Tag Archives: Kata Experiments

Kata Lab # 2240 – Ten Virtues Of Kata

29 Feb

KATA LAB

Background:

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.

Experiment:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

HANKO-master

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!

Featured Video:

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For the full Kata Laboratory Table Of Contents, please visit the “Kata Laboratory” page tab above.

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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You may wish to view my other blogs –
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Kata Bunkai – A Temporary Triumph (Dr. Feynman visits The Kata Lab – Part II)

9 Nov

KATA LAB

So, you just finished a kata seminar with the latest karate-do Master. Long in advance of the seminar, you pre-registered and paid your $ 100 plus dollar fee. The Master showed those select few of you his or her previously undisclosed, “hidden” application of kata sequences. According to the Master, “You now know the final bunkai for the kata.”

Well, not true on several fronts.

First and foremost, the word “bunkai” does not mean the physical application of kata sequences. It means analysis. Analysis is an on-going process;
Second, what was shown to you was an application of a kata sequence. You learned. You did not analyze anything yourself. You merely mimicked someone else’s application;
Third, what you learned is merely a physical application of kata sequences. You have not investigated my remaining two aspects of kata (and by extension, kata bunkai). Namely, the spiritual aspect (the manner in which the kata affects your state-of-mind, emotional state and psyche and vice-versa) and the environmental aspect (the manner in which your surroundings affect the kata and vice-versa).

The second point self-explanatory and the third is answered by my entire 200 plus page Kata Lab project. So, lets look at the first point. To aid my answer, I would like to once again “invite” the eminent physicist Dr. Richard Feynman into my Kata Lab. (See Endnote # 1).

FEYNMAN  Dr. Feynman once observed:

An experiment that confirms your theory does not prove that it is right, only that it is simply not proved wrong. It can never be proved right. Because in the future there could be a wider range of experiments that proves your theory wrong.* So, we are never sure we are right. We can only ever be sure we are not wrong.
* (reference was made to Newton’s law of planetary motion which was accepted correct until 100 years later when the planet Mercury’s motion proved it wrong).

So, for your seminar fee, what exactly did you get in terms of bunkai (analysis of kata)? You received something (see point two) that is not only inconclusive (see point three), but also, temporary, momentary and subject to change. Dr. Feynman would say you were shown an application that, for now, is “not wrong”.

How is this so?
The application you were shown is based upon the Master’s understanding of the kata sequences. This understanding factors in his or her physical limitations and abilities. Your use of the application is affected by your own physical capabilities and skills (which differ from those of the Master). Based upon your own individual characteristics the Master’s application may be utterly useless to you. Unless, of course, you, “Just keep practicing, one day you’ll get it right.” Even if you are able to perform the application, as your physical health changes your ability to perform that application will change. Thus what you learned as, ahem, “bunkai” needs to be revisited. If you do not revisit the application and make necessary adjustments, including finding an entirely new application, you will reach a point of stagnation. “I could perform this application in my younger days, or when my knees weren’t so bad.” Such statements are ridiculous.

Kata is not meant to be stagnant. It is meant to be fluid. It changes according to the performer. An analogy is the “Clay in the mold” interpretation of kata. Kata is the mold which will form you, the clay. As each lump of clay is different and will change over time, the mold (kata) will affect each lump differently. As to bunkai (analysis of kata), I submit that Dr, Feynman’s observation be modified as follows.

A bunkai (analysis) that confirms your understanding (of kata) does not prove that it is right, only that it is simply not proved wrong. It can never be proved right. Because in the future there could be a wider range of bunkai that proves your understanding incomplete. So, we are never sure that our bunkai is right. We can only ever be sure we are not wrong. (Sensei John Szmitkowski modifying Dr. Richard Feynman).

Thus, there are no absolutes in kata bunkai (analysis). Any analysis is merely temporary. It is subject to the changing dynamics and needs of the individual practitioner. Your changing health, age and capabilities all affect your analysis. Your non-physical characteristics may have a more profound impact on your kata analysis. Your mental state, emotions and psyche play a major role in how you analyze your kata. (See Endnote # 2) Further, there is a greatly overlooked and often entirely missed factor that contributes to your analysis. This factor is the manner in which the environment affects your kata. The impact of terrain, weather, temperature and other such environmental factors cannot be discounted.

My “visit” with Dr. Feynman now concluded, it is time once again for me to “Think * Sweat * Experiment” with my kata. Maybe one day I’ll get it “right.”

Featured video: Kata Lab #2230 – Kata: Dr. Jekyll’s Potion. Full article:
https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/09/kata-lab-122-kata-dr-jekylls-potion/

HANKO-master

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

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

Endnotes:

1. Dr. Feynman’s earlier visit to my Kata Lab maybe viewed using this convenient link
https://senseijohn.me/2015/09/28/dr-richard-feynman-visits-senseis-kata-lab-part-1/

2. Kata can and should be used to modify emotions link https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/

and video:

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You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE   my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
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© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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!

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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 –
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and

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Kata Lab # 2170: Blink-Of-An-Eye Bunkai

4 May

“Life and death in the street occurs in the blink-of-an-eye.” 
(Shihan Thomas DeFelice)

“Therefore kata bunkai (analysis) should include the blinking-of-an-eye.”
(Sensei John Szmitkowski)

KATA LAB

Welcome to this teaser from my Kata Laboratory Series, Kata Lab #2170: Blink-Of-An-Eye Bunkai ©

Preface:

For a behind-the-scenes look at how this Kata Lab developed, please refer to this article using this convenient link:

Sensei John’s Kata Lab: “The Process” – Link:
https://senseijohn.me/2014/04/20/kata-lab-the-process-of-making-a-kata-lab/

Analyzing Ananku Kata in the Kata Lab

Analyzing Ananku Kata in the Kata Lab

Background:
There are numerous karate-do techniques involving any number of striking surfaces with the hands, feet, knees, elbows, fingers and the like. These techniques are combined with any number of stances to form a posture.

These postures are linked together in a cohesive manner to form sequences which are combined to form a unified pattern called kata. This is the physical aspect of kata.

Bunkai (analysis) is used to understand the kata. The majority of practitioners limit their bunkai to the overt moves and sequences in kata. The transition from sequence-to-sequence, posture-to-posture that occur with a kata are often ignored in bunkai.
This Kata Lab looks at the physical aspects of those transitional movements.

Kata Lab: (Recommended Reader Experimentation)

To assist you in the process of this Kata Lab, I have a video after the procedural outline.

  • Select a kata that you are familiar with utilizing bunkai to perform the physical applications of;
  • Perform the kata slowly, paying particular attention to the transitions between movements;
  • As to the transitions, notice the shifting of weight, body movements, and hand positions;
  • Exaggerate the transitions so as to identify and define postures within these transitions, define a stance, and hand position;
  • Again perform the kata slowly, this time inserting the transitional postures into the kata as if they themselves were overt moves;
  • Perform the kata full speed, once again, insert the hidden postures into the kata as if they were overt moves. Does the kata maintain it’s “flow” when performed in this manner? If so, then your identification of the hidden postures was accurate.
  • Analyze the kata transitional positions with a partner, pay particular attention to your previous analysis to determine the extent to which the transitional postures enrich your application. The transitions should allow you to see new self-defense application possibilities.

Closing:
Including the transitional postures in your bunkai (analysis) of kata will enrich your understanding of the application of the physical movements. You will begin to see new possibilities. Better still you will see self-defense possibilities that those who do no analyze the transitions will be ignorant of. Thus, your arsenal of defensive possibilities surpasses theirs.
Additionally, the understanding of the physical aspect of the transitional movements will begin to foster a desire to understand the transitional postures from a spiritual (psychological, emotional and stat-of-mind) aspect and a metaphysical (the manner in which the kata connects you to the environment) aspect.

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

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/
NEWS sanchin  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/

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

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

 

Kata Lab: The Process Of Making A Kata Lab

20 Apr

“Come into the Lab and see what’s on the slab.” (See Endnote # 1)

KATA LAB

Welcome to this teaser post and video from my Kata Laboratory Series, “Kata Lab: The Process Of Making A Kata Lab” ©

Background:
I thought it would be interesting to take you behind the scenes into the making of a Kata Lab. I have already written many of the lab “experiments,” my training is a continuing, daily process. Therefore all lab experiments can never truly be written; many remain unwritten and pending discovery.

Recently, I had an idea that led to a new addition to my Kata Lab syllabus. The working title is “Blink-Of-An-Eye Bunkai.” Here’s how this future Kata Lab submission developed. I’ll outline the general process and then provide the working example of how training Ananku Kata led to the development of the Blink-Of-An-Eye Kata Lab.

Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory Development Process:

Step One: Train!
Without exception all Kata Labs, in fact all posts on this blog, begin with kata training. It is utterly impossible to create a kata lab sitting idly at the computer. There must be daily, even hourly, kata training. I regularly take a ten to fifteen minute “kata-break” from my work routine.

sensei_johns_kata_lab_vintage_clipboard          I always have a clipboard loaded with blank paper and index cards, a voice recorder and sometimes, even my laptop handy.

As kata training is for the sake of training and not writing, I do not develop an idea during such sessions. Rather, I simply spontaneously record something that I may notice about a particular kata or an idea that may simply pop into my mind. These notations are either a few words or a sentence or two. After the session, I pin the index card to a large cork board for future development.
Working Example: I was performing the Goshin-Do Karate-Do (hereinafter “GDK-D”) Ananku Kata. A thought came to mind. I grabbed my clipboard, made a brief note on an index card and continued training. The thought pertained to the transitional stages that occur in the first four moves of Ananku Kata. These transitions from one kata move to the next contain brief, almost hidden, postures. These brief postures are worthy of bunkai (analysis). The movements are described in Endnote # 2 and # 3. There is also a video below.

Step Two: Think & Sweat:
Prior to a training session, I’ll look over my note cards. Some more than others tend to grab my attention. These notes stay at the forefront of my thoughts as I practice. If any ideas develop from the brief notes they are written down. Over time, I hope that the idea developed from one specific kata will ripen into a generalized concept that applies to any kata.
Working example: Intrigued by my notes on hidden postures in transitional moves, I practice my kata very slowly, paying particular attention to the transition from one kata movement to the next. An awareness as to postures that result from the combination of body shifting, hand and foot postures occur when moving from one kata movement to the next. These postures occur very briefly, in the blink-of-an-eye. They occur so quickly that they may not even be postures in the truest sense of the word. As they occur within the “blink-of-an-eye” practitioners are not even aware of their existence. No attention at all is paid to them. They are often ignored in in both kata and kata bunkai (analysis) in favor of the more overt or apparent kata movements.

Step Three: Experiment:
Now that I have developed a concept, I must determine how it relates to kata outside the GDK-D curriculum. If the concept does not apply to a broad based audience, it cannot become a Kata Lab topic.
I am fortunate to have been exposed to kata from styles of karate-do other than GDK-D, most notably Goju-Ryu and some Matsumura Shorin-ryu kata. In addition, I have learned fifteen kobu-do kata (Matayoshi-Ryu, Yamani-Ryu and Uefuichiku Kata). I use this kata base to test the concept developed with the GDK-D Kata.

It is at this stage that the overall kata laboratory starts to take shape. Through these extraneous kata (including the kobudo kata) I strive to find a procedure for anyone to analyze my concept using the kata of their particular style of karate-do.

Working example: I begin to slowly and methodically practice the kata outside of the GDK-D system. Again I pay particular attention to postures that occur when moving from one kata movement to the next. With this particular kata lab, kobudo kata with the bo were extremely helpful. I can only speculate that the length of the bo, which magnifies hand movements exponentially under normal circumstances, helped to intensify the effect of these hidden postures.

Step Four: Design a Practice Procedure For Others To Follow

I document the steps that any kata practitioner can use to analyze their own specific kata and still be able to understand the overall concept and subject of the Kata Lab. I also consider whether a video would be helpful to the reader. If so, production on the video begins.

Working example:
Here is the video I produced as a companion to the “Blink-Of-An-Eye Bunkai” Kata Lab.

Step Five: Administrative Matters Of Writing a Kata Lab

Now is the time to write up the Kata Lab itself. This process is similar to writing a monthly lesson plan for the Dojo where each class is designed to form a cohesive whole. The Kata Lab must be given a name which conveys the subject of the lab. Hopefully, the name of the lab will contain a catch-phrase that makes it easy to remember. Once the lab is written it must be fit within the overall kata lab syllabus. The numbering of the Kata Lab is determined from this step.

Working example: With continued practice and thought, I understood two things, first, practitioners concentrate bunkai (analysis) on the overt, apparent moves of the kata, not in the transitional postures and second, these postures occur so briefly (in the blink-of-an-eye) that they were hardly present at all. So, how to convince practitioners that movements that occur in the “blink-of-an-eye” are worthy of bunkai (analysis)? Simple. I’ll use a phrase that was embedded into my psyche throughout my training in the GDK-D style.

According to Shihan Thomas DeFelice, Ku-dan (9th degree black belt) Karate-Do No Hanshi, Goshin-Do Karate-Do,

“Life and death in the street occurs in the blink-of-an-eye.”

Thus, if the above was correct, it is logical and necessary that our bunkai (analysis) must extend to the kata movements that also occur in the blink of an eye. For, surely, if one’s own life depended upon such a brief interval, then one’s analytical attention must be drawn to it.

Step Five: Finished

If all is done correctly, a Kata Lab that a reader can practice themselves has developed and been uploaded to my blog. A reader can use the Kata Lab to assist his or her own kata experience. Better still, the reader may desire to use the Kata Lab as part of a class within their Dojo.

And that is how the forthcoming “Blink-Of-An-Eye” kata lab came to be. Look for it to be posted in a short time. Once posted, I will provide a link here.

Step Six: Oops, Not Quite Finished:

The last step is to extend, if possible, the Kata Lab into the remaining aspects of bunkai. You may recall that I submit that there are three aspects to kata and that bunkai (analysis) must extend to those aspects. The three aspects are the physical aspect (combat applications), the spiritual aspect (state-of-mind, emotional and psychological concepts) and metaphysical aspect (the performer’s connection with his natural environment).

Working example: The “Blink-Of-An-Eye” Kata Lab above is a physical Kata Lab. My next task is to extend the “Blink-Of-An-Eye concept to the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of kata. And, so, the entire process begins anew, again. And, again. And, again.
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

If you enjoy this Kata Lab, help fund more with one of our unique products encouraging you to “Think * Sweat * Experiment” with kata.

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/

life=kata-YOU-  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/

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

ENDNOTES:

1. Dr, Frank N. Furter (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

2. The first four overt movements of the GDK Ananku Kata are (facing North) in ready posture (you may also refer to the above video):

  • pivot West to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • pivot East to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • mawate 180 degrees facing West to a left front stance with a left open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;
  • mawate 180 degrees facing East to a right front stance with a right open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;

3. The brief, hidden postures that came to mind are (You may also again refer to the above video):

  • pivot West to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • First hidden posture: as you begin the next move, you rotate back to North with both open hands lowered as in hache-dache position, then you continue to
  • pivot East to a cat stance, raise hands to the challenge position;
  • Second hidden posture: as you prepare to pivot, you look over your left shoulder to West, transfer your weight from your left leg to your right leg, lower your left open hand and bring to your right open hand to semi-center line (to cover your left middle block) – equals: a left cat-stance-like posture with left hand low, right shoulder height*
  • mawate 180 degrees facing West to a left front stance with a left open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;
  • Third hidden posture: as you prepare to pivot, you look over your right shoulder to East, transfer your weight from to your left leg, lower your right open hand and bring to your left open hand to semi-center line (to cover your left middle block) – equals: a right cat-stance-like posture with left hand low, right shoulder height*
  • mawate 180 degrees facing East to a right front stance with a right open middle block followed by two punches to the solar plexus;

* the exact stance that is inferred in the posture depends on how far the front foot is retracted in relation to the rear foot, full retraction with feet touching (an implied heisuko-dache, ready stance), partially back (an implied kokutsu-dache, back stance), no retractions (an implied rear-leaning stance).

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 which includes my fishing journals and 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

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 –

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
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 # 3210 – Kata To Modify Emotions

6 Oct

October 22, 2014: UPDATE: I filmed a video to assist you with this lab. It was filmed in the stunning scenery of the Lower Salt River, Arizona and a New Jersey snow storm. Enjoy

–   –   –   * * * * * –   –   –   –

Je pense que donc je suis. (I think therefore I am)  -Jean Paul Sartre

KATA LAB

Welcome to this installment in my Kata Laboratory Series, Kata Lab # 2130: Kata As An Emotional Modifier” ©

Background:

Our emotions are the most identifiable aspect of our spiritual state of being. Daily events routinely shape and alter our emotions. We can also directly modify our emotions from within.

Most of us seek to suppress negative emotions in the hopes that a positive emotional state will manifest. This kata lab uses kata to modify emotions, not by repressing them, but by acknowledging and expelling them so as to embrace a more positive emotional state.

Kata is uniquely capable of serving as an emotional modifier. The bunkai (analysis) of this phenomenon of kata is a foundation for understanding the spiritual aspect of kata. (See Endnote # 1) This edition of the kata laboratory utilizes my kata deconstruction procedure explained in Kata Laboratory # 2130 to explore how kata can modify our emotional state. It is therefore necessary for you to be familiar with the kata deconstruction procedure. There is a link to the article provided above and a video below.

I submit that certain kata, due to their essential qualities, are natural emotional modifiers. Examples of such kata include, but are not limited to, my Sacred Trinity of Kata (Sanchin, Seienchin, and Suparunpei), Hakutsuru, Gekisai, Kanto and others. All kata; however can be utilized to modify emotions. See Endnote # 2) The kata deconstruction technique provides an excellent platform upon which to construct bunkai (analysis) of the spiritual aspect of any kata.

Once you begin to understand the manner in which kata modifies emotions, you open the door to understanding the spiritual nature of kata. Emotions functions as the gateway to understanding this spiritual state.

I have created two types of emotional deconstruction techniques, the “General Emotional Deconstruction “ and the “Targeted Emotional Deconstruction.”

The general method is very basic. In my experience, I find that while this method is fun, it is extremely fundamental. As such, I have relegated the exact methodology of this procedure to Endnote # 3.

The Targeted Emotional Deconstruction is more difficult and requires more advance preparation than the general method; however, the benefits of performing this deconstruction protocol are profound.

In this type of deconstruction you start with an emotion, and progress through the kata deconstruction so as to end with the opposite of that emotion. The emotion you commence with would be representative of your emotional state at the time of practice. For example, assume that you have had a difficult day and are aggravated. To start the procedure, you would take the state of aggravation and expand it to its highest emotional state. In the example shown below, this state may be represented by an emotional state of fury. This step is crucial in so far as it does not repress your negative emotional state; rather it, acknowledges and expands it. This allows you to fully acknowledge the emotion so as to ultimately dispel it.

You would then identify the opposite of this state so as to target the desired ending emotional state. In this example, tranquility would represent a desired state opposite to the state of fury. You then deconstruct the kata so as to work your way through the range of emotions between fury and tranquility. The table below provides an example using the eight sequences shown in the deconstruction of Gekisai kata.

Example:

Targeted Emotional Deconstruction  – using the state of aggravation as the existing emotional state, the following example starts with the emotion of fury and ends with the emotion of tranquility. The chart below uses the eight sequences of Gekisai Kata identified in the video example.

SEQUENCE # EMOTION
1 Fury
2 Aggressiveness
3 Anger
4 Aggravation
5 Slow Burn
6 Calm
7 Placid
8 Tranquil

As you gain proficiency in this technique, you no longer have to perform the kata as deconstructed. Eventually, you can perform the kata within the traditional pattern and express the various emotions as you do so.

Kata Laboratory (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

The following is my procedure to utilize my kata deconstruction procedure to modify your emotional state. The within allows you to begin to experience kata not as a physical endeavor, but as a spiritual art. Using the table above as a guide,

1. Identify either your current emotional state or choose an emotion you wish to explore. Using the Gekisai example, let us use “aggravation” as such an emotional state;

2. Identify the extreme manifestation of that emotional state. Again using the Gekisai example and the state of “aggravation”, the extreme state might be “fury”;

3. Identify the extreme opposite emotional state. In the example, this state may be a state of “tranquility”;

4. Based upon the number of sequences in the kata you wish to perform, identify the same number of transitional emotional states between the two opposite states. In the Gekisai example, the above table shows these states;

5. Now, perform your kata, deconstructing each sequence. As you progress through the sequences, perform each sequence so as to symbolize each emotional state. To the casual observer, your emotional state associated with each sequence should be readily apparent in the manner in which you perform the sequence.

6. Repeat as often as you like, experimenting with differing emotions and different kata to see how kata affects your emotions.

Here is a video to assist you with your experiment in using kata to modify emotions

Closing: 

Using my kata deconstruction method to explore the manner in which kata can modify your emotions has direct, positive and tangible effects. It also has intangible benefits awaiting your discovery.

  • you can use kata to modify negative emotions when they creep into your life;
  • you can increase the health effects of positive emotions by increasing them through your kata practice;
  • you recognize the effect your emotional state has on your physical self;
  • you begin to understand how emotions affect your overall state of being;
  • your understanding of the above acs as a foundation for your continued exploration into your spiritual state of being.
  • most importantly, you begin to practice kata bunkai (analysis) in both the physical state and the spiritual state.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

 

HANKO-master

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

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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. Please remember:

First, the 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 process which include, but are not limited to emotions, states-of-mind (mushin, zanshin, nenjuushin and the likes) and internal states of awareness.

Second, 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.

2. If you fully understand the three states of kata, namely, the physical, spiritual and metaphysical states, then you can readily understand how any kata can modify emotions. For example, the translation of the kanji for the Gekisai Kata in our example can demonstrate the three states. Gekisai translates as “To destroy”. Applying this to the three states we see that:

physical state – to destroy your opponent in battle;

spiritual state – to destroy your own negative mental and emotional states;

environmental state – to destroy your preconception that you exist independent of your external environment.

Each and every time you perform Gekisai (or any other kata) you are simultaneously present in each of the above three states.

3. The General Emotional Deconstruction is performed as follows:

General Emotional deconstruction)

using kata deconstruction technique:

  • start with an emotion
  • perform the first sequence so as to emulate and reflect that emotion
  • after the sequence, walk a few steps in any direction, as you walk, be “mindful” of different emotion,
  • perform the next sequence so as to emulate and reflect that emotion
  • repeat until the kata is complete
  • Example:

General Emotional Deconstruction  – the following example illustrates the wide variety of emotions that can be used in the deconstruction process. The emotional range is limited only by the imagination of the performer.

The chart below uses the eight sequences of Gekisai Kata identified in the video example.

Sequence # Emotion
1 normal emotion
2 caution
3 trepidation
4 anger
5 serenity
6 seriousness
7 giddiness
8 serenity

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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