Musashi: Sanjogokajo27: Kim Taylor

Added with permission from Kim Taylor Nanadan (CKF) Iaido, Rokudan (CKF) Jodo and Niten Ichi Ryu Shidoin, January 2023

The impact as opportunity

When the opponent attacks with his sword at close distance, it is possible to knock it away with your own sword, to

parry or to hit.

The impact as opportunity means that this knocking away, parrying or hitting should be seen as an opportunity to a

subsequent strike. All counter measures are intended to strike the opponent, whether it is by dominating the striking

sword of the opponent from above, or by evading it, or by making it ineffective with a stroke of your own sword;

body, spirit, and sword should always be prepared to strike.

This should be carefully considered.

Noma writes:

Concerning the linking hit. The linking hit is when the opponents sword approaches to strike, with our sword we may

force it back, receive it or hit it.

Whether we receive, force back or hit, it must be thought of as just a link to striking the opponent. When forcing

down, releasing and thrusting are all made for the purpose of striking, then our body, heart and sword are united for


Think carefully on this.

Keep your eyes on the prize. You may need to shift position, block, deflect, or any of a dozen other movements

throughout the fight, but you must never lose sight of the goal which is to strike down your opponent. In all things you

do, you must feel as if you have linked that thing to the ultimate cut. If you step back and deflect from below you must

continue back in and strike your opponent. This is suriage men from Kendo. If your two swords are in gedan and you

must stop a strike to your head, do it with your shoto and cut his wrist with your tachi in the same motion. This is the

final movement of the first nito seiho kata.

This may seem painfully obvious, but it is easy to lose sight of our goals. In a kata we may get all caught up in which

foot goes where or just how fast to move from point A to point B. The goal is to study your opponent, not to dance as

if you are alone on a stage. If you are looking for an answer on the world wide net you may surface four hours later

wondering what it was you were looking for. Only discipline can keep you from dropping down a rabbit hole and

getting lost.

Your normal life may not contain goals quite as obviously important as surviving a sword fight but you will find many

situations each day where keeping your goal in mind will help you to progress. We talked of fixing the roof of our

house. No matter how many jobs need to be done before we can get onto the roof, we must keep in mind that the

roof needs to be fixed, otherwise our attention wanders and we become involved in less important work.

Each job along the way must be considered part of fixing the roof, not as a separate piece of work.

Look once more at the title of this article. “The impact as opportunity”. Musashi is speaking of something a bit beyond

setting up a series of events with an ending. This is not a set of episodes on TV or chapters in a book which are units

in their own right. We are talking Hyoho: The strategy, ethics and philosophy of Miyamoto Musashi 43 ippyoshi, all at

once. In the Go Rin no Sho Musashi calls this the “hit at the edge” and he reverses the situation. There he speaks of

us striking and the opponent blocking or deflecting our sword. In that case we look to cut anything that presents itself

to us. If he does suriage (a rising brush of our sword to deflect it) we cut do (the side) before he can cut our men

(head). He will perhaps lift his sword from gedan and hit our sword on the omote side (the left side from our

viewpoint). Our sword drifts away from his head to our right.

You will probably be right foot forward so you can twist your hips strongly to your left as you feel the impact. This will

bring your sword back into the opponent on his shoulder, his ribs, his hip or his thigh. In this way you have redirected

your sword without making a second movement. You have not hit the middle but you have hit at the edge. You have

used the impact as opportunity.

Whether you have been deflected or you are deflecting, use that as an opportunity to strike.

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