Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All is Kata!

Kata, besides being a Karate series of self-defense moves, has a deeper meaning for us to learn. Kata means 'how you behave'. How you behave moment by moment is very important if you wish to feel the bubbling of the universal waters that give us life.

When performing a Karate Kata, paying attention to the details of the moves are paramount. It is an exercise in Zen mindfulness. At the beginning of each Kata performance, the name of the Kata is announced. For instance, if you are doing Sanchin, you say, "Sanchin Kata". If you are doing a weapons Kata like Kusanku Sai, you say, "Kusanku Sai"...and so on. Then you perform the kata.

Karate practice of your Kata does not end when you leave the Dojo. When leaving the Dojo you are practicing 'leaving the dojo kata' and then 'driving home kata'. Everything you do is a is how you behave...and just like a Kata in the Dojo, you should announce what kata you are doing and then pay attention, mindfully.

When brushing your teeth, announce to yourself, 'brushing teeth kata' and then pay attention to your taking off of the toothpaste cap, squeezing it on your brush, putting it in your mouth, brushing and so on until you move onto your next kata.

Whatever activity you are doing, announce it to yourself as a Kata. Then pay attention with full mindfulness of what you are doing, especially the small habits you do automatically, like throwing trash out, or taking a piss, or getting out of bed. With practice, over time, you will begin to see and feel a change in your life. Subtle at first, but then later you will feel the stream of life...the flow of Tao if you will.

Now to end my "Posting Kata".

Hands palm to palm,


  1. What a great lesson, and an easy technique to incorporate mindfullness into daily life. Its simplicity makes it very powerful...especially to people who are intimidated by esoteric descriptions. I'll definately be passing this on to our students! Thanks for all the great ideas and thoughts you continually post!!

  2. Great to hear from you Dan. Thanks!

  3. very powerful way to draw to the moment! like it a lot.

  4. As always, thanks, Ta-Wan...keep serving up those great cups of tao...I am addicted now.

  5. A very wise advise for those who wants to learn to being mindful. Never known such a strong technique before! Thanks a lot Shinzen... this post is a treasure :)

  6. Arigato's always wonderful to feel appreciated.

  7. Thanks Dan...I wander into your blog from time to time as well. Good stuff.

  8. Outstanding post Shinzen, I have a similar method that I used for some years, but this explains the Karate philosophy so well. Thanks for sharing :-)