About Gyaku Do

by Felipe

It's rare to see somebody getting a ippon when striking Gyaku Do in shiai.

Besides that, there are many ways of doing zanshin after a Gyaku Do strike. Seems like each sensei says a different thing about it, and you never see a consensus.

Many times, which seems to be a good strike is just unworthy for the shinpan, while sometimes a strange cut makes someone winning a championship.

I would like to know, which criteria do you use to consider valid a Gyaku Do, what are the most common mistakes people do while striking it, and what we should focus when training it?

Once more, thank you for your kindness.

Answer: Thank you for your question, Felipe! First of all, International Kendo Federation have decided to call hidari-do instead of gyaku-do. As least I heard so at one shinpan seminar I attended a couple years ago.

The criteria of an ippon by hidari-do should be the same as the migi-do. The main difference is that hidari-do should be hiki-giri (pull to cut) so you usually step back after you strike the migi-do.

Many turn their back to their opponent and run after they execute a cut on hidari-do but that is not how it should be done. In shiai, I understand why they do that because they do not want to get chased and hit.

Usually shinpan has a hard time to judge the techniques that they never used before. So we all need to practice
all the techniques including one-handed strikes.

When you strike the hidari-do, the distance is very important. Unlike striking the migi-do, it is very easy for shinpan to see where you are striking. It is very hard for many to see if a competitor is striking the middle of the do or the migi-do, but the hidari-do is easy. In other words, you need to strike the right spot.

I think most of the time you strike hiki-hidari-do. In that case, you need to make sure to retreat fast enough so your opponent cannot strike back.

This is a great example. Even though he lost his eye contact for a while he recovered really quickly.

There is nuki-hidari-do as well. You need to pull back your sword so usually you do need some space between your opponent and yourself to pull back your sword. I prefer to step in and step back when striking the nuki-hidari-do.

Zanshi for the nuki-hidari-do: Many still think that they need to physically do something to show zanshin but zanshin is to pay attention to your opponent. This includes that you keep yourself in a safety area after you execute a strike. Please watch these videos.

One is not going backward but rather staying where he is. And one is going backward after he strikes the hidari-do. Some move toward their opponent right side after they pull out their sword.

In any cases, they strike, cut through and put themselves in their safety area.

Hope this helps.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Any Questions about Kendo.