Less can be added to the excellent article of Sayanouchi by Saneterao, but I’ll try a few additions. A high goal in swordsmanship is: Saya no uchi de katsu, victory without drawing the sword. Sounds like a paradox at first glance. We own and practice with a deadly weapon in order to win a conflict as clearly as possible. The longer you practice Iaido however, you become aware of certain insights.
Secret of Saya no Uchi
- The success of Iaido practice depends on yourself. Mistakes are not dependent on the ground, the weather, the wrong sword (well, a little bit) but are caused by you. The question would be of course what are mistakes actually? First start at your sensei, he will definitely find them and reflect it —, later learn from your expertise. Believe me, there is always something to be found!
- Diligent practice of all relevant factors increases the chance of improving your processes and thus the prospect of a possible victory. If these factors (e.g. physical strength, technical skill, balance, coordination, mental training, experience through incessant practice, etc.) are not in harmony, breaks can occur.
- If harmony is found, a connection between your practice and the environment will be established. Zanshin training reveals: Conflicts (in everyday life) and struggles also prove to a large extent your inability, not always, but nevertheless.
- Another effort reveals the desire not to have to endure any more conflicts = fight, but to avoid them in advance. No fight, no victory but also no loss, that is the surprising formula of success.
- Saya no uchi is not necessarily the result of a grim look or a permanent bad mood, which makes dear fellow human beings feel better not to mess with you as a swordsman. There are always ignorant people who don’t care, and they understand every opportunity as theirs. It is the skill to understand the situation, to control it and to bring it to a good end without having drawn the sword, even in the figurative sense (without wielding a sword in your belt). This leads to the concept of the ›life-giving sword‹ (Katsu Jin Ken) in contrast to the ›life-destroying sword‹ (Satsu Jin Ken).