Mikiri – sharpness of perception

Martial art Mikiri

Mi-kiri can be divided in 2 parts. The literal translation of the 2 parts is: mi, “look” or “see”; and kiri, “cut”. The term mikiri  is associated with Musashi Miyamoto and his excellent sharpness of perception. For him, mikiri was the basis of his concept of strategy.

Mikiri is basically the ability to judge distance by eye and act accordingly. It is putting the body out of range of the attack by a fraction of a centimeter. In other words avoiding the attack and stay in the distance of rikakutaisei.

Mikiri rest on the accuracy of hyoshi (cadence, rhythm and tempo). Because mikiri is about perception, mikiri can have an impact on fight or not to fight. If your perception gives you the impression you will lose your life in a fight, it is better to walk away and keep your life. Although Musashi Miyamoto was a famous samurai, he also avoided some fights if the situation was not in his favor.

The other meanings of mikiri

DIY, carpentry, & life in Japan

Any decorative trimming for the purpose of creating an aesthetic boundary or joint between two different materials. The term “mikiri” is often preceded by a noun that specifies what kind is being discussed, such as yuka-mikiri or tenjou-mikiri, which means floor mikiri and ceiling mikiri respectively.

Japanese Tattoos
The word is used to define “borders” in Irezumi style of tattoos.
Irezumi is a traditional style of Japanese tattooing, as well as certain modern forms derived from it. Irezumi is done by hand, using wooden handles and metal needles attached via silk thread.


Published by

Eddy Wolput

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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