Many people have read the theory of sansappo or sansatsuho – The threeways of making an opening:
- Ki wo korosu – Kill the spirit / mind
- Ken wo korosu – Kill the sword
- Waza wo korosu – Kill the technique
For many of us this is a concept that is difficult to translate into physical action. At the recent seminar, Chiba sensei did a great job in demonstrating how this concept works as part of his instruction on seme. He did this in the following way:
- Ki WO korosu – Take a deep step into you opponents distance with full spirit. The movement has to be deep and aggressive. Merely pushing in past the point of his shinai is not enough. The movement must be sufficiently strong to break his composure and force him to lose the centre. As soon as he does this, strike men.
- Ken WO korosu – In essence this means to knock the shinai out of the centre, so harai, osae, uchiotoshi or makiotoshi can all justifiably claim to fit this purpose. The key point with these is that they should be accomplished in the same movement as the following strike. For example with harai men, you only make one step from approach to strike, knocking the shinai away as your right foot travels forward.
- Waza wo korosu – This means to break the attack against you and counter, so debana, oji, kaeshi, nuki, suriage etc all fall into this category. The key point here is not to wait, but to aggressively force or invite your opponent to attack and take away and return his waza.
If you are an experienced kendoka, there should be nothing new or surprising in this description. I was however impressed how Chiba sensei made the theory understandable to students of every level, by a great practical demonstration.