Confused about Tenouchi

by Tanya
(El Salvador)

Tenouchi Replication Snap Shot from KFL Club

Tenouchi Replication Snap Shot from KFL Club

Hello again Sensei! Thanks for answering my previous question!

I've been doing some research to improve my tenouchi and to use more my left arm. I've seen that tenouchi is mostly described as “wringing" water out of a towel and also as a "squeezing" motion.

I'm a bit confused as to what the proper technique entails and how to apply it effectively in training. Some people say that they don't use too much tenouchi when doing suburi to prevent injuries and use it only when doing cuts.

As a newbie who wants to improve in my technique and also prevent injuries, I wanted to ask you if you could clarify this for me and if possible, suggest some kind of exercises to get better at it.

I saw an exercise where the senseis made one ball bounce vertically with proper tenouchi, but I'm still confused if I should do a "wringing" motion (like turning my wrists inwards) or just squeeze my shinai with my hands.

Also, I try to have a looser grip on my right hand so I don't concentrate all my strength in it. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read and answer my question :D

Answer: You’re very welcome, Tanya! And thank you for your question again!

About the squeezing motion. We used to call it “chakin shibori”. Chakin is a cloth for tea ceremony and it is very thin. It is totally different from “squeezing a towel”.

*Chakin is very small so you cannot “grab” it. It is probably a lesson of how light it should be.

How do we apply this to kendo?
You grab it tight enough so water start dribbling. At the same time, slide each of your thumbs down on each of the middle fingers. By this motion, the other fingers (should) move as well.

This won’t require turning your wrists and elbows in like you do when squeezing a towel.

This is tenouchi that I learned.

You can watch a video of the late Murayama sensei (former 8-dan tournament champ) explaining how to do tenouchi at this page. You need to be a member of Kendo For Life Study Group (free) and login required. You can learn a lot from this short video.

My tenouchi replication video is found at "Preparation to Train Kendo".

Hope this helps.

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Mar 29, 2016
In reply to "Hasuji"
by: Kendo-Guide.Com

Thank you your comment. You are right about that. And that is why I introduced "Chakin shibori".

Chakin shibori is also introduced at p. 61 in an iaido book,"Iaido Toranomaki". As we know, iaido uses katana (with and without blade) that has an elliptical tsuka.

So we should not "wring out" but we should know how to use "tenouchi (the palms) when striking.

Mar 24, 2016
by: Anonymous

A sword tsuka is elliptical in shape. You cant 'wring out a sword'. You will lose hasuji.

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