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Time Modification Of Kata – Interim Movements – Fuku/Gekisai Kata Example

25 Oct

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My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

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This article is a continuation of my exploration of time as a fourth dimension of distance. For those unfamiliar with this concept there are several video and other resources in Endnote # 1. Simply put, most martial artists think of distance as a function of the three dimensions of length, width and height. To do so omits the all important fourth dimension of time.

Time as a fourth dimension of distance is easily appreciated when one practices their kata. Such, practice, may require modification of the kata sequences. The within is one method of modifying your kata to appreciate the time dimension.

Interim kata movements (the starting posture of the next movement) can be modified to achieve a time advantage over your opponent. How does this work? Let us look at a typical three move kata sequence found in many kata. That of a block, a counter strike and a block. This last block is actually not a “block” but a continuation of the counter attack. In the Goshin-Do style of karate, this sequence can be found, inter alia, in the Kata Fuku and Gekisai, (See Endnote # 2)

As the sequence is the same for both Fuku and Gekisai Kata (only the blocks change) let’s take a look at the sequence as it is normally performed in the Fuku Kata (See Endnote # 3 for videos of both the entire Fuku and Gekisai Kata)

Move # 1: High Block

Move # 2: Step forward, lunge Punch to chest

Move # 3: Step back, low block

To explore how an interim movement (the cover for the third block) can be used to achieve a time advantage, simply modify the movement. In the case, you speed up the cover for the block. Normally after the lunge punch you would step back to a half-way position and then cover the low block. You then complete the step back (to a side stance in the Fuku & Gekisai Kata) and complete the low block. To achieve a time advantage, perform the cover simultaneously with the punch as shown in the photo below. Again, you then step back to the completed position.

Move # 1:

Move # 2: Time modified – lunge punch and cover for low block simultaneous:

Move # 3: Step back, low block as usual.

You can and should practice your kata with this time adjustment. When you are comfortable with the movement, conduct bunkai (analysis) with a partner and see how the cover actually becomes a continuation of the counter attack (as in the case of the completed low block). In the time modified sequence, you will have gained an advantage by counter striking your opponent twice (once with the punch and simultaneously with the counter).

Exploring the fourth dimension of time as a component part of your kata will provide you with a rich and more complete understanding of not only your kata, but, also yourself. It is fertile ground limited only by the boundaries of your own imagination.

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

 

 For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!
 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/kata-lab/

ENDNOTES:

1. To understand the basic concept of the three basic dimensions of lenght, width and height as they relate to the martial arts and the fourth dimension of time, please click this link:
https://senseijohn.me/2015/11/23/underground-bunkai-sneak-peak/

2. The basic sequence, block, strike, block, is sometimes obscured. For example, the sequence is found within the Taikiyoku kata series. A block is followed by a lunge punch, a turn is then performed during which another block is executed. The turn obscures the third block in the sequence. Removing the cloud of the turn opens the idea that the third block and turn is in fact a continuation of the counter strike. However, that concept is for another article in this series.

3. Here is a video of the entire Fuku and Gekisai Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate style.

© Copyright 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Time Modification Of Kata – Sequence Adaptation – Kanto Kata Example

11 Oct

Donations are appreciated!

My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

$5.00

 

Ah, I’ve just returned from a long weekend in Provincetown, Cape Cod. This annual sojourn gives me the time to think. And what better topic to think about than – time. Not the scientific concept of time, but time as it relates to martial arts.

Time is an ignored element of the martial arts. It is almost never considered in kata bunkai (analysis). Whether they realize it or not, most martial artist think in terms of distance as three dimensional. Distance is only defined as a function of the three dimensions of length, width and height. In reality, there is a fourth dimension that mandates exploration – time. Please see the resources in Endnote # 1 for an introductory discussion of this topic.

Exploration of the time dimension is facilitated by expanding your kata bunkai (analysis) to include consideration of time. How does time affect kata and its application is a subject limited only by the imagination of the karate-ka (practitioner).

The following two videos provide two examples.

The first is from the Gekisai kata. In the video the kata sequence whereby an open middle block followed by a front snap kick is manipulated. You can see how time is manipulated to gain an advantage over your opponent. This is commonly referred to as “speed.”

In the second video you see a sequence whereby a reverse punch is followed by a front snap kick; a very common sequence in many kata. In so far as one’s leg is longer than one’s arm, there is a distance problem (see the video). This is overcome by manipulating the timing of the punch and kick as show. Again, while the dimensions of length, width and height traditionally determine range to the target, the fourth dimension of time must be accounted for.

Once you begin to analyze your kata and practice kata with an awareness of time, you may be confronted with kata sequences that are not so readily manipulated. This results in a necessary change to the sequence of the kata to overcome the limits of the time dimension. An example may be found in the Kanto Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate system. (See Endnote # 2 for a video of this unique kata) Kanto translates as “Fighting Spirit.” It was created by Hanshi Frank Van Lenten to illustrate the techniques and ideology of the Goshin-Do Karate style. Within Kanto Kata there are sequences which are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve maximum time efficiency. One such sequence is as follows.

Move # 1: Stepping forward on a forty-five degree angle, a middle block is performed.

Move # 2: The blocking hand then executes a jab to the opponent’s nose.

Move # 3: This is then followed by a reverse punch.

To achieve maximum time efficiency in any kata, a block and a counter should be executed simultaneously. (see Endnote # 3) So in the above sequence, if not for the jab, it would be simple to execute the middle block and reverse punch simultaneously. The jab causes a problem. It is impossible to block and jab with the same hand simultaneously. To be sure, you can perform these two movements as fast as possible, but never at the exact same time. Further, if you perform the middle block and link the jab and reverse punch to hit simultaneously, you have achieved time efficiency with the two counter attacks, but you still have not linked the block and counter as simultaneous. To overcome this problem, you must modify the sequence itself.

You step forward and perform the middle block and reverse punch simultaneously (moves # 1 and # 3), then,

You perform the jab (move # 2)

 

In modifying the sequence, you will now counter attack as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Thus achieved efficiency in the fourth dimension of time. This concept can readily be applied to your other kata. I’ll soon post an article extending the concept to Seisan Kata.

You should strive to include the fourth dimension of time into your kata bunkai (analysis). I not only do this when I have a partner available to apply my bunkai, I also do this when practicing alone. I perform my kata using the traditional sequences and then perform the kata using the time modified sequences as above. In this manner you are performing bunkai solo while simultaneously performing your kata (more on this at a later time).

If you subscribe to the training maxim that kata is one tool that will help you achieve maximum efficiency in a self defense situation, then you must include this type of practice into you regime.

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

     For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!
  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/kata-lab/

© Copyright 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Endnote:

1. Use this convenient link for a basic understanding as to how the three dimensions of distance – length, width and height apply to all karate technique and the necessity of understanding the fourth dimension of time –
https://senseijohn.me/2015/11/23/underground-bunkai-sneak-peak/

2. Kanto Kata video

3. Those familiar with the five responses to attack will understand that transitioning from a block followed-up by a counter attack to a block and counter as one movement is a transition from the state of GO NO SEN (after, later-before): block & counter attack to a state of SEN NO TE (before-hand): block and counter attack are in one movement.

Kata Lab # 2250: Kata Within You – Introduction

30 Aug

Donations are appreciated!

My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

$5.00

A dream is an answer to a question we have not yet learned to ask. Fox Mulder, The X-Files, (Paper Hearts episode, S4, E 10)

Background:
Kata is always within you.
In fact, you intentionally train to have kata within you. If a time comes when you are confronted by an attacker, kata rises to the surface and you can successfully defend yourself. The kata sequences that you instinctively use in your defense will vary based upon a great number of circumstances. Nonetheless, your training in kata will pay dividends in an actual street scenario. This kata lab explores that actuality. This Lab also functions as an introduction to the advanced concepts contained in Kata Lab # 4210: Kata Within You – Advanced.
Experiment:

  • Do not pre-select a kata for this lab. Your kata should be as spontaneous as possible;
  • Do not “spontaneously” perform your “favorite” kata. To do so defeats the purpose of this Kata Lab.
  • As you go about your day be aware of the fact that your kata is brewing inside you, waiting to let itself out;
    At a random point in time (you may also use a timer as in previous kata labs), let the kata out;
  • Perform the kata as you require at that specific time. For example, in Kata Lab number 2230, you performed the kata in a “life and death” scenario. This time, perform the kata as your specific needs may require, examples include, performing the kata to rejuvenate yourself if you are tired, or performing the kata to “stretch your legs” and “get your blood flowing” if you’re lethargic;
  • The kata that bursts forth from within you should be as random as possible based upon your physical and psychological needs at the time.

Conclusion:
This is a very basic kata lab to acquaint you with the idea that at all times, you are your kata and your kata is you. As you go about your day, kata simmers within you waiting to be called forth to help you through your day.
This lab also provides a firm foundation for Kata Lab # 4210: Kata Within You – Advanced and for other more advanced labs that follow.
This week’s featured video is

Bonus video from my new “Underground Bunkai” series:

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

Sensei John Szmitkowski

  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

© Copyright 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Memorial Day Kata

24 May

Memorial Day soon approaches. It is a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American Armed Forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead.May 24, 2015

With that in mind, I propose that in addition to your BBQ, parades, picnics and other activities, you engage in one solemn practice. For martial artists, I sugeest you dedicated one kata in memory of those that have died serving in the American Armed Forces. From Memorial Day, 2015, my Sanchin Kata footprints, North Truro, Cape Cod, MA:

Session Parameters:
Date: Memorial Day, May 29th, 2017
Time: any quiet time during your day;
Location: any location, but, as you know, I prefer an outdoors in nature;
Salient Points:
During kata, reflect upon and remember that have died in the service of our country. Through your honor, their memory will not be lost.

Thank-you for your participation,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

     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/kata-lab/

© Copyright 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
   my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

KATA & CHESS – 2016 World Chess Championship

11 Nov

Today, in the far reaches of my backyard, New York City, marks the start of the 2016 World Chess Championship. The defending World Champion, GM Magnus Carlsen will defend his title against GM Sergey Karjakin. Photos from Wikipedia.

GM Magnus Carlsen, defending World Champion

GM Magnus Carlsen, defending World Champion

 

GM Sergay Karjakin

GM Sergey Karjakin

In the past I have posted a few articles on the similarity of kata and chess. Kata being a form of physical chess. My posts were inspired by my own kata practice and various chess tournaments and matches. I am sure this coming word championship will provide fertile ground for more inspiration. In the meantime, here’s a link to some of earlier articles and videos inspired by kata and chess.

FEYNMAN    Dr. Feynman Visits Sensei’s Kata Lab. This post was inspired by the 2015 Sinquefield Chess tournament. In a field of eight of the highest rated chess GM’s GM Levon Aronian emerged victorious. https://senseijohn.me/2015/09/28/dr-richard-feynman-visits-senseis-kata-lab-part-1/

BUNKAI--beauty of move copy   Kata Lab # 4210 – Random Sanchin Kata. This was inspired by the “Fischer-Chess” discussed in the 2014 Sinquefield Chess tournament. https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/

3 commentators   Kata, My Curse? This post was inspired the 2014 Sinquefield Chess tournament. https://senseijohn.me/2014/09/22/kata-my-curse/

Chess fans may wish to visit http://nyc2016.fide.com This site has exceptional coverage on the match, links to live feed of the games, and much more.

Enjoy the match. Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

   KATA LAB   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/kata-lab/

© Copyright 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE   my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and 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

Kata Lab # 1210 – Kata Of The Mind

20 Jun

Donations are appreciated!

My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

$5.00

KATA LAB

Background:

Summer. Two months when most students leave the Dojo for summer vacation. More likely than not when the students return from vacation, they forgot at least one kata. Except one summer and one student, whom I’ll call Jacqui. She taught me a lesson. That lesson led to this Kata Lab. Jacqui was away at camp all summer. She was a relatively good student though a bit lazy. Her first night back at the Dojo, I wanted to gauge how much she forgot. While her kata were a bit awkward, I was amazed that she did not forget any kata. I told her that I was happy she found time to practice while at camp. To my surprise, she told me that she did not practice any kata the whole summer. Rather, she informed me that “lights-out” was rather early and she often laid in her bed bored and unable to sleep. To alleviate her boredom, she thought about her kata and mentally “practiced” them. With that conversation with Jacqui, the seeds of this kata lab were planted. Before the next summer, Jacqui stopped training. Her “legacy” lives on.

Experiment:

Notwithstanding the motto of my Kata Lab, “Think * Sweat * Experiment”, this kata labs involves very little sweating. For this lab you should:

Find a quiet place to sit comfortably. My preference is always an outdoor location; however, the first time you try this lab, you may wish to preserve a “martial atmosphere” and do the lab in your Dojo and while wearing your gi. Now, mentally perform your kata as if you were performing it physically:

• Strive for technical perfection;
• Speed and power should be as appropriate within the kata;
• Timing of breath, inhalation and exhalation must be accurate;
• Kiai where called for and in the appropriate manner;
• Maintain the proper focus and mental attitude as if you were physically doing the kata.

Once you are comfortable with this kata lab, move your mental practice outdoors. Concentrate on:

• Visualize how the different terrain affects your mental kata. Should you be aware of slippery surfaces? Is the kata being visualized going up or down a hill, if so, what is the effect?
• Is the air temperature hot, cold, raining or snowing? Visualize the effect

Conclusion:

Not only is this kata lab a fun mental exercise, but as Jacqui did, it allows you to remember your kata in a convenient manner. You can mentally practice your kata any place and any time. It also provides a convenient introduction into the spiritual aspect (state-of-mind, emotions and psychology) of kata.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

This weeks featured video:

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

   300-cactus.jpg   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

© Copyright 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Do NOT Perfect Your Kata

6 Jun

“Perfect your kata.”

You’ve heard it in the dojo, you’ve read about it in books, magazines and blogs. It’s mentioned in videos on You-Tube. Heck, I even posted an article concerning the idea that “Practice makes perfect.” https://senseijohn.me/2010/07/19/practice-does-not-make-perfect/

Well, I say “Do NOT ‘perfect’ your kata!”

To ‘perfect’ means to, “make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.” Kata is one “something” that it is utterly impossible to perfect. Consider the following.

First, let’s start with the kata itself. I submit it is impossible to perfect a kata. Initially, how is a perfect kata to be defined. Is it one that is technically correct, free from faults or defects? If so, then a perfect kata is one that is merely pretty and lacks any functional utility. It must be remembered that kata is a dance, the highest form of dance in my opinion, but a dance nonetheless. What differentiates kata from all other forms of dance is one crucial element. Kata has at its core a martial purpose. It is designed to facilitate self-defense (see endnote # 1) So, to consider a kata as perfect merely based upon technical correctness of the performance is incomplete. Surely, a performer that performs a perfect kata in the dojo or a tournament but cannot defend him or her self with the sequences and techniques from the kata is but a perfect dancer.

Second, kata exists merely as a concept. It is enlivened only through the actions of a performer. In so far as the performer is an imperfect being (as is all humans), the kata can never be perfected. As to this point, I am reminded of a saying from one of my instructors, “Kata is to be thought of as clay in a mold.” Even assuming, arguendo, that the mold (the kata) is itself perfect, the clay (the performer) contains individual imperfections. Through the performance of the kata, repeatedly subjecting the clay to the mold, one hopes to remove as many perfections as possible; however, given the nature of flux of the imperfections, this is impossible. (See Endnote # 2)

Third, as regular readers are aware, I steadfastly maintain that kata contains three individual aspects, a physical aspect, a spiritual aspect (the manner in which kata affects your state-of-mind, emotions and psyche) and an environmental aspect (the manner in which kata is affected by environment and vice-versa). When most teachers talk of “perfecting” your kata, they limit themselves to only the physical aspect of kata. By doing so, they avoid the most difficult aspect, the spiritual aspect. This aspect is difficult on several fronts. To start, I submit each kata contains within it a specific state-of-mind required for the performance. A full discussion of this point is beyond this article; however, you may gleam an idea of a specific kata’s proscribed statement of mind from the translation of its name. Examples include, the Kanto (Fighting Spirit) kata of Goshin-Do Karate, Taikiyoku (To build the body and the spirit) Geikisai (To Destroy) and Seienchin (Calm in the storm / storm in the calm). Thus this state of mind must be “perfected” within the kata – a monumental task at best. One’s mind, states thereof, including emotions and psyche can never be “perfected.”
In addition, even though a kata is relatively short in duration, it is exceeding difficult for the human mind to maintain itself in a “perfect” mental, emotional and psychological state for such a duration.

Fourth, looking at my environmental aspect of kata, two points must be borne in mind when considering the notion of “perfecting” your kata. It must be remembered that a kata was once a creation of its inventor. You can easily research the inventor’s physical characteristics at the time of creation. You may also discover insight into his general mental state (such as whether history tells us he was depressed, quick to anger, starving as in the case of a few post WWWII masters, or an alcoholic). You may not be aware of the impact of the creator’s environment on his kata creation. The kata would have been created taking such terrain into account. As such, the only way to “perfect” such kata is to perform it in its intended (read “perfect”) environment. Not sure? Take any of the various Kobudo oar kata as an immediate example. Most contain sequences involving using the oar to throw sand and /or soil into the eyes of the kata opponent. True, the kata can be performed in a dojo; however, such performance can not be “perfect” unless sand or soil is actually thrown and not merely simulated. Additionally, while you may “perfect” a kata within the sterile environment of a dojo, you may not be able to duplicate such perfection outside of the dojo, on uneven terrain, in clothes and shoes, with variations of temperature and climate.

So, if, as I say you should NOT “perfect your kata,” what then should you do. Let us turn to that great “master of Okinawa football” (hey, now-a-days, if it isn’t Okinawa, it’s not “authentic”), Coach Vince Lombardi of the Greenbay Packers (the team was originally from Okinawa and imported by US servicemen after WWII). 😇
Coach Lombardi once told his team,

We will relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not achieve it, but we will relentlessly chase it and in the process, we shall find excellence.

Applying this to kata, I urge you to forget “Perfect your kata” and instead, “Excel at your kata.” To excel takes into account all the variables contained within my three aspects of kata. You can excel at kata regardless of your age, health and physical limitations. You can excel at kata even if you are not in an ideal mental or emotional state. In fact, I submit you should use kata to modify your dilatory emotional state https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/ You can excel at kata in any physical environment, terrain or climate. By doing so, you will understand not only the martial aspects of kata and be able to defend yourself (with kata sequences) in the process, but also the “life-giving” aspects of kata. (See Endnote # 3)

So, stop accepting axiomatic advice and “Think * Sweat * Experiment for yourself. Don’t perfect your kata.” “Excel at your kata.”

This week’s featured Kata Laboratory video:

Bonus video: Here is a sneak peak at the newest video series “Underground Bunkai” which features my senior black belt, Sensei Jimmy DiMicelli, Go-Dan, Karate-Do NO Renshi.

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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sunsu-2      For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!

KATA LAB    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/kata-lab/

ENDNOTES:

1. Within the concept of self-defense, I include not only the obvious defense against an aggressor, but also physical health, and mental and emotional health.

2. This concept is the same as a chapter in my Kata Laboratory Book that addresses my concept that it is impossible to perform any kata exactly the same way twice. As of this writing, I have not released a free “teaser” of this chapter. This chapter discusses the multitude of variables and state of flux referred to in the article in great detail.

3. I draw a kata analogy to a concept from kendo (the art of the sword), “Satsujin no Ken (the sword that takes life) and Katsujin no Ken” (the sword that gives life”). I submit that the same applies to kata; Satsujin no Kata and Katsujin no Kata.

© Copyright 2015 – 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

Kata Lab # 2250: Kata Within You – An Introduction

23 May

A dream is an answer to a question we have not yet learned to ask. Fox Mulder, The X-Files, (Paper Hearts episode, S4, E 10)


KATA LAB

Background:

Kata is always within you.
In fact, you intentionally train to have kata within you. If a time comes when you are confronted by an attacker, kata rises to the surface and you can successfully defend yourself. The kata sequences that you instinctively use in your defense will vary based upon a great number of circumstances. Nonetheless, your training in kata will pay dividends in an actual street scenario. This kata lab explores that actuality. This Lab also functions as an introduction to the advanced concepts contained in Kata Lab # 4210: Kata Within You – Advanced.

Experiment:

  • Do not pre-select a kata for this lab. Your kata should be as spontaneous as possible;
  • Do not “spontaneously” perform your “favorite” kata. To do so defeats the purpose of this Kata Lab.
  • As you go about your day be aware of the fact that your kata is brewing inside you, waiting to let itself out;
  • At a random point in time (you may also use a timer as in previous kata labs), let the kata out;
  • Perform the kata as you require at that specific time. For example, in Kata Lab number 2230, you performed the kata in a “life and death” scenario. This time, perform the kata as your specific needs may require, examples include, performing the kata to rejuvenate yourself if you are tired, or performing the kata to “stretch your legs” and “get your blood flowing” if you’re lethargic;
  • The kata that bursts forth from within you should be as random as possible based upon your needs at the time.

Conclusion:

This is a very basic kata lab to acquaint you with the idea that at all times, you are your kata and your kata is you. As you go about your day, kata simmers within you waiting to be called forth to help you through your day.
This lab also provides a firm foundation for Kata Lab # 4210: Kata Within You – Advanced and for other more advanced labs that follow.

This week’s featured video is

Bonus video from my new “Underground Bunkai” series

 

HANKO-master
Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

   sunsu-2   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

 

© Copyright 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

Kata Lab # 2240 – Ten Virtues Of Kata

29 Feb

Donations are appreciated!

My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

$5.00

KATA LAB

Background:

I often scent the dojo with incense (Koh). My favorite koh is the “Morningstar” line by Nippon Kodo. http://www.nipponkodo.com It is well made using traditional methods, burns clean and with little smoke. If you visit their website (which I recommend you do), you will notice a page entitled the “Culture Of Incense.” On the page is an article “The Ten Virtues Of Koh.” Though I first read the ten virtues of koh over two decades ago, I still remember my very first impression, “Wow! The same ten virtues apply to Kata!” Over time I explored these virtues as they applied to both koh and kata, often enjoying both simultaneously (even using koh outdoors with my kata).
With this Kata Lab, you may also explore the ten virtues of koh as they also apply to kata. So purchase your favorite koh, practice your kata and enjoy the journey.

Experiment:

Using the kata from within your style’s curriculum, select one kata to represent each of the ten virtues of koh listed below;
Note that the kata you choose to represent a specific virtue will change over time as your training continues, as you age, and other factors, so you should repeat this Kata Lab regularly.
The Ten Virtues Of Koh (applied to Kata):
1.  It purifies mind & body;
2.  It removes spiritual uncleanliness;
3.  Practiced everyday, it will do no harm;
4.  It keeps one alert;
5.  One’s age does not change its efficacy;
6.  When performed in abundance, one never tires of it;
7.  When performed sparingly, one is satisfied;
8.  In the midst of busy affairs, it brings a moment of solitude;
9.  It is a companion in the midst of isolation;
10.  It brings communication with the transcendent universal consciousness.

Conclusion:

I categorized this Kata Lab as a spiritual lab as it forces you to think, sweat and experiment with your kata so as to understand how kata affects your psyche and emotions. That classification is an oversimplification. This lab also is a physical kata lab as it forces you to perform your kata to experience a new physical perspective. In addition, should you choose to follow my recommendations as to performing your kata using koh, the lab provides insight into the environmental aspect of kata; namely, how do the different aromas of koh affect your kata performance.

Additional Kata Labs:
Lab # 2242 – Kata With Koh: Purchase several aromas of koh. Prior to practice, experience each aroma. Now practice your kata after burning the koh. How does the aroma affect your kata? Do different aroma of koh affect your kata differently. Admittedly koh is pleasant, but each scent will still have a different effect. If not, then in lieu of the pleasant koh, perform your kata in a setting with unpleasant odors and see how they affect your kata.
Lab # 3241 – Alternative experiment: Based upon my own practice, I now find that all ten virtues may be found in each and every kata simultaneously. Train your kata with the virtues in mind and try to find and perceive each virtue within every kata in your catalogue of kata.

In the end, not only is this kata lab enlightening, it is also very enjoyable.

HANKO-master

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

 nyc-suparunpei    For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/ My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!

Featured Video:

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all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices! Here are ONLY SOME of our support products:

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For the full Kata Laboratory Table Of Contents, please visit the “Kata Laboratory” page tab above.

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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Kata Lab # 4260 – Kata & Perception – A Puzzle

18 Jan

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My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

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Un homme se définit aussi bien par ses comédies que par ses élans sincères.” (“A man defines himself by his make-believe as well as by his sincere impulses.”) Albert Camus

KATA LAB

Background:

This Kata Lab is based on an episode of one of my favorite television shows, “Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman.” The specific episode was entitled “Mysteries Of The Subconscious.” It featured an experiment devised by Dr. Alan Snyder of the Center For The Mind in Sydney, Australia. The experiment looked to test a method of altering the brain’s perceptions (See Endnote # 1 for details of the experiment).

It occurred to me that Dr. Snyder’s experiment can be it can be used to test my theory that kata can be used to alter brain perception. (See Endnote # 2) 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 # 3) My 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 # 4) 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:

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-1

Puzzle # 2

puzzle-2

Puzzle # 3

puzzle-3

Puzzle # 4

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 be able to solve the puzzle at all. This is because the final puzzle requires the use of the creative areas of your brain. Kata will be used to stimulate specific areas of your brain. After stimulation, you should then be able to correctly solve the puzzles.

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 my theory 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, certain kata derived from Goju-ryu, Pang-Noon-Gai-ryu or Uechi-Ryu are preferred. My personal favorite (in general terms) is what I call my “Sacred Trinity” Kata; performing Sanchin, Seienchin and Suparunpei Kata as one kata.
  • Your choice of kata and combinations thereof will require continued future performance of this and other Kata Labs designed to alter perception. In fact, you should have performed all of the “Spiritual” Kata Labs before attempting this experiment. Please refer to the Table Of Contents using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

Your Experiment:

  • Choose your kata in accord with the above guidelines;
  • Your kata should be deeply and sincerely performed; NO interruption should be tolerated;
  • 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.

Solutions to the puzzle are posted in Endnote # 5.

Conclusion:

This Kata Lab is but one of many gateways to start to explore how kata can alter your brain’s perception and empirically test same. It is intentionally submitted in general terms to stimulate your own self-exploration of kata. Realizing that that is a formidable task, I have set forth my own specific kata regime to alter perception in great detail in Kata Lab # 4270 – A Kata Riddle.

HANKO-master

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

© Copyright 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

sunsu-2   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!

ENDNOTES:

1. 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.

2. My theory is codified in a philosophy I call Jiriki Kata-Do (“JK-D”). For those unfamiliar with the term, JK-D is my dynamic-philosophy of using kata to attain well-being from within oneself. Well-being in this context is physical, spiritual (state-of-mind, emotions and psyche) and environmental (how your environment interacts with you and vice-versa). 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/

3. 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).

4. “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).

5. Solutions to the Puzzles:

puzzle-1          puzzle-2

puzzle-3          puzzle-4

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

Do NOT Perfect Your Kata

7 Dec

“Perfect your kata.

You’ve heard it in the dojo, you’ve read about it in books, magazines and blogs. It’s mentioned in videos on You-Tube. Heck, I even posted an article concerning the idea that “Practice makes perfect.” https://senseijohn.me/2010/07/19/practice-does-not-make-perfect/

Well, I say “Do NOT ‘perfect’ your kata!

To ‘perfect’ means to, “make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.” Kata is one “something” that it is utterly impossible to perfect. Consider the following.

First, let’s start with the kata itself. I submit it is impossible to perfect a kata. Initially, how is a perfect kata to be defined. Is it one that is technically correct, free from faults or defects? If so, then a perfect kata is one that is merely pretty and lacks any functional utility. It must be remembered that kata is a dance, the highest form of dance in my opinion, but a dance nonetheless. What differentiates kata from all other forms of dance is one crucial element. Kata has at its core a martial purpose. It is designed to facilitate self-defense (see endnote # 1) So, to consider a kata as perfect merely based upon technical correctness of the performance is incomplete. Surely, a performer that performs a perfect kata in the dojo or a tournament but cannot defend him or her self with the sequences and techniques from the kata is but a perfect dancer.

Second, kata exists merely as a concept. It is enlivened only through the actions of a performer. In so far as the performer is an imperfect being (as is all humans), the kata can never be perfected. As to this point, I am reminded of a saying from one of my instructors, “Kata is to be thought of as clay in a mold.” Even assuming, arguendo, that the mold (the kata) is itself perfect, the clay (the performer) contains individual imperfections. Through the performance of the kata, repeatedly subjecting the clay to the mold, one hopes to remove as many perfections as possible; however, given the nature of flux of the imperfections, this is impossible. (See Endnote # 2)

Third, as regular readers are aware, I steadfastly maintain that kata contains three individual aspects, a physical aspect, a spiritual aspect (the manner in which kata affects your state-of-mind, emotions and psyche) and an environmental aspect (the manner in which kata is affected by environment and vice-versa). When most teachers talk of “perfecting” your kata, they limit themselves to only the physical aspect of kata. By doing so, they avoid the most difficult aspect, the spiritual aspect. This aspect is difficult on several fronts. To start, I submit each kata contains within it a specific state-of-mind required for the performance. A full discussion of this point is beyond this article; however, you may gleam an idea of a specific kata’s proscribed statement of mind from the translation of its name. Examples include, the Kanto (Fighting Spirit) kata of Goshin-Do Karate, Taikiyoku (To build the body and the spirit) Geikisai (To Destroy) and Seienchin (Calm in the storm / storm in the calm). Thus this state of mind must be “perfected” within the kata – a monumental task at best. One’s mind, states thereof, including emotions and psyche can never be “perfected.”
In addition, even though a kata is relatively short in duration, it is exceeding difficult for the human mind to maintain itself in a “perfect” mental, emotional and psychological state for such a duration.

Fourth, looking at my environmental aspect of kata, two points must be borne in mind when considering the notion of “perfecting” your kata. It must be remembered that a kata was once a creation of its inventor. You can easily
research the inventor’s physical characteristics at the time of creation. You may also discover insight into his general mental state (such as whether history tells us he was depressed, quick to anger, starving as in the case of a few post WWWII masters, or an alcoholic). You may not be aware of the impact of the creator’s environment on his kata creation. The kata would have been created taking such terrain into account. As such, the only way to “perfect” such kata is to perform it in its intended (read “perfect”) environment. Not sure? Take any of the various Kobudo oar kata as an immediate example. Most contain sequences involving using the oar to throw sand and /or soil into the eyes of the kata opponent. True, the kata can be performed in a dojo; however, such performance can not be “perfect” unless sand or soil is actually thrown and not merely simulated. Additionally, while you may “perfect” a kata within the sterile environment of a dojo, you may not be able to duplicate such perfection outside of the dojo, on uneven terrain, in clothes and shoes, with variations of temperature and climate.

So, if, as I say you should NOT “perfect your kata,” what then should you do. Let us turn to that great “master of Okinawa football” (hey, now-a-days, if it isn’t Okinawa, it’s not “authentic”), Coach Vince Lombardi of the Greenbay Packers (the team was originally from Okinawa and imported by US servicemen after WWII). 😇
Coach Lombardi once told his team,

We will relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not achieve it, but we will relentlessly chase it and in the process, we shall find excellence.

Applying this to kata, I urge you to forget “Perfect your kata” and instead, “Excel at your kata.” To excel takes into account all the variables contained within my three aspects of kata. You can excel at kata regardless of your age, health and physical limitations. You can excel at kata even if you are not in an ideal mental or emotional state. In fact, I submit you should use kata to modify your dilatory emotional state https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/ You can excel at kata in any physical environment, terrain or climate. By doing so, you will understand not only the martial aspects of kata and be able to defend yourself (with kata sequences) in the process, but also the “life-giving” aspects of kata. (See Endnote # 3)

So, stop accepting axiomatic advice and “Think * Sweat * Experiment for yourself. Don’t perfect your kata.” “Excel at your kata.”

This week’s featured Kata Laboratory video:

Bonus video: Here is a sneak peak at the newest video series “Underground Bunkai” which features my senior black belt, Sensei Jimmy DiMicelli, Go-Dan, Karate-Do NO Renshi.

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this post please help support this blog, visit my store.

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snowman  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!
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ENDNOTES:

1. Within the concept of self-defense, I include not only the obvious defense against an aggressor, but also physical health, and mental and emotional health.

2. This concept is the same as a chapter in my Kata Laboratory Book that addresses my concept that it is impossible to perform any kata exactly the same way twice. As of this writing, I have not released a free “teaser” of this chapter. This chapter discusses the multitude of variables and state of flux referred to in the article in great detail.

3. I draw a kata analogy to a concept from kendo (the art of the sword), “Satsujin no Ken (the sword that takes life) and Katsujin no Ken” (the sword that gives life”). I submit that the same applies to kata; Satsujin no Kata and Katsujin no Kata.

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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 which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
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Underground Bunkai – Sneak Peak

23 Nov

I am pleased to announce a new project – “Underground Bunkai.” Underground Bunkai is a series of articles and videos that will support my Kata Laboratory project. Kata Laboratory offers specific training methods to allow you to explore my three aspects of kata (See Endnote # 1). The Underground Bunkai project will show specific applications of the Kata Laboratory methods as they apply to various kata.

The approach of Underground Bunkai is unique. It provides you with insight not only as to the specific kata sequence analyzed, but also as to how to use that analysis to aid in your practice of the kata of your style of martial art. The videos will prominently feature my senior black belt, Sensei Jimmy DiMicelli, Go-dan, Karate-Do No Renshi.

Here is a sneak peak at a video that shows the concept of time as a fourth dimension of distance. A detailed discussion of time as a component of distance is contained in my full Kata Lab project (See Endnote # 2). Generally we think of distance in terms of three physical dimensions of length, width and height (see footnote # 3). We disregard the element of time, which is the fourth dimension of distance. The video uses the Goshin-Do Karate Kata Gekisai to illustrate how time affects distance. Enjoy.

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

  dreams-seisan   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!

ENDNOTES:

1. My three aspects of kata are: the physical aspect (which includes practical application of kata technique and methods to integrate kata analysis within your martial arts regime), the spiritual aspect (the manner in which kata affects your mental state, emotions and psyche, and vice-versa) and the environmental aspect (the manner in which the environment affects your kata). Videos within the Kata Lab project provide a visual guide to supplement the written training methods.

2. The exact concept is the subject of Kata Lab # 3130: Maai – The 4th dimension – Introduction and Kata Lab # Maai – The 4th Dimension – Advanced Concepts. I have not posted “teasers” of these two labs on this blog.

3. To understand the three dimensions as they apply to distance in the martial arts, let’s look at a straight right punch that starts in chamber and ends at your opponent’s nose.

angle  You think of the distance in terms of an angle from your right chamber to your opponent’s nose.
1 copy  In fact, it is a three dimensional path described by the angle as follows:
2 copy  Length is the distance directly from your right chamber position to your opponent’s left side of the body;
width  Width is the distance from the chamber position directly to your opponent’s center mass;
height  Height is the distance from your right chamber position to the height of the nose along your opponent’s left body line.
These three distances merge into one path that is represented by a straight line, in the form of an angle, from chamber to nose.

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

Kata Bunkai – A Temporary Triumph (Dr. Feynman visits The Kata Lab – Part II)

9 Nov

KATA LAB

So, you just finished a kata seminar with the latest karate-do Master. Long in advance of the seminar, you pre-registered and paid your $ 100 plus dollar fee. The Master showed those select few of you his or her previously undisclosed, “hidden” application of kata sequences. According to the Master, “You now know the final bunkai for the kata.”

Well, not true on several fronts.

First and foremost, the word “bunkai” does not mean the physical application of kata sequences. It means analysis. Analysis is an on-going process;
Second, what was shown to you was an application of a kata sequence. You learned. You did not analyze anything yourself. You merely mimicked someone else’s application;
Third, what you learned is merely a physical application of kata sequences. You have not investigated my remaining two aspects of kata (and by extension, kata bunkai). Namely, the spiritual aspect (the manner in which the kata affects your state-of-mind, emotional state and psyche and vice-versa) and the environmental aspect (the manner in which your surroundings affect the kata and vice-versa).

The second point self-explanatory and the third is answered by my entire 200 plus page Kata Lab project. So, lets look at the first point. To aid my answer, I would like to once again “invite” the eminent physicist Dr. Richard Feynman into my Kata Lab. (See Endnote # 1).

FEYNMAN  Dr. Feynman once observed:

An experiment that confirms your theory does not prove that it is right, only that it is simply not proved wrong. It can never be proved right. Because in the future there could be a wider range of experiments that proves your theory wrong.* So, we are never sure we are right. We can only ever be sure we are not wrong.
* (reference was made to Newton’s law of planetary motion which was accepted correct until 100 years later when the planet Mercury’s motion proved it wrong).

So, for your seminar fee, what exactly did you get in terms of bunkai (analysis of kata)? You received something (see point two) that is not only inconclusive (see point three), but also, temporary, momentary and subject to change. Dr. Feynman would say you were shown an application that, for now, is “not wrong”.

How is this so?
The application you were shown is based upon the Master’s understanding of the kata sequences. This understanding factors in his or her physical limitations and abilities. Your use of the application is affected by your own physical capabilities and skills (which differ from those of the Master). Based upon your own individual characteristics the Master’s application may be utterly useless to you. Unless, of course, you, “Just keep practicing, one day you’ll get it right.” Even if you are able to perform the application, as your physical health changes your ability to perform that application will change. Thus what you learned as, ahem, “bunkai” needs to be revisited. If you do not revisit the application and make necessary adjustments, including finding an entirely new application, you will reach a point of stagnation. “I could perform this application in my younger days, or when my knees weren’t so bad.” Such statements are ridiculous.

Kata is not meant to be stagnant. It is meant to be fluid. It changes according to the performer. An analogy is the “Clay in the mold” interpretation of kata. Kata is the mold which will form you, the clay. As each lump of clay is different and will change over time, the mold (kata) will affect each lump differently. As to bunkai (analysis of kata), I submit that Dr, Feynman’s observation be modified as follows.

A bunkai (analysis) that confirms your understanding (of kata) does not prove that it is right, only that it is simply not proved wrong. It can never be proved right. Because in the future there could be a wider range of bunkai that proves your understanding incomplete. So, we are never sure that our bunkai is right. We can only ever be sure we are not wrong. (Sensei John Szmitkowski modifying Dr. Richard Feynman).

Thus, there are no absolutes in kata bunkai (analysis). Any analysis is merely temporary. It is subject to the changing dynamics and needs of the individual practitioner. Your changing health, age and capabilities all affect your analysis. Your non-physical characteristics may have a more profound impact on your kata analysis. Your mental state, emotions and psyche play a major role in how you analyze your kata. (See Endnote # 2) Further, there is a greatly overlooked and often entirely missed factor that contributes to your analysis. This factor is the manner in which the environment affects your kata. The impact of terrain, weather, temperature and other such environmental factors cannot be discounted.

My “visit” with Dr. Feynman now concluded, it is time once again for me to “Think * Sweat * Experiment” with my kata. Maybe one day I’ll get it “right.”

Featured video: Kata Lab #2230 – Kata: Dr. Jekyll’s Potion. Full article:
https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/09/kata-lab-122-kata-dr-jekylls-potion/

HANKO-master

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”) Sensei John Szmitkowski

   300-cactus.jpg  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

Endnotes:

1. Dr. Feynman’s earlier visit to my Kata Lab maybe viewed using this convenient link
https://senseijohn.me/2015/09/28/dr-richard-feynman-visits-senseis-kata-lab-part-1/

2. Kata can and should be used to modify emotions link https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/

and video:

Help support Sensei’s experiments – Come visit my store on CafePress! all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices!

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Kata Candy – Eat It!

26 Oct

KATA LAB

Readers and viewers of my Kata Laboratory articles and videos are familiar with the motto, “Think * Sweat * Experiment.” What you may not be aware of is that my thinking, sweating and experimenting with kata is a daily process. I never think or conceive a kata training method without first trying it myself. To do so would be the ultimate form of “kata hypocrisy.” The posts on this blog and my You-tube videos are but an appetizer to what is the full dinner of my Kata Lab project. The full project encompasses over 40,000 words spanning over 200 pages. That being said, my practice then tends to add more to the project. The result is a means of providing you, my readers and viewers, with inspiration to practice and enjoy your kata from an entirely new perspective.

Analyzing Ananku Kata in the Kata Lab

MK Gandhi  For your consideration, I submit an incident from the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Each day I train, I keep this story in mind.

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 # 1)

So, kata is my candy. In order for me to encourage you to “eat” the candy – to try the training methods I espouse in my kata lab and “Think * Sweat * Experiment.” I myself must first know I can eat my own candy. You may access the Kata Lab using the page tab above or this convenient link
https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

lab-collage-6

This week’s featured Kata Laboratory: Lab # 3120 – Kata to Modify Emotions:

https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/

and video:

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

dreams-seisan  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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
© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

A Selfish Sensei & A New Video Series – Underground Bunkai

12 Oct

In late September, I went to Cape Cod, MA. I had planned on using the beautiful ocean scenery in and around Provincetown and North Truro to document more reconstructions of “lost” kata of Hanshi Frank Van Lenten’s Goshin-Do Karate-Do Kyokai, including his rare version of the Kusanku Kata. I had also planned to film several remaining kata from the Goshin-Do syllabus, including Hakutsuru and a unique Iekyu (Oar) kata, Ufuichiku no Iekyu.

Upon arrival I realized something about myself. For the past few years, I’ve written about my kata experiences from both a technical perspectice https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/ and an aesthetic perspective https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-vineyard/
However, on this particular trip, I was selfish. I decided to keep my daily kata experiences personal. No writing and no video. Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to share my intimate relationship with kata. On the last day; however, I did succumb to guilt over my perceived selfishness and took a few photos of my Sanchin Kata practice at low tide.

  sanchin sand cape cod     sanchin punch cape cod

For now, I’m going to restrict my video efforts. Future videos will be only those that support my Kata Laboratory project. I have several videos in the works that address specific Kata Labs designed to illustrate my “Three Battles Of Bunkai”
https://senseijohn.me/2013/05/20/kata-lab-101-three-states-of-bunkai/

KATA LAB

In addition, I am pleased to announce a new video series. Although it is a stand-alone series, it will also supplement my Kata Laboratory project. This series (and new blog category) is tentatively entitled, “Underground Bunkai.” It will document the specific practical applications for all the Goshin-Do Karate-Do kata. I can guarantee that these unique, innovative and heretofore unseen applications will be of interest to any practitioner looking for insight into their own kata. While I will be included in the series, it will predominately feature my senior black belt, Sensei Jimmy DiMicelli.

sensei jimmy go-dan

In recognition of his over 20 years experience in karate-do, Sensei DiMicelli was recently elevated to the rank of Go-Dan, fifth degree black belt, Karate-Do No Renshi. This new “Underground Bunkai” video series will provide Sensei with a foundation upon which he can share his karate-do experience.

lab-collage-6

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this post please help support this blog, visit my store –

Come visit my store on CafePress!

all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices! Here are ONLY SOME of our support products:

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dreams-seisan  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved

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