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Hatsu Bon For Shihan Paul Recchia

28 Mar

April 10th, 2017 marks the anniversary of the passing of Sensei Paul Recchia. You may review his memorial here https://senseijohn.me/memorial-page/

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

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.

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

      For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/
My seminars are the ONLY seminars that allow you to pay at the conclusion, thus insuring your complete satisfaction!
  For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

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

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 –
   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

2017 – Adopt The Mind Of A Dirty White Belt

4 Jan

In New Years past, I’ve advocated viewing the coming year with the “mind of a white belt.” That is to say to look towards the coming year without preconceptions of either thought or emotion. This year is different. This year I suggest you view the coming year with the mind of a dirty white belt.

karate-belt-white     There is a Goshin-Do Karate percept, “Observe with the mind of a white belt.” It served as a reminder to advanced students and particularly those of black belt rank to constantly view their karate with an intellectual ”innocence.” The while belt, worn by novice students, is said to symbolize purity and innocence in terms of preconceptions as to Karate. When a Karate-Ka (student of Karate) first enters the Dojo, the neophyte observes without preconceived thought or emotion. Thus, one observes every detail, even the most minute, with the pure eyes of a child. In doing so, one is able to capture the inner most aspect of a Karate-Do technique and incorporate it into one’s personal repertoire.
So, what is a dirty white belt?
Prior to the advent of modern colored belts, a Karate-Ka would wear the same belt (a white belt) during his entire training. Although the Karate uniform would be laundered  regularly, as a sign of respect, the Karate-Ka would not wash his belt. The belt would even be used to wipe the sweat from one’s brow after training. Thus, the belt would become discolored, “dirty”. This “dirt” symbolized not only one’s physical progression and learning but also emotional and psychological development in Karate-do. Eventually, the belt turned completely black from use, wear and tear. This is the humble birth of the all too coveted black belt. Thus, the dirty white belt symbolizes innocence tempered by experience.
In years passed, I think my advice was sound. For this coming year, it is time to adapt a mindset of a weathered, worn, thus “dirty” white belt. For 2017 I advocate a mindset of an unclean white belt; one that while still representing a lack of preconception, bears the mark of its past experiences. 2017 should be viewed warily. Do not pre-conceive, but do not be cajoled into complacency with an innocent mindset. De open but be skeptical of that which seems out of order. It usually is. When necessary, be willing and ready to act. Then act.

sunsu-2  CIMG3570 My original black belt – now returning back to its whiteness. Perhaps now more and more like my hair and beard, a “grey-belt.”

Featured video: Seienchin Kata translates as “The calm in the storm, storm in the calm.” I think this is one representation of the dirty white belt concept. This video was filmed during a spontaneous appearance of a herd of wild horses on the Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona. Please enjoy.

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 and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/

© 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, the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & other musings http://flyfishingdojo.com

and
DOJO STICKER-1    the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

The Crab & The Seagull – A Story Of Survival

4 Jul

The within tale is an adaptation of an ancient Zen fable. It is; however, based upon actual events.

Growing up in New Jersey the best part of the summer involved visits to the unique boundary where the Atlantic Ocean kisses the sand. Many a memorable summer day was spent on various beaches of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape May, New Jersey to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My visits to the shore were not always recreational. Most visits to the beach, I practice my Karate-Do kata. Sometimes, my karate students accompany me. It was in the mid-1990’s during one such training session that the following true events leapt from the pages of Zen fable into the physical realm.

While training my students and I witnessed an encounter involving a seagull and a blue claw crab. In the original Zen fable, there was a fox, (represented by the seagull) and a rabbit (represented by the blue-claw crab).

The tide washed a blue claw crab up onto the beach. A seagull, being ever vigilant, was quick to seize the opportunity. The seagull landed on the beach and chased the crab in an attempt to make the crab its dinner. The crab used its claws to fend off the seagull. The seagull took to the air to attempt an air assault upon its reluctant dinner guest. The crab raised is claws and scuttled to and fro. The battle continued in this manner.
I asked my students, ”Who should win the fight?” They naturally said the seagull. After all, it was larger, stronger and given it had the capacity for flight, was more mobile than the crab. I informed my students that, according to an ancient fable, the crab should win. My students and I continued to watch the encounter. The fight continued with the crab fending off the sea gull. Eventually a large wave washed a-shore and carried the still fighting crab away to safety. The frustrated sea-gull flew away.

My students asked “Why should the crab win?” The answer is simple.
The seagull was fighting for its dinner, but, the blue claw crab was fighting for its life. The crab must win because it had more at stake in the confrontation. Simply stated, the winner of a physical confrontation between an aggressor and the person forced to defend against attack would be the person with the most to lose in the confrontation.

 

This week’s featured video:

Bonus Seienchin Kata Video – With Wild Horses!

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

  tile-300-dreams-seisan   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/

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

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

You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE   my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
DOJO STICKER-1 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Wayne Norlander

9 May

May 18, 2011, Shihan Wayne Norlander was taken from us.
Please join me in dedicating our training on May 18th 2016 to his eternal spirit and the spirit of all those fallen comrades we wish to remember. May their spirit find our training and poem worthy.

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

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.

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout.

My graveside Sanchin memorial to Shihan:

Sincerity in sweat, Sensei.
Sensei John Szmitkowski

HANKO-master

Jersey Shore – A Zen Fable

27 Jul

The within tale is an adaptation of an ancient Zen fable. It is; however, based upon actual events.

Growing up in New Jersey the best part of the summer involved visits to the unique boundary where the Atlantic Ocean kisses the sand. Many a memorable summer day was spent on various beaches of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape May, New Jersey to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My visits to the shore were not always recreational. Most visits to the beach, I practice my Karate-Do kata. Sometimes, my karate students accompany me. It was in the mid-1990’s during one such training session that the following true events leapt from the pages of Zen fable into the physical realm.

While training my students and I witnessed an encounter involving a seagull and a blue claw crab. In the original Zen fable, there was a fox, (represented by the seagull) and a rabbit (represented by the blue-claw crab).

 

The tide washed a blue claw crab up onto the beach. A seagull, being ever vigilant, was quick to seize the opportunity. The seagull landed on the beach and chased the crab in an attempt to make the crab its dinner. The crab used its claws to fend off the seagull. The seagull took to the air to attempt an air assault upon its reluctant dinner guest. The crab raised is claws and scuttled to and fro. The battle continued in this manner.
I asked my students, ”Who should win the fight?” They naturally said the seagull. After all, it was larger, stronger and given it had the capacity for flight, was more mobile than the crab. I informed my students that, according to an ancient fable, the crab should win. My students and I continued to watch the encounter. The fight continued with the crab fending off the sea gull. Eventually a large wave washed a-shore and carried the still fighting crab away to safety. The frustrated sea-gull flew away.

crab

My students asked “Why should the crab win?” The answer is simple.
The seagull was fighting for its dinner, but, the blue claw crab was fighting for its life. The crab must win because it had more at stake in the confrontation. Simply stated, the winner of a physical confrontation between an aggressor and the person forced to defend against attack would be the person with the most to lose in the confrontation.

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Featured video:

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

© Copyright 2010 and 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

Please, Don’t “Please” Me

29 Jun

We all have people in our lives that constantly strive to do nothing more than to please. No matter what the circumstances, these people will utilize great effort to please, notwithstanding how ludicrous their desires and efforts are. There is a tale from the Goshin-Do Karate-Do Dojo that shed’s light upon the ludicrous efforts of those that desire to please. This article is dedicated to all those “Yes-men”, those with the attitude of “Please, please me,” and those who (in the words of a my friend and comrade, Shihan Wayne Norlander, R.I.P.) “Drink the Kool-Aid.” Here is another tale from the archives of the Goshin-Do Karate-Do fireside chats. I hope you read and enjoy it, but, a word of caution – Don’t loose your “ass” in the process.

On the island of Okinawa, there lived an elderly peasant farmer, his wife and son. They lived a relatively isolated existence on their meager farm. One day, the peasant decided that he would have to journey to town to sell the farm’s beast of burden, an old jackass that was no longer capable of working. The farmer was nervous about having to journey to the city to sell the jackass, so he took along his young son to help him interact with the people he would surely meet along the way.
The next morning, the farmer and his son harnessed the jack ass and set out on the long road to the city. Along the way, the encountered a group of young school girls. “Look at those two”, laughed one of the girls, “They are so foolish to walk alongside that animal when they could easily be riding upon it.” After passing the girls, the farmer pauses and whispers to his son that he will not look foolish and instructed him to get on the jackass.
Further along the road, they encountered a group of old men relaxing under the shade of a tree. The farmer overheard on of the men. “You see, my friends, the young no longer respect the old.” The man then yelled at the son, “Get off that jackass so that your old father may ride upon him!” The old farmer immediately told his son to comply and mounted the animal as his son walked alongside.
Continuing of their journey, the pair come upon a group of women and their infants. The women scolded the old farmer for riding the jackass while his “poor little child” had to walk alongside. Not wanting to look foolish, the farmer hoisted his son up onto the back of the jackass and the two rode of together.
Around the next curve in the road, the farmer and son came across a farmer tending his fields. The farmer waived and called out, “If that is your animal, why treat him so badly?” “The two of you should carry him.” The two immediately got off the jackass and tied the animal’s legs to a sturdy pole and hoisted the beast upon their shoulders.
In this manner they clumsily continued on their way. They started to stagger across a bridge high over a stream when the old farmer lost his balance. The jackass teetered for a moment and then fell over the bridge down into the river below.
Confused and ashamed, the old man and his son made their way home. Once home, the farmers old wife scolded her husband for trying to please everyone and loosing his ass in the process.

I hope you enjoyed the within tale.

think
It would greatly please me if you took its message to heart. Until the next article, I remain,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

   Ringwood Manor, 2012  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/

© 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

A Grain Of Salt

9 Feb

For your consideration, I submit one of the many oral myths from the Goshin-Do Karate Dojo. Enjoy

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” said the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”
“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.
“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,
“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

I hope you enjoyed one of the many martial tales I grew up with.

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

   lab-collage-6  For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/

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

You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE  my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
DOJO STICKER-1 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

© Copyright 2014 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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