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Friday, September 28, 2007

Go no Sen & Sen no Sen, what?

At the Black and Brown belt course, Kato Shihan talked about “go no sen” and “sen no sen”, terms that are mentioned in passing, but what do these terms mean?

In Akido they talk about three levels of combat initiative: “go no sen,” “sen,” and “sensen no sen.” These strategies are defined as follows:

“Go no sen,” meaning “late attack” involves a defensive or counter movement in response to an attack;

“sen,” a defensive initiative launched simultaneously with the attack of the opponent; and

“sensen no sen,” an initiative launched in anticipation of an attack where the opponent is fully committed to his attack and thus psychologically beyond the point of no return. The latter strategy is generally considered to be the highest level in the classical martial arts scenario.

In karate we consider, “Sen no Sen” is attacking by seizing the initiative and “Go no Sen” is seizing the initiative later.

Nakayama Shihan spoke about “Ken” and “Tai” . Ken, meaning launching an attack seizing the initiative and Tai, not attacking suddenly, waiting for the enemy’s charge.
He talks about keeping the mind in a state of reserve (tai) and the body in an active condition of (ken), often winning by letting the enemy make the first move. A bit like sensei Billy’s gyaku-zuki.

According to Kotoda Yahei, Ittosai sensei kempo sho, there are two ways of taking the initiative:
1. “tai no sen” , no motion is shown, attacking from a frontal position, tactics are primary, techniques secondary.
2. “yu no sen”, attack comes from movements changing, break the enemy's posture and outmaneuvering and attacking, techniques are primary and tactics secondary.
Understanding the above can be the turning point between victory and defeat.

According to Yagyu Shinkag-ryu there are three ways of taking initiative:
1. “ken no sen” take the initiative with ones own attack
2. “tai no sen” take the initiative when the enemy attacks
3. “taitai no sen” take the initiative in both cases

Well thats the theory, the practice is something quite different, happy kumite!

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