Tag Archives: Log Of The Sea Of Cortez

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

Sea-Monsters – “… That’s OK”

28 Jul

It’s been a bit of a bumpy road lately. Though it may sound a bit preachy, my kata practice and particularly Sanchin Kata help positively adjust my physical, psychological and emotional states. Frankly, on some days, kata is the only safe harbor. On such days, I reflect upon a passage written by John Steinbeck,

Men really need sea monsters in their personal oceans.
For the ocean, deep and black in depths, is like the low dark levels of our 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)

Whale watching off the coast of Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

Whale watching off the coast of Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

I thought the passage would make for an introspective group online kata session.

Although we like to think the universe as one of harmony, it is in fact a representative balance of chaotic, opposing forces – hot/cold, large/small, active/passive, joy/sorrow, good/evil and the like. So too, we like to achieve 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 the next “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata session,
Sea-Monsters? . . . That’s OK

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:
Date: starting Monday, July 28th, 2014
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;
Salient Points:
Prior to the scheduled session, familiarize yourself with the Steinbeck’s passage;
Read the above again prior to embarking upon your day;
If you are in a positive frame of mind, perform the traditional Sanchin Kata;
If you are having a difficult time physically or emotionally, perform the Shobu-version of Sanchin. Use this aggressive version to vent such negativity (A video of the Shobu version is in endnote # 2);
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;

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 online session as scheduled, but may also revisit it as you wish. Do this as an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

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

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:
1. John Steinbeck, The Log Of The Sea Of Cortez (Penguin Books, New York, NY) p.27-28.
2. Here’s my Shobu (Combat) kime version of Sanchin (a more aggressive version)

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/

© Copyright 2014 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 – A Lazy Pursuit

22 Sep

KATA LAB

Only in laziness can one achieve a state of contemplation which is a balancing of values, a weighing of oneself against the world and the world against itself. A busy man cannot find time for such balancing.

One could argue that laziness is a relaxation pregnant of activity, a sense of rest from which directed effort may arise, whereas most busy-ness is merely a kind of nervous tic. (See Endnote # 1)

a "lazy" summer day, Cape Cod, 2012

a “lazy” summer day, Cape Cod, 2012

“But Sensei, I don’t have time to practice my kata at home – I’m too busy.”

How many times have we heard that excuse.

I’m no exception. As a young boy, I told my first Sensei, Sensei Nick D’Antuono, the same excuse many times. Being a good Sensei, he out-foxed me and subsequently devised an easy way for me to find time to practice kata. (For details, see Endnote # 2)

If the opposite of being too “busy” is “lazy”, then with a nod towards John Steinbeck’s quote above, I propose that Kata is a lazy man’s pursuit. For only in the lazy state can our kata be pregnant with activity, insight, imagination and intuition.

Given my affinity for kata, I am proud to be lazy. By this I mean that no matter how busy I may be, I always find time for my daily kata practice. One may argue that such daily practice is not productive – it does not add to my finances, does not elevate my social status, fails to adhere to the social norm of possessing a “constructive” purpose. It does; however, invigorate me physically and mentally, stimulate my understanding of my place in a larger realm of existence. If daily devotion to kata makes me lazy, then I am glad to be lazy.

If one is too busy to practice kata, then I can’t help but agree with Steinbeck’s assessment that “busy-ness is merely a kind of nervous tic.” Busy-ness is often represented by the pursuit of money, notoriety, popularity and the like. In the spectrum of life, such hedonistic, ego-centric pursuits are mere nervous tics. For my part, I’ll always find time to be “lazy” and explore my kata. Such exploration deposits into my spiritual, moral and ethical bank account an untold wealth.

After reflecting on the above, I have chosen to modify my admonition to those students, that do not practice kata regularly. Normally I would say, “Don’t be lazy, practice your kata.” It is time to re-interpret the entire concept. I now advocate the idea that one should, “Be lazy so that you can practice your kata.”

A video example of a lazy ride on my Harley, and of course, Sanchin Kata, in the cotton fields of San Tan Valley, Arizona – a promotional video for my Sanchin For Everyone DVD –

In closing, I remain contentedly lazy – – – practicing daily kata,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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ENDNOTES:

1. Steinbeck, John, The Log From The Sea Of Cortez (Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1995) p. 150-151.

2. I’ll share with you Sensei Nick’s little trick to practicing kata. When I was young, after homework was done, I enjoyed television time. That little black and white t.v. set with its seven channels could mesmerize – except during commercials (with no remote control to easily change channels). Sensei Nick knew this; he recognized I was busy watching t.v., so in an effort not to interfere with my busy-ness, he suggested that one kata be practiced every commercial. A simple solution – even when “busy” there is always time.

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

You may enjoy the Goshin-Do Karate-Do blog using the following link: WWW.DeFeliceRyu.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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