Archive for the ‘Enzan no metsuke’ Category

The sequence of perception to waza in kendo is described as ichi gan, ni soku, san tan, shi riki.

  • One –  (gan) sight
  • Two – (soku) feet
  • Three – (tan) abdomen (centre / courage)
  • Four – (riki) power (technique)

In my understanding, we see the opportunity, immediately push off from the back foot committing the whole of our power from tanden and complete the technique when we reach the target.

Notwithstanding tales of zatoichi , (the blind swordsman),  sight is the first element of any kendo technique and the way that we watch our opponent is crucial to the success of our attack. If we stare at the target we are going to strike, we give our opponent obvious notice of our intention. If we look just at his or her face to try to understand their next action, we may miss the signals they give when they start to move hands or feet. If we look just at feet or hands, we can be easily tricked by movement designed to get our attention.  If we look at the point of the shinai, there is even more chance that we may be fooled by a feint. We therefore use enzan no metsuke, (the way of looking at a far mountain).

As the name suggests, enzan no metsuke is a way of looking at the whole picture; the overall shape of your opponent, his body, hands, feet, shinai and face, particularly his eyes.

At first you may need to train yourself to do this. Hopefully, with experience it becomes second nature. Enzan no metsuke requires a clear unfettered mind, sometimes referred to as heijoshin, (normal mind). You should not anticipate or second guess your opponent’s action, but instead your mind should be a mirror that reflects his true actions and intentions, allowing you to act instantly.

No matter how perfect your perception becomes, it is of little value unless you can develop technique that flows equally instinctively, that too is a product of regular concentrated keiko.

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