How to defeat Nito?

by Mithcoriel

I'm somewhat inexperienced at Kendo, and my teacher is using Nito, short and long sword. How can I stand a chance against him? (I'm too inexperienced to do tsuki).

I try to hit his right kote (which is holding the short shinai), but I don't seem to be able to get the right angle. Hitting the other kote seems a possibility, as is hitting the do on the side where he doesn't have the shoto, but it's pretty hard to be fast enough.

And how do you hit the men, with the long shinai in the way? Also, in particular: What should I do when I see him edging closer and closer to me? I have to react somehow, but it's hard to find an opening in time.


Answer: Thank you for your question.

What can you do against nitō?

  • Just strike instead of thinking to get a point.

Keep striking and see what happens. If you keep striking, nitō cannot really strike back. Of course, this is a theory and you should have an ability to keep striking without disconnecting your ki.

  • Execute 2 or more strikes continuously instead of executing just single cut.

You have to know how nitō reacts to your strikes. When you are against someone who are more experienced than you, executing a single cut is not a wise idea. You must execute two or three continuous strikes such as kote-men, men-men, kote-men- and men-kote.

  • Tsuki is the most effective against nitō but if you are not confident you should not do that.

  • You are right about that daitō being your way when striking men. That is why you have to execute more than a single cut so there is a possibility that daitō moves somehow. Debana men (you strike when your opponent is just about to make a move to strike you) is also good but this is very hard to do.

  • Use your footwork. Move a lot. Knock the kodachi down or off the centre.  Then strike.

This is what I say to my students.  “If you don’t know what to do, just strike and see how your opponent will react to your attack. Then change something so you see what happens then. That’s how we learn what to do against different types of kendō”.

Oh, by the way, you must have a lot more kiai than your opponent especially your sensei. Kiai improves your kendō immediately!

Hope this helps.

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Mar 30, 2017
Short or long distance?
by: Ixidior

Hi! One of my Senpais use the Nitou Stance. Actually is very hard to fight against him. He has much more experience than me. 3Dan vs 1Kyu.

I was wondering if it is a good idea to keep a short distance between us and concentrate on Hikimen and hikido?? Or i should keep a long distance?

Dec 26, 2014
Nice one
by: Robbie

It seems that striking is the only option here. It is quite productive since nito cannot strike back. I’m just interested to know if there is any other option. I would like to try out all the alternatives.

May 11, 2011
Against Nito
by: Manuel Mota

Well, of course you should strike to an opening, but your Sensei is much more experienced then you i guess, that means if he got a proper joge-tachi no kamae (basic nito kamae) there is almost no opening. to strike at an opening against nito, is totally different then to strike at itto chudan.

Well of course the same targets are valid for ippon like itto chudan too. but for nito ryu as same as for jodan as far as i know, BOTH kote are valid points.

May 10, 2011
Re: defeat nito
by: Anonymous

By inexperienced I mean, well, actually I've been doing Kendo for 5 years, but I guess I didn't train as much as others (never went to training camps and stuff) and never had any Kyu tests (in my country we only start counting from the 2nd kyu, so my level could be anything from when you get your armor to below 2nd kyu)

Striking often makes sense, but my teacher also criticized that I shouldn't just hit anything without looking for an opening.

Anyway, once again I'm curious as to *where* I should try to hit. So at least my assumption is correct that all the areas I mentioned are still reasonable ideas for places to hit?

Kendo-Guide.Com: It is true that you should look for an opening but when your opponent is more experienced than you, simply it is hard to do and most of the time you cannot find any.

In such case, you have to strike a lot. By ?striking a lot?, you can find an opening too. Like I wrote, you can execute continuous strikes.

There are some answers at Kendo-Guide.Com Facebook Fan Page.

May 10, 2011
Against Nito
by: Manuel Mota

Before I write down tips against Nito, let me ask:

You said you are inexperienced? What exactly does it mean? How long do you practice Kendo?

To be successful against Nito, you can't step up like you would fight somebody in itto chudan.

I think if you are really inexperienced, just try to strike a lot like Imafuji sensei said, and don't think about getting points that much. Your Sensei shouldn't block all of your strikes, because in this case you wouldn't learn anything.


Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for your post and sharing your opinion!

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