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Karma Tests Me – Old School Marketing

19 Jun

    The first course in my three part “Kata For Wellness & Mindfulness” school has opened for enrollment (see link below). Now, there’s quite a few new items added to the my “to do” list. Naturally, the second course needs to be ready for enrollment by the end of this month. I also have to do a bit of marketing. I’m still learning about digital marketing so I decided to do a bit of old school marketing.

To that end, I designed a few information cards and flyers. I carry them with me at all times ready to talk with people I meet, hand out cards or hang flyers wherever I can. One such day, I realized that karma was testing me.

My local Shop Rite grocery store has a community bulletin board. A perfect location for one of my flyers. After asking permission (which wasn’t needed) at the courtesy counter I hung a flyer.

Two days later, I again went grocery shopping. I noticed my flyer was no longer hanging. In its exact place was a handwritten (in female cursive) flyer advertising caregiver services. My flyer was nowhere to be found. I was furious but I had groceries to buy. While shopping I stewed. The audacity of someone to take down my flyer to put up their own. I finished shopping, paid and then stared at the rudely placed flyer.

I was thinking about removing the flyer, a little tit-for-tat. Then I noticed the push pins holding the offending flyer in place. I had previously purchased “unique” push pins that would standout. Lo and behold the four push pins holding down the caregiver flyer were my unique ones! The offender didn’t even bring her own push pins! Now, I was more than mad – the audacity not only to remove my flyer but also use my own push pins! Hmmm, what to do? I had an idea.

Rather than remove the flyer, I ripped off a tag with the phone number. I was going to call her to “chat” about the matter. Number in my pocket, I walked home, and unpacked. Thankfully I realized I need to follow my own advice – time to go outside and do my kata. After a thirty minute extended kata session not only did I feel better, I realized that karma was testing me.

I fulfilled my destiny by making my Kata For Wellness and Mindfulness course available to the public with the launching of the Kata-RX school. https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation. True I’ll need to do some promotion and advertising, but my real destiny was to create the online school. Good karma and fate would determine whether or not the concept is ultimately successful. My mind, unclouded from my kata, saw the bigger picture.

Maybe that rude person already invoked bad karma by doing what she did. If I acted, then I would interfere with karma’s plan for not only her but myself as well. Maybe karma will guide someone to see her flyer, call her, book her service, and pay her. For a moment she will be happy, a new customer! But, perhaps, fate has a different plan. What if during the course of that job something will go wrong. Something will happen under her care. Something she is accountable for. She may even get sued. Maybe she suffers a financial loss as a result of her mistake. Ultimately the loss can be traced back to removing my flyer, using my push pins and hanging her own flyer in its place. Karma had a lesson to teach. So I decided let it be.

The next day I walked back to Shop Rite and hung a new flyer. I felt so good I even dabbled in a little digital marketing. Lo and behold, as I post this, I now have a few students. Good karma.

I can honestly thank my 1 Day / 1 Lifetime Kata for once again reminding me that I’m on the right path. Life is a kata! Enjoy it, don’t sweat the “bad” stuff.

Hope you have a good day and I look forward to “meeting” you in my class.

You can view the syllabus for the first course (where all students must start) which teaches the core kata movements and internal processes using this convenient, secure link: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation (take advantage of the limited time offer using the “Enroll Now” button).

The second course teaching the full kata and internal processes is on track to open from enrollment on or before July 1st.

In the meantime, here’s the introduction to my class on proper breathing. Enjoy.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Exciting News – Sensei’s Online Kata-RX School

7 Jun

MARK THE DATE – MONDAY, JUNE 10TH

My Online Kata For Wellness & Mindfulness Course will officially launch!

Get Ready Kata-RX.Teachable.Com goes live on Monday!

To mark the occasion, the first course is being offered at a spectacular low price. Enrollees will also be invited to join a private FaceBook group for one-on-one interaction with me upon payment. (click on the flyer below for more detail)

In addition, I am honored and delighted to announce that I have received permission from the Estate of my friend and karate-do comrade, Shihan Wayne Norlander to use his memorial design on the site. 

Designed by Shihan’s family to commemorate the first anniversary of Shihan’s passing on May 18th, 2011, with a memorial motorcycle run, the design was featured on T-shirts given to all participants.

 

In 2009, Shihan Norlander graciously wrote the forward to my Sanchin Kata Book. Now, I am privileged to honor his eternal spirit with the design via my online course.

Here’s a sneak peak at a promotional flyer marking the launch incorporating the design. (click for larger image) – You may even want to enroll on Monday – you have nothing to loose.

6-10-19: School’s Open – enroll now to save!

https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

 

I look forward to seeing you in the first online course,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Coming June 2019 – Sensei John’s Online Kata Course For Anyone

22 May

Karma has shined down upon me. (check out the sneak peak video at the end).

I completed my newest kata for wellness and meditation project. In it I introduce non-martial artists to two kata I specifically created for the project, the highly meditative “Ghost Hand Kata” (Yurei-Te Kata) ™ and the penultimate “1 Day / 1 Lifetime Kata” (Ichi-nichi- Issho Kata). ™ The manuscript is fully written and I am almost finished filming video.

I’ve developed kata before, including the Shibumi Kata to help my wife endure chemotherapy. https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

I’ve provided insight into the process by developing a Kata Lab devoted to the means of creating a kata. https://senseijohn.me/2018/01/31/kata-lab-3250-kata-within-you-intermediate/

Creating a kata was never a problem. The problem was on of an online platform to get the kata out. Then karma smiled upon me – I found a platform that allows me to open an online school! More correct is that the platform actually found me, how exciting! So for two weeks I’ve been out filming, editing and uploading to be able to offer my kata course to the public.

The school name that I am toying with is “Kata-Rx.” ™ Naturally, I’ll announce the opening, which will include full support on social media via a private FaceBook group, new You-Tube channel, Instagram and Twitter (before this I thought only birds tweeted). My target date is June 1st or as close to that as possible.

I promise a unique learning experience. You can get a sample from the teaser video below. Move over Yoga! Step aside Tai-Chi! The gym – forget-about-it! The time for Kata for wellness & mindfulness has come – and Sensei John is the innovator!

As you may know all martial arts and all kata start with – – – yup, you guessed it – – – BREATHING. So naturally the teaser gives a look into the first class in the curriculum, proper breathing. Take a look and enjoy the “Dojo” and the teaching “props.”

More to come!

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Wayne Norlander

15 May

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

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

Each year I post a Hatsu Bon in his honor and dedicate my kata to his eternal spirit. Please join me in dedicating our training on May 18th 2016 to his eternal spirit. May his spirit find our training and poem worthy.

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

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, Ku-dan, Menkyo Kaiden, USA Goshin-Ryu Karate-Do, at his Bogota, NJ dojo.

In the years since his passing, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my friend. Each time I throw a leg over my motorcycle, I think, “Come on Wayne, let’s go for a ride.” Each Wednesday (May 18th, 2018 the day of his passing was a Wednesday) I perform the Kunchaba Kata (a non-Goshin-Do Karate Kata I learned from him) in dedication to his spirit. His spirit remains eternal in the wind in my face and in the kata. A video of the Kata appears at the end of this article.

Ground Zero Motorcycle Run – myself, my wife, Dianne, Sensei Jimmy Dimicelli, Shihan Wayne Norlander, Bergen County Courthouse, circa 2002

My graveside Sanchin memorial to Sensei Wayne:

Sincerity in sweat, Sensei.
Sensei John Szmitkowski

©Copyright 2019 Sensei John Szmitkowski and Issho Productions

The Kunchaba Kata Sensei Wayne shared with me:

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Paul Recchia

10 Apr

April 10th, 2019 marks the sixteenth anniversary of the passing of Sensei Paul Recchia. Please join me in performing a kata at sunset on this date in memory of Sensei Paul and all whom we have lost. The following Hatsu Bon Poem, together with the above training, are offered to his spirit.
May Sensei’s spirit find our training and poem worthy.

Sensei Paul Recchia at age 60 years old. Circa 1975.

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.

The last time Sensei Paul (in wheelchair) was at the Issho Dojo (January, 2000) with (L-R), Sensei Walter Byrne, Sensei Kim Szmitkowski, Sensei John Szmitkowski, Sensei Jimmy DiMicelli, Sensei Bobbie Gumowski. I will never forget that this was the first time in almost eighteen months that Sensei Paul, confined to his in home hospital bed, left the comfort of his home to honor all who were elevated that day in the black belt promotion ceremony.

Sincerity in sweat, you are not forgotten, Sensei.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

© Copyright 2019 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Hatsu Bon For Sensei Jeff Tyne

6 Apr

April 11, 2019 marks the fourth anniversary of the passing of Sensei Tyne. Sensei Tyne was one of the two examiners who in 1976, when I was age fifteen, failed me on my first attempt to earn fifth-kyu, green belt in the adult division, but in doing so helped to forge my unrelenting spirit. Thank-you for doing so Sensei. Today’s training and kata are offered to his eternal spirit.

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.

Sincerity in sweat, Sensei.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Endnotes:
1. During the camelot years of the Academy Of Goshin-Do Karate-Do (roughly in the 1970’s), there were four Goshin-Do Karate-Do dojo under the leadership of Shihan Thomas DeFelice:
The Hombu dojo of Shihan DeFelice located in Palisades Park, NJ;
Shibu (branch) dojo located in:
Maywood, NJ under Sensei Jim Kingston,
Lodi, NJ under Sensei Jeff Tyne,
Teaneck, NJ under Sensei Steve Malmoud.

© Copyright 2019 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Do Away With Kata Formalities – Part 2: Not Quite

13 Mar

In Part One of this article, https://senseijohn.me/2019/02/20/do-away-with-kata-formalities-part-1/ I set forth my idea that in so far as after Sho-dan grade, one must practice both the spontaneity of kata and the phenomenon that kata reside within you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, one must do away with the formalities of kata. (see Endnote # 1 for a video example) These formalities, represented by the three step process of rei (bow), mukso (meditation) and ready posture inhibit the process of kata as a ritual that resides within you percolating under the surface until needed. Or, do they? Perhaps the formalities symbolize a higher meaning of kata. So now, here’s the conclusion of that article. 

Do away with kata formalities – Part 2: Not Quite

As I began to advocate my concept of doing away with the formalities decades ago, my answer was yes, they should be done away with as a condition precedent to beginning and ending a kata. Just do the kata and be done. Now, as I get older (maybe wiser?) I have rethought the concept. I have once again incorporated the acts of preparation into my kata – just not as you may think.

To understand what I propose, one must appreciates the “Three Battles” of kata. Specifically all kata involve three aspects or battles. While they exist in all kata, they are emphasized and harmonized in the Sanchin Kata. By name, Sanchin, represents three battles.

Kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for “Sanchin” – Three Battles – or – Three Aspects of Life

Throughout time and from karate style to karate style, Sensei have defined the three battles in various, sometimes euphemistic ways. For my part, I define the battles, on a fundamental level as breathing, bodily movement and state-of-mind. Once a kata-ka has trained kata from the standpoint of these battles, they are ready to appreciate my more advanced definition of the three battles, to wit: a physical battle (breathing and bodily movement), spiritual battle (psyche, mental states and emotions) and an environmental battle (the outside world wherein the kata is performed and how you interact with same). (For more on this topic, please see endnote # 2) You can readily see that whether you adopt the fundamental definition or the more advanced, the three battles, symbolized by Sanchin, are present in each and every kata.

By extension you should then acknowledge that the three battles are present in each and every moment of life itself. You must breath to live. Your body must move each and every second to live. Yes, you may be immobile during times of sleep or even unconsciousness, but your blood must flow, cells must metabolize, organs function and the like. Similarly as you live your life, you will interact with and be affected by the outside environment. Thus, I conclude and submit that “Life is a kata.” ™

Once I came to the understanding that “Life is a kata,” ™ I began to rethink my position on the formalities. Instead of doing away with the formalities, I now advocate that they should be performed before and after each kata. What, a complete reversal? Not quite. The issue is no longer whether to perform the formalities, but when does kata start and end. My conclusion is that my kata starts the moment I get out of bed, the new day, another day of life, is the beginning of my kata. I need not perform a kata as soon as my feet touch the floor. I do; however perform the three formalities. I look out my bedroom window and rei (bow), mukso (meditation) and assume a ready posture for a moment or two and then start my day – my kata, my life. Surely, before fully engaging my day, I perform my daily routine of Sanchin, Seienchin and Suparunpei Kata and my own personal kata, Yurei-Te Kata (Ghost Hand Kata). I go about my day, including training my other kata. At days end, I perform the three formalities in reverse order and settle in to bed. My Life is my kata.

To be sure, this is but the best I can do to symbolize my acceptance of my own life as a kata. Had I thought of my concept fifty-seven years ago, I would have had a much greater symbolism, but I lacked the training, knowledge and experience to do so. The greatest symbolism would have been to perform the formalities only twice in my life. The first immediately after exiting my mother’s womb. The second time I would the perform all three in reverse order at the moment immediately before my death – the ultimate symbol of my life, my kata. Perhaps, notwithstanding I did not start life in that way, I am still be able to perform the formalities (in reverse order) at the end of my life – my kata. But – that will only be half the symbol. Maybe once I enter what comes after death I will stand tall in the next world, and bow, mediate and be ready for the kata-yet-to-come.

Here’s 2 screen shots of my soon-to-be-release Yurei-Te (Ghost Hand) Kata video and book, enjoy!

 

 

      

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

1. In my forthcoming Kata Laboratory book I have set forth many unique training concepts to explore the esoteric aspects of kata including my assertion that kata resides within you twenty-four hours a day seven days away percolating util such a time it bursts forth. If are interested in this topic, you may see this introductory article and video. https://senseijohn.me/2018/01/31/kata-lab-3250-kata-within-you-intermediate/

2. For more on the three battles of kata, and by association, bunkai (the analysis of kata), you may refer to this article from my Kata Laboratory, https://senseijohn.me/2013/05/20/kata-lab-101-three-states-of-bunkai/

 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 2019 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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