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Ki Ken Tai

This concept, on the surface is a relatively simple one. To properly cut you opponent, achieve Yuko Datotsu, you cut must simultaneously contain three elements. Your Kiai, your sword, and your body must work in concert and be totally coordinated. In other words the correct shout, the correct swing of the Shinai and correct body movement must each “occur” at the exact same instant. As is usual in Kendo, this concept is much more complex than it first appears. One 8th Dan Sensei divides the concept of Ki-Ken-Tai no Ittchi this way:

Ki: - Mental Force
- Force of Kiai
- Sharpness of Kiai
- Seme (offensive intent)
- Sutemi (to commit to the attack with out hesitation)
- Zanshin (mental & physical awareness after the cut)

Ken - Datotsu no Kikai (an opportunity to attack exists)
- Datotsu Bui (attack the open target)
- Monouchi (cut with the correct part of the Shinai)
- Hasuji (proper cutting line)
- Kyodo (proper firmness in the cut)

Tai - Taisabaki (proper movement of body and feet)
- Shisei - (proper shape of the body line)
- Maai (proper distance)
- Tenouchi (proper grip/movement of the hands)

As indicated, this is a complex, but simple concept. For a beginner, the struggle is to get the feet, hands, sword and Kiai all working together. As you progress, each of these other elements must be coordinated and executed correctly at the same moment in time to cut your opponent correctly.

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