Tag Archives: Goshin-Ryu Karate

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Wayne Norlander

19 May

May 2018 marks the 7th anniversary of the passing of my friend and karate-do comrade, Shihan Wayne Norlander. To his eternal spirit I offer my training this month and the following Hatsu Bon poem. May his spirit find my training and poem worthy.

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

HATSU BON POEM

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

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout. Circa 2008

 

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

My graveside Sanchin memorial to Shihan:

Sincerity in sweat, Sensei.


Sensei John Szmitkowski

Hatsu Bon For Shihan Wayne Norlander

9 May

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

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

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

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

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout.

With Shihan Norlander after a spirited workout.

My graveside Sanchin memorial to Shihan:

Sincerity in sweat, Sensei.
Sensei John Szmitkowski

HANKO-master

Kata Lab # 1150: Kata – Makiwara – Kata

23 Mar

“A pond which is not fed by a fresh stream becomes stagnant and will die and so will an ardent karate-ka continually modify their art.” —- Chosin Chibana

KATA LAB

Kata Lab: Kata with makiwara or heavy bag

Background:
Too often kata is viewed as either an individual pursuit limited to performing the kata or one requiring a partner (bunkai practice). The purpose of this Kata Lab is to introduce you to the idea that you can begin to expand your kata practice and bunkai (analysis) by yourself, without a partner, beyond the scope of the kata itself.

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

Select a favorite kata that you are very familiar with and can perform technically well. Practice the kata using the following procedures:

procedure # 1 (full kata-heavy bag):
Perform the kata with the appropriate speed and power with a state-of-mind that you are in a real fight; (at the end of your kata, you must have “survived” the fight);
Immediately after the kata, use either a makiwara or heavy bag (practice only basic technique – simple reverse punches, front kicks and the like) full speed and power,
Immediately after that, perform your kata slowly, paying attention to executing the movements;
during the kata performance, recall how your body felt as you hit the heavy bag – what your knuckles or ball of the foot felt like, what the bag itself felt like as you impacted it, how your stance felt at the moment of impact and the like;
try to recall this feeling into your future kata practice.

procedure # 2 (kata interrupted by bag, return to kata):
This will require either a partner or a self-timer. If using a timer, set the timer to ring at about halfway through your kata;
Begin your kata ;
At a random point in the kata performance, the partner calls out a command (or when the timer rings);
At that signal, interrupt your kata and practice on the makiwara or heavy bag as in procedure # 1 for about 30 to 45 seconds
After the time limit stop the makiwara or heavy bag work, remain where you are and in whatever direction they are facing;
Then return to performing your kata, but you must begin at the point where you left off and finish the kata;
Advanced version: during the time you are striking the heavy bag, use strikes, kicks and combinations from the kata itself.

I have filmed the following brief video to illustrate the concept of kata interrupted. The video was filmed at the spectacular Lower Salt River, Arizona.

Conclusion:
The above procedure will help you begin to expand your kata practice beyond the scope of the kata itself. This will enable you to advance to more difficult procedures both without the need of a training partner and with a partner when one is available.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

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

If you enjoyed this Kata Lab, please visit the online store to help fund more kata experiments.

Come visit my store on CafePress!

all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices! Here are ONLY SOME of our support products:

Shop-cups-home    dreams-seisan  For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-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 combining martial arts protocol with fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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

Kata Lab # 1110 – Kata With Custom Kiai

23 Feb

KATA LAB

Background:

This Kata Lab will help you practice and explore the benefits of non-traditional kiai.

Within the martial arts, there are three reasons to kiai. They are, to scare your opponent, to boost your confidence and to provide or add to the strength of your technique. In my opinion, there is another aspect of kiai. That aspect is to to alert others to your predicament. In Karate, very often the sound one produces with a kiai is akin to “ai-ya.” I have students modify this. When I teach children karate, I teach them to kiai the word “help”. Similarly, I teach female students to kiai the word “fire.” Why? Again, the word itself has no effect on the kiai so use the word to your advantage. Most people that hear a child yell for help will look in that direction and offer assistance. However, help yelled from an adult may not elicit the same response, rather people may actually look away. Thus, the kiai of “fire”; everyone looks to see where the fire is.
Another example comes from my background as a criminal defense attorney (now retired). I tell students to consider another non-traditional kiai – the phrase “stop hitting me” as you defend yourself. In the event of police reports or legal action, witnesses may not recall the exact circumstances of the encounter, but they may recall that you had said you were being hit and asked for it to stop.

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
Select a non-traditional, individual kiai to explore. The kiai maybe the word “help” or “fire” or “stop hitting me” as in the above narrative.
Practice your kata and where a kiai is specified in the kata, use your non-traditional kiai.
You may also use your non-traditional kiai in kumite , self-defense and other Dojo practice.

Conclusion:

Practicing a non-traditional kiai within your kata, sets the stage for you to actually use the kiai when and if you are required to spontaneously defend yourself in the street.

Lastly, the practice is also fun for students (and thus encourages practice and imagination). To this end, I had my children’s class one week before Christmas use the kiai “Ho.” They were encouraged to use this kiai in kata. They were permitted to also use it in self-defense and kumite. The only stipulation when using it in kumite or self-defense was that they had to execute three consecutive techniques. Thus the full kiai was a Christmasy “Ho-ho-ho.”

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

 

HANKO-wood

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque “With the privilege and permission of the superiors”
Sensei John Szmitkowski

Please feel free to visit our store with Kata Lab logo products

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

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 combining martial arts protocol with fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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

Kata Lab # 4210: Random Sanchin Kata

3 Nov

BUNKAI--beauty of move copy  “The beauty of a move is not in its appearance, but in the thought behind it.”

Chess Grandmaster Aron Nimzowitsch

 

 

KATA LAB

Precursor Labs:
Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/

Background:
This Kata Lab takes the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab (a link is above) one step closer to its natural conclusion. The idea for this lab came to me while watching a chess tournament, the 2014 Sinquefield Cup held in St. Louis Missouri. For details, please use this link, Kata – My Curse? https://senseijohn.me/2014/09/22/kata-my-curse/

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

  • Perform the movements of Sanchin Kata spontaneously, in a random manner. Do not pre-plan your performance.;
  • This is extremely difficult. Even though the movements are performed in a random manner, they MUST be performed accurately, in the correct stance (for example, the three punches must be executed in a right sanchin stance);
  • You should perform your random Sanchin Kata with a partner observing. The partner must verify that all the movements were performed in the correct stance and the all movements are accounted for (for example, 3 right sanchin stances, 3 left sanchin stances, 2 mawaski-uke with tora-zuki, and the like). If you do not have a partner, you should record video of the performance. You can then watch the video to verify all movements were performed.
  • Once you achieve success, try performing the movements of Tensho Kata in random order.

For your consideration, I have prepared the following video of one example of Random Sanchin Kata, filmed in the spectacular Lower Salt River canyon, Arizona.

Points To Consider & Compare:
Please consider the following points and compare with the points I set forth in the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab as follows:
In the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab, I asked you to keep the following points in mind.
1. The movements of reverse Sanchin are calculated or intentional.

2. Even though the movements are performed in reverse order, the breathing pattern is exactly the same, to wit: a step & single move, a step and single move a step and a triple move, a step and a triple move, a step and a single move and a step and a single move.

3. Given the above, of the three battles of Sanchin (Physical, Spiritual and Environmental battles) only the Physical aspect of the kata is changed in reverse Sanchin.

Now, compare each point of reverse Sanchin to the random version of Sanchin.

1. The movements of random Sanchin are (and must be) utterly spontaneous.

2. As the movements are random, the breathing pattern varies with each random performance.

3. Given the above, both the physical and spiritual battles of Sanchin are affected. With increased development of the random Sanchin Kata, you will also affect the metaphysical battle. For those needed a refresher on my definition of the three battles of Sanchin, please see Endnote # 1.

4. Deeply reflect on the concept that although the movements were performed in random order, you can find a pattern hidden within your random Sanchin. For example, though unplanned on my part, the pattern hidden with my video taped performance is 1-3-1-1-3-1.

5. In the future, you can elongate the random Sanchin kata by stepping on each triple move. So, in lieu of remaining in a right sanchin stance for the three punches, you can perform each punch using a separate step BUT ALWAYS in a right sanchin stance. The 3 ridge-hand strikes performed in a left sanchin stances must be performed as separate steps to balance the kata. Notice that the intricacy of any hidden pattern is reduced, exempli gratia (e.g): 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.

6. Consider that mathematically, the 6 movements of Sanchin Kata can be performed in 720 random ways (expressed by the mathematical notation: 6! & formula: 1x2x3x4x5x6)

7. You may notice that with a “little” practice of Sanchin Kata, anyone, regardless of martial-arts experience can engage in bunkai (analysis of kata) as I had set forth in my article, Bunkai: A Dirty Little Secret, Link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/08/18/bunkai-a-dirty-little-secret/

Conclusion:
Once again, you get from Sanchin (and every other kata) exactly what you put into it. If you consciously (or unconsciously) put in boredom, stagnation and dullness, that is what you will receive in return. You set your kata boundaries and must live within them. If you are bored wit Sanchin and other kata, blame yourself. Period.
If you look at your kata with a wide open imagination, innovation and a pure spirit, you will always find more and more below the surface.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

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

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoyed this Kata Lab, please help fund future experiments and visit my Cafepree store using this convenient link:

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:

    sensei_johns_kata_lab_vintage_clipboard   Shop-cups-home

ENDNOTES:

1. My definition of the three battles of Sanchin are the

  • Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
  • Spiritual Battle, the manner in which Sanchin affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
  • Metaphysical Battle, the manner in which Sanchin 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  my fishing blog combining martial arts protocol with fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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

Kata Lab # 2120 – Reverse Sanchin Kata

20 Oct

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

KATA LAB

Background:
There are those that feel that Sanchin Kata is “too easy.” Personally, after forty-three years of Sanchin, I find this a ridiculous statement. But, let’s see. In lieu of presenting a new approach to bunkai (analysis), this Kata Lab will offer a challenge. Before giving up on Sanchin (or Kata in general) as “too easy”, try this Kata Lab. As my father would say, “I bet you a dollar to a donut” you can’t perform the lab correctly on your first attempt. If you cannot perform this Kata Lab on the first attempt, keep practicing Sanchin Kata (and your other kata) just a little bit longer; another decade or two should be adequate.

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
You have one “simple” task – perform your Sanchin Kata in reverse order (stepping backward, start with the last moves).
You can cheat if you need – perform the kata as you normally would to first refresh your recollection of the moves.
I bet you can’t do it correct the first time you try it.
To assist you, I have prepared a short video (filmed at the beautiful Lower Salt River, Arizona).

Once you achieve success, try performing Tensho Kata in reverse.

For Future Reference:
I have an advanced, master level, form of this Kata Lab.
As to this Kata Lab you should consider the following points and use them for future reference in the master level Kata Lab.

  • The movements of reverse Sanchin are calculated or intentional;
  • Even though the movements are performed in reverse order, the breathing pattern is exactly the same, to wit: a step & single move, a step and single move a step and a triple move, a step and a triple move, a step and a single move and a step and a single move;
  • Given the above, of the three battles of Sanchin (physical, spiritual and metaphysical battles), only the physical aspect of the kata is changed in reverse Sanchin. For those needed a refresher on my definition of the three battles of Sanchin, please see Endnote # 1.

Conclusion:

You get from Sanchin (and every other kata) exactly what you put into it. If you consciously (or unconsciously) put in boredom, stagnation and dullness, that is what you will receive in return. You set your kata boundaries and must live within them. If you are bored with Sanchin and other kata, blame yourself. Period.
If you look at your kata with a wide open imagination, innovation and a pure spirit, you will always find more and more below the surface. 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 post, help support my Kata Lab experiments,

Come visit my store on CafePress!

all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices! Here are ONLY SOME of our support products:

    Shop-cups-home   sensei_johns_kata_lab_vintage_clipboard

ENDNOTES:
My definition of the three battles of Sanchin are the

  • Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
  • Spiritual Battle, the manner in which a kata affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
  • Metaphysical 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  my martial related fishing blog http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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

3 States of Sanchin Kata’s 3 Battles

15 Jun

KANJI SANCHIN-SMALL  The Kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for Sanchin Kata translates as “three battles.” The three battles of Sanchin have been defined in numerous ways. (See Endnote # 1 for my definition). There are those that will argue over which definition of the three battles is correct. Such arguments are frivolous. Within a system of karate-do, the definition is often tied to dogmatic tenets of the system. In reality the three battles of Sanchin are unique to the individual performer. They also vary of time as the performer’s physical, mental and emotional needs change.

I find that the emphasis on defining the three battles obscures an equally important characteristic of Sanchin. This characteristic is the three states of transition in performing Sanchin Kata. Please note that although these states are expressed in terms of Sanchin Kata, they also exist in the performance of every kata.

These states are:

  • Default state (I exemplify this state with water) – the state that you aim to normally exist within;
  • Relaxed state (exemplified by steam) – the state of relaxation;
  • Focused state (exemplified by ice) – the state of focused action;

I describe the attributes of each state as follows:

Water State:
The “Water state” is the default state. It is the state that is desired at all times. Like water, this state is completely flexible and bounded only by the container. As a glass contains water, a river bed contains a steam and the shores contain an ocean, the environment within which you exist at any moment in time is the sole boundary within which you are. As you define your boundary, so you define your limits. The smaller you define your boundary, the more you are limited.
For example, if you define your boundary as the Dojo (or room) your are in, you are more restricted than if you define you boundary as the city the Dojo is in or the State, or the country, or planet or universe. The boundary that defines the confines of your water state is entirely up to you and you alone.

Steam State:
The “Steam state” is a lighter, more adaptable state. As water turns to steam, its boundaries are lessened; steam flows and exists more freely than water. By adapting the steam state, you lighten any physical or psychological burden. As steam, you move easily, and more readily adapt to external stimulus. You also conserve energy to focus it when required.
A burst of steam can drive a steam engine. As such, by lightening your physical and psychological state from the water state to the steam state, you to be able to focus and deliver the force contained within you.

Ice State:
The “Ice state” is a compressed, hard state. As water turns to ice, it compresses and solidifies its molecules. Similarly, the ice state will allow you to contract within yourself to focus and deliver your power. The ice state exists briefly during the moment of impact. Once reduced from a larger state to a smaller state, force can be compartmentalized, focused and delivered from within
If we were to parse each state into intervals of time within the Sanchin Kata, it may be stated as:

  • water state – 50%
  • steam state – 5%
  • ice state – 45%

A typical movement of Sanchin Kata transitions between the states as follows; pre-movement (water state) inhalation (steam state), exhalation with dynamic tension (ice state) preparation for next movement (water state). Repeat.

Within each state, the three battles, or aspects of Sanchin are omnipresent, thus they exist simultaneously in each state.

A more detailed discussion of the three states of Sanchin i s included in my forthcoming book, “Life Is A Kata” available in time for Christmas, 2014.

Until the next submission, I remain,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

1. For review purposes, I define the three basic aspects are, breathing, bodily movement and state of mind. On a more advanced level, I redefine the aspects as the physical aspect (breathing ad bodily movement), the spiritual aspect (state of mind & emotions) and the environmental aspect (the manner in which Sanchin connect you to your external environment).

300-cactus.jpg For details on how to participate in Sensei John’s most recent cyber-group Kata session, please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/category/thats-ok/

You may wish to view my other blogs –

LOGO-WEBSITE  My fishing blog that is 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

 

%d bloggers like this: