Tag Archives: Shibumi Kata

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.

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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

One Inch . . . That’s OK

6 Apr

One Inch.
One inch is not a large unit of measurement, but it can symbolize a great deal.

This “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) group session will explore such symbolism.

Many of you have acquainted yourself with Sanchin Kata using my free resources. For those readers unfamiliar with Sanchin Kata, you can freely acquaint yourself with the kata and join in this group session using the following link: https://senseijohn.me/sanchin-book/
In the Sanchin Kata you take three steps forward and three steps backward. Thus, when you are finished with your Sanchin performance, you end at the exact point that you started. I call this phenomenon of starting and finishing a kata at the exact same location “positional coincidence.” Positional coincidence exists in all modern (approximately 1945 and thereafter) karate kata. Karate Sensei often attribute a philosophical concept to positional coincidence.

You are traveling through life. Your life’s journey is interrupted by a confrontation with an aggressor. You pause your journey to defend yourself (represented by the kata performance). You defeat the aggressor. Being victorious, you continue along your life’s path from the exact point of interruption. Symbolically, the confrontation had no effect upon you at all.

Let’s use this “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session to explore and alter that philosophy.

I cannot emphasize enough that performing Sanchin Kata, at least once daily, will benefit you physically, emotionally and psychologically. So, why subscribe to the above philosophy attributed to positional coincidence? To do so simply symbolizes that you are living your life, you perform Sanchin Kata, and after doing so return to your life exactly as you lived before the performance of Sanchin Kata. Wrong! You are better physically, emotionally and psychologically for performing the Kata. So, why not symbolize that betterment? Intentionally violating positional coincidence by moving forward one inch provides that symbolism. My karate colleagues may find Endnote # 1 to be of interest on this point.

So, lets voluntarily adjust and “violate” the phenomenon of positional coincidence during this group “ . . . That’s OK” (Online Kata) session.

dreams-seisan           Only One Inch . . . That’s OK

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 an interesting 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: Starting Monday April 7th, 2014;
Time: Anytime
Location: Any location;
Salient Points:

  • Perform your Sanchin, Shibumi or Karate Kata as normal, and remain in position on the last move;
  • As you step forward from the last move to the ready posture, intentionally, shift forward at least an inch, so that you do not finish at the same point you started, but forward from that position;
  • Recognize that finishing forward from your starting position acknowledges that you are better off physically, emotionally and psychologically for performing the kata than not performing the kata;
  • Kata Sommelier: For my karate brethren, I would recommend any “flowing”, graceful kata. My favorite kata in this regard is the Seipai Kata. You may also enjoy Wansu Kata, Seisan Kata or similar kata during this session. But remember – violate the positional coincidence by moving forward at least one inch at the end.

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.

In closing I remain, inching forward in life through my kata,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

I found a few old photos that I thought readers may enjoy, the two below are from about 1973 from my purple belt promotion they feature several notable Yudansha as follows: 1) Sensei Dave Crum (as a brown belt) 2) Sensei Dave Church, 3) Sensei Nick D’Antuono, 4) myself receiving purple belt (age 12), 5) Sensei Tony Fabi, 6) Shihan Thomas DeFelice, 7) Sensei Paul Recchia, 8) Sensei James Kingston, 9) Sensei Steve Malmoud, 10) Sensei Jeff Tyne. I am blessed and honored to have personally known every black belt in the Goshin-Do Karate-Do style we call “DeFelice-Ryu.”
purple-2-#     purple-1-#

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

ENDNOTE:
1. For my karate colleagues, it is about time to re-examine the dogmatic philosophy attributed to positional coincidence. We need to acknowledge the truth of a real life fight in the street – after the fight you do not return to your life exactly as you were before the fight. Initially, you are all the better for surviving the encounter; you survived to go-about your life, love and provide for your family. After the initial euphoria of survival wears off, you will always carry the gravity of having to defend yourself. Either way, you are never the same. I simply suggest, that on occasion (such as in this kata session) your kata practice should acknowledge that simple truth. Voluntarily avoiding positional coincidence as above is one way to do so.

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
** 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.

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

Promises, promises, broken promises “. . . That’s OK”

16 Mar

This week’s post is dedicated to my friend “Dean” who had both a set back in chemotherapy and a disappointment.

life=kata-YOU-

There are many ways that the Dojo is a microcosm of everyday life. One example may be found in the potential new student that walks into the Dojo. Let’s take a look at two hypothetical new students. With a nod towards one of my favorite childhood magazines, “Highlights Magazine”, let’s call these two potential students “Goofus and Gallant.”

goofus-gallant-1  Goofus. Goofus enters the Dojo excited and vocal in his desire to learn karate. As is my usual procedure, I tell him he must come back in thirty days. He promises to do so. In thirty days he returns and is proud to exclaim:

  • “See I passed the first test;”
  • “I wanted to learn karate all my life, I’ll start the next class, I promise I’ll bring my check;”

Goofus continues,

  • “I promise to attend every class and work hard;”
  • “I promise to listen to everything you say;”
  • “I promise to practice every free minute at home;”
  • “I promise to be your most devoted student.”

goofus and gallant Gallant. Gallant enters the Dojo and simply asks if it would be okay to quietly observe the class. When class is finished, Gallant thanks me and asks if it would be okay to visit again. I tell him, “Yes” and shake his hand.

Based upon my experience, Goofus will join the Dojo and quit in two to three months (definitely after his first bruise, physically or psychologically). Gallant will eventually join the Dojo and become a devoted student.

Similar stories have been told in varied ways (the most popular being the student that will work twice as hard to obtain a black belt; which will take twice as long). I chose the above to illustrate a specific point that fostered disappointment for my friend “Dean”  – The person that promises the most will be the one the does nothing and disappoints the most.

So,

Promises, promises, empty promises “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata)

As always, you can perform either the Sanchin Kata, my Shibumi Kata or any karate kata. For my karate brethren, the “Kata Sommelier” has a rare 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: Starting Monday March 17th, 2014;

Time: Anytime another’s promises exceed their ability to execute them.

Location: Any location;

Salient Points:

  • As you perform your kata rise above the emptiness of the promises made to you;
  • Rely on your own inner strength and “fighting-spirit;”
  • Know that you are a far better person for doing, not for promising and avoiding;
  • In your own mind perform your triumphant kata symbolically “in-the-face” of the one who disappointed you:
  • You are a formidable force – while you welcome the assistance of others, their failure to make good on their promises is of no consequence – you will triumph while the promisor must always bear the knowledge of their failure.

Kata Sommelier: For my karate brethren, I would recommend Kanto, “Fighting Spirit” Kata. Since this kata is very rare, being created by Hanshi Frank Van Lenten to represent his Goshin-Do Karate-Do Kyokai, you may perform any kata within your syllabus with the “Fighting Spirit” of Kanto Kata. Be formidable, unconquerable, you have no need to rely on the empty promises of others; no matter how lofty they tout themselves.

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.

In closing I remain, doing, not promising,

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoy the Online Kata, please help support Sensei’s blog –

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:

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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

Still Winter . . . That’s OK

2 Mar

“Life is a Kata” (Sensei John Szmitkowski)

LIFE = KATA

Winter.

The days are shorter, colder, bleaker. But, with the end of Winter just around the corner, let’s take a moment and celebrate the season with either Sanchin Kata, Shibumi Kata or any other karate kata. So,

it’s still winter – “. . . That’s OK” (Online Kata)

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: Starting Monday March 4th, 2014;

Time: FIRST thing in the morning! Yes, get out of that warm bed and venture out into the cold, crisp air.

Location: MUST be outdoors

Salient Points:

There is one simple point, just do it and embrace the experience.

Kata Sommelier: For my karate brethren, I would recommend the kata that you are most familiar with. This should allow you to perform the kata utterly without thought so as to focus on your winter surroundings.

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.

In the cold dark days of winter, the common man remains indoors, the extra-ordinary man will embrace the winter. To guide you on your way to extra-ordinariness here is a video of the extremely rare Ten-Ni-No Kata (translation: “To Rise Above The Common”) filmed in a New Jersey snowstorm.

In closing I remain, embracing the last of winter,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Help support Sensei’s weblog –

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:

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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/

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

** 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.

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

Caregiver – A Samurai (Shibumi Kata)

25 Jan

IMPORTANT:

 

You are a caregiver. YOU are a Samurai!

Introduction:

You have been entrusted with one of the most essential and defining characteristics of being human – caring for the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of another. Your own physical, emotional and psychological well-being directly affects your ability to care for the well-being of the afflicted person. Therefore, it is essential that you maintain positive physical, emotional and psychological health.

To think that you will simply exist in a positive state during your term as caregiver is an illusion.

  • You will face physical challenges of exhaustion, fatigue and maybe even aches and pains.
  • Emotionally you may have periods of sadness, anxiety, frustration and the like.
  • Psychologically, you may doubt that you are up to the task of giving care, or fear the road ahead and similar thoughts.

You must have a means of modifying these states; an outlet for your physical and emotional challenges. That outlet can be the Shibumi Kata.

First, know your status as caregiver has warrior roots – – –  the Samurai.

The word invokes thoughts of loyal, fearless warriors, or “Bushi,” for whom honor, courage and discipline were self-evident. Loosely translated, the kanji, or calligraphy, for “Samurai” translates as “To serve.” The kanji has also been figuratively translated as “those who serve in close attendance to the nobility.”

samurai kanji-red

As you can see by definition, you as a caregiver are a Samurai!

You should think and act at all times as a descendent of these honorable, courageous and loyal Bushi.

The afflicted person who has been entrusted in your care is akin to the nobility. As they are physically and possibly emotionally debilitated from their illness, treatment (such as chemotherapy) or both. They are noble in their quest to overcome their debilitation. As such, their needs are tantamount to your needs as caregiver.

Their needs come before yours. For example, if they are hungry you must feed them before satisfying your own hunger; if they need assistance in the bath or shower, you must assist whether or not you are fatigued and the like. To this end, you must seek your inner physical and emotional strength and balance.

Need for Shibumi Kata:

In times of physical, emotional or psychological difficulty, you must reach within your inner being and psyche. Use the Shibumi Kata to help you remove these difficulties. You can perform the Shibumi Kata as passively or aggressively as you need to adjust yourself. For example, if you are fatigued physically, or emotionally anxious, you may desire to perform the movements of Shibumi with an aggressive attitude so as to dispel your negative state. Conversely, if you are physically and emotionally well, the Shibumi Kata can be performed as a moving-mediation to maintain or enhance your positive state.

I designed the Shibumi Kata so that you may alter the performance as your needs may require, perform Shibumi

  • as a full kata with the connecting moves, or perform only those sequences that you may require;
  • repeat any sequence as many times as you desire;
  • perform the physical movements as intense or passive as you desire or as you may be capable of performing;
  • concentrate not only on the eight physical movements but also the accompanying psychological modifiers, select those that you feel will help you;

CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, INCLUDING SHIBUMI KATA.

Now, go forth and complete your task as a Samurai!

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi, “Understated Elegance,”

HANKO-wood

Sensei John Szmitkowski

invincible summer For details on how to participate in Sensei John’s most recent cyber-group Kata session where you can perform Shibumi as a member of an online community, please use this link: https://senseijohn.me/category/thats-ok/

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

. . . That’s OK, it speaks for itself

19 Jan

First and foremost – 

Welcome new readers and new students of either Sanchin Kata or Shibumi Kata! The past few weeks of my “free Sanchin & Shibumi campaign” have been very exciting. I never thought that by simply handing out cards and pamphlets I would meet so many interesting people.

This post is a means by which we can all practice our kata “together” as a group via the internet. The group dynamic is satisfied not by being geographically together, but by all practicing together in accord with the session parameters. To keep practice fresh and interesting, I will post new sessions every two weeks in a new category of blog posts.

Note:   For those of you that have learned Sanchin Kata from either my DVD, book or both, the new category will replace the “Sanchin Pilgrimage” category. This will all me to include the partitioners of the Shibumi Kata and martial artists that may choose to join in our cyber-group. For my martial arts readers, I will act like a Sommelier who recommends pairing of wine and food; however, as a “Kata Sommelier” I’ll recommend kata to be paired with the session parameters.

The first cyber-group session is posted below. We can all start practicing tomorrow and continue until the next session’s parameters is posted in two weeks.

I’ve decided to call this category – –

. . . That’s OK (with the OK being an acronym  for “Online Kata”)

The name is a nod to my Uncle-In-Law, Jim who would tell of hardships he endured during his 82 years on this Earth and end with the phrase “. . . but, thats OK.” “We almost starved during the Great Depression, but thats OK,” is one example.

Similarly we, as an online Kata community can go about our days, good and bad as an online community and simply know that “ . . . . That’s OK” – we have Online Kata to help us.

 * * * * * This Session * * * * *

I have a latin phrase burned in my mind from my years as a student at Seton Hall Law School, Newark, New Jersey (1985-1989). That phrase is “Res Ipsa Loquitur.” It means “the thing speaks for itself.” Res Ipsa Loquitur was not only a legal principle I was required to learn, it was also the name of our school newspaper. As such, I was routinely exposed to it. Now, Res Ipsa Loquitur is the foundation of our first “That’s OK” session.

Session Parameters:

  • Date: Every day beginning Monday, January 20th, 2014;
  • Time: The very first thing in the morning, or as close as possible to the first thing you do;
  • Location:  Any location; however, my preference is an outdoor location;
  • Salient Points: This one is simple – as an online community we can perform our kata as a means of getting through our day gracefully, with a sense of satisfaction, no matter what we may encounter, because the benefits of our practice of the kata “speak for itself!” We will feel better than the average person physically, emotionally and psychologically all because of our online group kata. Thus each morning our kata will – Res Ipsa Loquitor.
  • Kata Sommelier: For martial artists, if you do not desire to perform Sanchin (or try my Shibumi Kata), during these two weeks, I would recommend you participate by performing the first kata required in your style. Without learning this kata, you would not have advanced in knowledge. Thus the kata “speaks for itself.” In Goshin-Do Karate, this would be Taikiyoku Kata, for Goju-ryu karate-ka, Gekisai Dai Ichi, for Isshin-Ryu practitioners, Seisan Kata, and the like.

In closing, I remain letting kata “speak for itself” –  and – – – “ . . . . That’s OK

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

lab-collage-6 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/

NOTES:

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

For the official Goshin-Do Karate-Do blog, please visit 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

Shibumi Kata – Movements & Psychology

5 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient            link: https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Shibumi Kata

This chapter shall descibe the physical movements of the Shibumi Kata (“Understated Elegance Procedure) and the psychological (emotional) techniques that will allow “Dean” to function as normally as possible during his battle with cancer as he manages the dilatory effects of chemotherapy.

The entire Kata is composed of the four sequences being performed four times – once in either each direction of the compass or once in each of the angles between such points. Thus the kata is performed in eight directions.

North

angle                 angle

West          👤          East

angle              angle

South

To separate each sequence, there is a standard connecting movement. Thus the entire Shibumi Kata  is represented by 108 actions/states as follows.

  • 2 groups of four movements = 8 actions
  • 8 actions performed 4 times = 32 movements
  • 32 movements are connected by 4 connecting movements = 36 actions
  • 36 actions capable of being performed in three states (water, ice & steam previously discussed) = 108 actions/states that are possible to assist “Dean” in mitigating his physical and psychological discomforts associated with his condition.

In karate-do, enlightened masters acknowledge that the number 108 has “spiritual” implications. This spirituality is represented in the highest kata of a style of karate known as “Goju-Ryu”. The kata is called “Suparunpei” (pronounced Soup-a-roon-pay)., meaning “108 hands.” It is very interesting to note that this mystic-spirituality of the number 108 is also found within several eastern religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism. Even the science of mathematics bows to the number as 108 is an integral part of many mathematic formulas. If you are interested in this topic, simply perform an on-line search and be amazed and bewildered.

The uniqueness of the Shibumi Kata is that while “Dean” can perform the entire kata for his general physical and psychological well-being, he can also perform an individual movement, or sequence, or any combination thereof as a specific need arises. The goal of being able to perform the kata anytime, and anyplace (no matter) how confined (such as a chemotherapy room) has, in my opinion, been fully achieved.

THE SHIBUMI KATA:

Note:

The directions North, South, West and East are used to refer to the directions within which movements are performed. They are NOT tied to the directions of the compass. Whatever direction the performer, “Dean” is facing is deemed North. Thus, the reverse is South, the left is West and the right is East.

Stand ready & Meditate – clear your mind

Sequence # 1: To spit / To Swallow     

To spit:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata start slow. This is to acknowledge that the performer, “Dean” is experiencing some level of physical discomfort, such as fatigue, pain, nausea and the like. These discomforts are then cast-out or “spit” from the body.  Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to ice to steam and once again to water.

Psychological discomfort, depression, anxiety, fear and the like is similarly acknowledged and “spit” from the performer. The key component is that the psychological discomfort MUST first be acknowledged, thus the first movement which is symbolic of this. If discomfort is not acknowledged, “Yes, I am afraid”, it cannot be dealt with!

  • The first movement lowers and expands the body so as to acknowledge and gather the discomfort. The breathing associated with the first movement is soft inhalation – hard exhalation (with as much dynamic tension as is physically possible). The state is that of ice.
  • The next movement is to return the body to the ready position and extend the right hand as quickly and emphatically as possible. This is the “spitting” out of the discomfort. The breathing is hard inhalation – hard exhalation. The state remains as ice.
  • Remaining in place, the hand that symbolized the “spitting” is slowly rotated as a means of symbolically acknowledging that discomfort has left “Dean.’ The breathing for this movement is soft-soft, the state is that of steam.
  • Remaining in position, the hand that “spit” is quickly clapped by the other hand and each hands return to their last position. The breathing is that of soft-hard and the state is that of water. The clap provided two additional sensory experiences for “Dean.” One is the sound of the hand clapping and two is the feel of the clap. This serves to emphasize that discomfort has been “spit-out” by involving these two senses.
  • This above sequence is the performed in the directions of South, West and East. Hands alternate with each direction.
  • With hands remaining in position, turn to the starting direction, North,
  • End of “To Spit”

To swallow:

If there is any physical or psychological discomfort, it is imperative that the movements of “to swallow” be performed AFTER the movements of “To Spit.” The discomfort must first be removed. If; however, “Dean” is having a “Good” moment or day and desires simply to increase his positive physical or psychological state, then “To Swallow” can be performed of its own accord.

Breathing varies as below. The state starts with the default state of water to water (in the form of a tsunami!), ice, steam returning to water

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata start quickly. This is to acknowledge that the performer, “Dean” is physically and psychological in a positive state. He desires to increase this overall feeling by drawing the energy that exists around him.

  • The first movement is to quickly extend the right foot and hand as forcefully as possible, symbolically saying, “I am great!” The breathing is hard-hard and the state is water (perceive a tsunami – a force to be reckoned with!).
  • The right hand is then slowly turned and brought in to the mid-line of the chest area as the right foot is withdrawn to the ready position. Breathing is soft-hard with dynamic tension on the hard exhalation. The state is that of ice. Symbolically, “Dean” will collect the positive energy from the environment around him and “swallow” it.
  • The left hand then claps the right hand. Breathing is soft-soft and the state is steam. Again, the clap serves as an additional sensory input to acknowledge that energy from outside of “Dean” has been “swallowed” within “Dean”
  • The movements are then repeated South (with the left hand), West (with the right hand), and East (with the left hand)
  • With hands remaining in position, turn to the starting direction, North,
  • End of “To Swallow”

Connection Movement

This movement symbolizes that “Dean” has modified his physical and psychological state. “Dean” is then ready to either proceed with the remainder of the Shibumi Kata, or conclude the session as he may desire or need. The Breathing is soft-soft and the state is the default state of water.

  • The feet are brought together and knees are bent, the hands are brought inward with palms facing up.
  • The knees are extended as the hands are pressed out to the side with palms turning to face outward.

Sequence # 2: To Float / To Sink

To float:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are quick and light. Lightness and grace is the key. In fact I derived this sequence from a karate kata known as Hakutsuru, which means “white crane. The grace and tenacity of the white crane is to be kept within the performer’s consciousness. This is to allow the performer, “Dean”, to either expel negative physical or psychological states or increase positive states.

Like floating on the waves of an ocean or the ripples of a pond, the performer’s existing physical state either 1) floats in with the incoming wave (so as to gather in the positive aspects of nature) or 2) floats away from the performer (so as  to dispel the negative aspects of the performer).

So, if “Dean” is in a positive physical or psychological state, “to float” will allow him to celebrate and be jubilant in that state. If he is in a negative state, this process allows him to cast off the negativity while remaining hopeful that the overall outcome of Shibumi will benefit him.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice (very briefly) to steam and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • From the ready posture (the state is water);
  • Turn to face the North-East angle, raise the right foot to the height of your left knee, cross both arms in front of your abdomen (soft inhale – state is steam);
  • Lower your right foot so that it is slightly in front of your left (try to keep most of your weight on the left foot); raise your arms over your head and extend them to the side (soft exhale, state remains steam);
  • Remain in position, bring both hands into the side of your body, slightly above the hips (soft inhalation, state is steam);
  • Quickly, slide forward with the right leg, (in the N-E direction) so that the right foot is about 12 inches in front of the left foot, quickly thrust both hands forward with fingers pointing outward to the side (hard exhale, state is ice);
  • Step forward with the left foot, so your are in the ready posture, clap hands in front of you and return to the side as in the ready posture (Breathing is soft-hard, state is water);
  • Turn to the South-West angle and repeat with the left leg lifting;
  • Turn to the North-West angle and repeat with the right leg lifting;
  • Turn to the South-East angle and repeat with the left leg lifting;
  • Turn to North in ready posture;
  • End of Sequence

To sink:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are slow and methodic. As in floating this is to allow the performer, “Dean” to either expel negative physical or psychological states or increase positive states. The process is exactly reverse of the process of floating. Similarly, negative aspects are dispelled and positive aspect enhanced through this process.

To sink an object must either be heavier than water, or increase it’s mass by absorbing water. Similarly, negative aspects are dispelled and positive aspect enhanced through this process.

If “Dean” is in a positive physical or psychological state, he can enhance same by sinking. The process is not celebratory as in floating, rather the process is more austere or subdued. He simply increases and concentrates the positive aspects deeper and deeper within himself. The positive state is enhanced, but quietly, inwardly and not readily apparent to the casual observer. If “Dean” is in a negative state, then in a similar austere manner, the negativity is allowed to fall from him, further and further away, like a water-swollen branch might ultimately sink to the bottom of a lake.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water stat to ice (never to steam) and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • From the ready posture facing North (state is water)
  • Step forward with the right foot on the NE angle so that your feet are 1 1/2 the width of your shoulders, cross your hands in front of your abdomen (soft inhalation, state is water);
  • Remain in position, uncross your hands and raise them so fingertips are at the height of your shoulders with palms facing you (hard exhalation, state is ice);
  • Remain in position, turn palms inward to face each other (soft inhalation, state is water);
  • Lower your body by bending the knees, press hands downward with palms facing the floor (hard exhalation, state is ice);
  • Step forward with the left foot, so your are in the ready posture, clap hands in front of you and return to the side as in the ready posture (Breathing is soft-hard, state is water);
  • Turn to the South-West angle and repeat stepping with the left leg;
  • Turn to the North-West angle and repeat stepping with the right leg;
  • Turn to the South-East angle and repeat stepping with the left leg;
  • Turn to North in ready posture;
  • End of Sequence

Connection Movement

(Same as above)

Sequence # 3: To Burst / To Rebound

To burst:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are quick and decisive. To burst means that one knows one’s goal and is determined to achieve it as quickly and decisively as possible. There is NO room for doubt. Success is eminent.

So, if “Dean” is in need of a quick modification of a physical or psychological state, he can immediately and decisively modify the state. Without hesitation he can adapt to he changing needs.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice (very briefly) to steam and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • Ready Posture
  • Face to North-East;
  • Step forward with the right foot, lower your right hand and raise your left hand (soft inhale soft exhale, state is steam)
  • Quickly step forward with your left foot as you rotate your hands to reverse their position, (quick soft inhale & soft exhale-state is steam);
  • Quickly step forward with the right foot pull your hands in and extend them out with finger tips to the side (soft inhale & hard exhale – state is ice)
  • Clap hands as you return to ready posture (state is water)
  • Repeat facing the South-West raising your left foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the North-West raising your right foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the South-East raising your left foot and continue;

To bounce:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata, while smooth and light, contain a “caesurae”, a dramatic pause.  To bounce means that one knows unconditionally the physical or psychological state he desires to achieve; however, while he is decisive about the state he wishes to achieve, he cannot directly achieve it. Like a ball that bounces to its target. The performer needs to bounce off a temporary physical or emotional state so as to achieve the desired state.

For example, if “Dean” is physically fatigued or emotionally sad and desires to be energetic or upbeat, he may not be able to directly achieve this goal (as in the case of “To Burst”). He may find it necessary to find a temporary state and “bounce” off that state in order to ultimately modify his condition. One such temporary state could be anger. Positive anger can produce helpful results. If “Dean” is angry about his condition, then he can acknowledge that, briefly absorb it and move onto his positive state. “Yes, getting cancer is terrible and unfair, and I am angry about it but, I will conquer it!”

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • Ready Posture;
  • Face to the North-East
  • Step slightly with the right foot, pull hands (soft inhale) & extend out with fingers to the side (soft exhale) (state is steam):
  • Step with the left foot outward (feet are in line), (soft inhale) lower body and bring hands inward so finger tips touch opposite elbows (hard exhale – ice state);
  • Quickly step back with the left leg (feet in line) and thrust hands outward to the side (quick soft inhale-quick hard exhale) state is ice;
  • Return to ready posture as you clap hands (state is water);
  • Repeat facing the South-West starting with your left foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the North-West starting with your right foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the South-East starting your left foot and continue;

Connection Movement

(Same as above)

Sequence # 4: To Spring / To Lift

To spring:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are quick and light. Lightness and grace is the key. This sequence from a karate kata known as Hakutsuru, which means “white crane. The grace and tenacity of the white crane is to be kept within the performer’s consciousness.

To spring is similar to the sequence entitled “To burst” with one notable exception. While “to burst” is energetic and emphatic, “to spring” is subdued and patient. The performer seeks to directly modify his physical or emotional state, changing from one directly to another; however, the overall method is achieved slowly, subtly and with patience.

“Dean” can still directly modify his physical or emotional state’ however, this direct modification will take longer than if he employed the “to burst” tactic. As a spring must contract and gather its energy before action, so too must the performer. The hallmark of “to spring” is patience.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam, very briefly to ice and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • Ready Posture
  • Face to North;
  • Raise right foot & lower slightly in front of your left as you extend hands upward over your head finger tips touching (soft inhale soft exhale, state is steam)
  • Quickly step forward with your left foot as you lower hand downward, palms down (quick soft inhale & soft exhale-state is that of steam);
  • Quickly step forward with the right foot as you turn hands so fingertips point down and raise upward (quick soft inhale & quick hard exhale – state is ice)
  • Clap hands as you return to ready posture (state is water)
  • Repeat facing the South raising your left foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the West raising your right foot and continue;
  • Repeat facing the East raising your left foot and continue;

To lift:

As seen in the video below, the movements of this aspect of the Shibumi kata are designed to modify oneself physically and psychologically through determination. As in the act of lifting an object, the performer needs to prepare himself to lift a heavy object (or burden). Once prepared, if the object(or burden) is heavier than anticipated, it may not be lifted on the first attempt. One needs to regroup and lift again, this time fully aware of the weight to be lifted. Ultimately, he will succeed and the burden will be lifted. This is shown in the repetitive nature of the first two movements. The third movement symbolizes success.

In “Dean’s” case, if he should need to alter his physical or psychological state using the “to lift” concept. He prepares himself first. “Dean” needs to remember that if his physical or psychological burden is “to heavy”, he should immediately regroup and attempt (to lift) again. Ultimately “Dean” will succeed.

Breathing varies as below and the states move from the default water state to steam to ice and once again to water. The act of clapping hands once again serves as an additional sensory stimulus (involving the sense of touch and hearing) to increase awareness of the modified state.

  • From the Ready posture;
  • Facing North:
  • Step forward with the right foot, keeping most of the weight on the left leg, bring both hand to the left hip (soft inhale – state is steam);
  • Swing the hands to the right bringing the right hand to the right side and left hand over your head (soft exhale – state is steam);
  • Step with the left leg and repeat from the opposite side;
  • Step forward with the right leg, weight is equal on both feet, pull hands into side and thrust out with fingertips to the side (soft inhale-hard exhale – state is ice);
  • Turn to the South and repeat stepping with the left leg;
  • Turn to the West and repeat stepping with the right leg;
  • Turn to the East and repeat stepping with the left leg;

Connection Movement

(same as above)

This last connection is important for the Zanshin state-of-mind – please see the “Table Of Contents” using either the above link or “Shibumi Kata” page tab.

Stand ready – meditate

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

Shibumi – Kata Framework: Inner Energy

4 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient            link: https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Concept of Bio-energy:

Externally physical and psychological change is facilitated by bodily movement. Internally change is facilitated by directing your body’s inner energy. In ancient times this inner energy was referred to as “Chi” or “Ki”. In modern times these terms are still utilized in specific fields of endeavor.  I call this energy simply “Bio-energy.” BIO-energy resides within your “Hara” or belly. The exact point is located slightly below the belly button.

The ability to transport bio-energy within the confines of one’s own body is an integral component of the Shibumi Kata. In short, this is the ability to expand and contract one’s bio-energy from the Hara to the physical boundary of the entire human body. While the physical movements of the Shibumi Kata are somewhat easy to begin to learn, the internal transport of one’s bio-energy will take faith, time, energy and commitment to learn.

To learn to contract and expand your bio-energy, you must first perceive that it exists. It is important that you do not “visualize” your bio-energy. Visualization is wholly inadequate. Visualization is the mere physical effect of light passing through your eyes to the organ known as the brain where the light is processed. Every organ has a function (the stomach to digest, the heart to circulate blood, and the like). The higher function of the brain is the mind. It is the mind that processes the light from the eyes to form a recognizable pattern. It is this higher brain function, the mind, that is used to perceive the existence and movement of bio-energy within your body. Thus, you do not use your brain to visulaize the movement of bio-energy in your body, you use your mind to perceive such movement.

You must start to perceive its existence and residence within the Hara. As you inhale (in any of the manner previously discussed) perceive and be aware of your own energy. Perceive it contained in the Hara. As you exhale (again in any of the described manner), perceive that the bio-energy flows from your Hara throughout your body. The effect if that of filling and deflating a balloon. The ballon starts empty, symbolizing the bio-energy residing in the Hara. As you exhale, thus filing the balloon, the bio-energy flows to all points of your body and is bounded only by your skin. Again, like air fills the entire balloon.

The expansion and contraction of bio-energy is a fundamentally important internal process of the Shibumi Kata. The awareness of bio-energy and its flow can only be achieved through dedicated practice.

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi,

SHIBUMI-lotus sunset

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

Shibumi – Kata Framework: Breathing

4 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient             link:  https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Shibumi Kata Breathing

In order to perform Shibumi Kata for optimum effect it is necessary to breath efficiently. To do so requires breathing in a natural method and in an appropriate manner.

Breathing Methodology:

At birth we breathed naturally. In a desire to breath better than nature intended, we devolved our breathing into what we perceived as more efficient.

To illustrate this point, stop reading and take a deep breath. The majority of you probably sought to ‘fill your lungs with air” by expanding your upper chest, raising your shoulders, arching your back and contracting your abdomen. Some of you may have even accomplished this deep breath by inhaling through the mouth. This method of inhalation and exhalation is unnatural, inefficient and must be corrected immediately.

The methodology of Shibumi Kata breathing is a three step process. First is the development of the natural method of inhalation and exhalation. The second step is the method of deep abdominal breathing. The third and final step is the manner of breathing.

Inhalation and exhalation:

You must now remember a very basic, but all to often forgotten, cardinal rule of breathing, to wit: breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Without giving a lesson in biology, the nose was specifically designed for the inhalation of oxygen and the other beneficial gases contained within our atmosphere.

To facilitate proper inhalation and exhalation, I have developed is an easy technique.

Consciously make an effort to inhale through the nose. While inhaling, close your mouth and emphatically press your tongue upwards against the roof of your mouth. By performing this maneuver, it is difficult, if not impossible, to open your mouth and breath in. Therefore, the only alternative means available for inhalation is to utilize the nose for its intended purpose. Now to complete the act of breathing, you will need to exhale. To exhale you open your mouth and allow the air to flow outward. You do not exhale through the nose. To facilitate the use of the mouth during exhalation, as you open your mouth, emphatically press the tongue downward against the bottom of your mouth. By using your tongue in this manner, you will be physically conscious of the manner in which you inhale and exhale. You may note that your exhalation now produces a somewhat audible sound. This sound is akin to a mild roar, much like the sound of ocean surf.

Continue to practice inhaling and exhaling in this manner. When the act of breathing again occurs naturally through the nose and out the mouth, you can de-emphasize the emphatic use of your tongue as described above.

Abdominal breathing:

The next step in the physical process of Shibumi Kata breathing is to efficiently fill your lungs with air. Please take careful note that I did not define this step as filling your chest with air. Filling the chest cavity with air implies the use of only the upper portion of the lungs, and does not therefore fill the lungs with air. As a direct result, there is an inefficient exchange of gases within the body. To achieve efficiency, you need to inhale and exhale through the lower abdomen.

The following simple exercise is designed to acquaint you with this concept. Lie down on your back and relax. While lying on your back, rest your hands, palms down, on your lower abdomen, commonly referred to as your “belly“. This placement of the hands does not facilitate breathing, rather, your hands will provide an added sensory indication of the proper breathing method through the sense of touch.

Open your mouth, as previously described, relax your belly and allow the natural force of gravity to decompress your belly, thus expelling air through your mouth. Keep your hands in contact with your belly and allow your hands to lower with your belly. Now, close your mouth, pressing your tongue on its roof and inhale through the nose. As you inhale, willfully direct the air to the lower belly so as to force it to expand and rise upwards. Keep your hands in contact with your belly and allow your hands to rise with your belly. You will again exhale by opening your mouth, pressing your tongue downward, relaxing and decompressing your belly so as to exhale. Allow your hands to lower and decompress with your belly. The duration of exhalation should be slightly longer than the inhalation. Both processes should be completely relaxed. Continue to breathe in this manner for a period of about five minutes.

As you practice this breathing you can increase the duration of the floor exercise to about five minutes. You can also remove the hands from your belly and place them in a relaxed position at the sides of your body.

As you become accustom to this method of inhalation and exhalation, you can perform the exercise while in the standing position. Stand in a relaxed manner with your feet shoulder width apart and the knees slightly bent. Keep your head raised and your back straight (there will be more discussion on that directive later). Place your hands at your side and begin the abdominal breathing. Again, if necessary, you may place your hands on your belly to facilitate the sense of proper breathing. At this juncture, you will begin breathing more naturally and efficiently. You can and should now incorporate this breathing methodology into your daily routine. We have all experienced points in time throughout our day where either we told ourselves, or were told by others, to “Relax and take a deep breath.” Well, my dear readers, now you know how to properly do just that!

Manner of breathing:

The next phase in the Shibumi breathing is to perform the act of inhalation and exhalation in a specific manner. In  Karate-Do we referred to the manner of breathing as either “Hard” or “Soft“. It is important to remember that the methodology of inhalation and exhalation remains the same as described above. Only the manner of breathing is altered as follows.

Soft breath is a relaxed form of breathing. The body remains relaxed as air is gently inhaled in a steady manner. Once inhalation is complete, exhalation begins. During the process of exhalation, the body remains relaxed and air is expelled softy and in a steady manner. The process then begins a new.

Hard breath is the direct opposite of soft breath. The inhalation of air is swift and crisp. Hard inhalation is, therefore, more audible than soft inhalation. During inhalation, the body remains relaxed. Once inhalation is complete, exhalation occurs in a prolonged and crisp manner. This results in an audible “roar” that sounds much like the surf in the ocean.

Hard exhalation is coupled with a state of movement known as “dynamic tension“. Dynamic tension generally means that the ALL muscles are hardened, sinew and tendons are strengthened and the abdomen is tight and hard. The process of exhalation is more prolonged than the process of inhalation.

When breathing is combined with the three states of the Shibumi strategy, we can see that:

The default (everyday state) water state involves soft inhalation & hard exhalation or hard inhalation with soft exhalation. The “hard” aspect involves dynamic tension.

The steam state involves soft inhalation with soft exhalation (and a gentle flow of the muscles).

The ice state involves hard inhalation and hard exhalation with a dynamically tensed body.

In the Shibumi Kata, the three states flow with the breath to combine with the tactics (the physical movements movements of Shibumi) to control and modify your physical and psychological state.

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi,

SHIBUMI-snow-daffodil

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

Shibumi – Kata Framework: Strategy

4 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient

link: https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Shibumi Kata Framework:

The framework upon which I am building the Shibumi Kata (with direct inout from “Dean”) is as follows:

1. The strategy by which “Dean” will modify his physical and psychological state to offset the dilatory effects of cancer in general and specifically chemotherapy;

2. The conduit from translating the strategy to the actual tactics used in such modification;

3. The tactics, or the specific means which will enable “Dean” to achieve his goals of modifying his physical and psychological states.

Strategy:

The strategy employed by the Shibumi kata is grounded the most elemental aspect of nature, namely the three states of matter. All matter exists in three states: solid, liquid and gas. To assist “Dean”, I have ascribed a very simple symbolism with each state. The three states shall be represented by water, steam and ice.

All three states modify their existing environment. By adapting a state, “Dean” chooses the means by which he interacts with the environment.

The three states shall be applied to Shibumi as follows.

Water State:

The “Water State” is the default state. It is the state that is desired at all times. Like water, this state is completely flexible and bounded only by the container. As a glass contains water, a river bed contains a steam and the shores contain an ocean, the environment within which Dean exists at any moment in time shall be the sole boundary within which he is confined. This is to say that as “Dean” defines his boundary, so he defines his limits.

This concept may be understood by the following example.

During chemotherapy, “Dean” shall be placed in a private room, in a comfortable chair and have the chemotherapy chemicals delivered into a port (previously placed on “Dean’s” chest).  “Dean”, like an average person, may choose to define his limits as the confines of that room.  In nature, absent an “effect” (such as an event that causes a tsunami, for example) water modifies its boundary slowly, steadily and over time. Thus in this state “Dean” acquiesces to and accepts his situation both physically and psychologically.

While accepting it, he also fully understands that with patience, he can modify himself physically and psychologically. He can modify how he chooses to perceive his physical environment, in this case the room for chemotherapy. He can also modify his external environment and situations that confront him. For example, a rainy “depressing” “gloomy” day can be welcomed as a means for bringing life-giving water. An irritable person encountered during the course of a day, while initially irritating, can be viewed as a positive experience by understanding the contrast emotion – by contrast to irritability, “Dean’s” composure can be savored.

Modification Of the Water State:

“Dean” may need to psychologically modify his water state. To so benefit, he may choose to contract his perception of that which confines him within his own mind. For example, in the water state, “Dean” may consider himself confined to the chemotherapy room. If he contracts his perception, he would limit his confinement to the chair he sits in rather than the room within which lays the chair. He may also expand his psychological view of his confinement. In this instance, “Dean” may consider himself confined  not to either the chair or the room for chemotherapy, but rather to the Hospital within which the room is contained. Such expansion and contraction is achieved through the “Steam State” and the “Ice State”

Steam State:

The Steam State is a lighter, more adaptable state. As water turns to steam, its boundaries are lessened; steam flows and exists more freely than water. By adapting the steam state, “Dean” can lighten any physical or psychological burden.

To accomplish this, “Dean” will perceive steam being absorbed by its unbounded environment. If for, example “Dean” suffers from a specific discomfort, say a pain in his chest from the burning effect of the chemotherapy drugs, he can dissipate the pain by perceiving it as flowing through and out of his entire body and not just contained within his chest. Similarly, if “dean” suffers from a depressed state, he can dissipate the state by recognizing it exists and allowing it to envelope him so as to expel it from him. Steam affects its environment quickly and profoundly. A fast burst of steam can drive a steam engine, a quick burst of steam can burn and scar human skin. As such, by lightening his physical and psychological state from the water state, “Dean” can quickly modify himself and the effect his surroundings have upon him.

Ice State:

The ice state is a compressed, hard state. As water turns to ice, it compresses and solidifies its molecules. Similarly, the ice state will allow “Dean” to contract within himself. In effect, he will take a generalized physical or psychological state contract it and ultimately “lock it away.” The most common side effect of “Dean’s” chemotherapy is a generalized fatigue and malaise. Such side effect will effect “Dean’s” water state. “Dean” can contract these general feelings (turn them to ice, if you will) thereby removing the generalization of same throughout his body. Once reduced from a larger state to a smaller state, these effects can be compartmentalized, managed and expelled from within “Dean”

The next chapter looks at the catalyst for the strategy – the act of breathing.

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi,

SHIBUMI - bonzai lake

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

Shibumi – What Is Kata?

4 Dec

IMPORTANT:

The foregoing is one component Chapter of an overall work describing the Shibumi Kata. To read the work in the order intended, please either click on the Shibumi Kata Page Tab above for a full Table Of Contents or this convenient             link: https://senseijohn.me/shibumi-kata/

Update on “Dean’s” condition: (Where relevant, provided so that you may identify with Dean’s cancer & participation in Shibumi) —–Dean had his first post-operative meeting with his surgeon-oncologist. Originally chemotherapy was to start in thirty days from the surgery. Dean; however, has made excellent post-operative recovery. As such, chemotherapy will start next week; three weeks ahead of schedule. The frequency will be one chemo treatment per week with a duration of 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours for a period of eighteen weeks. Since surgery, Dean has made a great effort to walk and breath in the manner described below. He is now ready to begin the first sequence of Shibumi described in the chapter of the same name.

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What is Kata?

As the Shibumi Kata is designed for the non-martial artist I thought it appropriate to acquaint the reader with the concept of “Kata”.

Kata is a martial arts formal exercise composed of prescribed sequences of karate-do movements performed in a set pattern. Many daily activities could be considered, to some extent, as kata; to wit: dancing, football plays, the rhythm of casting in fly fishing, a golf swing, and the like.

So, how does kata differ from these activities? Kata differs in one significant respect. The purpose of kata is martial in nature. The movements are designed primarily for the purpose of defending oneself. In addition to this primary benefit, as with the above activities, kata has the secondary benefit of promoting physical and psychological well-being. Thus, kata is a martial procedure with the side benefit of promoting physical and mental health.

The Shibumi Kata is unique in that I am creating it with the primary purpose of promoting and maintaining the physical and psychological well being of one person,“Dean” as he endures the rigors of cancer and chemotherapy, with the secondary benefit of martial efficacy (the movements are self-defense in nature). If martial efficacy was absent then (properly so) Shibumi could not be considered a Kata.

The “Three Aspects” of kata.

Within most karate curriculum is an ancient and treasured kata known as “Sanchin Kata.” Sanchin translates as “three battles.” Within this context the word “battle” does not refer to fighting. Rather, it refers to three aspects of our human condition. These aspects are required for life and permeate each and every second of our existence. They are, breathing, bodily movement and a state of mind.

Notwithstanding that these three battles are highlighted and augmented in the Sanchin Kata, they permeate each and every kata. Similar to the ideology of Sanchin, the three battles form an integral part of the Shibumi Kata. They are the exact means by which physical and psychological wellness will be achieved.

In closing, I wish you – Shibumi,

 

HANKO

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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

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