Tag Archives: Kata Experience

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)


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.


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

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


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

Kata Lab # 2230 – Kata: Dr. Jekyll’s Potion

9 Feb


All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil. (Endnote # 1)

Welcome to this teaser from my Kata Laboratory Series,

 Kata Lab # 2230 – Kata: Jekyll-Hyde’s Potion ©


The need to defend oneself occurs in a heartbeat.

In that instant, you must not only execute the physical techniques of self-defense, more importantly, you must be able to psychologically transform your mental state. You must instantaneously be able to convert from your mental state immediately prior to the attack to a life-or-death mental attitude; in less time than a beat of your own heart.

In the fictional story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the mild mannered Dr. Henry Jekyll used a potion to transform himself into his antithesis, Mr. Hyde. Similarly, in an attack scenario, you must be able to transform from your mental state prior to an attack, a Dr. Jekyll state, to a mental state of self-preservation (at all costs if necessary), a Mr. Hyde state.

Unlike the fictional Dr. Jekyll, there is no potion you can take advantage of to facilitate this transformation.

Or, is there?

Subject to one caveat, I submit that the transformative potion is kata. The sole caveat is that, like the experiments of Dr. Jekyll, you must experiment and develop a protocol for the transformation. For almost four and a half decades, I have already experimented. The result is this kata laboratory.

Kata Lab Experiment: (Recommended Reader Experimentation)

I suggest you keep the following preliminarily notes in mind,

  • This lab works best with a partner; however, if one is not available, a timing device with an alarm may be substituted;
  • This lab should NOT be part of a formal karate class (as physical energy levels & emotional acuity in class should be already be elevated, such time is not appropriate);
  • You may wish to preselect a kata to perform prior to commencing. With practice, you can have your partner call out a specific kata to perform as part of his/her command. This will add to the elements of surprise, spontaneity and transformation. Eventually, the performance of a specific kata should be completely spontaneous based upon your attendant circumstances and environment.
  • As to environment, same may dictate that your kata be performed using my deconstruction technique (please see above precursor reading). For example, if you are in a closet or tight space when your partner gives the command, or the alarm goes off, perform the kata in that space! What? You don’t think you can be attacked in an elevator, or other tight environment?!

Procedure For Practice:

  • Prior to beginning, ask a partner to arbitrarily give a command for you to perform a kata. (if a partner is not available, arbitrarily set an alarm on a timing device);
  • Go about your normal routine (but do not practice karate), talk, walk, read, play, anything but karate-do training. Do not confine yourself to one room. Go about a “normal” routine. During this time, do not anticipate the command to start kata. Rather, maintain your usual relaxed state of mind (the Dr, Jekyll state). Thus, the more distracting the activity prior to kata, the better;
  • When the command is given (or the alarm sounds), immediately begin your kata as if your life depended on overcoming an attacker. In the blink of an eye, you must transform your mental state into one of “kill-or-be-killed” (the Mr. Hyde state) Again, environment may require that the kata be deconstructed or pattern otherwise adjusted;
  • Once your kata is finished, you must have accomplished your goal of surviving the attack. Then, after assuring yourself that all threats have been neutralized (a brief Zanshin state of mind), you MUST then immediately transform back to your normal, relaxed state-of-mind (again, the Jekyll state).
  • Repeat the process of using kata to transform from a mental Dr. Jekyll state to a Mr. Hyde mental state and returning to a Dr. Jekyll state.

Here is a video I made to assist you. For your viewing enjoyment, it was filmed in the beautiful Lost Dutchman State Park and Lower Salt River, both in Arizona.

Benefits of performing kata as Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde:

This kata laboratory is designed to foster an immediate transformation to a defense-orientated combative state of mind. Without such an attendant state of mind, physical technique is quasi-impotent. Therefore, like the involuntary adrenaline induced reflexive “fight or flight” response, you must be able to transform your mental state. You must then be able to transform out of the defensive state and return to your default state of mind. With diligent practice, you can gain proficiency in this transformation.


Using kata as a transformative potion to modify and shape your state of mind is a fundamental concept to my ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do (Wellness from within though kata). Once proficient in this transformation, the utility of modifying your psychological state through kata is unlimited.

You may at last begin to see not only the life-taking (Satsugen No Kata) properties of kata, but also the life-giving (Katsugen No Kata) properties as well. Maybe.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is


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


Sensei John Szmitkowski

  secret-1 For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

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! Here are ONLY SOME of our support products:








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


1. Stevenson, Robert, Louis, The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Vintage Books, New York, NY 1991) p.80.

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

%d bloggers like this: