Tag Archives: Suparunpei Kata

(Wish’in I was) “On The Road (again) With Kata”

22 Nov

Ah, the call of the open road.

For as long as I can remember, I ride my motorcycle every day regardless of weather. Not; however when the roads are covered in snow or black ice. But give me clear asphalt and I’m on two wheels logging the miles. Even if its “just” my daily commute, the trip is always something new.

Dojo (Winter) – circa 2001

Still, I find myself missing a nice long road trip. A few days on the road, nights in a cheap motel meeting people along the way, changing scenery. When I lived in Arizona, I logged at least two road trips a year to New Jersey to work or see family. Since I’ve moved back to my home state, that “need” is gone.

Yup, I’ve got the itch to burn the miles. Unfortunately, its the busy season at work and a few days off is impossible. So, what to do?

The answer – Kata!

My last road trip was the return trip back to New Jersey after the Arizona house sold. I made that trip alone as my wife flew out ahead of me and my road companion Chloe had passed.

Chloe on the road – circa 2006

I started the trip the Monday of Thanksgiving week 2014 and arrived in New Jersey Thanksgiving Day. Too late for either Thanksgiving dinner or pumpkin pie. But it was another safe road trip in the books.

Naturally I used kata along the way to enhance the pleasure of being on the road and to refresh myself physically and mentally during the four day, 2,600 mile trip. As I knew it would be my last long trip for a while, I videoed my kata and journey. Looking at my videos, I realized I can again enjoy the memory of the journey through my kata. So, Monday of this week, I began to perform my “On The Road Kata.” As for this writing, I’ve completed the first two days (Monday and Tuesday) kata and am working on day three (Wednesday) as this is posting. Tomorrow, I’ll symbolically end my journey.

Come along, try a kata or two (some I recreated based upon my needs during the trip) and watch the videos. Here’s the journey:

Day 1: Monday – San Tan Valley, Arizona to Shamrock, Texas ( 789 miles)

1. Takiyouku Shodan modified to use Sanchin Kata method on the blocks – last kata performed in my house

2. Wansu Kata – Route 66 Casino/Truckstop west Albuquerque, New Mexico

3. Seipai Kata – slow to stretch my muscles Flying C Ranch Truck-stop, west of Santa Rosa, New Mexico

4. Sanchin Kata Hybrid – Best Western Motel, Shamrock Texas

Day 2: Tuesday – Shamrock, TX to West Memphis, Tennessee (1,169 miles traveled)

1. Hybrid Kata – using Seienchin, Suparunpei and Sanchin Kata to get the “blood flowing” (5:30 a.m. illuminated by truck headlights)

2. Ananku Kata – Truckstop Shawnee, Oklahoma

3. Fuku Kata – Rest Area, Altus, Arkansas

Day 3: Wednesday – West Memphis, TN to Salem, Virginia

1. Hybrid Kata 5:30 a.m. using Suparunpei and Hakutsuru Kata)

2. Kunchaba Kata – my weekly Wednesday Kata tribute to Shihan Wayne Norlander filmed at Loretta Lynn’s Country Kitchen, Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. (See Endnote # 1 for a video which includes a touching soundtrack by Warren Zevon).

3. Gekisai Kata (Deconstructed) – Comfort Inn Motel, Salem, VA. Kata on the road like this led to my “Kata Laboratory.”

Day 4: Thursday, Thanksgiving Day (2014) Salem, VA to Bergen County, New Jersey

1. Sanchin Kata (Shobu version) at a gas station on highway I-78 in Pennsylvania.

Thanks for reading and watching. Have a really Happy Thanksgiving, 2017.

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!

ENDNOTES:

1. My video tribute from the road to Shihan Wayne Norlander featuring the song, “Keep Me In Your Heart” by Warren Zevon. I miss the Karate-Do training we shared and motorcycle rides we took.

 For a refreshing and innovative discourse on kata and bunkai, please feel free to visit Sensei John’s Kata Laboratory and “THINK * SWEAT * EXPERIMENT” using this convenient link: https://senseijohn.me/category/kata-laboratory/

© Copyright 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

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

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

Jersey Shore – A Zen Fable

27 Jul

The within tale is an adaptation of an ancient Zen fable. It is; however, based upon actual events.

Growing up in New Jersey the best part of the summer involved visits to the unique boundary where the Atlantic Ocean kisses the sand. Many a memorable summer day was spent on various beaches of the Atlantic Ocean from Cape May, New Jersey to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My visits to the shore were not always recreational. Most visits to the beach, I practice my Karate-Do kata. Sometimes, my karate students accompany me. It was in the mid-1990’s during one such training session that the following true events leapt from the pages of Zen fable into the physical realm.

While training my students and I witnessed an encounter involving a seagull and a blue claw crab. In the original Zen fable, there was a fox, (represented by the seagull) and a rabbit (represented by the blue-claw crab).

 

The tide washed a blue claw crab up onto the beach. A seagull, being ever vigilant, was quick to seize the opportunity. The seagull landed on the beach and chased the crab in an attempt to make the crab its dinner. The crab used its claws to fend off the seagull. The seagull took to the air to attempt an air assault upon its reluctant dinner guest. The crab raised is claws and scuttled to and fro. The battle continued in this manner.
I asked my students, ”Who should win the fight?” They naturally said the seagull. After all, it was larger, stronger and given it had the capacity for flight, was more mobile than the crab. I informed my students that, according to an ancient fable, the crab should win. My students and I continued to watch the encounter. The fight continued with the crab fending off the sea gull. Eventually a large wave washed a-shore and carried the still fighting crab away to safety. The frustrated sea-gull flew away.

crab

My students asked “Why should the crab win?” The answer is simple.
The seagull was fighting for its dinner, but, the blue claw crab was fighting for its life. The crab must win because it had more at stake in the confrontation. Simply stated, the winner of a physical confrontation between an aggressor and the person forced to defend against attack would be the person with the most to lose in the confrontation.

Respectfully submitted,

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

Featured video:

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/

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/   For the full Kata Laboratory Table Of Contents, please visit the “Kata Laboratory” page tab above.

© Copyright 2010 and 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

(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

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