Musashi: Sanjugokajo-35 – Kim Taylor, Feb 21, 2015

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

The perception of the inevitable moment


The perception of the inevitable moment teaches that, in each respective combat situation, you should perceive with certainty the resulting fateful moment in which you are too early or too late to do something or in which you can escape from something or not.

With regard to the moment for striking with a sword, there is an esoteric principle in my school called Jiki-tsu. The details of this will be handed down verbally.


Speaking of the inevitable moment must bring up thoughts of (14) “Surviving the critical moment” or (22) “The perception of the gap in the rhythms” or (24) “The perception of the situation” or even (23) “Holding down the pillow” and well it should. We are talking in all of these of recognizing the critical timing during a fight where it may be won or lost. By calling it the inevitable moment we are reminded that this moment will occur, not that it may, but that it will at some point, and we must be prepared for it.

Which brings us to “an esoteric principle in my school called Jiki-tsu”. I have never been told of an esoteric principle called “Jiki-tsu” I’m afraid, but it sounds like one of those secret teachings or techniques that lets you win any fight doesn’t it? That held-back piece of information that only gets told to the next headmaster.

Because it does, it irritates me. I suspect Musashi meant something like “practice hard so you’ll see it”.

Tokitsu translates, “In my school the ulitmate teaching consists in spontaneous emination of the universal energy, ‘jiki tsu’.” So it’s the ‘ki’ of my Aikido practice?

In his translation of the earlier Hyodokyo article titles, the last one is “28) The state of direct communication (‘Jiki-tsu’).” Is this direct communication from Musashi to student or is it something else? In Tokitsu’s notes he mentions an Enmei ryu teacher named Yoshida Seiken from the early 20th century who suggested that Jiki-tsu might better be called Jiki-do and that in the Enmei ryu this teaching involves direct communication between you and your opponent which allows you to respond to his kamae with your own appropriate kamae. So he moves to Jodan and you move to chudan in response because you understand that’s what is best for the situation.

Kikuchi writes “…there are techniques that can be transmitted, and those which cannot. Timing is something that can only be taught orally.” That’s more like it, I’m comfortable with Jiki-tsu being that which can only be taught by experience or through sensei yelling “yosh” and “dame” until you get it.

Let’s face it, most writings on the martial arts finish up with “there’s more that is very mysterious and beyond what you can write down”. Sort of like how every scientific paper ends with “more research needs to be done in this area”.

Which is good because it leaves us something to do.

Kim Taylor

Feb 21, 2015

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