Tag Archives: Kata Inspiration

Kata – A Solution – Part 1

5 Jul

   New Jersey loves its shore.

That wondrous place where the sand is kissed by the Atlantic Ocean Songs have been written about it, movies made around it and until recently a great place to visit.

If you live in New Jersey or have followed the national news, you are familiar with the state’s budget battle. The battle resulted in government, including several state parks, being shut down during the Fourth of July weekend. One such state park was Island Beach State Park.

This park in particular became a flash point. It became “the” example of political arrogance. It showed we deserve to be powerless.

Island Beach State Park contains a vacation residence for the governor. Did our esteemed governor, Chris Christie, stand in solidarity with others that could not use the park? Did he even understand their frustration? Most worked all week and looked forward to a long weekend. Several, like me, had to work part of the weekend and maybe only had one day off. Now, the ocean was off limits. No frolicking in the waves. No playing in the sand. No reading a book to the melody of the ocean.

For all of New Jersey, except the Christie and family, the entrance to Island Beach State Park was barricaded by highway cones. Three rangers turned people away. The park was closed. The ocean was off limits.

So how did Governor Christie connect with the people he represents? He and his family used their vacation residence. They had the entire park to themselves.

The media soon circulated photos of a sunbathing Christie adorned in his oversized beach outfit. He was surrounded by smiling family and no one else. When asked if this was unfair, the Governor looked up from his straining beach chair and glibly told us:

“The governor has a residence at Island Beach. Others don’t. That’s the way it goes. Run for governor and you can have the residence.”

Soon social media was abuzz. On Facebook, a few media outlets were posting live video feeds with the governor’s statement. Angry New Jerseyians soon took to posting their live comments online.

My first thought was, “What a bunch of sheep; teach the guy a lesson.” The logistics were simple. Island Beach would normally have been filled to capacity on a holiday weekend. Thousand of people would have been in attendance. So it seemed simple. I almost posted a comment,

“Go use the State Park despite the shut down. There is no way three rangers can turn away thousands of people. Don’t sit on Facebook complaining, its your state park, use it as is your right as a resident.”

Then reason took hold of my thoughts. “Bad idea.”

Notwithstanding that the governor’s political arrogance need to be called out, it would be chaos to defy the governor in such a way. I understood there was one reason people could not defy the governor. They could not use the park in defiance of his closing. It was simple. People did not know kata.

Since people did not know kata, they “deserved” to have the park closed. Had they known kata, they could have swam in the ocean, played in the sand and otherwise relaxed. Without kata this was (voluntarily) lost to them. Even if only martial artists used the park, it would still be problematic. Most martial artists do not sufficiently understand kata so as to make this act of defiance feasible The truth is not enough people understand my saying that “Life is a kata.” ©

For now I’m going to let that hang in the air a bit. Think about it and see if you can figure out what I mean. If not, further along I’ll post my thoughts on the idea that Kata can be a solution to political arrogance.

In the meantime, I wish the governor well with his on going political battles, including his battle with his bulging persona and ego.

Until next time, I’m out and about. Riding my motorcycle to anywhere I please. Always, my kata is packed with me. For me and a few select others, our motto is “Kata – Anybody, anyplace, anytime.” ©


This weeks video features Sanchin Kata during a motorcycle ride alongside the cotton fields of San Tan Valley, Arizona (my home from 2004 to 2014).

Respectfully submitted

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

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




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

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/

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


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


Sensei John Szmitkowski

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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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You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE  my fishing blog combining martial arts protocol with fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com


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

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