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Kata-RX Origins – Cross-Country Road Trips

20 Nov

    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

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Now, for this week’s installment origins of Kata-RX continued – how my cross country road trips helped me to develop my Kata-RX For Wellness online course.

This time of year I get sentimental about missing being on the road. From 2004 to 2014 I made several annual cross county road trips from Arizona to New Jersey and back. The majority on my motorcycle with my passenger, a little Miniature Pincher, a min-pin, called Chloe who passed in January of 2014. Lets see how these road trips helped me in creating my Kata-RX for wellness program. So, read on and take a ride with me “On the road” with kata.

Chloe on the road – circa 2006

The last of these annual road trips ended Thanksgiving Day 2014 when I returned to New Jersey. So it is at this time of year that I become most sentimental about missing that journey. Events keep me from such adventures – for now.

First, let me begin with a topic from one of the Kata-Rx classes – The “Souvenir Effect” of kata. Notwithstanding that life precludes my from throwing a leg over my bike and taking the next four days to ride towards the setting sun I can and will relive that journey. The souvenir effect of Kata-RX allows me to re-ride my last sojourn through kata. Briefly, each day, starting next Monday I will perform the exact same kata as I did during my road trip. In fact, I’ll even try to do the kata at the approximate time of day that I did on that trip. Like any souvenir this allows me to relive those great days on the road. You can see the videos I filmed along the road and a more detailed discussion of the “Souvenir Effect” of kata here: https://senseijohn.me/2019/10/16/kata-rx-souvenir-effect/

Now, turning to how similar trips helped me in formulating the Kata-RX For Wellness courses. I’ve put relevant videos in the endnotes from that trip with markers to point out the following. During that last road trip and in fact during the daily journey of my life, I use kata to not only energize, rejuvenate and balance me, I use kata to nourish and sustain me. The advantage of Kata-RX over activities such as yoga, the “gym” and others which have become overtly commercialized, is that Kata-RX is within you at all times. You do not need any special equipment. age and physical athleticism is not required. The simple fact is that ANYbody, ANYplace, ANYtime can perform Kata-RX when needed. As you can see in the videos, even in parking lots, cramped motel rooms, at dawn, at dusk, in the rain or snow Kata-RX is there for you to call upon as needed. You can even see, on day four, of Sanchin Kata at a gas station pump as I filled my tank with gas! Again, ANYtime, ANYplace.

I hope you enjoy the videos below and come along and join me looking and practicing the souvenir of my kata.

See you in class – its FREE! Simply use this link, you have nothing to lose!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Endnotes:

Here are the videos from that last memorable road trip. While you can certainly watch the full videos, I know your time is precious, so before each video, I’ll highlight the specific kata I am referring to so as to help tell you how this journey helped my develop the Kata-RX online school.

Day one – Arizona to Shamrock Texas.
At counter marker 3:30 you can see how at the end of the day, I created a spontaneous hybrid kata to help me unwind. Limited by the confines of a small hotel room, dressed in my road clothes, I was able to relax, unwind and recharge using the kata that resides within me to re-balance myself.

Day two – ending in Tennessee
At counter marker 0:14 you can again see a hybrid kata (some of the movements being infused into the Kata-RX classes, performed at 5:30 am in the cold, dark pre-dawn lit by the headlights of my truck.

Day three – ending in Virginia
At marker 0:15 you can again see a hybrid Kata. At marker 3:04 you can see a kata tribute to my lost friend and comrade Shihan Wayne Norlander who passed unexpectedly on May 18th, 2011.

Day 4 – ending in New Jersey
At marker 0:30 you can see Sanchin Kata (a large component of Kata-RX) performed at a gas station! Again, ANYwhere ANYtime.

Katannabis Guideline # 1: Exiting Katannabis

6 Nov

     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

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     Now, for this week’s installment Katannabis Guideline # 1: Exiting Katannabis

The ceremonial ritual of Katannabis involves the combination of my Kata-RX and medical cannabis. But there’s more. There is an important phase of the ritual that isn’t apparent on the surface. While it is true that the Katannabis ceremony is performed with both Kata-RX and medical cannabis there is an important step that must be performed after the effects of cannabis have worn off.

It is very important that the Kata-RX you performed while under the influence of your medical cannabis must again be performed without cannabis. It is so important that I have prioritized this as the first guideline.

In my practice, I discovered that it is extremely important to perform the exact kata (and sequence of kata) that formed the Katannabis ceremony without the effects of cannabis. Think of this as a symbolic “exit” to the Katannabis ceremony. Usually my Katannabis is performed in the early evening. The first thing I do the morning after Katannabis is to perform the exact same kata as my “Exit” Kata-RX.

There are many reasons that this guideline must not be ignored. Most are beyond the ken of this article which is to simply get you to add an Exit Kata-RX to your ceremony. These reasons are fully explored in the class videos. For now; however, I would like you to understand that the perception and visualization shift of the Ghost Hand Kata (which is one component of Kata-RX) is highly amplified during the Katannabis ceremony. The effect of medical cannabis, when combined with Kata-RX, on the shift of perception is profound. In essence, the shift transcends a physical based reality to a heightened sense of the import and your participation in the non-physical elements of reality. As such, it is important that you reacquaint yourself with a return from the non-physical experience to a reality grounded in physicality. This is accomplished by the Exit Kata-RX.

Here’s a snippet from a class video about Exiting Katannabis:

To reiterate, you should think of the full Katannabis ceremony to include not only the Katannabis aspect (Kata-RX plus medical cannabis) but also the Exit Kata-RX. Thus, guideline number one becomes part and parcel of Katannabis, not merely a guideline.

Please do not skip this step. To learn more, please sign up for the first course – its FREE.

See you in class – its FREE! Simply use this link, you have nothing to lose!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Katannabis Guidelines (tips for combining Kata-RX with your medical cannabis)

21 Oct

 

    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

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Now, for this week’s installment:

                Katannabis Guidelines

First, the Kata-RX ceremony incorporating medical cannabis, called “Katannabis” refers to the legal use of cannabis – I do not in any form encourage the illegal use of cannabis. Second, these articles are but a summary. The guidelines herein are discussed in great detail in the classes offered in my Kata-RX for wellness online school. I am posting them only for those that try any of the concepts of Katannabis without the benefit of those classes. To this I say – first, the core course is FREE so take it and second the next course is economically priced and has a 30 day guarantee so, you experiment with Katannabis unguided and at your own risk (and yes, there are unforeseen risks!) if you do not take the courses.

Katannabis is like any prescription. Look at your prescription for your cannabis, or any other medication for that matter. It comes with instructions. Whether you read them or not is up to you. Failing to read them exposes you to a potential for peril. In my personal experience, I have had medication with sometimes quirky instructions – “take with meals,” “do not take before or after consuming grapefruit” (yeah that was a weird one) and the instruction I bet nobody follows, “do not drive or operate equipment after taking.” Whether the directions seem logical or quirky, they must be followed lest the import of the prescription be diminished, or worse, you are in danger.

The same is true for Katannabis. The guidelines I proffer may seem logical, others may seem quirky. But, they are proffered for a purpose. When you combine the external movements, the internal processes (breathing, relaxing and tensing, and internal energy flows), visualization and perception shifts of Kata-RX with your medical cannabis, there is a profound result. But, only if you are mindful of, lets say, the “side effects.” The guidelines that are discussed in class and summarized in future articles will identify and address those side effects. Trust me, there are entirely something you are unaware of and unaccustomed to.

So, please first and foremost, take the classes. The courses provide information as to how to communicate with me during the learning process – use those resources and keep in touch! Use the articles in the “Katannabis” category as reminders of those guidelines. Lastly, at all times, practice with a true heart and open mind.

See you in class – its FREE! Simply use this link, you have nothing to lose!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Here’s a look at Kata-RX filmed throughout beautiful Provincetown, MA & Cape Cod:

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Kata-RX “Souvenir Effect”

16 Oct

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

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Now, for this week’s installment: Kata-RX “Souvenir effect”

I’m not sure when exactly it happened. It was far too long ago, before the time I had grey hair. I discovered that during kata I could “transport” my mind. I would be performing kata in one location, but in my minds-eye I’d be in another location.

At an early age I realized that kata lived within me. It percolated and simmered waiting to pour out. Using my arms, legs and mind, kata would spill its benefits into the cup of my soul. As no special equipment or uniform is needed to perform kata, I could perform it anywhere at anytime.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

I especially loved (and still love) kata outdoors. Even on vacation, kata was with me. Through practice, kata became a souvenir of my travels. This is the “souvenir effect” of my Kata-RX for wellness. You, too, can experience this effect anytime you wish, or need to. In fact I did that just this morning.

Seienchin Kata during Sturgis Bike Week, Badlands State Park, 2003

I woke this morning and opened my eyes to grey. The day is cool, and dreary. The forecast is for a windy, rain driven Nor’easter this afternoon; a deluge. I performed my morning Kata in my backyard. The vegetable garden is gone, the trees, save for the pine trees are almost bear. What happened to the cacophony of color? Gone with the change of season. During practice, I closed my eyes and performed my “1 Day / 1 Lifetime” Kata. Lo and behold, I was transformed. In my minds-eye I was once again filming videos on a sunny, warm, colorful beach. I felt as if I was once again on Cape Cod or down the Jersey shore. I was a living, time-traveling.

Join me in my P-Town souvenir and take a sneak peak at my FREE Kata-RX first course. The course contains a full class & practice session on the souvenir effect of Kata-RX for wellness.

See you in class – its FREE! Simply use this link, you have nothing to lose!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Sensei John Szmitkowski

I don’t perform my kata only in warm, temperate weather, here’s one of Sanchin Kata (which is a component of my “1Day / 1 Lifetime” Kata) in a winter storm (with poems)

Kata-RX & Medical Cannabis – Katannabis

9 Oct

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

================

Now, for this week’s installment which kicks off a series of articles about my marriage of Kata-RX and medical marijuana.

Kata-RX is a sacrament-like component of an entheogenic ceremonial medical cannabis ritual. To anyone, martial artist or not who has difficulty wrapping their minds around the idea of combining the sacredness of kata with medical marijuana – “Get over it.” First, until you experience first hand or through the eyes of someone struggling with the great physical, mental or emotional pain, do not judge the use of medical cannabis. Second, cannabis and other medical, sacred plants have been used in entheogenic ceremonial rituals for centuries. Kata-RX is the perfect ritual for a devout exploration of the entheogenic use of medical cannabis.

Society has finally began to understand and acknowledge the beneficial medical use of cannabis. We are only now touching upon the medical benefits, both in the treatment of physical illness and dilatory mental illness and emotional difficulties. But, is this enough? The answer is “Yes” and “No.”

While it is true that a great exploration of the medical use of cannabis is underway, it unfortunately falls short. Such a use is exponentially enhanced when cannabis is utilized as part of a ceremonial ritual. The ritual of Kata-RX is an indispensable sacrament to the entheogenic use of cannabis. Kata-RX is rich in the mind/body techniques of breathing, relaxation, dynamic tension, visualization and perception. These factors when combined with medical cannabis produce a profound, almost other worldly physical and mental realization of “self.” Kata-Rx and medical cannabis is a baptism to the higher self we are all capable of achieving.

But, I have a problem with my concept of ritualizing Kata-RX plus medical cannabis into an entheogenic ceremony. How to educate others who can benefit from the experience?

Everything nowadays needs a brand, a hashtag, a catch-phrase. So despite my concern that labeling the profound ceremonial ritual of Kata-RX and medical cannabis will bastardize its solemnity, I must yield to such convention. I call the sacramental integration of my Kata-RX and cannabis, “Katannabis.” ™

Kata + Cannabis = Katannabis

Katannabis is a handy reference to the sacramental practice of combining the ritual of Kata-RX and cannabis as a solemn ceremony exploring the wellness and mindfulness of the enhanced human experience. I will organize future articles and videos into a new category, Katannabis” for handy reference.

Sneak-peak: Katannabis works extremely well with Kata-Koan practice as shown in the video – much more on that later.

See you in class – its FREE! Simply use this link, you have nothing to lose!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Kata & Koan Preview: Sea-Monsters In Your Ocean

25 Sep

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

========= Now, for this week’s installment, “Kata & Koan Preview – Sea Monsters In Your Ocean”

I’m toying with a new video series to help you practice your Kata-RX with me. In my personal practice I often combine my Kata-RX with a thought-provoking reading; a form of meditative koan, if you will. (See note 1) I find the combination of Kata and koan (or thought provoking concept) produces a far-reaching physical and mental experience. Now, you can too.

You can practice your Kata-RX with the video. As you perform your Kata-RX you are immersed in the sounds of nature. As you absorb the sounds and beauty of the kata environment, the koan triggers your mind to enter a deeply contemplative state. The result? Well, the best description is for you to try it. The first step is simple – enroll in my FREE first course. In as little as a half hour, your well on your way. Use this link to join for FREE – https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Here is a preview of what I’m toying with. This video uses a reading from John Steinbeck – “We need Sea-Monsters . . . “ You can see the full text of the narration below.
Enjoy the video!

To further enrich your enjoyment of the Kata-RX here is the text of the narration in the video. It is from John Steinbeck’s “The Log Of The Sea Of Cortez” (Penguin Books, New York, NY) p.27-28.

Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans.
For the ocean, deep and black in depths, is like the low dark levels of our minds in which the dream symbols incubate and sometimes rise up to sight. . . And even if the symbol vision is horrible, it is there and it is ours. An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep.

One historical note. Those of you that are not new to this site know that this is not something new. In 2009 when I first launched my “Sanchin For Everyone” project, I devised my “Sanchin Pilgrimages” combining philosophy, ideology, scientific theorem and other such semi-knowable concepts with kata. Here are some early examples https://senseijohn.me/category/a-sanchin-pilgrimage/
From that starting point, I developed my kata concepts one step further with a more broadly defined Online Group Kata sessions, https://senseijohn.me/category/thats-ok/

During the pendency of my producing more koan videos, you may use some of my past submissions to tailor make your own meditative Kata-koan experience.

I look forward to seeing you in class.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Use this link to get the first course for FREE https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Endnotes:

1. For those of you not familiar with a koan, the general definition is

a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.

A classic example is the question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
For me, the meditation and contemplation of such traditional koans are unsatisfactory, unfulfilling and unenlightening. I prefer something less esoteric to meditate on. One of my favorites is shown in the above video.

Cape Cod Kata-RX Epiphany

18 Sep

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

========= Now, for this week’s installment, “P-Town Kata Epiphany”

While recently enjoying a long weekend on Cape Cod, MA, I had an epiphany. My realization if your bonus.

I understand the importance of promotional videos to advertise my Kata-RX. I had previously hesitated posting videos of my complete “1 Day / 1 Lifetime” Kata. My hesitation was the result of a concern that viewers would simply try to mimic the physical movements.

I feel strongly that in the “wellness arena” there is too much emphasis on form over substance – the physical over the internal. Though lip service is given to the concept of “mind-body unity,” the reality is that the body and coveted “perfection” of same is where emphasis is placed. In my opinion, this had befallen many mindfulness activities including yoga and Tai Chi. It has even touched and diminished Zazen, seated meditation. Internal concepts of breathing, states-of-mind and internal energy flows are missing.

Advertising and branding has transformed these fundamentally spiritual activities into bastions of physicality requiring the latest (most expensive) yoga pants and attire, mats, equipments, uniforms and “quiet-rooms” for practice and meditation. Simply put, you can merchandize and brand the physical but not the internal.

I wanted to use video to promote my Kata-RX but didn’t want a viewer to copy and mimic the physical movements thus forsaking the internal processes. I would post online videos but not the complete Kata-RX. With movements missing, I felt the physical movements could not be copied. The downside, of course, is that a potential student could not see the entire Kata-RX unless enrolled.

Here is one such video.

During my weekend on Cape Cod I had a change of heart. I decided to make the first course available for FREE. No trying to “steal” the movements by watching a promotional video. Now, you can learn these fundamental movements and concepts for FREE. Then, I am confident you would want to expand and build upon the kata and purchase the second, more advanced, course.

Moving forward I see no reason to not show the full kata in promotional videos. Here’s the first release. To celebrate my Cape Cod epiphany, it shows the full kata, as a compilation, using all the videos filmed in various locations throughout the Cape.

So, the first course is yours for the taking! Use the kata properly and you will want more! Why? Simple. You will realize how beneficially the kata improves you; physically, mentally and emotionally. How could you not want a more fulfilling experience?

See you in class – its FREE! Simply use this link, you have nothing to lose!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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