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Shall we always go through the opponent after strike

by Olga
(Ukraine)

Senseis always tell us to go through our opponent after performing some strike and when we are behind our opponent to turn round.


But I have read that it is not good to show your back to your opponent. And some senseis even say that it is often a mistake of beginners in shiai to go through the opponent showing their back and giving possibility to be attacked while turning round then.

Also very often it is said that we have to see our opponent all the time we are fighting.

 So can you please clarify this moment, why should we go through our opponent showing our back and risking while turning round then?

 Is it possible to start going through the opponent and at the time we come abreast with the opponent to start turning round and then going backwards seeing the opponent along this manoeuvre?

(Please make an answer for the cases when we train kihon, when we are in jigeiko and when we are in shiai)
Answer: Very very good question! I will make it very short by asking you this question.

Do you know why you are going through?

I want you to think about this really carefully.
The answer is it is because your opponent (training partner) gives you way, you can pass through.

In other word, if your opponent is not moving (to the right or left), you should be crashing into your opponent.

In basics, we go through (pretty much all the time). But if your motodachi (receiver) is not moving to his/her left or right, you should not go around him/her to avoid a crash.

The training for the basics, especially for beginners, is to strike correctly and properly and to learn footwork and how to turn (the direction to turn included). That is why we pass through.

Now in jigeiko and shiai, we strike towards our opponent. So it is impossible to pass through.

"Is it possible to start going through the opponent and at the time we come abreast with the opponent to start turning round and then going backwards seeing the opponent along this manoeuvre?"

Yes. This happens a lot.  Sometimes we do not even turn around. We bounce backwards (not taiatari) after getting into our opponent.

What about after striking do?, you may wonder. What is important when striking do is to pull out our sword after striking.

That is why we learn to move to the right when striking a do. As a result, some time we pass through our opponent after striking their do in shiai and jigeiko.

So it is very important to know why we pass through.

Hope this helps.

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Oct 07, 2009
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One more moment
by: Olga

You know, it really helps. Thank you very much! I know about not going around, but before your answer that only was about basics for me and I really didn't understand that about jigeiko or shiai.

But one more moment: is it possible/ correct to strike men  (for example) and then not crash into your opponent (or go through) but go backwards a little ? just to appear in issoku itto no ma?

Here I mean that some senseis say that we should have impulse when striking and so it's incorrect not going somewhere: backwards, forwards or aside. They say that means we have not enough impulse.

So is it good to make men strike and move backwards a little, almost staying at the same place, like it is often done with tsuki strike? (Lunge and quickly jerk away without going far)

Kendo-Guide.Com: I think many other people are having the same question. This is related to what should be considered to be valid.

"is it good to make men strike and move backwards a little, almost staying at the same place, like it is often done with tsuki strike?"

A short answer is "yes".

However, such strikes should be executed with good tenouchi and fully developed ki.  And of course, they should be followed by good zanshin. Such strikes cannot just be executed after a few years of training.

Often times, such strikes are counter-attacks against an opponent coming towards us. After executing such a counter-attack, we move backwards, to the right or to the left a little bit. It is rare we just stay where we are because our opponent is coming towards us.

I should say that this is a quite advanced way of striking. The reason is easy and mentioned above. You need good tenouchi and fully developed ki.

We do not have to worry about such strikes too much. We will be able to do it without practicing it much as we train kendo for a long time.

Hope this helps.

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