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Fumikomi, two different ways to start

by Min Chih Wang
(Costa Rica)

I have seen two different ways to initiate the movement when doing Fumikomi: One is when you raise up your arms up until the top of the head, at this point, the right leg is still staying at the same position (okuri ash stance),without moving it forward and then when the shinai is coming down, you push with your left leg and the right leg lands on the floor.


The other version is the one I saw in your video, you explained that as the arms goes up, simultaneously the right leg should move forward and then push the body using the power from the left leg and then the stomping motion with the right foot.

Please let me know which one is more appropriate, especially for beginners, I want to teach them in different sequeces so they can understand the whole mechanism or movements in Fumikomi.

Thanks

Min

Answer: Thank you for your question, Min! I know these are very confusing, right? I do not want to say which one is appropriate because then automatically one method becomes inappropriate.

I always want to go back to the basics. What I mean by the basics is how we swing the katana. I think with the katana or iaido/kenjutsu, they slide their right foot forward and lift up their sword at the same time. I am talking about "the basics". There are techniques we don't do that. So let's stick to one single basic cut.

If you don't slide your right foot forward when lifting your hands up, then you are taking Migi-Jodan. Then you are striking from Migi-Jodan.

If you are taking Migi-Jodan, that is fine. But if you are lifting your sword up first, you are telling your opponent that you are going to do something. That is not a good idea.

I think the method of striking from Migi-Jodan is a training method to get the timing right. Many people feel unstable, I still do sometimes when I am not doing things right, when they lift their hands above their head and at the same time they need to lift their right foot up. So to get used to the idea of striking, first make the striker feel stable and comfortable by lifting their hands up first then have them step forward.

I use that method sometimes, especially when they have a hard time to coordinate fumikomi and striking.

Hope this helps!

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