Friday, May 05, 2006


This is one of those epiphanies based on the shades of nuance in language and translation. Take it for what it is worth.

I first learned the term 'kime' in a karate class. It was explained as total commitment when every fiber of your mind, body and spirit were focused on a single moment of a single act. If you could strike and in the moment of impact be ONLY striking with all that you are, that was kime. I have felt that intensity and it is everything it is advertised to be- when you achieve it, you are not just a person hitting, you become impact itself, the essence of damage, inhuman and unstoppable.

Just finished reading Tony Reay's book on judo. As an act of discipline, I force myself to read whole books- introductions and acknowledgments and even glossaries. In his glossary, kime is translated simply as "to decide".

I knew that! The Kime-no-kata, the judo self-defense kata (old style) is called the Form of Decision. I just had not seen it before.
The big three concept was a huge piece of the puzzle fitting together (see here):

It is humbling to find so much of it so elegantly stated in the first art I ever studied. What is the most important thing in self-defense? Make a damn decision. Everything else predicates on that.

Every so often there is something that you know in a few minutes... and begin to understand in a few decades.


Anonymous said...

Priority 1 - The tiger; pure attack, from total bored relaxation to enjoying the taste of the just killed prey. Priority Zero - The dragon; the mere hint of presence creates behavior changes. Anyone living within the sphere of influence of the dragon changes their living style. But fear still rules. Priority -1: the eagle; seeing all, floating high above; if action is necessary, you'll never see it coming. Whole 'countries' living style changes knowing the eagle is watching. Fear changes to awe and respect. Priority -2: emptiness, no totem, no expression, no action, just Being. The most subtle, yet most powerful. A single thought reverberates throughout the universe.

The Moody Minstrel said...

The word "kime" (決め) in Japanese can mean a decision, an agreement, or a decisive conclusion to an act or idea.

The word "ikkai kime" (一回決め) literally translates as "one-time decision", i.e. "decided in one go", but it figuratively means "sudden death".

There is another "kime" (肌理) which means "texture" and another (期目) which is a counter for terms of service.

That's one of the problems with Japanese. Because of the simple phonetic system, there are a great many homonyms.