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Christmas, 2018

18 Dec

Merry Christmas, 2018

If Christmas was “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge would be redeemed and Tiny Tim would be healed.

If Christmas was “A Wonderful Life,” George Bailey is touched by an angel.

If Christmas was a Hallmark Channel movie, love is found, the Christmas factory / inn is saved, child’s parents are reunited, a lonely woman finds love, the magic of Christmas. Better still, the female star wins the ginger bread competition and falls in love! Two for one.

Its actually rather frustrating. Christmas can hardly live up to the promises of books, t.v. and the movies. It hardly ever works out in the end.

Reality requires us to understand that although the Christmas spirit can be carried in the hearts of all, it doesn’t mandate a miracle. Its simply Christmas; the day of comfort and joy. But, still just one day. And, no day is certain, no day is set aside for the foibles of life to be at bay. Therein lies the conundrum – unrealistic expectations, a/k/a, a “Christmas Miracle.” For me this Christmas brings home that point more than ever.

In my own little world, there is imbalance and uncertainty. I can battle life’s demons with my meditative kata and other spiritual releases. My warm, weathered comfortable “sweater” of kata helped through my recent loss of a job (the garden center was sold and closed). I can shrug off such foibles. But, that only works for me, not those around me. They battle each and very day until Christmas and each day thereafter. One is denying, but nonetheless battling addiction. Another is their partner, the coddling enabler. One is tethered to an oxygen device due to a short lifetime of smoking. Another faces major brain surgery immediately after Christmas. And yet another wrapped in a burdensome blanket weaved from the loom of possible recurring cancer.

Unlike Scrooge, these are shadows of the present and my actions now and in the future cannot alter them. I can; however, make Christmas as enjoyable as it can be for those affected. For them, Christmas is a milestone – they and their burdens can make it to that day. The rest, well like all living creatures, is unknown. Its like I say – One day (Christmas) – One Lifetime. Ichi-nichi Issho (One Day, One Lifetime).

Once again, five years after the Christmas that almost wasn’t (2013), I am reminded that for many, Christmas is but a goal. An uncertain milestone. That year two weeks before Thanksgiving my wife was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. An immediate eleven hour surgery and weeks being bedridden, we looked forward to chemotherapy in the New Year. But, oh wait, there’s Christmas before that. So with a three foot artificial table top tree (with a depleted immune system, my wife couldn’t have a real tree) we celebrated Christmas, one day, that we had each other – and some hope for what was to come.

So for each of those in my sphere, I first hope they make it to see the day. Thereafter, knowing that the chance is slim to none, dare I wish for a Christmas “miracle?” Dare I wish that the addict hits rock bottom; that level of readiness to accept that “Yes, there is a problem.” Dare I wish that the enabler understands that addiction exists notwithstanding their refusal to see it. Is wishing for a Christmas miracle in a successful brain surgery too bold a wish? Can another gain the miracle of peace of mind? Maybe.

I do believe one thing though. That if there is a chance for a Christmas miracle, the odds of the miracle being worthy are greater when it is asked for someone other than yourself. It should be selfless. A wish where your sole fulfillment comes in knowing any person deserved and got a break. Nothing big, just a plain old break in their favor. One. A chance.

So as I sit here typing this blog, I look at little Chloe’s Christmas dress that hangs in her memory by the fireplace.

Maharet sits by the Christmas tree not sure what this “invader” is doing in “her” living room.

I watch the lights on our Christmas tree. They start off white, fade to off, then relight in multi-colors, then repeat. They seem to capture the light of life, sometimes dimmed circumstances that make the world go dark. But, if you can look through the darkness and battle your way through it, the world will not only once again be light, it will be filled will the colorful palette of gratitude for the day that dawns, again and again. For that’s all we get – one day. One day – One lifetime. And, there’s no guarantee we get that.

And so, we come to my hope for all reading this that your Christmas be merry. Though there may not be a miracle, that’s okay, just take the day for what it is.

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 2018 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

A Deceased Sensei Has My Back

7 Jun

 Karate-Ka (practitioner of karate);

 Biker;

 Friend.

During life, Shihan Wayne Norlander was all that and more. May 18th 2011 he passed on. After death, his eternal spirit continues on. He watches my back.I’ve previously written about unusual experiences concerning Sensei Wayne and my recent medical condition. Though deceased, he saved my life.
https://senseijohn.me/2017/02/01/a-deceased-sensei-saved-my-life/

In that article, I used the following picture. It was taken at Sensei Wayne’s
Bogota, New Jersey Dojo in 2010. This was one year prior to his death.

One year later, May 18th, 2011, I had posted the photo on my Facebook wall. I
used it as a memorial commemorating the one year anniversary of Sensei Wayne’s passing.

Since his passing, Sensei Wayne’s eternal spirit continues on. He watches my
back. While the events I had previously written about were otherworldly, this is
down right eerie.

During pre-op testing before my second heart surgery, a mass was discovered on
my lung. I was referred to a pulmonary doctor. He concluded I needed to have a
PET/CT scan to determine if it was cancerous. The test was scheduled for
Wednesday May 24th. I would know the results the next day when I was
scheduled to meet with the doctor.

In the interim was the memorial of Sensei Wayne’s passing, May 18th. As usual,I posted my annual Hatsu Bon Memorial. https://senseijohn.me/2017/05/11/hatsu-bon-for-shihan-wayne-norlander-3/

Again, I used the photo.

Inevitably May 24th arrived. At 7;45 a.m. I had the scan. The next day was the
“big day.” I was to meet with the doctor to get the results.. Before leaving I showered and dressed. I did that so fast that I had spare time to burn. I opened my laptop and went to my Facebook Wall.

As is Facebook’s custom, an algorithm randomly picks a “memory” from your
prior postings. This not only reminds you of what you had previously posted, but
also allows you to again “share” your memory.

Lo and Behold, I was taken aback. On this fateful, potentially life-altering day,
Facebook’s random algorithm picked the original photo of Sensei Wayne and I.
The same one that I had posted six years ago and used in the above articles! This
had to be an omen. I knew then and there that whatever the outcome, it was
meant to be. It would be the “right” one regardless of what it was to be.

Naturally, I “shared” the photo memory. https://www.facebook.com/fly.fishingdojo

So, I left home and drove to the office with my spouse, Dianne. Long and short of
it, the news was that I did not have cancer. The mass was benign.

And so, once again I have my friend to thank for watching my back.

As Rod Sterling said in the Twilight Zone T.V. series, “submitted for your
contemplation,”

Sensei John Szmitkowski

This week’s featured video: My graveside Sanchin Kata tribute to Sensei Wayne.

   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, and lectures, 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.

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

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Wayne Norlander

11 May

May 18, 2011, Shihan Wayne Norlander was taken from us.

Please join me in dedicating our training on May 18th 2017 to his eternal spirit. May his spirit find our training and poem worthy.

Each year I post a Hatsu Bon in his honor and dedicate my kata to his eternal spirit. This year is a bit different. This year, I am more deeply indebted to him https://senseijohn.me/2017/02/01/a-deceased-sensei-saved-my-life/

 

Sensei Wayne, Ku-Dan (9th degree black belt) promotion. Photo: Shihan Don Nagle, Sensei Wayne, Shihan Peter Urban)

 

HATSU BON POEM:
Please don’t cry before my grave
That’s not where I am
Nor am I sleeping for eternity
SEE!!
I am already part of the breezes
numbering a thousand
I am part of the light
that brightens this world
Like a diamond glittering in the snow
Like the sun that coaxes seeds to sprout
And in the Fall I become the gentle rain
that nurtures all.
When you open the window in the morning
I am the breeze
That causes your hair to flutter;
And at night, I am the star
That watches over your sleep.
So, please . . . don’t cry before my grave
That’s not where I am.
I am not dead.
I have been born anew.

 

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout. Circa 2008

My graveside Sanchin memorial to Sensei Wayne:

Sincerity in sweat, Sensei.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

A Deceased Sensei Saved My Life

1 Feb

He died more than five years ago, but recently my friend and comrade, Sensei Wayne Norlander, saved my life.

Remember the day of the week; Wednesday.
Remember the date; January 18th, 2017.

It started like any other, Wednesday. Well, almost. For the past three weeks I was fighting a loosing battle with the flu. So I thought. Three days before I had gone to an Urgent Care facility and received a prescription for a heavy-duty antibiotic and an expectorant to help clear my lungs of fluid. I woke Wednesday morning about three a.m. This had become my habit over the past three weeks. I was so congested and coughing that I rarely slept more than three or four hours.

Three a.m. is a cold, dark, lonely time of night. I would try to kill time by reading or surfing the web. But in those dark hours, you didn’t kill time, you endured it. Around six a.m. I would begin my normal routine. This included my morning kata and always Sanchin Kata to keep my lungs working as best they could.

Wednesday morning was a little different in that I had to perform Sanchin and Tensho twice at only half power to keep from having a coughing fit. This being a Wednesday, I also performed Kunchaba Kata. Kunchaba is not within the Goshin-Do Karate-Do syllabus. I learned it from Sensei Wayne. The day he passed was May 18th, 2011, a Wednesday. Every Wednesday since, I perform Kunchaba in his memory. I have never missed a Wednesday Kunchaba.

This ritual is important for two reasons. First it honor’s and memorializes Sensei. More importantly and more esoterically, the kata ritual keeps me connected with Sensei’s eternal spirit. See for example the Hatsu Bon poem found at https://senseijohn.me/2016/05/09/hatsu-bon-for-shihan-wayne-norlander-2/

Shihan Wayne Norlander with friend & comrade, Shihan Peter Urban, circa 1970's, West New York, NJ

Shihan Wayne Norlander with friend & comrade, Shihan Peter Urban, circa 1970’s, West New York, NJ

During Kunchaba, I noticed that my shins and feet did not “feel” right. Raising my pant leg, I saw that they were swollen. “Damn!” I thought. “I must be having a reaction to the flu medication.” I decided to soldier on, took my shower and got dressed for work. As the workplace is casual, I selected Sensei Wayne’s memorial motorcycle ride T-shirt. A funny choice as future events will show. I packed my backpack, laptop, lunch and was ready to leave for work. I stopped at the back door and had a thought. “Maybe I should get this reaction checked out?” I paused for a few minutes. I called work and told them I’d be late as I was stopping at Hackensack Hospital Emergency Room to have the meds checked to halt this reaction. I thought I would be out of the E.R. by early afternoon and back at work.

Long and short of it, I spent eight days in the hospital with congestive heart failure. I had two procedures, one a shock to the heart to get the rhythm back and when that didn’t work a three hour surgical procedure (an “electronic ablation” procedure to scar the heart and interrupt the errant beat).

So, why do I attribute this to Sensei Wayne saving my life? Anyone that knows my views on kata either through this blog or my seminars know I explore the spiritual aspects of kata. I believe kata is a pathway to opening you to a heightened sense of perception. I believe I have an awareness of things that others simply cannot understand. With that in mind, lets look at some background facts that cause me to attribute my “decision” to go to the hospital.

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout. Circa 2008

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout. Circa 2008

First, Sensei Wayne passed on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 from a sudden and massive heart attack. My cardiologist told me that if I waited another twenty-four to forty-eight hours to go to the E.R. I would have had some sort of a cardiac event, including a possible heart attack.

Second, I cannot explain my “choice” of wearing Sensei Wayne’s memorial motorcycle ride T-shirt. Was I thinking of him? Or, was I subconsciously aware something was wrong with me? But, how could I know my congestion was due to a heart situation? Or, was it because of the day of the week (see below)?

Third, the day was a Wednesday, the day of the week that Sensei passed away. It is the day that I keep Sensei most in mind and dedicate a Kunchaba Kata to his memory. As I knew Sensei died of a massive heart attack on a Wednesday, was this something that added to my decision? Or, was it the date?

Fourth, The date was the 18th. Not just any 18th day of the month, but a Wednesday. The exact day and date Sensei passed. Weird, not sure. But then again;

Fifth, the last time the 18th day of the month fell on a Wednesday prior to this time was Wednesday May 18th 2016 – five years to the very day and date that Sensei passed!

Wearing Sensei Wayne's Memorial T-Shirt leaving the hospital. The same one I wore to E.R.

Wearing Sensei Wayne’s Memorial T-Shirt leaving the hospital. The same one I wore to E.R.

 

Post Script (April 5th, 2017): There was an unforeseen development whereby I needed a second surgery. It was originally scheduled for Friday, March 24th, 2017. Two weeks before, the hospital called to tell me the date was changed to March 29th, 2017 – – – a WEDNESDAY.

Incidentally, the style of karate I’ve studied since I was ten years old is Goshin-Do Karate-Do. The kanji is written to translate as “Self-defense way of the empty hand.” At one time the kanji was written to translate as “Strong-heart empty hand way.” Fitting.

I don’t know if the above would count as an enhanced perception derived from spiritually practicing kata. Is it just hooey? Who knows. But I do know this. Every Wednesday I think of my friend and will continue to do so. He was taken suddenly and without warning. Somehow my decision to memorialize him with kata impacted my sub-conscious thought that I’d better get myself to the E.R. right then and there. To that end, I will always believe in my (now electronically stable) heart of hearts that Sensei Wayne Norlander saved my life! To that I say “Thank-you my friend.”

Featured Video: Kunchaba Kata (in honor of Sensei Wayne):

 

And a big “Thank-you” to all the doctors and nurses that looked after me in their very special and compassionate way. Without them, I never would have made the great recovery that I did.

Respectfully submittd,

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 2017 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 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

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:

If you enjoy this Kata Lab, please help fund future experiments 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:

Shop-cups-home

 

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.

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 – Summer’s Souvenir

15 Jun

dreams-seisan               Ah, summer is here!

A time when many of us travel. Whether we journey to an exotic location for an extended stay, simply indulge ourselves in a long weekend, or take the refreshing day trip, a hallmark of summer is travel. In an effort to preserve our experiences, such travel usually involves the ritual of obtaining souvenirs. Here is a simple way to collect a souvenir for no financial cost; the sole cost may be expressed in terms of a little sweat.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

Since I was first introduced to the concept at ten years old by Sensei Nock D’Antuono, I have always enjoyed performing kata outdoors in any location. I can unabashedly admit that I prefer to perform kata in the magnificence of Nature’s Dojo instead of the relative sterility of a traditional dojo. To be sure, the traditional dojo carries an aura and mystique for me, but, I carry such a dojo in my heart and prefer to exhibit it in nature.

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

For decades, I have collected kata souvenirs of my many travels. Much like looking through a photo album, I am able to revisit my travels by recalling them while performing my kata. Regardless of my present location, I can perform a kata and recall a memory of performing the kata at a different time and in a different place.

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

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

Here are a few tips to assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs.

  • Wherever you travel perform your kata. For those readers that acquainted themselves with Sanchin Kata, perform Sanchin. (You may use this convenient link to acquaint yourself with Sanchin Kata https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/ ) Karate practitioners, please see the recommendations of the the “Kata Sommelier” below);
  • During your performance note the experience of your surroundings, what are the sights and smells? If barefoot, how does the ground feel (is it sandy, rocky, watery, etc). Pay attention to the weather conditions; was it hot, sunny, cold, rainy?
  • Remember the time of day of your performance; sunrise, midday, sunset, etc. Take notes of your experiences before and after the kata performance so that they will be associated with the kata;
  • If you are with someone, recall their presence during your kata;
  • If possible, to assist you, take a photo of a pose from your kata, video record the performance or simply jot down a few notes for future reference;
  • Remember that you interact with the environment during your kata performance, therefore, you leave a part of you in the environment. Thus, a part of you will always remain “on vacation” at that location.
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate colleagues I would recommend that you perform a different kata at each of the various locations you visit this summer. This way a specific kata will be associated with a specific location, thus giving you a lasting “souvenir.”
Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Good luck and have a great summer collecting Kata souvenirs!

Here is a video of my most last kata souvenir filmed in 2014 amongst the wild horse herd at the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

In closing, I remain collecting my kata summer souvenirs.

HANKO-master

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 using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/
dreams-seisan  Sensei John is available his Kata Laboratory seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-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
DOJO STICKER-1 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

On The Road With Kata Video Series

12 Jan

Even though I lived in Arizona for the past ten years, family and seasonal work in New Jersey meant one fact, the road trip. Though I do fly, I prefer to ride the highways and byways of the American road. I made at least two road trips a year; sometimes in my truck, sometimes on my Harley. Each and every trip I’ve had two items “packed” with me in my travel bag. The first is my dog-eared copy of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. The second is my kata. I use kata to keep me alert and mitigate the effects of long distance travel. I’m not one to travel leisurely. I burn the miles like the fictional Dean Moriarty. The trip usually only takes me three and a half day. My personal best as far as quickest trip was in 2008 when I did it in three days; and that was on a Harley-Davidson Electra-glide, with my dog Chloe (a Min-pin)!

After ten years living in the “Valley Of The Sun”, I planned to relocate back to my home state of New Jersey. With final preparations and renting out the house in Arizona complete, it was finally time to make my last cross-country journey. In the past, I had previously documented my kata journey (See Endnote # 1 for applicable links). Since I first wrote of my kata on the road, I’ve become more video savvy. For this trip, I wanted to film my personal kata. So, on Monday, November 24th, 2014, with the camera and tripod on the front seat. I started the truck for the three and a half day, twenty-five hundred mile trip back to the Garden State. During the trip I performed my kata in truck stops, beautiful surroundings, while pumping gas, in cheap motels, and nice motels, in the early hours filmed by the headlights of my truck, and more.

What follows is my video series, “Sensei John’s On The Road With Kata.” Here is the introduction to the video series. I hope you enjoy the videos.

More importantly, I hope the videos inspire you to:

  • Perform your kata whenever and wherever you desire or need to perform them;
  • Use your kata to enhance your daily activities (See Endnote # 2 for my Virtues Of Kata article);
  • Understand kata from the mindset of Nenjuushin (“Everyday Mind”);
  • Adapt your kata to your specific needs at any moment in time;
  • And, maybe, just maybe, actually enjoy your kata experience.

With that, here is my video introduction to the On The Road series.

Day 1 (Monday): This video takes us from my home in San Tan Valley to Shamrock, Texas, over 750 miles. It includes four kata, including my final kata in the house (a modified Taikiyoku), ending with a rejuvenating variation of Sanchin Kata in my motel room after a long day on the road.

Day 2 (Tuesday): In this video, I travel from Texas, through Oklahoma, Arkansas and into Tennessee. It sounds like a far distance, but, its only 649 miles for the day. Thanks to construction and bumper-to-bumper traffic in five separate areas of Arkansas that was the extent of the day’s journey. Kata includes a hybrid of Suparunpei, Seienchin and Shobu-Sanchin Kata filmed by my trucks headlights, Ananku Kata and Fuku Kata in a scenic location.

Day 3 (Wednesday): This video takes place throughout Tennessee and north into Virginia. It contains two important videos filmed in motel rooms. These hotel room kata sessions led to the development of my Kata Deconstruction technique (here is a link to the article and video Link: https://senseijohn.me/2013/06/09/kata-lab-201-introduction-to-kata-deconstruction/ ) Every Wednesday since the passing of my deceased friend and colleague, Shihan Wayne Norlander, I perform a Kunchaba Kata in his honor. This day was no exception. There is a footage of this performance and Hatsu Bon poem contained on the video.

Day 4 (Thursday – Thanksgiving Day, 2014), I was eager to pound the miles and reach my destination in northern New Jersey. I knew I would not arrive in time for Thanksgiving dinner, but, I was hoping to be there for coffee and pumpkin pie. I filmed one kata in the most unusual setting and circumstances. I think it is the ONLY time in history that a kata has been filmed in this manner. This video will put to shame anyone who has ever said, “I don’t have time to practice a kata.” Watch and see.

That concludes my “On The Road With Kata” Thanksgiving, 2014 video series. To mark my relocating from Arizona, here is one of my most profound kata video experiences, Seienchin Kata filmed with a herd of wild horses at the Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest.

In the next few weeks, I’ll settle down in New Jersey. After the Holidays, look for new and exciting things to come on this blog, including new and innovative Kata Labs.

In the meantime, my best to you all,

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this post please help support this blog, please 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!

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/

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/category/kata-laboratory/

Endnotes:

1. Here are the links to my first “On The Road With Sensei” series of articles:
Part 1: https://senseijohn.me/2010/04/16/on-the-road-with-sensei-john-part-1/
Part 2: https://senseijohn.me/2010/04/25/on-the-road-with-sensei-john-part-2-nj-reflections/
Part 3: https://senseijohn.me/2010/05/02/on-the-road-with-sensei-john-part-3-eastern-dojo/
Part 4: https://senseijohn.me/2010/05/09/on-the-road-with-sensei-john-part-4-western-dojo/

2. Here is the link to my “Virtues Of Kata” article:https://senseijohn.me/2011/07/31/virtues-of-kata/

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 2014 and 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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