Tag Archives: Incense and Kata

Kata Lab # 2240 – Ten Virtues Of Kata

29 Feb

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I often scent the dojo with incense (Koh). My favorite koh is the “Morningstar” line by Nippon Kodo. http://www.nipponkodo.com It is well made using traditional methods, burns clean and with little smoke. If you visit their website (which I recommend you do), you will notice a page entitled the “Culture Of Incense.” On the page is an article “The Ten Virtues Of Koh.” Though I first read the ten virtues of koh over two decades ago, I still remember my very first impression, “Wow! The same ten virtues apply to Kata!” Over time I explored these virtues as they applied to both koh and kata, often enjoying both simultaneously (even using koh outdoors with my kata).
With this Kata Lab, you may also explore the ten virtues of koh as they also apply to kata. So purchase your favorite koh, practice your kata and enjoy the journey.


Using the kata from within your style’s curriculum, select one kata to represent each of the ten virtues of koh listed below;
Note that the kata you choose to represent a specific virtue will change over time as your training continues, as you age, and other factors, so you should repeat this Kata Lab regularly.
The Ten Virtues Of Koh (applied to Kata):
1.  It purifies mind & body;
2.  It removes spiritual uncleanliness;
3.  Practiced everyday, it will do no harm;
4.  It keeps one alert;
5.  One’s age does not change its efficacy;
6.  When performed in abundance, one never tires of it;
7.  When performed sparingly, one is satisfied;
8.  In the midst of busy affairs, it brings a moment of solitude;
9.  It is a companion in the midst of isolation;
10.  It brings communication with the transcendent universal consciousness.


I categorized this Kata Lab as a spiritual lab as it forces you to think, sweat and experiment with your kata so as to understand how kata affects your psyche and emotions. That classification is an oversimplification. This lab also is a physical kata lab as it forces you to perform your kata to experience a new physical perspective. In addition, should you choose to follow my recommendations as to performing your kata using koh, the lab provides insight into the environmental aspect of kata; namely, how do the different aromas of koh affect your kata performance.

Additional Kata Labs:
Lab # 2242 – Kata With Koh: Purchase several aromas of koh. Prior to practice, experience each aroma. Now practice your kata after burning the koh. How does the aroma affect your kata? Do different aroma of koh affect your kata differently. Admittedly koh is pleasant, but each scent will still have a different effect. If not, then in lieu of the pleasant koh, perform your kata in a setting with unpleasant odors and see how they affect your kata.
Lab # 3241 – Alternative experiment: Based upon my own practice, I now find that all ten virtues may be found in each and every kata simultaneously. Train your kata with the virtues in mind and try to find and perceive each virtue within every kata in your catalogue of kata.

In the end, not only is this kata lab enlightening, it is also very enjoyable.


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

 nyc-suparunpei    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!

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