Different ways of going backwards in hiki

by Olga

I've seen two ways of shinai movement in hiki waza. When we strike and our shinai meets a target (men, kote, do) it bounces up and back. And here some people:

1) Almost immediately move shinai down so that kensen points into the opponents throat/face and in that position go backwards;

2) Leave shinai as it bounced (if it was a men strike, shinai is above the head e.g.) and in that position go backwards. When they almost stop going backwards they move shinai back in chūdan position.


1. What are advantages and disadvantages of every variant? (Why do some people choose one and other choose another?)

2. What variant is more preferable to practice?

3. Is it ok when shinai bounces back too much or while striking we should try to hold it on the goal (men, kote, do) not to allow it bounce?

Answer: This is a nice question. Mainly we practice the second one. When we strike a hiki men, our shinai goes up above our head. This helps us to go backwards more quickly too.

Now it is also true that there are many senseis who suggest doing the first one. These senseis, I think, are seeking a more authentic style.

If you think about it, if we used a real sword, we wouldn’t execute a hiki men like we do with a shinai. But since kendo involves rapid movements (forwards and backwards), we need to go backwards really fast to avoid a chase from our opponent.

I personally think that’s how the current hiki men style was developed. This is only my guess. OK?

In my opinion, since the first hiki men is the one most used in Japan too, we should practice that.

As long as you practice kendo, you may meet a sensei who tells you to keep you sword at a men height after hiki men.

I have met several senseis who advocated the second hiki men. I suggest you should ask him/her why we have two different ways.

If you participate in a tournament, I suggest doing the second one so that you can go backwards faster.

I think both hiki men is alright, as long as we have our tenouchi right.

The important thing is that you should not get attacked after you struck and your opponent should feel that you stuck him/her really good.

Hope this helps.

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Sep 22, 2009
Please clarify one thing
by: Olga

Thank you for your answer!
Just one moment confused me:

You write "Mainly we practice the second one... This helps us to go backwards more quickly too."

And then you write "If you participate in a tournament, I suggest doing the first one so that you can go backwards faster." - Do you really mean here the first one, where we immediately move shinai down?

That confused me because you have told about the speed concerning the 2nd variant, where we leave shinai as it bounced.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Sorry about that. I fixed the article. If you want to go backwards faster, you should use the second one.

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