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My Daily Kata-Rx & Katannabis

3 May

There’s been interest in my specific daily Katannabis / Kata-Rx routine. So, let me share it with you. If there’s anything that keeps me going it is this very routine.

Each day I engage in two Kata-Rx meditative session. One in the evening and one in the morning.

For my own reasons I consider the evening session the first session and the morning session the second. I’ll explain the import of this in a future article. What lay between, six days a week, is work, thus it becomes part of the meditative ritual. The hardships of earning a living are softened by transforming it from a physical activity to a spiritual meditative pursuit.

Through the unique blending of sessions, work, sandwiched in the middle, effectively becomes part of the session. As arduous and physically challenging that work is, it becomes part of my meditation. Thus, the physical demands of work are transformed into a spiritual endeavor. But much more on that in a future article.

      The first session is my evening session. I usually perform this session around 6:30. If I’m not home from work in sufficient time, I may abbreviate the evening session. This session is my Katannabis session (the entheogenic combination of my Kata-Rx and medical cannabis). During this session, I utilize a micro-dose of cannabis followed by my Katannabis ritual. I start by performing the various kata that are included in the ritual. This is then followed by ten minutes of my personalized zazen, seated meditation. I personalize my zazen by incorporating “Sa – Ta – Na – Ma” chanting, proceeding to a seated Ghost Hands Kata (single hand version) with additional meditative movements. Please recall that in the single hand version, you visualize performing the double hand version. Here’s a link for more details on my Zazen https://senseijohn.me/2021/01/18/senseis-kata-rx-journal-entry-2-my-daily-zazen/

The result of the Katannabis session is a deep-rooted, primordial sense of alert-calmness, a state I describe as an awakened erotic euphoria.

      My morning Kata-Rx session is performed in three distinct stages. At no time is medical cannabis involved in the morning session, thus it is a Kata-Rx session not Katannabis. The first stage is at home as I prepare for my work day. It involves performing various Katannabis Kata (without the medical cannabis). These kata will vary; however, I always perform the Kata Suparunpei. Every Wednesday I perform the Kunchaba Kata in memory of my friend and comrade Shihan Wayne Norlander, R.I.P. Right before I leave for work, I go outside, start my motorcycle and perform Sanchin Kata as the bike warms. I then leave.

      After I arrive at the shop, I text my wife I’m safe. Hey, first things first. I then sit on my bike and repeat my zazen ritual. In this session I only visualize performing the single hand version of my Ghost Hand Kata. Thus, I engage in a double visualization – visualizing performing the single hand Ghost Hand which includes a visualization of performing the double hand Ghost Hand Kata. Zazen concluded, my work day officially started. I’ll use my Kata-Rx as needed throughout the day to make it until the work days end when I again return home.

So that’s my daily Katannabis ritual (evening) and Kata-Rx meditation (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

Well that’s my Kata-Rx session and Katannabis ceremony. Until next time, I remain,

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 # 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.”

My Zazen – Part Two: Hand Movements

8 Feb

There’s been growing interest in my daily Kata-Rx and Katannabis sessions in general and specifically post about my daily Zazen component. Many of you want to learn the supplemental hand movements I added to my Ghost Hand Kata. So, here it is.

First a three points to remember.

           You can learn my Ghost Hand Kata and my Kata-Rx for wellness and mindfulness for FREE by enrolling in my online school using this convenient, safe link: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation ,

        My Zazen involves, not only sitting in meditation, but also chanting and hand movements (the Ghost Hand Kata. You can read more about my zazen here: https://senseijohn.me/2021/01/18/senseis-kata-rx-journal-entry-2-my-daily-zazen/ ,

        The supplemental movements are performed immediately after the Ghost Hand Kata (single hand version).

With that said, here’s a video, filmed in the calm of a recent snow storm here in New Jersey, showing the supplemental movements. Please remember that zazen is seated meditation. for ease of viewing the video was filmed with me standing.



These movements are derived from the Suparunpei Kata (pronounced Supa – roon – pay). Suparunpei is an important, integral component of both my Kata-Rx program and my Katannabis ritual (the entheogenic combination of medical cannabis and my Kata-Rx). In the Suparunpei the movements is actually only performed on the right side. It is also performed in all four directions beginning with North, then South, West and East. This is important for spiritual reasons. For now, these reasons are beyond the ken of this article.

In Zazen the movements are performed in only one direction. However, they are performed both right sided and left sided. There is an additional twist to these movements. They are performed physically when part of my daily evening Katannabis ritual. However, they are only visualized in my daily morning Kata-Rx session. This is extremely important. While I would like to share the reason with you, I cannot do so at this time. Simply put, it is not for a novice to my ways and must be used cautiously.

I hope you enjoy the zazen component of my daily Kata-Rx and Katannabis. Again, you can get started on benefitting from both physically, mentally and spiritually for FREE: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation


Until the nest submission 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 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

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

Ghost OF Christmas Future – A Katannabis Koan

30 Nov

     I supplement my daily Katannabis (the combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis) with the use of a koan. A koan, in general is a thought provoking Zen riddle. The classic, “What is the sound of one hand clapping,” is an example. In my practice I include philosophical concepts, quotes and other such mind-benders. Though many are derived from the numerous books I read (38 this year as of today according to my Goodreads account) they can come from many sources, some unexpected.

    Tradition dictates that the Saturday after Thanksgiving my wife and I put up our Christmas tree. This year, we were blessed to have our young grandson join us. As background noise, we were watching a recording of the Dr. Who “A Christmas Carol” episode (S6 E 0, air date 12/25/10). No plot spoilers here except to say that there was an interesting plot liberality when The Doctor acted as the Ghost Of Christmas Future. Instead of showing the Scrooge-character named Kazran, played by Michael Gambon, his future, The Doctor showed Kazran as a child what his future was, in effect, what he would become. For some reason, that whole concept hit me hard. “What would it be like if my 19 year old self could see my 59 year old self?”

Sensei Nick, myself, Shihan Don Nagle, Circa: 1975

Nineteen was a pivotal age for me. It was therefore a good age upon which to base my reflection. That night during Katannabis I meditated on the idea. It was so profound that I continued for several nights and plan on doing so until Christmas. I am keeping a journal of my thoughts. Page after page I recorded memories long buried. Some good, others not so. I’m curious to see what else will be revealed in the coming days. The process is profound. Not easy to be sure, but painfully honest, cleansing like a spiritual colon-cleaning. The memories, comfortable and uncomfortable produce and foster an acceptance, for lack of a better word.

My results were and continue to be so deep, I would encourage you to embark on your own Katannabis journey and meditate on what a younger version of yourself would think if it met you today.

    You can learn My Kata-Rx to use in your Katannabis ceremony using this safe, convenient link to my online school enrollment is FREE!   https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation 

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

For more on the use of Koans with either your Kata-Rx For Wellness or Katannabis, please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/2019/09/25/kata-koan-preview-sea-monsters-in-your-ocean/         Here’s a video of one of my Katannabis/Koan sessions in the “Depth Of Winter”


Enjoy your Kata-Rx and Katannabis,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Kata-Rx & Cannabis – Legal and FREE

9 Nov

       Here in New Jersey the people have spoken in the recent election New Jersey has extended its medical marijuana program to include recreational use. Now, you have an opportunity to explore the entheogenic meditative experience of combining My Kata-Rx for wellness program with cannabis. A ceremonial practice I call “Katannabis.”

     You can prepare now for the effective date by learning Kata-Rx for FREE in the privacy of your own home at your convenience. by enrolling for FREE in my online school – https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

You can also follow my weekly insights into both Kata-Rx For Wellness amd Katannabis (Kata-Rx and your cannabis) by viewing my blog:

     Katannabis specific articles may be found here: https://senseijohn.me/category/katannabis/

      Kata-Rx articles can be found here: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-rx-for-wellness-mindfulness/

Here’s a sneak peak at Kata-Rx For Wellness:

 

Here’s one of my guidelines for Katannabis:

Enjoy, yours in Katannabis,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

Kata-RX & Medical Cannabis – Katannabis

26 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

Coronapause Entry # 4: Zanshin – The Remaining Mind

29 Mar

If the techniques I’m showing you only benefit you when you are actually doing them, the experience, while satisfying, will not be nurturing and fulfilling. To do so, I need to tell you about a state-of-mind called “Zanshin,” the “Remaining Mind.”

In the martial arts, Zanshin, the “Remaining Mind” means that your mind “remains in the battle after the battle is finished.” Zanshin is present in the ritual forms, called “Kata” of karate. After performing a kata (with the appropriate state-of-mind ascribed to the kata) the performer stands poised, but relaxed and He revisualizes the battle of the kata so as to retain its effects and remain vigilant and alert. 

Kanji – Zanshin

In your #Coronapause, you not only perform a specific technique to attain physical and mental well-being, you also retain those benefits after your performance. To date, I’ve given you two techniques, one mental, Boketto
https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/23/coronapause-entry-2-boketto-gazing-absentmindedly/ and one physical, Breathing as in Sanchin Kata https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/25/coronapause-entry-3-breathing-efficiently-sip-of-sanchin-overview/ . Naturally you cannot go about your day doing nothing but Boketto or Sanchin. To bridge the gap, you use your Zanshin.

Unfortunately, my own #Coronapause has prohibited me from providing you with a written description of Zanshin. However, I saved my class video of Zanshin from my Kata-RX online course. I hope you enjoy the concept of Zanshin and find it useful during your own #Coronapause.

Keep in my, Zanshin applies to not only Boketto and the Sanchin breathing exercise. Use Zanshin to extended the benefits of any mind cleansing activity. Walking, meditating, painting, cooking, any activity that brings you emotional comfort can be extended with Zanshin.

Well here in New Jersey and the entire Tri-State area, things are ramping up pretty quick. As it does, I hope you and yours remain well, stay vigilant and stay home during this #Coronapause. 

March 30th, 2020: USNS Comfort arrives in New York City:

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Can’t wait for more? My entire first Kata-RX course, which includes all the topics in my #Coronapause series is available for FREE. You may enroll for FREE using this link to enroll in the E-Dojo, then select the first “Core Kata Course” for FREE!
https://kata-rx.teachable.com
Here’s another look at Sanchin Kata which you can start learning now in my FREE course above – this one while riding my H-D Electra-Glide in Arizona where I lived for a time period.

Coronapause Entry # 3: Breathing Efficiently – Sip Of Sanchin (Overview)

25 Mar

I want to get this #Coronapause post out as fast as possible to help you with efficient breathing. These concepts come from a procedure steeped in antiquity and martial tradition called Sanchin. Please excuse the roughness but will fine tune in more detail once you’re breathing efficiently whether or not you have the virus.

I would suggest you watch the video first and use the streamlined text here as a form of reminder notes.

 



Here are the bullet points from the video:

** One preliminary point is as you practice, your state-of-mind should be as in Boketto, absentmindedly gazing in the distance as you breathe and move your body. For my Boketto presentation and video please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/23/coronapause-entry-2-boketto-gazing-absentmindedly

Method Of Breathing:

– In through the nose – out through the mouth (using the abdominal muscles to exhale);

– Deep abdominal breathing, force the inhaled air down deep into your abdomen;

Manner Of Breathing:

– The manner of breathing falls into two general categories; soft breathing and hard breathing.
Inhaling is “soft” – exhaling is “hard” – see below

– Soft breathing, as the name implies, is a relaxed. The body remains relaxed as air is gently inhaled in a quick, but steady manner. Once inhalation is complete, the breath is held for a fraction of a second and exhalation begins. During the process of exhalation, the body remains relaxed and air is expelled softy and evenly. The process then begins a new. The duration of exhalation is always longer than inhalation.

– Hard breath is the direct opposite of soft breath. The inhalation of air is swift, and crisp. It is even audible. During inhalation, the body remains relaxed. Once inhalation is complete, exhalation occurs in a prolonged and forcible manner. It not only uses the lungs, but also all the abdominal muscles. These muscles “work” at expelling air. This results in an audible “roar” that sounds much like the surf in the ocean.

Hand Movements:

– Remain stationary – stand straight, shoulders relaxed, knees slightly bent, head up
– Begin with hands relaxed at your side – then start with the closed hand movements as follows

– Closed Hand (3 or 5 repetitions depending on your ability)

Ball your hands loosely into fist (don’t “tighten” you fists):
Roll your fists upwards and outward – as wide as your shoulders, fists as high as your collar bone.
Cross your hands in front of your groin (note: it does not matter which hand is over the other);
To repeat simply lower your hands to position number 2 and repeat.

– Open Hand (3 or 5 repetitions depending on your ability)

Same as above with hands open – your palms face into your body at all times (again just like the closed fist only with hands open).

Combine Breathing & Movement (Sip Of Sanchin)

Two points here:
– Coordinate breathing with movement
– Dynamically tense ALL muscles of your body during inhalation. Isometric tension using the muscles. Think of an”Iron Body”

Coordinate Breath:
– As you lower your hands to groin level, inhale softly. Super-relax your body as you inhale. As your rotate your hands up and outward, exhale. Breath and movement should finish at the same time.

Dynamic Tension: 

As you Sip Sanchin, the manner of breathing is also reflected in the state of the body’s muscles. That is to say when breathing is soft, muscles are relaxed. When breathing is hard, then ALL muscles of the body, not just abdominal muscles, are dynamically tensed. Dynamically tensing the muscles is similar to isometric exercise. Instead of using a resistive force, the muscles of the body provides the necessary tension.
Sanchin synchronizes the breath to specific bodily movements, As inhaling in a soft manner is coupled with a relaxed body, these movements are timed to when the body is not naturally exerting itself. By comparison, exhalation in the hard manner, combined with the dynamic tensing of the muscles is exhibited during movements that require force or exertion of the body. Let’s look at a routine example other than Sanchin. Pretend that you have to lift a heavy object. It is utterly wrong to do so while holding your breath. In fact, if you hold your breath during exertion, you may actually hurt yourself. Instead, you take a deep breath in (through your nose and fill you abdomen). Then you reach down and while lifting exhale. Exhalation always occurs with exertion.

Note: If you are congested, this may cause you to expectorate (spit up the flam in your lungs – do so – don’t hold back – spit it out into a sink or go outside if possible and expel)

Next post/video:
In the next post and video, I’ll show you how to easily modify the above to adjust your mental state of either:
– anxiety, anger, frustration to calm, and
– lethargic to energetic

As always my best to you during this time of #Coronapause. As of this post here in New Jersey as I write this Governor Murphy has warned the worst is coming. New York at present is inundated, we are about to become so. Good luck, and stay healthy. More is coming to hopefully help get you through.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Can’t wait for more?  – my entire first course, which includes the above material and MORE is available for FREE – use this link to enroll in my Kata-RX school then select the first course for FREE!! https://kata-rx.teachable.com

Now that you had a sip of Sanchin, here is a video of Sanchin Kata filmed in a snowstorm:

 

Coronapause Entry # 2: Boketto – Gazing Absentmindedly

23 Mar

To see how my #Coronapause journal started please click here: – https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/22/coronapause-day-1-it-starts/

Now, for today’s #Coronapause topic – Boketto (Gazing Absentmindedly)

Real bad, depressing morning during my #Coronapause, but I got through it with Boketto & hope you will too. I think it would be best if you please start with this video:



So, another day of our #CoronaPause. What to do with the time on a Monday morning? Ironic, huh? Normally filed with hectic activity, Monday morning has become – this – the “new normal” to borrow a term from my wife’s oncologist.

Throughout the day I’m using my Kata-RX techniques to keep moving forward, one step, one foot simply moving in front of the other. One of those techniques I’d like to share with you today. It is a simple, meditative practice called “Boketto.”

Boketto is the practice of gazing into the distance without preconception or thought. Whenever possible, I really like to do Boketto outdoors but I was reminded today that even indoors Boketto is fulfilling.

Now, there’s two tricks to Boketto.
 – no distractions
 – no thinking. – even minimal thinking such as mentally labeling things is not permitted.

It is recognized that the higher concept of the mind is born in the squishy, gelatinous organ known as the brain. For Boketto you need to turn off, to quiet, the mind – to be “absent-minded.” Let me give you an analogy. It is extremely relaxing when I sit and pet our dog, Maharet (named after an Anne Rice character). Why? Like Boketto it is done absentmindedly. You just sit and enjoy, you don’t analyze, you don’t label, you just do and let it flow through you. Same with Boketto only not with your hands, with your eyes – and – you don’t get dog hair all over you.

Let’s see what I mean. Here’s a photo of the spare bedroom that my eleven year old grandson uses when he sleeps over. Yes, that’s Maharet (“Maha” for short) in the photo.



I used Boketto on this room many times today. The feeling of loss not being able to have him visit, to hug him and just be Grandpa and Grandson weighs like a boulder on me. Boketto helps lessen the weight. Notice I didn’t say removes the weight. But, it does help. So let me offer some points on your Boketto practice:

1. The view doesn’t matter.
You don’t need to gaze at Mt. Fuji during cherry blossom time, or the Grand Canyon, or a pristine beach. For many reasons, the view is immaterial. The view, for now, is but a tool to facilitate the gazing. I can’t say it enough, ANYbody, ANYplace, ANYtime can use these techniques;

2. “Eyes of a white belt.”
Don’t label or describe what you see, use the “eyes of a white belt.” Gaze at everything, wonder at everything – understand nothing of what you see. I can still remember my first karate class – I had no idea what I was seeing. It was a crazy spectacle where names held NO meaning, “Reverse punch” meant nothing. “Block and counter” was like a foreign language. And, what the heck is Sanchin Kata? Heaven help! All I could do is watch and observe. See what the labels did not describe. Then, slowly over time came the application of my gazing, my Boketto – analysis, recognition, and dare I say, comprehension.

For example, today I didn’t gaze at my grandson’s room for the purpose of thinking of him. Rather, I just simply gazed at his room for NO reason. That is Boketto.

3. Souvenir effect.
Practicing Boketto outdoors triggers what I call the “Souvenir Effect.” I would practice my Kata-RX wherever I go, using Boketto, I’ve imprinted not merely memories, but sensations, feelings, emotions of that place and time. A Souvenir if you will. As you read above the souvenir effect applies not only to places but also to people.If you’re curious, here’s more https://senseijohn.me/2019/10/16/kata-rx-souvenir-effect/

4. Higher states-of-mind to come.
Boketto is the building block to achieve a higher state of mind called “Mushin-No-Shin” or “Mushin” for short. Mushin is the state of “Mind-No-Mind” unique (perhaps) to the martial arts but every valuable in everyday life. I think a video/post on Mushin is about a week away.

So, if you’d like, take a #Coronapause today, give Boketto a try. Let’s see if you can use Boketto to feel the souvenir effect as I did:
Find an object that some one you miss gave you or something else connected with them. Using Boketto gaze at it without though and preconception. Use it to let your quiet calm mind recall that person, not details, but abstracts. Their joy, warmth, sense of humor, the WAY they smile and use that goodness to get you through the next moment of your #Coronapause, and the next and moment yet to come.

Stay well, healthy, find one thing to smile at & tomorrow we’ll look at basic breathing and body movement. And – now here’s my official seal, so its “official”

Sensei John

CoronaPause: Post # 1 – It Starts

22 Mar

So, quick introduction.

    I’m Sensei John. I’m one of the millions of you presently living under restrictions due to the Coronavirus. I happen to be in the United States, in Bergen County, New Jersey. Here, we’re new to restricted life in what I call “CoronaPause.” (Thank-you to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo for calling the experience a “pause.” (Please see endnote # 1) We’re entering uncharted territory.

Unsettling days ahead. In my family alone I have four people at a severe risk due to various medical factors. My younger brother has advanced COPD and normally uses oxygen. I’m scared I won’t see him after the Coronapause.

I’d like to share with you some of the techniques that I use each and everyday to get through the day. These techniques, both mental and physical are derived from the martial arts. I first started learning them in 1971 when at age ten I set foot in my Sensei’s Dojo. What once started as a means of defending myself has now come to be a part of my life that sustains and nurtures me. I hope they can help you too, be sustained during your own Coronapause.

Tomorrow I’ll put up the first post about a state-of-mind gazing technique used to clear and reset your mental state. The next day I’ll teach you a martial arts breathing and movement technique to keep the lungs nice and strong. Then we’ll keep going from there.

To help you find them, I’ll use the hashtag #Coronapause. Again, please see endnote # 1 for attribution. Now, I’ve got grey hair and am just shy of 60, so I really don’t get the hashtag thing, but I’ll try. All I know is # is the pound sign, so let’s just say “Pound sign CoronaPause” and we’ll know what I mean.

That brings me to another point. I like to consider myself “witty & a trifle snarky.” My wife, on the other hand, says I’m just “annoying.” How bourgeois! “Witty and a trifle snarky” sounds so much more sophisticated. But, hey hopefully my sense of humor adds to all of us making it through the day.

So, I hope the rest of your day goes smoothly. Tomorrow, a state-of-mind adjustment called “Boketto” (cool, trendy, name Huh?!)

Oh, hey, whether you think I’m witty or annoying, if you liked this article please, pass it along – even if its just to annoy your confined friends.



Okay! Now, its official! I’ve affixed my official stamp, called a “Hanko.” Now, its serious!

Sensei John


Endnote:

1. I heard one of the many inspiring press conference of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. In it, he brilliantly instituted the concept of a “pause” in lieu of “Shelter in place” or other such phrases. I simply combined the Governor’s brilliant acronym with the Coronavirus at the root of the pause to come up with a reference word for this journal.

 

Kata-RX: My Daily Caesurae

8 Jan

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There is a technique used in reading poetry known as a “caesurae.” A caesurae is a dramatic pause designed to given fulfillment, meaning and drama to the poem.
There comes a time when we all need a caesurae, a poetic pause, from the drama of our daily lives.

I am not immune to such a need. I daily perform my Kata-RX For Wellness & Mindfulness. In fact, most days, I perform my Kata-RX meditation three times, morning, noon and night.   

        I invite you to learn my Kata-RX for FREE – that’s right – FREE! using this convenient link. https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

You can see a preview of my Kata-RX filmed in beautiful Cape Cod and the New Jersey shore here:

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See you in class – its FREE – you have nothing to lose and all to gain!

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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