Heijyoshin vs. Shikai

The four diseases Shikai – is there a cure? Again Geoff inspires me in his article: Shikai, (shi = four, kai = Bereich) the four sicknesses are Kyo-Ku-Gi-Waku, surprise, fear, doubt and hesitation. This drastic term is often heard in kendo. Here the effects of the stress at fighting become abundantly clear. I try to take up the explanations and transfer them to Iaido.

The 4 diseases

  • Surprise (Kyo) will happen when someone breaks your serenity or kamae or both. If an opponent creates strong pressure SemeKizeme
  • Fear (Ku) – Typical when fighting someone who appears to be superior. You might be defeated by your own fear as well as by a stronger opponent.
  • Doubt (Gi) – If you are unsure of your abilities or the effectiveness of your technique, there is a tendency not to engage in an attack. If an attack is not carried out with ›full spirit‹ it is doomed to failure.
  • Hesitation (Waku) or confusion – it is about a lack of commitment and orientation. If you hesitate despite the chance and start thinking about an action or the right decision, the moment is over.

All of these things tend not to happen during Iaido practice, except during a Taikai ocompetition or an exam, and yet they flow into the practice through everyday events . The hard (professional) everyday life is riddled with the problems mentioned above. One can go over the problems with naivety, irresponsibility. Iaido practice conveys the opposite: responsibility, consistency, structure, planning, solution.

Heijoshin as a solution

Heijoshin is usually considered an antidote to Shikai. Translation: indomitable, calm, steady or unrestricted spirit, or also: ›everyday gestures‹. One can (theoretically) imagine that this kind of attitude is helpful against the above. Heijoshin means that the mind should run smoothly. If you practice Iaido regularly, seriously and straightforwardly, this state will arise. Those who concentrate fully on practicing shapes have no room for Shikai. As a microcosm, a kata should consequently be controlled, mastered and carried out. In this way, the mind of the practitioner calms down and changes to the state of Heijoshin stress-free. This is the counter-pool to normal life outside, which in the worst case would be filled with coincidence, fear, doubt and confusion.

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