|(This post by Wayne Roy - C.Q.C. and I.P. Consultant)|
If fighting 'defensively' was the only strategy you applied in combat, then you would be giving control of the confrontation over to your opponent. Why? Because they would get to decide when the action started, and what form it would take.
From a Japanese perspective, a more complete strategy is to fight using a fluid mixture of evasion, defence and attack. And it's that last tactic that I would like to address.
In Japanese sword combat there are three basic attack tactics :
- Sen Sen no Sen - attack the opponent as they approach
- Sen no Sen - attack the opponent as they move to attack
- Go no Sen - attack the opponent just after they attack.
In Japanese, the term 'Sen' means taking the initiative. The term 'Go' means after. Therefore a more precise translation of these tactics would be as follows :
- Sen Sen no Sen - take the initiative before the opponent attacks you
- Sen no Sen - take the initiative as the opponent attacks you
- Go no Sen - take the initiative after the opponent attacks you.
For westerners, the terms Approach, Interception and Completion are much easier to remember, and more effectively explain the 'moments in time' that the Japanese tactics refer to :
- Approach - take the initiative and attack first
- Interception - attack as they step forward to strike you
- Completion - evade, and attack immediately after their attack.
The Running Attack : The running attack is something you've seen in many samurai movies, but probably not fully understood.
Firstly, it is important to run in short balanced steps that enable you to suddenly change direction, or cut in any direction.
The concept of running towards your opponent is to psychologically take control of the confrontation... and in response your opponent must react in one of three ways :
- freeze in fright, and be cut down
- attack out of panic, and be cut down as you suddenly evade and counter
- attack out of aggression, and be cut down as you suddenly evade and counter.
In all of these situations, you are controlling the confrontation by forcing the issue. It's a matter of being in the midst of chaos, but retaining a balanced state of mind and body.