How to grab a shinai is one of the things you learn when you start kendō.
Yet I see many people cannot do it right. So I would like to introduce three ways that I have been thinking that would be effective for beginners to learn how to grab a shinai.
The most common problem with grabbing a shinai is punching fists.
This is not a good grip in kendō because it kills flexibility of your wrists.
And most importantly it does not create a good sae (sharpness);
especially when it comes down to small cuts.
And it leads to the tenouchi. So we really need to have a good grip in kendō.
And I believe that in order to have a good grip in kendō, we have to know what the good grip looks like.
Many can make this grip when they do not have a shinai in their hands.
So the problem is…
I am going to use an umbrella.
If you have an umbrella, you can get it now. We are not going to open in in the house (it is a bad luck in Japan!), so don’t worry.
In my video “How to Learn Kendo Movements More Easily and Quickly”, I am introducing an ice cream cone grip.
But the problem is that you cannot have an ice cream in the dōjō! So enter UMBRELLA! An umbrella is an ideal tool because of its cone shape.
Make sure that the pinky goes to the thinner part of an umbrella.
Because of the cone shape, without too much effort, the pinky and the ring finger can be tightened. Still not working?
What if you have it as you do when raining?
Does your grip turns into the shape of the kendō grip?
Most of the time, this works.
It is hard to grab an umbrella like the picture below and have our elbow relaxed (without sticking out to the side).
If this is not working for you how about…
I recently realized how I grab my pen is kind a similar to
how we grab a shinai.
This is how I grab a pen.
Now if I change the position of that pen like I grab a shinai…
What do you think?
This works only you grab a pen like me.
So this may not work for many others.
So I was thinking…
It means No.1 in Japanese.
If I am right, probably Hulk Hogan popularized this word…
Anyway…if you make this No.1 sign, you will have the shape of kendō grip apart from the index finger.
Then all you have to do is to have your index finger roll back in.
I think this is pretty good.
So the next time you grab your shinai, try one of the methods Introduced here, if you are having a trouble to learn the kendō grip.
You can always come up with your own methods like these!
Hope this helps!
PS... This is an awesome video. You should make some time and watch carefully.
A Kendo Instruction Book Written By A Japanese For Non-Japanese Speakers Who Are Enthusiastic to Learn Kendo.
All the instructions of the basics on this site is in this book with
Kindle version is available too. Click here to learn more about the book.