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Performing kendo kata during exam

by Olga
(Ukraine)



Performing kendo kata during exam

As you mentioned in kata relative articles when performing kendo kata we need to control distances all the time. Also I was told that uchitachi and shitachi have to meet each other in the center of special area where exam is held. So they both have to control distances between each other and relative to the center.

1.  When practising kata with different people sometimes it appears that one of us makes something incorrect, for example when we approach each other somebody makes very short steps and as a result appears not in the center. What should other person do in this case during exam?

-  take a bigger steps to appear near a partner (who makes short steps) and as a result be in the correct distance relative to a partner but at incorrect distance relative to a center

-  take normal steps to appear in the center but be at incorrect distance relative to a partner

2.  And other moment. shitachi follows uchitachi. What if uchitachi makes some incorrect action, for example instead of taking jōdan in kata 1, (s)he starts going forward (as in kata 2).

Then uchitachi may recall what (s)he has to do but a mistake had place. What shall shitachi do in this case during exam?


  • follow uchitachi and going forward...



  • make his/her part of kata seeing that opponent makes a mistake



  • continue staying in chūdan to show opponent that (s)he does something wrong



Answer: You are a full of god questions!

  • Uchitachi is in charge of distance.


So when uchitachi tries to adjust the distance, shitachi should follow.

  • The problem arises if your kata partner in an exam does not try to adjust the distance.


If that is the case, don’t worry. The judges should know what is going on.

  • Adjustment steps: Big steps v. small steps



You do not want to take one large step to adjust the distance. If you do not have to move, that is the best. How do we do that? If your kamae does not break too much, extend your arms a bit.

Now in order to avoid adjustment when you take chūdan, you have to adjust while you are taking steps forwards or backwards.

Again the judges can tell who’s doing it wrong so do your best to adjust the distance.

Again it should be done by uchitachi but if your uchitachi does not do it, maybe shitachi has to adjust the distance in a subtle manner (try to make it as unobvious as possible).


  • If uchitachi makes obvious mistakes such as taking a different stance, wait until he/she realises.



The judges know what is going on, so you do not have to go with your kata partner’s mistakes.

If you are giving a kata demonstration to the public, you may want to keep going. Or you may want to wait until your partner realises too. It depends on your audience and what you think the best.

Now these are my opinions. Please ask your teachers or judges in your federation. Follow what they say; otherwise, you will fail your exam.

Hope this helps.

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