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Jan 25, 2010
Fencing moves in kendo
by: awall

Yes sensei, those were fencing terms. 

In debana waza for example (if I understand the actions correctly) a fencer seeing the action of moving the sword from the right side of the opponents blade to the left by going over the top of the opponents blade would recognize the action as a "coupe" in fencing. 

Or the action of moving your target area by, say, side stepping your opponents attack and at the same time launching your own attack is a "counter attack" in fencing. 

The similarities are interesting but the differences are important. 

Thank You for the story of Mori Sensei.  It highlights the similarities that allowed him to learn quickly but he did have to learn due to the differences. 
Thank you again sensei for all the direction you give those of us trying to do kendo correctly.

Kendo-Guide.Com: It is my great pleasure.  I am learning a lot too. :) And thank you for your explanation.  What interests me is that I can have a clear image of what you described.

Jan 23, 2010
Fencing and Kendo
by: awall

Can one use fencing moves in kendo?  I think that this question has many roots. 

I have done kendo and fencing for close to 20 years and have competed a lot in fencing.  So far I have found that many of the individual actions that a sword can do are the same in kendo and fencing. 

Using the bokuto waza for example: single cuts (simple attacks), continuous cuts (attack, compound attacks and remise), harai waza (beat attacks), hiki waza (body contact: a penalty in fencing), nuki waza (counter attacks), suriage waza (parries), debana waza (disengages and coupes), kaeshi waza (bait and counter), and uchiotoshi waza (taking over the attack with distance). 

Even tactical plans such as the tactical wheel transfer over.  But, as sensei has pointed out there are differences. 

Some of these are:

1. You must hit correct target. 

2. You must use kendo's form of right of way (stance, zanshin etc.) 

3. You must have their approach to sparring (attack into preparation and attack now parry later are some examples) and very importantly keep it kendo. 

As kendo goes international some changes may occur.  But how much change can it take before it stops being kendo?  We want to avoid that.  For your personal sword growth mix, match and grow.  But for the arts and tradition, keep them separate. 

Finally, kendo, kenjutsu, iaido and Olympic fencing are all handed down from over 500 years ago with only a few changes.  I would learn swordsmanship from the sources that have the "moves" from when people used to use swords for personal protection instead of trying to reinvent the wheel by interpreting some old scroll on your own. 

I have seen too many "historical" fencers demonstrate moves they got from ancient documents and which we in kendo, iaido, kenjutsu and fencing teach on a daily basis. 

I hope this helps. If there is confusion I hope that I can clarify.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your explanation.  It is very interesting to see how you expressed the techniques such as debana waza. Did you try to explain with fencing terms?

The story of late Mori sensei, who was one of the best kendoists in Japan and became a US Champion in fencing, tells us that kendo and fencing were quite different. Even he was defeated at the beginning.

He tried to do fencing like kendo. Of course, in the fencing rules, it didn't matter how good he was in kendo, he was just a beginner.

However, he could learn fencing moves quite quickly and became a champion. That is outstanding, I think.

Kendo and fencing are derived from sword fighting. But they are different.

Jan 15, 2010
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your reply. 

Fencing.. yep mostly thrusting and parries... not slashes.  I don't have a lot of internet access so when I typed up the first question it was kinda awkward and I didn't notice till you responded.  I'll be a little more specific on the fencing kendo question. 

Historical fencing deals a lot with point control for accurate thrusting and the like.  Does a thrust (tsuki) have to be targeted at the neck or can I place the strike where I want for the best effect, for example.  Could I thrust to the kote to force the shinai away for a better position into a do strike, or whatever?

Answer: I see.  Tsuki should be executed to the throat, where the protector is.  You cannot execute a thrust to kote but you can do something to move your opponent's shinai away so it is not in your way.

In other words, since we do not have a thrust to men, kote or do, we cannot execute a thrust to make an opening.  However, we can put pressure to our opponent as he/she thinks that we are striking his/her kote.  Then we strike his/her men.

We can fake out our movements.  For example, we pretend to strike men but strike kote instead.  When people are young and are into shiai (matches) they do such things.  But as time goes by, we grow out of it.

After all, kendo is not about gaining points.  We are there at the dojo to be struck so we can learn our weakness, not only of our kendo but also of our mind.  So I do not recommend such feints, if you really want to learn kendo.

Hope this helps.

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