How not to hit kote too hard

by Chris

I find it really hard to hit someone for some reason. I fear that I might actually hit too hard whilst receiving a nice bruise as a gift from everyone else I'm training with. Do you have any tips and advice as to how to hit kote?

Answer: You are very kind. Some people hit too hard and they think we should take the pain :)

It should hurt a bit if not too much until you get the right tenouchiMotodachi (receiver) knows that you are a beginner so they know you might hit hard. If it hurts too much, they will tell you what to do.

And when you become advanced, new beginners will hit you hard, so it goes around.

It is said that you need to use 30% of your full strength to strike kote because you are just cutting a wrist. For men you use 70% and for do you use 100% of your strength.

Thus, you do not want to hit kote with 100% of your strength.

With good tenouchi, it still hurts sometimes because good tenouchi makes your strikes very sharp.  However, you cannot just get that tenouchi after a few years so just try to do your best to learn how to strike nicely.

There is a brief video talking about kote strike.  Take a look and you may find it useful.

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Mar 25, 2010
Thank you everyone!
by: Chris

Wow! Thank you to everyone who tipped me on this!

I now practice hitting kote on my bed (if my mattress compresses significantly, I will adjust power accordingly). I still am mildly hesitant when hitting kote during practice; I find myself apologising to others before we start and having a guilt trip when seeing how badly bruised and batter my partners are after practice.

Kendo-Guide.Com: I like how you feel. Without respect and thinking about others, kendo will lose its way. Good on you!

Mar 25, 2010
30% strike?
by: Agchan

I just came from a training with a swollen wrist.;) I have to train with the freshmen.

I have been trying not to put too much strength in my kote strike. I thought it proper because I noticed I was more precise in my strikes that way. However, our teacher just scolded me for being 'too soft' in my strikes. Good Lord...

I'm trying to compensate the force with speed, but I am told it is not enough.

Could you be so kind to give me a tip on the kote strike?

Kendo-Guide.Com:  It is very hard to explain but I'll try :)

First off, it is OK to feel a bit of pain when you are hit. We are getting hit, so usually is should hurt a bit.

Secondly, your strikes should not be hard, but sharp. You need a good tenouchi for this.

Many people do not want to hurt others. Which is a good thing. However, there is a difference between intentionally hurting others and doing kendo.

We must go through the learning phases that include hurting others because simply we just do not know the right amount of strength to use to strike.  

You know in kata No.1 we have to kill our opponent. In No.2 we just cut off his/her wrist. But in No.3 we do not kill or hurt our opponent.  This teaches us the process of our growth.

We hurt others because we are not good enough. If we become really good, we don't even have to hurt others.

We must learn how to strike properly and our achievement is built on our motodachi's self-sacrifice. That is why we must show our respect and appreciation to each other.

If you do not want to hurt others, you must improve fast. Do a lot of suburi and learn a good tenouchi. You will soon know how to control your strength.

Hope this helps.

Mar 02, 2010
Think about swinging out not down.
by: Matt

90% of kote strength problems I have seen stem from people swinging down on the kote, like chopping with an axe. It is easy to do this with kote because it is so much closer than men.

Try to ensure you are swinging out and forward to the kote, fully extending your arms instead of swinging down and chopping.

If you are regularly getting bruises on the wrist you may also not be receiving kote properly, make sure your shinai tip points upward when receiving kote. If it points sideways or downward the futon will be touching your wrist and the kote won?t offer much protection.

Ideally there is an airspace between the kote and your wrist and the futon acts like a spring bending into this space without actually touching your wrist.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Nothing to add :)  Thanks, Matt!

In my way of teaching, arms are never fully extended. But this always vary from sensei to sensei. I just want the readers to know that teachings nearly always vary. :)

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