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Memorial Day Kata

24 May

Memorial Day soon approaches. It is a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American Armed Forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead.May 24, 2015

With that in mind, I propose that in addition to your BBQ, parades, picnics and other activities, you engage in one solemn practice. For martial artists, I sugeest you dedicated one kata in memory of those that have died serving in the American Armed Forces. From Memorial Day, 2015, my Sanchin Kata footprints, North Truro, Cape Cod, MA:

Session Parameters:
Date: Memorial Day, May 29th, 2017
Time: any quiet time during your day;
Location: any location, but, as you know, I prefer an outdoors in nature;
Salient Points:
During kata, reflect upon and remember that have died in the service of our country. Through your honor, their memory will not be lost.

Thank-you for your participation,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

     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

Inauguration Day – That’s “OK”

18 Jan

Welcome to the first OK (Online Kata) cyber group session of the New Year!

January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the forty-fifth President Of The United States Of America. For some it is a cause of concern warranting protest. For others, it is a cause of celebration. I submit we should all catch our breath and do neither. We should simply let the ceremony take place.

There is no motive to protest the swearing in. First is the election itself. The people of this country have spoken via the election process. That must be respected. As to any actions warranting protest or celebration, to date, all the President-elect has “accomplished” is hypothetical. True, a cabinet was appointed; however, many of the key positions require confirmation. Additionally, no policy has been set requiring a protest. Until such a time as a situation arises where action, non-action or policy demands protest, then conserve your energy. When an action calls for celebration, then do so. See Endnote # 1)

To symbolize our need to simply catch our breath during the inauguration and to conserve our energy (physical and mental), I offer this “Inauguration Day – That’s OK” (Online Kata) session. What better way to catch your breath than with Sanchin Kata?

Kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for "Sanchin" - Three Battles - or - Three Aspects of Life

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

 

Those unfamiliar with Sanchin can acquaint themselves with the kata by clicking this link to access free text and videos. https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/

Alternatively, those unfamiliar with Sanchin may perform another type of mediative endeavor, such as Zazen (seated mediation), Yoga, or simply contemplate the ceremony in a relaxed atmosphere.

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing our kata within the online kata session parameters.

Session Parameters:
Date: January 20th 2017
Time: during the swearing-in ceremony
Location: a quiet location would do best
Salient Points: see above discussion.

The last requirement of this “. . . That’s OK” session is to remain in a positive physical, emotional and mental state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind.”)

One final thought – – – –

Sanchin Kata in the snow, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, Winter, 2012

Sanchin Kata in the snow, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, Winter, 2012

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

This week’s featured video: Sanchin Kata (Shobu (combat) version) with Vultures:

Endnotes:

1. It is true that both the Senate and the House have, as of this writing, without first having a replacement plan, have taken drastic initial steps with regards to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act; however, these actions are not actions of the President-elect. If you disagree with this attend a rally, as in the case of the nationwide #FirstStand rallies sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders or vontact your State legislators in this regard. For purposes of this article, it is his actions or inactions that warrant Presidential-protest. The ball is in his court and time is running out, after he is sworn in, it is, as in popular jargon, “on him.”

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 & A Cup Of Tea – “. . . That’s OK”

25 Apr

Its been a while since I posted an Online Kata session. My work schedule of late has been rather chaotic (working 6 1/2 days). But thats OK, working is better than not working. This Friday, while making my afternoon cup of tea, it occurred to me that my “tea-time” routine would be a great basis of an Online Kata session.

Each afternoon, around 2:30 pm, I take a slight break to enjoy a cup of green tea. I fill my cup half way with filtered water and the other half with aloe vera juice, add a teaspoon of honey and microwave it for two minutes, fifteen seconds to boil the mixture. Rather than stand around and wait, I use this “spare” time to perform Sanchin Kata as a means of rejuvenating myself for the rest of the work day (which often ends at 7:00 pm). After Sanchin is finished, the water is boiled and ready for me to add green tea leaves and enjoy.
With this background, I submit the “Cup Of Tea – Thats OK (Online Kata) session.

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing the kata in the proscribed manner. So, we will not only be performing Kata, we will also be “sharing” a cup of tea or coffee.

Session Parameters:
Date: The week of Monday April 25th, 2016
Time: whenever you are ready for an afternoon cup of tea (or coffee, if you prefer)
Location: wherever you are at the above time
Salient Points:

  • Once again, this could not be simpler – – use your afternoon coffee or tea break to FIND THE TIME FOR SANCHIN – No excuses should be tolerated – Period.
  • The last requirement of this cyber-group kata session is to remain in an enraptured physical, spiritual and metaphysical state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind” which is discussed in my Sanchin DVD and Book).

Once again, you may wish to not only perform this Online Session as scheduled, but may also revisit it as often as you need. Do this as an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

In closing, I remain, looking forward to my afternoon tea and Sanchin Kata.

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

  sunsu-2   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!
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 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

Kata On Your Mind – “. . . That’s OK”

1 Feb

This Online Kata session is inspired by a former student whom I’ll call Jacqui. Like most students at the Issho Dojo, Jacqui would take a break from training during the summer months. Jacqui was a good student but a bit lazy. Summer vacation also included a vacation from karate. As a result, often she would return having forgotten a kata or two. One summer was different. After a full summer at camp, she returned to the dojo. Her first night back at the Dojo, I wanted to gauge how much she forgot. While her kata were a bit awkward, I was amazed that she did not forget any kata. I told her that I was happy she found time to practice while at camp. To my surprise, she told me that she did not practice any kata the whole summer. Rather, she informed me that “lights-out” was rather early and she often laid in her bed unable to sleep and bored. To alleviate her boredom, she thought about her kata and mentally “practiced” them. With that conversation with Jacqui, the seeds of this kata lab were planted. Though Jacqui eventually stopped training, her “legacy” lives on.

You may find your schedule so busy that you do not have adequate time to practice your kata daily. During those times, you should endeavor to at least practice your kata in your mind. Like Jacqui, this practice can even occur late at night in bed. So, to get you started, I offer this “Kata of the mind – That’s OK” (Online Kata) session.

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing our kata within the online kata session parameters.

Session Parameters:
Date: starting the week of February 1st, 2016
Time: anytime you can
Location: a quiet location would do best
Salient Points:
Find a quiet place to sit comfortably. My preference is always an outdoor location; however, the first time you try this lab, you may wish to preserve a “martial atmosphere” and do the lab in your Dojo wearing your gi. Now, mentally perform your kata as if you were performing it physically:

• Strive for technical perfection;
• Speed and power should be as appropriate within the kata;
• Timing of breath, inhalation and exhalation must be accurate;
• Kiai where called for and in the appropriate manner;
• Maintain the proper focus and mental attitude as if you were physically doing the kata.

Once you are comfortable with this kata lab, move your mental practice outdoors. Concentrate on:

• Visualize how the different terrain affects your mental kata. Should you be aware of slippery surfaces? Is the kata being visualized going up or down a hill, if so, what is the effect?
• Is the air temperature hot, cold, raining or snowing? Visualize the effect

The last requirement of this “. . . That’s OK” session is to remain in a positive physical, emotional and mental state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind.”

Once again, you may wish to not only perform this “. . . That’s OK” session as scheduled, but may also revisit the session as a regular part of your kata practice.

HANKO-master I remain, keeping my kata on my mind,
Sensei John Szmitkowski

This week’s featured video:

300-seiza-snow-sketch-copy.jpg   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!

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/

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

Sea-Monsters . . . “Thats OK”

10 Aug

Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans.
For the ocean, deep and black in depths, is like the low dark levels of or minds in which the dream symbols incubate and sometimes rise up to sight. . . And even if the symbol vision is horrible, it is there and it is ours. An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep. (See Endnote # 1)

HUMPBACK-3       Although we like to think of our world as one of harmony, it is in fact a balance of chaotic, opposing forces – hot/cold, large/small, active/passive, joy/sorrow, good/evil and the like. We desire harmony in our lives. Such harmony is only possible when we recognize the opposing forces that lie without and within ourselves. We may have little influence over the factors that are external to ourselves, but we can directly influence the factors that lie within ourselves. To do so, we must not desire to suppress them, rather, we must recognize the darkness, the sea-monster, if you will, that lies within us. Once recognized, such sea-monsters can be dispelled. To this end, I offer this “. . . thats OK” (Online Kata) session.

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing Sanchin in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Week Of: Monday August 10th, 2015;
Time: any convenient, quiet time for introspection;
Location: Preferably an outdoor location and if at all possible, by the sea or other body of water;
Recommended Kata: For those non-martial artist readers that have learned Sanchin, perform Sanchin. For Karate readers in addition to Sanchin, you may also wish to perform Seienchin or Suparunpei (Pechurin) Kata;
Salient Points:

  • Prior to practice, re-read the above passage;
  • If you perform the 4-direction Sanchin, during the shobu performance, be aware of the negative aspects of your personality and psyche. Recognize these negative aspect and dispel them during the shobu-Sanchin. As you perform the relaxed Sanchin, recognize the positive aspects of your being and nurture them;
  • As you perform the recommended kata,, during the hard, tense exhalation, be aware of the negative aspects of your personality and psyche. Recognize these negative aspects and dispel them during exhalation. As you inhale with a relaxed body, recognize the positive aspects of your being and nurture them;
  • After your performance, again read the above passage and consider the “sea monsters” (negative aspects) that dwell within you.” Remember that even if these “sea-monsters” are dark and deep, they are yours. Recognize them and work to positively change them. For without these “sea-monsters” you would be empty, “like a dreamless sleep;”
  • Change the negative aspects into a positive force in your life and enrich yourself in the process;
    You should reflect deep and well on the above;
  • The last requirement of this “Thats OK session is to remain in a state of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind”).
  • Once again, you may wish to not only perform this session as scheduled, but may wish to incorporate it into your regular practice.

Here is my “Sea-Monster” Seinchin Kata filmed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Cod, MA in 2012:

shark sign   In closing, I remain aware that sea-monsters do exist and reside within all of our personal oceans,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:
1. John Steinbeck, The Log Of The Sea Of Cortez (Penguin Books, New York, NY) p.27-28.

sunsu-2   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/kata-lab/

© 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

Have Fun With Kata – “. . . That’s OK”

13 Jul

Martial artists in general and karate-ka in particular all too often view kata as a serious endeavor. Both in my own kata practice and my writings on kata, I also find myself confined within the boundary of seriousness. Recognizing this I think it is time for you and I to “lighten-up” our kata practice (this also applies to my non-martial arts readers that have learned SanchinKata).

This does not mean that we should routinely practice kata in a trivial manner, rather, we should, when appropriate, recognize the joy of kata. What a radical idea – Kata for the fun of it!

FUN-KATA-BLUE-Collage
With that in mind, I submit the following OK (Online Kata) Session – “Fun With Kata – That’s OK”
Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing Sanchin in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Date: Week of: July 13th, 2015
Time: anytime the mood to perform Sanchin (or other kata) strikes you, BUT, especially when life gets a little too serious;
Location: any location is acceptable;
Salient Points:

  • first and foremost, ENJOY your kata session;
  • feel good about your kata;
  • smile as you practice your kata;
  • relish the fact that you have the ability to perform a unique and historical, yet living, art called – KATA.
  • The last requirement of this Sanchin Pilgrimage is to remain in a state of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind”) – in other words – (to borrow a lyric from Bobby McFerrin), “Don’t worry, BE HAPPY”

Here’s some fun I had performing Seienchin Kata with a wild horse herd during my last visit to the Lower Salt River in Arizona.

Once again, you may wish to not only perform this session as scheduled, but may also revisit the specific pilgrimage and allow Sanchin to unlock the cage imposed upon your by the drama of daily life. Do this as an integral part of your regular Kata practice.

In closing I remain, in a playful mood – – – seriously,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

  TEXT-hand secret things   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 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

Need A Pause “. . . That’s OK”

9 Mar

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, therefore, invite you to share in my need with this “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata session), one in which we will not merely pause the drama of our daily lives, but poetically pause such drama using the mechanism of Sanchin.
Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing Sanchin in the proscribed manner.
Session Parameters:
Date: The week of Monday March 9th, 2015
Time: Any time that you need a caesurae from the drama of your day. Also, perform Sanchin as many times each day that you feel you need such a caesurae;
Location: Any location; however, (as always) I would suggest an outdoor location;
Salient Points:
Use Sanchin to not merely pause the dilatory effects of the drama of daily life, but to poetically pause such drama to achieve rejuvenation;
The last requirement of this Sanchin Pilgrimage is to remain in an enraptured physical, spiritual and metaphysical state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind” which is discussed in my Sanchin DVD and Book).

Once again, you may wish to not only perform the Sanchin Pilgrimage as scheduled, but may also revisit the specific pilgrimage and allow Sanchin to unlock the cage imposed upon your by the drama of daily life. Do this as an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

In closing, I remain enjoying a daily caesurae,

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/

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 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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