Tag Archives: Kata

Do NOT Perfect Your Kata

7 Dec

“Perfect your kata.

You’ve heard it in the dojo, you’ve read about it in books, magazines and blogs. It’s mentioned in videos on You-Tube. Heck, I even posted an article concerning the idea that “Practice makes perfect.” https://senseijohn.me/2010/07/19/practice-does-not-make-perfect/

Well, I say “Do NOT ‘perfect’ your kata!

To ‘perfect’ means to, “make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.” Kata is one “something” that it is utterly impossible to perfect. Consider the following.

First, let’s start with the kata itself. I submit it is impossible to perfect a kata. Initially, how is a perfect kata to be defined. Is it one that is technically correct, free from faults or defects? If so, then a perfect kata is one that is merely pretty and lacks any functional utility. It must be remembered that kata is a dance, the highest form of dance in my opinion, but a dance nonetheless. What differentiates kata from all other forms of dance is one crucial element. Kata has at its core a martial purpose. It is designed to facilitate self-defense (see endnote # 1) So, to consider a kata as perfect merely based upon technical correctness of the performance is incomplete. Surely, a performer that performs a perfect kata in the dojo or a tournament but cannot defend him or her self with the sequences and techniques from the kata is but a perfect dancer.

Second, kata exists merely as a concept. It is enlivened only through the actions of a performer. In so far as the performer is an imperfect being (as is all humans), the kata can never be perfected. As to this point, I am reminded of a saying from one of my instructors, “Kata is to be thought of as clay in a mold.” Even assuming, arguendo, that the mold (the kata) is itself perfect, the clay (the performer) contains individual imperfections. Through the performance of the kata, repeatedly subjecting the clay to the mold, one hopes to remove as many perfections as possible; however, given the nature of flux of the imperfections, this is impossible. (See Endnote # 2)

Third, as regular readers are aware, I steadfastly maintain that kata contains three individual aspects, a physical aspect, a spiritual aspect (the manner in which kata affects your state-of-mind, emotions and psyche) and an environmental aspect (the manner in which kata is affected by environment and vice-versa). When most teachers talk of “perfecting” your kata, they limit themselves to only the physical aspect of kata. By doing so, they avoid the most difficult aspect, the spiritual aspect. This aspect is difficult on several fronts. To start, I submit each kata contains within it a specific state-of-mind required for the performance. A full discussion of this point is beyond this article; however, you may gleam an idea of a specific kata’s proscribed statement of mind from the translation of its name. Examples include, the Kanto (Fighting Spirit) kata of Goshin-Do Karate, Taikiyoku (To build the body and the spirit) Geikisai (To Destroy) and Seienchin (Calm in the storm / storm in the calm). Thus this state of mind must be “perfected” within the kata – a monumental task at best. One’s mind, states thereof, including emotions and psyche can never be “perfected.”
In addition, even though a kata is relatively short in duration, it is exceeding difficult for the human mind to maintain itself in a “perfect” mental, emotional and psychological state for such a duration.

Fourth, looking at my environmental aspect of kata, two points must be borne in mind when considering the notion of “perfecting” your kata. It must be remembered that a kata was once a creation of its inventor. You can easily
research the inventor’s physical characteristics at the time of creation. You may also discover insight into his general mental state (such as whether history tells us he was depressed, quick to anger, starving as in the case of a few post WWWII masters, or an alcoholic). You may not be aware of the impact of the creator’s environment on his kata creation. The kata would have been created taking such terrain into account. As such, the only way to “perfect” such kata is to perform it in its intended (read “perfect”) environment. Not sure? Take any of the various Kobudo oar kata as an immediate example. Most contain sequences involving using the oar to throw sand and /or soil into the eyes of the kata opponent. True, the kata can be performed in a dojo; however, such performance can not be “perfect” unless sand or soil is actually thrown and not merely simulated. Additionally, while you may “perfect” a kata within the sterile environment of a dojo, you may not be able to duplicate such perfection outside of the dojo, on uneven terrain, in clothes and shoes, with variations of temperature and climate.

So, if, as I say you should NOT “perfect your kata,” what then should you do. Let us turn to that great “master of Okinawa football” (hey, now-a-days, if it isn’t Okinawa, it’s not “authentic”), Coach Vince Lombardi of the Greenbay Packers (the team was originally from Okinawa and imported by US servicemen after WWII). 😇
Coach Lombardi once told his team,

We will relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not achieve it, but we will relentlessly chase it and in the process, we shall find excellence.

Applying this to kata, I urge you to forget “Perfect your kata” and instead, “Excel at your kata.” To excel takes into account all the variables contained within my three aspects of kata. You can excel at kata regardless of your age, health and physical limitations. You can excel at kata even if you are not in an ideal mental or emotional state. In fact, I submit you should use kata to modify your dilatory emotional state https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/ You can excel at kata in any physical environment, terrain or climate. By doing so, you will understand not only the martial aspects of kata and be able to defend yourself (with kata sequences) in the process, but also the “life-giving” aspects of kata. (See Endnote # 3)

So, stop accepting axiomatic advice and “Think * Sweat * Experiment for yourself. Don’t perfect your kata.” “Excel at your kata.”

This week’s featured Kata Laboratory video:

Bonus video: Here is a sneak peak at the newest video series “Underground Bunkai” which features my senior black belt, Sensei Jimmy DiMicelli, Go-Dan, Karate-Do NO Renshi.

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


Sensei John Szmitkowski

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1. Within the concept of self-defense, I include not only the obvious defense against an aggressor, but also physical health, and mental and emotional health.

2. This concept is the same as a chapter in my Kata Laboratory Book that addresses my concept that it is impossible to perform any kata exactly the same way twice. As of this writing, I have not released a free “teaser” of this chapter. This chapter discusses the multitude of variables and state of flux referred to in the article in great detail.

3. I draw a kata analogy to a concept from kendo (the art of the sword), “Satsujin no Ken (the sword that takes life) and Katsujin no Ken” (the sword that gives life”). I submit that the same applies to kata; Satsujin no Kata and Katsujin no Kata.

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

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9 Mar

Why do I so strongly advocate the idea that everyone should practice Sanchin Kata? Simple, “Life is a Kata.” Sanchin is a gateway to comprehending the basic elements of life.To facilitate learning Sanchin, anyone can freely acquaint themselves with Sanchin Kata using the “Try Sanchin Kata” page tab above.


Sanchin Kata (meaning “Three Battles’) examines the three aspects necessary for each and every moment of life, namely, breathing, bodily movement and state-of-mind. Clearly, you cannot live without breathing. Even during times of physical inactivity your body is moving; your heart pumps blood, your lungs expand and contract, digestive organs function, even your minute cells go abut their metabolic processes. Though state-of-mind is a bit more amorphous, you always maintain a state of mental activity. If you do not, then you are clinically “brain-dead;” time to proverbially “pull-the-plug.”

Through the regular practice of Sanchin you explore these three aspects and gain insights into:

  • The specific nature of each of life’s three individual aspects;
  • The manner in which the individual aspects of breathing, bodily movement and state-of-mind, interact, blend and combine to produce – You;
  • The effect whereby you simultaneously exist in the three distinct states of a physical self, a spiritual self and a metaphysical self (connected with your environment).

In addition to the “Try Sanchin Kata” page, throughout this blog, there are articles and videos that guide you in exploring the three aspects in greater detail. You will also enjoy the my free Shibumi Kata which you can explore using the “Try Shibumi Kata” page tab.

Remember my simple concept that “Life is a Kata” and Sanchin is the gateway to understand how to improve each aspect of life.

In closing I remain, advocating Sanchin for everyone in the life that is a Kata,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

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Ringwood Manor, 2012For 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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Kata Lab # 2230 – Kata: Dr. Jekyll’s Potion

9 Feb


All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil. (Endnote # 1)

Welcome to this teaser from my Kata Laboratory Series,

 Kata Lab # 2230 – Kata: Jekyll-Hyde’s Potion ©


The need to defend oneself occurs in a heartbeat.

In that instant, you must not only execute the physical techniques of self-defense, more importantly, you must be able to psychologically transform your mental state. You must instantaneously be able to convert from your mental state immediately prior to the attack to a life-or-death mental attitude; in less time than a beat of your own heart.

In the fictional story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the mild mannered Dr. Henry Jekyll used a potion to transform himself into his antithesis, Mr. Hyde. Similarly, in an attack scenario, you must be able to transform from your mental state prior to an attack, a Dr. Jekyll state, to a mental state of self-preservation (at all costs if necessary), a Mr. Hyde state.

Unlike the fictional Dr. Jekyll, there is no potion you can take advantage of to facilitate this transformation.

Or, is there?

Subject to one caveat, I submit that the transformative potion is kata. The sole caveat is that, like the experiments of Dr. Jekyll, you must experiment and develop a protocol for the transformation. For almost four and a half decades, I have already experimented. The result is this kata laboratory.

Kata Lab Experiment: (Recommended Reader Experimentation)

I suggest you keep the following preliminarily notes in mind,

  • This lab works best with a partner; however, if one is not available, a timing device with an alarm may be substituted;
  • This lab should NOT be part of a formal karate class (as physical energy levels & emotional acuity in class should be already be elevated, such time is not appropriate);
  • You may wish to preselect a kata to perform prior to commencing. With practice, you can have your partner call out a specific kata to perform as part of his/her command. This will add to the elements of surprise, spontaneity and transformation. Eventually, the performance of a specific kata should be completely spontaneous based upon your attendant circumstances and environment.
  • As to environment, same may dictate that your kata be performed using my deconstruction technique (please see above precursor reading). For example, if you are in a closet or tight space when your partner gives the command, or the alarm goes off, perform the kata in that space! What? You don’t think you can be attacked in an elevator, or other tight environment?!

Procedure For Practice:

  • Prior to beginning, ask a partner to arbitrarily give a command for you to perform a kata. (if a partner is not available, arbitrarily set an alarm on a timing device);
  • Go about your normal routine (but do not practice karate), talk, walk, read, play, anything but karate-do training. Do not confine yourself to one room. Go about a “normal” routine. During this time, do not anticipate the command to start kata. Rather, maintain your usual relaxed state of mind (the Dr, Jekyll state). Thus, the more distracting the activity prior to kata, the better;
  • When the command is given (or the alarm sounds), immediately begin your kata as if your life depended on overcoming an attacker. In the blink of an eye, you must transform your mental state into one of “kill-or-be-killed” (the Mr. Hyde state) Again, environment may require that the kata be deconstructed or pattern otherwise adjusted;
  • Once your kata is finished, you must have accomplished your goal of surviving the attack. Then, after assuring yourself that all threats have been neutralized (a brief Zanshin state of mind), you MUST then immediately transform back to your normal, relaxed state-of-mind (again, the Jekyll state).
  • Repeat the process of using kata to transform from a mental Dr. Jekyll state to a Mr. Hyde mental state and returning to a Dr. Jekyll state.

Here is a video I made to assist you. For your viewing enjoyment, it was filmed in the beautiful Lost Dutchman State Park and Lower Salt River, both in Arizona.

Benefits of performing kata as Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde:

This kata laboratory is designed to foster an immediate transformation to a defense-orientated combative state of mind. Without such an attendant state of mind, physical technique is quasi-impotent. Therefore, like the involuntary adrenaline induced reflexive “fight or flight” response, you must be able to transform your mental state. You must then be able to transform out of the defensive state and return to your default state of mind. With diligent practice, you can gain proficiency in this transformation.


Using kata as a transformative potion to modify and shape your state of mind is a fundamental concept to my ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do (Wellness from within though kata). Once proficient in this transformation, the utility of modifying your psychological state through kata is unlimited.

You may at last begin to see not only the life-taking (Satsugen No Kata) properties of kata, but also the life-giving (Katsugen No Kata) properties as well. Maybe.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is


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


Sensei John Szmitkowski

  secret-1 For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, please visit the seminar page using this convenient link https://senseijohn.me/seminar-kata/

Help support Sensei’s experiments –

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


1. Stevenson, Robert, Louis, The Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Vintage Books, New York, NY 1991) p.80.

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Kata Lab # 3210 – Kata To Modify Emotions

6 Oct

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.


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

–   –   –   * * * * * –   –   –   –

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Kata Laboratory (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is




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

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Help support Sensei’s Kata Lab experiments –

Come visit my store on CafePress!

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© Copyright 2006 and 2013 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.


1. Please remember:

First, the spiritual bunkai of kata does not refer to religious, or supernatural states. Rather, spiritual bunkai refers to the method by which kata affects internal non-physical process which include, but are not limited to emotions, states-of-mind (mushin, zanshin, nenjuushin and the likes) and internal states of awareness.

Second, exploring the spiritual bunkai of kata is markedly different from exploring the physical bunkai of kata. One area of divergence is that physical bunkai always requires a partner whereas spiritual bunkai need not require a partner, but always requires visualization.

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

physical state – to destroy your opponent in battle;

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

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

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

3. The General Emotional Deconstruction is performed as follows:

General Emotional deconstruction)

using kata deconstruction technique:

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

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

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

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


A New Intriguing Feature

5 May


a new featured blog category – 


In this regularly featured category, Sensei John will provide unique and innovative insights, thoughts and “experiments” on kata and bunkai so as to inspire and challenge you to deeply practice and reflect on the kata of your particular style of karate-do. While the material is presented using the kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, the hypothesis, experiments, tests and conclusions are NOT contingent upon the specific kata of any one style. As such, this category is designed for any martial artist, regardless of style, geographic or national origin of the style and kata contained therein.


In Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory, kata and bunkai theory and hypothesis will be presented not for the purpose of having the same routinely accepted by the reader. Rather, Sensei John will present his unique insights so as to invite you to test and analyze them for yourself (in other words work and sweat!) If, after your own experimentation,  you agree with Sensei John’s theories that is satisfactory. If; however, your own experimentations lead to conclusions that differ from those of Sensei John, then that is even better; such divergent and differing conclusions will ultimately invite debate and more experimentation so as to raise the total kata and bunkai experience of all to greater heights.


A word of caution is appropriate. You should not simply read the submissions in Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory. To do so would not only result in a wholly unsatisfying experience, but would also violate the intention of experimentation, namely discovering new concepts for yourself.  Instead, you should (in fact must) read the submissions in the category and then apply the motto of Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory;

in equal parts you must:

Think           Sweat          Experiment 

Look for more in this category in the near future to guide and transform the manner in which you experience kata.

Sincerity in sweat,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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A very big “Thank-you” to Chandra at ProMed Apparel in Mesa, Arizona WWW.ProMedApparel.Com for her assistance in providing the official “Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory” lab coat.

ProMed Apparel – 6610 E Baseline Road, Suite 101, Mesa, AZ


The idea for a lab coat started jokingly at the USA Goshin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Sensei Pablo Peneque and Sensei Scott Zamora in Bogota, NJ. On April 3rd, 2013 as we were in the process of videotaping a kata and bunkai session, I hinted at the idea of a “kata laboratory” wherein I would wear a lab coat over my gi. I guess the idea stuck.


11 Mar

This week’s article is an abbreviated excerpt from a chapter in my forthcoming DVD and book, “The Dualism Of Seienchin Kata: Part Two in the Jiriki Kata-Do Series.” (See Endnote # 1)

It has been said that there are eight primordial principles that envelope the martial arts. These principles have been delineated in an ancient martial text called “The Bubishi”. The principles are also inferred within the martial work known as the “Eight Poems Of The Chinese Fist.” (See Endnote # 2 for the full text of the poems). The eight primordial principles are:

  • To float;
  • To sink;
  • To swallow;
  • To spit;
  • To burst;
  • To rebound;
  • To spring;
  • To lift.

All eight principles are found within the Seienchin Kata which is derived from the Fujian white crane system of Kung-Fu. Fujian white crane style was developed by Xie Zhing Xiang. The style contains the four elements of whooping crane, flying crane, eating crane and sleeping crane. The four stylistic elements formed the basis of the Seienchin Kata found within Karate-Do.

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

The Seienchin Kata is the second protocol of my dynamic ideology, Jiriki Kata-Do. It is derived from the Seienchin Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate DeFelice-Ryu style of Karate. (See Endnote # 3)

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

Traditionally, only the martial arts based physical applications of the principles have been explored and discussed. In my dynamic ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do, the spiritual connotations associated with the principles are delineated.

Four of the eight principles contained within Seienchin Kata are present within Sanchin Kata. (See Endnote # 4) To provide insight into the physical and hidden spiritual aspects of the eight principles, I submit the following brief discussion of the four principles found within Sanchin Kata.

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

The four principles found within Sanchin and the associated martial arts application, are as follows.

  • TO FLOAT – Unbalancing an opponent by one’s movement, depriving him of a firm footing and thereby defeating him.
  • TO SINK – controlling an opponent by making him feel heavy or clumsy;
  • TO SWALLOW – “to swallow” is a euphemism for the phrase “to absorb.” It means defeating an opponent’s attack by diverting and absorbing it;
  • TO SPIT  – “to spit” is a euphemism for the phrase “to reject.” It involves using explosive power to strike or push away an opponent with such force that he is defeated.

In my Seienchin DVD and Book, I submit that in addition to the above physical traits of the principles, there are hidden spiritual traits found within Sanchin and Seienchin Kata. These hidden spiritual traits remain concealed from all but a few enlightened practitioners of the Kata. The dynamic ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do is the express mechanism to uncover the hidden spiritual and meta-physical traits hidden within the eight primordial principles. As to the four principles found within Sanchin, I submit that the hidden spiritual traits are as follows.

  • TO FLOAT: After a practitioner of zazen, seated meditation, attained a level of proficiency, he was next required to learn “To Float”. Within this meditative practice, “To Float” means that one must allow one’s force to synchronize with and to flow with the general forces that exists in nature. (See Endnote # 5) One could not float by simply sitting in meditative zazen. One had to combine zazen with bodily movement; a dance. It is through the dance that the body could perform naturally and thus free the mind, or spirit, for meditation. Thus, passive, seated, meditation, was combined with the active, physical movement, in the manner of harmony of opposites, as in the concepts of Yin and Yang. It is my unfettered opinion that there is no greater form of “dance” than Karate-Do Kata. Thus, Kata are the ultimate mechanism for the phenomenon known as “To Float.”
  • TO SINK: this spiritual concept involved rooting one’s Chi, or bio-energy, as I call it, to the Earth during the dance so as to permit one’s energy to flow freely within the confines of one’s body and subsequently synchronize one’s internal energy with the external universal energy. If one’s internal bio-energy was not sufficiently rooted to the Earth, it would spill forth haphazardly into the external universal energy and be dissipated and dispersed thereby.
  • TO SWALLOW: This spiritual concept involves opening and extending oneself to the external universal energy. Through this process, one not only swallows, or absorbs, the universal energy into oneself, but also extends one’s bio-energy into the universe. Through this process one blends into the universal energy in such a manner as to unite with this external energy so as to produce a fully integrated state of being.
  • TO SPIT: This spiritual concept is a moral imperative. The universe is in complete balance and exists entirely in a state of harmony. The nature of the universe dictates that the universe is composed of a positive aspect and also contains a negative aspect. Harmony in the universe is achieved by balancing these opposing and chaotic elements. The spiritual concept “To Spit” is the process whereby one consciously is aware of the negative component of the universal essence, or spirit. Being thus aware of this negative aspect, the practitioner of either Sanchin Kata or Seienchin Kata who seeks to synchronize and unite with the universal essence, consciously desires to unite with the positive aspect and spit out, or reject, the negative aspect. This does not mean that the practitioner is out of harmony with the universe. The negative aspect will continue to exist, but such existence is limited to the universe in general. Though continuing to exist, the negative aspect is not unified with the practitioner’s individual essence and self. The result is an integrated positive self that exists within a harmonious universe of positive and negative aspects. The negative aspect tends to be absorbed by those unenlightened persons who incorporate negativity into their level of existence. These non-integrated, unenlightened humans, are often physically ill and spiritually bankrupt.

The physical and hidden spiritual traits of all eight principles are fully analyzed in my forthcoming DVD and Book, “The Dualism Of Seienchin Kata: Part Two in the Jiriki Kata-Do Series.” The anticipated release date for the DVD and Book is August 1, 2012.

In closing, I remain, floating, sinking, swallowing, spitting, bursting, rebounding, springing and lifting,


Sensei John Szmitkowski


  1. Part One of Jiriki Kata-Do can be found in my Sanchin DVD and Book: “Sanchin, Gateway To The Plateau Of Serenity.” Here is a convenient link a promotional video about the Sanchin DVD filmed on location at various scenic locations throughout Arizona. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE
  2. The “Eight Poems Of The Chinese Fist” are as follows:
  • 1. Jinshin wa tenchi ni onaji. The mind is one with heaven and earth.
  • 2. Ketsumyaku wa nichigetsu ni nitari. The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon.
  • 3. Ho wa goju no donto su. The way of inhaling and exhaling is hardness and softness.
  • 4. Mi wa toki ni shitagai hen ni ozu. Act in accordance with time and change.
  • 5. Te wa ku ni ai sunawachi hairu. Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought.
  • 6. Shintai wa hakarite riho su. The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet.
  • 7. Me wa shiho womiru wa yosu. The eyes must not miss even the slightest change.
  • 8. Mimiwa yoku happo wo kiku. The ears listen well in all eight directions.

3. I have chosen the name “Goshin-Do Karate DeFelice-Ryu” to designate the Goshin-Do Karate style as taught by my Sensei, Shihan Thomas DeFelice so as to distinguish it from the various other martial arts styles that utilize the “Goshin-Do” nomenclature. The Kanji for the style translates as, “Self-defense way of the empty hand, DeFelice style.”

4.I have made the benefits of Sanchin Kata available to everyone with my one hour Sanchin DVD and 116 page book. You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD & Book by clicking the following convenient link: http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

5. For example, In the Hindu meditative practices, the phrase used to describe this phenomenon is, “To allow one’s Atman to become one with the universal Atman.”

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 blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com


31 Jul

This article is submitted, with neither my editorial, nor comment, simply to spark your contemplation. While set forth in terms of Karate-Do Kata, with a little imagination, you can extend it to your own personal endeavors, sports, hobbies and interests. For your contemplation, I submit “The Ten Virtues Of Kata.” (See Endnote # 1).

Kanji for “Kata”












As you train your Kata, or perform your life endeavors, see if you can aspire to capture and embrace each of the above virtues.

Until the net submission, I remain a virtue of Kata practicing Kata for virtue,



Sensei John Szmitkowski

Here is a link for a promotional video about my Sanchin Kata & Jiriki Kata-Do DVD filmed in the Tonto National Forest. Arizona. Please see the “SANCHIN DVD & BOOK” page tab above for information on how to purchase the DVD.

LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE


1. A word about the Kanji for Kata. The Kanji is Sumi-e ink on rice paper. It was hand drawn in 1998 as part of the Kanji for the Goshin-Do Kata-Jitsu five volume series by Sensei Szmitkowski. “Kata” is interpreted loosely as “form”, extended to be translated as “Formal exercise.” I prefer the figurative translation, to wit: “Clay-in-the-mold.”

Sensei John is now on Facebook, under – FLY FISHING DOJO, you are invited to send a Facebook friend request.

For more on either Sanchin Kata as meditation or my new book on Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit the “Sanchin Book” page of this weblog, or my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fly-fishing and fishing in general by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Com

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