四方斬 Shihō Giri – cutting in four directions
Shihō Giri – the seventh technique
四 – four
方 – directions, alternatives
斬 – to cut with a blade
Cutting in four directions or four-directional cutting would be the most direct translation, also cutting in every direction.
The kanji 四 shi is made up of two parts 囗 and 儿 (radicals for box and legs) – interestingly in this technique the two rising cuts, 逆袈裟切り gyaku-kesagiri, resemble the shape of the strokes for 儿 as made by a right-handed double-grip on the sword.
四方 – shihō – is a common Japanese term meaning four directions or every direction, often seen as front-back-left-right or north-south-east-west (or more correctly as 西南北 tōzainanboku – east-west-south-north). The 四天王 Shitennō, the four heavenly deva-kings, are the guardians of the cardinal points as well as the center (five cardinal points and five deva-kings in truth), they are also the guardians of the marital arts, so can be seen as protecting an individual in a desperate situation when being attacked from every direction.
Shihō can also be understood as killing directions (死方 shihō) or killing methods (死法 shihō).