Tag Archives: Rattlesnake symbolism

“Don’t Tread On Me” Sanchin Pilgrimage

6 Jan

Now that you have used the Austerity Sanchin Pilgrimage (Link:  https://senseijohn.me/2012/11/25/austerity-sanchin-pilgrimage/  ) and started to simply your life with austerity (being financially responsible, eating healthy and in moderation, having control over your emotions and the life), the time has come to use that austere lifestyle as a means of attaining strength. In the last submission, I asked the question, “Are you ready?” (Link: https://senseijohn.me/2012/12/30/2013-are-you-ready/)

The time has come to make yourself ready! Your strength will permit you to rebuff external negative influences. Simply, put, you do not need to tolerate external abuses. Such external abuses include, but are not limited to, physical assault, spiritual depravity, mental and emotional turmoil, governmental abuses and the like. Once again, take strength in your simple lifestyle. You are far better than those that cannot shed the burdens of over-living their physical, emotional and financial abilities. They will always be a slave to their weakness.

You are now ready for part two of this multi-part Sanchin pilgrimage, the


This pilgrimage builds upon the “Austerity Sanchin Pilgrimage. It takes advantage of the physically invigorating and mentally rejuvenating benefits of the shobu (combat) method of performing sanchin.I took the name of the pilgrimage from the motto on the Gadsden Flag.Given it’s rich history and interesting symbology, the Gadsden flag maybe used as a symbol for this pilgrimage. (See Endnote #1)

The austerity sanchin stripped you down to your basic essentials. It also served as the symbolic warning, like the rattle on the rattlesnake, to those who would seek to attack your physical (including financial), spiritual and metaphysical well-being. Personal austerity places your back against the proverbial wall, so that once you warn against attack, you can not retreat, you will engage the threat without retreat. “Don’t tread on me.”

My "Don't Tread On Me" Sanchin "uniform"

My “Don’t Tread On Me” Sanchin “uniform”

The austerity sanchin pilgrimage striped you down to the essentials that you need. Like the rattlesnake, austerity also served as a warning, not to tread on you because there is no further room to retreat (strip-down).

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: The week of Monday January 7th 2013

Time: mid-day (note; however, that you are encourage to perform the “Austerity pilgrimage” at or close to sunrise each day, in addition to this pilgrimage)

Location: preferably an outdoor location

Salient Points:

  • Use the early morning (sunrise) performance of Sanchin to open yourself to the day as it unfolds;
  • Use the shobu sanchin as the rattlesnake rattling it’s tail to symbolically wan internal and external factors from impinging themselves upon your desired physical and spiritual well-being; symbolically, tell these deleterious attacks, “Don’t Tread On Me;”
  • During your performance of shobu-sanchin, perceive yourself as having “warned” against internal and external influences from depleting your well-being, having so “warned’, be prepared to “attack” or defeat any such intrusion upon your well-being;
  • Use the shobu (combat) methodology to build your inner strength and resolve as you perform Sanchin;
  • Adopt the state of mind known as “Tomaranu Kokoro” (the mind that knows no stopping) for the rest of your day. Be unstoppable physically, spiritually and metaphysically;
  • Resolve within yourself the idea that you will not tolerate any external influence from defeating your inner spirit and the manner in which you harmoniously exist within the world around you.
  • 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” which is discussed in my Sanchin DVD and Book).

Once again, you may wish to not only perform the Sanchin Pilgrimage as scheduled, but may also revisit the specific pilgrimage and allow Sanchin to unlock the cage imposed upon your by the drama of daily life. Do this as an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

You have worked hard, do not tolerate interference from those who have not worked as hard as you who seek to diminish you so as to enhance themselves – Don’t let then tread on you!

In closing, I remain rattling my rattles,


Sensei John Szmitkowski

You may enjoy these archived videos to inspire you to perform Sanchin ANYtime and ANYplace:

Other videos you may enjoy:


1. In December 1775, “An American Guesser” (many scholars now agreed it was Benjamin Franklin) anonymously wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal:

“I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, ‘Don’t tread on me.’ This anonymous writer speculated on why a snake might be chosen as a symbol for America.

First, it occurred to him that the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America;

Second, the rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and “may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance;

Third, she never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: she is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage;

Fourth, she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.”

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