After years of practicing persistently and developing technical prowess, advanced students in the Japanese sword arts need to cultivate a strategic mind if they are to advance to the rarefied level of master swordsperson. Rather than passively absorbing the sword techniques, an ambitious student needs to focus more directly on the two ultimate goals of the art—to cut the opponent while avoiding being cut and to move toward perfection of character.
In Strategy in Japanese Swordsmanship—the third volume in his invaluable series on Japanese swordsmanship—Nicklaus Suino, one of the most respected swordsmen in the United States, clearly and concisely presents a tactical approach to training, grounded in these two objectives. He provides a framework for learning strategy in swordsmanship, and demonstrates techniques and drills that help put the strategies into practice.
Some of the topics that Suino covers include:
the nature of strategy, timing, and distance
the importance of vision and state of mind
timing and distancing
reading an opponent’s intention
Suino shows how through careful consideration of the technical issues, consistent practice, and ceaseless reflection, a diligent student can cultivate a strategic mind and learn how to achieve mastery over any opponent.