Tag Archives: Kata Bunkai

Kata Lab # 1310: Kata In Nature

17 Nov

Go – smell a pine tree;
liberate your weary lungs
from gasoline fumes.
 
Go – find a rosebush
and with unembarrassed lips
give it a soft kiss.
 
Whistle at a bird!
Be the village idiot,
Shamelessly human. 
(See Endnote # 1)

KATA LAB

Welcome to the current installment in my Kata Laboratory Series, Kata Lab # 1310: “Introduction To Kata Metaphysics: Kata In Nature” ©

Background:

In my experience, most karate-ka practice kata exclusively within the Dojo. Their sole sojourn outside of the Dojo is the floor of a tournament venue. By remaining within these sterile, static environments, karate-ka deprive themselves of the most wonderful kata experience, to wit: kata in nature.

Practicing kata in nature opens the door to what I call the environmental aspect of kata bunkai (analysis). This aspect relates to understanding the connection of the kata, and the performer to the natural environment. Each (environment & performer) affects the other through the performance of kata. The environment affects the manner and feel of the performance. Conversely, the performer leaves his mark on the environment via the performance; “footprints in the sand”, if you will.

The purpose of the within Kata Lab is extremely simple – experience your kata outdoors. Experience, understand and absorb your kata outside of the sterile, static Dojo environment.

Kata Lab Experiment: (Recommended Reader Experimentation)

Select one kata that you will practice. I recommend a kata that you wholeheartedly enjoy performing;

  • Perform the kata wearing different clothes (unless you are outside at a nudist colony, PLEASE wear clothes). Ask yourself,
  •           How does a jacket, hat or gloves affect kata?
  •           Does wearing winter boots differ from summer sandals, if so, how?
  • Perform the kata in different environmental conditions. These conditions should take into account varying surface, atmospheric and other factors. Experience and understand how the various conditions affect your kata. For example, does your kata change when
  •           performed in a park, on a grassy hillside?
  •           performed when you are by yourself or around an audience (especially an audience of non-karate-ka!)
  •           performed in a city parking lot with gravel, noise and observers watching you?
  •           performed in the darkness of night versus the light of day?
  • Also consider how your performance affected the environment – did you leave footprints in the sand, bend a tree branch, have a crowd of onlookers applaud (or jeer) your performance, and the like;
  • As your awareness of the effects of the environment on kata increases, repeat the lab experiment with your other kata

Benefits of performing kata in nature:

  • initially, performing kata in nature prepares you to better defend yourself in the event of an attack;
  • allows you to begin to absorb the kata within yourself, wherever you may be (you are in the kata and the kata is in you!);
  • stirs the desire to perform your kata wherever and whenever you desire, regardless of whether you have privacy or not;
  • begins to foster an understanding of how you interact with your external environment;
  • leads to an understanding that you affect your environment and your environment affects you, each are intertwined and each leave a mark upon the other by way of the shared kata experience;
  • ultimately you are one intertwined with your surroundings.

Closing:

Practicing kata outdoors in nature initially serves a martial purpose – you may have to defend yourself outside the Dojo, in adverse conditions (ice, sand, hot, cold, windy conditions). Therefore, it is prudent to practice such defense in those conditions. Because of your experience, you begin to understand the impact of environmental conditions upon your kata. Eventually, you come to understand, via the kata, how you interact with your environment and it interacts with you – this is the environmental aspect of kata.

Consider this:

A lemon doesn’t consider
itself to be “bitter.”

A snail does not know
it is “slow.”

A skunk does not think
he makes such a “stink.”

An onion does not try
to make you cry.

Nature largely ignores
man, with just cause.
(See Endnote # 2)

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

HANKO Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

Help support Sensei’s Kata Lab experiments –

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

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

ENDNOTES:

1. “Nature Lesson for Sheila“, from: Rhodes Dennis, Spiritus Pizza & Other Poems, (Video Links Media, Provincetown, MA 2000) p. 95.

2. “Hubris“, Id. P. 71.

Sensei John is now on Facebook, under – FLY FISHING DOJO, you are invited to send a Facebook friend request.

You may enjoy the Goshin-Do Karate-Do blog using the following link: WWW.DeFeliceRyu.Com

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

Kata Lab # 2220: Refreshing Recollection With Kata

21 Jul

KATA LAB

“I have done that,” – says my memory. “I cannot have done that,” – says my pride, and remains adamant. At last – memory yields. (See Endnote # 1)

Welcome to this installment in my Kata Laboratory Series, Kata Lab # 2220: Refreshing Recollection With Kata ©

 

Preface:

For those readers who have no experience with the spiritual bunkai (analysis) of kata, the following kata laboratory identifies a very simple means to practice kata so as to introduce you to the topic.

Please remember that spiritual bunkai of kata does not refer to religious, or supernatural states. Rather, spiritual bunkai refers to the method by which kata affects internal non-physical processes which include, but are not limited to emotions, states-of-mind (mushin, zanshin, nenjuushin and the like) and levels of awareness.

Exploring the spiritual bunkai of kata is markedly different from exploring the physical bunkai of kata. One area of divergence is that physical bunkai always requires a partner whereas spiritual bunkai need not require a partner, but always requires visualization.

Background:

One of the most basic means of stimulating our state-of-mind is to recollect past memories. We can readily recollect these memories while they remain fresh in our minds. As time progresses, or as we involuntarily “choose” to suppress them, such memories are not so easily recalled.

During my years as a trial attorney, I had many opportunities to confront uncooperative witnesses. At times, these witnesses could not recall past events. It was my obligation to refresh these witnesses recollections as to what they had experienced. Refreshing recollection could come in the form of sounds, smells and any other sensory-based stimulus. There is; however, one form of refreshing recollection that lay outside the legal boundaries of a trial, using kata to refresh recollection.

As an aficionado of kata, I developed a practical means of experiencing the spiritual nature of kata using kata to refresh your recollection of a past memory. Kata can, and often is, associated with:

  • people – (the person that taught you the kata, tested you, practiced with you or simply watched you perform a certain kata) (See Endnote # 2);
  • places – (any location within or external to the Dojo wherein you performed the kata, the more unique the location, the more vivid the memory)(See Endnote # 3);
  • things – (unique physical objects associated with a kata) (See Endnote # 4).
  • events – (tournaments, funeral ceremonies, memorials, rank tests wherein the kata was performed) (See Endnote # 5).
Memories Circa 1974: myself & others with Sensei Nick D'Antuono & my first trophies for kata (Gekisai) & kumite.

Memories Circa 1974: myself & others with Sensei Nick D’Antuono & my first trophies for kata (Gekisai) & kumite.

To this end, I submit the following Kata Laboratory.

Kata Laboratory (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

The following is my procedure to experiment with kata as a means of refreshing your recollection. It allows you to begin to experience kata not as a physical endeavor, but as a spiritual art.

1. Prior to kata practice, think about a person, place, thing or event associated with the kata. It helps immensely if the memory is directly linked to a specific kata. The above examples may help you choose such a memory.

2. Practice your kata concentrating on the past event you associate with the kata. Unconsciously perform the physical movements of the kata while being hyper-conscious of your mental recollection of the event associated with the kata. Your recollection should contain as much detail as possible;

3. Repeat as many times as you would like;

4. After concluding the kata session, remain in a state of zanshin (remaining mind); however, do not remain in a state of mind as to the kata, rather, remain in zanshin as to your refreshed recollection.

Closing: 

Using kata as a means of refreshing your recollection of a past event is advantageous for many reasons including, but not limited to

  • Introduces bunkai (analysis) of the spiritual component of kata as defined above;
  • Stimulates an awareness of the internal cognitive aspect of kata (versus physical aspect);
  • Provides a foundation for incorporating more advanced spiritual bunkai (analysis) of kata.

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

Please help support Sensei’s 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

© Copyright 2006 and 2013 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

ENDNOTES:

1. Nietzsche, Frederich, Beyond Good And Evil, Maxims and Interludes, Maxim number 68.

2. Video of my Sanchin Hatsu Bon in Memory of Shihan Wayne Norlander

3. Video of my Nami-Kiribi (Cutting-Wave) Kata performed on vacation in Cape Cod, MA 

4. Video of Seienchin performed in an evening lightening & thunderstorm

5. Video of Sanchin (shobu Version) during an “event” with vultures

Sensei John is now on Facebook, under – FLY FISHING DOJO, you are invited to send a Facebook friend request.

You may enjoy the Goshin-Do Karate-Do blog using the following link: WWW.DeFeliceRyu.Com

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

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