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I talked about seme a long time ago but I still don't know much . Seme to me is braking your opponents center and getting to the right distence enableing you to strike there person without him having the advantage over you that he always has the moment you brake chudan which is the even posture, nether offencive or deffencive.
To me fighting spirit is totaly different, it means having the right feeling all the time you fence. No fear nor being impatient to strike and keeping correct posture and true kendo..
IMHO, I believed that in order to do right Seme, you will probably need mentally, physically but also strategically ready. Without mental readiness or fighting spirit, you cannot scare or break opponents maai. Without physical reaction, you cannot attack right away, or cause slow reaction or movement. Without strategies, seme can be dangerous for you. Seme is usuful technic but it can also give your opponent an opportunity for counter attact.
Seme translated means pressure, doesn't it? And is what akumalkenshi said. All kendo strikes should be done with seme. I wonder if the word has other connotations or additional meaning, however. Anybody know?
Fighting spirit I'd say is just spunk, verve, guts, game, heart. Persistence. Effort. Neversaydie.
Whining coming up: Sometimes (well quite often actually) when I do the physical seme (step forward) and get into cutting range, (and the opponent doesn't react instantly) and I try to do men, it is so easily deflected by the opponent...in theory this should be an open pathway to men, like subduing, but it isn't. To show fightingspirit I think I have to do this physical seme and attacking, but it feels brainless at times. I've also tried seme --> uchiotoshi--> attack against the unresponsive opponents, but I just can't get it work. The only thing that worked last time I was doing jigeiko, was having a lot of movement going and moving in very fast..so it is not exactly pressure/subduing, but more like trickery.
Perhaps your opponents in those cases are just so much faster than you that their speed can sort of cancel out the effects of your seme. Seme seems to work better against a participating opponent. I'm sure we could all just hang back and wait to deflect attacks. In which case we would deserve a good kote or doh!
If you step in and the opponent keeps centre, you don't have seme - you just stepped in. If you had sufficient seme and broke his kamae, a difference in speed shouldn't matter (unless it's really huge).
Aha! well, there is actually a speed difference...most guys are faster than me.
I can (I think) break their kamae but as soon I go for men I get scored upon, usually. Sometimes my shinai gets wacked out of my hands (esp the right) if I try to attack. When it comes to fighting spirit, I hope that I display some of it by going for it when the opponent is unfocused or set in a rythm...