In an interesting confluence of personal significances, I chose Ken No
Sen from Miyamoto Musashi’s treatise on conflict, the Go Rin No Sho
or Book of Five Rings. Ken No Sen is the first of three methods he
outlines for forestalling the enemy:
“When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly, forestalling
the enemy. Or you can advance seemingly strongly but with a reserved
spirit, forestalling him with the reserve.
“Alternatively, advance with as strong a spirit as possible, and when you
reach the enemy move with your feet a little quicker than normal,
unsettling him and overwhelming him sharply.
“Or, with your spirit calm, attack with a feeling of constantly crushing
the enemy, from first to last. The spirit is to win in the depths of the
These are all Ken No Sen.”
Ken is also the name of my oldest son. He is a chief on the USS Peleliu,
currently in the Arabian Sea, and finished a recent email with the closing
line “from the razor sharp edge on the sword of freedom.”