I have met Kakita Koshin, and like him, I have gone through the beginnings of the Kakita Kenjutsu School. I have gone through the initial training of the Kenshinzo. I have talked to him, and am aware of his thoughts on the text. I have read the text myself, and know the view of the Kakita who have read it. Now I take the time to write my own thoughts, and it will be from the tactical mind of the Daidoji.
From the writings of Daidoji Sagatsu, former student of the Kakita Kenjutsu School.
Like Kakita Koshin has said, I am not Kakita. I do not understand what he did. I had once attempted to find his truth through his path. But it has dawned on me; I am not Kakita. Therefore, I now seek my own truth through my own path. But the writings of Kakita are a foundation for me. I examine its strength now.
Sword of a Warrior
Understanding the way of the sword is within the understanding of one's own body. To accomplish this, there must be a time of meditation and contemplation of the self. The wielder must be forged, as the sword is forged. The body must be made ready. There has never been a sword which was forged until its steel was true, and there should never be a warrior who would wield a sword unless they, too have undergone the fires of the forge. Discipline and practice, these are the fires which harden the student of the blade, and humility is the snow into which he should be thrust. The stance, the hands, and the eye must all be trained,
allowing for the quick and correct response to any situation. Whenever striking the opponent, the sword and the body must be as one. Strengthen the spirit as well as the body, and the depths of the soul will become the steel of the blade. To become one with the sword, the practitioner must learn patience,
perseverance and humility. To achieve this, there must be a hundred days of hand, a thousand days of spear, and ten thousand days of sword...
Sagatsu's Commentary: Here is where "The Sword" begins and ends. He promotes knowledge and preparation. The Daidoji follow this as well. We have no need of a sword; we depend on our mind to process the information and to provide the correct response. Our sword is our mind; we sharpen it always to provide the correct response to any threat. We strengthen our mind so that it is all we need to battle with.
To observe without moving the eyes, to sharpen the mind as well as the body - the enhancement of the sixth sense should be practiced and refined in order to gain full control of one's mental attitude. In both peaceful times and in war, one's attitude should be the same - refined, noble and disciplined. Ascertain the truth from the outside in - take in the broad viewpoint, and sharpen the mind until you find the truth within all things. Even when the body is at rest, the mind should be controlled and in a state of concentration. Walk the path of various arts and skills, broaden your knowledge of the world and do not be deceived. If your mind is strong then your spirit will never be hampered by your physical condition, even when you are exhausted or in pain. When one speaks of "crossing the expanse," it can be in the context of a small lake or a large sea - it can be a short distance or a long one. In the course of a lifetime, one must cross many waters - both the mind and the body must be prepared for the journey. In order to pass through life, one must have a keen mind and a decisive spirit, so that the weaknesses of the body can be overcome. The body is little more than the vessel for the journey. It must be forged, but the mind must be its guide, or the voyage is failed before it begins.
Sagatsu's Commentary: This is where paths begin to diverge. Here Kakita states that one should take the broad viewpoint. Kakita Koshin has himself thought this interprets to meaning that the mind alone will not be enough. I believe that is wrong. The mind is enough; it must be. The mind is where things begin and end for man; the mind controls the body, which controls everything else in life. To have power over one thing is to have power over everything.
On the Body Strike
The body is also a weapon. Those who insist on wielding two swords against a single opponent have forgotten that the greatest weapon is the self. The Kenshinzo, or Swordmaster, must have mastered his own body before ever touching the sword - and the body is the greatest weapon one has. To disregard it in
favor of a second sword is foolish. It dishonors you as certainly as if two men struck the same opponent, and it does not allow the use of the full body - only the arms. It is certain that the greatest of techniques is called the secret sword - the sword of the body. Position, force and the generated power of the chi is the
fundamental strength against which no opponent can stand. When attacking a strong force, one would be wise to use strategy and strike where the opponent is weakest. If the opponent wields two swords, they appear strong, but they have forgotten the meaning of true strength. They hide their cowardice behind steel, and are no more than a rice paper cottage behind a stone wall. The strongest weapon a warrior has is not the steel of the blade; it is the true strength of courage, the true sword of bushido. Among other schools, there are some which are partial to using two swords. In my school, this is a sign of cowardice. Attempts to achieve victory by a few extra inches of steel are a sign of weakness of spirit. Although those who study such a school have rationalizations for such a path, such rationalizations have no ground when they are seen from the true path of bushido. I have no dislike for the technique of two swords; only for the spirit which leads to the preference of two swords. It is a true weakness, a weakness of the soul. Is it impossible for one man to win against two opponents? There are many examples where one man has defeated two - or more. In my school of iaijutsu there is a dislike for such a narrow spirit. This should be carefully studied...
Sagatsu's Commentary: Here is the part I understood the most. The Daidoji way resembles this the most and at the same time, the least. The Dragon style of Niten be can compared to Lion tactics. The Daisho technique is a blatant way to overpower an opponent physically, through the use of a foot or so of steel. So is the Lion way, to throw away lives and overwhelm the opponent. The Lion see several people as one weapon. That is not how I see an army. No, an army is comprised of several weapons. Other clans attempt to use brute force; I prefer to outmanuver and outthink. No matter what one says, a man with one huge No-Dachi cannot deflect 5 knives thrown at him. The Daidoji way is to make one pay far more than you have. I lose twenty men, you may lose ten or more times that. Same with the Kakita, they will not overpower you with their sword. They will overpower you with their skill.
The Three Initial Attacks
The three initial attacks are to confuse an enemy, to strike at the mind; to engage with the steel of the sword, to strike at the body; and to intimidate the enemy with your chi, to strike at the spirit. To succeed in any one of these is to defeat your opponent. The source of swordplay is the swift defeat, not the prolonged strike and block technique. Applying the power of the mind as well as the power of the muscle, the sword will effectively become a part of the body. This is the "secret sword" of the warrior. Mastering the sword requires learning to project power into the weapon. The sword must be respected. Moral and spiritual
qualities are required in order to perfect the three initial attacks. It requires a strategy of calmness in thought, patience in action, and a meditative spirit. If one has mastered the body, mind and spirit, the three initial attacks come naturally to the sword of the warrior. Once you have overcome the spirit of the opponent, their weaknesses come to light and one is placed in a position of power. Thus can victory be achieved even before the first strike is made.
Sagatsu's Commentary: Such truth is held in this excerpt. Standard tactics, when using this as a reference, is to strike at the mind, then the spirit, and lastly the body. Confuse him, and weaken his spirit. Then you crush his feeble mind, and the defeat of the body is assured. But, I do believe in the prolonged strike and block technique. I am Daidoji; other Clans usually have the greater manpower. Thus the prolonged strike and block technique is required so that his mind be lost and his body be weakened.
The One Strike
This means to strike an opponent with the strike of a single moment; to perform every action so that no second is needed, to strive for perfection in each kata, each duel and each moment. This is the sharpest weapon of the warrior. Complete objectivity, the "eye outside of the body," allows us to choose our moment. The entire body must be unified with the sword. A single man, a single weapon. They are one. But this is not simply to say that the duelist wields one sword - rather the duelist is one sword. Thus, perfection of the strike is achieved as naturally as the outward breath. The strike of the body, spirit and sword - this is
the strike which the student must master if they are to become a true Kenshinzo, a Swordmaster. If this is mastered, no other strike is needed. The single strike, the One Strike of the aimed weapon, this alone will defeat your opponent. There are those who tell you that your opponent will defeat himself at the moment
of the strike. This is not true. The defeat comes from the single imperfection that your opponent will carry within their soul. The perfect spirit, the soul which bears no stain and the sword whose temper is true - this is the essence of the One Strike. Meditate on this until you understand the eye outside the body, until
you reach a point of unity with the Sword...
Sagatsu's Commentary: Tactically, this is not sound, or more correctly, is very difficult. There is only one way to destroy the army-the One Strike is to kill an army's general. But then again, Daidoji always find away to do the One Strike. There have been many instances where this has occurred. Toturi himself is aware of this when asked how can one man change the world.
To Tread on the Sword
To tread on the sword pertains to fighting against large groups of opponents, even when bows or other weapons are used. Responsive attack is the key. If you are preparing your weapon, you will not be able to seize the opportunity to attack when it arises. It is important to attack while others are firing their weapons,
and before they prepare for the next volley. A Kenshinzo can use this method against one opponent as well. The responsive attack is to tread upon their sword with your own, and strike as they are readying their attack. One must have the intent to tread with one's body, spirit and sword so as to render the opponent
incapable of a second round. To destroy your opponent, whether near or far, one must defeat his spirit. When the spirit is broken, the body can have no power, and a Swordsman can turn his back on his opponent. To seize the opportunity is also to defeat the spirit. When the enemy can no longer attack you, when their weapons are useless and unready, then you will tread upon the sword of your opponent's spirit. Then is their defeat certain.
Sagatsu's Commentary: This is one of the central Daidoji tactics. Be swift, be fast, be manuverable so that your opponent is confounded. When one is lost, one fears. When one fears, death is laid bare. The key is to strike quickly, strike constantly, and strike out of reach. The enemy will be either scared or angry; either is not a good condition to fight in.
The world around us is in a constant state of change. Everything is real only in comparison with reality, only with relation to other things. Have no illusions within your heart, sharpen your spirit as you would hone your sword, and when you clear away your clouds of deception you will always emerge victorious.
Men will lie to you. Your eyes will deceive you. Our own thoughts and emotions will attempt to cloud the path. Steel never lies, nor deceives, nor hides the way before you.
In the sword, you can find truth.
Sagatsu's commentary: There is one thing I would like to add: First one must find the truth of the sword they wish to use. My sword is my mind; more and more I have become objective, and with that, many things have been laid clear.