Follow through after the cut

by Adam

I am a kendo beginner who started doing kendo about 6-7 months ago. I have a question regarding follow through after my cuts in kendo.

Is it acceptable for me to cut and then move backwards instead of going forward and passing through my opponent? Or is it considered an incorrect technique?

I am aware that we cut and then move backwards in hiki-waza but I would like to know if I am allowed to move backwards for "normal" techniques.

Thank you so much!


Answer: Thanks for your question! This is a good question! I will share what I think but please do keep your sensei’s teachings as the core of your kendo study.

Why Do We Pass Through?

The momentum after men strike

You execute your strikes at your opponent in front of you. When you strike men, for example, you deliver your body forward toward your opponent. Now you have the momentum going toward your opponent. So far so good? 

If your opponent stays there, you will bump into your opponent. You are supposed to crash into him/her. Some go around their opponent to “pass through” but that is wrong. If your opponent moves out of your way, then you can pass through because there is no obstacle to stop you there.

You pass through ONLY when your opponent is not in your way; otherwise, you should end up with bumping into your opponent.

Now your question. You can go backwards only when it makes sense. So when does it make sense?

Let’s say you’re striking men. You need to strike men with the monouchi part of the shinai with ki-ken-tai-icchi. If you cannot accomplish your men strike with these criteria by going forward because you are too close to your opponent, then you need to go backwards.

The distance is very important for you to decide where you are going forwards or backwards.

Hope this helps!

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