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(Fumikomi = stomping)?

by Olga
(Ukraine)

Fumikomi has been discussed a lot here in the site. Many very informative articles are posted likeFumikomi Mechanism and First Time Fumikomi.


But I've got a question about it. Quite often I hear about stomping (making noise, kicking the floor with the RIGHT foot) in the movement of fumikomi when striking.

Is this motion necessary in fumikomi? Can correct fumikomi be performed quite smooth with right foot touching floor without great sound?

Answer:
Thanks for your question and good question as usual.

Fumikomi is translated as "stomping". And probably because of this, many people tr to "stomp" without thinking about why we do it.

We do kick the floor with the left foot (if we have a stance of "the right foot forward and the left foot behind the right foot"). So probably when you wrote "kicking the floor with the RIGHT foot", you meant the" left" foot. The right foot functions as it pulls body up and forward.

Now there is a word, fumikiri. Often confused with fumikomi, fumikiri refers to the function of the back foot.Fumikiru is a verb form and it means "to kick the floor/ground in order to proceed far".

So when we complete in a long jump, we use the right foot or the left to jump off, right? That is the action of fumikiru.

So if we use the left foot to kick the floor off, the left foot is the fumikiri-ashi.

Now as written in Why fumikomi-ashi in kendō?, with akatana, we did not have this fumikomi. But I think we had fumikiri.

When we see iaido, we do not see any fumikomi but we see fumikiri in order to deliver our body forward to reach out.

Fumikiri gives us more reach and force to cut into our opponent. So we must have good fumikiri.

* I have to warn you that I don't know if the term fumikiri is used in iaido or not.

This is a controversial part.

Many say Fumikomi (stomping) must be performed in kendō; otherwise, it is not called ki-ken-tai-icchi. And others say the actual stomping part is not so important as long as practitioners have ki-ken-tai-icchi, i.e. sliding forward is good enough as long as a practitioner shows good zanshin, tenouchi and ki-ken-tai-icchi.

These are completely different views.

Personally, I am in the latter group.

I have seen many people who started kendō in their latter age and they have very hard time getting fumikomi right. This is not something everyone can perform after 2 or 3 years of practice; even Japanese children take more than 5 years to perform sufficient "fumikomi".

Many 8-dan and 9-dan sensei do not do fumikomi because they are not capable of doing it anymore. They are slow too. Yet, they can beat us with no problems.

I know it is an extreme example but the point I want to make here is… Fumikomi is a result of "reaching from a distance fast". As long as we deliver our body forward nice and sharp with the back foot with ki-ken-tai-icchi, I think "stomping" is not necessary.

Now I really have to make sure of this. This is my personal opinion. If your sensei tells you to do it, you should not argue. Try your best.

You will get the hang of it.

Also try to concentrate on "delivering your body forward" rather than "stomping". In that way, you can keep the balance of your body while executing your cut.

Hope this helps.

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Another question on fumikomi

by Vit
(Czech republic)

I could see in some videos where you teach fumikomi that you lift your hands to thrust out and simultaneously you lift your right foot. And then you strike simultaneously with "stomping".

Yet in your other video where you show "men uchi" with an opponent, you first slide your right foot towards the opponent while you still keep chudan but your body moves a little forwards.

I think this is some kind of seme. And then, after a second, you lift your right foot simultaneously with your shinai and then you strike.

Which "fumikomi" should I follow?

I heard some opinions that lifting right foot right in the beginning is an European bad habit which cannot be seen in Japan.

Could you please give some explanation on this?


Answer: Thank you for your post.

I'm not sure which video you're talking about but what I'm going to talk about now is what we're supposed to do in the basics.

OK. Stepping forwards and "fumikomi" are two separate things.

"Fumikomi" is the right foot movement that we perform when striking. It is translated as "stomping" but stomping itself is not
very important.

Stomping is a result of "trying to reach our opponent in one step as fast and strongly as we can".

When you try to run fast, I'm sure you kick the ground with the back foot and stretching your front foot as far you can. Correct?

The same thing is happening in kendo.

Instructors try to show beginners the mechanics of fumikomi step by step so beginners can understand what's going on and also beginners
can coordinate the footwork and swinging action more easily.

So once you come to the point that you can strike with one step (usually issoku itto no ma: one step one cut distance), you should execute a cut with ki ken tai icchi.

Stepping in you saw in the video is performed before striking, I guess. Correct?

This stepping-in action is just to get closer so we can execute a cut without losing a balance.

You must come to the point of a distance that you can strike comfortably, especially when you are a beginner.

If it's physically allowed, you can take more distance from the opponent so you can increase the ability to strike from further distance.

Hope this helps. And please don't hesitate to ask more questions on this matter because many people do have troubles with fumikomi.

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