Seme #1: Furukawa Kazuo

一足一刀の間合よりやや遠い間合で構え、相手の竹刀に表・裏から付けたり、軽く押せたりして相手の「心」・「気」に触れてみる。そこから、さらに竹刀の表・裏を力強く、短く張って中心を抑えながら一足一刀の間合に入り、時に剣先をわずかに突き出したり、グッと下にしたりして強い攻めをみせ、相手の手元の動きを見る。この時、足の動きは含み足で行なう。含み足とは、足指の全てを使って這うようにして一寸きざみに間合を詰める動きである。この攻めを何回かくり返し、相手の気分と剣先の動きを見ながら、攻め方と技の組み立てを考える。

– 古川和男、剣道時代の「名選手、錬磨の日々」(1983ー84)からの抜粋です。「錬磨の日々」の本は1989発行。

Seme

Taking your kamae from a little bit outside issoku-itto-no-ma, lightly feel out your opponents shinai on both sides, all the time testing and looking at his KOKORO (心) and KI (気). From there, strongly press both sides of your opponents shinai and – whilst taking control of the center line – enter into issoku-itto-no-ma, pushing his shinai out of the way. In particular try slightly thrusting your kensaki or quickly adjusting moving your kamae down. Whilst moving in strongly, observe your opponents hands closely. During this time, use FUKUMI-ASHI (含み足). “Fukumi-ashi” is when you use the toes in your feet to slowly creep forward, slowly and bit-by-bit taking ground and moving into a good distance. SEME like this many times and – while continually observing your opponents feeling (気分) and kensaki – think about the method of SEME and what technique(s) you can use to defeat them.

– Furukawa Kazuo, from the Kendo Jidai article series called “Mei senshu, renma no hibi” that was originally published in 1983-84. The series was published in a two book format called “renma no hibi” in 1989.


This is the first in a serious of short translations about kendo concepts from renowned sensei. I am not an expert in Japanese nor in translation, so I have left the original Japanese in place for the Japanese readers out there. If you have comments on the translation, please get in touch.

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George

I'm the founder and chief editor of kenshi247.net. Amongst other things I am a high school kendo club coach, an avid practitioner of classical swordsmanship, a history student, and a vegetarian.

12 thoughts on “Seme #1: Furukawa Kazuo”

  1. Cheers Ben… all I did was (crappily) translate it.

    I had never heard the term “fukumi-ashi” before, although I do it sometimes.

    This was written 16 odd years ago, so id like to ready his definition of “seme” now!

  2. Yeah thanks for “fukumi-ashi”. Nice to finally know what it’s called. We’ve always been taught it as a specific exercise during taiso. But hell, I only heard the term “seme-ashi” for the first time about 2 years ago! Ganbatte with the crappy snippet translations. b

  3. Out of interest George,

    I’ve been trying to do some general research on Furukawa as his Kendo is glorious and am finding (that as usual from an English background) there’s not a lot out there compared to some other sensei.

    Any suggestions on where one could look? Thanks for any suggestions or time spent considering this in advance!

  4. Hey Doug,

    Yeah, you’ll probably find almost nothing in English. He’s basically known abroad simply for being Eiga Naoki’s teacher, and copies of his teaching videos that made it online. What do you want to know exactly?

  5. You’re right – I only really know him as the man with a devastating tsuki, as you say, from the variety of both his teaching and shiai videos.

    My interest mostly revolves around the above: how he developed tsuki to be a characteristic technique of his (akin to Chiba’s kote from jodan) and how/why Hokkaido seems a place for this particular waza. However, I realise that this assessment may be entirely pejorative based upon what I can find from the UK!

  6. His tsuki style is quite normal, nothing fancy about it (except that he’s good at it!). Hokkaido isn’t known for tsuki or anything like that either …. more like crabs and snow!

    I’ll have a wee look into what I have about him and see if there’s anything useful.

  7. Haha, yes – that’s it really; it wasn’t a flash of technique but more that he is good at it and I had begun to wonder if it was a “thing” of his whilst I was looking for solid examples of the technique (since there’s not much to be found of him).

    That’s much appreciated George, thanks.

  8. Doug,

    I actually have quite an extensive bio of him from quite a few years ago. If I could get my hands on a more up to date version perhaps I’ll do an online bio sometime.

  9. Thanks for poking around George and if you did happen to find one, I’d be looking forward to reading that post!

  10. Reminds me of what Y. Higashi Sensei mentioned in a lecture before a demonstration years ago. Like you said “He beats you from he’s Kamae”

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