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About Gyaku Do

by Felipe
(Brazil)

It's rare to see somebody getting a ippon when striking Gyaku Do in shiai.


Besides that, there are many ways of doing zanshin after a Gyaku Do strike. Seems like each sensei says a different thing about it, and you never see a consensus.

Many times, which seems to be a good strike is just unworthy for the shinpan, while sometimes a strange cut makes someone winning a championship.

I would like to know, which criteria do you use to consider valid a Gyaku Do, what are the most common mistakes people do while striking it, and what we should focus when training it?

Once more, thank you for your kindness.

Answer: Thank you for your question, Felipe! First of all, International Kendo Federation have decided to call hidari-do instead of gyaku-do. As least I heard so at one shinpan seminar I attended a couple years ago.

The criteria of an ippon by hidari-do should be the same as the migi-do. The main difference is that hidari-do should be hiki-giri (pull to cut) so you usually step back after you strike the migi-do.

Many turn their back to their opponent and run after they execute a cut on hidari-do but that is not how it should be done. In shiai, I understand why they do that because they do not want to get chased and hit.

Usually shinpan has a hard time to judge the techniques that they never used before. So we all need to practice all the techniques including one-handed strikes.

When you strike the hidari-do, the distance is very important. Unlike striking the migi-do, it is very easy for shinpan to see where you are striking. It is very hard for many to see if a competitor is striking the middle of the do or the migi-do, but the hidari-do is easy. In other words, you need to strike the right spot.

I think most of the time you strike hiki-hidari-do. In that case, you need to make sure to retreat fast enough so your opponent cannot strike back.



This is a great example. Even though he lost his eye contact for a while he recovered really quickly.

There is nuki-hidari-do as well. You need to pull back your sword so usually you do need some space between your opponent and yourself to pull back your sword. I prefer to step in and step back when striking the nuki-hidari-do.

Zanshi for the nuki-hidari-do: Many still think that they need to physically do something to show zanshin but zanshin is to pay attention to your opponent. This includes that you keep yourself in a safety area after you execute a strike. Please watch these videos.





One is not going backward but rather staying where he is. And one is going backward after he strikes the hidari-do. Some move toward their opponent right side after they pull out their sword.

In any cases, they strike, cut through and put themselves in their safety area.

Hope this helps.

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