Tag Archives: Goshin-Do Karate-Do

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

The Mountain Path – Part 2: The View At The Top

15 Mar

“Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain, but at the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon.” (See endnote number 1)

Let us continue our examination of the three stages of the path up the mountain (https://senseijohn.me/2017/03/01/the-mountain-path-part-1-the-path-up/). Let’s look at the view from the top of the mountain. I characterize the view as the goal. It is why one would undertake the arduous trek up the mountain. It is the raison d’etre.

What then is the goal? Before attempting to define the goal, it is important to understand some of its fundamental elements. This analysis will apply to any goal. I submit the goal, or view at the top of the mountain is (must be):

  • Desirable;
  • Worthy of our effort;
  • Attainable – this is to say that only the effort to obtain the goal can be quantified. The goal itself can never be impossible. I wonder, though, if the goal can be temporally improbable (such as landing a man on the moon)?
  • Sustainable – once obtained, the resulting goal, or the memory of it, must remain with you,
  • Subject to a “condemnation” for failing – even if only subjective, there must be a form of castigation for not attaining the goal,
  • Best if the goal is subjectively imposed – “I want to” (e.g. go to college) than objectively imposed “You will” (e.g. go to college);
  • Standard to attain the goal my be subjective – (improve my mental well-being) or objective (I lost weight),

With these points in mind, what then is the goal? The specific goal is best determined by the person undertaking the path. To illustrate this point, lets look at the karate-do example of Ikkyu’s saying. When used to illustrtate the idea that regardless of the style of karate studied, the goal of study is the same, the only person who can answer “What is the goal?” is the student himself. Sensei can only provide guidance as to possible answers, to protect oneself, to develop a strong spirit, to have good physical health, and the like. As such, Ikkyu’s saying merely provides a visulaization for the student that allows him or herself to fill in the answer.

A corrolary to the above is that the goal may be temporary. Goals change over time. In the karate example, a student may start with the goal of learning self-defense. After time, this may transform to a goal of deeper spiritual and empotional understanding. Using the goal of a college degree, as a second example, we may see that the attainment of a degree is the goal until attained. Then, what becomes of the goal? It morphs into a new goal. Having a college degree may mean earning more money, for others it may mean starting a business, or even having a more fulfilling job.

Perhaps, the true nature of the goal is, in the end, to simply keep you on the path, constantly climbing the mountain. I think that once all our goals are attained, we simply would cease to be. To borrow a quote for a certain American motorcycle manufacturer, “Its not the destination but the journey.”

In the last part of this series, we’ll explore the path down the mountain, perhaps the most treacherous path of all. Until then, enjoy the view of the moon.

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES

1. Though not referenced as a source of the quote at the time, the quote seems to come from the Zen-master Ikkyū (1394-1481). It is; however, also found in other sources and contexts. Two examples are:

“There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same”, a Chinese proverb, and

“There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.” A Hindu proverb.

    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

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 Bunkai – A Temporary Triumph (Dr. Feynman visits The Kata Lab – Part II)

9 Nov

KATA LAB

So, you just finished a kata seminar with the latest karate-do Master. Long in advance of the seminar, you pre-registered and paid your $ 100 plus dollar fee. The Master showed those select few of you his or her previously undisclosed, “hidden” application of kata sequences. According to the Master, “You now know the final bunkai for the kata.”

Well, not true on several fronts.

First and foremost, the word “bunkai” does not mean the physical application of kata sequences. It means analysis. Analysis is an on-going process;
Second, what was shown to you was an application of a kata sequence. You learned. You did not analyze anything yourself. You merely mimicked someone else’s application;
Third, what you learned is merely a physical application of kata sequences. You have not investigated my remaining two aspects of kata (and by extension, kata bunkai). Namely, the spiritual aspect (the manner in which the kata affects your state-of-mind, emotional state and psyche and vice-versa) and the environmental aspect (the manner in which your surroundings affect the kata and vice-versa).

The second point self-explanatory and the third is answered by my entire 200 plus page Kata Lab project. So, lets look at the first point. To aid my answer, I would like to once again “invite” the eminent physicist Dr. Richard Feynman into my Kata Lab. (See Endnote # 1).

FEYNMAN  Dr. Feynman once observed:

An experiment that confirms your theory does not prove that it is right, only that it is simply not proved wrong. It can never be proved right. Because in the future there could be a wider range of experiments that proves your theory wrong.* So, we are never sure we are right. We can only ever be sure we are not wrong.
* (reference was made to Newton’s law of planetary motion which was accepted correct until 100 years later when the planet Mercury’s motion proved it wrong).

So, for your seminar fee, what exactly did you get in terms of bunkai (analysis of kata)? You received something (see point two) that is not only inconclusive (see point three), but also, temporary, momentary and subject to change. Dr. Feynman would say you were shown an application that, for now, is “not wrong”.

How is this so?
The application you were shown is based upon the Master’s understanding of the kata sequences. This understanding factors in his or her physical limitations and abilities. Your use of the application is affected by your own physical capabilities and skills (which differ from those of the Master). Based upon your own individual characteristics the Master’s application may be utterly useless to you. Unless, of course, you, “Just keep practicing, one day you’ll get it right.” Even if you are able to perform the application, as your physical health changes your ability to perform that application will change. Thus what you learned as, ahem, “bunkai” needs to be revisited. If you do not revisit the application and make necessary adjustments, including finding an entirely new application, you will reach a point of stagnation. “I could perform this application in my younger days, or when my knees weren’t so bad.” Such statements are ridiculous.

Kata is not meant to be stagnant. It is meant to be fluid. It changes according to the performer. An analogy is the “Clay in the mold” interpretation of kata. Kata is the mold which will form you, the clay. As each lump of clay is different and will change over time, the mold (kata) will affect each lump differently. As to bunkai (analysis of kata), I submit that Dr, Feynman’s observation be modified as follows.

A bunkai (analysis) that confirms your understanding (of kata) does not prove that it is right, only that it is simply not proved wrong. It can never be proved right. Because in the future there could be a wider range of bunkai that proves your understanding incomplete. So, we are never sure that our bunkai is right. We can only ever be sure we are not wrong. (Sensei John Szmitkowski modifying Dr. Richard Feynman).

Thus, there are no absolutes in kata bunkai (analysis). Any analysis is merely temporary. It is subject to the changing dynamics and needs of the individual practitioner. Your changing health, age and capabilities all affect your analysis. Your non-physical characteristics may have a more profound impact on your kata analysis. Your mental state, emotions and psyche play a major role in how you analyze your kata. (See Endnote # 2) Further, there is a greatly overlooked and often entirely missed factor that contributes to your analysis. This factor is the manner in which the environment affects your kata. The impact of terrain, weather, temperature and other such environmental factors cannot be discounted.

My “visit” with Dr. Feynman now concluded, it is time once again for me to “Think * Sweat * Experiment” with my kata. Maybe one day I’ll get it “right.”

Featured video: Kata Lab #2230 – Kata: Dr. Jekyll’s Potion. Full article:
https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/09/kata-lab-122-kata-dr-jekylls-potion/

HANKO-master

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”) Sensei John Szmitkowski

   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/

Endnotes:

1. Dr. Feynman’s earlier visit to my Kata Lab maybe viewed using this convenient link
https://senseijohn.me/2015/09/28/dr-richard-feynman-visits-senseis-kata-lab-part-1/

2. Kata can and should be used to modify emotions link https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/

and video:

Help support Sensei’s experiments – Come visit my store on CafePress! all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices!

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.

Kata Lab – Reverse Seienchin Kata

1 Jun

“What becomes authentic (traditional) when you live in Purgatory?”
(Chef Roy Choi interviewed on Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown: Last Bites)

KATA LAB

Background:

With the popularity of my Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/ and my Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/ , I wanted take the concept even further. To do so we can use Seienchin Kata as a means to understand the concept on both a physical level but also a spiritual level.

Unlike the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab where the movements of the kata were reversed and the breathing pattern remained the same, in this lab, the breathing patterns will be reversed and the movements remain the same. Why Seienchin and not Sanchin Kata for this lab? Simple, as you can see in the analysis below, there is a unique concept that applies to Seienchin Kata that makes it highly qualified for this type of experiment. Seienchin allows you to begin to understand how the physical movements of kata impart a mental aspect to kata.

Kanji for "Seienchin", sumi-e ink on rice paper

Kanji for “Seienchin”, sumi-e ink on rice paper

  • Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
    Perform Seienchin Kata as you normally would;
  • Take a moment and reflect on the two interpretations of the kata, specifically paying attention to the manner in which they are enlivened by the movements of the kata;
    Interpretation # 1: “Calm in the storm, storm in the calm”
    Interpretation # 2: “Walk far to quell & conquer” (see endnote # 1)
  • Perform Seienchin but time reverse the slow and fast sequences. For example, the opening sequences which are normally, slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension, must now be performed fast and with kime (focus). Movements which are fast and with kime must now be performed slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension;
  • After your performance, deeply consider how the reversal impacted your earlier conclusions as to how the kata enlivened the two interpretations of the kanji.

To assist you with this Kata Lab, I have created the following video.

Conclusion:

This kata lab affects two of the three battles (aspects) of kata (See Endnote # 2). The two aspects are the physical and spiritual aspect.

Both components of the physical aspect (bodily movement & breathing) are affected. First, by reversing the method of performing the movements, hard movements soft and vice-versa, the component of bodily movement is affected. Second, by reversing the manner of breathing, this component is also affected.

The spiritual aspect is affected initially by reversing the symbology of the storm and the calm within the kata. Seienchin, performed in the traditional manner, begins with the calm (Sanchin kata-like opening sequences) and encounters the storm (hard and fast sequences). The kata continues by alternating between the calm and storm, ending with the calm.Reverse Seienchin makes the performer immediately encounter the storm, transcends to the calm and ends with the storm. This produces a shift in mental attitude. You should consider how this effect impacts martial fighting theory and life attitude theory of conflict resolution.

In addition, the concept to “To walk far to quell and conquer” is significantly affected. The result is to “Conquer and subsequently quell.” This has significant ideological connotations worthy of further study.

One final comment as to the third aspect of kata, the metaphysical aspect. Although not directly affected by this kata lab, the aspect is always present anytime a kata is performed.

Remember, the mandate of my Kata Laboratory – Think * Sweat * Experiment!

HANKO-master
Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

 If you enjoyed this Kata Lab, help fund my future experiments & get a unique product from my online store: Come visit my store on CafePress!

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ENDNOTES:

1. Naturally, the interpretation of a kata is systemic in nature. I am not suggesting you abandon your system’s interpretation of Seienchin Kata. I do ask that, for purposes of this Kata Lab, you initially consider the interpretation of Seienchin Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do (DeFelice-Ryu) and then apply your conclusions to the interpretation of your system of karate-do.

2. You may recall my definition of the three battles of Sancin Kata, which are present in every kata, as:
Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
Spiritual Battle, the manner in which a kata affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
Environmental Battle, the manner in which kata connects you with your external environment and how same affects you.

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  this one dedicated to 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

SHU, HA, RI – A Different Perspective

4 May

There is a concept from the martial arts that is applicable to any relationship whereby one individual relies upon another individual for education, instruction or guidance. That martial arts concept is known as “Shu-Ha-Ri.” It applies to any student-teacher, mentor-protege or other similar relationship.
Shu-Ha-Ri has been analyzed ad infinitum from the standpoint of the student. I myself have often engaged in such analysis. Here is a convenient link to an article I had posted a few years ago https://senseijohn.me/2010/06/20/the-martial-arts-learning-process-of-shu-ha-ri/ 
One night, while teaching at the USA Goshin-Ryu Dojo of my late friend, Shihan Wayne Norlander, I realized that this historical analysis is limited to one-half of the dynamic of transmitting karate-do from one person to another. In so far as the teaching of karate-do implies an obligation to accurately transmit the karate of one’s Sensei, I propose that the common trend to analyze Shu, Ha, Ri form the standpoint of the student must be overcome (See Endnote # 1).

In this submission, I would like to set forth an alternate perspective from which to consider the concept of Shu-Ha-Ri; namely the perspective of the teacher, or Sensei, of karate-do, who was by definition once a student him or her self.

By way of introduction, a review of the popular discourse on Shu, Ha, Ri is appropriate. There are three stages of the martial learning process which are generally accepted and a fourth, more esoteric stage. The three generally accepted stages are the stages of “Shu”, “Ha“, “R1“.

Kanji for Shu-Ha-Ri

Each particular stage is described as follows.

SHU(pronounced “Shoe”) means to correctly copy all of the techniques of one’s instructors;

HA (pronounced “Ha”) means the liberty allowed to a student to develop his own way of executing techniques based upon the demands of his own physical stature and his own individual understanding of Karate;

RI (pronounced “Rhee”) means “transcendence” or “mastery”. It is when a student can perform all of the techniques automatically and becomes a teacher himself (See Endnote # 2).

A fourth, more esoteric, stage of the process of learning the martial arts has come to be identified. This stage is called the “Ku” (pronounced “Cue”) stage. Kuis the stage of emptiness. It means everything is gone and no trace is left behind. The student has reached the highest level and no one can trace his movements or capture his techniques.

I submit that the concept of Shu-Ha-Ri transcends the bounds of the student’s perspective and can (and should) be extended to include an analysis from the perspective of the teacher. A natural consequence of learning the martial arts, as set forth in the description of the Ri stage above, is that the student becomes a teacher him or herself. Once the student becomes a teacher himself, the analysis and application of Shu, Ha, Ri historically ceases. I proffer the following analysis of Shu, Ha, Ri as applied to the teacher who was once, naturally, a student himself.

SHU means to correctly copy the technique, kata, method and manner of one’s Sensei as one teaches one’s students. While the technique and kata of one’s Sensei are easily governed by stylistic dictates (see Endnote # 3), the method and manner of one’s Sensei are unique to the Sensei under whom a student (now teacher) originally learned his or her art. Each individual instructor of a style of karate-do, while teaching the technique and kata of the style, combines these physical dictates with the non-physical traits of the style (philosophy, ideology, spirituality, etc) as set forth by the style’s founder and progenitor. While so teaching the “style”, the Sensei imbues and infuses the teaching with his or her own unique character and personality traits. These character and personality traits generally may be of a positive nature, but, as dictated by the frailty of the human condition, may also include the instructor’s character flaws; even those that may considered less than admirable (See Endnote # 4). It is the “style” of karate, as imbued and interpreted by a Sensei that is transmitted to the student (who is now the teacher).

HA means the liberality to be allowed an instructor (by his original Sensei) to develop his own way of teaching. I submit this development is influenced by two key factors. The first key factor is the teacher’s unique individual physical and psychological traits. These factors would have been accentuated or modified as necessary during the teacher’s tenure as a student. IF the teacher’s Sensei was a Sensei of merit, then his Sensei would have discovered and been aware of these individual traits during the time period wherein the teacher was a student of the Sensei. During this time, Sensei would have nurtured the student’s meritorious traits and modified or corrected the student’s character flaws. Thus, Sensei would have guided his student, now a teacher, so that these individual traits do not offend the tenor and tone of Sensei’s style of karate-do. The second key component is highly variable. Surely, Sensei is aware that his student will encounter this factor but cannot predict the specific character of same. This second trait that the student, now teacher, will encounter are the physical capabilities and mental attributes of his individual students.  The student turned teacher must be allowed the liberality to mold his instruction of karate-do on these two key factors. If this liberality is granted, the student-teacher, now Sensei, starts to represent the embodiment of the karate he learned from his Sensei.

RI means “transcendence.” Transcendence occurs when a Sensei becomes the living embodiment of the karate-do that he continues to practice and subsequently teach. This karate is no longer the karate that he learned from his Sensei; it is more than that. It is that learned karate as interpreted by the individual Sensei’s physical and spiritual traits AND as transformed by the mechanism of Sensei’s continued practice of karate-do and individual teaching methods and manner.

KU is the stage were the Sensei no longer affirmatively teaches. Rather, Sensei transmits karate-do by virtue of being an active Sensei. This is to say that Sensei has become his karate-do. Sensei has come to embody and represent his interpretation of karate-do in such a way that the students are capable of learning by Sensei’s example. This means that the student no longer learns by rote drilling, they learn by being in the presence of Sensei as Sensei lives in karate-do. This stage is the lifeblood extension of the observation of Shihan Peter Urban, Ju-dan, USA Goju-ryu, “A Karate man in training is in karate.” At this stage, “A Sensei who practices and teaches karate IS karate.” (See Endnote # 5).

I submit that understanding the various stages Shu, Ha, Ri from both the perspective of a student and a Sensei is necessary so as to fully understand the total dynamic within which the art of karate-do is transmitted from one person to another.

Respectfully submitted for your contemplation,

HANKO-master

 Sensei John Szmitkowski

 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/

ENDNOTES:

1. I use the word “implies” because there are those Sensei that are perhaps less than meritorious and simply teach without regard to a sense of duty or obligation to purely transmit the teachings of their Sensei.

2. The following symbolism has been ascribed to each stage. Such symbolism may assist you in further understanding the three stages of transmittal and learning.

SHU is symbolized by an egg. The first stage is hard, the form or shape of the technique must be mastered or protected, just like a mother protects her egg.

HA is symbolized by the breaking egg. The basic form is broken into its infinite applications. It means the fundamentals are now mastered and are applied in all situations.

RI is symbolized by the fully released chick that has matured and flies away from the nest. The student forgets all forms and masters the formless technique, leaving old ideas behind him. He has fully matured in his training.

3. This means simply that a student of Goshin-Do Karate will teach the technique and kata of the Goshin-Do Karate style. Similarly a student of Goju-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Isshin-ryu or any other style will teach the technique and kata of their particular style.

4.Since we are human, we are inevitably fallible. Thus, by human nature, a Sensei carries his personal flaws with him as he teaches karate. Such flaws may include, ego, jealousy, anger and the like. It is a direct consequence that the karate transmitted will be influenced by both the instructor’s positive and negative personality traits during the transmission process.

5. Urban, Peter, The Karate Dojo, (Charles E. Tuttle & Co., Tokyo, Japan 1967) p. 77.

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.

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Paul Recchia

6 Apr

This Friday, April 10th, 2015 marks the 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, age 60

Sensei Paul, age 60

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.

annotated-YUDANSHA-ISSHO

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.

HANKO-master Sensei John Szmitkowski

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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.

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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.

Step Up Like A Donkey Or Get Buried

8 Dec

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

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

I hope you enjoyed one of the many martial tales I was privileged to have grown 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.

Problems Solved

14 Jul

From the verbal traditions of the Dojo, a martial myth,

There was once a monk who would carry a mirror where ever he went. A priest noticed this one day and thought to himself,  “This monk must be so preoccupied with the way he looks that he has to carry that mirror all the time. He should not worry about the way he looks on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts.” 

So the priest went up to the monk and asked “Why do you always carry that mirror?” thinking for sure this would prove his guilt.

The monk pulled the mirror from his bag and pointed it at the priest. Then he said “I use it in times of trouble. I look into it and it shows me the source of my problems as well as the solution to my problems.”

Respectfully submitted

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

© Copyright 2014 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

Summer Souvenir “. . . That’s OK”

1 Jun

Ah, summer is here! 

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

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 of our journeys. 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.

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

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.
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.

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

To assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs, I submit the
Summer Souvenir “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) Session

As always, you can perform either the Sanchin Kata, my Shibumi Kata (Link: https://senseijohn.me/2013/12/05/shibumi-kata-the-movements/ ) or any karate kata.

For my karate brethren, the “Kata Sommelier” has a recommendation for this 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 in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Date, time & location: all summer long during your travels;
Salient Points:

  • wherever you travel perform Sanchin (or any other kata of your choice);
  • 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 note 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, or video record the performance;
  • 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 brethren, I would recommend any kata. Once and for all, take your kata practice out of the Dojo and into nature.

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.” For information on the Zanshin state-of-mind, please use this link:
https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/23/zanshin-remaining-mind-shibumi-project/

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.

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

A Sanchin breaking from riding my H-D electra-glide, cotton fields, San Tan Valley, AZ 2011

A Sanchin breaking from riding my H-D electra-glide, cotton fields, San Tan Valley, AZ 2011

In closing, I remain adding souvenirs to my collection,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session, you may wish to show your support by visiting Sensei’s store.

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

© Copyright 2014 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 Lab: The Process Of Making A Kata Lab

20 Apr

“Come into the Lab and see what’s on the slab.” (See Endnote # 1)

KATA LAB

Welcome to this teaser post and video from my Kata Laboratory Series, “Kata Lab: The Process Of Making A Kata Lab” ©

Background:
I thought it would be interesting to take you behind the scenes into the making of a Kata Lab. I have already written many of the lab “experiments,” my training is a continuing, daily process. Therefore all lab experiments can never truly be written; many remain unwritten and pending discovery.

Recently, I had an idea that led to a new addition to my Kata Lab syllabus. The working title is “Blink-Of-An-Eye Bunkai.” Here’s how this future Kata Lab submission developed. I’ll outline the general process and then provide the working example of how training Ananku Kata led to the development of the Blink-Of-An-Eye Kata Lab.

Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory Development Process:

Step One: Train!
Without exception all Kata Labs, in fact all posts on this blog, begin with kata training. It is utterly impossible to create a kata lab sitting idly at the computer. There must be daily, even hourly, kata training. I regularly take a ten to fifteen minute “kata-break” from my work routine.

sensei_johns_kata_lab_vintage_clipboard          I always have a clipboard loaded with blank paper and index cards, a voice recorder and sometimes, even my laptop handy.

As kata training is for the sake of training and not writing, I do not develop an idea during such sessions. Rather, I simply spontaneously record something that I may notice about a particular kata or an idea that may simply pop into my mind. These notations are either a few words or a sentence or two. After the session, I pin the index card to a large cork board for future development.
Working Example: I was performing the Goshin-Do Karate-Do (hereinafter “GDK-D”) Ananku Kata. A thought came to mind. I grabbed my clipboard, made a brief note on an index card and continued training. The thought pertained to the transitional stages that occur in the first four moves of Ananku Kata. These transitions from one kata move to the next contain brief, almost hidden, postures. These brief postures are worthy of bunkai (analysis). The movements are described in Endnote # 2 and # 3. There is also a video below.

Step Two: Think & Sweat:
Prior to a training session, I’ll look over my note cards. Some more than others tend to grab my attention. These notes stay at the forefront of my thoughts as I practice. If any ideas develop from the brief notes they are written down. Over time, I hope that the idea developed from one specific kata will ripen into a generalized concept that applies to any kata.
Working example: Intrigued by my notes on hidden postures in transitional moves, I practice my kata very slowly, paying particular attention to the transition from one kata movement to the next. An awareness as to postures that result from the combination of body shifting, hand and foot postures occur when moving from one kata movement to the next. These postures occur very briefly, in the blink-of-an-eye. They occur so quickly that they may not even be postures in the truest sense of the word. As they occur within the “blink-of-an-eye” practitioners are not even aware of their existence. No attention at all is paid to them. They are often ignored in in both kata and kata bunkai (analysis) in favor of the more overt or apparent kata movements.

Step Three: Experiment:
Now that I have developed a concept, I must determine how it relates to kata outside the GDK-D curriculum. If the concept does not apply to a broad based audience, it cannot become a Kata Lab topic.
I am fortunate to have been exposed to kata from styles of karate-do other than GDK-D, most notably Goju-Ryu and some Matsumura Shorin-ryu kata. In addition, I have learned fifteen kobu-do kata (Matayoshi-Ryu, Yamani-Ryu and Uefuichiku Kata). I use this kata base to test the concept developed with the GDK-D Kata.

It is at this stage that the overall kata laboratory starts to take shape. Through these extraneous kata (including the kobudo kata) I strive to find a procedure for anyone to analyze my concept using the kata of their particular style of karate-do.

Working example: I begin to slowly and methodically practice the kata outside of the GDK-D system. Again I pay particular attention to postures that occur when moving from one kata movement to the next. With this particular kata lab, kobudo kata with the bo were extremely helpful. I can only speculate that the length of the bo, which magnifies hand movements exponentially under normal circumstances, helped to intensify the effect of these hidden postures.

Step Four: Design a Practice Procedure For Others To Follow

I document the steps that any kata practitioner can use to analyze their own specific kata and still be able to understand the overall concept and subject of the Kata Lab. I also consider whether a video would be helpful to the reader. If so, production on the video begins.

Working example:
Here is the video I produced as a companion to the “Blink-Of-An-Eye Bunkai” Kata Lab.

Step Five: Administrative Matters Of Writing a Kata Lab

Now is the time to write up the Kata Lab itself. This process is similar to writing a monthly lesson plan for the Dojo where each class is designed to form a cohesive whole. The Kata Lab must be given a name which conveys the subject of the lab. Hopefully, the name of the lab will contain a catch-phrase that makes it easy to remember. Once the lab is written it must be fit within the overall kata lab syllabus. The numbering of the Kata Lab is determined from this step.

Working example: With continued practice and thought, I understood two things, first, practitioners concentrate bunkai (analysis) on the overt, apparent moves of the kata, not in the transitional postures and second, these postures occur so briefly (in the blink-of-an-eye) that they were hardly present at all. So, how to convince practitioners that movements that occur in the “blink-of-an-eye” are worthy of bunkai (analysis)? Simple. I’ll use a phrase that was embedded into my psyche throughout my training in the GDK-D style.

According to Shihan Thomas DeFelice, Ku-dan (9th degree black belt) Karate-Do No Hanshi, Goshin-Do Karate-Do,

“Life and death in the street occurs in the blink-of-an-eye.”

Thus, if the above was correct, it is logical and necessary that our bunkai (analysis) must extend to the kata movements that also occur in the blink of an eye. For, surely, if one’s own life depended upon such a brief interval, then one’s analytical attention must be drawn to it.

Step Five: Finished

If all is done correctly, a Kata Lab that a reader can practice themselves has developed and been uploaded to my blog. A reader can use the Kata Lab to assist his or her own kata experience. Better still, the reader may desire to use the Kata Lab as part of a class within their Dojo.

And that is how the forthcoming “Blink-Of-An-Eye” kata lab came to be. Look for it to be posted in a short time. Once posted, I will provide a link here.

Step Six: Oops, Not Quite Finished:

The last step is to extend, if possible, the Kata Lab into the remaining aspects of bunkai. You may recall that I submit that there are three aspects to kata and that bunkai (analysis) must extend to those aspects. The three aspects are the physical aspect (combat applications), the spiritual aspect (state-of-mind, emotional and psychological concepts) and metaphysical aspect (the performer’s connection with his natural environment).

Working example: The “Blink-Of-An-Eye” Kata Lab above is a physical Kata Lab. My next task is to extend the “Blink-Of-An-Eye concept to the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of kata. And, so, the entire process begins anew, again. And, again. And, again.
Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

HANKO
Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (With the privilege and permission of the superiors)

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this Kata Lab, help fund more with one of our unique products encouraging you to “Think * Sweat * Experiment” with kata.

Come visit my store on CafePress!

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dreams-seisan  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

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© Copyright 2013 and 2014 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

ENDNOTES:

1. Dr, Frank N. Furter (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

2. The first four overt movements of the GDK Ananku Kata are (facing North) in ready posture (you may also refer to the above video):

  • pivot West to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • pivot East to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • mawate 180 degrees facing West to a left front stance with a left open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;
  • mawate 180 degrees facing East to a right front stance with a right open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;

3. The brief, hidden postures that came to mind are (You may also again refer to the above video):

  • pivot West to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • First hidden posture: as you begin the next move, you rotate back to North with both open hands lowered as in hache-dache position, then you continue to
  • pivot East to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • Second hidden posture: as you prepare to pivot, you look over your left shoulder to West, transfer your weight from your left leg to your right leg, lower your left open hand and bring to your right open hand to semi-center line (to cover your left middle block) – equals: a left cat-stance-like posture with left hand low, right shoulder height*
  • mawate 180 degrees facing West to a left front stance with a left open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;
  • Third hidden posture: as you prepare to pivot, you look over your right shoulder to East, transfer your weight from to your left leg, lower your right open hand and bring to your left open hand to semi-center line (to cover your left middle block) – equals: a right cat-stance-like posture with left hand low, right shoulder height*
  • mawate 180 degrees facing East to a right front stance with a right open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;

* the exact stance that is inferred in the posture depends on how far the front foot is retracted in relation to the rear foot, full retraction with feet touching (an implied heisuko-dache, ready stance), partially back (an implied kokutsu-dache, back stance), no retractions (an implied rear-leaning stance).

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

One Inch . . . That’s OK

6 Apr

One Inch.
One inch is not a large unit of measurement, but it can symbolize a great deal.

This “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) group session will explore such symbolism.

Many of you have acquainted yourself with Sanchin Kata using my free resources. For those readers unfamiliar with Sanchin Kata, you can freely acquaint yourself with the kata and join in this group session using the following link: https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/
In the Sanchin Kata you take three steps forward and three steps backward. Thus, when you are finished with your Sanchin performance, you end at the exact point that you started. I call this phenomenon of starting and finishing a kata at the exact same location “positional coincidence.” Positional coincidence exists in all modern (approximately 1945 and thereafter) karate kata. Karate Sensei often attribute a philosophical concept to positional coincidence.

You are traveling through life. Your life’s journey is interrupted by a confrontation with an aggressor. You pause your journey to defend yourself (represented by the kata performance). You defeat the aggressor. Being victorious, you continue along your life’s path from the exact point of interruption. Symbolically, the confrontation had no effect upon you at all.

Let’s use this “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session to explore and alter that philosophy.

I cannot emphasize enough that performing Sanchin Kata, at least once daily, will benefit you physically, emotionally and psychologically. So, why subscribe to the above philosophy attributed to positional coincidence? To do so simply symbolizes that you are living your life, you perform Sanchin Kata, and after doing so return to your life exactly as you lived before the performance of Sanchin Kata. Wrong! You are better physically, emotionally and psychologically for performing the Kata. So, why not symbolize that betterment? Intentionally violating positional coincidence by moving forward one inch provides that symbolism. My karate colleagues may find Endnote # 1 to be of interest on this point.

So, lets voluntarily adjust and “violate” the phenomenon of positional coincidence during this group “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session.

dreams-seisan           Only One Inch . . . That’s OK

As always, you can perform either the Sanchin Kata, my Shibumi Kata (Link: https://senseijohn.me/2013/12/05/shibumi-kata-the-movements/ ) or any karate kata. For my karate brethren, the “Kata Sommelier” has an interesting recommendation for this 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 in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Date: Starting Monday April 7th, 2014;
Time: Anytime
Location: Any location;
Salient Points:

  • Perform your Sanchin, Shibumi or Karate Kata as normal, and remain in position on the last move;
  • As you step forward from the last move to the ready posture, intentionally, shift forward at least an inch, so that you do not finish at the same point you started, but forward from that position;
  • Recognize that finishing forward from your starting position acknowledges that you are better off physically, emotionally and psychologically for performing the kata than not performing the kata;
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate brethren, I would recommend any “flowing”, graceful kata. My favorite kata in this regard is the Seipai Kata. You may also enjoy Wansu Kata, Seisan Kata or similar kata during this session. But remember – violate the positional coincidence by moving forward at least one inch at the end.

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.” For information on the Zanshin state-of-mind, please use this LINK: https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/23/zanshin-remaining-mind-shibumi-project/

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.

In closing I remain, inching forward in life through my kata,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

I found a few old photos that I thought readers may enjoy, the two below are from about 1973 from my purple belt promotion they feature several notable Yudansha as follows: 1) Sensei Dave Crum (as a brown belt) 2) Sensei Dave Church, 3) Sensei Nick D’Antuono, 4) myself receiving purple belt (age 12), 5) Sensei Tony Fabi, 6) Shihan Thomas DeFelice, 7) Sensei Paul Recchia, 8) Sensei James Kingston, 9) Sensei Steve Malmoud, 10) Sensei Jeff Tyne. I am blessed and honored to have personally known every black belt in the Goshin-Do Karate-Do style we call “DeFelice-Ryu.”
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ENDNOTE:
1. For my karate colleagues, it is about time to re-examine the dogmatic philosophy attributed to positional coincidence. We need to acknowledge the truth of a real life fight in the street – after the fight you do not return to your life exactly as you were before the fight. Initially, you are all the better for surviving the encounter; you survived to go-about your life, love and provide for your family. After the initial euphoria of survival wears off, you will always carry the gravity of having to defend yourself. Either way, you are never the same. I simply suggest, that on occasion (such as in this kata session) your kata practice should acknowledge that simple truth. Voluntarily avoiding positional coincidence as above is one way to do so.

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Shibumi Kata – Movements & Psychology

5 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient            link: https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Shibumi Kata

This chapter shall descibe the physical movements of the Shibumi Kata (“Understated Elegance Procedure) and the psychological (emotional) techniques that will allow “Dean” to function as normally as possible during his battle with cancer as he manages the dilatory effects of chemotherapy.

The entire Kata is composed of the four sequences being performed four times – once in either each direction of the compass or once in each of the angles between such points. Thus the kata is performed in eight directions.

North

angle                 angle

West          👤          East

angle              angle

South

To separate each sequence, there is a standard connecting movement. Thus the entire Shibumi Kata  is represented by 108 actions/states as follows.

  • 2 groups of four movements = 8 actions
  • 8 actions performed 4 times = 32 movements
  • 32 movements are connected by 4 connecting movements = 36 actions
  • 36 actions capable of being performed in three states (water, ice & steam previously discussed) = 108 actions/states that are possible to assist “Dean” in mitigating his physical and psychological discomforts associated with his condition.

In karate-do, enlightened masters acknowledge that the number 108 has “spiritual” implications. This spirituality is represented in the highest kata of a style of karate known as “Goju-Ryu”. The kata is called “Suparunpei” (pronounced Soup-a-roon-pay)., meaning “108 hands.” It is very interesting to note that this mystic-spirituality of the number 108 is also found within several eastern religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism. Even the science of mathematics bows to the number as 108 is an integral part of many mathematic formulas. If you are interested in this topic, simply perform an on-line search and be amazed and bewildered.

The uniqueness of the Shibumi Kata is that while “Dean” can perform the entire kata for his general physical and psychological well-being, he can also perform an individual movement, or sequence, or any combination thereof as a specific need arises. The goal of being able to perform the kata anytime, and anyplace (no matter) how confined (such as a chemotherapy room) has, in my opinion, been fully achieved.

THE SHIBUMI KATA:

Note:

The directions North, South, West and East are used to refer to the directions within which movements are performed. They are NOT tied to the directions of the compass. Whatever direction the performer, “Dean” is facing is deemed North. Thus, the reverse is South, the left is West and the right is East.

Stand ready & Meditate – clear your mind

Sequence # 1: To spit / To Swallow     

To spit:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata start slow. This is to acknowledge that the performer, “Dean” is experiencing some level of physical discomfort, such as fatigue, pain, nausea and the like. These discomforts are then cast-out or “spit” from the body.  Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to ice to steam and once again to water.

Psychological discomfort, depression, anxiety, fear and the like is similarly acknowledged and “spit” from the performer. The key component is that the psychological discomfort MUST first be acknowledged, thus the first movement which is symbolic of this. If discomfort is not acknowledged, “Yes, I am afraid”, it cannot be dealt with!

  • The first movement lowers and expands the body so as to acknowledge and gather the discomfort. The breathing associated with the first movement is soft inhalation – hard exhalation (with as much dynamic tension as is physically possible). The state is that of ice.
  • The next movement is to return the body to the ready position and extend the right hand as quickly and emphatically as possible. This is the “spitting” out of the discomfort. The breathing is hard inhalation – hard exhalation. The state remains as ice.
  • Remaining in place, the hand that symbolized the “spitting” is slowly rotated as a means of symbolically acknowledging that discomfort has left “Dean.’ The breathing for this movement is soft-soft, the state is that of steam.
  • Remaining in position, the hand that “spit” is quickly clapped by the other hand and each hands return to their last position. The breathing is that of soft-hard and the state is that of water. The clap provided two additional sensory experiences for “Dean.” One is the sound of the hand clapping and two is the feel of the clap. This serves to emphasize that discomfort has been “spit-out” by involving these two senses.
  • This above sequence is the performed in the directions of South, West and East. Hands alternate with each direction.
  • With hands remaining in position, turn to the starting direction, North,
  • End of “To Spit”

To swallow:

If there is any physical or psychological discomfort, it is imperative that the movements of “to swallow” be performed AFTER the movements of “To Spit.” The discomfort must first be removed. If; however, “Dean” is having a “Good” moment or day and desires simply to increase his positive physical or psychological state, then “To Swallow” can be performed of its own accord.

Breathing varies as below. The state starts with the default state of water to water (in the form of a tsunami!), ice, steam returning to water

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata start quickly. This is to acknowledge that the performer, “Dean” is physically and psychological in a positive state. He desires to increase this overall feeling by drawing the energy that exists around him.

  • The first movement is to quickly extend the right foot and hand as forcefully as possible, symbolically saying, “I am great!” The breathing is hard-hard and the state is water (perceive a tsunami – a force to be reckoned with!).
  • The right hand is then slowly turned and brought in to the mid-line of the chest area as the right foot is withdrawn to the ready position. Breathing is soft-hard with dynamic tension on the hard exhalation. The state is that of ice. Symbolically, “Dean” will collect the positive energy from the environment around him and “swallow” it.
  • The left hand then claps the right hand. Breathing is soft-soft and the state is steam. Again, the clap serves as an additional sensory input to acknowledge that energy from outside of “Dean” has been “swallowed” within “Dean”
  • The movements are then repeated South (with the left hand), West (with the right hand), and East (with the left hand)
  • With hands remaining in position, turn to the starting direction, North,
  • End of “To Swallow”

Connection Movement

This movement symbolizes that “Dean” has modified his physical and psychological state. “Dean” is then ready to either proceed with the remainder of the Shibumi Kata, or conclude the session as he may desire or need. The Breathing is soft-soft and the state is the default state of water.

  • The feet are brought together and knees are bent, the hands are brought inward with palms facing up.
  • The knees are extended as the hands are pressed out to the side with palms turning to face outward.

Sequence # 2: To Float / To Sink

To float:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are quick and light. Lightness and grace is the key. In fact I derived this sequence from a karate kata known as Hakutsuru, which means “white crane. The grace and tenacity of the white crane is to be kept within the performer’s consciousness. This is to allow the performer, “Dean”, to either expel negative physical or psychological states or increase positive states.

Like floating on the waves of an ocean or the ripples of a pond, the performer’s existing physical state either 1) floats in with the incoming wave (so as to gather in the positive aspects of nature) or 2) floats away from the performer (so as  to dispel the negative aspects of the performer).

So, if “Dean” is in a positive physical or psychological state, “to float” will allow him to celebrate and be jubilant in that state. If he is in a negative state, this process allows him to cast off the negativity while remaining hopeful that the overall outcome of Shibumi will benefit him.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice (very briefly) to steam and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • From the ready posture (the state is water);
  • Turn to face the North-East angle, raise the right foot to the height of your left knee, cross both arms in front of your abdomen (soft inhale – state is steam);
  • Lower your right foot so that it is slightly in front of your left (try to keep most of your weight on the left foot); raise your arms over your head and extend them to the side (soft exhale, state remains steam);
  • Remain in position, bring both hands into the side of your body, slightly above the hips (soft inhalation, state is steam);
  • Quickly, slide forward with the right leg, (in the N-E direction) so that the right foot is about 12 inches in front of the left foot, quickly thrust both hands forward with fingers pointing outward to the side (hard exhale, state is ice);
  • Step forward with the left foot, so your are in the ready posture, clap hands in front of you and return to the side as in the ready posture (Breathing is soft-hard, state is water);
  • Turn to the South-West angle and repeat with the left leg lifting;
  • Turn to the North-West angle and repeat with the right leg lifting;
  • Turn to the South-East angle and repeat with the left leg lifting;
  • Turn to North in ready posture;
  • End of Sequence

To sink:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are slow and methodic. As in floating this is to allow the performer, “Dean” to either expel negative physical or psychological states or increase positive states. The process is exactly reverse of the process of floating. Similarly, negative aspects are dispelled and positive aspect enhanced through this process.

To sink an object must either be heavier than water, or increase it’s mass by absorbing water. Similarly, negative aspects are dispelled and positive aspect enhanced through this process.

If “Dean” is in a positive physical or psychological state, he can enhance same by sinking. The process is not celebratory as in floating, rather the process is more austere or subdued. He simply increases and concentrates the positive aspects deeper and deeper within himself. The positive state is enhanced, but quietly, inwardly and not readily apparent to the casual observer. If “Dean” is in a negative state, then in a similar austere manner, the negativity is allowed to fall from him, further and further away, like a water-swollen branch might ultimately sink to the bottom of a lake.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water stat to ice (never to steam) and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • From the ready posture facing North (state is water)
  • Step forward with the right foot on the NE angle so that your feet are 1 1/2 the width of your shoulders, cross your hands in front of your abdomen (soft inhalation, state is water);
  • Remain in position, uncross your hands and raise them so fingertips are at the height of your shoulders with palms facing you (hard exhalation, state is ice);
  • Remain in position, turn palms inward to face each other (soft inhalation, state is water);
  • Lower your body by bending the knees, press hands downward with palms facing the floor (hard exhalation, state is ice);
  • Step forward with the left foot, so your are in the ready posture, clap hands in front of you and return to the side as in the ready posture (Breathing is soft-hard, state is water);
  • Turn to the South-West angle and repeat stepping with the left leg;
  • Turn to the North-West angle and repeat stepping with the right leg;
  • Turn to the South-East angle and repeat stepping with the left leg;
  • Turn to North in ready posture;
  • End of Sequence

Connection Movement

(Same as above)

Sequence # 3: To Burst / To Rebound

To burst:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are quick and decisive. To burst means that one knows one’s goal and is determined to achieve it as quickly and decisively as possible. There is NO room for doubt. Success is eminent.

So, if “Dean” is in need of a quick modification of a physical or psychological state, he can immediately and decisively modify the state. Without hesitation he can adapt to he changing needs.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice (very briefly) to steam and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • Ready Posture
  • Face to North-East;
  • Step forward with the right foot, lower your right hand and raise your left hand (soft inhale soft exhale, state is steam)
  • Quickly step forward with your left foot as you rotate your hands to reverse their position, (quick soft inhale & soft exhale-state is steam);
  • Quickly step forward with the right foot pull your hands in and extend them out with finger tips to the side (soft inhale & hard exhale – state is ice)
  • Clap hands as you return to ready posture (state is water)
  • Repeat facing the South-West raising your left foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the North-West raising your right foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the South-East raising your left foot and continue;

To bounce:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata, while smooth and light, contain a “caesurae”, a dramatic pause.  To bounce means that one knows unconditionally the physical or psychological state he desires to achieve; however, while he is decisive about the state he wishes to achieve, he cannot directly achieve it. Like a ball that bounces to its target. The performer needs to bounce off a temporary physical or emotional state so as to achieve the desired state.

For example, if “Dean” is physically fatigued or emotionally sad and desires to be energetic or upbeat, he may not be able to directly achieve this goal (as in the case of “To Burst”). He may find it necessary to find a temporary state and “bounce” off that state in order to ultimately modify his condition. One such temporary state could be anger. Positive anger can produce helpful results. If “Dean” is angry about his condition, then he can acknowledge that, briefly absorb it and move onto his positive state. “Yes, getting cancer is terrible and unfair, and I am angry about it but, I will conquer it!”

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • Ready Posture;
  • Face to the North-East
  • Step slightly with the right foot, pull hands (soft inhale) & extend out with fingers to the side (soft exhale) (state is steam):
  • Step with the left foot outward (feet are in line), (soft inhale) lower body and bring hands inward so finger tips touch opposite elbows (hard exhale – ice state);
  • Quickly step back with the left leg (feet in line) and thrust hands outward to the side (quick soft inhale-quick hard exhale) state is ice;
  • Return to ready posture as you clap hands (state is water);
  • Repeat facing the South-West starting with your left foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the North-West starting with your right foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the South-East starting your left foot and continue;

Connection Movement

(Same as above)

Sequence # 4: To Spring / To Lift

To spring:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are quick and light. Lightness and grace is the key. This sequence from a karate kata known as Hakutsuru, which means “white crane. The grace and tenacity of the white crane is to be kept within the performer’s consciousness.

To spring is similar to the sequence entitled “To burst” with one notable exception. While “to burst” is energetic and emphatic, “to spring” is subdued and patient. The performer seeks to directly modify his physical or emotional state, changing from one directly to another; however, the overall method is achieved slowly, subtly and with patience.

“Dean” can still directly modify his physical or emotional state’ however, this direct modification will take longer than if he employed the “to burst” tactic. As a spring must contract and gather its energy before action, so too must the performer. The hallmark of “to spring” is patience.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam, very briefly to ice and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • Ready Posture
  • Face to North;
  • Raise right foot & lower slightly in front of your left as you extend hands upward over your head finger tips touching (soft inhale soft exhale, state is steam)
  • Quickly step forward with your left foot as you lower hand downward, palms down (quick soft inhale & soft exhale-state is that of steam);
  • Quickly step forward with the right foot as you turn hands so fingertips point down and raise upward (quick soft inhale & quick hard exhale – state is ice)
  • Clap hands as you return to ready posture (state is water)
  • Repeat facing the South raising your left foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the West raising your right foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the East raising your left foot and continue;

To lift:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are designed to modify oneself physically and psychologically through determination. As in the act of lifting an object, the performer needs to prepare himself to lift a heavy object (or burden). Once prepared, if the object(or burden) is heavier than anticipated, it may not be lifted on the first attempt. One needs to regroup and lift again, this time fully aware of the weight to be lifted. Ultimately, he will succeed and the burden will be lifted. This is shown in the repetitive nature of the first two movements. The third movement symbolizes success.

In “Dean’s” case, if he should need to alter his physical or psychological state using the “to lift” concept. He prepares himself first. “Dean” needs to remember that if his physical or psychological burden is “to heavy”, he should immediately regroup and attempt (to lift) again. Ultimately “Dean” will succeed.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • From the Ready posture;
  • Facing North:
  • Step forward with the right foot, keeping most of the weight on the left leg, bring both hand to the left hip (soft inhale – state is steam);
  • Swing the hands to the right bringing the right hand to the right side and left hand over your head (soft exhale – state is steam);
  • Step with the left leg and repeat from the opposite side;
  • Step forward with the right leg, weight is equal on both feet, pull hands into side and thrust out with fingertips to the side (soft inhale-hard exhale – state is ice);
  • Turn to the South and repeat stepping with the left leg;
  • Turn to the West and repeat stepping with the right leg;
  • Turn to the East and repeat stepping with the left leg;

Connection Movement

(same as above)

This last connection is important for the Zanshin state-of-mind – please see the “Table Of Contents” using either the above link or “Shibumi Kata” page tab.

Stand ready – meditate

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

© Copyright 2013 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Shibumi – Kata Framework: Posture

4 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient             link: https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Shibumi Kata Posture:

As a condition precedent to learning the tactics (physical movements) of the Shibumi Kata, it is necessary to explore the mechanics of your posture. The exploration of posture begins with the act of standing erect. This is to say that one stands with one‘s head held high, eyes focused straight ahead, shoulders parallel to the floor and the back is straight. Though this is a common posture, standing erect has a very specific meaning.

Posture correction:

The point of departure from the normal meaning associated with standing erect is the function of standing with one’s back straight. Normally, one physically defines the back as straight by elongating the spine, by expanding the upper chest outward and elevating the shoulders upward. Such a definition is not adequate within the Shibumi Kata.

When one stands in the manner described above and places one’s hands in the small of the back, one notices that the small of the back is not straight but curved. This curvature is natural and helps to support the body through the spine. It is; however, improper for the Shibumi Kata.

To stand erect for purposes of the Shibumi Kata, the natural curvature of the spine must be temporarily straightened. To manipulate the back into a straight position, one should perform the following exercise.

Stand relaxed with both feet shoulder width apart and flat on the ground. Slightly bend your knees. The technique to straighten your back is to squeeze the cheeks of the buttocks tight and to rotate the hips down and forward. Now your spine is straight. Take a moment to try this movement then feel your lower back with your hand. If you have performed the hip rotation properly, you will notice that such rotation has removed the natural curvature of your spine so that your spine is now straight from top to bottom. This is the erect posture necessary for the Shibumi Kata. You can practice achieving this posture by standing as above and rotating your hips to achieve the posture and then subsequently relaxing the hips so as to again achieve natural curvature of the spine. Repeat this a few times to begin to have a feeling of comfort with the posture.

The above posture will be used throughout all of the stances and postures of the Shibumi Kata.

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi,

SHIBUMI-lotus sunset

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

 © Copyright 2013 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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