Tag Archives: Kata In Nature

Kata RX – A Perfect Summer 2020 Souvenir (Part 1)

22 Jul

Learn Kata For Wellness for FREE in the comfort of your home, at your convenience! Use this convenient link to join the FREE online course:   https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

=========

Summer, 2020.

What a year its been so far. And what more is to come?

It is at this time of year that I historically would encourage you to use your Kata-Rx For Wellness to collect summer souvenirs. Well, now with the Coronavirus still upon us and the various COVID-19 restrictions on travel, large gatherings and the like, it seems that this summer will be – different. That’s not to say though that you cannot explore and enjoy the “souvenir-effect” of your Kata-RX experience.

Before I guide you upon this “new normal” Kata-RX experience, I’d like to take a look back at the Kata-Rx souvenir experience as it existed pre-COVID-19. In my own personal Kata-RX journey there is a fortiori to the COVID-19 restrictions. The journey this year in the midst of the pandemic has been more introspective. It has afforded me the opportunity to more fully engage, explore and understand my Kata-RX. To borrow the motto from my Kata Laboratory project, I “Think *Sweat * Experiment” with my Kata-RX. 

So, before I discuss the new souvenir-effect experience, let’s take a look at summer, one year ago.

=== from Summer, 2019 ====

Ah, summer is here!

A time when many of us travel. Whether we journey to an exotic location for an extended stay, simply indulge ourselves in a long weekend, or take the refreshing day trip, a hallmark of summer is travel. In an effort to preserve our experiences, such travel usually involves the ritual of obtaining souvenirs. Here is a simple way to collect a souvenir for no financial cost; the sole cost may be expressed in terms of a little sweat.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004 – Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Since I was first introduced to the concept at ten years old by Sensei Nick D’Antuono, I have always enjoyed performing kata outdoors in any location. I can unabashedly admit that I prefer to perform kata in the magnificence of Nature’s Dojo instead of the relative sterility of a traditional dojo. To be sure, the traditional dojo carries an aura and mystique for me, but, I carry such a dojo in my heart and prefer to exhibit it in nature.

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

For decades, I have collected kata souvenirs of my many travels. Much like looking through a photo album, I am able to revisit my travels by recalling them while performing my kata. Regardless of my present location, I can perform a kata and recall a memory of performing the kata at a different time and in a different place.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

Here is a video of my most last kata souvenir filmed in 2014 amongst the wild horse herd at the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

Here are a few tips to assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs.

  • Wherever you travel perform your kata. For those readers that acquainted themselves with Sanchin Kata, perform Sanchin. (You may use this convenient link to acquaint yourself with Sanchin Kata https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/ ) Karate practitioners, please see the recommendations of the the “Kata Sommelier” below);
  • During your performance note the experience of your surroundings, what are the sights and smells? If barefoot, how does the ground feel (is it sandy, rocky, watery, etc). Pay attention to the weather conditions; was it hot, sunny, cold, rainy?
  • Remember the time of day of your performance; sunrise, midday, sunset, etc. Take notes of your experiences before and after the kata performance so that they will be associated with the kata;
  • If you are with someone, recall their presence during your kata;
  • If possible, to assist you, take a photo of a pose from your kata, video record the performance or simply jot down a few notes for future reference;
  • Remember that you interact with the environment during your kata performance, therefore, you leave a part of you in the environment. Thus, a part of you will always remain “on vacation” at that location.
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate colleagues I would recommend that you perform a different kata at each of the various locations you visit this summer. This way a specific kata will be associated with a specific location, thus giving you a lasting “souvenir.”

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Good luck and have a great summer collecting Kata souvenirs! Once again, the online course is FREE  https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

 

Donations are appreciated!

If you enjoy the FREE posts, videos, or have tried my FREE Kata-RX course & have the ability to donate, please feel free to do so & help defray the costs of same. Thank-you & please try the FREE course.

$5.00

Sensei John Szmitkowski

       Bonus FREE course for all martial artists who perform Kata – FREE Kata Laboratory mini-course (Time as a fourth dimension of distance) – learn conveniently, safely at your own pace in the comfort of your own home using this convenient link     https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/course-1-kata-laboratory-introduction

 

Kata RX – A Perfect Summer Souvenir & FREE offer

24 Jun

Learn Kata For Wellness for FREE in the comfort of your home, at your convenience! Use this convenient link to join the FREE online course:   https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

Ah, summer is here!

A time when many of us travel. Whether we journey to an exotic location for an extended stay, simply indulge ourselves in a long weekend, or take the refreshing day trip, a hallmark of summer is travel. In an effort to preserve our experiences, such travel usually involves the ritual of obtaining souvenirs. Here is a simple way to collect a souvenir for no financial cost; the sole cost may be expressed in terms of a little sweat.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004 – Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Since I was first introduced to the concept at ten years old by Sensei Nock D’Antuono, I have always enjoyed performing kata outdoors in any location. I can unabashedly admit that I prefer to perform kata in the magnificence of Nature’s Dojo instead of the relative sterility of a traditional dojo. To be sure, the traditional dojo carries an aura and mystique for me, but, I carry such a dojo in my heart and prefer to exhibit it in nature.

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

For decades, I have collected kata souvenirs of my many travels. Much like looking through a photo album, I am able to revisit my travels by recalling them while performing my kata. Regardless of my present location, I can perform a kata and recall a memory of performing the kata at a different time and in a different place.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

Here is a video of my most last kata souvenir filmed in 2014 amongst the wild horse herd at the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

Here are a few tips to assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs.

  • Wherever you travel perform your kata. For those readers that acquainted themselves with Sanchin Kata, perform Sanchin. (You may use this convenient link to acquaint yourself with Sanchin Kata https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/ ) Karate practitioners, please see the recommendations of the the “Kata Sommelier” below);
  • During your performance note the experience of your surroundings, what are the sights and smells? If barefoot, how does the ground feel (is it sandy, rocky, watery, etc). Pay attention to the weather conditions; was it hot, sunny, cold, rainy?
  • Remember the time of day of your performance; sunrise, midday, sunset, etc. Take notes of your experiences before and after the kata performance so that they will be associated with the kata;
  • If you are with someone, recall their presence during your kata;
  • If possible, to assist you, take a photo of a pose from your kata, video record the performance or simply jot down a few notes for future reference;
  • Remember that you interact with the environment during your kata performance, therefore, you leave a part of you in the environment. Thus, a part of you will always remain “on vacation” at that location.
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate colleagues I would recommend that you perform a different kata at each of the various locations you visit this summer. This way a specific kata will be associated with a specific location, thus giving you a lasting “souvenir.”

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Good luck and have a great summer collecting Kata souvenirs! Once again, the online course is FREE  https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

In closing, I remain collecting my kata summer souvenirs.

 

Donations are appreciated!

If you enjoy the FREE posts, videos, or have tried my FREE Kata-RX course & have the ability to donate, please feel free to do so & help defray the costs of same. Thank-you & please try the FREE course.

$5.00

Sensei John Szmitkowski

 

Sanchin In The Outermost House

22 Aug

There are many things I enjoy about summer; kata outdoors, going to the beach, riding my Indian (without freezing), and revisiting my annual “summer-reads.” There are a few books I enjoy re-reading during the summer, Hemingway’s “The Old Man and The Sea”, Nick Lyons’ compilation, “Hemingway On Fishing”, Thoreau’s “Cape Cod” and Henry Beston’s “The Outermost House.”

Recently I was at the beach in Asbury Park, NJ. My toes in the sand, time stood still. Hour after hour I floated in the cool blue waters of the Atlantic, performed Sanchin Kata in the sand and in the surf (a Sanchin Surf-N-Turf). Resting on my blanket under the shade of my umbrella, I re-read Beston’s “The Outermost House.” As always a few passages resonated deep within me. Including this one:

 “The world today is sick to its thin blood for lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water welling from the earth, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot.” (See Endnote # 1)

Time marched forward and all too soon it was time to pack and return home. There are certain inevitable natural and man-made forces that simply can’t be avoided. On such example is traffic on the Garden State Parkway. Somewhere around exit 130 it started. It was going to be a long trip home. Rather than let this inevitable fact dampen my beach rejuvenated spirit.

Asbury art – my “third-eye”

I reflected on how, over the years Sanchin Kata (and others) have maintained my connection with the natural environment. Unlike those other’s on the Parkway that angrily sat hating their fate, disconnected from nature, I am refreshed by my kata and elemental things.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

Let me share a few photos and videos with you. It is my hope that this will inspire you to learn not only Sanchin Kata, but also my method of moving meditation I call “Jiriki Kata-Do” (“The way of self-wellness through kata”). Hint – hint – I hope to have the latest manual on the newest techniques available by year’s end. Curious? Check out this link: https://senseijohn.me/2018/07/25/dont-read-this-unless/

Videos can be found on my FlyFishingDojo You-tube channel or the video page above.

 

Performing Sanchin I see a seagull fly past, Cape Cod, 2016

Highland Light Overlook, Cape Cod, 2014

I hope you remain connected to the elemental things.
Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Endnote:

1. Beston, Henry, The Outermost House ( Henry Holt & Co, New York, NY, 1928) p. 10.

Seienchin Kata during Sturgis Bike Week, Badlands State Park, 2003

   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!

  For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

© Copyright 2018 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

Kata Lab # 1240: Kata – A Flowing River

28 Mar

Donations are appreciated

My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

$5.00

“You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.” – Heraclitus

Background:

This is the only Kata Lab that will be be able to complete. You will fail at the objective. Not for lack of skill, or desire. It is utterly impossible to perform this Kata Lab.
There is a maxim in karate-do, “Perfect your kata.” Many teachers and masters utter this to their students who do no more than nod their head like a bobbled head on a car dashboard. The students then go and set about to perfect their kata. What rubbish. I submit that you can never perform the exact same kata twice. Thus, a kata cannot be perfected. You can perform a reasonable facsimile of the same kata. “Top-rated” tournament kata practitioners may achieve a level of performance similarity in their chosen one or two tournament kata. But, they too, will fail in trying to perform the exact same kata twice. The unsophisticated kata practitioner, particularity those that train one or two kata for tournament similarity will disagree, perhaps vehemently with my statement. Why? “Does not the fact that they consistently win trophies with their few chosen tournament kata demonstrate that their level of performance is homogenous? Perhaps, but only to those who only understand kata superficially.

If you understand kata within the context of the three aspects that I submit are present in kata, then you can see how it is utterly impossible to perform the same exact in the exact same manner twice, even in a lifetime. Also true is the idea that performing a kata that is mostly (90 percent or more) similar is a profound accomplishment.

Experimentation:

You may wish to video tape yourself performing this experiment. After your practice, you can then refer to the video and take notes as to each performance. You should note any dissimilar areas during each performance. The less dissimilar areas, the closer you are to having performed the same kata twice. (Alternatively, you may wish to take notes after each kata performance for your later review.)
Select your favorite kata to practice;
Over a period of a few days or a week, practice the kata two or three times, trying to perform a kata exactly the same way;
After doing so, analyze each performance. Take notice of those areas of the kata that differ from one performance to the next. How close did you get to performing the same kata twice?

Regardless of whether or not you notes indicate that you came close to performing the same kata in the exact same manner (very few notes as to dissimilar areas). You utterly failed this kata lab. Worse is if your notes indicate that all areas of the kata were similar on at least two occasions; for you truly do not understand my three levels of kata.

First and foremost (as my father would say), “I bet you a dollar to a donut” that your list only addresses the physical movements of the kata. A block or strike that may have been off target, a stance that was less than perfect or a kata cadence that lacked the correct timing. As such, you only understand and thus, addressed one-third of the overall kata experience. (You may wish to pause and refer to my article on the three aspects of kata using this link: https://senseijohn.me/2013/05/20/kata-lab-101-three-states-of-bunkai/

Second, my spiritual aspect of kata (the manner in which kata affects your state-of-mind, emotions and psyche and vice-versa) is fatal to your performing the exact same kata twice. Our mental state is too much in flux to maintain it through various kata performance. Yes, you may convince yourself that during your kata you maintained all the applicable martial arts mind states. Sure, you may feel you achieved, Mushin, Zanshin, Nenjuushin and all the other “shins” of kata. But, you’re fooling yourself. Your emotions and psyche change from one moment to the next within a single kata performance, let alone from one kata performance to the next. (Endnote # 1 describe an example)

Third, my environmental aspect of kata (how the external environment affects your kata and vice-versa) will frustrate your attempts to perform this kata lab. If you practiced your kata in different locations, then by definition, you did not perform the exact same kata twice. If; however, you performed this lab in the exact same location, you still performed in in a different external environment and therefore failed to perform the exact same kata twice. You cannot control the temperature, humidity, dust and dirt on the floor, clothing (yes, different clothes affect you kata, even your gi, which may be dry at the start of practice and soaked with sweat at the end will produce a different performance).

Now, having the benefit of the above, try to perform the exact same kata twice and see how utterly impossible it is.

Conclusion:

You can perform the same kata twice, but no two will ever be exactly alike. This is not an error, but a unique phenomenon of kata. Thus, you can never perfect your kata. You can; however, achieve a goal set by Coach Vince Lombardi for his Green Bay Packers football team, “We will strive for perfection knowing full well we will never achieve it, but in the process we will find excellence.” So, rather than perfect your kata, excel at your kata.

In a lifetime no kata will be exactly the same.
To perform a kata the exact same way twice, you must repeat, without change all three aspects:
physical aspect – all movements performed with kime intensity, speed, tempo, etc;
spiritual aspect – all movements performed with the same emotion (at the same point in the kata each time), with the same state of mind, with the same transition from emotion to emotion or state-of-mind to state-of-mind (this may even be required by the specific kata)
environmental aspect – the environment within which your kata is performed must remain constant (absent a “clean” room) this is impossible – air changes and flows, light changes, temperature varies even slightly. Even if such factors are “controlled”, nature will win out (for example, it takes 8 seconds for a photon of light to leave the Sun and reach earth, therefore, lighting for each kata will be different.

The key of this Lab is to understand that each and every kata performance is as fleeting and rare as each and every moment of life itself. You cannot take a kata for granted. The same is true of each and every moment of life.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

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

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Featured video from my “Underground Bunkai” series:

   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!

© Copyright 2018 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

 

My Black Belts Stole From Me – A Thieving Tradition

28 Feb

A Black Belt must have the utmost integrity. Having said that, I will confess that my students “stole” from me. After the “theft” they still earned a black belt! Further, the “theft” was committed with my blessing.

In my opinion the worst form of “paying” for the gift of karate-do education is money, currency, cold-hard cash (or debt card in these modern times). I’ve had students that could not afford monthly dues, help teach, clean the dojo and even cook a few dinners. In this way, my students became equal with me as Sensei in that we each gave of ourselves. This is more valuable than the cheapness of currency.

But, is it proper to steal from Sensei?

Sometime in 1998, I made a decision concerning a group of four brown belts training at the Issho Dojo. In order for them to pass their test for ni-kyu, (brown belt, two stripes) they would have to learn Gojushiho Kata. In devious fashion, I told them that I would not teach them the kata.

This posed a problem. They had to learn the kata for the next rank. If I would not teach it to them, how would they learn it?

In those days, there were no You-tube GDK-D Gojushiho videos (like this one featuring archival footage from the 1960’s to 2012 where I perform Gojushiho in a snowstorm):

The four arrived at the dojo for the next class. Before class, I casually mentioned that I was going to the nearby park to “clear my head.” I did this for the next three classes. The brown belts became curious.

One night after I went to the park, they waited about ten minutes and followed. They stood at the edge of the park and watched me. They saw me repeatedly practice a kata that they did not know. I noticed them and practiced the first four moves of the kata again and again After fifteen minutes of performing the opening sequence, I walked to the edge of the park. Together, we silently walked back to the Dojo.

The next night I repeated my routine. Again, they waited and walked to the park. I repeatedly practiced the first four moves. This time they only watched for about ten minutes and hurried back to the dojo. After about fifteen minutes I returned to the dojo but did not enter. I surreptitiously peaked into the Dojo window. The four of them were hard at work practicing what they observed me doing. Each watched the other and reached a consensus as to the correctness of what they saw.

On my next pre-class visit to the park, I would slowly and in an exaggerated manner practice movements that they did not quite “steal” correctly. I would also slowly add movements and sequences.

During class, I would give them “strange” kumite drills, self-defense and heavy bag combinations. These drills and combinations came from future kata sequences. They were using kata applications to steal the kata.

This went on for about five months. They were stealing from me; however, they did not know exactly what they were stealing. One night during formal class, I asked the four brown belts to join me in performing Gojushiho Kata. The brown belts looked at each other. “But Sensei, you told us that you would not teach us the kata.” “That’s true,” I said, “But I did let you steal it from me.” “Now, let’s see what you stole.” The four brown belts joined me in performing the kata.

They learned Gojushiho Kata by “stealing” it. They were the first kata-thieves of GDK-D.

Shihan DeFelice first opened the door in May of 1965 and since then GDK-D has been continuously taught. Many students walked into the dojo. Less than thirty made black belt. So, compared to the overall number of students that started GDK-D, very few learned Gojushiho Kata. I could not allow myself to teach such a rare kata for something as worthless as money, but, I could allow it to be stolen from me.

The four brown belts were promoted to sho-dan (first degree black belt) in January, 2000. I made each of them promise me that they would not teach any future student Gojushiho Kata. It must always be stolen. With that promise, a new tradition was born – a future black belt must be a thief; and Gojushiho Kata is the desired object.

Shihan Paul Recchia, Myself & The “Kata-Thieves” at their Black Belt Promotion

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

 

     For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

Here’s my latest Kata Lab video filmed 0n beautiful Cape Cod bay

© Copyright 2018 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
   my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

Kata Lab # 3250 – Kata Within You – Intermediate

31 Jan

Donations are appreciated!

My Kata Lab posts, representing my almost five decades of experience, are shared here free. If you would like to donate to help defray costs, your generosity is appreciated. Thank-you & THINK-SWEAT-EXPERIMENT with kata.

$5.00

As a scientist I’d rather have questions I can’t answer than answers I can’t question.” – Max Tegmark, Physicist (appearing on “How The Universe Works,” Season 6, Episode 1: “Are Black Holes Real?”)

Background:

This Kata Lab builds on the concepts I set forth in Kata Lab # 2250 – Kata Within You – Introduction – https://senseijohn.me/2017/08/30/kata-lab-2250-kata-within-you-introduction/

Kata is always within you.
In fact, you intentionally train to have kata within you. If a time comes when you are confronted by an attacker, kata rises to the surface and you can successfully defend yourself. The kata sequences that you instinctively use in your defense will vary based upon a great number of circumstances. This kata lab explores that actuality.

In September 2017, had my annual visit to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As always, I combined my vacation with training, writing and video of kata. I decided to spontaneously create a kata that would represent my feelings being on Cape Cod. As you can see in the video below, the bay that day was calm; however, the day before was windy and the bay was filled with white caps. I wanted to perform a kata t capture that feeling.

The easy choice would have naturally been Seienchin (“Calm in the storm / Storm in the calm”) but that would not have been a spontaneously created kata. I did; however want to incorporate a movement or two from Seienchin but not let it over-power the kata created. I thought I would uses sequences from Sanchin, Suparunpei and Seipai Kata to round off a symbolic kata. A deep breath and – P’Town Kata (for Provincetown where I was staying) was born. I hope you enjoy the video.

Now, how to do the – – –

Experiment: (To assist you I have a video that follows the protocols):

  • Review my comments in above, use it as a guide to formulate what you hope to “accomplish” in performing the kata.
  • Do not pre-select a specific kata for this lab; rather think about a few sequences from kata that you may wish to randomly group together;
  • Do not “spontaneously” perform your “favorite” kata. To do so defeats the As
    you go about your day be aware of the fact that your kata is brewing
    inside you,waiting to let itself out;
  • At a random point in time (you may also use a timer as in previous kata labs), let
    the kata out. Group the sequences that you had thought to combine – just let i it
    flow! For now don’t worry about symmetry or positional coincidence. Just let the
    kata flow;
  • The kata that bursts forth from within you should be as random as possible based
    upon your physical and psychological needs at the time.

Conclusion:
This Kata Lab is designed to bridge te gap between the Introductory Kata Lab contained in the “Background” and a more advanced Kata Lab (which will be released at a later date).

I think it will be fun and challenging and give you a look in to my Kata Lab motto of – “Think-Sweat-Experiment” with Kata

This week’s featured video provides another example of spontaneously performing kata. It is a kata I created on cold morning during my 2013 road trip from Arizona to New Jersey. It is the first kata on the video below and was filmed by my truck’s headlights; enjoy.

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

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

© Copyright 2018 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

 

Kata – A Perfect Summer Souvenir

21 Jun

Ah, summer is here!

A time when many of us travel. Whether we journey to an exotic location for an extended stay, simply indulge ourselves in a long weekend, or take the refreshing day trip, a hallmark of summer is travel. In an effort to preserve our experiences, such travel usually involves the ritual of obtaining souvenirs. Here is a simple way to collect a souvenir for no financial cost; the sole cost may be expressed in terms of a little sweat.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004 – Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Since I was first introduced to the concept at ten years old by Sensei Nock D’Antuono, I have always enjoyed performing kata outdoors in any location. I can unabashedly admit that I prefer to perform kata in the magnificence of Nature’s Dojo instead of the relative sterility of a traditional dojo. To be sure, the traditional dojo carries an aura and mystique for me, but, I carry such a dojo in my heart and prefer to exhibit it in nature.

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

For decades, I have collected kata souvenirs of my many travels. Much like looking through a photo album, I am able to revisit my travels by recalling them while performing my kata. Regardless of my present location, I can perform a kata and recall a memory of performing the kata at a different time and in a different place.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

Here is a video of my most last kata souvenir filmed in 2014 amongst the wild horse herd at the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

Here are a few tips to assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs.

  • Wherever you travel perform your kata. For those readers that acquainted themselves with Sanchin Kata, perform Sanchin. (You may use this convenient link to acquaint yourself with Sanchin Kata https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/ ) Karate practitioners, please see the recommendations of the the “Kata Sommelier” below);
  • During your performance note the experience of your surroundings, what are the sights and smells? If barefoot, how does the ground feel (is it sandy, rocky, watery, etc). Pay attention to the weather conditions; was it hot, sunny, cold, rainy?
  • Remember the time of day of your performance; sunrise, midday, sunset, etc. Take notes of your experiences before and after the kata performance so that they will be associated with the kata;
  • If you are with someone, recall their presence during your kata;
  • If possible, to assist you, take a photo of a pose from your kata, video record the performance or simply jot down a few notes for future reference;
  • Remember that you interact with the environment during your kata performance, therefore, you leave a part of you in the environment. Thus, a part of you will always remain “on vacation” at that location.
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate colleagues I would recommend that you perform a different kata at each of the various locations you visit this summer. This way a specific kata will be associated with a specific location, thus giving you a lasting “souvenir.”

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Good luck and have a great summer collecting Kata souvenirs!

Here is a video of my Shobu Sanchin Kata while being watched by vultures.

In closing, I remain collecting my kata summer souvenirs.

Sensei John Szmitkowski

     For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/
  Sensei John is available his Kata Laboratory seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

© Copyright 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
   my fishing blog which includes my fishing journals and the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

Sea-Monsters . . . “Thats OK”

10 Aug

Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans.
For the ocean, deep and black in depths, is like the low dark levels of or minds in which the dream symbols incubate and sometimes rise up to sight. . . And even if the symbol vision is horrible, it is there and it is ours. An ocean without its unnamed monsters would be like a completely dreamless sleep. (See Endnote # 1)

HUMPBACK-3       Although we like to think of our world as one of harmony, it is in fact a balance of chaotic, opposing forces – hot/cold, large/small, active/passive, joy/sorrow, good/evil and the like. We desire harmony in our lives. Such harmony is only possible when we recognize the opposing forces that lie without and within ourselves. We may have little influence over the factors that are external to ourselves, but we can directly influence the factors that lie within ourselves. To do so, we must not desire to suppress them, rather, we must recognize the darkness, the sea-monster, if you will, that lies within us. Once recognized, such sea-monsters can be dispelled. To this end, I offer this “. . . thats OK” (Online Kata) session.

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

Tensho Kata practice, Cape Cod, MA, circa, 1999

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing Sanchin in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Week Of: Monday August 10th, 2015;
Time: any convenient, quiet time for introspection;
Location: Preferably an outdoor location and if at all possible, by the sea or other body of water;
Recommended Kata: For those non-martial artist readers that have learned Sanchin, perform Sanchin. For Karate readers in addition to Sanchin, you may also wish to perform Seienchin or Suparunpei (Pechurin) Kata;
Salient Points:

  • Prior to practice, re-read the above passage;
  • If you perform the 4-direction Sanchin, during the shobu performance, be aware of the negative aspects of your personality and psyche. Recognize these negative aspect and dispel them during the shobu-Sanchin. As you perform the relaxed Sanchin, recognize the positive aspects of your being and nurture them;
  • As you perform the recommended kata,, during the hard, tense exhalation, be aware of the negative aspects of your personality and psyche. Recognize these negative aspects and dispel them during exhalation. As you inhale with a relaxed body, recognize the positive aspects of your being and nurture them;
  • After your performance, again read the above passage and consider the “sea monsters” (negative aspects) that dwell within you.” Remember that even if these “sea-monsters” are dark and deep, they are yours. Recognize them and work to positively change them. For without these “sea-monsters” you would be empty, “like a dreamless sleep;”
  • Change the negative aspects into a positive force in your life and enrich yourself in the process;
    You should reflect deep and well on the above;
  • The last requirement of this “Thats OK session is to remain in a state of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind”).
  • Once again, you may wish to not only perform this session as scheduled, but may wish to incorporate it into your regular practice.

Here is my “Sea-Monster” Seinchin Kata filmed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Cod, MA in 2012:

shark sign   In closing, I remain aware that sea-monsters do exist and reside within all of our personal oceans,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:
1. John Steinbeck, The Log Of The Sea Of Cortez (Penguin Books, New York, NY) p.27-28.

sunsu-2   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

KATA LAB   For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

© Copyright 2015 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 – Summer’s Souvenir

15 Jun

dreams-seisan               Ah, summer is here!

A time when many of us travel. Whether we journey to an exotic location for an extended stay, simply indulge ourselves in a long weekend, or take the refreshing day trip, a hallmark of summer is travel. In an effort to preserve our experiences, such travel usually involves the ritual of obtaining souvenirs. Here is a simple way to collect a souvenir for no financial cost; the sole cost may be expressed in terms of a little sweat.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

Since I was first introduced to the concept at ten years old by Sensei Nock D’Antuono, I have always enjoyed performing kata outdoors in any location. I can unabashedly admit that I prefer to perform kata in the magnificence of Nature’s Dojo instead of the relative sterility of a traditional dojo. To be sure, the traditional dojo carries an aura and mystique for me, but, I carry such a dojo in my heart and prefer to exhibit it in nature.

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

For decades, I have collected kata souvenirs of my many travels. Much like looking through a photo album, I am able to revisit my travels by recalling them while performing my kata. Regardless of my present location, I can perform a kata and recall a memory of performing the kata at a different time and in a different place.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

Here are a few tips to assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs.

  • Wherever you travel perform your kata. For those readers that acquainted themselves with Sanchin Kata, perform Sanchin. (You may use this convenient link to acquaint yourself with Sanchin Kata https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/ ) Karate practitioners, please see the recommendations of the the “Kata Sommelier” below);
  • During your performance note the experience of your surroundings, what are the sights and smells? If barefoot, how does the ground feel (is it sandy, rocky, watery, etc). Pay attention to the weather conditions; was it hot, sunny, cold, rainy?
  • Remember the time of day of your performance; sunrise, midday, sunset, etc. Take notes of your experiences before and after the kata performance so that they will be associated with the kata;
  • If you are with someone, recall their presence during your kata;
  • If possible, to assist you, take a photo of a pose from your kata, video record the performance or simply jot down a few notes for future reference;
  • Remember that you interact with the environment during your kata performance, therefore, you leave a part of you in the environment. Thus, a part of you will always remain “on vacation” at that location.
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate colleagues I would recommend that you perform a different kata at each of the various locations you visit this summer. This way a specific kata will be associated with a specific location, thus giving you a lasting “souvenir.”

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Good luck and have a great summer collecting Kata souvenirs!

Here is a video of my most last kata souvenir filmed in 2014 amongst the wild horse herd at the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona.

In closing, I remain collecting my kata summer souvenirs.

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

KATA LAB  For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/
dreams-seisan  Sensei John is available his Kata Laboratory seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

© Copyright 2015 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 – Reverse Seienchin Kata

1 Jun

“What becomes authentic (traditional) when you live in Purgatory?”
(Chef Roy Choi interviewed on Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown: Last Bites)

KATA LAB

Background:

With the popularity of my Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/ and my Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/ , I wanted take the concept even further. To do so we can use Seienchin Kata as a means to understand the concept on both a physical level but also a spiritual level.

Unlike the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab where the movements of the kata were reversed and the breathing pattern remained the same, in this lab, the breathing patterns will be reversed and the movements remain the same. Why Seienchin and not Sanchin Kata for this lab? Simple, as you can see in the analysis below, there is a unique concept that applies to Seienchin Kata that makes it highly qualified for this type of experiment. Seienchin allows you to begin to understand how the physical movements of kata impart a mental aspect to kata.

Kanji for "Seienchin", sumi-e ink on rice paper

Kanji for “Seienchin”, sumi-e ink on rice paper

  • Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
    Perform Seienchin Kata as you normally would;
  • Take a moment and reflect on the two interpretations of the kata, specifically paying attention to the manner in which they are enlivened by the movements of the kata;
    Interpretation # 1: “Calm in the storm, storm in the calm”
    Interpretation # 2: “Walk far to quell & conquer” (see endnote # 1)
  • Perform Seienchin but time reverse the slow and fast sequences. For example, the opening sequences which are normally, slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension, must now be performed fast and with kime (focus). Movements which are fast and with kime must now be performed slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension;
  • After your performance, deeply consider how the reversal impacted your earlier conclusions as to how the kata enlivened the two interpretations of the kanji.

To assist you with this Kata Lab, I have created the following video.

Conclusion:

This kata lab affects two of the three battles (aspects) of kata (See Endnote # 2). The two aspects are the physical and spiritual aspect.

Both components of the physical aspect (bodily movement & breathing) are affected. First, by reversing the method of performing the movements, hard movements soft and vice-versa, the component of bodily movement is affected. Second, by reversing the manner of breathing, this component is also affected.

The spiritual aspect is affected initially by reversing the symbology of the storm and the calm within the kata. Seienchin, performed in the traditional manner, begins with the calm (Sanchin kata-like opening sequences) and encounters the storm (hard and fast sequences). The kata continues by alternating between the calm and storm, ending with the calm.Reverse Seienchin makes the performer immediately encounter the storm, transcends to the calm and ends with the storm. This produces a shift in mental attitude. You should consider how this effect impacts martial fighting theory and life attitude theory of conflict resolution.

In addition, the concept to “To walk far to quell and conquer” is significantly affected. The result is to “Conquer and subsequently quell.” This has significant ideological connotations worthy of further study.

One final comment as to the third aspect of kata, the metaphysical aspect. Although not directly affected by this kata lab, the aspect is always present anytime a kata is performed.

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 Kata Lab, help fund my future experiments & get a unique product from my online store: Come visit my store on CafePress!

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ENDNOTES:

1. Naturally, the interpretation of a kata is systemic in nature. I am not suggesting you abandon your system’s interpretation of Seienchin Kata. I do ask that, for purposes of this Kata Lab, you initially consider the interpretation of Seienchin Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do (DeFelice-Ryu) and then apply your conclusions to the interpretation of your system of karate-do.

2. You may recall my definition of the three battles of Sancin Kata, which are present in every kata, as:
Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
Spiritual Battle, the manner in which a kata affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
Environmental 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  this one dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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Kata Lab # 1150: Kata – Makiwara – Kata

23 Mar

“A pond which is not fed by a fresh stream becomes stagnant and will die and so will an ardent karate-ka continually modify their art.” —- Chosin Chibana

KATA LAB

Kata Lab: Kata with makiwara or heavy bag

Background:
Too often kata is viewed as either an individual pursuit limited to performing the kata or one requiring a partner (bunkai practice). The purpose of this Kata Lab is to introduce you to the idea that you can begin to expand your kata practice and bunkai (analysis) by yourself, without a partner, beyond the scope of the kata itself.

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

Select a favorite kata that you are very familiar with and can perform technically well. Practice the kata using the following procedures:

procedure # 1 (full kata-heavy bag):
Perform the kata with the appropriate speed and power with a state-of-mind that you are in a real fight; (at the end of your kata, you must have “survived” the fight);
Immediately after the kata, use either a makiwara or heavy bag (practice only basic technique – simple reverse punches, front kicks and the like) full speed and power,
Immediately after that, perform your kata slowly, paying attention to executing the movements;
during the kata performance, recall how your body felt as you hit the heavy bag – what your knuckles or ball of the foot felt like, what the bag itself felt like as you impacted it, how your stance felt at the moment of impact and the like;
try to recall this feeling into your future kata practice.

procedure # 2 (kata interrupted by bag, return to kata):
This will require either a partner or a self-timer. If using a timer, set the timer to ring at about halfway through your kata;
Begin your kata ;
At a random point in the kata performance, the partner calls out a command (or when the timer rings);
At that signal, interrupt your kata and practice on the makiwara or heavy bag as in procedure # 1 for about 30 to 45 seconds
After the time limit stop the makiwara or heavy bag work, remain where you are and in whatever direction they are facing;
Then return to performing your kata, but you must begin at the point where you left off and finish the kata;
Advanced version: during the time you are striking the heavy bag, use strikes, kicks and combinations from the kata itself.

I have filmed the following brief video to illustrate the concept of kata interrupted. The video was filmed at the spectacular Lower Salt River, Arizona.

Conclusion:
The above procedure will help you begin to expand your kata practice beyond the scope of the kata itself. This will enable you to advance to more difficult procedures both without the need of a training partner and with a partner when one is available.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

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/

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 combining martial arts protocol with fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com

and

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

Sanchin Kata “Too Easy” . . . “That’s OK”

26 Jan

Many of you have acquainted yourself with Sanchin Kata using my free resources. For those readers unfamiliar with Sanchin Kata, you can freely acquaint yourself with the kata and join in this group session using the following link: https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/
There are those that after regularly performing Sanchin Kata begin to feel that Sanchin is “too easy.” Personally, after forty-three years of Sanchin, I find this a ridiculous statement, but, let’s see. Before giving up on Sanchin as “too easy”, perform the kata in reverse. If you can easily do that on the first try, then so be it, quit Sanchin Kata practice.
But, first, see if you can perform this session,

Sanchin Kata is “too easy . . That’s OK (Online Kata)

Remember, the group dynamic is not fulfilled by all of us being geographically present, rather, it is fulfilled by each of us performing our kata in the proscribed manner.

Session Parameters:
Date: Week of: Monday January 26th, 2014
Time: Anytime
Location: Any location;
Salient Points:
Perform your Sanchin as normal, and remain in position on the last move;
Then perform Sanchin Kata in reverse order; the last move being performed first.
Kata Sommelier: For my karate brethren, I would recommend that you perform Sanchin Kata. Once you acquaint yourself with the idea of performing a kata in reverse, then you may wish to try it with your most basic kata.
Video Assistance: To assist you in this Online Kata session, I have prepared the following video:

The last requirement of this “. . . That’s OK” session is to remain in a positive physical, emotional and mental state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind.” For information on the Zanshin state-of-mind, please use this LINK: https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/23/zanshin-remaining-mind-shibumi-project/

Once again, you may wish to not only perform this “. . . That’s OK” session as scheduled, but may also revisit the session as a regular part of your kata practice.

As I post this, the northeast part of the United States is getting hammered with a ‘historic” blizzard. Once I shovel out, it may be time for some kata in a blizzard videos. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Tensho in a blizzard from a few winters ago.

In closing I remain,
HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy participating in this “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session, please show you support,

Come visit my store on CafePress!

all items have a minimal mark-up of only $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 over base prices!

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

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

Newest Kata Lab Videos

23 Nov

With family health issues and my relocation to New Jersey from Arizona, I fell behind in creating videos. I have finally caught up with a backlog of videos; particularly videos in my Kata Laboratory category. To better serve you and enhance your understanding of some of my previously posted Kata Labs, I added a few videos.

But first, I think it is worth to again share with you my most profound kata experience among one of the herds of wild horses that call the Lower Salt River, Arizona home. Enjoy

These videos represent some of the last ones filmed in stunning Arizona scenery.

KATA LAB

AZ-RIVER  This video which features footage filmed at the spectacular Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, was added to the article Kata Lab – Dr. Jekyll’s Potion – Link to article: https://senseijohn.me/2014/02/09/kata-lab-122-kata-dr-jekylls-potion/

 

AZ-RIVER  This video which features footage filmed in a snowstorm and New Jersey and at the spectacular Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, was added to the article Kata Lab – Kata To Modify Emotions – Link to article: https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/

 

sunsu-2 This video which features footage filmed at the spectacular Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, was added to the article Kata Lab – Kata – Kumite Ichi – Link to article https://senseijohn.me/2014/01/26/kata-lab-211-kata-kumite-ichi/

I have also posted a few new Kata Labs, also with videos. They are

KANJI SANCHIN-SMALL Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata – Link to article: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/

 

BUNKAI--beauty of move copy  Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata – Link to article: https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/

 

The idea for the Random Sanchin Kata Lab had recently occurred to me while watching a chess tournament online. You can read the background story in the article “Kata: My Curse?” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/09/22/kata-my-curse/

I’ll soon be on the road back to New Jersey and will have more articles and videos (always filmed outdoors, in Nature’s Dojo). Until then enjoy and thank-you for following my blog.

If you enjoy my Kata Lab articles and videos, please help support future experiments with a unique Kata Lab logo product available at my online store

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

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

   LOGO-WEBSITE  You may wish to view my other blogs –
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

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

Wild Horses & Seienchin Kata – An Unexpected Saikou

10 Nov

November 7th I was at the Lower Salt River, Arizona. In anticipation of relocating back to my home state of New Jersey, I wanted to maximize my day. My plan was to film kata footage for my kata video library, fish (hopefully catching a few for photos for my fishing blog, see below) and generally enjoy one of my last days on the river. What I did not plan was a saikou, supreme experience.

On that day, I was blessed with a chance encounter with one of the herds of wild horses that call the river home. Readers of my fishing blog know that I have encountered the herds in the past. What makes this encounter different is that not only would it likely be my last encounter with the herd, but I was at the right place and right time to be able to perform one of my favorite kata with the herd. The kata was Seienchin Kata. The translation of the kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for Seienchin translates, inter alia, as “Calm in the storm, storm in the calm.”

Kanji for "Seienchin", sumi-e ink on rice paper

Kanji for “Seienchin”, sumi-e ink on rice paper

As spontaneous as my choice of kata was, in retrospect, it turned out to be a great symbol of these difficult days of packing, arranging for rental of my home and relocating to a bit of uncertainty, the storm. Contrasting this is the calm of that day on the river; almost as if the “Natural Force” that I wrote about so much was telling me it will all work out. Noteworthy is that the Seienchin Kata makes characteristic use of of the “kiba-dache”, “Horse-riding stance”, a perfect kata to perform in the presence of a herd of wild horses.

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this post please help support this blog, visit my store.

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  (Coming to New Jersey & the East Coast in 2015) – – – For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

KATA LAB  For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/

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

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

Kata Lab # 4210: Random Sanchin Kata

3 Nov

BUNKAI--beauty of move copy  “The beauty of a move is not in its appearance, but in the thought behind it.”

Chess Grandmaster Aron Nimzowitsch

 

 

KATA LAB

Precursor Labs:
Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/

Background:
This Kata Lab takes the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab (a link is above) one step closer to its natural conclusion. The idea for this lab came to me while watching a chess tournament, the 2014 Sinquefield Cup held in St. Louis Missouri. For details, please use this link, Kata – My Curse? https://senseijohn.me/2014/09/22/kata-my-curse/

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

  • Perform the movements of Sanchin Kata spontaneously, in a random manner. Do not pre-plan your performance.;
  • This is extremely difficult. Even though the movements are performed in a random manner, they MUST be performed accurately, in the correct stance (for example, the three punches must be executed in a right sanchin stance);
  • You should perform your random Sanchin Kata with a partner observing. The partner must verify that all the movements were performed in the correct stance and the all movements are accounted for (for example, 3 right sanchin stances, 3 left sanchin stances, 2 mawaski-uke with tora-zuki, and the like). If you do not have a partner, you should record video of the performance. You can then watch the video to verify all movements were performed.
  • Once you achieve success, try performing the movements of Tensho Kata in random order.

For your consideration, I have prepared the following video of one example of Random Sanchin Kata, filmed in the spectacular Lower Salt River canyon, Arizona.

Points To Consider & Compare:
Please consider the following points and compare with the points I set forth in the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab as follows:
In the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab, I asked you to keep the following points in mind.
1. The movements of reverse Sanchin are calculated or intentional.

2. 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.

3. Given the above, of the three battles of Sanchin (Physical, Spiritual and Environmental battles) only the Physical aspect of the kata is changed in reverse Sanchin.

Now, compare each point of reverse Sanchin to the random version of Sanchin.

1. The movements of random Sanchin are (and must be) utterly spontaneous.

2. As the movements are random, the breathing pattern varies with each random performance.

3. Given the above, both the physical and spiritual battles of Sanchin are affected. With increased development of the random Sanchin Kata, you will also affect the metaphysical battle. For those needed a refresher on my definition of the three battles of Sanchin, please see Endnote # 1.

4. Deeply reflect on the concept that although the movements were performed in random order, you can find a pattern hidden within your random Sanchin. For example, though unplanned on my part, the pattern hidden with my video taped performance is 1-3-1-1-3-1.

5. In the future, you can elongate the random Sanchin kata by stepping on each triple move. So, in lieu of remaining in a right sanchin stance for the three punches, you can perform each punch using a separate step BUT ALWAYS in a right sanchin stance. The 3 ridge-hand strikes performed in a left sanchin stances must be performed as separate steps to balance the kata. Notice that the intricacy of any hidden pattern is reduced, exempli gratia (e.g): 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.

6. Consider that mathematically, the 6 movements of Sanchin Kata can be performed in 720 random ways (expressed by the mathematical notation: 6! & formula: 1x2x3x4x5x6)

7. You may notice that with a “little” practice of Sanchin Kata, anyone, regardless of martial-arts experience can engage in bunkai (analysis of kata) as I had set forth in my article, Bunkai: A Dirty Little Secret, Link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/08/18/bunkai-a-dirty-little-secret/

Conclusion:
Once again, 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 wit 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.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

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

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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ENDNOTES:

1. My definition of the three battles of Sanchin are the

  • Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
  • Spiritual Battle, the manner in which Sanchin affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
  • Metaphysical Battle, the manner in which Sanchin connects you with your external environment and how same affects you.

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