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The Choice or How to Win in a Sword Fight

In any situation, at any given moment, remember you have the choice.

You have the choice to respond how you think is befitting to you. You have the choice to choose what you focus on.

And you know what you should be focusing on when you get worked up?

Your breath. It all comes back to the breath.

In the art of Iado, the Japanese art of wielding a sword, breath is paramount. On the surface you may think breath has nothing to do with wielding a sword. However, it’s one of the most important aspects of sword fighting there is, in fact, it probably is the most important.

Why? Before we make our move, whatever move that may be, humans always take a breath. We always take in a gulp of air before we strike.

In one on one battles, the cue that the opponent would strike was their breath. If you could instead strike in the split second between their breath and their strike, you won. By the same token if you could learn to strike while controlling your breath, you won.

Most of all focusing on your breath shuts you up. It stops you from reacting rashly and gives you a buffer before you make your move.

Focusing on your breath gives you the choice. The choice to respond how you think is befitting to you. The choice to choose what you focus on.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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