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Suburi inversely

by Olga
(Ukraine)

I heard in some dojos they train suburi in both variants: normally and inversely, when the left hand is near tsuba and the left foot is in front of right one. This is supposedly to develop both hands proportionally. What do you think about such approach, is it useful and if yes then why in your opinion. Would you recommend that type of training?


Answer: Thank you for sharing this. I sometimes do suburi with hands switched. My reasons that I started doing that were…

1. To remember when I was a beginner

2. My right shoulder was in pain

3. I read an article written by BABA Kinji sensei that says kenodists should be able to control a shinai however they want

When people get used to something, they forget how it was when they were a beginner. So when they teach beginners, they treat beginners like it would be their fault that they could not learn certain movements. This is the worst thing to do as an instructor.

So I started doing suburi with my hand positions switch. What I learned from this is that it is not as easy as one might think. We have to use our imagination a lot. We have to be patient to coordinate all the movements.

I agree that this can balance our body out too. Since we always have our right hand and foot forward unless taking hidari jōdan. As written previously, we use our brain too. So it is a good exercise for our brain too!

Apparently, Kamiizumi Isenokami, the founder of Shinkage-ryū, secretly practiced this chūdan with hand positions switched. The reason that he was practicing was that to surprise his opponents. But his teacher told him that he should not show this chūdan to other people because he would be seen as an unfair samurai (ref: Why is the left hand more dominant in kendō???).

But as a training method, I think it is OK to add something different like chūdan with reversed hands. It is kind of fun and you can remember how it was like when you were a beginner. Also you can use muscles that you don't often use so I am sure that is good for your body.

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