Sen (Initiative)

Sen is an extremely important concept in Japanese Martial Arts and even in any concept of self defence. Sen implies that you never wait for the opponent to take the initiative even in defence.

You ALWAYS initiate and therefore control the situation.

To wait is to guess and to guess is to rely on reflex...
in a situation of life and death, this is the quickest way to the grave.

In any given situation, the initiate has to be aware of the correct

and use this awareness to prevent the possibility of an attack or to dictate and / or sense when and where an attack is going to manifest.

There are 3 Sens in Yoseikan and they correspond to the 3 different levels of awareness.

First Level of Perception:
- Matchi-No-Sen -

See the attack come. Respond to it with the appropriate defence (with the right timing) and counter-attack.

Second Level of Perception: EXPERT
- Tai-No-Sen -

Move with a counter-attack at the same moment that an attack is launched. The perception and timing have to be sharper.

Third Level of Perception: MASTER
- Sen-No-Sen -

Perceive the intention of your opponent fractions of seconds before they launch their attack. Start moving with your counter-attack and land before you opponent complete their attack.


will only be able to express MATCHI-NO-SEN from time to time as they do not have the tools to perceive attacks and react appropriately.

They will rely on reflex and instinct and will get it right or wrong and will therefore lack the consistency of an effective defence.


will be comfortable with MATCHI-NO-SEN and therefore more effective in defence but won't be able to anticipate the counter.


will fluctuate between TAI-NO-SEN and SEN-NO-SEN, coming back to MATCHI-NO-SEN when they make a mistake.


will fluctuate similarly to an Expert but with even better success with SEN-NO-SEN and less time spent with MATCHI-NO-SEN.