Important Body Parts:
Ichi Gan Ni Soku San Tan Shi Riki

Japanese calligraphy kendo term ichigannisokusantanshiriki

Ichi Gan Ni Soku San Tan Shi Riki is wisdom used in kendo. It is in order of important body parts in kendo.

I am sure that some words must be familiar to you. Yes, Ichi, Ni, San, Shi.

They are numbers, one, two, three and four. Some people remember "yon" for the number four but "shi" is four as well.

Ok, now then what are the other words?

  1. gan: eyes 
  2. soku: feet
  3. tan: guts, as in bravery and determination
  4. riki: strength/techniques

As you can see, the eyes are the number one priority. And also it is worth mentioning that the strength/techniques is the last one.

1. eyes: You must see your opponent and know what he/she is going to do. You must anticipate your opponent's next move.

2. soku: This means footwork as well as feet/legs literally. Strikes are not executed with your hands/arms but legs/feet/lower back. You will hear such things a lot. We should have strong legs and feet in order to get better at kendo.

A lot of people try to strike with their hands/arms and as a result their strikes are as as weak as feints.

Think about boxing. There is a difference between a jab and a straight. If you want to knock someone out, you must step in with the whole body.

In kendo as well, if you want to execute a "cut", you must do so with the whole body.

3. tan: When you execute a strike, do you doubt in your strike?


You are determined and brave. You do not feel fear when you confront your opponent, no matter how strong and good your opponent might be.

It is good to know that tanriki is the power of tan that comes from seika-tanden (about three fingers down from your belly button).

It is where all the ki energy is created/stored. When you do mokuso (meditation), you should be aware that you put the air into the seika-tanden. Feel the air flow.

4. riki: It means "power". But here it is also about techniques.

We should all remember that kendo is not all about the power. Some people just hit too hard!! Especially beginners should remember that kendo is not about the power.

OK, riki means techniques in this case. Techniques should be practiced and improved as you train more and longer.

The elements are numbered but we must train all of them, of course.

They are numbered because some just want to train techniques but not tan, and as a result our techniques do not work on our opponent because we are too afraid of our opponent.

They should be all practiced. And remember these four important body parts in kendo so that we can check ourself if our kendo is a lacking something.

> > Important Body Parts