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Kyo Sen No Sen

We often speak about the sechusen, the vertical centerline of the body. One of the guiding principles of Shorin-Ryu is to protect your sechusen and attack the opponent's sechusen (often on an oblique angle). There are many vital spots on the sechusen: the tailbone (coccyx), groin, bladder, solar plexus, xiphoid process, suprasternal notch, chin, philtrum, nose, and eyes -- just to mention some along the front of the body.

During the last week I also learned about another important line -- the kyo sen no sen - which was explained to me by Sensei Pat Nakata. The kyo sen no sen is essentially the horizontal centerline of the body which runs across the solar plexus. The kyo sen no sen is not protected by thick muscles (unlike the chest and stomach areas) and thus is vulnerable to attack. Just as we protect our sechusen and attack the opponent's sechusen, we also protect our kyo sen no sen and attack the opponent's kyo sen no sen.

The hand position in shuto is a good example of protecting the kyo sen no sen. The back elbow covers the floating ribs on the side of the body, the forearm covers the tip of the lower ribs on the front of the body, and the wrist covers the solar plexus. You can also see this type of position in old photos of Choki Motobu. His back arm almost always covered his kyo sen no sen.

In my dojo, our target in chudan tsuki is the xiphoid process, which is on the sechusen and the kyo sen no sen -- on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines.

Thanks to Nakata Sensei we now can think about protecting two centerlines -- the vertical and the horizontal. And, in a sense, these lines paint a target on our opponents.


Charles C. Goodin