View Full Version : Name for a concept

13th September 2000, 20:41
There's a term I'm trying to remember, it's the name for the idea of "The Sword that saves lives" Its on the tip of my tongue, Katsu jin ken? I'm hazy about it, can anyone help?

Cheers and thanks.

Sean Fogarty
13th September 2000, 21:27
I'm reading Dr. Karl Friday and Seki Humitake's _Legacies of the Sword_ right now. Interestingly enough, he seems to be saying that katsu.jin.ken, though it is written life.person.sword, has more to do with technical skill than a higher philosophy. Something like drawing out the opposing swordsman's attack rather than jamming/opposing it, i.e. setsu.nin.tô.

I recommend the book highly. Dr. Friday hangs out on the Iaidô-L if you want to ask there. See http://listserv.uoguelph.ca/archives/iaido-l.html .

15th September 2000, 01:02
Hmm, I'd always heard it presented as a, well, a philosophy of sorts. Well, at least I remebered the correct term. Thank you, and thanks again for the recommendation.


Joseph Svinth
15th September 2000, 10:22
Also check Guy Power's website, http://www.trifox.com/aux/kenshinkan .

15th September 2000, 18:39
The idea of "katsujinken" being a philosophical concept comes from Takuan Soho. He was a leading Zen priest at the time the Yagyu Munenori was alive and active in Tokyo. One of the letters he wrote to Munenori uses the term to explicate Buddhist ideas. You can find a translation of the letter in "The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho. Borders.com and Barnes and Noble both carry it.

The fact that Soho used it to explain Buddhist ideas however, does not change the fact that it was principly a term for describing a level of technique.

Peter Boylan

Joseph Svinth
15th September 2000, 20:33
Takuan appears online at http://gene.wins.uva.nl/~mslooten/Takuan/Book/takuan_print.html

Safety in use message: While Professor Bodiford undoubtedly reads this stuff in Japanese with eyes all aglow, I found the English better than Sominex for safe and restful sleep, sleep, sleep.

Sean Fogarty
20th September 2000, 22:01
Err, I looked at Guy Power's web site, and though it is very good I still can't figure out what I'm supposed to be looking for. As for the address Joe gave for Takuan's stuff, it appears the directory at http://gene.wins.uva.nl/~mslooten/ is now empty.

21st September 2000, 01:34
To my knowledge, katsujinken is both a technique in the Yagyu Shingkage ryu (which was influenced by the aforementioned Takuan), and a philosophy mainly embraced by him- the opposite would be "satsujinto", the life taking sword. Being an aikidoka, I decided to delve into this, and found that as budoka, the concept of katsujinken satsujinto is usually equated to the way we can relate to situations and how to act on them. As an aikidoka (and christian, though I suppose I should stay off that for now) I strive to achieve Katsujinken, where I can win a fight, get my motive accomplished, without hurting anyone, or if I have to hurt them, only to protect others.


21st September 2000, 16:19
Dear Folks:

I Guem-do (Traditional Korean Swordsmanship) we have similar term which translates roughly to "lifetime swordsmanship". Within the context of this concept is the idea that sword practice is an on-going practice of technical and personality development. The reason that I mention this is that when this same term is applied to an individual who practices "lifetime Guem-do" that individual is then identified as "one who gives life with his sword." In explaining this to me, GM Koo made it clear that this refers not only to a development of technical ability which allows me to modify or moderate my technique in deference to circumstance. I also expect that as a person I grow to appreciate what my skills make me capable of and I become increasingly discerning about the situations in which I would use those skills. It is this increased awareness and judgement that I then take into the modern world with me from my training.

Best Wishes,
Bruce W Sims