The long road ahead: ken-tai-ichi

2012-03-14 21:38:00

One thing I forgot to mention in my last kendo post, was something Kris mentioned during debriefing: he sees many of us blocking all the time, without going on the offense. To paraphrase: "Sure, blocking blows is fine and it's easier than you'd think... but it sure makes for damn boring kendo!"

Today I was reading through Kendo World 5.2 (hooray for Kindle on iOS!) and ran into an article which went into what Kris described a bit deeper. Quoting from 'The greater meaning of kendo' (part 12), by prof. Oya Minoru as translated by Alex Bennett:

"'Ken-tai-itchi' refers to the inseparable combination of attack and defense. Ken refers to offense and tai to defense. The concept is also called 'ken-chu-tai' (offense exists within defense) and 'tai-chu-ken' (defense exists within offense). […] Whether blocking, deflecting, parrying, or striking down, you must also follow with a cut or thrust. The attacking sword is simultaneously one that protects. Defense is for the purpose of attack, and attack also forms defense."

Right now I know I should be doing it this way, but at this moment simple defense is ingrained in my instincts. But with a lot of training I sincerely hope to reach a point where ken-tai-ichi becomes natural. tags: , ,

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