Tag Archives: #GreatAdaptation

Coronapause Entry # 3: Breathing Efficiently – Sip Of Sanchin (Overview)

25 Mar

I want to get this #Coronapause post out as fast as possible to help you with efficient breathing. These concepts come from a procedure steeped in antiquity and martial tradition called Sanchin. Please excuse the roughness but will fine tune in more detail once you’re breathing efficiently whether or not you have the virus.

I would suggest you watch the video first and use the streamlined text here as a form of reminder notes.

 



Here are the bullet points from the video:

** One preliminary point is as you practice, your state-of-mind should be as in Boketto, absentmindedly gazing in the distance as you breathe and move your body. For my Boketto presentation and video please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/23/coronapause-entry-2-boketto-gazing-absentmindedly

Method Of Breathing:

– In through the nose – out through the mouth (using the abdominal muscles to exhale);

– Deep abdominal breathing, force the inhaled air down deep into your abdomen;

Manner Of Breathing:

– The manner of breathing falls into two general categories; soft breathing and hard breathing.
Inhaling is “soft” – exhaling is “hard” – see below

– Soft breathing, as the name implies, is a relaxed. The body remains relaxed as air is gently inhaled in a quick, but steady manner. Once inhalation is complete, the breath is held for a fraction of a second and exhalation begins. During the process of exhalation, the body remains relaxed and air is expelled softy and evenly. The process then begins a new. The duration of exhalation is always longer than inhalation.

– Hard breath is the direct opposite of soft breath. The inhalation of air is swift, and crisp. It is even audible. During inhalation, the body remains relaxed. Once inhalation is complete, exhalation occurs in a prolonged and forcible manner. It not only uses the lungs, but also all the abdominal muscles. These muscles “work” at expelling air. This results in an audible “roar” that sounds much like the surf in the ocean.

Hand Movements:

– Remain stationary – stand straight, shoulders relaxed, knees slightly bent, head up
– Begin with hands relaxed at your side – then start with the closed hand movements as follows

– Closed Hand (3 or 5 repetitions depending on your ability)

Ball your hands loosely into fist (don’t “tighten” you fists):
Roll your fists upwards and outward – as wide as your shoulders, fists as high as your collar bone.
Cross your hands in front of your groin (note: it does not matter which hand is over the other);
To repeat simply lower your hands to position number 2 and repeat.

– Open Hand (3 or 5 repetitions depending on your ability)

Same as above with hands open – your palms face into your body at all times (again just like the closed fist only with hands open).

Combine Breathing & Movement (Sip Of Sanchin)

Two points here:
– Coordinate breathing with movement
– Dynamically tense ALL muscles of your body during inhalation. Isometric tension using the muscles. Think of an”Iron Body”

Coordinate Breath:
– As you lower your hands to groin level, inhale softly. Super-relax your body as you inhale. As your rotate your hands up and outward, exhale. Breath and movement should finish at the same time.

Dynamic Tension: 

As you Sip Sanchin, the manner of breathing is also reflected in the state of the body’s muscles. That is to say when breathing is soft, muscles are relaxed. When breathing is hard, then ALL muscles of the body, not just abdominal muscles, are dynamically tensed. Dynamically tensing the muscles is similar to isometric exercise. Instead of using a resistive force, the muscles of the body provides the necessary tension.
Sanchin synchronizes the breath to specific bodily movements, As inhaling in a soft manner is coupled with a relaxed body, these movements are timed to when the body is not naturally exerting itself. By comparison, exhalation in the hard manner, combined with the dynamic tensing of the muscles is exhibited during movements that require force or exertion of the body. Let’s look at a routine example other than Sanchin. Pretend that you have to lift a heavy object. It is utterly wrong to do so while holding your breath. In fact, if you hold your breath during exertion, you may actually hurt yourself. Instead, you take a deep breath in (through your nose and fill you abdomen). Then you reach down and while lifting exhale. Exhalation always occurs with exertion.

Note: If you are congested, this may cause you to expectorate (spit up the flam in your lungs – do so – don’t hold back – spit it out into a sink or go outside if possible and expel)

Next post/video:
In the next post and video, I’ll show you how to easily modify the above to adjust your mental state of either:
– anxiety, anger, frustration to calm, and
– lethargic to energetic

As always my best to you during this time of #Coronapause. As of this post here in New Jersey as I write this Governor Murphy has warned the worst is coming. New York at present is inundated, we are about to become so. Good luck, and stay healthy. More is coming to hopefully help get you through.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Can’t wait for more?  – my entire first course, which includes the above material and MORE is available for FREE – use this link to enroll in my Kata-RX school then select the first course for FREE!! https://kata-rx.teachable.com

Now that you had a sip of Sanchin, here is a video of Sanchin Kata filmed in a snowstorm:

 

Coronapause Entry # 2: Boketto – Gazing Absentmindedly

23 Mar

To see how my #Coronapause journal started please click here: – https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/22/coronapause-day-1-it-starts/

Now, for today’s #Coronapause topic – Boketto (Gazing Absentmindedly)

Real bad, depressing morning during my #Coronapause, but I got through it with Boketto & hope you will too. I think it would be best if you please start with this video:



So, another day of our #CoronaPause. What to do with the time on a Monday morning? Ironic, huh? Normally filed with hectic activity, Monday morning has become – this – the “new normal” to borrow a term from my wife’s oncologist.

Throughout the day I’m using my Kata-RX techniques to keep moving forward, one step, one foot simply moving in front of the other. One of those techniques I’d like to share with you today. It is a simple, meditative practice called “Boketto.”

Boketto is the practice of gazing into the distance without preconception or thought. Whenever possible, I really like to do Boketto outdoors but I was reminded today that even indoors Boketto is fulfilling.

Now, there’s two tricks to Boketto.
 – no distractions
 – no thinking. – even minimal thinking such as mentally labeling things is not permitted.

It is recognized that the higher concept of the mind is born in the squishy, gelatinous organ known as the brain. For Boketto you need to turn off, to quiet, the mind – to be “absent-minded.” Let me give you an analogy. It is extremely relaxing when I sit and pet our dog, Maharet (named after an Anne Rice character). Why? Like Boketto it is done absentmindedly. You just sit and enjoy, you don’t analyze, you don’t label, you just do and let it flow through you. Same with Boketto only not with your hands, with your eyes – and – you don’t get dog hair all over you.

Let’s see what I mean. Here’s a photo of the spare bedroom that my eleven year old grandson uses when he sleeps over. Yes, that’s Maharet (“Maha” for short) in the photo.



I used Boketto on this room many times today. The feeling of loss not being able to have him visit, to hug him and just be Grandpa and Grandson weighs like a boulder on me. Boketto helps lessen the weight. Notice I didn’t say removes the weight. But, it does help. So let me offer some points on your Boketto practice:

1. The view doesn’t matter.
You don’t need to gaze at Mt. Fuji during cherry blossom time, or the Grand Canyon, or a pristine beach. For many reasons, the view is immaterial. The view, for now, is but a tool to facilitate the gazing. I can’t say it enough, ANYbody, ANYplace, ANYtime can use these techniques;

2. “Eyes of a white belt.”
Don’t label or describe what you see, use the “eyes of a white belt.” Gaze at everything, wonder at everything – understand nothing of what you see. I can still remember my first karate class – I had no idea what I was seeing. It was a crazy spectacle where names held NO meaning, “Reverse punch” meant nothing. “Block and counter” was like a foreign language. And, what the heck is Sanchin Kata? Heaven help! All I could do is watch and observe. See what the labels did not describe. Then, slowly over time came the application of my gazing, my Boketto – analysis, recognition, and dare I say, comprehension.

For example, today I didn’t gaze at my grandson’s room for the purpose of thinking of him. Rather, I just simply gazed at his room for NO reason. That is Boketto.

3. Souvenir effect.
Practicing Boketto outdoors triggers what I call the “Souvenir Effect.” I would practice my Kata-RX wherever I go, using Boketto, I’ve imprinted not merely memories, but sensations, feelings, emotions of that place and time. A Souvenir if you will. As you read above the souvenir effect applies not only to places but also to people.If you’re curious, here’s more https://senseijohn.me/2019/10/16/kata-rx-souvenir-effect/

4. Higher states-of-mind to come.
Boketto is the building block to achieve a higher state of mind called “Mushin-No-Shin” or “Mushin” for short. Mushin is the state of “Mind-No-Mind” unique (perhaps) to the martial arts but every valuable in everyday life. I think a video/post on Mushin is about a week away.

So, if you’d like, take a #Coronapause today, give Boketto a try. Let’s see if you can use Boketto to feel the souvenir effect as I did:
Find an object that some one you miss gave you or something else connected with them. Using Boketto gaze at it without though and preconception. Use it to let your quiet calm mind recall that person, not details, but abstracts. Their joy, warmth, sense of humor, the WAY they smile and use that goodness to get you through the next moment of your #Coronapause, and the next and moment yet to come.

Stay well, healthy, find one thing to smile at & tomorrow we’ll look at basic breathing and body movement. And – now here’s my official seal, so its “official”

Sensei John

CoronaPause: Post # 1 – It Starts

22 Mar

So, quick introduction.

    I’m Sensei John. I’m one of the millions of you presently living under restrictions due to the Coronavirus. I happen to be in the United States, in Bergen County, New Jersey. Here, we’re new to restricted life in what I call “CoronaPause.” (Thank-you to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo for calling the experience a “pause.” (Please see endnote # 1) We’re entering uncharted territory.

Unsettling days ahead. In my family alone I have four people at a severe risk due to various medical factors. My younger brother has advanced COPD and normally uses oxygen. I’m scared I won’t see him after the Coronapause.

I’d like to share with you some of the techniques that I use each and everyday to get through the day. These techniques, both mental and physical are derived from the martial arts. I first started learning them in 1971 when at age ten I set foot in my Sensei’s Dojo. What once started as a means of defending myself has now come to be a part of my life that sustains and nurtures me. I hope they can help you too, be sustained during your own Coronapause.

Tomorrow I’ll put up the first post about a state-of-mind gazing technique used to clear and reset your mental state. The next day I’ll teach you a martial arts breathing and movement technique to keep the lungs nice and strong. Then we’ll keep going from there.

To help you find them, I’ll use the hashtag #Coronapause. Again, please see endnote # 1 for attribution. Now, I’ve got grey hair and am just shy of 60, so I really don’t get the hashtag thing, but I’ll try. All I know is # is the pound sign, so let’s just say “Pound sign CoronaPause” and we’ll know what I mean.

That brings me to another point. I like to consider myself “witty & a trifle snarky.” My wife, on the other hand, says I’m just “annoying.” How bourgeois! “Witty and a trifle snarky” sounds so much more sophisticated. But, hey hopefully my sense of humor adds to all of us making it through the day.

So, I hope the rest of your day goes smoothly. Tomorrow, a state-of-mind adjustment called “Boketto” (cool, trendy, name Huh?!)

Oh, hey, whether you think I’m witty or annoying, if you liked this article please, pass it along – even if its just to annoy your confined friends.



Okay! Now, its official! I’ve affixed my official stamp, called a “Hanko.” Now, its serious!

Sensei John


Endnote:

1. I heard one of the many inspiring press conference of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. In it, he brilliantly instituted the concept of a “pause” in lieu of “Shelter in place” or other such phrases. I simply combined the Governor’s brilliant acronym with the Coronavirus at the root of the pause to come up with a reference word for this journal.

 

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