Tag Archives: Spirit World

Exploring Katannabis – Add A Koan

18 Jul

I supplement my daily Katannabis (the combination of Kata-Rx and medical cannabis) with the use of a koan. (See Endnote # 1)   In my practice I do not restrict myself to traditional koans. I include philosophical concepts, quotes and other such mind-benders. A few of my personal favorites are from Dante’s Divine Comedy, especially, Inferno. One passage in particular is from Canto III which I love paring with the opening sequence of Seienchin Kata. I find that this passage nicely meshes with the breathing and movement of that set of three sequences.

You can see the surreal pairing in the video below. This video is of the first sequence, I repeat in for the next two sequences of the kata.

I find my Katannabis meditation experiences allow me to live a fulfilled, complete life in the manner in which, I believe, human life was intended to do. If you have a pure heart and open spirit, you too can embark on a Katannabis meditation practice. Is it easy? No, nothing worthy is. Will it enlighten you? Absolutely, but remember enlightenment isn’t unicorns and roses, it often involves a cold slap in the face.

You can learn My Kata-Rx to use in your Katannabis ritual meditation using this safe, convenient link to my online school: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation The course is FREE! 

Enjoy your Kata-Rx and Katannabis,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

1. For those of you not familiar with a koan, the general definition is 

a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.

A classic example is the question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

For me, the meditation and contemplation of such traditional koans are unsatisfactory, unfulfilling and unenlightening. I prefer something less esoteric to meditate on. One of my favorites is shown in the above video.

Sensei’s Journal: Entry # 20 – The Picture

18 Apr

I’ve had some, oh shall we say, unusual experiences as a result of my exploration of Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of my Kata-Rx and medical cannabis). Some I have shared. One I recently shared is “The Umbrella” story.  https://senseijohn.me/2021/03/01/senseis-journal-entry-6-i-find-an-umbrella/

Recently I had another experience. Unlike previous experiences that were unique in and of themselves, this one had a message. It hinted at the way forward for me to navigate an unbalanced situation. Since my brother’s untimely death in December 2020, I was estranged from my mother. It was a weight. It seemed there was no end in sight. Reconciliation goes both ways. We both needed first to be open to the idea then bold enough to see it through. When and how was a mystery that loomed large. 

That changed early one morning in February at a garbage transfer station in Fairview, New Jersey. 

It was a normal work day, except for the cold, grey, dreariness that is. The first order of business is to dump the prior days construction waste and “tear-down.” Now, the dump is my least favorite place to be. It starkly contains all the refuse of humanity. All the nasty-bits that we like to believe just mysteriously disappears by little waste management elves after we put it neatly curbside. 

I finished at the weigh station and turned the truck so that I could back into one of the five bays to dump. I began to back into position causing the ever present flock of seagulls to raise their voices in protest and begrudgingly scatter. The closer I got, the large piles of ripe, festering, oozing piles of garbage came into view. The crew and I exited the truck. They climbed onto the bed to begin throwing the debris of the truck. I carefully negotiated a path around the strewn debris and started to roll up the tie down straps. Something caught my eye. It was a small, maybe 6 x 8 picture frame. I finished lashing the last strap and went over to investigate. 

Why? I have no idea. But, it did strike me that here was this relatively new, undamaged picture frame laying face up, nice and neatly “displayed” on an open black bag of garbage. The bag itself lay a top a festering, stinking pile. It looked as if it was carefully placed on top of this mess. I picked it up and put on the reading glasses hanging around my neck. Looking at it, the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up. It wasn’t the bone chilling cold that did that, it was the image I saw. I decided I needed to take it home. It was prophetic. It provided a path forward. It was a guide. I made my way back to the cab and place it safely in my backpack. So what was in the frame?

Wow, talk about weird timing. On this cold day with wind chills in the teens, in the throes of wondering if my path could be balanced with my mother, I found this. Maybe not tea, but I sure could have used a hot cup of coffee and a time to think about what I just found – what were the odds? 

Was it coincidence? A sign “from Above?” Am answer to my prayers? A message? Dumb luck? I mean, “What the hell did I just stumble on?” “Was now the time to reconcile?”

Little did I know, this strange event was just the tip of the iceberg – – until recently – – – well, that is a profound and disturbing experience and frankly, I’m not ready to tell that tale (yet). At least I’m out of the hospital, oops I said too much.

Experience My Kata-Rx for FREE:

You can try my Kata-Rx for FREE, safely and conveniently in the comfort of your own home by enrolling for FREE in my online class: https://kata-rx.teachable.com/p/preview-kata-as-moving-meditation

I remain,

walking my path,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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A Deceased Sensei Has My Back

7 Jun

 Karate-Ka (practitioner of karate);



During life, Shihan Wayne Norlander was all that and more. May 18th 2011 he passed on. After death, his eternal spirit continues on. He watches my back.I’ve previously written about unusual experiences concerning Sensei Wayne and my recent medical condition. Though deceased, he saved my life.

In that article, I used the following picture. It was taken at Sensei Wayne’s
Bogota, New Jersey Dojo in 2010. This was one year prior to his death.

One year later, May 18th, 2011, I had posted the photo on my Facebook wall. I
used it as a memorial commemorating the one year anniversary of Sensei Wayne’s passing.

Since his passing, Sensei Wayne’s eternal spirit continues on. He watches my
back. While the events I had previously written about were otherworldly, this is
down right eerie.

During pre-op testing before my second heart surgery, a mass was discovered on
my lung. I was referred to a pulmonary doctor. He concluded I needed to have a
PET/CT scan to determine if it was cancerous. The test was scheduled for
Wednesday May 24th. I would know the results the next day when I was
scheduled to meet with the doctor.

In the interim was the memorial of Sensei Wayne’s passing, May 18th. As usual,I posted my annual Hatsu Bon Memorial. https://senseijohn.me/2017/05/11/hatsu-bon-for-shihan-wayne-norlander-3/

Again, I used the photo.

Inevitably May 24th arrived. At 7;45 a.m. I had the scan. The next day was the
“big day.” I was to meet with the doctor to get the results.. Before leaving I showered and dressed. I did that so fast that I had spare time to burn. I opened my laptop and went to my Facebook Wall.

As is Facebook’s custom, an algorithm randomly picks a “memory” from your
prior postings. This not only reminds you of what you had previously posted, but
also allows you to again “share” your memory.

Lo and Behold, I was taken aback. On this fateful, potentially life-altering day,
Facebook’s random algorithm picked the original photo of Sensei Wayne and I.
The same one that I had posted six years ago and used in the above articles! This
had to be an omen. I knew then and there that whatever the outcome, it was
meant to be. It would be the “right” one regardless of what it was to be.

Naturally, I “shared” the photo memory. https://www.facebook.com/fly.fishingdojo

So, I left home and drove to the office with my spouse, Dianne. Long and short of
it, the news was that I did not have cancer. The mass was benign.

And so, once again I have my friend to thank for watching my back.

As Rod Sterling said in the Twilight Zone T.V. series, “submitted for your

Sensei John Szmitkowski

This week’s featured video: My graveside Sanchin Kata tribute to Sensei Wayne.

   For information on my “no-risk”, kata seminars, and lectures, 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/

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


Sensei John Szmitkowski

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