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Old 03-09-2009, 01:18 PM   #1
Keith Larman
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One cut...

An expression I've heard a lot over the years is "one cut, one life".

Would someone please post the correct kanji for this expression?

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Old 03-10-2009, 11:15 AM   #2
ramenboy
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Re: One cut...

hey keith,


were you thinking 'ichigo ichie e?' - 'one encounter, one chance?'

maybe not, but just thought i'd throw it out there...
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:45 PM   #3
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Yeah, well, that's the part that's been bugging me. I *thought* I'd seen a version that was specifically referring to a sword cut. So the question in my head is whether there is another expression (possibly used in iai/kenjutsu circles) that is slightly different and referring specifically to cuts rather than encounters. *Or* of course whether the issue is one of translation and my really terrible Japanese skills... Which is always very likely.

Thanks, I'll keep digging myself. You are probably correct, but I have this memory of something slightly different... Argh, I hate fuzzy brain...

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Old 03-10-2009, 10:34 PM   #4
akiy
 
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Re: One cut...

Hi Keith,

Perhaps you were thinking of the term "ichigeki hissatsu"?

一撃必殺

It basically translates to "one attack, certain kill" and is sometimes brought up in karate dojo and such.

-- Jun

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Old 03-11-2009, 12:52 AM   #5
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Thanks, Jun (and Jerome for that matter), but the more I think about it the more I think I was probably listening to someone explain the phrase ichigo ichie e in context of sword work. So I somehow managed to morph it into something new and different in my head all while not realizing it was the same phrase.

So thanks for the help, but I think it was just my own bumpkin assumptions leading me astray (as usual). A constant hazard when you know just enough to really screw things up.

It's a good thing -- you learn somethin' new every day even if it is that you've been mistaken all along.

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Old 03-11-2009, 01:55 PM   #6
Dan Rubin
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Re: One cut...

You may be thinking of "one cut, one kill." If you Google "one cut one kill" you can find some references to this phrase. There is also "one shot, one kill," a motto of military snipers.

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 03-11-2009 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:39 PM   #7
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
Jerome Cervantes wrote: View Post
hey keith,


were you thinking 'ichigo ichie e?' - 'one encounter, one chance?'

maybe not, but just thought i'd throw it out there...
Hi Jerome,
This phrase applies in the narrowest sense and has much the same meaning without being specific to sword. But in the larger sense it refers to the fact that each instant of ones life that passes and one can never get it back. So whatever you do, you do with complete "makoto" or sincerity because there are no do-overs.

Jun's phrase is more focused and is closer to the one cut, one kill meaning.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:28 PM   #8
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Thank you very much Mr. Ledyard. I must admit the reason I was looking for something other than ichigo ichie'e is precisely what you wrote. I had always learned that as a truly generalized saying more about living every moment of your life with full sincerity. I could have sworn I'd heard something similar just with the concept of cutting instead to illustrate a similar notion but in context of two swordsmen facing each other down. Oh, well, thanks folks. It was just one of those things that had been bugging me for a while. Maybe one of these days something will jog the memory...

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Old 03-17-2009, 08:54 AM   #9
DH
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Re: One cut...

Keith
A very well known ideal or model came from Tesshu in his Muto ryu. The idea was expressed as "ichi ken / ichi kokoro"
"One sword"................... "One intent"
(or one cut ) ----------------- (one heart, or mind)

Which fits into your "one cut" idea

Tesshu's model has many multiple layers but for my tastes it is quite singular in expressing both purpose and intent.-the idea that everything is on the line in that one chance.
While some may overlook so severe a mindset and only lend it credence to a by-gone era- it remains a worthy approach to any martial endevour. As Lowry cites in one of his books there was a very recent undefeated Judo player who, prior to every shiai arranged his affairs and said his goodbyes to family and friends. In his mind he was about to fight to the death every time he competed.
Severe? Sure it is, but I'd argue there is a mindset to those that have been tested that is palpable-and not coincicdently usually is commensurate with unsual skill.
Tesshu spoke to it grandly...in a few words

His model ties in quite well with another expression worthy of note
"life is measured in the width of a sword."
The legend often used to to define it -is a duel that Jubei Yagyu had. He and his opponent faced off with bokken and every time they cut his opponent claimed it was a draw and Jubei replied "No, I just killed you" After coming to conclusions three times, the opponent had enough and wanted live blades used. Jubei capitulated and promptly addressed the doubts of his opponent-who was instantly killed in one stroke.
The difference between him living or dying was that Jubei's blade actually did arrive first-hence the phrase.
CHeers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-17-2009 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:28 AM   #10
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Ah! That's it, Dan. Thanks! That's the one I'd heard and couldn't find a reference for it. And yes, that's the reason why I liked it -- it is quite clear. I think I had heard the "one shot/one kill" reference from some military buddies and glommed them together in my head. Tesshu's fits much better what I was thinking, however.

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Old 03-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #11
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

And on the second one, I remember a quote saying the difference between life and death is one 'sun' (as in shaku, sun, etc. the Japanese sword measurement system). Is that the same one? I never read it as referencing "arrival time" but as length/reach/distancing, but I suppose now that I think about it, it is quite open to interpretation as to what he meant exactly...

Cool stuff.

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Old 03-17-2009, 10:12 AM   #12
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
And on the second one, I remember a quote saying the difference between life and death is one 'sun' (as in shaku, sun, etc. the Japanese sword measurement system). Is that the same one? I never read it as referencing "arrival time" but as length/reach/distancing, but I suppose now that I think about it, it is quite open to interpretation as to what he meant exactly...

Cool stuff.
Well hell-arrival time, distance, timing, all end in one sword getting there fist eh?
The Jubei idea-who the hell knows if it really happened was so clearly difintive as a model in that they each appeared to arrive at the head shot at the same time. the witnesses could not see it. Only Jubei knew the truth.
Live blades proved the margin was just a blade width.

As for one shot / one kill Id save that for a sniper. Anything else is not so clear.
Here's a thought I've trained with seal and Spec ops who demonstrated some room sweep models that exhibited principles I was taught in a 600 yr old Koryu. That is to NOT count on one hit, but cut and move, cut and move.
In the room sweep model it was one tap next target, one tap go back and tap and so on. It increased you chances of shocking one while making the next one defensive and your moving made him lose target acquisition (meaning killing you) and when you tapped at him you went back at the other guy while moving..if you had the chance to move.
The obverse was you would go in an unload on one guy…only to discover the guys buddy was unloading on you from across the room. Make sense?
Ancient battlefield knowledge- that probably had to be re-learned or re-discovered as hard lessons to Israeli commandos then taught to American soldiers.
Cool stuff?
You betcha!
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-17-2009 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:41 AM   #13
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: One cut...

The Jubei story is in all likelihood fiction. IIRC, it comes from the Honcho Bugei Shoden, a compilation of stories about famous samurai that was put out in 1716, some 60 years after his death. As Shinkage-ryu was "o-ryugi", the style of the Shogun, taryu-jiai were forbidden. Yagyu Toshinaga, 20th headmaster of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, did not believe it, as far as I know.

However, there is a phrase in Shinkage-ryu (perhaps not exclusive to it): "Abara issun" 肋一寸, which means "one inch of the ribs". The implication is that you give the opponent one inch of your ribcage, and in return you take his life.

Last edited by Josh Reyer : 03-17-2009 at 10:44 AM.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:59 AM   #14
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
As for one shot / one kill Id save that for a sniper. Anything else is not so clear.
Actually, the friend was a sniper. Humbled me on the range at every freaking distance with a handgun too. I can keep a tight group at most distances if I'm in practice, but this guy was freaking unreal. I remember thinking he could draw a picture on a target at 75 feet with a handgun. Casually. Me, it takes time to dial it in with a handgun -- I'm much better empty handed. But he was just always "there" if you know what I mean when we were shooting. Inspiring actually..

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Cool stuff?
You betcha!
Absolutely.

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Old 03-17-2009, 12:01 PM   #15
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
The Jubei story is in all likelihood fiction. IIRC, it comes from the Honcho Bugei Shoden, a compilation of stories about famous samurai that was put out in 1716, some 60 years after his death. As Shinkage-ryu was "o-ryugi", the style of the Shogun, taryu-jiai were forbidden. Yagyu Toshinaga, 20th headmaster of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, did not believe it, as far as I know.

However, there is a phrase in Shinkage-ryu (perhaps not exclusive to it): "Abara issun" 肋一寸, which means "one inch of the ribs". The implication is that you give the opponent one inch of your ribcage, and in return you take his life.
Yet another really thought provoking quote. Give them the opening and take them when they take it.

A list of "martial wisdom" quotes like these would be great... But not being fluent enough in Japanese I have to rely on guys like you. So thanks to you all!

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Old 03-17-2009, 12:07 PM   #16
Keith Larman
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Ancient battlefield knowledge- that probably had to be re-learned or re-discovered as hard lessons to Israeli commandos then taught to American soldiers.
Forgot to mention... Spent some time a few years ago "playing" with a guy who was an Israeli commando "back in the day". Great conversations and some great times spent getting hurt. We spent some time working on close quarter gun/knife takeaways a few times. Went home each time with lots of bruises and sore joints (and also a bloody nose from one "oops, a little too close" move). I subsequently got to learn a gun takeaway method taught to the local SWAT/LEO guys that was remarkably similar (albeit a little less "life ending" and with the atemi at a different "place" in the sequence). And we've ended up working portions of that into our training in the dojo.

Interestingly much of it was already there, but the experience of guys who'd had to do it allowed us to "refocus" things quite a bit.

It's all good.

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Old 03-17-2009, 02:40 PM   #17
ramenboy
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Re: One cut...

keith

glad you found the passage!!! nothin but good help on this site!

george,
yep, ichigo ichi e applies basically to everything we do... aiki, iai, ikebana, life itself.
thanx again for cutting a clearer path to what i was trying to say
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:51 AM   #18
brUNO
 
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Yeah, well, that's the part that's been bugging me. I *thought* I'd seen a version that was specifically referring to a sword cut.
Ichimonji or Ichi, the horizontal stroke used for "one" IS a sword cut. In Kendo and Iaido a horizontal sword cut is called "Ichimonji."

Just FYI

Bruno
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- Socrates
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:22 PM   #19
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Re: One cut...

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post

As for one shot / one kill Id save that for a sniper. Anything else is not so clear.

Dan
The U.S. Air Force's latest air superiority fighter, the F-22 Raptor, is often praised for, and was developed for, the ability for "first look, first shot, first kill."

I know I talk about Saotome's Aikido and the Harmony of Nature quite a bit, but that's because it's my favorite nonfiction book. Saotome Shihan, a gifted artist with both sword and pen, draws a log bridge over a chasm with a clock at the base of the log. Two men stand over the ravine with swords, and left and right are not options. I find great metaphors in this and all his drawings, so I recommend checking that one out along with the pertinent text and the rest of the book.

Drew
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