Secrets of Kuzushi (崩し大全)

(Note this is a guest post from Joe Pielech)

Inspired by George’s recent translations, I decided to be bold (and possibly foolish!) and offer up one of my own. As most of us know, kuzushi (崩し) is a very important concept in Japanese budo (武道). Kuzushi goes beyond merely unbalancing an opponent; it drives to the heart of destroying the opponent’s mental and physical composure so that a telling blow can be struck.

The following is a translation of the April, 2007 issue of Kendo Jidai (剣道時代2007年4月) “Kuzushi Taizen”(崩し大全).

末野栄二, 八段
1. 恐怖心を与えて崩す
2. 剣先で相手のクセを察知する
3. 剣先の円運動で攻め崩す
4. 手首の使い分けを意識する

Sueno Eiji, 8 Dan

1) Frighten your opponent so that their balance is broken
2) Uncover your opponent’s habits with your kensen
3) Create a offense by using a circling movement with your kensen
4) Be aware of the different uses of the wrist

東 良美、八段  (僕は 三回、東先生に 練習して頂く機会がありました。東先生は 最初の構えで僕をまかせました。東先生は 相手の心の中まで、貫通させました。東先生のアドバイスをよく感じてください。)

  1. 左手を中心から外さない
  2. 左半身のラインを整える
  3. 間合いは1ミリずつ詰める
  4. 剣先を相手の剣先に乗せる
  5. 目線を一定に保つ
  6. 両足の湧泉で身体を運ぶ

Higashi Yoshimi, 8 Dan (I have been very lucky to practice with Higashi-sensei 3 times in the past year. He defeats you from his kamae. Higashi-sensei penetrates the heart of his opponent. Seriously consider his advice; he is that good!)

1) The left hand should not waver from the center (the left hand should keep the center position)
2) Alling the left side of the body (to check/arrange the line
of the left side of the body)
3) Move forward to the opponent one millimeter of move at a time
4) Set the kensen on (over, above) the tip of your opponent’s tip kensen
5) Focus your eyes on a certain place
6) Move your body using the ball of your big toes


  1. 攻めは腰から始動する
  2. ためて読んで崩し切る
  3. 剣先を下げて面を誘い込む
  4. 剣先を下げて小手を匂わせる

Furukawa Kazuo, 8 Dan

1) Begin to attack with your hips
2) Take time to read the opponent’s intension and then breaking their balance
3) Lead and invite the opponent’s ken by lowering the own ken.
4) Gesture towards kote by lowing your kensen and invite opponent’s movement.

神崎 浩、七段

  1. 上下、表裏を駆使する
  2. 常に逆サイドを意識させる
  3. 複数の攻めを同時進行する
  4. 竹刀の振り幅を小さくして揺さぶる
  5. 相手を飽和状態にする

Kanzaki Hiroshi, 7 Dan

1) Make the best use of your kensen up and down and the front and the back
2) Make the opponent aware that there are multiple attacks in your repertoire
3) Use various techniques at once when attacking
4) Make small movements with the kensen because the opponent will have difficulty guessing what your technique will be
5) Saturate your opponent with anxiety


  1. 攻め返させて打つ
  2. 攻める力を利用させて打つ
  3. 左半身を一体化する
  4. 鋭い速い攻めで速攻を崩す
  5. ゆっくりとした攻めで遅攻を崩す

Ishida Toshiya, 7 Dan

1) Attack back while your opponent is making their attack
2) Take advantage of your opponent’s miscalculation of your ideas by inviting them to attack through small movements of your kensen
3) Stabilize a left half body (left hand, a left hip, a left foot) as one unit so that you can attack your opponent’s flexibly
4) Attack more quickly and sharply than your opponent
5) Attack slowly if your opponent attacks slowly


  1. 気持ちは常に先
  2. ためで打ち間をつくる
  3. 払う動作は左手主導
  4. 払いと打突を一致させる

Miyazaki Fumihiro, 7 Dan

1) Coerce your opponent to attack by initiating forward movement and closing the distance between you and your opponent
2) Mislead your opponent into believing that you are not going to attack, thereby causing them to drop their guard
3) Your left hand should lead the attack when your opponent is moving their kensen
4) Match your opponent’s kensen movements and then attack

栄花英幸, 七段

  1. 竹刀で攻めない
  2. 足腰で攻め崩す
  3. 左足で床を踏みつける
  4. 竹刀で心の崩れを察知する
  5. 中心を割って上から乗る

Eiga Naoki, 7 Dan

1) Do not to attach by your kensen; attack from your hips and feet
2) Attach downward by your feet and my hips
3) Stamp on the floor with your left foot in order to attack with your feet and hips
4) Read your opponent’s unbalanced mind touching their opponent’s kensen
5) Swing the shinai from above your opponent into their center


  1. 鋭くて元を攻める
  2. 包み込むように攻める
  3. 打ち気を隠して誘う
  4. 右膝で小さい打ち気を見せる

Eto Yoshihisa, 7 Dan

1) Decisively attack your opponent’s on a 1-count rhythm. Do not use a 2-fold rhythm; for example, do not in two steps to attach and their break balance, instead attack downward in a 1-step rhythm
2) Attach while holding the opponent as we imagine catching a chicken. Do not worry about being attacked, attack resolutely, directly
3) Hide your will to attack your opponent and invite their openness
4) Show your attack with your right knee

平尾 泰、七段

  1. 手足を柔らかく使う
  2. 喉元あたりを攻める
  3. しなやかに動く
  4. 崩れに応じた技を選択する

Hirao Yasushi, 7 Dan

1) Use your hands and feet softly so that the opponent cannot read your mind/intentions
2) Attack at the opponent’s throat so that you can read the their mind easier
3) Move elastically so that you can attack your opponent more quickly
4) Select techniques that effectively attack your opponent

井口 清、七段

  1. 常に同じように間詰めする
  2. 色をできるだけ見せない
  3. 肘を伸ばさずに攻め入る
  4. 手首で刃筋肉を変化させて決める

Iguchi Kiyoshi, 7 Dan

1) Move closer to your opponent by using movements similar to theirs (like pointing the tip of the kensen at their throat) so your opponent cannot you’re your mind
2) Do not to show your intention to attack
3) Do not extend your elbows when attacking because this will allow an opponent to read your mind
4) Depending on seeing the opponent’s weakness, attack using your wrists and not moving your kensen.

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