Tag Archives: Seienchin Kata

Kata RX – A Perfect Summer 2020 Souvenir (Part 1)

22 Jul

Learn Kata For Wellness for FREE in the comfort of your home, at your convenience! Use this convenient link to join the FREE online course:   https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

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Summer, 2020.

What a year its been so far. And what more is to come?

It is at this time of year that I historically would encourage you to use your Kata-Rx For Wellness to collect summer souvenirs. Well, now with the Coronavirus still upon us and the various COVID-19 restrictions on travel, large gatherings and the like, it seems that this summer will be – different. That’s not to say though that you cannot explore and enjoy the “souvenir-effect” of your Kata-RX experience.

Before I guide you upon this “new normal” Kata-RX experience, I’d like to take a look back at the Kata-Rx souvenir experience as it existed pre-COVID-19. In my own personal Kata-RX journey there is a fortiori to the COVID-19 restrictions. The journey this year in the midst of the pandemic has been more introspective. It has afforded me the opportunity to more fully engage, explore and understand my Kata-RX. To borrow the motto from my Kata Laboratory project, I “Think *Sweat * Experiment” with my Kata-RX. 

So, before I discuss the new souvenir-effect experience, let’s take a look at summer, one year ago.

=== from Summer, 2019 ====

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 Nick 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! Once again, the online course is FREE  https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

 

Donations are appreciated!

If you enjoy the FREE posts, videos, or have tried my FREE Kata-RX course & have the ability to donate, please feel free to do so & help defray the costs of same. Thank-you & please try the FREE course.

$5.00

Sensei John Szmitkowski

       Bonus FREE course for all martial artists who perform Kata – FREE Kata Laboratory mini-course (Time as a fourth dimension of distance) – learn conveniently, safely at your own pace in the comfort of your own home using this convenient link     https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/course-1-kata-laboratory-introduction

 

Kata RX – A Perfect Summer Souvenir & FREE offer

24 Jun

Learn Kata For Wellness for FREE in the comfort of your home, at your convenience! Use this convenient link to join the FREE online course:   https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

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! Once again, the online course is FREE  https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/core-kata-course

In closing, I remain collecting my kata summer souvenirs.

 

Donations are appreciated!

If you enjoy the FREE posts, videos, or have tried my FREE Kata-RX course & have the ability to donate, please feel free to do so & help defray the costs of same. Thank-you & please try the FREE course.

$5.00

Sensei John Szmitkowski

 

2018 – The Year Of The Dirty White Belt

3 Jan

In New Years past, I’ve advocated viewing the coming year with the “mind of a white belt.” That is to say to look towards the coming year without preconceptions of either thought or emotion. This year is different. This year I suggest you view the coming year with the mind of a dirty white belt.

   There is a Goshin-Do Karate percept, “Observe with the mind of a white belt.” It served as a reminder to advanced students and particularly those of black belt rank to constantly view their karate with an intellectual ”innocence.” The while belt, worn by novice students, is said to symbolize purity and innocence in terms of preconceptions as to Karate. When a Karate-Ka (student of Karate) first enters the Dojo, the neophyte observes without preconceived thought or emotion. Thus, one observes every detail, even the most minute, with the pure eyes of a child. In doing so, one is able to capture the inner most aspect of a Karate-Do technique and incorporate it into one’s personal repertoire.

So, what is a dirty white belt?
Prior to the advent of modern colored belts, a Karate-Ka would wear the same belt (a white belt) during his entire training. Although the Karate uniform would be laundered  regularly, as a sign of respect, the Karate-Ka would not wash his belt. The belt would even be used to wipe the sweat from one’s brow after training. Thus, the belt would become discolored, “dirty”. This “dirt” symbolized not only one’s physical progression and learning but also emotional and psychological development in Karate-do. Eventually, the belt turned completely black from use, wear and tear. This is the humble birth of the all too coveted black belt. Thus, the dirty white belt symbolizes innocence tempered by experience.
In years passed, I think my advice was sound. For this coming year, it is time to adapt a mindset of a weathered, worn, thus “dirty” white belt. For 2017 I advocate a mindset of an unclean white belt; one that while still representing a lack of preconception, bears the mark of its past experiences. 2017 should be viewed warily. Do not pre-conceive, but do not be cajoled into complacency with an innocent mindset. De open but be skeptical of that which seems out of order. It usually is. When necessary, be willing and ready to act. Then act.

   My original black belt – now returning back to its whiteness. Perhaps now more and more like my hair and beard, a “grey-belt.”

Respectfully submitted,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Featured video: Seienchin Kata translates as “The calm in the storm, storm in the calm.” I think this is one representation of the dirty white belt concept. This video was filmed during a spontaneous appearance of a herd of wild horses on the Lower Salt River, Tonto National Forest, Arizona. Please enjoy.

© Copyright 2018 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 to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com
and
 the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

 

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

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

Kata Lab – Reverse Seienchin Kata

1 Jun

“What becomes authentic (traditional) when you live in Purgatory?”
(Chef Roy Choi interviewed on Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown: Last Bites)

KATA LAB

Background:

With the popularity of my Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/ and my Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/ , I wanted take the concept even further. To do so we can use Seienchin Kata as a means to understand the concept on both a physical level but also a spiritual level.

Unlike the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab where the movements of the kata were reversed and the breathing pattern remained the same, in this lab, the breathing patterns will be reversed and the movements remain the same. Why Seienchin and not Sanchin Kata for this lab? Simple, as you can see in the analysis below, there is a unique concept that applies to Seienchin Kata that makes it highly qualified for this type of experiment. Seienchin allows you to begin to understand how the physical movements of kata impart a mental aspect to kata.

Kanji for "Seienchin", sumi-e ink on rice paper

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

  • Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
    Perform Seienchin Kata as you normally would;
  • Take a moment and reflect on the two interpretations of the kata, specifically paying attention to the manner in which they are enlivened by the movements of the kata;
    Interpretation # 1: “Calm in the storm, storm in the calm”
    Interpretation # 2: “Walk far to quell & conquer” (see endnote # 1)
  • Perform Seienchin but time reverse the slow and fast sequences. For example, the opening sequences which are normally, slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension, must now be performed fast and with kime (focus). Movements which are fast and with kime must now be performed slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension;
  • After your performance, deeply consider how the reversal impacted your earlier conclusions as to how the kata enlivened the two interpretations of the kanji.

To assist you with this Kata Lab, I have created the following video.

Conclusion:

This kata lab affects two of the three battles (aspects) of kata (See Endnote # 2). The two aspects are the physical and spiritual aspect.

Both components of the physical aspect (bodily movement & breathing) are affected. First, by reversing the method of performing the movements, hard movements soft and vice-versa, the component of bodily movement is affected. Second, by reversing the manner of breathing, this component is also affected.

The spiritual aspect is affected initially by reversing the symbology of the storm and the calm within the kata. Seienchin, performed in the traditional manner, begins with the calm (Sanchin kata-like opening sequences) and encounters the storm (hard and fast sequences). The kata continues by alternating between the calm and storm, ending with the calm.Reverse Seienchin makes the performer immediately encounter the storm, transcends to the calm and ends with the storm. This produces a shift in mental attitude. You should consider how this effect impacts martial fighting theory and life attitude theory of conflict resolution.

In addition, the concept to “To walk far to quell and conquer” is significantly affected. The result is to “Conquer and subsequently quell.” This has significant ideological connotations worthy of further study.

One final comment as to the third aspect of kata, the metaphysical aspect. Although not directly affected by this kata lab, the aspect is always present anytime a kata is performed.

Remember, the mandate of my Kata Laboratory – Think * Sweat * Experiment!

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

 If you enjoyed this Kata Lab, help fund my future experiments & get a unique product from my online store: 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

ENDNOTES:

1. Naturally, the interpretation of a kata is systemic in nature. I am not suggesting you abandon your system’s interpretation of Seienchin Kata. I do ask that, for purposes of this Kata Lab, you initially consider the interpretation of Seienchin Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do (DeFelice-Ryu) and then apply your conclusions to the interpretation of your system of karate-do.

2. You may recall my definition of the three battles of Sancin Kata, which are present in every kata, as:
Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
Spiritual Battle, the manner in which a kata affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
Environmental Battle, the manner in which kata connects you with your external environment and how same affects you.

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  this one dedicated to 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

Wild Horses & Seienchin Kata – An Unexpected Saikou

10 Nov

November 7th I was at the Lower Salt River, Arizona. In anticipation of relocating back to my home state of New Jersey, I wanted to maximize my day. My plan was to film kata footage for my kata video library, fish (hopefully catching a few for photos for my fishing blog, see below) and generally enjoy one of my last days on the river. What I did not plan was a saikou, supreme experience.

On that day, I was blessed with a chance encounter with one of the herds of wild horses that call the river home. Readers of my fishing blog know that I have encountered the herds in the past. What makes this encounter different is that not only would it likely be my last encounter with the herd, but I was at the right place and right time to be able to perform one of my favorite kata with the herd. The kata was Seienchin Kata. The translation of the kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for Seienchin translates, inter alia, as “Calm in the storm, storm in the calm.”

Kanji for "Seienchin", sumi-e ink on rice paper

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

As spontaneous as my choice of kata was, in retrospect, it turned out to be a great symbol of these difficult days of packing, arranging for rental of my home and relocating to a bit of uncertainty, the storm. Contrasting this is the calm of that day on the river; almost as if the “Natural Force” that I wrote about so much was telling me it will all work out. Noteworthy is that the Seienchin Kata makes characteristic use of of the “kiba-dache”, “Horse-riding stance”, a perfect kata to perform in the presence of a herd of wild horses.

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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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/

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

Summer Souvenir “. . . That’s OK”

1 Jun

Ah, summer is here! 

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

Seienchin Kata, Badlands, SD, Circa 2004

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 of our journeys. 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.

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

A Sanchin pontoon boat ride with Miko (R.I.P.), Lake George, NY circa 1999

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.
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.

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

Tensho practice, Cape Cod, MA, Circa. 2001

To assist you in collecting your own kata souvenirs, I submit the
Summer Souvenir “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) Session

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 a 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, time & location: all summer long during your travels;
Salient Points:

  • wherever you travel perform Sanchin (or any other kata of your choice);
  • 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 note 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, or video record the performance;
  • 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 brethren, I would recommend any kata. Once and for all, take your kata practice out of the Dojo and into nature.

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.

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

Sanchin at the Lower Salt River, AZ

A Sanchin breaking from riding my H-D electra-glide, cotton fields, San Tan Valley, AZ 2011

A Sanchin breaking from riding my H-D electra-glide, cotton fields, San Tan Valley, AZ 2011

In closing, I remain adding souvenirs to my collection,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy this “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session, you may wish to show your support by visiting Sensei’s store.

Come visit my store on CafePress!

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© 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 Lab # 2220: Refreshing Recollection With Kata

21 Jul

KATA LAB

“I have done that,” – says my memory. “I cannot have done that,” – says my pride, and remains adamant. At last – memory yields. (See Endnote # 1)

Welcome to this installment in my Kata Laboratory Series, Kata Lab # 2220: Refreshing Recollection With Kata ©

 

Preface:

For those readers who have no experience with the spiritual bunkai (analysis) of kata, the following kata laboratory identifies a very simple means to practice kata so as to introduce you to the topic.

Please remember that 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 processes which include, but are not limited to emotions, states-of-mind (mushin, zanshin, nenjuushin and the like) and levels of awareness.

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.

Background:

One of the most basic means of stimulating our state-of-mind is to recollect past memories. We can readily recollect these memories while they remain fresh in our minds. As time progresses, or as we involuntarily “choose” to suppress them, such memories are not so easily recalled.

During my years as a trial attorney, I had many opportunities to confront uncooperative witnesses. At times, these witnesses could not recall past events. It was my obligation to refresh these witnesses recollections as to what they had experienced. Refreshing recollection could come in the form of sounds, smells and any other sensory-based stimulus. There is; however, one form of refreshing recollection that lay outside the legal boundaries of a trial, using kata to refresh recollection.

As an aficionado of kata, I developed a practical means of experiencing the spiritual nature of kata using kata to refresh your recollection of a past memory. Kata can, and often is, associated with:

  • people – (the person that taught you the kata, tested you, practiced with you or simply watched you perform a certain kata) (See Endnote # 2);
  • places – (any location within or external to the Dojo wherein you performed the kata, the more unique the location, the more vivid the memory)(See Endnote # 3);
  • things – (unique physical objects associated with a kata) (See Endnote # 4).
  • events – (tournaments, funeral ceremonies, memorials, rank tests wherein the kata was performed) (See Endnote # 5).
Memories Circa 1974: myself & others with Sensei Nick D'Antuono & my first trophies for kata (Gekisai) & kumite.

Memories Circa 1974: myself & others with Sensei Nick D’Antuono & my first trophies for kata (Gekisai) & kumite.

To this end, I submit the following Kata Laboratory.

Kata Laboratory (Recommended Reader Experimentation):

The following is my procedure to experiment with kata as a means of refreshing your recollection. It allows you to begin to experience kata not as a physical endeavor, but as a spiritual art.

1. Prior to kata practice, think about a person, place, thing or event associated with the kata. It helps immensely if the memory is directly linked to a specific kata. The above examples may help you choose such a memory.

2. Practice your kata concentrating on the past event you associate with the kata. Unconsciously perform the physical movements of the kata while being hyper-conscious of your mental recollection of the event associated with the kata. Your recollection should contain as much detail as possible;

3. Repeat as many times as you would like;

4. After concluding the kata session, remain in a state of zanshin (remaining mind); however, do not remain in a state of mind as to the kata, rather, remain in zanshin as to your refreshed recollection.

Closing: 

Using kata as a means of refreshing your recollection of a past event is advantageous for many reasons including, but not limited to

  • Introduces bunkai (analysis) of the spiritual component of kata as defined above;
  • Stimulates an awareness of the internal cognitive aspect of kata (versus physical aspect);
  • Provides a foundation for incorporating more advanced spiritual bunkai (analysis) of kata.

Please remember, the mandate of the kata laboratory is

lab-collage-6

HANKO

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

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

ENDNOTES:

1. Nietzsche, Frederich, Beyond Good And Evil, Maxims and Interludes, Maxim number 68.

2. Video of my Sanchin Hatsu Bon in Memory of Shihan Wayne Norlander

3. Video of my Nami-Kiribi (Cutting-Wave) Kata performed on vacation in Cape Cod, MA 

4. Video of Seienchin performed in an evening lightening & thunderstorm

5. Video of Sanchin (shobu Version) during an “event” with vultures

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

(Sanchin) KATA – A Puzzling Experiment

12 Nov

I have often wondered whether an experiment can be designed to test my hypothesis that the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of karate-do kata can empirically stimulate and increase brain function. I now think such an experiment exists and I invite you to participate in it. Frankly, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain; the least of which is extra kata practice. Such an experiment can, in my opinion, test my Jiriki Kata-Do philosophy (see Endnote # 1). The cornerstone of this philosophy is that karate-do kata ultimately serves as a means of spiritual and metaphysical awakening.

Background:

I recently watched one of my favorite television shows, “Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman.” The specific episode was entitled “Mysteries of the subconscious.” During the episode, an experiment devised by Dr. Alan Snyder of the Center For The Mind in Sydney, Australia was featured. The experiment required a subject to solve a series of mathematical puzzles. The first few puzzles required the subject to make use of the analytical areas of their brain. These puzzles were solved with relative ease. The solution to the next series of puzzles required the subject to use the creative area of their brains. These puzzles presented difficulty, which, more often than not, resulted in the puzzles being unsolved. Dr. Snyder then stimulated the brain’s creative areas with electrical impulses and the subjects were able to solve the puzzles. As I watched the experiment, it occurred to me that it can be used as a potential means to evaluate Jiriki Kata-Do as a methodology of improving and expanding cognitive perception. Jiriki Kata-Do dictates that kata can (and ultimately MUST) be extended beyond the martial application so as to improve not only general physical health, but also spiritual awareness and metaphysical cohesion. Jiriki Kata-Do accomplishes these goals by stimulating the brain so as to enhance the function of mind, cognition and perception. There have been studies as to enhanced brain function resulting from zazen (seated mediation) and prayer, most notably the experiments of Dr. Andrew Newberg, M.D.  (See Endnote # 2) The idea that kata, like prayer can stimulate specific areas of the brain is by far no “leap of faith.” I have previously submitted the idea that kata is the functional equivalent of the Apostle Matthew’s “inner room.” (See Endnote # 3) Not withstanding the effects of kata as analogous to prayer, no experimentation has been done as to kata and enhanced brain function. Dr. Synder’s experiment offers a means to test this enhanced brain function as it relates to kata.

The Experiment:

By using the puzzles from Dr. Snyder’s experiment as a foundation, I propose that deep, spiritual kata practice can be used in lieu of Dr. Synder’s external electrical impulses to stimulate the creative centers of the brain. With this in mind, the experiment is as follows. As in Dr. Snyder’s experiment, there are a series of puzzles which you are to solve. Each puzzle is written in matchsticks using roman numerals and depicts an incorrect mathematical equation. You are to move the position of ONE matchstick to correct the equation. For example, the first puzzle, as written is 1 + 3 = 9. You must move any one matchstick to correct the equation.

Puzzle # 1:

Puzzle # 2:

Puzzle # 3:

Puzzle # 4:

Most of you can solve the first three puzzles. Many of you will have experienced difficulty in solving the final puzzle; in fact, many will not have solved the puzzle at all. The reason for either your failure to solve the final puzzle or if you solved the puzzle, the difficulty experienced is that the final puzzle requires the use of the creative areas of your brain. In his experiment, Dr. Snyder applied electrical impulses for a prescribed amount of time to stimulate specific areas of the subject’s brain. After stimulation, the subject was able to solve the final puzzle. In our experiment, we will use kata to stimulate the creative areas of your brain so as to facilitate solving the puzzle. As outlined below, I ask that you engage in deep, sincere kata practice for at least half an hour and attempt to again solve the final puzzle. Preliminarily, I note that in the event you could not solve the first three puzzles, you should still embark on the experiment and attempt to solve the puzzles after such practice. Please keep the following points in mind:

Kata Guidelines:

  • It must be remembered that the fuel of the brain is oxygen; in order to function properly and efficiently, the body needs to maximize the exchange of oxygen to the brain. Thus while the ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do applies to any karate-do kata, it is more evident when kata based upon deep abdominal breathing and bodily movement are performed.  To this end, kata derived from Goju-ryu, Pang-Noon-Gai-ryu or Uechi-Ryu are preferred. It is for this reason that I introduce the non-martial artist novice to Jiriki Kata-Do utilizing Sanchin, Seienchin and Suparunpei (Pechurin) Kata (To view video of the Jiriki Kata-Do version of these kata, please see the video links set forth in Endnote # 4);
  • For those readers who are not martial artists, but have or are learning Sanchin Kata and/or Seienchin Kata using my DVD’s, please practice these two kata as set forth herein;
  • Your kata should be deeply, sincerely and spiritually practiced; NO interruption should be tolerated and practice should be continual for at least one-half hour; do no stop (if you must catch your breath slow your pace and decrease the intensity of the kata, but keep active). You should strive to use your kata to enter “your inner room and close the door”;
  • After your practice, try to solve the puzzles;
  • More than one kata-problem solving session may be required to achieve success. Do not give up if your first attempt does not result in success.

Conclusion: Based upon my own personal kata practice and theories that gave rise to Jiriki Kata-Do, I submit that kata will stimulate the applicable cognitive and perception centers of your brain so as to facilitate the solving of the puzzles. In a few weeks, I will post the solution to all four puzzles and provide a link here to the solutions. Link:https://senseijohn.me/2012/12/30/solutions-to-sanchin-kata-a-puzzling-experiment/

In so far as I know the outcome of the experiment and the solutions to the puzzles, I cannot subject myself to the experiment, as such, I wholeheartedly welcome your participation and comments. Please do not let ego prevent you from participating. You are encouraged and welcome to e-mail me your results, comments, observations and even criticisms.

HANKO

 

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

1. For those unfamiliar with the term, Jiriki Kata-Do is my dynamic-philosophy of using kata to attain salvation from within oneself. Salvation in this context is physical, spiritual and metaphysical well-being. To understand the manner in which I conceived of Jiriki Kata-Do from the practice of Goshin-Do Karate-Do, please feel free to read the following article: https://senseijohn.me/2011/10/02/jiriki-kata-do-an-epiphenomenon-of-goshin-do-karate/

2. You are wholeheartedly encouraged to read Dr. Newberg’s experiments, findings and conclusions contained in his book: Newberg, Andrew, M.D., D’Aquill, Eugene, M.D., Ph.D. And, Rause, Vince, Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science & The Biology Of Belief (Ballantine Book, New York, NY 2001).

3. “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men.” . . . “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray. . .”Matthew 6:5-6 (Emphasis added).

4. Video links for the Jiriki Kata-Do version of:

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. 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

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 ** If you experience any difficulty in purchasing online using the above links, please contact me via a “comment” on this blog & I will e-mail you instructions on how to purchase a Sanchin product using a check or money order ***

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

A Lesson From The Spirit World

28 Oct

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I would submit the following from the spirit world –

HAPPY HALLOWEEN (Please Be safe)

There are many myths and fables within the oral traditions of the martial arts in general and Goshin-Do Karate in particular.Like Aesop’s Fables, these myths bring to life what can be rather stale, but important, life lessons. In this article, I would like to submit a myth from a non-martial genre. I respectfully propose the within contains a very mportant life lesson. The genre is that of “Kwaidan” (literally “strange stories” or “weird tales”).   For a ghostly video of Seienchin Kata in an evening thunderstorm, please click the following  Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2ptj157tBg

Here is the ancient kwaidan. Can you extrapolate the lesson from this weird tale?

In ancient feudal Japan, the samurai was supreme amongst men. But, even amongst the samurai, the realm inhabited by spirits was not to be trifled with. During this long passed era, it was generally accepted and acknowledged that if any person be killed while feeling a strong resentment, the ghost of the person would seek vengeance. Even during a lawfully sanctioned execution, the samurai so conducting the execution tread carefully so as not to offend the one who would soon enter the spirit world. Sometimes; however, a prisoner’s resentment could never be appeased. At such times, it would seem that vengeance is inevitable. Such was the state that our samurai finds himself.

The prisoner was brought before the samurai executioner, bound and full of rancor. When the sun rose the day before, the prisoner’s day was full of hope and promise, by night’s end, due to his own foolish error of protocol, he was sentenced to death when the sun next shone upon the Earth. All night long, the prisoner cursed his foolishness; “What karma to have been born simple and foolish and die on account of it.” The night inevitably yielded to the rising sun and the prisoner was destined to meet his fate in the afterworld of spirits. As he knelt before the samurai, he bowed his head and addressed his executioner, “Honored executioner, I ask that your cut be swift and true so that I may be sped to the darkness of the ghost world. Once there, my spirit will again seek your earthly domain. You see, I have always been rather dimwitted. It was my karma that my lack of intellect would be my downfall. I am to be executed not for a crime that I intended, but rather for my own stupidity. This is a wrong and that wrong shall be repaid. So surely as you kill me, shall my resentment provoke my vengeance from the spirit world, and evil will be repaid with evil.” 

The samurai looked down upon the face of the bound prisoner and addressed him. “I will not allow either myself or these witnesses to your execution to be frightened by myth and the tales of wash-women.” “Will you show us a sign, after your head is removed, that your intention is valid?” The prisoner smiled and replied, “I most certainly will – what sign do you propose?” The samurai thought for a moment, “After I cut your head from your body, command your head to bite the corner of the paving stone in front of you.” “If your angry ghost can do that, then we must be frightened of your vengeance.” “Do you accept?”

“I will bite the stone, I will bite the stone”, cried the prisoner. “I will bite the stone” – as the prisoner screamed this again and again, the samurai’s blade made its cut. The prisoner’s head was severed and rolled to the corner where the paving stone was situated. Lo and behold, the mouth opened and the prisoner’s disembodied head bit the corner of the stone. While the court personnel and vassals cried out in terror, the samurai, wiped the prisoner’s blood from his blade and strangely smiled a comforting smile.

For many weeks thereafter, the witnesses and members of the court were frightened. Each day they spoke in hushed whispers and each night they slept fretfully in anticipation of the spirit’s vengeance. One day, they addressed the samurai and inquired whether a Priest should be obtained to say the prayers and rituals to prevent such occurrence. The samurai laughed loudly and said, “This is not necessary, do not concern yourself with a matter that will never come to pass.” The members of the court and the vassals beseeched the samurai, “Please Lord, allow us to do this, do you not understand the desire of a resentful dying man for vengeance may be a cause of fear?” “I do”, replied the samurai. “But you have no cause for fear.” “Only the very last intention of the dying prisoner could give rise to dangerous vengeance.” “I diverted the intention of the prisoner from vengeance.” “The prisoner died with the sole intention of biting the corner of the paving stone and that purpose, his disembodied head accomplished before our very eyes.” “The prisoner was able to accomplish this and nothing else; his quest for vengeance was forgotten by his desire to bite the stone.” “Thus, you have nothing to fear.”  – – –  And indeed, the spirit of the dead prisoner caused no ill. Nothing happened at all.

Now, can you extrapolate the hidden life lesson?

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. 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

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

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

UPDATE: Seienchin DVD & Book

19 Aug

ANNOUNCEMENT: For those who purchased the Sanchin DVD and Book – the FREE “Sanchin in a side stance” video is now available on line. Please follow the instructions you received by mail to access the video.

SEIENCHIN DVD:

Filming for the Seienchin DVD is progressing along quite well. As with the Sanchin DVD, the Seienchin DVD will include the physical, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of Seienchin. As is my preference, the DVD will be filmed in beautiful and aesthetically pleasing natural environments, including areas of Arizona, New Jersey, New York and, possibly, Cape Cod Massachusetts. Here are a few photo stills from the various video shoots.

Arizona locations (Tonto National Forest & San Tan Valley):

    

New Jersey locations (Ringwood Manor, Port Imperial):

    

     

Future filming in planned for the following locations:

  • Long Beach Island, New Jersey;
  • Greenwich Village, New York;
  • North Truro and Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts;

To all in the “Sect Of Sanchin” – keep practicing Sanchin every day — because –

“I’ve got my eyes on you.”

While the filming, voice-over, and editing of the Seienchin DVD continue, I hope you are all enjoying a great summer – working on the Seienchin project means that I am having a great summer. Until the next submission, I remain,

HANKO-master

 Sensei John Szmitkowski

NOW AVAILABLE – SANCHIN VIDEO SERIES designed specifically for the NON-MARTIAL ARTIST who desires to learn & unlock the secret treasure of Sanchin. Here is a link to a FREE promotional video on You-Tubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

You can find information on how to purchase a Sanchin DVD r Book by clicking the following convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html

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

HIDDEN TRAITS OF 8 PRIMORDIAL PRINCIPLES

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,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

ENDNOTES:

  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

INTERACTIVE EXPERIMENT – PART 3 OF 4

6 Feb

In part three of my interactive experiment, you must continue to find something to smile about each and every day of the forthcoming week. However before doing so, please write down each thing you daily smiled about this past week. For example, “On Monday (this) made me smile.” ”On Tuesday (that) made me smile.” And so forth.

I will share one thing that made me smile with you. I smiled when I took a few pictures of Goshin-Do Karate Kata postures and modified them with a “pop-art” effect on my laptop. Here are the results.

The first photograph depicts the “Archer’s Block” posture from the Seienchin Kata. The second photograph depicts the “Busaganashi” posture from the Hakutsuru Kata. (See Endnote # 1)

At the end of next week AND BEFORE READING part four (the final part) of this experiment, write down those things that made you smile during the coming week.

After completing the above, you will be ready to read the final part of this experiment which will post on Sunday, February 13th.

Until then, I remain 🙂

Sensei John Szmitkowski, Soke, Jiriki Kata-Do

ENDNOTES:

1. The Kanji (Japanese writing) for the Kata, Seienchin has a dual translation. One is “Calm in the storm; storm in the calm.”  The other is “Walk far to quell and conquer.” Busaganashi is a Taoist martial deity that is depicted in this posture. The translation of the Kanji for the Kata Hakutsuru is “White Crane.”

A depiction of Busaganashi

You may wish to view my blog dedicated to fly-fishing by clicking WWW.FlyFishingDojo.Wordpress.Com

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