Tag Archives: Kata Training

Sine Quo Non Sanchin Kata

19 Jul

“Sine Quo Non” is a phrase I learned during my years (1985 to 1989) at Seton Hall University School Of Law (Newark, NJ). Sine quo non is a latin phrase that refers to “an indispensable and essential action or ingredient” or “without which (there is) nothing.”
Sine quo non provides a restatement of the importance of Sanchin. Thus, it is an excellent platform upon which to base this Online Kata session.
The goal of the Sine Quo Non Online Kata session session is to acknowledge and appreciate that without the three battles of Sanchin, breathing, bodily movement and state-of-mind, our lives would not be possible.
Sine quo non also refers to the advanced three battles encompassing our multi-state of existence (See Endnote # 1).

Memorial Day 2015 – Sanchin Kata footprints, North Truro, Cape Code, MA

You are cordially invited to perform the Sine Quo Non Online Kata session.

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:
(Those readers that know my “Holy Trinity” of Kata, please see Endnote # 2)
Date: The week of July 24th, 2017;
Time: either first activity in the morning or the last activity at the end of the day. Even better, perform Sanchin at both times;
Location: preferably an outdoor location;
Salient Points:

  • As you perform Sanchin, remember and embrace the simple fact that without the fundamental three battles (breathing, bodily movement and state-of-mind), you would not exist;
  • Without the three battles, you would not live, therefore, your life is, in fact, the synchronization of the three battles. Thus, life is Sanchin and Sanchin is life;
  • Appreciate the frailty of life during your performance and seek to embrace the beauty of life throughout your day;
  • For those that understand the advanced three battles reflected in Endnote # 1, exist in each of the three states of being throughout the day;

The last requirement of this Sanchin Pilgrimage is to remain in an enraptured physical, spiritual and metaphysical state throughout the day by way of the concept of “Zanshin” (the “remaining mind”).

You may wish to not only perform this session as scheduled, but may also make it an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

In closing, I remain, the three battles of Sanchin,

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/
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/

ENDNOTES:
1. A more advanced Sanchin-Ka (practitioner of Sanchin) should understand that the basic definition of the three battles (or aspects of Sanchin) is redundant. Specifically, breathing and bodily movement describe a physical state. Thus, two of the three battles may more accurately be defined as the physical state and the spiritual state (which encompasses state-of-mind, emotions and psyche). How then do I define the third battle? It is the environmental state (how we interact with the world around us, its effects upon us physically and how we effect it).

2. For those readers that know what I call the “Holy Trinity” of kata, Sanchin, Seienchin and Suparunpei (Pechurin), I would suggest the following performance parameters:
First act in the morning, with the rising sun, perform Sanchin as an ode to the physical aspect of life, namely breathing, bodily movement and state-of-mind”;
At mid-day, perform Seienchin as a reminder of the spiritual nature of life and the duality of same symbolized by the affect of “calm in the storm, storm in the calm”;
The very last act of the day, under the awe-inspiring night sky, “pray” with Suparunpei (Pechurin) as emblematic of a desire to appreciate the eternal interconnectivity we have with all that surrounds us.

Suggested video of the Holy Trinity:

Sanchin Kata:

Seienchin Kata:

Suparunpei Kata:

© Copyright 2017 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 –
   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 – 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

Inauguration Day – That’s “OK”

18 Jan

Welcome to the first OK (Online Kata) cyber group session of the New Year!

January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the forty-fifth President Of The United States Of America. For some it is a cause of concern warranting protest. For others, it is a cause of celebration. I submit we should all catch our breath and do neither. We should simply let the ceremony take place.

There is no motive to protest the swearing in. First is the election itself. The people of this country have spoken via the election process. That must be respected. As to any actions warranting protest or celebration, to date, all the President-elect has “accomplished” is hypothetical. True, a cabinet was appointed; however, many of the key positions require confirmation. Additionally, no policy has been set requiring a protest. Until such a time as a situation arises where action, non-action or policy demands protest, then conserve your energy. When an action calls for celebration, then do so. See Endnote # 1)

To symbolize our need to simply catch our breath during the inauguration and to conserve our energy (physical and mental), I offer this “Inauguration Day – That’s OK” (Online Kata) session. What better way to catch your breath than with Sanchin Kata?

Kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for "Sanchin" - Three Battles - or - Three Aspects of Life

Kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for “Sanchin” – Three Battles – or – Three Aspects of Life

 

Those unfamiliar with Sanchin can acquaint themselves with the kata by clicking this link to access free text and videos. https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/

Alternatively, those unfamiliar with Sanchin may perform another type of mediative endeavor, such as Zazen (seated mediation), Yoga, or simply contemplate the ceremony in a relaxed atmosphere.

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 within the online kata session parameters.

Session Parameters:
Date: January 20th 2017
Time: during the swearing-in ceremony
Location: a quiet location would do best
Salient Points: see above discussion.

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.”)

One final thought – – – –

Sanchin Kata in the snow, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, Winter, 2012

Sanchin Kata in the snow, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, Winter, 2012

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

This week’s featured video: Sanchin Kata (Shobu (combat) version) with Vultures:

Endnotes:

1. It is true that both the Senate and the House have, as of this writing, without first having a replacement plan, have taken drastic initial steps with regards to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act; however, these actions are not actions of the President-elect. If you disagree with this attend a rally, as in the case of the nationwide #FirstStand rallies sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders or vontact your State legislators in this regard. For purposes of this article, it is his actions or inactions that warrant Presidential-protest. The ball is in his court and time is running out, after he is sworn in, it is, as in popular jargon, “on him.”

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 2017 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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

KATA & CHESS – 2016 World Chess Championship

11 Nov

Today, in the far reaches of my backyard, New York City, marks the start of the 2016 World Chess Championship. The defending World Champion, GM Magnus Carlsen will defend his title against GM Sergey Karjakin. Photos from Wikipedia.

GM Magnus Carlsen, defending World Champion

GM Magnus Carlsen, defending World Champion

 

GM Sergay Karjakin

GM Sergey Karjakin

In the past I have posted a few articles on the similarity of kata and chess. Kata being a form of physical chess. My posts were inspired by my own kata practice and various chess tournaments and matches. I am sure this coming word championship will provide fertile ground for more inspiration. In the meantime, here’s a link to some of earlier articles and videos inspired by kata and chess.

FEYNMAN    Dr. Feynman Visits Sensei’s Kata Lab. This post was inspired by the 2015 Sinquefield Chess tournament. In a field of eight of the highest rated chess GM’s GM Levon Aronian emerged victorious. https://senseijohn.me/2015/09/28/dr-richard-feynman-visits-senseis-kata-lab-part-1/

BUNKAI--beauty of move copy   Kata Lab # 4210 – Random Sanchin Kata. This was inspired by the “Fischer-Chess” discussed in the 2014 Sinquefield Chess tournament. https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/

3 commentators   Kata, My Curse? This post was inspired the 2014 Sinquefield Chess tournament. https://senseijohn.me/2014/09/22/kata-my-curse/

Chess fans may wish to visit http://nyc2016.fide.com This site has exceptional coverage on the match, links to live feed of the games, and much more.

Enjoy the match. Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-wood

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 and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

© Copyright 2016 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

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 # 1210 – Kata Of The Mind

20 Jun

KATA LAB

Background:

Summer. Two months when most students leave the Dojo for summer vacation. More likely than not when the students return from vacation, they forgot at least one kata. Except one summer and one student, whom I’ll call Jacqui. She taught me a lesson. That lesson led to this Kata Lab. Jacqui was away at camp all summer. She was a relatively good student though a bit lazy. Her first night back at the Dojo, I wanted to gauge how much she forgot. While her kata were a bit awkward, I was amazed that she did not forget any kata. I told her that I was happy she found time to practice while at camp. To my surprise, she told me that she did not practice any kata the whole summer. Rather, she informed me that “lights-out” was rather early and she often laid in her bed bored and unable to sleep. To alleviate her boredom, she thought about her kata and mentally “practiced” them. With that conversation with Jacqui, the seeds of this kata lab were planted. Before the next summer, Jacqui stopped training. Her “legacy” lives on.

Experiment:

Notwithstanding the motto of my Kata Lab, “Think * Sweat * Experiment”, this kata labs involves very little sweating. For this lab you should:

Find a quiet place to sit comfortably. My preference is always an outdoor location; however, the first time you try this lab, you may wish to preserve a “martial atmosphere” and do the lab in your Dojo and while wearing your gi. Now, mentally perform your kata as if you were performing it physically:

• Strive for technical perfection;
• Speed and power should be as appropriate within the kata;
• Timing of breath, inhalation and exhalation must be accurate;
• Kiai where called for and in the appropriate manner;
• Maintain the proper focus and mental attitude as if you were physically doing the kata.

Once you are comfortable with this kata lab, move your mental practice outdoors. Concentrate on:

• Visualize how the different terrain affects your mental kata. Should you be aware of slippery surfaces? Is the kata being visualized going up or down a hill, if so, what is the effect?
• Is the air temperature hot, cold, raining or snowing? Visualize the effect

Conclusion:

Not only is this kata lab a fun mental exercise, but as Jacqui did, it allows you to remember your kata in a convenient manner. You can mentally practice your kata any place and any time. It also provides a convenient introduction into the spiritual aspect (state-of-mind, emotions and psychology) of kata.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

This weeks featured video:

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

HANKO-master

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/

© Copyright 2016 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 # 2250: Kata Within You – An Introduction

23 May

A dream is an answer to a question we have not yet learned to ask. Fox Mulder, The X-Files, (Paper Hearts episode, S4, E 10)


KATA LAB

Background:

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. Nonetheless, your training in kata will pay dividends in an actual street scenario. This kata lab explores that actuality. This Lab also functions as an introduction to the advanced concepts contained in Kata Lab # 4210: Kata Within You – Advanced.

Experiment:

  • Do not pre-select a kata for this lab. Your kata should be as spontaneous as possible;
  • Do not “spontaneously” perform your “favorite” kata. To do so defeats the purpose of this Kata Lab.
  • 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;
  • Perform the kata as you require at that specific time. For example, in Kata Lab number 2230, you performed the kata in a “life and death” scenario. This time, perform the kata as your specific needs may require, examples include, performing the kata to rejuvenate yourself if you are tired, or performing the kata to “stretch your legs” and “get your blood flowing” if you’re lethargic;
  • The kata that bursts forth from within you should be as random as possible based upon your needs at the time.

Conclusion:

This is a very basic kata lab to acquaint you with the idea that at all times, you are your kata and your kata is you. As you go about your day, kata simmers within you waiting to be called forth to help you through your day.
This lab also provides a firm foundation for Kata Lab # 4210: Kata Within You – Advanced and for other more advanced labs that follow.

This week’s featured video is

Bonus video from my new “Underground Bunkai” series

 

HANKO-master
Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

 

© Copyright 2016 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 # 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:

If you enjoy this Kata Lab, please help fund future 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

 

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.

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

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