videos. You may visit Kyoshi Van Tassel’s website at WWW.AmericanCenterForMartialArts.Com

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a link to a FREE promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

** If you experience any difficulty in purchasing online using the above links, please contact me via a “comment” on this blog & I will e-mail you instructions on how to purchase a Sanchin product using a check or money order ***

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 blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

One last glimpse at more from our “backyard” at the Sandbars, Inn (Ah, these memories should get me through Winter!):

      

UPDATE: Seienchin DVD & Book

19 Aug

ANNOUNCEMENT: For those who purchased the Sanchin DVD and Book – the FREE “Sanchin in a side stance” video is now available on line. Please follow the instructions you received by mail to access the video.

SEIENCHIN DVD:

Filming for the Seienchin DVD is progressing along quite well. As with the Sanchin DVD, the Seienchin DVD will include the physical, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of Seienchin. As is my preference, the DVD will be filmed in beautiful and aesthetically pleasing natural environments, including areas of Arizona, New Jersey, New York and, possibly, Cape Cod Massachusetts. Here are a few photo stills from the various video shoots.

Arizona locations (Tonto National Forest & San Tan Valley):

    

New Jersey locations (Ringwood Manor, Port Imperial):

    

     

Future filming in planned for the following locations:

  • Long Beach Island, New Jersey;
  • Greenwich Village, New York;
  • North Truro and Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts;

To all in the “Sect Of Sanchin” – keep practicing Sanchin every day — because –

“I’ve got my eyes on you.”

While the filming, voice-over, and editing of the Seienchin DVD continue, I hope you are all enjoying a great summer – working on the Seienchin project means that I am having a great summer. Until the next submission, I remain,

HANKO-master

 Sensei John Szmitkowski

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a link to a FREE promotional video on You-Tubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD r Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

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

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

HIDDEN TRAITS OF 8 PRIMORDIAL PRINCIPLES

11 Mar

This week’s article is an abbreviated excerpt from a chapter in my forthcoming DVD and book, “The Dualism Of Seienchin Kata: Part Two in the Jiriki Kata-Do Series.” (See Endnote # 1)

It has been said that there are eight primordial principles that envelope the martial arts. These principles have been delineated in an ancient martial text called “The Bubishi”. The principles are also inferred within the martial work known as the “Eight Poems Of The Chinese Fist.” (See Endnote # 2 for the full text of the poems). The eight primordial principles are:

  • To float;
  • To sink;
  • To swallow;
  • To spit;
  • To burst;
  • To rebound;
  • To spring;
  • To lift.

All eight principles are found within the Seienchin Kata which is derived from the Fujian white crane system of Kung-Fu. Fujian white crane style was developed by Xie Zhing Xiang. The style contains the four elements of whooping crane, flying crane, eating crane and sleeping crane. The four stylistic elements formed the basis of the Seienchin Kata found within Karate-Do.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

The Seienchin Kata is the second protocol of my dynamic ideology, Jiriki Kata-Do. It is derived from the Seienchin Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate DeFelice-Ryu style of Karate. (See Endnote # 3)

Kanji for “Seienchin”, sumi-e ink on rice paper

Traditionally, only the martial arts based physical applications of the principles have been explored and discussed. In my dynamic ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do, the spiritual connotations associated with the principles are delineated.

Four of the eight principles contained within Seienchin Kata are present within Sanchin Kata. (See Endnote # 4) To provide insight into the physical and hidden spiritual aspects of the eight principles, I submit the following brief discussion of the four principles found within Sanchin Kata.

Kanji for “Sanchin”, sumi-e ink on rice paper

The four principles found within Sanchin and the associated martial arts application, are as follows.

  • TO FLOAT – Unbalancing an opponent by one’s movement, depriving him of a firm footing and thereby defeating him.
  • TO SINK – controlling an opponent by making him feel heavy or clumsy;
  • TO SWALLOW – “to swallow” is a euphemism for the phrase “to absorb.” It means defeating an opponent’s attack by diverting and absorbing it;
  • TO SPIT  – “to spit” is a euphemism for the phrase “to reject.” It involves using explosive power to strike or push away an opponent with such force that he is defeated.

In my Seienchin DVD and Book, I submit that in addition to the above physical traits of the principles, there are hidden spiritual traits found within Sanchin and Seienchin Kata. These hidden spiritual traits remain concealed from all but a few enlightened practitioners of the Kata. The dynamic ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do is the express mechanism to uncover the hidden spiritual and meta-physical traits hidden within the eight primordial principles. As to the four principles found within Sanchin, I submit that the hidden spiritual traits are as follows.

  • TO FLOAT: After a practitioner of zazen, seated meditation, attained a level of proficiency, he was next required to learn “To Float”. Within this meditative practice, “To Float” means that one must allow one’s force to synchronize with and to flow with the general forces that exists in nature. (See Endnote # 5) One could not float by simply sitting in meditative zazen. One had to combine zazen with bodily movement; a dance. It is through the dance that the body could perform naturally and thus free the mind, or spirit, for meditation. Thus, passive, seated, meditation, was combined with the active, physical movement, in the manner of harmony of opposites, as in the concepts of Yin and Yang. It is my unfettered opinion that there is no greater form of “dance” than Karate-Do Kata. Thus, Kata are the ultimate mechanism for the phenomenon known as “To Float.”
  • TO SINK: this spiritual concept involved rooting one’s Chi, or bio-energy, as I call it, to the Earth during the dance so as to permit one’s energy to flow freely within the confines of one’s body and subsequently synchronize one’s internal energy with the external universal energy. If one’s internal bio-energy was not sufficiently rooted to the Earth, it would spill forth haphazardly into the external universal energy and be dissipated and dispersed thereby.
  • TO SWALLOW: This spiritual concept involves opening and extending oneself to the external universal energy. Through this process, one not only swallows, or absorbs, the universal energy into oneself, but also extends one’s bio-energy into the universe. Through this process one blends into the universal energy in such a manner as to unite with this external energy so as to produce a fully integrated state of being.
  • TO SPIT: This spiritual concept is a moral imperative. The universe is in complete balance and exists entirely in a state of harmony. The nature of the universe dictates that the universe is composed of a positive aspect and also contains a negative aspect. Harmony in the universe is achieved by balancing these opposing and chaotic elements. The spiritual concept “To Spit” is the process whereby one consciously is aware of the negative component of the universal essence, or spirit. Being thus aware of this negative aspect, the practitioner of either Sanchin Kata or Seienchin Kata who seeks to synchronize and unite with the universal essence, consciously desires to unite with the positive aspect and spit out, or reject, the negative aspect. This does not mean that the practitioner is out of harmony with the universe. The negative aspect will continue to exist, but such existence is limited to the universe in general. Though continuing to exist, the negative aspect is not unified with the practitioner’s individual essence and self. The result is an integrated positive self that exists within a harmonious universe of positive and negative aspects. The negative aspect tends to be absorbed by those unenlightened persons who incorporate negativity into their level of existence. These non-integrated, unenlightened humans, are often physically ill and spiritually bankrupt.

The physical and hidden spiritual traits of all eight principles are fully analyzed in my forthcoming DVD and Book, “The Dualism Of Seienchin Kata: Part Two in the Jiriki Kata-Do Series.” The anticipated release date for the DVD and Book is August 1, 2012.

In closing, I remain, floating, sinking, swallowing, spitting, bursting, rebounding, springing and lifting,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

  1. Part One of Jiriki Kata-Do can be found in my Sanchin DVD and Book: “Sanchin, Gateway To The Plateau Of Serenity.” Here is a convenient link a promotional video about the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE
  2. The “Eight Poems Of The Chinese Fist” are as follows:
  • 1. Jinshin wa tenchi ni onaji. The mind is one with heaven and earth.
  • 2. Ketsumyaku wa nichigetsu ni nitari. The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon.
  • 3. Ho wa goju no donto su. The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness.
  • 4. Mi wa toki ni shitagai hen ni ozu. Act in accordance with time and change.
  • 5. Te wa ku ni ai sunawachi hairu. Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought.
  • 6. Shintai wa hakarite riho su. The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet.
  • 7. Me wa shiho womiru wa yosu. The eyes must not miss even the slightest change.
  • 8. Mimiwa yoku happo wo kiku. The ears listen well in all eight directions.

3. I have chosen the name “Goshin-Do Karate DeFelice-Ryu” to designate the Goshin-Do Karate style as taught by my Sensei, Shihan Thomas DeFelice so as to distinguish it from the various other martial arts styles that utilize the “Goshin-Do” nomenclature. The Kanji for the style translates as, “Self-defense way of the empty hand, DeFelice style.”

4.I have made the benefits of Sanchin Kata available to everyone with my one hour Sanchin DVD and 116 page book. You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link: http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

5. For example, In the Hindu meditative practices, the phrase used to describe this phenomenon is, “To allow one’s Atman to become one with the universal Atman.”

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 blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

DOJO KUN – A DAILY REFLECTION

22 Jan

To everyone who participated in the Sunrise Sanchin Pilgrimage yesterday, “Thank-you for participating & I hope you were fulfilled by your Sanchin.” For my part, there wasn’t much sunrising as it was snowing, but it was spectacular to perform Sanchin in the cold, brisk morning air while the snow quietly blanketed the Earth. And then – of course – it was time to get the old snow shovel. And now, the current weblog article –

I thought I would share with you an important aspect of Shihan Thomas DeFelice’s Academy of Goshin-Do Karate-Do. You may wish to incorporate this aspect of the Dojo into not only your Sanchin practice but also your daily routine. The aspect is the Dojo Kun. Traditional Karate Dojo have a Dojo “Kun.” The Dojo Kun is essentially a statement of purpose, a raison d’être for the Dojo and the student’s who train therein.

Shihan Thomas DeFelice’s Goshin-Do Karate-Do patch

The kun has a rich and storied history and was, based upon conservative estimates, a guidepost for perhaps ten thousand students.

Patch commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Academy Of Goshin-Do Karate in 2005

The first nine statements date back to the earliest days of Shihan DeFelice’s Dojo which was originally located at 125 Broad Avenue, Palisades Park, NJ. The kun was displayed in a place of honor in the Dojo. In the photograph below, the Dojo kun can be seen displayed on the left adjacent to the photographs of historical karate masters.

The kun provided a refreshing means of reflection and contemplation before and after class. It also furnished a guideline for conducting yourself outside of the Dojo as you go about the drama of your life.

In 1997, I reproduced the kun for use in the Dojo which had relocated to 748 Paterson Avenue, East Rutherford, New Jersey. I also incorporated the kun into a student training manual for convenient reference. (See Endnote # 1). At that time, I added statement number ten, which is a proclamation that is personal to each student and a concluding statement; “Ichi-Nichi Issho” which translates as “One day – One lifetime.” This phrase was also used on the patch of the Issho Dojo.

Issho-Dojo Patch Of Sensei John Szmitkowski

Issho-Dojo Patch Of Sensei John Szmitkowski

While the kun is unique to the Academy of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, it can be of benefit to all. I hope you enjoy the kun and further hope it provides you with a convenient means of reflection and contemplation. Additionally for all of those who purchased my Sanchin Kata DVD, you may wish to reflect upon the kun during your Sanchin practice.

The kun is as follows:

ACADEMY OF GOSHIN-DO KARATE-DO DOJO KUN

1. WE ARE PROUD TO STUDY THE SPIRIT OF GOSHIN-DO. (FOLLOW THE PATH)

2. WE WILL ALWAYS OBSERVE THE RULES OF COURTESY.

3. WE SHALL ALWAYS PRACTICE PATIENCE AND HUMILITY.

4. WE SHALL ALWAYS STRIVE FOR PERFECTION OF CHARACTER.

5. WE WILL ALWAYS DEFEND THE PATHS OF TRUTH.

6. WE WILL BE QUICK TO SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY.

7. WE WILL GUARD AGAINST IMPETUOUS COURAGE.

8. WE WILL TRAIN OUR HEARTS AND BODIES FOR A FIRM AND UNSHAKEN       SPIRIT.

9. WE WILL ALWAYS BE TRUE TO OURSELVES.

10. Student’s personal Kun.

Ichi-Nichi-Issho (One Day, One Lifetime)

Until the next submission, I remain living the Academy Of Goshin-Do Karate kun,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a link to a FREE promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE   You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD r Book by clicking the following convenient link: http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

REMEMBER: SANCHIN can be performed by ANYBODY, ANYPLACE, ANYTIME. Here’s a few short video examples: Sanchin during a Harley-Davidson Electra-glide ride amidst the scenic Arizona cotton fields. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNbDxDHvlL8Sanchin as a form of SELF-BAPTISM at the beautiful Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3MFNsl4mWg and Sanchin while fly fishing at Water Ranch lake, Gilbert, Arizona. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

ENDNOTES:

1. Szmitkowski, John, Goshin-Do Kata-jitsu: Volume One: The Basic Kata (Issho Publications, 1997).

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

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

SANTA CLAUS – A SANCHIN TREND-SETTER?

27 Nov

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus . . . and he’s advertising pain-relief pills!

To be sure, as a society, we have become somewhat accustomed to the disturbing use of Santa Claus as a peddler of all sorts of consumer goods. I too have become accustom to the use of Santa’s image as a marketing tool. However, when I saw the following advertisement in a national magazine, I was taken aback.

The idea of Santa peddling pills was profoundly disturbing. The advertisement touched upon my total disdain for a western society that craves pills, prescription and over the counter, to solve all life’s woes, including: physical ills, from erectile dysfunction to high cholesterol, emotional problems, from depression to attention deficit disorder, and vacuous cosmetic desires . . . remember Latisee, the prescription drug which was the pill that is supposed to give women fuller, longer, luscious eyelashes.

My disgust in the advertisement was somewhat mitigated by the caption: ”. . .  With less pills”; however, this mitigation was slight. The message “take our pills so you don’t have to take more of the other brand’s pills” can not be said to be a positive message.

In the midst of my ennui, a thought occurred to me that shone though my dark mood. I realized that, to a vast extent, advertising is driven by projected consumer demand. Could this mean that the next big trend in pharmacopeia is that consumers will want to ingest less pills to solve their physical, emotional and spiritual problems? If the concept of “Take our pill so you can take less of theirs” is indicative of a future trend, then why not simply extend the trend to its logical conclusion? It is about time that western society embraces a paradigm shift wherein one improves physical, emotional and spiritual well-being using one’s own natural, internal biologic functions to heal oneself rather than ingest fewer pharmaceuticals. Dare I say, maybe even take no pharmaceutical drugs at all? (See Endnote # 1).

In so far as I am prejudiced by my own beliefs (as based upon my personal experiences) in the life-sustaining benefits of Sanchin Kata and my dynamic ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do, I submit that the catalyst for such paradigm shift in individual improvement should start with daily practice of Sanchin. You can conveniently discover Sanchin for yourself by viewing a free preview to my Sanchin DVD by clicking this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE. Information on how to purchase Sanchin tutorial products may be found by clicking this convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html.

So, my disgust and ennui derived from initially viewing the aforementioned advertisement has transformed into hope. Hope, that next year Santa Claus will be depicted in an advertisement, posed in a Sanchin posture with the caption, “Perform Sanchin and you will take less pills.”

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus . . .  and he performs Sanchin Kata.

In closing, I remain, an apostle of Sanchin and wish you all a Merry christmas and Happy Holidays.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Click here for a FREE “Stand By Me with Sanchin Self-Baptism” Video Featuring the song track: Stand By Me by John Lennon.  Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3MFNsl4mWg

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

1. To be sure, I am not advocating, nor am I advising anyone, to immediately discontinue taking your prescription medications. Rather, I am postulating that if you begin to take responsibility for you own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, starting with learning and practicing Sanchin Kata, you MAY, UNDER DOCTOR’S GUIDANCE, be able to reduce the prescription and other medications that you daily ingest. Isn’t that worth the three minutes a day it takes to perform Sanchin?

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a link to a FREE promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

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

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

I PREACH SANCHIN – I PRACTICE SANCHIN

16 Oct

I was recently at a market in Apache Junction, Arizona promoting my Sanchin Kata DVD and book when I was asked whether I still practice Sanchin Kata and Goshin-Do Karate-Do regularly (Thank-you Miss H. for inspiring this article).

Sanchin DVD cover art

It must be remembered that Jiriki Kata-Do is the epiphenomenon of Goshin-Do Karate-Do. As such, to not practice Goshin-Do Karate-Do regularly would erode the brick and mortar upon which Jiriki Kata-Do is built. (Please see below for a convenient link to a Sanchin video preview and a link to purchase the Sanchin DVD)

In so far as Jiriki Kata-Do is a dynamic (moving) ideology, it is impossible to merely reflect upon it by means of zazen (seated meditation). One must engage in physical movement which is an integral component to spiritual awakening and fostering an appreciation of the interconnectivity that exists with the world in which we live.

To this end, I practice all physical protocols regularly and engage in the practice of Sanchin, the gateway protocol daily, usually multiple times a day. To fail to do so would render me a hypocrite to those who have chosen to learn and walk the path of Sanchin. As was observed by the philosopher, Friedrich  Nietzsche,

“He who is a teacher from the very heart takes all things seriously with respect to his students – even himself.” (See Endnote # 1)

Thus, notwithstanding the fact that through practice and contemplation of the protocols of Goshin-Do Karate, I was able to conceive of Jiriki Kata-Do, the basic tenet of this ideology requires ever more constant practice to which I must continually “take seriously.” I submit that one who is a pure teacher from the heart must continually “practice what one preaches.” Surely, this concept is not an original one. It may be found time and time again by the actions of some of our most important historical teachers. Take, for example, the following story from the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

A woman once brought her small daughter to Gandhi with a simple request, “Tell my daughter not to eat candy. It is bad for her teeth. She respects you and will obey you.” But Gandhi refused. “Come back in three weeks,” Gandhi told her. “I will see what I can do.”

When the woman returned in three weeks with her daughter, Gandhi took the little girl on his knee and gently instructed her, “Don’t eat candy. It is bad for your teeth.”

The girl shyly nodded her assent. Then she and her mother left for their home. When they were gone, some of Gandhi’s associates were upset and confronted him. “Bapu, did you know that the woman and her child had to walk hours to see you, and you made them walk that great distance twice in three weeks? Why didn’t you give that simple advice to the girl when they first came?”

Gandhi laughed. “Three weeks ago I did not know if I could stop eating candy. How could I advocate a value unless I myself practice it?” (See Endnote # 2)

Similarly, though I have conceived of Jiriki Kata-Do and the import of Sanchin as its gateway protocol, I must continually travel the path of this ideology through the continued, regular practice and contemplation of Sanchin and the other protocols. Through this practice, I am able to continually learn and develop myself as a more complete person from within myself; which is, after all, hallmark of Jiriki Kata-Do.

TO PRACTICE SANCHIN IS TO PREACH SANCHIN

    

Until the next submission, I remain, a teacher from the very heart, practicing what he preaches and wondering where such practice may lead,

HANKO-master

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Intrigued by this ideological analysis? Want more? Then, for a very reasonable price, purchase my Sanchin Kata DVD and have access to the full treasure trove of understanding to be found within Jiriki Kata-Do – and – SANCHIN.

Here is a convenient link a promotional video about the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Information on how to purchase Sanchin tutorial products may be found by clicking this convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html.

ENDNOTES:

1. Nietzsche, Friedrich, Beyond Good & Evil, Maxims & Interludes, Interlude # 63.

2.  Goswami, Amit, The Self-Aware Universe, (G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York, NY, 1993) p. 264-265.

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 blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

JIRIKI KATA-DO, An epiphenomenon of Goshin-Do Karate

2 Oct

With the release of the Sanchin Kata For Everyone DVD, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the derivation of the dynamic philosophy I call Jiriki Kata-Do and the integral role Sanchin plays in this methodology. For a link to a free online preview, please see the end of this article.

Sanchin DVD Jacket

Jiriki Kata-Do is derived from Goshin-Do Karate-Do. Its salient point; however, is that Jiriki Kata-Do is designed for the non-martial artist. Jiriki Kata-Do is a methodology that combines and distills martial arts physical protocol, Kata, philosophy and ideology into a program that gives the non-martial artist access to an otherwise secret means of attaining physical and spiritual well-being. Once the sole province of and jealously guarded by martial artists who have devoted decades to retaining these secrets, Jiriki Kata-Do unveils these secrets to everyone.

Jiriki Kata-Do translates as “Salvation from within through Kata.” In this context, salvation means physical and spiritual well being. Physical movement is combined with spiritual awareness to produce an active, or dynamic, meditation process. Jiriki is contrasted with the concept of Tairiki. In tairiki, one can achieve physical and spiritual balance; however, the means of such achievement is from a source outside of oneself. Thus, methods that employ tairiki concepts, such as, training facilities, personal trainers and even elevated pursuits such as yoga, require the intercession of a third party such as a coach, trainer and the like.

The impetus for my creation and evolution of Jiriki Kata-Do are certain, select, sophisticated Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do as taught by Shihan Thomas DeFelice, Ku-Dan, Karate-Do No Hanshi.

Shihan Thomas DeFelice’s Goshin-Do Karate-Do patch

The relationship between Jiriki Kata-Do and Goshin-Do Karate-Do may best be characterized by saying Jiriki Kata-Do is the epiphenomenon of Goshin-Do Karate-Do. Jiriki Kata-Do could not exist but for Goshin-Do Karate-Do, whereas Goshin-Do Karate-Do can, and has for over six decades, existed without Jiriki Kata-Do.

Issho-Dojo Patch Of Sensei John Szmitkowski

Issho-Dojo Patch Of Sensei John Szmitkowski

Prior to his untimely passing on May 18, 2011, I had a conversation about Jiriki Kata-Do as a dynamic meditative practice and the martial art of Goshin-Do Karate-Do with Shihan Wayne Norlander, Ku-Dan, Karate-Do No Hanshi, USA Goshin-Ryu Karate-Do.

With Shihan Wayne Norlander, R.I.P.

In that conversation, I ascribed the following symbolism to the interrelationship between these two arts. Goshin-Do Karate-Do is symbolized by a pot of boiling water. To the uninitiated cook, the water simply boils; however, to a culinary connoisseur, the boiling water must be studied, refined and specifically defined. The novice would simply describe the water as boiling; whereas the connoisseur would describe the boiling water as a hard-boil, or a rolling-boil or steady-boil.

With Shihan Thomas DeFelice, Ku-Dan, Karate-Do No Hanshi, Goshin-Do Karate-Do

In comparison, the novice simply describes Goshin-Do Karate-Do protocols as Kata to be learned, like a dance. The aesthete devotee of Goshin-Do Karate-Do seeks to clarify, refine and identify the Kata in a manner similar to the chef and the boiling water. That is to say, the aesthete desires to explore the minutest detail of the Kata within a specific self-defined genre. For me, this process of exploration viewed the Kata initially as a means unto themselves and eventually within the overall context of self-defense, called “bunkai.” This process led me to explore the full extent of the of utility learning Kata. As I looked into this symbolic pot of boiling water, I began to realize that clarifying and defining the water within the context of the martial arts, while fulfilling, was no longer personally sufficient.

I realized that my destiny was to explore the epiphenomenon of the boiling water. My predestined passion lay in exploring and seeking to clarify and define that amorphous by-product of the boiling water, the illusive steam. Thus, I was driven out past the traditional boundaries of the proverbial boiling pot of Goshin-Do Karate-Do Kata into the realm of the steaming Jiriki Kata-Do.

 

Jiriki Kata-Do, as the symbolic steam produced by the boiling water of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, is the resultant effect that is neither water nor its atomic component of hydrogen and oxygen. Jiriki Kata-Do is the preeminent result when a force (heat in the boiling analogy), physical effort, mental intuition & innovation in the case of Jiriki Kata-Do, is applied to the basic fundamental building blocks (such as H2O molecules in water) and Goshin-do Karate-Do Kata in the case of Jiriki Kata-Do.

Sanchin Book Front Cover Art

Sanchin is the “Gateway-Kata” to Jiriki Kata-Do. Sanchin provides a means of enlivening and enhancing the otherwise mundane aspects of life, to wit: breathing, bodily movement and state of mind and explores and enhances them. Thus, the three battles, or three aspects of human life are found in Sanchin. (See Endnote # 1).

SANCHIN – Three Battles – Three Aspects of Life

Sanchin further combines these otherwise mundane physical aspects and synchronizes them with an elevated spiritual aspect through the exploration of various states of mind and a misunderstood metaphysical aspect which explores one’s internal bio-energy (called Chi by the ancients) and its symbiotic relationship the the external energy of nature and the universe that surrounds us.

Thus, Sanchin explores the necessary elements for life itself. This exploration, when individually undertaken through a pure study of Sanchin, will produce an enhanced life experience for the practitioner.  Sanchin, as the gateway Kata to Jiriki Kata-Do is revealed to the non-martial artist in my new DVD and book. Now the treasure of Sanchin, once jealously guarded by the martial arts, is available to everyone.

Here is a convenient link a video preview of the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Until the next article, I remain, performing Sanchin and exploring the resultant steam of Jiriki Kata-Do.

HANKO-master

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTE:

1. The definition of the Three Battles, or human aspects, of Sanchin as: breathing, bodily movement and state of mind is a fundamentally rudimentary definition. Through continued practice of Sanchin, a more elaborate, and even controversial, definition is to be found. Curious? An answer is contained in the Sanchin DVD.

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 blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

A SANCHIN SANCTUM

24 Sep

I am pleased to announce a new weblog category I call “A SANCHIN SANCTUM.” This category will serve a dual purpose.

The first purpose is to archive articles that pertain to unique, unusual and, some may say, controversial, insights into the practice of Sanchin. These articles are designed to divulge some of the attributes of Sanchin Kata found within the dynamic ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do. By divulging some of these attributes, I hope to wet the appetite of those readers, who have, as of yet, not discovered Sanchin for themselves. In this regard, these articles are designed to inspire readers to seek to discover Sanchin; perhaps by way of either my economically priced 57 minute DVD, my 116 page book, or both.

                

The second purpose of this category is to guide those that have purchased either my book or DVD to a preliminary discussion of topics related to Sanchin. Those who have purchased either a DVD or book have access to my personal e-support system, which includes e-mails, a private FaceBook group and even video support. This category of the weblog is designed to spur private discussion via the e-support on timely, contemporaneous Sanchin issues that arise during your Sanchin practice.

So, whenever you desire to explore Sanchin related topics, this category will provide an intellectual archival warehouse for your use and comments.

I hope you enjoy.

In the meantime, I remain, practicing, analyzing, contemplating and archiving my Sanchin experiences.

HANKO-master

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

 NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN DVD designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a link to a FREE promotional video on You-Tube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Information on how to purchase Sanchin tutorial products may be found by clicking this convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html.

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

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

SANCHIN KATA: The Three Battles In A New Perspective

21 Feb

The within is submitted for the benefit of all life journeymen. The foregoing discussion of the Sanchin Kata is not intended simply as the divine province of those martial artists fortunate to know Sanchin. Rather, every person who reads the within should endeavor to learn the Sanchin Kata and perform Sanchin at least daily. Embrace Sanchin as a long lost lover and Sanchin will fulfill you with its enticing secrets.

The Sanchin Kata is perhaps one of the most treasured Kata of traditional Karate-Do and the predecessor arts of Kung-Fu, Kalaripayat and Pranayama. Within my methodology and ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do, Sanchin Kata is made available to all who wish to learn and probe its benefits and secrets regardless of whether they wish to learn a full Karate-Do curriculum. To borrow from my article on this blogsite entitled Dante’s Issho Dojo (please see the category Martial Ideology Applied To daily Life), Sanchin is the portal to a new contextual paradigm for Kata to be found in Jiriki Kata-Do. This paradigm allows the three battles of Sanchin Kata to be extended into a new dimension.

The translation of the Kanji for the word “Sanchin” offers insight into the attributes that are found within Sanchin Kata.

 Kanji for Sanchin taken from an original Sumi-e drawing on rice paper

As one may see from the Kanji, the word Sanchin is composed of two root words. The root word “San” means “Three” and the root word “Chin” means “Battle”. The word “battle” does not refer to warfare; rather, “battle” refers to conditions, or aspects requiring attention and cultivation by the performer of the Sanchin Kata. Thus, while Sanchin literally means “Three Battles” , the interpretation of the Kanji should be extended to mean “three aspects of the human condition.” Through the regular performance of the Sanchin Kata the three aspects of the human condition are incubated, nurtured and evolved so as to facilitate an enraptured human experience.

Historically, the interpretation of the three battles of Sanchin Kata has been limited to a martial arts perspective. There are many interpretations of the three battles of Sanchin that are derived from the Art of Karate. The central theme of the Karate-Do proclamation of the three battles is the development and unification of body and spirit. This development of mind and body is fundamental to the practice of Karate. In general terms, the three battles of Sanchin have been described as: Breath, Posture and Spirit. All three aspects are to be unified through the Kata. Thus, historically, it can be said that the Sanchin Kata unifies the body (through the elements of breath and posture) and spirit (through the moving-Zen concepts) of the Karate-Ka (one who practices Karate). Such a unification of mind and body elements are essential to the practice and execution of Karate technique and Kata.

Through the Sanchin Kata, the Karate-Ka forges a body that is tough and resilient. A Karate-Ka’s body would be as solid as the trunk of an oak tree and as flexible as the boughs of a willow tree. The spirit of the Karate-Ka would be fostered so as to allow the Karate-Ka to perceive the external world and act spontaneously in accord with the attendant circumstances. Through the Sanchin Kata, the Karate-Ka would achieve a superhuman perception. This would enable the Karate-Ka to be impervious to physical pain and discomfort. The Karate-Ka would also be immune to harmful emotions and spiritual distractions. This state of being forms the building blocks to Karate.

The definition of the three battles of Sanchin within the boundaries of the perspective of the martial arts is, by its very nature, limited in scope. Further, the definition is redundant as it uses three manifestations (breath, posture and spirit, or similar expressions) of only two aspects of the human condition (body and mind). I note here that I am aware of a limited number of martial artists that define the three battles of Sanchin as the unification of body, spirit and “soul”. I submit that such a definition, while it appears hopeful in expanding the concept of Sanchin beyond the realm of martial arts, is dismally disappointing. One need simply explore the definition of soul to be disappointed. I submit that the soul is an improper aspect of the Sanchin Kata for the following reasons. The use of the word soul automatically (like Merlin’s magic wand) conjures up religious connotations that do not belong integrated within Sanchin. Even assuming, arguendo, that such religious inclinations can be suppressed, the traditional and philosophical view of the soul is that at some point it must reside within the human bio-body. Thus again, the definition merely draws upon conditions that exist within the human and fails to account for external universal-environmental factors. This failure results in the human existing as separate and distinct from the universal environment on both a physical and conscious level.

For more than three decades, I have engaged in the practice of the Sanchin Kata. My devotion to Sanchin enlightened me to the discovery that the traditional proclamation of the three battles of Sanchin Kata was incomplete. The traditional proclamation of the three battles possessed a very sever limitation. The limitation is that three battles of the Sanchin Kata were expressed solely within the martial arts context and perspective. Such a perspective of the three battles of Sanchin merely describes two states of the human condition. These two states represent a limited view of the source of physical power, spiritual insight and emotional stability of the Karate-Ka. The two states of human existence I am referring to are a physical state and a spiritual state. To date, the unique attributes ascribed to a Karate-Ka, or any martial artist for that matter, were believed to be solely a manifestation and unification of the body and spirit (or mind) aspects of the human condition.

After many years of continued rigorous practice of and devotion to the Sanchin Kata, I came to realize that clearly lacking from the definition of the three battles is an additional third human quality. It became apparent to me that the three battles of Sanchin must be allowed to break the limiting boundaries imposed upon it by the martial arts perspective. This means that the three battles must be viewed and defined from the perspective of the total human condition. The three battles of Sanchin, as expressed to date, account for two aspects of the human condition that are internal to the human (body and mind). It became apparent to me that the missing, heretofore undiscovered battle, or aspect, of the Sanchin Kata must be external to the human bio-body. I call this aspect the metaphysical aspect of the human condition. Just like the Tesseract shown below illustrates a standard three dimensional cube in a new paradigm of four dimensions, my ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do extends the three battles of Sanchin Kata into a heretofore undiscovered new paradigm, to wit: the redefining the three battles of Sanchin to recognize a metaphysical aspect of the human condition that exists external to the human bio-body. Further, by way of my methodology and ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do, the Sanchin Rite (this is a term of art I coined so as to avoid the use of the word “Kata” and the martial arts connotation of the word) is made available to anyone that desires to learn its secret teachings.

The metaphysical aspect of the Sanchin Rite recognizes the presence, consciousness and creative power that exists in the universe around us. In addition to recognizing the metaphysical aspect of the three battles of Sanchin Kata, I was enlightened to a means of incorporating a methodology into the performance of the Sanchin Rite for perceiving this metaphysical realm. I submit that the Three Battles of Sanchin are:

1. Physical Battle, or the aspect of properly performing all components of the physical movements of Sanchin so as to experience the physical, metabolic benefits of Sanchin;

2. Spiritual Battle, or the aspect of the internal transportation of bio-essence throughout the human bio-body which is only permitted through an enlightened, enraptured state of mind facilitated by Sanchin;

3. Meta-physical Battle, or the aspect of the expansion of etheric-essence into the universal environment to foster interconnectivity and synchronicity with the universal consciousness perceived through Sanchin.

It is imperative to remove the boundary of the martial arts perspective and begin to think of the three battles of Sanchin within the overall perspective of the entire human condition. Such a boundless interpretation of the three battles mandates that factors that are internal to the human must be considered as part and parcel of factors that are external to the human condition (including those factors that may exist beyond the ken of human perception). I was awakened to the metaphysical aspect of the Rite of Sanchin Kata only after three decades of practice coupled with an introduction into newly developing sciences, including quantum physics, noetic sciences and traditional and non-traditional philosophic ideologies. To date, I am aware of no other Sanchin-Ka (A term of art I use to describe anyone who practices Sanchin) that has defined the three battles in the manner I set forth. Further, I am not aware of anyone that has promulgated a specific methodology and manner of performing the Sanchin Rite so as to experience the metaphysical aspect of the Rite (or Kata). Perhaps I am the only person willing to commit name and reputation to acknowledging the existence of a third, metaphysical aspect present in Sanchin. I am also confident that Sanchin can and should be learned by anyone who desires to embrace it and learn its secret teachings. Such knowledge can be undertaken independent of a full Karate curriculum. I have developed my methodology and ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do so as to grant practitioners the divine province of experiencing unification and synchronization of not only body and spirit, but the universal presence and consciousness.

Through the understanding and development of the three battles, or aspects, of the Sanchin Rite, one can begin to foster an understanding of the state of human existence I call the Plateau of Human serenity. The Plateau of Human Serenity is the portal to the broader concepts of the human condition as explored through the various Rites (or Kata) of Jiriki Kata-Do. The Sanchin Book (which may be found on the Sanchin Book page of this Blogsite) sets forth the first installment of the Jiriki Kata-Do dynamic lecture and exercise series. The foundation of the Sanchin Kata presentation is the imperative nature of recognizing and awakening the potential gained by existing and synchronizing with factors that are internal and external to the human bio-body.

Sanchin Kata in Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Here is a link for a promotional video about my Sanchin Kata & Jiriki Kata-Do DVD filmed in the Tonto National Forest. Arizona. Please see the “SANCHIN DVD & BOOK” page tab above for information on how to purchase the DVD.

LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

 

 I remain, as I hope you do, enraptured by the new knowledge to be gained on this remarkable journey called life,
HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

The Kanji for Sanchin Kata was taken from my series on the Mokuroku No Kata of Goshin-Do Karate entitled Goshin-Do Kata-Jitsu: Volume Three: The Goju-Ryu Influence (Issho Publications, E. Rutherford, NJ 2002). 

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Karate Kata evolves into a methodology and ideology to facilitate the human condition and awareness of the universal consciousness.

15 Dec

Karate. To most, the word means nothing more than a physical means of defending oneself against attack. To a limited few of its more enlightened practitioners, called Karate-Ka, Karate implies a deeper mechanism of unifying the body and the spirit so as to achieve seemingly superhuman physical and spiritual capabilities. I have had the privilege of learning, practicing and evolving a style of Okinawa-based Karate for over three and a half decades. Through my sweat, bruises, and even blood, I came to realize that there is a greater aspect to Karate. This aspect is found within certain unique Karate Kata.

After many years of dedicated practice and devotion to the study of Kata, and the associated Bunkai, I was able to transcend my knowledge of Karate Kata beyond the boundaries of the physical and spiritual aspects thought to be encompassed in the practice of these formal exercises. I was enlightened to the hidden, heretofore secret aspect contained within certain, unique Kata. This secret aspect is the metaphysical aspect.

The metaphysical aspect is the awareness and recognition of the idea that humans are intrinsically intertwined with the universal cosmos and consciousness. Through a medium, such as Kata, each one of us possess within ourselves, the ability to synchronize and unite with this universal consciousness. This synchronization and unification can be directed at our will as we travel through this life’s journey. Further, such synchronization and unification is a metaphysical imperative at the conclusion of this physical life. Thus, we must contemporaneously, in this life, prepare our spirit, contained within our physical bodies and our metaphysical essence for the process of such unification.

So as to distinguish this practice of the dynamic (moving) meditation contained in Karate Kata from the martial aspects of the Kata, I have divorced the Kata from the overall martial ideology of Karate and evolved them into the dynamic meditation rites of a system of methodology and ideology I call Jiriki Kata-Do. The word “Jiriki” translates as “inner salvation“. Kata, in this context, denotes the dynamic ceremonial rites that encompass a prescribed meditative state of mind. “Do” translates as “(Lifetime) Way” or “(Lifetime) Path“. Thus, Jiriki Kata-Do figuratively translates as “The Way of (attaining) inner salvation through dynamic meditation“. So as to de-emphasize the martial nature of Kata, I refer to the dynamic meditation routines of Jiriki Kata-Do as “rites” which are to be physically performed with a prescribed spiritual state of mind and in such a manner as to foster metaphysical awareness. The methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do is in direct contrast to the more common forms of salvation, or enlightenment, known as Tariki. Tariki is salvation from without. By definition, the various means of Tariki require the intercession of a third person to act in behalf of the practitioner so as to achieve spirituality, enlightenment or salvation. Modern religious practices fall within the category of Tariki.

The dynamic state of Jiriki Kata-Do recognizes the natural human tendency to action and movement. The essential human elements that are united and fostered within the dynamic philosophy of Jiriki Kata-Do may be parsed into the following three attributes, the physical attribute, the spiritual attribute and the meta-physical attribute. Each attribute may be further delineated by the following characteristics.

The physical attribute contains the attributes of overall physical health, the methodology of proper breathing, the dynamic contraction and expansion of muscle, sinew and tendon, and the physical connection of one’s overall bodily structure to the Earth. The beneficial physical processes are nurtured through the breath known as Issho-ibuki (translated as “lifetime Breath“). The physical component is dramatized by an overall rejuvenation of the physical structure of the body.

The spiritual aspect includes, but is not limited to the following attributes, spiritual development of the sense of “self”, facilitation of the flow of bio-energy within the body, the ability to foster positive emotions and the ability to recognize and triumph over negative emotions. The spiritual component of Jiriki Kata-Do is attained by of a state of mental clarity known as “Mushin”, or Mind-No Mind. The state of Mushin, coupled with Issho-ibuki, is used as the highway to transport bio-essence throughout the body. The spiritual aspect is dramatized by a total regeneration of one’s spirit and one‘s ability to transport one‘s life essence throughout the body at will.

The metaphysical aspect of Jiriki Kata-Do includes the ability to recognize the over-riding sense of consciousness that exists within the harmonious universe, and the desire to connect with and unite with that universal consciousness on while on this plain of human existence and the hereafter plain of existence. It is summarized by an overall need for us to attempt to understand and experience a world greater that the world of our physical existence.

The awareness and manipulation of the three aspects of the human condition is achieved by way of the habitual performance of the various rites of Jiriki Kata-Do. Each rite combines the various aspects of the human essence in a specific manner so as to foster a unique understanding of the human condition. The first rite of Jiriki Kata-Do is the Rite of Sanchin. It explores the Three Battles (as the name “Sanchin” implies) to the attainment of the plateau of human serenity. This rite is an evolution of the Sanchin Kata found within many styles of Karate. The evolutionary process takes into account the heretofore hidden third battle of Sanchin.

There are many interpretations of the three battles of Sanchin that are derived from Karate-Do. The central theme of the three battles is that they all describe a development of body and spirit coupled with breath. This development of mind and body through breath is fundamental to the practice of Karate. Generally speaking, the three battles have been expressed by a varied combination of the following attributes, posture, stance, balance, breathing, concentration, spirit, energy and the like.

For more than three decades, I have engaged in the practice of the Sanchin Kata. Through this regular use and practice of the Kata, I became aware that such a traditional interpretation of the three battles of Sanchin Kata was incomplete. The historical definition of the three battles of Sanchin merely describes two states of human existence, to wit: a physical state represented by the elements of posture, stance, balance and breathing and a spiritual state represented by spirit, energy and perception. After years of continued rigorous effort practicing Sanchin, I came to realize that clearly lacking from the definition of the three battles is an additional third human quality. In so far as the physical and spiritual human qualities have been historically incorporated into the three battles, the missing third battle was, therefore, the metaphysical attribute of the human condition. Thus, it is submitted that the Three Battles of Sanchin Kata, are:

1. Physical Battle, or the aspect of properly performing the physical movements of the Sanchin Rite;

2. Mental Battle, or the aspect of the transportation of bio-essence permitted through a Mushin state of mind;

3. Meta-physical Battle, or the aspect of the expansion of etheric-essence into the universe and interconnectivity with the universal consciousness.

Here is a link for an introductory video about my Sanchin Kata & Jiriki Kata-Do video series filmed at the Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest. Arizona. Please e-mail me or contact me via this blog to purchase the video series. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyaHCp2EoUk

For additional information on either Jiriki Kata-Do or Sanchin meditation, please feel free to visit my website at WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.COM.

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