My swing becomes angled

by Olga

It appeared that when I swing while shinai is above the head it moves not straightly.

My training partners sometimes say that it looks like I am almost making sayu-men instead of straight men, but when shinai hits the men target it is in the center of the opponent's men. So probably I make some kind of loop with shinai behind my head.

I have tried to correct that and now when I am making men suburi my shinai goes straightly. But during not suburi training, especially in jigeiko, my shinai traces a loop above my head.

Can you please advise what can cause that and how it is better to fix that?

Answer:  I assume that your shinai is straight when in chūdan. My chūdan is a bit diagonal so when I lift my sword up above my head, it is very diagonal.

So your chūdan is straight and but your shinai somewhat becomes diagonal (or angled) above your head. The below is a list of causes I can think of.

  • Your right hand is pulling your shinai up instead of pushing your shinai up with your left hand

  • You roll your right hand inward when you lift your shinai up.

  • Your men shape messes up your swinging motion (men-dare (the floppy part) is too log?)

When adrenalin kicks in in kendō, people forget everything but try to hit a target.  That is why your sword does not move as you want it to move especially in jigeiko.

It is unconscious. Therefore, we must repeatedly practice the basics up to the point where you can perform the basics unconsciously.

It may take a while but be patient. Consciously fix your problem and it will become a part of you.

Hope this helps.

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Mar 31, 2010
by: Tony

Apparently low-profile and trivial, this is one of the very valuable replies and pieces of advice I have seen for a while. Thank you!

Mar 25, 2010
Diagonal chūdan
by: Olga

Thanks, I'll keep trying!

One thing I didn't get - 'My chudan is a bit diagonal' - what does it mean? When chudan can be diagonal?

Kendo-Guide.Com: I was kinda afraid of that question :) . I am going to say is not for beginners at all. And this is probably one of the controversial things in kendo (maybe not).

Since we have our right hand and foot out forward, our chudan should be diagonal. However, the kensaki should be aiming at the throat (or the left eye) of your opponent.

If you have your kensaki pointing at the left eye of your opponent, it is called seigan.  Well, the name of this kamae varies so some people call it hira-seigan.

My sensei has this kamae so I do too.  

Therefore, when I lift my sword straight up from chudan, it is a bit angled like hidari-jodan but not quite hidari-jodan because the left hand is not above the left eye.

Many old sensei (7th and 8th dan) have a bit angled kamae. But to be honest with you, I don't really see many younger people do this.

If your sensei don't agree with such kamae, don't do it.  

Hope this helps.

Mar 24, 2010
Unstraight cuts
by: Chris

My sensei keeps shouting 'centre' at us during suburi practice. She tells us that in order to keep cuts central and straight, one should always make sure that left hand is at the centre and when lifting shinai, don't move your hands off centre (unless you are doing sayu-men or something of that sort).

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