Kendo kata no.8
Kodachi no.1

Men Ukenagashi Men (Omote)

Uchitachi: Hidari Jōdan Shitachi: Chūdan HanmiUchitachi: Hidari Jōdan, Shitachi: Chūdan Hanmi
  1. Uchitachi takes hidari-jodan and shitachi takes chūdan hanmi.
  2. Both take three big steps forwards onto the front foot.
  3. Shitachi exerts pressure on Uchitachi by threatening with irimi.
  4. Uchitachi executes men cut stepping onto the right foot.  Shitachi deflects the strike with ukenagashi. Shitachi follows through with strong kiai and men strike.
  5. Shidachi exerts zanshin.
  6. Both Uchitachi and shitachi take chūdan no kamae and return to the center, maintaining contact.
  7. Kamae wo Toku: Lower the sword turning it to the right so the kensaki of your swords is approximately in front of your right knee.
  8. Take five steps back, take chūdan and ready for Kata No. 9.

Some Points To Pay Attention

Uchitachi's men cut is a cut that they put everything into. Uchidachi’s intent is not to cut down to gedan level, but to cut down to the navel. Since the cut misses shitachi, it goes all the way down. Uchitachi should not lower the body or lean forward much. 

Uchitachi Doesn't Lean Forward. Watch the height of the kensen.Uchitachi Doesn't Lean Forward. Watch the height of the kensen.

Uchitachi should not pause or hesitate to strike men.  While there is a slight pause, don’t stop and wait for irimi, as soon as you feel shitachi moves a little forward then strike. In the Kendo Kata Manual published by All Japan Kendo Federation, it is said, "Uchitachi executes a men cut at a moment when shitachi is going to get into irimi".

Of course, this is a kata and you have to have good timing.  You don't want to go too fast but you have to know the theory. 

Shitachi’s kensen is at the level of Uchitachi’s face in chūdan hanmi. After irimi, shitachi should move more forward than sideways. There should be just enough sideways movement to move the body off of Uchitachi’s line of attack. Mainly the movement should be forward to get into position to strike men.

Shitachi should hold the kodachi with a slightly relaxed and flexible grip during ukenagashi. Too loose though and when shitachi deflects uchitachi’s men strike the kodachi will get knocked back into shitachi’s head.

Ukenagashi is a deflection that directs the incoming strike just slightly off center, towards the left.  It is not a block. Shidachi’s right hand should be above the head with the kodachi pointing down to the left with the blade toward him. 

Ukenagashi (with Omote) is not a block. It is a deflection that directs the incoming strike just slightly off center.Ukenagashi (with Omote) is not a block. It is a deflection that directs the incoming strike just slightly off center.

The deflection and follow-up men strike should be one smooth motion but shitachi should complete the strike before transitioning to jodan and exerting zanshin.

Shitachi takes Zanshin with Jodan.Shitachi takes Zanshin with Jodan.

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