Tag Archives: Sanchin Kata

#Coronapause – FREE resources, tips, kata from Sensei John

30 Mar

We wish all of our subscribers and followers well during this Coronavirus pandemic.

Our own Sensei John has started a journal sharing his daily techniques, kata and mediations he is using to manage his own “Coronapause” experience. Here is a summary of articles posted to date:

Entry # 1 – How the #Coronapause journal started – https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/22/coronapause-day-1-it-starts/

Entry # 2 – Boketto (gazing absentmindedly) https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/23/coronapause-entry-2-boketto-gazing-absentmindedly/

Entry # 3 – Introduction to Sanchin (efficient breathing) https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/25/coronapause-entry-3-breathing-efficiently-sip-of-sanchin-overview/

Entry # 4 – Zanshin (the “Remaining Mind”) https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/29/coronapause-entry-4-zanshin-the-remaining-mind/

Entry # 5 – Calm In The Storm Technique (posted 3-31) https://senseijohn.me/2020/03/31/coronapause-entry-5-calm-in-the-storm/

All # Coronapause posts may be viewed here https://senseijohn.me/category/coronapause/

We wish you and yours well and if Sensei John or us can help through the sharing his Coronapause journal then we are fulfilled.

March 30th, 2020: USNS Comfort arrives in New York:


Merry Christmas, 2014

22 Dec

To all my readers, please accept my sincerest wishes for a joyous & peaceful, Christmas Season.

FFD logo stocking

FFD logo stocking

This Christmas is particularly special for me. In the ten years since I moved to Arizona, it is only the second one that I will spend with family in New Jersey. The thought of being there when my five year old grandson opens his presents paints a profound smile on my face.

Best of all, I have permanently relocated to, if not New Jersey, then the east coast.

santa fish

My very best wishes that we may embrace this Christmas with joy and hope. I’m even thinking of a white Christmas. To set the mood, please enjoy my Sanchin Kata with winter poems video.

I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John


7 Dec

With thoughts focusing on the Holiday Season, I wish you all a very Happy Holiday; may you all find peace, love and joy as you open your hearts to the Holidays.

merry-x-mas fish

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, November 2012, at long last, despite higher than average temperatures, the valley began to cool down. This can only mean one thing – rainbow trout fishing is back. Get out of the house and wet a line for some fine specimens. With cooler night time temperatures, I am able to enjoy an evening of kata practice under the stars followed by sitting outdoors, fireside with one of my favorite fishing books; Hemingway On Fishing. Here’s one except that put a smile on my face one fireside night:

“Of course, it could never be considered an equal contest (between man & fish) unless the angler had a hook in his mouth, as well as the fish. But insistence on that might discourage the sporting fisherman entirely.”  Ernest Hemingway from: Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 148, originally published as “the Great Blue River” in Holiday magazine, July, 1949.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

River flows continue to decrease, with one drastic drop in flows as evidenced by the flow chart shown below. I do not know what effect such dramatic changes of flows have upon the fish population; however, I speculate that it can not be favorable.

Phon D. Sutton Rec. Area

Phon D. Sutton Rec. Area

Late fall and winter is always my favorite time of year on the river. Whether fishing is “good” or “bad’ I cannot help but feel connected to this environment. It is a reminder that we, humans, despite our egotistical tendency to believe otherwise, are but one small part of that which is so much larger than us.

On one particular day when fishing was slow, I decided to shoot some video footage for my Sanchin DVD. I was able to catch this footage with a gallery of unusual observers and a few critics; you may enjoy this footage filmed amongst a few vultures by clicking the following link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf8dlXsBnoI


This blog is by no means a political forum. I strive had to “bite my tongue” on various affairs within the political realm; even if same pertains to fishing, or the natural environment.

My tongue has enough scars from such biting, and so, it is time to express my views – like it or not.

On November 15th, I wanted to fish one of my favorite spots in the Water Users Recreation Area. Upon arrival, I noticed a sign, which I do not recall from last year, advising that the area was “Closed For The Season.” On searching the internet, I could not find any mention of this. In my humble opinion, this is absurd. These federal lands belong to each and every one of us. We pay our taxes and then must pay a user-fee in the form of a permit or license to enjoy that which WE own. It is absurd and an insult that we are barred from using that which is not only OURS, but also, PAID FOR,  based upon a bureaucratic decision by some anonymous and innocuous little federal drone.

Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.


CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

We visited Canyon Lake a few times with mixed results. Most of our fishing was along the various roadside banks. This is because not only is the fishing pier at Boulder Recreation Area still not repaired (and therefore closed), but the back area of Boulder is “Closed For The Season.” Rather than rant, rave and reiterate my feelings on this state of affairs, please refer to my comments above.


The cooler temperatures mean that Fish and Game has begun to stock rainbow trout on a biweekly basis. These fish are, in a word – magnificent! They are wary opponents, great fighters and provide a good meal. PLEASE remember daily bag limits. These limits adequately provide for sufficient food for your table, and sport for others. Don’t be a hog, respect what we have!


In addition, please note that in one instance, I witnessed a fist fight almost erupt between two fisherman over one’s excessive daily harvest. Apparently one fisherman caught his limit in the morning and returned in the late afternoon to harvest another limit. I know economic times are difficult and the trout are a food source, but let’s not be greedy, leave what’s fair for others, lest we sink into depravity.

As is my preference, I visited and fished Veteran’s Oasis Lake (Chandler), Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert) and Red Mountain Lake (Mesa) with mixed results, save for stocking dates which were fruitful.

Veteran’s Oasis Lake has a “Solar System Walk” composed of various stone markers along the lake containing photos of facts of the planets and celestial bodies.


On one particularly slow day of fishing, I was able to photograph a UFO in the form of a muddler minnow orbiting the Earth (as indicated by the arrow).



FFD logo stocking link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.492888429#


FFD logo ornament linkhttp://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459912530#


Until the next submission, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I remain,

Sensei John

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can follow the adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. This months new product 

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog WWW.SenseiJohn.Me


25 Nov

It’s time to again think about Christmas gifts and FLY FISHING DOJO has several unique Christmas themed logo products that are ONLY available here.

All FFD logo products are designed to earn a black belt rating for reliability and customer service.

Here is a sampling of a few of the Christmas products emblazoned with the unique Fly Fishing Dojo logo, sure to make the fly fisherman in your life smile on Christmas morning.


Purchase your own unique, one-of-a-kind- FFD Christmas ornament. Link to purchase:  http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459912530


Give Santa a convenient place to put all those “stocking-stuffers” – the unique FFD logo stocking. Link to purchase:  http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.492888429


An alternative snowflake design to the FFD logo stocking. Link to purchase:   http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.493520681

In addition, let the fly fisherman in your life know how much you care about them with


You can click here for a FREE video preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE . You can also read purchaser testimonials by clicking this convenient link: http://senseijohn.wordpress.com/testimonials/

Tell the fisherman in your family that you care about their physical and spiritual well-being. For only $ 11.99, you can purchase Sensei John’s unique Sanchin DVD safely & securely on e-bay, and let the fisherman you love start to improve their well-being.

Information on how to purchase Sanchin tutorial products may be found by clicking this convenient link:http://www.dynamic-meditation.com/references.html.

Don’t delay and “window-shop” the unique FFD logo store featuring over 20 different logo products from the convenience of your own home – purchase safely and securely with the established online store hosted with CafePress. Link:  http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo

Thank-you for considering a FLY FISHING DOJO product to make your Christmas and Holiday enjoyable and memorable.

Sensei John

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

Follow FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, please send a friend request on Facebook; see our “Video & Media” Page for more information.

You are also invited to read my martial arts protocol, philosophy and ideology weblog for non-martial artists at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


9 Sep

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, August, 2011, a record-breaking month for the State of Arizona. No, the largest fish wasn’t caught. August was the hottest month ever in the history of Arizona; there were 33 days all summer with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees. Reminds me of a quote by the literary and fishing master, Ernest Hemingway.

No one can work everyday in the hot months without going stale. To break up the pattern of work, we fish . . .  (See Endnote # 1).

For my part I mixed fishing pleasure with the business of filming my Sanchin Kata for non-martial artists DVD. I used various locations in Tonto National Forest, and my favorite fishing locations at the Lower Salt River, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake, as background for the videos. Here is a link to a free promotional video on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

Well, with cooler months in the near future, let’s proceed with the “hot” fishing report.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished several locations on the Lower Salt River that were not readily intruded upon by float tubers. These areas included up river from the Water Users Recreation Area and down river from Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area. Fly fishing produced small to mid-size largemouth bass, mostly on # 12 muddler minnows and a few on # 12 sparkle shad streamer. In both instances, I fished a nymph behind the streamer. The top producer for the month was a # 14 bloody mary nymph and a # 16 red serendipity nymph. There was definitely something about the color red provoking strikes in the bass.

Small bass on a Rebel Pop-R - up river from Water Users Rec Area

In addition, during filming of the DVD, the videographer had caught a few carp drifting a hook baited with corn kernels downstream. Something different to break up shooting video footage in one-hundred degree plus temperatures.

Filming video for the DVD at Phon Sutton. 106 Degrees but the river was cool.

Without a doubt, I am looking forward to being on the Lower Salt in cooler temperatures with decreased water flows and the return of rainbow trout stockings.

Di with another bass taken on a muddler minnow

Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.

CANYON LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

I fished my preferred locations, including Boulder Recreation Area, roadside locations along Highway 88 and the shoreline around the first one lane bridge with moderate success. Moderately sized panfish were prevalent with respectable catches of largemouth bass.

I even hooked into one catfish that, for whatever reason, known only to the fish itself was induced to strike at a # 12 apache lady wet fly. The whiskered fish eventually ducked under a log and broke my 5X tippet.

SAGUARO LAKE, Tonto National Forest, AZ

Due to the time constraints of shooting video, my only visits to Saguaro Lake were for filming purposes. Many a morning I looked longingly at the shoreline wishing I could flick a fly or two; but, alas, duty and responsibility called, and so, the task of the day was performing Sanchin for the video camera. Now that the DVD is completed and available to the public, my “irresponsible” self can again settle down to the task of fishing at this lake.

Tough fishing? Try the FFD STUNT FISH!


With the hectic video shooting schedule, I was only able to visit two of my favorite Urban Lakes. I’m anticipating cooler temperatures and the stocking of catfish starting in the middle of September by Arizona Fish and Game.


I feel I neglected regularly visiting my favorite lake in the Urban Lake system as I only fished it about twice. The best time was early morning when, in addition to bluegill, bass could be caught and released on a fly.

The most productive pattern proved to be a # 16 black serendipity tied in line behind a # 12 apache lady wet fly.


This lake seems to be recuperating from the harshness of July. Bluegill and small bass could be taken on various nymph and wet fly combinations. This seems to be a good indication of promising fishing to come in the cooler months.


BLOODY MARY BASS, a nice sized largemouth that decided to sample a bite of a # 14 bloody mary nymph. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8COsXhjoKTc

SANCHIN KATA FOR FLY FISHERMAN: Filmed at Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, AZ, this video was designed for the fly fisherman prior to the release of my Sanchin Kata DVD. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

FISHERMAN AS WARRIORS: For a very unique look at a historical aspect of fishing, you may wish to view “Fisherman As Warriors” by clicking this convenient link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cMRW503DbY

This months featured FFD logo product is shown below. With cooler temperatures forecasted for the coming months, I thought you may find a need to “heat things up.”

Until the next submission, I remain,

Sensei John


  1. Ernest Hemingway from:Lyons, Nick, Hemingway On Fishing, (Nick Lyons Press, New York, NY, 2000) p. 153, originally published as “As Situation Report” in Look magazine, September 4, 1956.

Sensei John is available for lectures on the interrelationship of fly fishing and martial arts protocol, ideology and philosophy. Please see the “LECTURES & LESSONS” Page tab above for more information.

You can now arrange for either a fly fishing lecture or lesson with Sensei John, please see the “LESSONS & LECTURES” Page tab above.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page. This months new product  FFD LOGO CLASSIC THONG

– only $ 9.99 plus delivery.

Here’s a convenient link: http://www.cafepress.com/flyfishing_dojo.459914580#

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.


4 Feb


I will be using the Dojo of Shihan Wayne Norlander as a studio for filming the “Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman Technical Series.”  I will post updates as each video is released on You-tube. In the meantime, here is a link to the introductory video filmed at Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert, AZ. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

At Shihan Norlander's (black uniform) Dojo, Bogota, NJ

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, January, 2011, unfortunately, due to a need for me to be on the East Coast, I only fished Arizona waters for a few precious days in January. I was on the road driving along I-40 the week of January 10th when Arizona Game & Fish conducted their “incentive stocking”. You can check out their website for photographs of some fantastic catches.

I arrived in New Jersey and was “warmly” welcomed by a continually renewing blanket of snow and ice.

At the NJ home of Shihan Thomas DeFelice, sparring with Mother Nature

I am sure at some point, I will be able to cast a few flies into the rivers and streams of my youth in before returning home to Arizona and look forward to that time. Eventually, the snow must melt, the streams will flow wildly and the trout will beckon. For now, I simply think about an anonymous haiku:

  • Snow melting,
  • With my stick, I guided
  • This mighty river.

Well enough daydreaming, on with the fly fishing journal for January, at least the first nine days.

PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest

Given my unexpectedly early departure, I was unable to fish the Lower Salt. I hope all that were able to journey into Tonto National Forest to fish these waters had good fishing and memorable experiences. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.


To the early morning crew at Veterans Oasis, I hope your days are filled with beautiful, cool, crisp sunrises, and magnificent rainbows at the end of your line. I sit thinking about the several mornings, in the dark, predawn hours, that I stood on the shore casting my flies on what seemed like an etherial, ghostly battlefield. The sound of shotgun blasts filling the air from the distant fields. My eyes following traces of light that pierce and flicker through the pre-dawn dark sky. The flashing light traces eventually coming to rest on the surface of the lake. Military tracer rounds that accompany the shotgun blasts? Some type of meteor? No, rather a unique invention for the bait fisherman that brave the dark to fish upon the waters – lighted bobbers. Besides being a unique fishing tool, they make for a spectacular light show.


Knowing I would have to leave earlier than anticipated, I made one trip to this lake. My morning there, as always, was well spent.

Harvested one for a "farewell AZ" dinner

The memories of that morning should get me through the coming (snow-filled?) weeks.

Clearing snow off the official FFD truck.


Arizona Game and Fish had a news release pertaining to a first-ever season on Gila Trout. For your convenience, here is a copy of that release.

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Feb. 4 is being asked to create the first-ever season on native Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir on the Pinaleño Mountains in southern Arizona.

“Arizona has never had an open season on Gila trout. They were thought to have been extirpated from the state before we had regulated fishing seasons,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young.

The Gila trout proposal is possible because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico has surplus Gila trout available. The department is asking the commission to establish an open season for Gila trout with a one-fish bag and possession limit for Frye Mesa Reservoir.

“We would like to stock those surplus Gila trout into Frye Mesa Reservoir, which is located below Mt. Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains, to provide a unique angling opportunity,” Young said.

That’s not the only unique angling aspect to the proposal. “If the commission approves the proposal, we would create another unique possibility for anglers – fishing for five species of trout on the same mountain – Gila trout, Apache trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout,” said Don Mitchell, Tucson regional fisheries program manager.

In fact, Mitchell said, Mt. Graham would become the only mountain on earth where anglers could fish for both Gila and Apache trout.

Gila trout were reintroduced to Frye Creek on the mountain above Frye Mesa in the fall of 2009. Frye Creek is closed to fishing while the population establishes.  From Frye Mesa, you can look down upon the town of Safford.

In closing, I will note that the cold has inspired me to add two new products to the FLY FISHING DOJO Logo Line, the “official” FFD logo Thermal Food Jar and the FUNtainer Thermal Bottle.

FFD Logo Thermal Food Jar

You can check them and all FFD Logo products out at: http://www.cafepress.com/FLYFISHING_DOJO

Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly Fishing Dojo products wear by clicking on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SENSEIJOHN.WORDPRESS.COM.


9 Jan

New videos released this month:

The following videos were released during this month. Convenient links are provided below. Hereafter, the links will be archived on the “Video & Media” Page.

  1. Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI
  2. Urban Lake System, December, 2010 Supplement. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFTgzXg1E58

Arizona, Valley Of The Sun, December, 2010, the sometimes wild winter weather heralds wild fly fishing. December saw tempestuous swings in temperatures ranging from average highs in the mid-seventies early in the month to highs of only in the fifties later on. There was even one week of record high temperatures in the low eighties. In addition, rain, fog, winds and a winter storm all contributed to the atmospheric excitement.

By New Years Eve, there was snow on Four Peaks

Fishing was equally turbulent. Early in the month, there were good catches of largemouth bass. Throughout the month, thanks to a biweekly stocking program, there were excellent catches of rainbow trout. I was even surprised to see an occasional catfish caught by bait fishermen despite the lower temperatures. On and around Tuesday, December 14th early risers were treated to a spectacular celestial show courtesy of the Geminid Meteors. I was awe struck as I watched this dramatic, cosmic display.

Fly patterns that produced well this month were those that had some flash or sparkle. The following patterns worked nicely: Nymphs: JuJu Bee # 14, Rainbow Warrior # 14, Myosis Shrimp # 14, Perfect Scud (pink) # 14, BH Bloody Mary # 14 and Swimming Roe # 8. Wet Fly: Alexandria # 14, and McGinty # 14 Streamers: Sparkle Shad # 12, Sparkle Claret BH Wooly Bugger # 12, and Hot Flash Minnow # 12. I always fish these pattern in tandem, usually with the streamer at the head and the nymph as a dropper. On the Lower Salt River, I would dead drift them while on the Urban Lake System, I would retrieve them with a twitch of the rod tip and a pause. More often than not, the fly was taken on the pause.

Without further fanfare, here’s a synopsis of the waters Fly Fishing Dojo fished. PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all fish were safely released after being photographed.

LOWER SALT RIVER, Tonto National Forest

Fishing the Lower Salt River continued to be a joy. Each trip I made was one enraptured with the spectacular natural environment.

I will; however, note one disturbing trend. Those familiar with the Lower Salt River know that during summer months, she is used and abused by recreational water craft users. Last month I wrote that with the colder temperatures and the end of river tubing season, she was, finally, being restored to her quasi-virginal self. Now, it seems that some selfish persons, who purport to call themselves fisherman, are electing to use her as a depository for their negligent disposal of waste.

fishing waste is replacing the empty beer cans of summer

Again, as a few of the recreation areas are closed, when I make reference to a location, it is for informational purposes. More often than not, the reference is to the recreation area where the official FLY FISHING DOJO vehicle was parked rather than a specific location fished. These areas included: Water User’s Recreation Area, Bluepoint Recreation Area (provided parking for the down and across river hike to Sheep Crossing), Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area and Granite Reef Recreation Area.

Using the fly patterns referred to above produced reliable catches. Largemouth bass and nice sized bluegill were to be found at Water User’s, Sheep Crossing and Granite Reef. Rainbow trout were found at Water User’s (on occasion) and Phon D. Sutton.

Water flows remained low, but consistent. Below is the water flow chart for the Lower Salt River for the month of October from WWW.Watershedmonitor.Com.


VETERAN’S OASIS PARK LAKE, Chandler, AZ (See Endnote #1)

This lake continued to provide a regular respite from my daily routine. Early in the month, largemouth bass and bluegill would regularly take a fly, particularly a rainbow warrior or perfect scud nymph. As the temperatures decreased, these fish moved to deeper water, but could still be lured to a fly late in the day, about and hour before sunset.

While trout fishing on this lake is always enjoyable, one or two days in particular were truly memorable. The first memorable day was the morning of December 23rd when the lake was enveloped in a shroud of fog.

That particular morning, while standing on the shoreline casting into an etherial vapor that rose from the lake, I almost had the feeling of being in a vintage horror movie where surely a sinister creature dwelled within the fog.  Naturally, such was the result of my overactive mind at work. In reality, the only creature that dwelled within the depths of the smoky water was a nice, playful rainbow.

This was 1 of 2 fish harvested in December for supper.

The other memorable day was the first day that a huge school of baitfish, that I believe to be shad, first appeared.  From that day, about mid-month, and continuing to the day this report is being generated, this huge school could regularly be seen. A welcome indication of a healthy eco-system. There is a brief clip of a small portion of this school of baitfish on video link above.

The morning of New Years Eve was fun at this lake. Temperatures were in the mid to high twenties. The cold temperatures made for difficult casting as ice built up on the rod guides. Yes, ice on the rod guides, in the desert, in the Valley of the Sun!

Yes, its ice on the rod guides.

Rainbow trout fishing was slow on this particular morning; however, for some unknown reason, fair sized bluegills were extremely active. In a period of about twenty minutes, I had caught and released about a dozen on a BH Bloody Mary Nymph, size # 14. That was fun especially since I could only spare an hour and a half to dedicate to fishing. It proved to be a fun way to end 2010.

WATER RANCH LAKE, Gilbert, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

In my August, 2010 fly fishing journal I wrote about a unique inhabitant of this lake. That inhabitant is a large Koi that I nicknamed “Oishi” after the leader of the infamous 47 Ronin of Japanese history. I am happy to advise that, although I personally have not seen Oishi recently, several people I spoke with have reported seeing him. This month I can report of another unique inhabitant. It is an osprey. Several people, including myself having been shaken from our dogged fishing determination by a loud splash upon the otherwise calm surface of the lake. Seconds later, the lake erupts with the osprey rising from its depths with a fish in its talons. Now thats a real “FLY”-fisherman! When fishing this lake, remain vigilant and you may be treated to a remarkable sight as nature unfolds its drama.

Fishing at Water Ranch proved relatively consistent with catches of small largemouth bass and rainbow trout. The later being particularly susceptible to taking a fly, particularly a sparkle shad streamer, in the first few days after being stocked.

I was fishing Water Ranch Christmas Eve morning and was greeted by a truly beautiful sunrise on that auspicious day. Prior to sunrise, I also received an early gift from Santa when I happened upon a school of bluegill lurking in the reflected light under one of the park lights. Casting a # 16 JuJu Bee Nymph in the pre-dawn dark I caught and released about a dozen and a half palm-sized bluegill in a twenty minute period. Not big fish, but, as I said previously, “Catching and releasing bluegill consistently will make an otherwise dull day of fishing.”

Water Ranch Lake was also the location for my first video in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series entitled “Sanchin For Fly Fisherman.” You can view this video by clicking the link at either the beginning of this article or on the “Video & Media” Page tab above.

RED MOUNTAIN LAKE, Mesa, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I did notice a marked decrease in the number of largemouth bass that I was able to catch and release at this lake. In fact, such catches were unremarkable. Rainbow trout provided good sport in the first few days after stocking with decreased numbers being caught about a week after a stocking. The rainbow trout at Red Mountain Lake seemed to favor a # 14 Myosis Shrimp fished behind a # 12 Sparkle Shad Streamer. Each fly was taken equally.

KIWANIS LAKE, Tempe, AZ (See Endnote # 1)

I fished Kiwanis Lake on December 11th with okay results. I had lost one rainbow trout due to a “quick release” and caught and released another in about an hour and a half time period walking around the shoreline. Static fisherman, those sitting on the shore casting bait or scented baits, reported mixed results. There were; however, a few static fisherman with catches of three and four supper-sized rainbows.


I had not fished this lake in two months. So, one rather slow morning at Veteran’s Oasis Lake, I decided to take the twenty minute ride down Greenfield Road to see if I could discover fish at Discovery Lake. All during the drive I thought of the many monumental largemouth bass that I had caught and released all summer. In the extreme heat of summer, this small, almost swimming pool in appearance, lake unveiled a cornucopia of “bass-tastic” delights. I wondered if such finned opulence would still be present. Upon arriving at Discovery and fishing for about an hour and a half, I soon discovered that the lake was a small remnant of itself. The water was filled with dead and decaying leaves, branches and reeds. The natural decay was highlighted by man-made decay in the form of the occasional plastic bottle bobbing on the water’s surface. Even a bloated football and a half deflated soccer ball played upon the surface of this watery field. Gone were the largemouth bass of summer. The melodramatic metamorphosis of this lake from summer to early winter was distressing “. . . It was as though a young person had died for no reason.” (See Endnote # 2).

And so, this concludes another monthly fly fishing journal. It is now 2011, what natural wonders will reveal themselves as we continue to flick our feathery flies in pursuit of finned quarry? Until my next submission, I hope you continue to enjoy the articles I post on this weblog. Keep your flies in the water.

Sensei John

Again, you may wish to view the video supplement to this month’s journal by clicking the link at the beginning of this article or on the “Video & Media” page.

You can follow the DAILY adventures of FLY FISHING DOJO on FACEBOOK, See the Video & Media Page for details.


1. For exact locations, please see the 2010, 25th Anniversary Urban Fishing Program booklet.

2.  Hemingway, Ernest, A Moveable Feast, (Touchstone, New York, NY, 1996) p. 45.

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Please feel free to view my other weblog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


21 Dec

I have just completed the first video installment in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series. This series is designed to improve and enhance your fly fishing using techniques and ideology derived form the martial arts. This first video, taped while fly fishing, is an introductory video designed to acquaint fly fisherman with the unique and ancient protocol, or “Kata” named “Sanchin”. The translation of the Kanji (Japanese writing) for Sanchin is “Three Battles.”

Kanji for Sanchin

Sanchin accentuates three aspects of ALL human activity, namely:

  1. Breathing;
  2. Bodily Movement;
  3. A State of Mind.

There are many versions of Sanchin Kata. The version in the video is the Sanchin Kata of the Goshin-Do Karate-Do style of Karate. Sanchin Kata takes very little time to perform, requires no special clothing or training apparatus and can be performed anywhere and anytime. Again, my performance of Sanchin on this video was recorded in the process of fly fishing and performed on uneven terrain.

This first video is designed to simply acquaint you with Sanchin and hopefully act as a catalyst to further your interest in learning this Kata. Performance of the Sanchin Kata will enhance ANY activity, including fly fishing.

While I will present future videos addressing the technical aspects of Sanchin, allow me to provide the following preliminary comments. As to the aspect of BREATHING, the method of breathing is addressed in an article entitled “Improve Your Fly Fishing With Proper Breathing.”  As to the aspect of a STATE OF MIND, the state of mind is known as “Mushin” (pronounced Moo-shin) and is addressed in an article entitled “Fly Fishing Using The Mushin State Of Mind.” Both articles are archived on this blog in the category “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master.” As to the aspect of BODILY MOVEMENT, all muscles of the body are relaxed during inhalation of air and are dynamically tensed, in an isometric-type manner, during exhalation of breath.

I hope you enjoy this introductory video in the “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master” series entitled “Sanchin Kata For Fly Fisherman.” A permanent link to the video will be archived on the “Video & Media” page. For now, here is a convenient link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncZJ0s0HNI

08-16-2011:  Here is a new link to the introductory video in my Sanchin Kata technical series designed for non-martial artists who desire to learn Sanchin. LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyaHCp2EoUk

I remain,

Sensei John

If you are interested in more information on Sanchin Kata, you may wish to purchase my book on the Kata. You may find information on my book on the “Sanchin Book” page of my martial ideology weblog, WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.


27 Oct
With Halloween soon upon us, I thought I would submit an article on Fly Fishing Monsters. The within concerns the manner in which we battle the day-to-day stress, our internal monsters, through the art of fly fishing. There is a maxim of Friedrich Nietzsche which can assist us in understanding this point.
 You may be familiar with the following, oft quoted, commentary by Friedrich Nietzsche, “when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” The popularity of this comment overshadows Nietzsche’s preceding sentence which many fail to appreciate. It is, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.” (See Endnote # 1).

Friedrich Nietzsche, Circa 1875.


We all use the art of fly fishing to battle monsters that lay deep within us. The pressures of daily life, including, work pressures, family, school, dictates of relationships all impose a burden upon our sense of well being. Emotions such as stress, anger, frustration are counter productive to our desire for physical and emotional comfort. These negative situations and emotions are like monsters that seek to invade our sense of being. Through fly fishing we can keep those monsters at bay. More often than not, a day spent on the water can perform wonders for our sense of self. I say, “more often than not” because, we must keep Nietzsche’s maxim in mind as we seek the calming effect of casting a fly to a fish. Many months ago, I had a day on the Lower Salt River here in Arizona that reminded me of the import of Nietzsche.

It was the beginning of another hot, almost inhuman, summer in the Valley of the Sun. Two to three months of unbearable heat, exceedingly high ultra-violet indices, and air quality alerts lay ahead. The prospect of the hellish summer had put me in a real bad mood. I sought to quell my mood; to do battle with this emotional monster. I went fly fishing in the cool, swirling, bountiful waters of the Lower Salt. The only problem was that in seeking to do battle with the monster, I became the monster. I let my foul, fetid mood destroy my fly fishing. I had seen fish lurking below the waters surface. My mood should have instantly improved. When I started fishing, it became apparent that my fly fishing technique was infected by my mood. I waded the waters with the grace of a hobbled Frankenstein monster. My casting technique was so vicious that not only did I foul hook a few bushes, I snapped two flies off the leader. The more I tried to relax the more angry I became.

It finally dawned on me that I was now the monster I sought to cast off. I took a deep breath and performed a Goshin-Do Karate Kata known as Sanchin. (See Endnote # 2). I then put my fly rod down and sat on the gravel bank letting the sound of the river quiet me. The last remnants of a cool breeze blew through the canyon flowing past my face. I finally began to expel the monster of anger. Had I not realized that I became the monster I sought to battle, the day would have been lost.

So, when you turn to fly fishing to escape the “monsters“ of daily living, keep Nietzsche in mind.

To assist you in enhancing your fly fishing experience, you may wish to review two articles previously posted on this weblog. Both are filed in the category “Fly Fish Like A Karate Master”. They are: Improve Your Fly Fishing With Proper Breathing and Fly Fishing Using The Mushin State Of Mind.

Until the next article, I hope we all can be on our favorite waters, in nature, casting a simple fly in pursuit of our favorite quarry, successfully battling our internal monsters and avoiding becoming the monster ourselves.

Sensei John

1. Nietzsche, Friedrich, Beyond Good And Evil, Part Four: Maxims And Interludes, Number 146.
2. Sanchin is a Goshin-Do Karate Kata that combines deep abdominal breathing, physical movement and a quiet state of mind called Mushin. It takes less than four minutes to perform and is physical refreshing and mentally rejuvenating. For more on Sanchin please see my martial ideology weblog and click on the “Sanchin Book” page tab. WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.



10 Oct
In the first installment of Fly Fish Like A Karate Master, I discussed the most fundamental element of not only fly fishing, but life itself. That element is PROPER breathing. (See Improve Your Fly-fishing With Proper Breathing, posted on August 25, 2010). In this second installment, I would like to introduce you to an omnipresent state of mind, or spirit, that pervades Karate-Do. This state of mind is called “Mushin” (pronounced “Moo-shin“). Mushin is an abbreviation of the phrase “Mushin No Shin” which refers to a mental state described as “Mind, No-Mind”. Mushin is taken directly from my training in Goshin-Do Karate-Do. Using the Mushin state of mind, you will be able to purge yourself of external thoughts so as to be open to and absorb your complete fly fishing experience. Ultimately, such expansion of the mind or spirit will result in a more fulfilling experience while fly fishing and, perhaps, increase your productivity in catching and releasing the species of fish you seek.

An expression of the Kanji, Japanese calligraphy, for Mushin.

Mushin is a unique state of mind wherein one actively experiences one’s environment with the totality of one’s senses. The sensory inputs are transmitted to the brain. The brain processes these sensory inputs and accordingly transmits reactionary impulses to the body and simultaneously creates a state of mind, or spirit, attendant to the inputs received. Invariably, an undeveloped spirit will focus on what it believes to be the most pervasive of the sensory inputs, to the exclusion of the other sensory inputs, and evolve a mental or spiritual state to meet the situation transmitted via the sensory inputs. This state of mind is characterized as “clouded”.

The Mushin state of spiritual being is “unclouded”. Instead of focusing the mind or spirit onto a specific sensory input to the exclusion of the others, Mushin perceives all inputs from the sensory world and absorbs them totally. Prior to contrary belief, the Mushin perception does not necessarily focus the mind onto one specific sensory or mental inputs to the exclusion of all other sensory or mental inputs. Rather, a specific input is perceived within the context of all other perceptions. Thus, the spirit is uncluttered by a single exaggerated sensory input. The spirit is uncluttered so as to experience and accept all sensory inputs for exactly what they are.

Mushin can, and should be, readily be incorporated into one’s daily routine as a “default“ state of mind. In addition, Mushin can be used to foster the fly fishing experience. Mushin directly cultivates the physical technique, unclouded state of mind and spiritual enjoyment of fly fishing. To illustrate this point, I will share with you one particular day of fly-fishing I recently enjoyed. That day was Tuesday, September 14th, 2010.

The day before I had learned that my first Sensei, Sensei Nick D’Antuono, had passed away. This weighed heavily on my mind and I had a restless night, sleeping maybe three hours at best. At sunrise, I decided I would combine my morning Karate training with fly fishing in the hope that the combination would somehow waken my body and depleted spirit. I drove the short distance to the lake at Veterans Oasis Park. I decided that I would walk around the lake a bit to get my blood flowing. After walking the lake three times, I performed a Karate Kata called Sanchin. The Sanchin Kata takes less than five minutes to perform and is an excellent way to oxygenate and invigorate the body and mind. Sanchin also facilitates attaining the Mushin state of mind. (See Endnote # 1). Now I was ready to fish.

I selected my favorite double nymph combination, a # 14 Rainbow Warrior followed by a # 16 Ju-Ju Bee and tied them to the end of a 5X Tippet (See Endnote #2). For this outing, I was using my 7 ½ foot Cortland Pro-Crest Fly Rod with a five weight double taper floating line. I began casting and presented the brace of nymphs in an area that I know holds fish. Within in the Mushin state of mind, I was able to appreciate the sound of the water as it cascaded down the rocks from the recharge facility to the main lake. The air smelled sweet and clean. Even the sun lightly heating my body felt welcome. I was being absorbed into my environment and it into me. I caught a few bluegill and small bass. From experience, I knew it was time to change tactics and decided that my best chance of hooking a larger fish would be to walk along the lakeshore and sight fish for larger fish that may be cruising the shoreline.

I kept my fly rod at the ready holding the rod in my right hand and a few coils of loose line in my left hand. In this manner I would be able to immediately cast to any fish I might see. I walked along about three feet from the waters edge. In the Mushin state of mind, my mind was unoccupied by any thoughts, it simply perceived my environment. The sound, smell and rhythm of the lake simply entered my body. I walked along the gravel shoreline when I suddenly perceived a different sound. There was a unexpected slight splash from the lake, approximately twenty feet from the shoreline. I looked and saw the slightest ripple on the water. I inhaled in the special method of Karate breathing I call “Issho-ibuki” (Lifetime breathing) and cast to the ripple. The brace of flies landed delicately on the water. After a brief pause I began a melody of retrieving the flies whereby I would twitch the flies and pause and repeat. After three twitches, the line grew heavy. After an additional five minutes or so a decent size largemouth bass was in my hands. I persuaded the fish into posing for a picture and saw to his sound release.

Mushin allowed me to locate this bass.

After releasing the fish, I continued to walk the lakeshore. I walked to the opposite shore which is bordered by a concrete walkway and rounded, walled patio. For reasons unknown to me at the time, I decided to pause and again perform a Sanchin Kata. After the four minutes or so that it took to perform Sanchin, I bent down to pick up my fly rod. As I faced the lake, I immediately noticed a largemouth bass cruising along to my left. I remained crouched low close to the wall so that cruising fish would not see me. After it crossed in front of me, I again, inhaled in the unique manner of Issho-ibuki and began to false cast. I was able to use the rounded configuration of the patio to cast ahead of the fish without casting on top of it. I again paused and twitched. The fish immediately hit. After a few minutes of reconciling of desire to catch the fish and its desire to get away, I eventually won out. I walked the fish to a comfortable and adjacent grassy location where he posed for a picture. The photographic fish was then returned to continue on its journey. In less that twenty minutes I successfully procured two fish at opposite ends of the lake.

A hot 100 degrees, but Mushin provides again

I released the fish, paused a moment and considered my decision, if my act can be called decisive, to perform Sanchin. Had I not done so, I would have walked on before the fish cruised by. I came to understand that by having Mushin as a state of mind, I unknowingly perceived the fish. That is not to say that I foretold the fish would cruise by. Rather, Mushin allowed me to perceive and unknowingly read the lake. Perhaps I perceived the fish’s dorsal fin moving on the surface, or perhaps I perceived baitfish scattering, or saw a heron look interestedly at the water. This is the different between “seeing” and “perceiving“. I firmly believe that the state of Mushin dictated that I pause at that time and place.

After releasing the second fish, I decided that I was fulfilled by the mornings activities. I did not want to over stay nature’s welcome of me at her doorstep, so as is my custom, I turned and bowed to show my respect to the water. I drove home feeling physically, mentally and spiritually better.

Before concluding this installment, I would like to give you another scenario to contemplate. The above example illustrated a benefit of Mushin through an enhanced fly fishing experience. In the following imaginative scenario, I would like to illustrate how Mushin may be used to prevent danger. Imagine fly-fishing on a beautiful remote mountain trout steam, perhaps in Alaska. Imagine further that your mind is clouded and thus not open to absorbing nature through the use of Mushin. You are so focused on the trout fly as it floats on the surface of the water, and so determined to catch a fish that you know must be right there, that you fail to perceive the smell of the clean, pure air, the cool feel of the water against your legs, or fail to see the stray grizzly bear sneaking up for a view.

Until the next article, consider Mushin as a state of mind when fly fishing. May your flies always be on or in the water.

Sensei John


1. Mushin is fully discussed in my book entitled Sanchin Kata: Gateway To The Plateau Of Human Serenity. You may preview thee book by viewing on my martial arts weblog and clicking on the Sanchin Book page. You may visit the weblog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

2. For those of you that are not familiar with the fly patterns mentioned, they are available online through Big Y Fly Co.

Improve Your Fly-Fishing With Proper Breathing

25 Aug
  This article shall explore the most fundamental common element shared by Fly-fishing, Karate and every single aspect of human activity and life itself. That fundamental, primordial element is (proper) breathing. Fly-fishing, like Karate, and every single human activity, combines bodily movement with breathing. For the Fly-fisherman this encompasses, hiking to and from your favorite water, wading a stream or salt water flat, fly-casting, catching and releasing your quarry and ultimately enjoying your fly-fishing environment. As fly-fishermen, we should explore and implement proper breathing. The mechanism of proper breathing is derived from, emphasized and developed in a Goshin-Do Karate-Do Kata, steeped in antiquity, called Sanchin. (See Endnote # 1).

PROPER BREATHING - Key to the "Way" to Fly-Fish like a Karate master.

I call the proper breathing of Goshin-Do Karate-Do and the ancient, primordial Sanchin Kata “Issho-ibuki” (lifetime breath). Issho-ibuki will not only improve your mechanics of Fly-fishing, but also your overall enjoyment of the sport. Very few of us understand the components of proper breathing. To illustrate this point, stop reading and take a deep breath. The majority of you probably sought to ‘fill your lungs with air” by expanding your upper chest, raising your shoulders, arching your back and contracting your abdomen. Some of you may have even accomplished this deep breath by inhaling through the mouth. This method of inhalation and exhalation is unnatural, inefficient and must be corrected immediately. The manner of correction will be to adopt the method of Issho-ibuki. 
The methodology of Issho-ibuki is a three step process. First is the development of the natural method of inhalation and exhalation. The second step is the method of deep abdominal breathing. The third and final step is the manner of breathing. The starting point for one’s practice Issho-ibuki is the not-so-simple physical aspect of inhalation and exhalation. 
 Step One: Inhalation & Exhalation.
You must remember a very basic, but all to often forgotten, cardinal rule of breathing, namely: breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Without giving a lesson in biology, the nose was specifically designed for the inhalation of oxygen and the other beneficial gases contained within our atmosphere. To facilitate your implementation of proper inhalation and exhalation, I have developed is an easy technique. Consciously make an effort to inhale through the nose. While so inhaling, close your mouth and emphatically press your tongue upwards against the roof of your mouth. By performing this maneuver, it is difficult, if not impossible, to open your mouth and breath in. Therefore, the only alternative means available for inhalation is to utilize the nose for its intended purpose. Now to complete the act of breathing, you will need to exhale. To exhale you open your mouth and allow the air to flow outward. To facilitate the use of the mouth during exhalation, as you open your mouth, emphatically press the tongue downward against the bottom of your mouth. By using your tongue in this manner, you will be physically conscious of the manner in which you inhale and exhale. You may note that your exhalation now produces a somewhat audible sound. This sound is akin to a mild roar, much like the sound of ocean surf. Continue to practice inhaling and exhaling in this manner. When the act of breathing again occurs naturally through the nose and out the mouth, you can de-emphasize the emphatic use of your tongue as described above.

Step Two: Abdominal breathing.

The next step in the process of Issho-ibuki is to efficiently fill your lungs with air. To achieve efficiency, you need to inhale and exhale through the lower abdomen. The following exercise was developed by me for use in the Issho Dojo to facilitate this type of deep abdominal breathing. Lie on your back and relax. While lying on your back, rest your hands, palms down, on your lower abdomen, referred to as your “belly“. This placement of the hands does not facilitate breathing, rather, your hands will provide an added sensory indication of the proper breathing method through the sense of touch.

Open your mouth, as previously described, relax your belly and allow the natural force of gravity to decompress your belly, thus expelling air through your mouth. Keep your hands in contact with your belly and allow your hands to lower with your belly. Now, close your mouth, pressing your tongue on its roof and inhale through the nose. As you inhale, willfully direct the air to the lower belly so as to force it to expand and rise upwards. Keep your hands in contact with your belly and allow your hands to rise with your belly. You will again exhale by opening your mouth, pressing your tongue downward, relaxing and decompressing your belly so as to exhale. Allow your hands to lower and decompress with your belly. The duration of exhalation should be slightly longer than the inhalation. Both processes should be completely relaxed. Continue to breathe in this manner for a period of about five minutes. You should immediately begin to incorporate abdominal breathing into not only fly-fishing but all your activities.

Step Three: The Manner Of Breathing.

The next phase in the Issho-ibuki is to perform the act of inhalation and exhalation in a specific manner. In Goshin-Do Karate-Do we referred to the manner of breathing as either “Go“ or “Hard” and “Ju” or “Soft“. It is important to remember that the METHOD of breathing remains the same as described above. Only the MANNER of breathing is altered as follows. For purposes of this article, only the soft manner of breathing is relevant. Soft breath is a relaxed form of breathing. The body remains relaxed as air is gently inhaled in a steady manner. Once inhalation is complete, the breath is held for a fraction of a second and exhalation begins. During the process of exhalation, the body remains relaxed and air is expelled softy and in a steady manner. The process then begins a new.

You can and should incorporate soft Issho-ibuki into all aspects of your fly-fishing. Use Issho-ibuki to steady yourself during the hike to your favorite water or while wading a stream or salt water flat. You can use Issho-ibuki to calm yourself as you cast to rising, but wary fish. You can effectively increase the performance and technique of fly casting by using Issho-ibuki during the casting process. You must remember that you always want to exhale during your power casting for stroke. You will soon see that the mechanics and enjoyment of fly fishing greatly increase when you finally learn to breath properly. Proper breathing is the first step to Fly-fishing like a Karate Master and enriching you fly-fishing performance and enjoyment.

Sensei John (center) at the USA Goshin-Ryu, NJ Dojo of Shihan Wayne Norlander (2nd from left)

NOW AVAILABLE – The Sanchin Kata Video Series – follow this weblog for free links to videos.

Here is a link to a promotional video with information on how you can purchase your 57 minute Sanchin DVD:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-pC-tPUrYE

See my website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com or blog WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com for information on how to purchase the video series. You may also e-mail me directly.

If you are intrigued by this article or otherwise enjoy this blog, please remember to tell a friend. Check back weekly for more updates on how to fly fish like a Karate master, articles on the Way of Fly-fishing (Fly-fishing Do), fishing reports, product reviews and other fly-fishing related matters.

Sensei John


1. The Kanji, Japanese writing, for Sanchin translates as three battles. Fundamental to understanding the three battles of Sanchin is proper breathing. If you would like to learn more about either proper breathing or Sanchin Kata, please feel free to visit my martial arts blog WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com and website WWW.Dynamic-Meditation.Com.

Please feel free to shop unique Fly-Fishing Dojo logo products. To do so, click on the “SHOP” tab at the top of this page.

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