Hiki Waza

by Joe

How do I train myself to go backwards faster when doing hiki waza because in a recent club shiai I hit a really nice hiki kote but didn't move back fast enough so supposedly it wasn't a point.

Answer: Thanks for your question. Since I did not see how you struck hiki kote, I cannot give you a spot-on answer but I will try.

The first thing is first. About how you can train to go backwards fast. You have to know the timing.

Suppose you are in tsubazeri-ai.

1. As you lift your shinai up to strike kote, lift your right foot up.

2. As you strike kote, you stomp on the right foot.

3. When you stomp your right foot, the right foot should land on right next to the left foot or little behind the left foot.

4. The right foot should push you backwards and the left foot quickly follows.

5. You do not have to use okuri-ashi. You can use ayumi-ashi. *ref: Kendō footwork

This is a "fast" way to strike hiki kote, not a basic way. The basic way is that your left foot goes backwards when your lift your shinai up to strike kote. As you strike kote your right foot goes backwards. Just like suburi.

The reason that you didn't get a point is not the speed of going backwards but "sharpness", sae in Japanese. And you must take a good zanshin afterwards.

You have to integrate your movements together as if you slap your hands together and a slapping sound follows right after without any delay. Everything happens at the same time. You are in a safe distance from your opponent before he/she knows.

That's how you should strike. Here is a video I found on Youtube. Hopefully it stays there. The video is a kote kaeshi kote by Miyazaki Masahiro (8-dan) sensei. You can see he is not going backwards really fast but he is really sharp and in a safe distance right after he struck kote.

Hope this helps.

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