[ THIS MATERIAL RETRIEVED FROM HAWAIIKENDO.COM WEBSITE, September 21, 2016 ]
KENDO AND IAI ADAGES
Rev. January 2000
A-UN NO KOKYU
Lit. "A-UN breathing." A and UN comes from Sanskrit language. A represents exhaling and UN represents inhaling. Synchronizing thoughts with the opponent.
Lit. "Calm mind." Maintain calmness and serenity at all times, without getting flustered, angry or upset. See HEIJYOSHIN.
Slight squeezing of the CHAKIN napkin at tea ceremony. Describes the proper gripping of TSUKA when striking.
DOCHU SEI, SEICHU DO
Lit. "Within movement is calmness, within calmness is activity." When active, maintain calm mind; when still remain alert.
EN KYU KYO JAKU
Lit. "Slow; fast; strong; weak." KATA is enhanced with proper speed and strength.
ENZAN NO METSUKE
See METSUKE, ENZAN NO.
Lit. "Unmoving mind." Unnerving, yet flexible, state of mind.
Lit. "Ordinary mind." Maintain the usual state of mind. See BYOJOSHIN.
Lit. "Release the mind." Keep mind open, unobsessed, and free from distraction. See SHISHIN.
ICHI GAN, NI SOKU, SAN TAN, SHI RIKI
Lit. "One eyes; two feet; three tenacity; four strength." In the order of importance, (1) power of observation or perception, (2) footwork, (3) spirit or will, (4) technique or strength.
Lit. "One lifetime, one encounter." From tea ceremony. Master prepares the tea as if this is the only time he will serve this guest in his lifetime. Be serious, considerate, careful, and do your very best.
Lit. "Perform with all your life." Do one's best always. In ancient time, one lived the whole lifetime (KENMEI) working in one domain (ISSHO).
ISSOKU ITTO NO MA
Lit. "Distance of one step one sword." The distance at which the opponent can be struck in one step or his/her stike avoided by retreating one step. See MA, SANDAN NO.
ITTO WA BANTO TO KASHI, BANTO WA ITTO NI KISU
Lit. "One sword transforms into ten thousand swords, ten thousand swords return to one sword." From ITTO RYU. Many variations of techniques exist, but the ultimate winning blow is the fundamental one.
IWAO NO MI
Lit. "Body of a boulder." Unnerving stability of mind and body in the most trying situation.
Lit. "action and theory are one." Technique and its logic must be applied together.
JO HA KYU
Lit. "Slow; burst; rapid." Stages of drawing the sword in IAI. Begin slowly while focusing on the opponent, gradually increase speed, then the tip of the sword leaves the scabbard rapidly.
Lit. "Grasping of Chinese umbrella." Improper gripping of sword. KARAKASA is grasped tight with the whole hand, while sword should be held with the last two or three fingers only.
KATTE UTE; UTTE KATSUNA
Lit. "Win then strike, don't strike to win." Importance of overcoming opponent's KI, KEN and WAZA before striking. Avoid excessive unreasonable WAZA simply to capture a point. See SAN SATSU HO.
KEN KYO ICHINYO
Lit. "Sword and sitting are as one." KENDO and IAI are not separate.
KEN TAI ITCHI
Lit. "attacking and waiting are one." Be aware of counter attacks when attacking, and be able to capture opportunities while defending.
KEN ZEN ITCHI
Lit. "Sword and ZEN are one." Some Kendoists also study spiritual aspects through ZEN. Ultimate goals of KENDO and ZEN are the same.
Lit. "Opportunity." See YURUSANU TOKORO, MITTSU NO.
KI KEN TAI ITCHI
DATOTSU is effective when KI (KIAI), KEN (sword striking the DATOTSU BUI) and TAI (body, footwork) are united.
KISEN WO SEISURU
Lit. "Capture the first opportunity." Suppress the opponent at the verge of a WAZA.
KOKORO TADASHIKEREBA KEN MO MATA TADASHI
Lit. "With correct mind, sword will also be correct." Proper use of sword or the way of SAMURAI requires properly trained soul. From a poem by Toranosuke Shimada (1840): KEN WA KOKORO NARI; KOKORO TADASHI KARAZAREBA KEN MATA TADASHI KARAZU; KEN WO MANABAN TO HOSSUREBA, MAZU KOKORO YORI MANABU BESHI (Lit. "Sword is soul; improper soul makes improper sword; if one wishes to learn the sword, he must first study the soul.")
KOSHI WO IRERU
Lit. "Put the hip/waist in." Balance the stance with tension in the lower body, hip and back, with straight spine.
KOU BOU ITCHI
Lit. "Offense and defense are one." See KEN TAI ITCHI.
Lit. "Good opportunity." See YURUSANU TOKORO, MITTSU NO.
Lit. "Seize with superior poise." Take superior position using strong spirit and proper posture without actually producing a WAZA. Refer to KENDO KATA TACHI #3.
MA, SANDAN NO
Lit. "Three levels of distances." CHIKA MA (close), ISSOKU ITTO NO MA, and TOUMA (far). MA or MAAI is the distance between competitors, including the notion of timing and perceived distance; TEKI YORI TOOKU, WARE YORI CHIKAI (lit. "Far for opponent, near from me") is the essence of MA.
Lit. "Polished mirror, still water." Calm tranquil mind can reflect opponent's thoughts like a mirror or still water surface that faithfully reflects the image of the moon. Disturbed mind is unable to reflect accurately.
METSUKE, ENZAN NO
Lit. "Sighting faraway mountain." Observe opponent as if looking at a faraway mountain, not focusing on individual trees, so that the whole is visible.
METSUKE, KAN KEN NO
Lit. "Perceiving and looking eyes." From Musashi. Look (KEN) less and perceive (KAN) more.
METSUKE, KOUYOU NO
Lit. "Seeing the autumn leaves." If ones fixes sight to a leaf, he is unable to see the whole tree.
METSUKE, SEMUI NO
Lit. "Eyes of a Buddha." Omniscient, all companionate, eyes of the Buddha.
Lit. "Acute observation." Judge the path of opponent's sword and able to barely dodge it the moment it arrives.
Lit. "Without contemplation, without thought." State of concentration and focus. See ZANMAI and MUSHIN.
Lit. "No tought." State of complete focus. See MUNEN MUSOU and ZANMAI.
REI NI HAJIMARI REI NI OWARU, KENDO WA
Lit. "KENDO begins with REI and ends with REI." Importance of courtesy and respect.
Lit. "Flexible in situations." Be flexible and adaptive.
Lit. "Triangle." Use the triangle that forms with the eye, navel, and KENSEN. Triangle is a strong geometric form.
SAN SATSU HO
Lit. "Three killing rule." Before striking, nullify the opponent's will (KI), sword and WAZA. Comes from ITTO-RYU. Also read SAN SAPPOU.
SAYA NO UCHI
Lit. "Within the scabbard." Ability to overcome the opponent without drawing the sword.
Lit. "Left sit, right stand." Proper way to sit is from the left knee, and to stand is from the right foot.
SEN, MITTSU NO
Lit. "Three firsts." Three ways to defeat the opponent. SENSEN NO SEN captures the moment the opponent begins a WAZA (KEN NO SEN by Musashi); SENZEN NO SEN captures the opportunity just before opponent's sword reaches (TAI NO SEN by Musashi); SENGO NO SEN or GO NO SEN parries the opponent's WAZA (TAI TAI NO SEN by Musashi).
SENRI NO MICHI MO IPPO KARA
Lit. "Journey on the 1,000-RI road begins with the first step." One RI = 3.9 km. A long path such as study of KENDO begins with the first step.
Lit. "Four prohibitions." States of mind that must be overcome: KYO (startle, surprise), KU (fear), GI (doubt), WAKU (indecision).
Lit. "Thought without taint." Pure, honest state of mind. See MEIKYO SHISUI.
SHIN KI RYOKU NO ITCHI
Lit. "Mind, spirit and strength are one." More powerful and perfect KENDO is possible when mind, spirit and strength are united.
SHINOGI WO KEZURU
Lit. "Shave the SHINOGI." Describes the ferocity of a fight.
Lit. "Stoped mind." Mind must not be affixed or obsessed to a part, otherwise the whole can not be seen. Looking at a leaf, one is unable to see the tree. See HOUSHIN.
SHOSHIN WASURERU BEKARAZU
Lit. "Never forget the heart of a novice." From Zeami (Noh artist). As one progresses in the art, he should remember the earnest humble attitude he had as a novice.
SHU HA RI
Lit. "Protect; burst; depart." Stages of learning. First, listen carefully and follow instructions faithfully (1-3 DAN); second, apply the fundamentals and learn variations (4-6 DAN); finally, depart from the mold and develop one's own paradigm (7+ DAN).
Lit. "Bell hammer feet." Improper stance at CHUDAN with left toe pointing out like a T-shaped bell hammer.
TAICHU KEN, KENCHU TAI
Lit. "Within wait is attacking, within attack is waiting." See KEN TAI ITCHI.
Lit. "With form, without form." From Musashi. KAMAE is not only a physical stance, but varies according to situation, like the shape of water in various vessels. The physical KAMAE is like a castle but needs a capable Lord within.
YURUSANU TOKORO, MITTSU NO
Lit. "Three unforgivables." Three fundamental opportunities: (1) OKORI GASHIRA (opponent is about to move), (2) WAZA NO TSUKITA TOKORO (opponent's WAZA is completed), (3) ITSUKU TOKORO (opponent is hesitant or frozen due to fatigue or indecision).
State of complete focus, concentration, achievement. From Buddism. Also read SANMAI. See MUNEN MUSOU and MUSHIN.
Lit. "Remaining/continuing heart." State of alertness, especially after a WAZA. Vigilance.
All Japan Kendo Federation. Kendo Wa-Ei Jiten. Tokyo 1996
H Takano. Kendo Dokuhon. Yomiuri Shinbun. Tokyo 1973
K Iho. Kendo Hisshou Kouza. Ski Journal. Tokyo 1987
Kendo Nippon. Koudansha e no Michi. Ski Journal. Tokyo 1989