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Sensei’s Journal Entry # 9 – Kamawan

12 Apr

I’m going to use this week’s nightly Katannabis to more deeply explore the depths of meaning of this cryptic sign that was displayed outside “hard-core” dojo in antiquity.

As you can see, the sign has two elements. A Kama (sickle) and a Wan (rice bowl). Together they symbolize the word “Kamawan.” While there is no direct translation of Kamawan, the phrase is interpreted variously as “It doesn’t matter” and “I(we) don’t care.” Martial oral tradition has a more figurative interpretation. When hung and displayed outside “hard-core” Dojo, the phrase Kamawan was interpreted as:

“We don’t care if you enter or not, we don’t care if you challenge us or not.”(See endnote # 1)

I’ve often meditated on the implications and applications of Kamawan. Last month during a nightly Katannabis session, I began to see more, let’s say “spiritual” applications. Normally, I would include my thoughts in a journal entry and post it here. However, since I somewhat recenlty discovered Instagram, I’ll post my observations daily all this week on Instagram. Simply follow me at “1Day1Lifetime.

Great News! Kamawan for FREE!

You can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Until next time, Kamawan,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Follow Sensei John on Instagram. Simply follow “1day1lifetime” for daily updates on all of Sensei’s projects:

  • Kata-Rx for wellness & mindfullness;
  • Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx & medical cannabis);
  • Kata-Rx & Koan daily meditations;

Enjoy your Instagram experience with Sensei John.

ENDNOTES:

1. Kamawanu is an integral part of oral tradition of Goshin-Do Karate-Do. It is the companion to the tale of Dojo Yaburi, or those that would challenge a Dojo owner and keep his fees for one month’s teaching – if he was not up to the challenge. The following reference to Kamawanu may be both of interest and helpful: Furuya, Kensho, Kodo: Ancient Ways (O’Hara Publishing, Santa Clarita, CA, 1996) p. 40.

Sensei’s Journal – Entry # 8: Bees & Dragons

22 Mar

A favorite practice in both my Kata-Rx For Wellness and Katannabis meditation (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis) is to contemplate a koan, idea, concept or poem. Here is one example from last night’s Katannabis. This one is martial in nature. It was born of war.


In last night’s Katannabis, I used it to consider its application to a peaceful, serene lifestyle. Much of martial ideology superficially speaks in terms of conflict. A deeper understanding of it leads one down a peaceful path of conflict resolution.

The koan abbreviates a lesson from the wars of antiquity. The original can be found in Opinions In Ninety-Nine Articles”, Takeda Nobushige (1525-1561). The full text is: “One’s soldiers should not yell abuse at the enemy. An old saying goes, “Arouse a bee and it will come back at you with the force of a dragon.”

          Try Kata-Rx yourself for FREE:
You can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Here’s another example of Kata-Rx and a Koan you may enjoy filmed in a gentle snowfall.



Respectfully submitted,


Sensei John Szmitkowski


Follow Sensei John on Instagram. Simply follow “1day1lifetime” for daily updates on all of Sensei’s projects:

   Kata-Rx for wellness & mindfullness;

    Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx & medical cannabis);

    Kata-Rx & Koan daily meditations;

    Kata Laboratory where you can “Think – Sweat – Experiment” with your Kata & Sensei John’s innovative concepts.

Enjoy your Instagram experience with Sensei John.

Sensei’s Journal – Entry # 7: I Can Make God Smile

8 Mar

Monday, March 1st, 2021
A rare treat. A Monday morning Katannabis session (The entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis). I woke and readied myself for work. At 6:15 am I found out work was cancelled due to heavy rain. By 7:30 I had started Katannabis. I had no idea that this impromptu session would, simply, blow-me-away.

 

Recently I added a recitation of the Christian “Act of Contrition” to my Katannabis sessions. (See Endnote) Why? I’m not sure. I guess as a means of atoning to That which is greater than me. I do this without religious connotations. The self-inventory, reflection and confession is a very cleansing experience. It enhances the overall effect of Katannabis.

That morning I intoned the traditional version but then just simply opened my heart. I talked to God plain, simple and frank, sometimes in course language. I then sat quietly in Zazen. I felt like I never felt before. My impromptu, unscripted confession and atonement was, pardon me, like a big spiritual bowel movement. The bowels of my soul unclogged, emptied, lightened. No longer bloated with accumulated spiritual waste, I can move forward.Whether or not my days of walking life’s path would continue is something outside of my control. Choosing to walk the Path in a righteous, ascendant manner is entirely within my control.To ascend as high as a flawed human being could go; to be God-like until the time comes when I am called to once again return to God.

It then occurred to me that this might make God happy. To see one of his creations reach up towards His lofty heights. Maybe God would even “smile.”

It is in my sole power, as a flawed human, to make God smile. That’s empowering. Stay on the Path. Be the fullest expression of who you can be. Maybe God will notice, maybe God would smile. I’m okay with that. Though, I do wonder, if I pleased God, will He call upon me sooner?



Until the next time, I remain,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

         Start your own Path:
You can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Follow Sensei John on Instagram. Simply follow “1day1lifetime” for daily updates on all of Sensei’s projects:

– Kata-Rx for wellness & mindfullness;

– Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx & medical cannabis);

– Kata-Rx & Koan daily meditations;

Enjoy your Instagram experience with Sensei John.

ENDNOTES:

1. The traditional Act Of Contrition is:
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

2. The poem in my “Days end” photo is an adaptation of the death poem of the Samurai Okabe Tadazumi (1144 – 1184) killed in battle (the poem found in his quiver) the original is: 

“Overtaken by darkness 

I will lodge under a tree 

Flowers alone host me.”

 

Sensei’s Journal Entry # 6: I Find An Umbrella

1 Mar

I’ve had some, oh shall we say, unusual experiences as a result of my exploration of Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of my Kata-Rx and medical cannabis). During last night’s Katannabis a strange but true story from eight years ago came to mind. There are very few people that know this unexplained tale. Now, you will join them

Eight years ago my father died. The day after his funeral I found an umbrella. Doesn’t sound strange? Doesn’t hint at the “other-worldly?” Ah, but wait.

The morning after Dad’s funeral I was at a park doing my Kata-Rx. After finishing, I took a short walk around the park. I walked towards a pavilion. Reaching the pavilion, I had a desire to do one more kata; Suparunpei Kata, a very spiritual kata. During the kata, something off in a distant corner caught my eye. I decided to check it out. It was an umbrella. Some one must have forgotten it from yesterday when it had rained. I decided to check it out. So I opened it and saw an insignia.

When I saw the insignia, an electric chill ran up from my fingers, upwards through my arm to fill my body. The insignia was the logo for St. Peter’s Prep, a school in Jersey City, New Jersey.

St. Peter’s Prep is not just any school. It was where my father, whom we buried yesterday, went to school.

This was on my mind when at the end of a rainy Sunday, the last day of February, 2021, I performed my daily Katannabis meditation.

        You can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Until the next time, I remain,


Sensei John Szmitkowsk

 

Follow Sensei John on Instagram. Simply follow “1day1lifetime” for daily updates on all of Sensei’s projects:

  • Kata-Rx for wellness & mindfullness;
  • Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx & medical cannabis);
  • Kata-Rx & Koan daily meditations;
  • Kata Laboratory where you can “Think – Sweat – Experiment” with your Kata & Sensei John’s innovative concepts.

Enjoy your Instagram experience with Sensei John.

 

Sensei’s Journal Entry # 5: Snow Expectations, Snow Disappointments

22 Feb

Sunday night, always a tough one. Six days of work lay head. Katannabis mediation, the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis, takes on a special import. The insights resulting from a profound Katannabis session help guide and transform me. Last night, and this morning was no different.

Yesterday after concluding Katannabis, I wanted to check the weather to see how many layers of clothing I needed to lay out for the morning. The forecast called for ninety percent chance of a mix of snow and rain starting around noon. Relaxed from Katannabis, I spent the rest of the night quietly reading and went to bed thinking that today would be an early day at work.

This morning I woke 5:45 like I usually do and began my morning routine (which includes a Kata-Rx session). As I was preparing to walk out the door I received a text message advising that we had the day off due to the anticipated bad weather. This was a surprise. I would have an unexpected day off to spend with my wife.

After a very rare morning Katannabis session, I reflected on a perceptual difference between today’s snow and a snow day from last week. Last Tuesday was a day that also called for late morning / early afternoon snow (with accumulations of six to eight inches). The difference was that last week we worked. With todays storm there was a more marked difference.



Last week the night before the snow storm I went to bed with the expectation of having the day off. When we had to go out and work in the storm I was disappointed and even angry. Today, having no such expectation, I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the spontaneous “staycation.”

After posting this I’ll again perform my nightly Katannabis. I’ll use that session to not only deeply reflect on the idea that expectations are disappointments in disguise but also embrace the concept. I paid lip service to this simple concept. Now I must absorb it into my being. If I can make it become part of who I am, I will be improved. Kata-Rx and Katannabis do that for me. Both guides me to deeply explore – well, me. So, with a nod towards the recent weather here in northern New Jersey, I guess you can say, “sNOw expectations, sNOw disappointment.”

And by-the-way:
You can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Until the next time, I remain,



Sensei John Szmitkowski


Follow Sensei John on Instagram. Simply follow “1day1lifetime” for daily updates on all of Sensei’s projects:

– Kata-Rx for wellness & mindfullness;

– Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx & medical cannabis);

– Kata-Rx & Koan daily meditations;

Enjoy your Instagram experience with Sensei John.

Endnote:
My quotes above are an adaptation of a quote by the author Anne Lamott: “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”

Sensei’s Kata-Rx Journal Entry # 4: A Valentine’s Day gift, A Book & A New Reality

15 Feb

The “Souvenir Effect” is one of the many phenomenon of Katannabis, the entheogenic meditation using Kata-Rx and medical cannabis. At its core, the souvenir effect is the ability to recall places you have visited to effect a positive physical and mental experience. For more I’ve included a video below from my online class on the topic.

This Valentine’s Day while engaged in Katannabis, I used the souvenir effect to explore a completely new, undiscovered experience. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for a Valentines’ Day gift for my wife. As I tend towards the unusual, I prefer gifts of the same sort. At the time I was reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. No spoilers here so I’m not going to delve into the book save to say it involves the main character’s exploration of other alternative universes and his desire to return to the one specific universe from whence he came.

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an ad for the perfect Valentines Day gift. Finally, I found it! It even captured our love of Frankenstein and his Bride.

What caught my eye was the last paragraph which leapt out at me from the pages of Dark Matter.

“. . . in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”

My wife loved her gift. Valentines Day night it gave me an idea as I was engaged in Katannabis. I took the souvenir effect to a level I never thought possible – the exploration of other possible realities. I’ll write about that in greater detail in the future. For now I’ll mention the first reality I explored. During this Katannabis I imagined and explored an alternative reality where my wife and I live a simple life in a tropical, ocean side village. No pressures, no physical or mental challenges. Just simple living a life. Oh yeah, that will get me through the upcoming cold work week.

You may say, “Hey Sensei John, you’re not experiencing other realities, you’re just fantasizing.” You may be right. But. I do experience the physical and mental effects of my “fantasy.” I feel better, relaxed, more engaged, more alive. If reality is based upon those experiences then an alternative reality does in fact “exist.”

I’ve also realized that the reality I am living is the one I would fight to get back to. True in other realities life is easier, even one with the so-called “good-life.” But in others life is drastically more difficult. On balance, this is the reality I’d choose. So, here I am doing Katannabis on Valentine’s Day 2021.

And by-the-way:
In this reality you can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Until the next time, I remain,


Sensei John Szmitkowski


Follow Sensei John on Instagram. Simply follow “1day1lifetime” for daily updates on all of Sensei’s projects:

Kata-Rx for wellness & mindfullness;

Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx & medical cannabis);

Kata-Rx & Koan daily meditations;

Enjoy your Instagram experience with Sensei John.

Sensei’s Kata-Rx Journal Entry # 3: Depth Of Winter – Or, Is It Summer?

1 Feb

“In the depth of winter, I discovered within me lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

        That’s been my mantra all week. Working outdoors, my mood is susceptible to influence by the weather. This was one such week. Often bleak with very little sun, morning temperatures below freezing and high temperatures hardly above the weather bore down upon me.

The aches and pains of physical labor were amplified by the cold. Fatigue, increased by my body burning calories just to maintain a normal core temperature, weighed heavily.

My nightly Katannabis and morning Kata-Rx sessions didn’t just nurture me. It sustained me. It got more through. Now Sunday, the one day off, Katannabis and Kata-Rx instill a connectivity. This day of rest is connected to the next day of rest, six days away. Both are one and the same. Separated only by six brief interruptions of work. I’ll get through the next week because its already connect, past, present and future. That knowledge mitigates the dilatory physical, mental and emotional effects of winter and allows my internal summer to sustain itself.

      Life is one big continuum, each moment exists independently and co-mingled with its predecessor and successor. Winter is linked to and exists simultaneously with summer. It is all a simple matter of a state-of-being. Yeah, I know, sounds a bit “new-age.” I agree – but – after years of my Kata-Rx mediation and Katannabis ritual, I can tell you its not only true, but can be experienced!

Believe me or not, it makes no difference to me. I understand it, experience it and benefit from it. You can too, for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

From the Mushin-No-Shin mindset class


Until the next time – which incidentally exists right now, we just don’t know it, I remain,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

Sensei’s Kata-Rx Journal Entry # 2: My Daily Zazen

18 Jan

Zazen, seated meditation, is an integral part of my daily Katannabis / Kata-Rx practice. I use two different forms of zazen each day.

The first is part of my evening Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis, for more please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/2020/10/26/kata-rx-medical-cannabis-katannabis-2/ ).

During my evening zazen, I sit quietly in my darkened bedroom. I perform a “Sa-Ta-Na-Ma” chant (I’ll have an article on this in the near future). Then I perform a single hand Ghost Hand Kata while seated. This is followed by a series of movements from the Suparunpei Kata (I’ll video on this soon). I then close with a final “Sa-Ta-Na-Ma” chant.

The second zazen session I perform sitting on my motorcycle after I have arrived at work.



I do this session with eyes closed until the final chanting. I start with a “Sa-Ta-Na-Ma” chanting session. I then again, “perform” the ghost hand except that I do not physically do so. I sit still and perform the Ghost Hand Kata completely in my mind. I also perform the movements of Suparunpei Kata entirely in my mind. I then close with a “Sa-Ta-Na-Ma” chanting session.

So there’s my daily zazen which is an integral part of my daily Katannabis (evening) and Kata-Rx (morning). You can learn Kata-Rx for FREE in my online school using this secure link: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

See you in class,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

          Wow!
Course # 1 in my Kata-RX For Wellness & Mindfulness is now FREE!
Use this link to join for FREE – https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

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

11 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Submitted with gratitude,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

Welcome To My Kata-Rx Journal

4 Jan

The cartography of the inner soul is nothing to be afraid of.” – Casey Hardison

I wonder often, “How to spread the word about both my Kata-Rx and Katannabis without seeming like a cheesy ad-man?” Unable to come to a decision, I held off promoting my online school on social media platforms and the like. Now, after a deep reflective Kata-Rx / Katannabis session, I’ve found an answer.

Its time to pull back the curtain. The only way I can tell you about the benefits of my programs to to bring you right into my world. I practice both Kata-Rx and Katannabis daily. I do this because, well, life isn’t easy. Without my daily ritual I would say its unbearable at times. So to this end I’ll be launching a journal of my trials, tribulations and how Kata-Rx and Katannabis get me through. It may, at times, be dark, but it will be real.

   You can learn Kata-Rx For Wellness & Mindfulness for FREE! Use this safe, convenient link to my online school https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation . Learn at your convenience, at your own pace in your home.

   For more on Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis, for more please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/2020/10/26/kata-rx-medical-cannabis-katannabis-2/

Here’s a preview of my Kata-Rx filmed in Provincetown, MA 

My best,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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