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Jan 09, 2017
#Lateral "Zanshin – All or nothing":
by: ben

Alert and ready ... rather than tense and task obsessed!

"According to the AJKF Japanese English Dictionary of Kendo the meaning of kigamae is "the state where one’s entire body is alert and ready to react to the moves of the opponent’s mind and body that precedes a strike". In effect it is your "mind posture" a state of awareness where you are completely tuned into your opponent. The focus of kigamae is anticipation of your opponent’s movement in readiness to strike."

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for the input!

Jan 09, 2017
Relax, tense, relax ...
by: ben aka KC:

Something I came up with doing competitive archery (5 arrows per end; 12 ends per round; multiple rounds per day):

At one moment, with arrow knocked and bow drawn, I would look at the bullseye intently ("Look small; miss small!") but then relax, engaging my peripheral vision to see the surround ... which had the effect of relaxing my eye.
Then focus tightly and ... "Leaf dumps its load of snow" :-)


Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you! Since in kendo our opponent is close, people really focus on closer things and at the same time we need to fight fear against getting hit.

Keeping ourselves relax like you explained is a challenging but it is something we need to accomplish.

Jan 09, 2017
by: Ben aka KC:

If psychology was simplistic materialism in decades past, it is not now. Cognitive science shows how brain and mind collaborate to produce some meaning of what we experience. (I think Dogen Zenji would find this thrilling!)

An early observation from criminology: when the villain waved a gun around (especially with a big fun) folk would focus so tightly on that, they had little to say even as eye witness.

Similarly with, say, jet pilots: if they focus too tightly on some thing, say a malfunction, they tend to lose "situational awareness".

Over-focus => loss of "vipassana" => as though tunnel vision.

When it is not shut down, peripheral vision is far more sensitive to motion/movement than the high resolution area in the center of our view!


Kendo-Gude.Com: Thanks for your comment and input!

Dec 01, 2016
Thanks for the Answer!
by: Lucas

Thanks for your answer sensei.

I'm still trying to maintain the feeling of enzan no Metsuke as I often tends to blink or get distracted looking into aite's shinai. But the question was more specifically about the need to let our eyes meet aite's eye (even though we are not focusing his/her eyes), or keep at the same level of the aite's eyes. I just thought that keeping our eye's in aite's chest or neck would be more efficient in seeing him/her as a whole.

As sensei pointed that maybe I am focusing too much on keeping eye contact, I would like to check some feeling:

In Enzan no Metsuke, do we feel like our vision, or eyes, is empty? Like, the exact opposite of focusing seeing small things, like trying to see grains of sand?

Answer: Thanks for your question, Lucas! Have you heard another saying, "can't see the forest for the trees". If you are preoccupied with a single leaf, you cannot see the entire tree. So if you are looking at only eyes, you cannot see the entire body.

You can blink but you don’t want to blink in your opponent’s distance. And don’t worry about when to blink, if you start feeling tention, you won’t really blink, I think. Or you won’t even realize.

Or if you drive, you cannot focus only on the road. You need to get information from the traffic lights, traffic signs and pedestrians. How do you do that?

I remember I was looking at the stick shift when I needed to change the gear when I started learning how to drive. The person who was teaching was screaming at me because we were just about to hit a light poll. He was Alex Bennett from Kendo World Magazine (LOL).

Anyway, that is the very beginning and I don’t need to look what I am doing when I need to drive a car with a stick shift.

You just need to get used to it. It is not something you can do because you know how to do it. You must train constantly so striking will become your second nature. Then you can start seeing things you couldn’t see before.

Triangle to Look atOne thing I heard was that you see around the triangle that is made with shoulders and solar plexus. You can try that!

Hope this helps!

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