Katsu Jin Ken literally means "the sword that gives life". This corresponds to the Seidokan principle of loving protection for all things. The Shotokan Karate principle of do no harm is also similar. To use the techniques a person learns in karate to defend others and preserve the peace is the principle of sword that gives life. Also included in this principle is the idea of the "second sword." As students work with ki they will find that their weapons can take on the spirit of their owners. The second sword is the energy behind the physical. When we practice Katsu Jen Ken we need to be sure we also apply it to the spirit level or second sword.
"The sword that saves (or gives) life" As Japanese swordsmanship became more and more influenced by Buddhism (especially Zen Buddhism) and Taoism, practitioners became increasingly interested in incorporating ethical principles into their discipline. The consummate master of swordsmanship, according to some such practitioners, should be able not only to use the sword to kill, but also to save life. The concept of katsu jin ken found some explicit application in the development of techniques which would use non-cutting parts of the sword to strike or control one's opponent, rather than to kill him/her. The influence of some of these techniques can sometimes be seen in karate. Other techniques were developed by which an unarmed person (or a person unwilling to draw a weapon) could disarm an attacker. These techniques are frequently practiced in karate.
Updated: Friday, 10 September 2010