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Different ways of striking Do

by Olga
(Ukraine)

Different ways of striking Do


I would like to ask about right do strike. Different senseis show this strike differently.

Here are variants:

1) This do was told us as basic: we move shinai up, our hands hold it like it was in chuudan (right hand is near the tsuba and left hand holds the very end of tsuka). Not changing the position of hands we move shinai down, striking do.

2) We move shinai up, then move our left hand close to the right hand (so that they are touching each other) and then with that position of our hands we move shinai down, striking do. After we are behind the opponent we move our left hand back to the end of tsuka.

3) We move shinai up, and our hands are in normal/usual position. We are starting to move shinai down and nearly in the middle of shinai's movement down we change the grip – move our left hand close to the right hand. And strike do. After we are behind the opponent we return normal position of hands.

And questions:


1. Are all of those do strikes correct?

2. Which do is recommended to train mostly?

3. Is it correct to make do strike like in variant #2 but moving not left but right hand to the left hand so that both hands hold the end of tsuka, which theoretically can give a possibility to strike do from a bigger distance?

4. Are all of those do strikes correct when using big do or just when using small do?

Kendo-Guide.Com: Good questions. Now Variant #1 is the basic do strike. Variant #3 is also good.

Now I don’t think Variant #2 is wrong but theoretically if you shift your left hand towards the right hand above your head, you are actually telling your opponent you are striking their do.

I want to tell you why we move our left hand towards the right hand.

It is because we have to pull our sword after “cutting” our opponent’s do. The tsuka of shinai is too long to pull out our shinai. If you look at the tsuka of a real sword (bokutō as well), the tsuka is way shorter than the tsuka of shinai. (I explained this in the video, Sotai Dosa: Kote Oyobi Men and Kote Oyobi Do: This is a link to its brief video.)

Without moving our left hand towards the right hand, it makes really hard for us to pull out our sword.

Answer to 2: I would say, Variant #1 and 3. Remember the purpose of moving the left hand.

Answer to Question 3: No you cannot.

You may be able to touch/hit your opponent’s do but you would not be able to “cut” his/her do. The theory of do cut is that we need to execute a cut into do with almost full strength because we need to cut through the body (including a bit of ribs and spin).

With the grip you described would not give that much power and it could not keep the angle of the sword right once the blade got into the flesh.

Answer to Question 4: Yes.

Hope this helps.

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Aug 31, 2009
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Thank you
by: Val Serezhkin

I shall try it during my next keiko.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Please ask your teacher first. I don't know what grade your are and your kendo level. It is not something you want to do when you are below shodan.

Aug 30, 2009
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ashi sabaki
by: Val Serezhkin

To continue do topic.

I have seen Japanese kendokas doing do uchi without fumikomi and ayumi-ashi not okuri-ashi during and after their do uchi until zanshin. And it was valid cut. I am in doubts. 

Answer: Good eyes. We all learn the basics first. Then when you become certain level, we use many kinds of ashi-sabaki (footwork) anytime.  The basics is there so we can learn more complicated footwork later.

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