Tag Archives: Kata Philosophy

Katannabis – Ascendancy & Positional Coincidence

10 Mar

There is a unique characteristic of traditional karate katana called “positional coincidence” (hereinafter “PC”). PC is the term I use to describe the characteristic that traditional karate kata begin and end at the exact same point on the ground. There is a loose philosophical linch pin that grounds this concept. 

The idea is that you travel through life and encounter a challenge, in the case of kata, a physical confrontation. You defend against that challenge or confrontation, represented by the performance of the kata. Once complete you again begin your life at the exact same point wherein you encountered the challenge. You resume your life as if the challenge, being so trivial, did not interfere with it.

For many years, I have been reflecting upon the philosophy of PC. I have a working hypothesis that PC is not truly accurate. You do not simply resume your life after a challenge. Rather, you are better off and enriched by meeting the challenge and overcoming it. For this reason, in the mid-2000’s began to advocate the idea that once a kata is completed, you should move an inch forward. This one inch differential symbolizes this enrichment – You are better off for performing the kata then if you did not. See, for example, the following article from April, 2014 for my “Sanchin-For-Everyone-One students.”    https://senseijohn.me/2014/04/06/one-inch-thats-ok/

During this time, I seriously began documenting, codifying and memorializing my research and experiments with Katannabis.™ I created the Sanchin-Dai Kata (“Great Three Battles”) as part of an experiment into the “Prayer-effect” of Kata. The prayer-effect is one means of attaining the ultimate experience of Katannabis meditation – the attainment of first a higher state of physical being and second experiencing the higher dimensional states first hand. 

At the end of the Sanchin-Dai Kata, the performer has a choice to make. The performer can spiritually choose to ascend to a higher state of consciousness or higher dimensional state. If so, the performer would step forward on the last three steps of the Kata, thus completing the Kata forward of his start position. This avoidance of PC symbolizes the ascension. If; however, the performer choose not to ascend, but remain in this plane of existence, albeit it in a higher state of consciousness, then they would step back. Thus positional coincidence would be maintained. You can view some of my notes below (See endnote # 1).

This may seem trivial, but seven years later, as I continue to practice, evolve and memorialize my Katannabis research, this relatively simple adjustment has come to represent a greater significance than I originally hypothesized. But, that is for a much later. Time. Honestly, you are not ready for that level – yet. (See Endnote # 2) For now, try my little PC experiment as part of your own kata-meditation, or begin your Katannabis journey today for FREE – see the link in the notes.

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque*

Sensei John Szmitkowski

You can start in the “shallow end of the pool” of Katannabis ritual meditation for FREE using this safe, convenient link to my online school: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation The course is FREE! 


1. My desire to memorialize and sometimes publish my findings is tempered by a nagging feeling that by publishing my experiences, I am trivializing them by making them too easily attainable. To put my concerns at rest, I’m not going to re-type my notes. Rather, I simply going to upload them as Jpegs. You’ll have to go through the “effort” of clicking on the to read. That may dissuade all those save those who are really interested in probing the profound meditative effects of Katannabis. All others, press the “escape” button and click off this site then go purchase your self-help books, crystals, new yoga pants and incense. This isn’t for you.

2. “The threshold of the Unseen is a treacherous coast on which to bathe. There are potholes and currents and quicksand. The strong swimmer (an adept at Katannabis) Amy venture in comparative safety. The non-swimmer (ignorant of Katannabis) who takes counsel of nothing but his own impulses, may pay for his temerity with his life. . .  Psychic Self-Defense, Edith Fortune, E-Book, Chapter I. 


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The Last Thing You Will Read Before You Die

15 Feb

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This is the last sentence you will read before you die.
Let’s try – after reading this sentence you will contract a life changing illness. Hmmm, still healthy? Okay so, you’re not dead and still healthy, good. But, what have we learned from reading these last few sentences?
You begin to understand a concept that existed at the time of the samurai. It is found within traditional Eastern-based martial arts to this day. That principle is “Ichi-nichi-Issho” or “One day, One Lifetime.” The samurai lived with the idea that they could die (hopefully in combat) at any time. They trained to be ready for this contingency and incorporated it into their daily regime. Each day they woke could be their last. Each hour they lived could be their last. Each minute, each second, therefore could not be taken for granted. A lifetime was not measured in the number of years (as we do in modern times). Rather, it was measured in terms of one day to the next; the sum being a lifetime.
Imagine living your life in this manner. Would you savor your next meal knowing it was (or could be) you last? If you would never see your family again, what would you say? To adopt an ideology of Ichi-nichi-issho means that no single moment, or event, or conversation, personal interaction during your day can be taken for granted or wasted. You may not have another.
So, since you did not die after reading this, or did not receive a call from your doctor with life threatening news, then, go out and live the next moment of your life as if it will be your last. Really live it that way. Believe (because it is true) that you can never recapture that moment, or opportunity again. Then extend that to the next moment, the next minute, hour, and day.
There is an inevitable truth that you cannot escape. At some point, after having read this you will die. The gap in time may be one second later of decades later, but you will do so. Now, live knowing that what you do in between reading this and your death will define that gap.

This week’s featured video and FREE online classes:

Respectfully submitted,
Sensei John Szmitkowski

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One Inch . . . That’s OK

6 Apr

One Inch.
One inch is not a large unit of measurement, but it can symbolize a great deal.

This “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) group session will explore such symbolism.

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/
In the Sanchin Kata you take three steps forward and three steps backward. Thus, when you are finished with your Sanchin performance, you end at the exact point that you started. I call this phenomenon of starting and finishing a kata at the exact same location “positional coincidence.” Positional coincidence exists in all modern (approximately 1945 and thereafter) karate kata. Karate Sensei often attribute a philosophical concept to positional coincidence.

You are traveling through life. Your life’s journey is interrupted by a confrontation with an aggressor. You pause your journey to defend yourself (represented by the kata performance). You defeat the aggressor. Being victorious, you continue along your life’s path from the exact point of interruption. Symbolically, the confrontation had no effect upon you at all.

Let’s use this “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session to explore and alter that philosophy.

I cannot emphasize enough that performing Sanchin Kata, at least once daily, will benefit you physically, emotionally and psychologically. So, why subscribe to the above philosophy attributed to positional coincidence? To do so simply symbolizes that you are living your life, you perform Sanchin Kata, and after doing so return to your life exactly as you lived before the performance of Sanchin Kata. Wrong! You are better physically, emotionally and psychologically for performing the Kata. So, why not symbolize that betterment? Intentionally violating positional coincidence by moving forward one inch provides that symbolism. My karate colleagues may find Endnote # 1 to be of interest on this point.

So, lets voluntarily adjust and “violate” the phenomenon of positional coincidence during this group “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session.

dreams-seisan           Only One Inch . . . That’s OK

As always, you can perform either the Sanchin Kata, my Shibumi Kata (Link: https://senseijohn.me/2013/12/05/shibumi-kata-the-movements/ ) or any karate kata. For my karate brethren, the “Kata Sommelier” has an interesting recommendation for this session.
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: Starting Monday April 7th, 2014;
Time: Anytime
Location: Any location;
Salient Points:

  • Perform your Sanchin, Shibumi or Karate Kata as normal, and remain in position on the last move;
  • As you step forward from the last move to the ready posture, intentionally, shift forward at least an inch, so that you do not finish at the same point you started, but forward from that position;
  • Recognize that finishing forward from your starting position acknowledges that you are better off physically, emotionally and psychologically for performing the kata than not performing the kata;
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate brethren, I would recommend any “flowing”, graceful kata. My favorite kata in this regard is the Seipai Kata. You may also enjoy Wansu Kata, Seisan Kata or similar kata during this session. But remember – violate the positional coincidence by moving forward at least one inch at the end.

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.

In closing I remain, inching forward in life through my kata,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

I found a few old photos that I thought readers may enjoy, the two below are from about 1973 from my purple belt promotion they feature several notable Yudansha as follows: 1) Sensei Dave Crum (as a brown belt) 2) Sensei Dave Church, 3) Sensei Nick D’Antuono, 4) myself receiving purple belt (age 12), 5) Sensei Tony Fabi, 6) Shihan Thomas DeFelice, 7) Sensei Paul Recchia, 8) Sensei James Kingston, 9) Sensei Steve Malmoud, 10) Sensei Jeff Tyne. I am blessed and honored to have personally known every black belt in the Goshin-Do Karate-Do style we call “DeFelice-Ryu.”
purple-2-#     purple-1-#

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1. For my karate colleagues, it is about time to re-examine the dogmatic philosophy attributed to positional coincidence. We need to acknowledge the truth of a real life fight in the street – after the fight you do not return to your life exactly as you were before the fight. Initially, you are all the better for surviving the encounter; you survived to go-about your life, love and provide for your family. After the initial euphoria of survival wears off, you will always carry the gravity of having to defend yourself. Either way, you are never the same. I simply suggest, that on occasion (such as in this kata session) your kata practice should acknowledge that simple truth. Voluntarily avoiding positional coincidence as above is one way to do so.

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You may wish to view my other blogs –
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