Recognizing the tremendous importance of timing, Japanese martial artists classify their responses into three types:
- Go no sen refers to a late reaction, initiated after the attacker’s movement has begun. Late reactions are unreliable, relying on extraordinary motor speed for their successful application.
- Sen no sen describes a response launched roughly in time with its attack. While obviously superior to go no sen, some practitioners consider this an intermediate level of skill.
- The ultimate timing, sen-sen no sen, responds to an attack that has yet to be launched, one that has only just formed within the opponent’s mind. An expert in sen-sen no sen might use this timing to guide his assailant into a futile and vulnerable position, or launch a preemptive strike.
Martial legends aside, how does science explain this seemingly paranormal ability? Is it possible that high-level martial artists have used precognition and other psychic abilities to enhance their effectiveness? Or are they all just very quick?