Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen
To start, these three terms refer to the different kinds of timing used in dealing with an attacker in budo training. The timing of the response to an attack in generally, aikido and they came from O-Sensei Ueshiba Morihei, Founder of Aikido.
The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Keep this in mind for a little later.
Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen
O-Sensai says “In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.”
O-Sensai goes on to say, “If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.”
This is often interpreted to mean that correct victory is winning over your own self or ego.
Reaching this state of selflessness, is the way to swift victory (not only in martial contexts but also in life itself).
A quick summary:
- Go no sen - After the attack. Block and counter
- Sen no sen - Attack the attack. Be faster than your opponent
- Sensen no sen - Take initiative. Attack before the attack.
Let's look at these terms in a bit more detail.
The Japanese character for ”sen” can also be read as “saki.” It means “before”. But in the terms go no sen, sen no sen and sensen no sen, it is an abbreviation of sorts for the word “sente” meaning initiative or lead. The “te” in sente means hand, so sente directly translates as “before hand.”
Go no sen
Go means “after. So, a combatant takes the initiative in a situation after the opponent has already started an attack. In other words, once an opponent starts to attack, the defending combatant performs this technique. After the before hand.
We move in harmony with the attacker, but it is the attacker that is taking the initiative in the attack and we are mirroring his or her movements.
Sen no sen
Sen no sen means before the attack. Sen no sen implies that you become aware of an opponent's intention of attacking and right at the time when he is starting this attack, you step in and stop it. To continue the thought before – this is before the before hand.
Sensen No Sen
This term consists of a repetition of the term sen. So this refers to the timing before sen no sen. It is the case of initiating a movement intended to lead the attacker’s spirit as well as to draw forth an actual attack, in order to utilize this attack for a defensive technique. And the thought here becomes – before before the before hand.
What does it mean to us and how does this energy force stuff fit in?
I guess where I am going with this is the fact that martial arts students are taught that there is no attack, only defence. And they are in addition taught to either figure out when this attack has begun, or to realise that an attack is imminent, to know what form that attack is likely to take and to lead the attacker forwards into a defense strategy that has already been crystalised in the brain of the defendant.
Sounds like an energy force to me. And a very clever harnessing of said force for the purposes of good.
I have before heard of martial arts opponents being 'knocked' to the ground without ever being touched. That surely is a force to be reckoned with.
Remember what we said about Budo training – The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Eckhardt Tolle has a lot to say about this in his book “The New Earth”.
Martial arts and 'THE FORCE' in Star Wars seem to have a lot in common. Leaves me to wonder how such a thing can so quickly be debunked as pseudoscience.
Your Own Examples
Perhaps you can think of examples from your own lives where there has been some indication of an energy or life force that is inexplicable by your basic laws of science, but nevertheless has happened to you or those close to you. I'd love to hear about them.
More next time. #CareerChangeStrategies