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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

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