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Sayumen:
The Core Movement of Kirikaeshi

When you learn sayumen, you probably find it quite hard and frustrating to do it right.

It looks simple and easy to do right after learning shomen uchi but soon you will realise that it is actually rather hard to control the angle of the sword.

All we have to do is to change the angel of the sword but there are some rules to follow. That is why it is hader than it sounds.

Firstly, we have to know that we are using a sword so we need to make sure that the angle of the sword is right.

It is said that the angel of the sword should be 45 degrees from the centre of the face line.

sayumen, 45 degrees

Many have trouble to have the right angel at the beginning. This is the first obstacle.

Secondly, we have to keep our left hand in the centre. This is hard if your left grip is too tight.

“Too tight” means you are using all the left fingers to grab the sword and every single finger is tense.

Remember that you should use only the left ring finger and little finger to hold the sword tightly and the rest of fingers should be relaxed.


Bad Grip

Good Grip
All fingers are tight. Only the pinkie and ring finger are tight.

This could be a big challenge for beginners. But if we learn how to do sayu-men correctly, we will understand how we should use the left hand properly.

**There is a video to show how to grab your shinai; How to Take Chudan: Draw Your Sword.

Thirdly, since we say that the right hand is the control hand, people try to change the angle of the sword using the right hand too much.

As a result, they squeeze in their right arm to strike the right men of their opponent.

We do not want to use the whole right arm to change the angle of the sword. Just the hand and wrist.

This is something we have to practice over and over to acquire the right movement. But remember “not to use the whole arm to change the angle of the sword”.

We should know how to do zenshin kotai shomen uchi and niho zenshin niho kotai shomen uchi by now, I will not tell you how these exercises with sayu-men should be done.

We do zenshin kotai sayu-men and niho zenshin niho kotai sayu-men exactly in the same way we do in zenshin kotai men uchi and niho zenshin niho kotai shomen uchi. Only difference is the angle of the sword.

So as you can imagine it is important to know how to change the angel of the sword correctly here when practicing sayu-men.

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