The How of Co-creation

After three years in Japan, I went back to the States and back to school, doing a BA in Psychology, particularly focusing on social and cultural psychology. I was quite fascinated at the idea of Japanese and other East Asian cultures thinking and even perceiving the world differently. Returning to Japan in 2005, I had a vague idea of wanting to get insight into that way of thinking, take what I could from it, and integrate it with my own Western way of thinking. The best of both worlds. But I had no idea how to really do that, other …

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Tameshigiri Practice

Tameshigiri has been quite the hot discussion on forums lately. It will always pop back up after a few weeks of dormancy and then someone will bring it back up again. In these discussions you always have the advocates of tameshigiri, the side that frowns upon it, and couple of guys who are just curious and would like to give it a try. It is my opinion that tameshigiri practiced within the context of their own art can always help supplement their original training depending on what art you practice. So let’s break down the advantages first.

How to pass hachidan

Here is the advice that was given to my favourite teacher just prior to him passing his hachidan on this 4th attempt at the age of 49 a few years ago. The advice was given to him by the shihan of my dojo, a kendo hanshi who was in the last class of 5 people to graduate Busen (the legendary Budo Senmon Gakko in Kyoto). He was told to: 気勢・剣勢・体勢をもって正しく打ち切る。気攻めで、相手の気と機をつかむ。それを自然と身体が覚える。 With a vigorous spirit and sword, and a good posture, be decisive (in your actions and cutting). Apply pressure to your opponent by reading their intent and seizing his openings …

Secrets of Kuzushi (崩し大全)

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 …

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 …