The following is the translation of some notes written by Furuya Fukunosuke hanshi during a kendo lecture at a Yoseikai gasshuku in Nara, 2001*. Furuya hanshi sadly passed away in 2008 but his teachings have been recorded by one of his top students – Uegaki sensei – and published in book format. The book is not on sale to the public but I hope to post other items from it in the future.
I’ll stress that I didn’t attend these lectures. Whats presented here are translations of notes found in the book. As such, I can’t impart any of the verbal teachings behind the words. Apologies in advance.
* 95% of the following is from a gasshuku in 2001, the other 5% are additions from a different gasshuku in 1999 using notes of with a very similar theme.
The reality of seme
* The main components of seme:
- Capture the initiative with your spirit (気)… by doing this you can create openings (隙) allowing you to execute various waza;
- Control the center (中心)… forcing your opponents sword tip from the your center line, break his center and strike;
- Develop your understanding of advantageous spatial distance (Maai 間合い)… by this I mean understanding the spatial distance between you and your opponent and using it to your advantage.
Successful seme depends on your ability to combine 1, 2, and 3, and this – in tandem with your ability to concentrate effectively – is an important factor in being victorious overall. Remember also to:
- have the courage to attack from a far distance;
- attack without fearing being struck yourself even if you know that it will happen (sutemi 捨身).
* Breaking your opponents kamae:
- Break through the intangible wall of your opponents spirit;
- Break through their physical kamae.
By doing this you can create a favourable situation for success.
* The basics:
A. Shikake waza (attacking from oneself without taking into account your opponents feeling)
- based on the seme pattern, be able to adapt to the changes that your opponent makes;
- renzoku waza (stringing multiple attacks together);
- harai waza;
- debana/degashira waza;
- hiki waza;
- other waza (katsugi, maki, katate, etc).
B. Oji waza
Theory… with only theory you are blind.
Practise… with only practise you are empty.
In other words, you must seek proficiency in both theory and practise to make your kendo whole.