Tag Archives: Too Busy To Practice Kata

KATA – A Lazy Pursuit

22 Sep


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Only in laziness can one achieve a state of contemplation which is a balancing of values, a weighing of oneself against the world and the world against itself. A busy man cannot find time for such balancing.

One could argue that laziness is a relaxation pregnant of activity, a sense of rest from which directed effort may arise, whereas most busy-ness is merely a kind of nervous tic. (See Endnote # 1)

a "lazy" summer day, Cape Cod, 2012

a “lazy” summer day, Cape Cod, 2012

“But Sensei, I don’t have time to practice my kata at home – I’m too busy.”

How many times have we heard that excuse.

I’m no exception. As a young boy, I told my first Sensei, Sensei Nick D’Antuono, the same excuse many times. Being a good Sensei, he out-foxed me and subsequently devised an easy way for me to find time to practice kata. (For details, see Endnote # 2)

If the opposite of being too “busy” is “lazy”, then with a nod towards John Steinbeck’s quote above, I propose that Kata is a lazy man’s pursuit. For only in the lazy state can our kata be pregnant with activity, insight, imagination and intuition.

Given my affinity for kata, I am proud to be lazy. By this I mean that no matter how busy I may be, I always find time for my daily kata practice. One may argue that such daily practice is not productive – it does not add to my finances, does not elevate my social status, fails to adhere to the social norm of possessing a “constructive” purpose. It does; however, invigorate me physically and mentally, stimulate my understanding of my place in a larger realm of existence. If daily devotion to kata makes me lazy, then I am glad to be lazy.

If one is too busy to practice kata, then I can’t help but agree with Steinbeck’s assessment that “busy-ness is merely a kind of nervous tic.” Busy-ness is often represented by the pursuit of money, notoriety, popularity and the like. In the spectrum of life, such hedonistic, ego-centric pursuits are mere nervous tics. For my part, I’ll always find time to be “lazy” and explore my kata. Such exploration deposits into my spiritual, moral and ethical bank account an untold wealth.

After reflecting on the above, I have chosen to modify my admonition to those students, that do not practice kata regularly. Normally I would say, “Don’t be lazy, practice your kata.” It is time to re-interpret the entire concept. I now advocate the idea that one should, “Be lazy so that you can practice your kata.”

A video example of a lazy ride on my Harley, and of course, Sanchin Kata, in the cotton fields of San Tan Valley, Arizona – a promotional video for my Sanchin For Everyone DVD –

In closing, I remain contentedly lazy – – – practicing daily kata,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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1. Steinbeck, John, The Log From The Sea Of Cortez (Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1995) p. 150-151.

2. I’ll share with you Sensei Nick’s little trick to practicing kata. When I was young, after homework was done, I enjoyed television time. That little black and white t.v. set with its seven channels could mesmerize – except during commercials (with no remote control to easily change channels). Sensei Nick knew this; he recognized I was busy watching t.v., so in an effort not to interfere with my busy-ness, he suggested that one kata be practiced every commercial. A simple solution – even when “busy” there is always time.

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Cup-Of-Tea Sanchin Pilgrimage

3 Mar

This post is a first on two fronts. One is, despite missing last week’ blog,  I’ve never before missed my self-imposed deadline for posting a blog. The second (mandated by the first) is that I’ve never posted two Sanchin pilgrimages in a row.

My work schedule of late has moved from hectic (working 5 1/2 days) to chaotic (working 6 1/2 days); even so, working is better than not working. The schedule and the press of family events has added additional constraints on my blogging. This situation has been compounded by a general ennui arising from the loss of little Chloe on Valentine’s Day. She will be missed.

Little Chloe (R.I.P.) Issho Dojo, East Rutherford, NJ. Circa 2005

Little Chloe (R.I.P.) Issho Dojo, East Rutherford, NJ. Circa 2005

This Friday, while making my afternoon cup of tea, it occurred to me that my “tea-time” routine would form the basis of a refreshing Sanchin pilgrimage.

Each afternoon, around 2:30 pm, I take a slight break to microwave a cup of green tea. I fill my cup half way with filtered water and the other half with aloe vera juice, add a teaspoon of honey and microwave it for two minutes, fifteen seconds to boil the mixture. Rather than stand around and wait, I use this “spare” time to perform either Sanchin Kata, Tensho Kata, or both, as a means of rejuvenating myself for the rest of the work day (which often ends at 7:00 pm). After the kata are finished, the water is boiled and ready for me to add green tea leaves and enjoy.

With this background, you are now ready for the


(My martial arts readers should refer to Endnote # 1)

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. So, we will not only be performing Sanchin (or Tensho for those that learned the kata from the free video), we will also be “sharing a cup of tea or coffee.

Session Parameters: 

Date: The week of Monday March 3rd, 2013

Time: whenever you are ready for an afternoon cup of tea (or coffee, if you prefer)

Location: wherever you are at the above time

Salient Points:

  • Once again, this could not be simpler – – use your afternoon coffee or tea break to FIND THE TIME FOR SANCHIN – No excuses should be tolerated – Period.
  • 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” which is discussed in my Sanchin DVD and Book).

As always, you may wish to not only perform the Sanchin Pilgrimage as scheduled, but may also revisit the specific pilgrimage and allow Sanchin to unlock the cage imposed upon your by the drama of daily life. Do this as an integral part of your regular Sanchin practice.

In closing, I remain, looking forward to my afternoon tea,


Sensei John Szmitkowski


1. For my martial arts readers that can not “find the time to practice kata” in light of their “busy” schedules, the next time you brew a pot of coffee or cup of tea, why not practice a kata. or two for that matter?

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

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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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