Kirikaeshi hitting men or shinai

by Olga

Why is it sometimes required to perform kirikaeshi (in bogu with men on) hitting men and sometimes hitting shinai?

Are there two different kirikaeshi with different goals? If so what is the goal of every of them?

Answer: Usually we let beginners hit our men instead of shinai because beginners tend to aim at shinai. I am sure you see beginners looking at their opponent shinai and try to hit the sayu-shinai not men.

Also we can really learn how it should feel like when they strike men.

This is also good to motodachi (receiver). Motodachi must let their kakarite (striker) use monouchi (the part between kensaki or the tip of the sword and nakajime or the leather part in the middle of shinai)

That means motodachi must learn the right distance, which changes from person to person.

Receiving with shinai. Many people think that kirikaeshi is led by kakarite, i.e. Kakarite can do kirikaeshi on their own time. It is true for beginners.

My sensei, Miyazaki sensei, told me that kakarite must adjust their speed of striking to the motodachi’s blocking speed. Which makes totally sense because motodachi is a teacher side so they lead the training.

I believe that this teaching is not very common for all of the kendoists so keep it as reference.

Also motodachi can train suri-age and uchi-otoshi (more like suri-komi) techniques depending on how to use their shinai.

However, this is very hard to do even if I show you how to do it, so I don’t write how this time. Also it seems like many people do not apply this method so your teacher may now know about this.

I show this in one of the videos, Sotai-Dosa: kirikaeshi. (The video is at the very end of the Kendo Video Download Page)

Anyway, kirikaeshi gives kakrite and motoachi merits so please read this carefully and if you have more questions, please let me know.

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Mar 02, 2018
In reply to Wendy
by: Kendo-Guide.Com

Thank you for your question and it is a good question!

It depends. If I am your motodachi and I decide that you need to stretch out your arms more, then I will keep my shinai close to me and weaken my strength to block so I can "invite in" your strikes.

If I decides that you need to have more strength, I will knock your shinai down with my shinai. Also if my partner strikes too hard, I will do the same thing. Knock their shinai down. This is a non-verbal way to tell them not to strike hard but usually they don't understand :) But I don't do this to beginners.

Usually they should not use much strength to receive. If they intentionally deflect your shinai, then they are trying to train your strength or they are trying to tell you something non-verbally.

You can ask your motocahi why your shinai is deflected so much and what you can do better. If they don't have any advice for you, then probably they are doing it without any good reasons.

But one good thing for you. You will develop good tenouchi and strength if you can use that motodachi well. It will be a good opportunity for you :)

Feb 18, 2018
Motodachi receiving
by: Wendy


I was wondering if you could give an insight into how much force the motodachis should use to receive(reflect) the strikes of sayu-men?

There were many times that I felt some kenshis using too much power to deflect the shine which frustrates me as it ruins the form of the strikes.

May 14, 2010
Uchikomi Juttoku, Ukekata Hattoku
by: Olga

Thank you, I've found one translation on Here it is.


The following 18 virtues are taken from a treatise on hokushin itto ryu written by Chiba Shusaku sensei.

Uchikomi juttoku (ten virtues of offence)

1. Techniques become powerful and prompt.

2. The strike becomes strong.

3*. Patience leads to perception of the opponents intent.

4. The arms move at will.

5. The body moves promptly and in good form.

6. The long sword is easily managed.

7. The lower half of the body becomes steady.

8**. You see with the minds eye.

9***. The timing of strikes is harmonised with the movement of the opponent.

10. The grip becomes light and skilful

Ukekata hattoku (eight virtues of defence)

1. You become calm and serene.

2**. You see with the minds eye.

3. You read the opponents intent through his sword.

4. The body is managed at will.

5. The body becomes fit and steady.

6. The grip becomes firm and fixed.

7. Your defence becomes skilful and difficult to evade.

8. The arms become solid and stable.

Kendo-Guide.Com:  Thanks for finding this site! Now I must add some note on certain points. Since these virtues are very short in Japanese there are some alternative interpretations. I would like to share them with you.

* Original Japanese is "Ikiai Nagaku Narukoto". It means "Your breath becomes longer".  Basically it means you will be fit. Many probably heard that you should try to do kirikaeshi with one breath, which is kind of impossible. But by trying, you become fit. Also you can learn how to breathe in kend? as well.

** Original Japanese is "Me Akirakani Narukoto". The kanji for "me (eye)" here is a bit different from what we use for eye balls.  As explained here, it can be "mind eyes". However we usually interpret this, "we can learn distance to strike properly".

*** Original Japanese is "Uchima Akirakani Narukoto". Uchima can be "distance to strike" and also "timing to strike". Since the distance is talked about previously, it should be "timing". Why timing?

I wrote in Kirikaeshi hitting men or shinai, "kakarite must adjust their speed of striking to the motodachi?s blocking speed. Which makes totally sense because motodachi is a teacher side so they lead the training".

So kakarite must learn how motodachi leads his/her kirikaeshi quickly. This means they have to learn the timing of blocking, i.e. when to strike.

Hope this helps.

May 06, 2010
by: Matt

Receiving kirikaeshi with the shinai also helps the kakarite speed their kirikaeshi up.

While the receiving motion can be good practice for motodachi (if you do it correctly), whether you receive or not depends entirely on the opponent, their level, and what they are doing.

My understanding is Motodachi is the 'teacher' and while they can and should practice for themselves, their entire focus should be on making whatever the kakarite does look good by adjusting timing, distance, receiving etc to both push the kakarite to their limit and bring out their best kendo.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Another good post! Thanks!

May 06, 2010
But why receiving with shinai?
by: Olga

So receiving kirikaeshi with shinai is for motodachi mainly, (s)he can train suri-age and uchi-otoshi, am I right?
I just can't understand why for example in tobikomi men we receive the strike with men not with shinai, but in kirikaeshi we receive sayu-men strikes with shinai not men (except beginners if I understand you right)...

Kendo-Guide.Com:  Good point again. It is always benefits for both. By being received by shinai, it will strengthen the kakarite?s strikes because kakarite?s shinai is bounced back a bit by motodachi?s shinai. To gain the control of shinai back, kakarite must have certain amount of strength in their arms.

On top of that, we can learn good tenouchi form being received by shinai.

As I said, it is harder for us to control our shinai when being received with shinai. For a better control, we need certain strength in our arms.

But to make our strikes smoother and harder, we need a good tenouchi. Now this is something we must pay attention to. It is harder to learn by just doing kirikaeshi. We must think about it and do kirikaeshi.

Since kirikaeshi is a series of continuous strikes, it is a good opportunity to learn a good tenouchi too.

Hope this helps.

PS? I am sure we can find translation of ?Uchikomi Juttoku, Uke Hattoku (Ten Benefits of Kakarite and Eight Benefits of Motodachi in Kirikaeshi) somewhere. If cannot find it, I will translate it.

May 03, 2010
Always cutting the men
by: Anonymous

As kakarite, you should always be cutting the men, it doesn?t matter whether there is a shinai in the way or not, it should not change your kirikaeshi.

The way motodachi receives with the shinai, or without is a tool for them to draw the best practice out of their kakarite. If they are cutting the shinai and not the men, the motodachi would remove the shinai as a target. If they are not finishing the cut at the men the motodachi can receive 'softly' so that it is clear to the kakarite that they are doing something wrong.

Motodachi can also place their shinai on kakarite's mune to keep them at the proper distance if they habitually are too close. These different things are just tools the motodachi can use to properly 'teach' their kakarite during kirikaeshi. The 'goal' is the same in all cases, to do a good kirikaeshi.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for the post! The shinai at the mune works very well!

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