Ki Ken Tai no icchi and ken tai icchi

by Aaron Rowell
(Utah, USA)

Ki Ken Tai Icchi vs Ken Tai Icchi

Ki Ken Tai Icchi vs Ken Tai Icchi

I understand the idea of the spirit, sword, and body as one in kendo. However, Ken tai icchi is a little vague to me. I've heard it explained as "attacking with purpose," and not waiting. I was hoping you would explain a bit more and I understand the Kanji is different from "Ki Ken tai no icchi," so I was hoping you could share that as well.

Thank you for your expertise.

Answer: Sorry for the delay of my reply. And thank you for a good question!
I added an image of kanji to this post so please take a look at it.

The meaning of Ken Tai Icchi:
Ken is the kanji for kakaru as in kakari-geiko. And Tai means “to wait”. So Ken is “to attack” and tai is “to wait”.

Ken Tai Icchi is “attacking and waiting should go together”. Now let me explain it a little more.

“to wait” doesn’t really mean “waiting”. There is no waiting in kendo. You always have to have a sense of attacking. So, consider this “wait” as “an observation”

You should not be obsessed with only attacking because you won’t realise that your opponent will be counterattacking. You should not only observe because you cannot execute a counterattack, or you might get struck.

You always have to have both so you are always aware of your opponent’s actions.

Of course, you must commit yourself into your strike but still you need to observe your opponent. So you can deal with your opponent's action. When you are observing your opponent, you also should have a sense of attacking. So you can execute your strike anytime you need to.

Hope this helps!

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