Tag Archives: Teacher-student

Kata Candy – Eat It!

26 Oct

KATA LAB

Readers and viewers of my Kata Laboratory articles and videos are familiar with the motto, “Think * Sweat * Experiment.” What you may not be aware of is that my thinking, sweating and experimenting with kata is a daily process. I never think or conceive a kata training method without first trying it myself. To do so would be the ultimate form of “kata hypocrisy.” The posts on this blog and my You-tube videos are but an appetizer to what is the full dinner of my Kata Lab project. The full project encompasses over 40,000 words spanning over 200 pages. That being said, my practice then tends to add more to the project. The result is a means of providing you, my readers and viewers, with inspiration to practice and enjoy your kata from an entirely new perspective.

Analyzing Ananku Kata in the Kata Lab

MK Gandhi  For your consideration, I submit an incident from the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Each day I train, I keep this story in mind.

A woman once brought her small daughter to Gandhi with a simple request, “Tell my daughter not to eat candy. It is bad for her teeth. She respects you and will obey you.”
But Gandhi refused. “Come back in three weeks,” Gandhi told her. “I will see what I can do.”
When the woman returned in three weeks with her daughter, Gandhi took the little girl on his knee and gently instructed her, “Don’t eat candy, it is bad for your teeth.”
The girl shyly nodded her assent. Then she and her mother left for their home. When they were gone, some of Gandhi’s associates were upset and confronted him. “Bapu, did you know that the woman and her child had to walk hours to see you, and you made them walk that great distance twice in three weeks? Why didn’t you give that simple advice to the girl when they first came?”
Gandhi laughed. “Three weeks ago I did not know if I could stop eating candy. How could I advocate a value unless I myself practice it?” (See Endnote # 1)

So, kata is my candy. In order for me to encourage you to “eat” the candy – to try the training methods I espouse in my kata lab and “Think * Sweat * Experiment.” I myself must first know I can eat my own candy. You may access the Kata Lab using the page tab above or this convenient link
https://senseijohn.me/kata-lab/

lab-collage-6

This week’s featured Kata Laboratory: Lab # 3120 – Kata to Modify Emotions:

https://senseijohn.me/2013/10/06/kata-lab-221-kata-as-an-emotional-modifier/

and video:

Respectfully submitted, Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)

HANKO-master

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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ENDNOTES:
1. Goswami, Amit, The Self-Aware Universe, (G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York, NY, 1993) p. 264-265.

dreams-seisan  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!

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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
© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

SHU, HA, RI – A Different Perspective

4 May

There is a concept from the martial arts that is applicable to any relationship whereby one individual relies upon another individual for education, instruction or guidance. That martial arts concept is known as “Shu-Ha-Ri.” It applies to any student-teacher, mentor-protege or other similar relationship.
Shu-Ha-Ri has been analyzed ad infinitum from the standpoint of the student. I myself have often engaged in such analysis. Here is a convenient link to an article I had posted a few years ago https://senseijohn.me/2010/06/20/the-martial-arts-learning-process-of-shu-ha-ri/ 
One night, while teaching at the USA Goshin-Ryu Dojo of my late friend, Shihan Wayne Norlander, I realized that this historical analysis is limited to one-half of the dynamic of transmitting karate-do from one person to another. In so far as the teaching of karate-do implies an obligation to accurately transmit the karate of one’s Sensei, I propose that the common trend to analyze Shu, Ha, Ri form the standpoint of the student must be overcome (See Endnote # 1).

In this submission, I would like to set forth an alternate perspective from which to consider the concept of Shu-Ha-Ri; namely the perspective of the teacher, or Sensei, of karate-do, who was by definition once a student him or her self.

By way of introduction, a review of the popular discourse on Shu, Ha, Ri is appropriate. There are three stages of the martial learning process which are generally accepted and a fourth, more esoteric stage. The three generally accepted stages are the stages of “Shu”, “Ha“, “R1“.

Kanji for Shu-Ha-Ri

Each particular stage is described as follows.

SHU(pronounced “Shoe”) means to correctly copy all of the techniques of one’s instructors;

HA (pronounced “Ha”) means the liberty allowed to a student to develop his own way of executing techniques based upon the demands of his own physical stature and his own individual understanding of Karate;

RI (pronounced “Rhee”) means “transcendence” or “mastery”. It is when a student can perform all of the techniques automatically and becomes a teacher himself (See Endnote # 2).

A fourth, more esoteric, stage of the process of learning the martial arts has come to be identified. This stage is called the “Ku” (pronounced “Cue”) stage. Kuis the stage of emptiness. It means everything is gone and no trace is left behind. The student has reached the highest level and no one can trace his movements or capture his techniques.

I submit that the concept of Shu-Ha-Ri transcends the bounds of the student’s perspective and can (and should) be extended to include an analysis from the perspective of the teacher. A natural consequence of learning the martial arts, as set forth in the description of the Ri stage above, is that the student becomes a teacher him or herself. Once the student becomes a teacher himself, the analysis and application of Shu, Ha, Ri historically ceases. I proffer the following analysis of Shu, Ha, Ri as applied to the teacher who was once, naturally, a student himself.

SHU means to correctly copy the technique, kata, method and manner of one’s Sensei as one teaches one’s students. While the technique and kata of one’s Sensei are easily governed by stylistic dictates (see Endnote # 3), the method and manner of one’s Sensei are unique to the Sensei under whom a student (now teacher) originally learned his or her art. Each individual instructor of a style of karate-do, while teaching the technique and kata of the style, combines these physical dictates with the non-physical traits of the style (philosophy, ideology, spirituality, etc) as set forth by the style’s founder and progenitor. While so teaching the “style”, the Sensei imbues and infuses the teaching with his or her own unique character and personality traits. These character and personality traits generally may be of a positive nature, but, as dictated by the frailty of the human condition, may also include the instructor’s character flaws; even those that may considered less than admirable (See Endnote # 4). It is the “style” of karate, as imbued and interpreted by a Sensei that is transmitted to the student (who is now the teacher).

HA means the liberality to be allowed an instructor (by his original Sensei) to develop his own way of teaching. I submit this development is influenced by two key factors. The first key factor is the teacher’s unique individual physical and psychological traits. These factors would have been accentuated or modified as necessary during the teacher’s tenure as a student. IF the teacher’s Sensei was a Sensei of merit, then his Sensei would have discovered and been aware of these individual traits during the time period wherein the teacher was a student of the Sensei. During this time, Sensei would have nurtured the student’s meritorious traits and modified or corrected the student’s character flaws. Thus, Sensei would have guided his student, now a teacher, so that these individual traits do not offend the tenor and tone of Sensei’s style of karate-do. The second key component is highly variable. Surely, Sensei is aware that his student will encounter this factor but cannot predict the specific character of same. This second trait that the student, now teacher, will encounter are the physical capabilities and mental attributes of his individual students.  The student turned teacher must be allowed the liberality to mold his instruction of karate-do on these two key factors. If this liberality is granted, the student-teacher, now Sensei, starts to represent the embodiment of the karate he learned from his Sensei.

RI means “transcendence.” Transcendence occurs when a Sensei becomes the living embodiment of the karate-do that he continues to practice and subsequently teach. This karate is no longer the karate that he learned from his Sensei; it is more than that. It is that learned karate as interpreted by the individual Sensei’s physical and spiritual traits AND as transformed by the mechanism of Sensei’s continued practice of karate-do and individual teaching methods and manner.

KU is the stage were the Sensei no longer affirmatively teaches. Rather, Sensei transmits karate-do by virtue of being an active Sensei. This is to say that Sensei has become his karate-do. Sensei has come to embody and represent his interpretation of karate-do in such a way that the students are capable of learning by Sensei’s example. This means that the student no longer learns by rote drilling, they learn by being in the presence of Sensei as Sensei lives in karate-do. This stage is the lifeblood extension of the observation of Shihan Peter Urban, Ju-dan, USA Goju-ryu, “A Karate man in training is in karate.” At this stage, “A Sensei who practices and teaches karate IS karate.” (See Endnote # 5).

I submit that understanding the various stages Shu, Ha, Ri from both the perspective of a student and a Sensei is necessary so as to fully understand the total dynamic within which the art of karate-do is transmitted from one person to another.

Respectfully submitted for your contemplation,

HANKO-master

 Sensei John Szmitkowski

 dreams-seisan    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/

ENDNOTES:

1. I use the word “implies” because there are those Sensei that are perhaps less than meritorious and simply teach without regard to a sense of duty or obligation to purely transmit the teachings of their Sensei.

2. The following symbolism has been ascribed to each stage. Such symbolism may assist you in further understanding the three stages of transmittal and learning.

SHU is symbolized by an egg. The first stage is hard, the form or shape of the technique must be mastered or protected, just like a mother protects her egg.

HA is symbolized by the breaking egg. The basic form is broken into its infinite applications. It means the fundamentals are now mastered and are applied in all situations.

RI is symbolized by the fully released chick that has matured and flies away from the nest. The student forgets all forms and masters the formless technique, leaving old ideas behind him. He has fully matured in his training.

3. This means simply that a student of Goshin-Do Karate will teach the technique and kata of the Goshin-Do Karate style. Similarly a student of Goju-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Isshin-ryu or any other style will teach the technique and kata of their particular style.

4.Since we are human, we are inevitably fallible. Thus, by human nature, a Sensei carries his personal flaws with him as he teaches karate. Such flaws may include, ego, jealousy, anger and the like. It is a direct consequence that the karate transmitted will be influenced by both the instructor’s positive and negative personality traits during the transmission process.

5. Urban, Peter, The Karate Dojo, (Charles E. Tuttle & Co., Tokyo, Japan 1967) p. 77.

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

© Copyright 2015 Issho Productions & John Szmitkowski, all rights reserved.

The Martial Arts Learning Process Of SHU, HA, RI

20 Jun
The following is a continuing example of how martial arts ideology and concepts can be used to enhance various aspects of daily life.
Many of us pursue extra-curricula activities, hobbies and sports. My favorite pursuit is Karate-Do. Regardless of the activity, there is a learning process associated with any teacher – student relationship. I submit that in order to fully understand your chosen activity, it is necessary not only to understand the fundamentals associated with the pursuit, but also process whereby such technical knowledge is transmitted and assimilated. To this end, one may look to the following concept from Karate-Do, specifically Goshin-Do Karate-Do. It is ironic that although the following is derived from the martial arts, few martial artists are aware of the within learning analysis.
The following stages have been ascribed to the process of learning the martial arts. By extension, the following applies to any pursuit transmitted from teacher to student. There are three stages of the learning process which are generally accepted and a fourth, more esoteric stage. The three generally accepted stages are the stages of “SHU”, “HA“, “RI“.  

The Kanji for Shu – Ha – Ri

Each particular stage is described as follows.

SHU (pronounced “Shoe”) means to correctly copy all of the techniques of one’s instructors;

HA (pronounced “Ha”) means the liberty allowed to a student to develop his own way of executing techniques based upon the demands of his own physical stature and his own individual understanding of Karate;

RI (pronounced “Rhee”) means “transcendence” or “mastery”, when a student can perform all of the techniques automatically and becomes a teacher himself.

The following symbolism has been ascribed to each stage. Such symbolism may assist you in further understanding the three stages of transmittal and learning.

SHU is symbolized by an egg. The first stage is hard, the form or shape of the technique must be mastered or protected, just like a mother protects her egg.

HA is symbolized by the breaking egg. The basic form is broken into its infinite applications. It means the fundamentals are now mastered and are applied in all situations.

RI is symbolized by the fully released chick that has matured and flies away from the nest. The student forgets all forms and masters the formless technique, leaving old ideas behind him. He has fully matured in his training.

Over time, a fourth, more esoteric, stage of the process of learning the martial arts has come to be identified. This stage is called the “KU” (pronounced “Cue”) stage. 

KU is the stage of emptiness. It means everything is gone and no trace is left behind. The student has reached the highest level and no one can trace his movements or capture his techniques.

The aim of my ideology and methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do is to take the physical methods and spiritual concepts of the Karate-Do and illustrate to non-martial artists the benefits derived from applying them to daily life. In accord with that aim, I submit that the learning process of Shu, Ha, Ri and Ku applies to any art form or activity that is transmitted from one individual, acting as a teacher to another who is the student. Thus, it applies to a great many human activities. To be sure, these concepts need not extend solely to recreational pursuits. The learning stages apply to any pursuit, including business matters, the formal educational process of children, religions and the like involving a mentor or teacher and a recipient of knowledge.
 
One additional point concerning Shu, Ha Ri needs to be addressed. Many endeavors involve levels of knowledge. This is true of Karate-Do. The stages of Shu, Ha, Ri apply to the overall endeavor (such as Karate) and also the individual levels of knowledge attributed to the endeavor. I will illustrate this point with one aspect of Karate and my ideology of Jiriki Kata-Do. Within Karate, there are martial protocol known as “Kata”. One such Kata is the Kata called Sanchin. Sanchin, which translates as “Three Battles” is the cornerstone of my ideology and methodology of Jiriki Kata-Do. In Jiriki Kata-Do the three battles of Sanchin are the physical, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of human existence. During the course of learning and practicing Sanchin, a practitioner will have attained various stages of Shu, Ha, Ri for each individual aspect of Sanchin. Thus, a practitioner may have attained the Ri stage as to the physical battle, the Shu stage as to the spiritual battles and may be unaware of the metaphysical battle. Eventually, a practitioner will attain the Ri, or even the Ku, stage for the entire Sanchin. The same is true of any multi-level endeavor. Thus, a student will at any given time possess the attributes of either the Shu, Ha or Ri stage of the individual components of the overall endeavor. Eventually, the student will attain and subsequently transcend the overall mastery of the endeavor itself.
 
Understanding the various stages of learning is beneficial to both the teacher and the student. Such an understanding provides a roadmap for the subsequent transmission of knowledge. The stages also provide a degree of satisfaction and achievement in the manner in which the subject has already been learned. Additionally, the stages point to an incentive for future understanding of the subject being transmitted. An understanding will ultimately enhance your learning and assimilating the subject of your learning.
 
Until the next article, I remain assimilating and living the lessons of my teachers,
HANKO-reverse
 
 Sensei John Szmitkowski, Soke, Jiriki Kata-Do
 
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