Proper Fumikomi

by Z (a Dutch kendoka)
(The Netherlands)

I have a problem with my fumikomi where I tend to bend my legs so much before lunging that my body lowers considerably. My back is still straight but because of my bent legs my fumikomi becomes more difficult to do and as a result slower.

I think the cause of this is two things; one is that I have been training with a lot of tape around my left foot because I tend to get -the- big blister really fast. The taping causes me to have less traction with the floor so my lunge is affected by that.

The other is that I tend to strike from standstill (also because of that traction issue), even from as far a distance as tō-ma.

Those who teach me directly have told me that I should move around more while doing jigeiko so that the fumikomi does not start from standstill and I have been practicing with as little taping as I can, only taping when there's actually an open blister or when it's still not fully healed (i.e. the skin is still weak).

Another thing they have told me is basically to keep good posture and make sure that my fumikomi comes from the hips.

My question is, do you have any additional suggestions that could help, home exercises etc?

I'm having quite a bit of trouble with my footwork in this particular case, to the point where it confuses my teachers, so
maybe they're forgetting something that you might be able to think of.

Many many thanks in advance for your answer. I always read your kendo blog to inspire me to be attentive of the finer points of how I should do nice kendo.

Answer: Thank you for your post and kind words. 
About blisters: It does not matter how correctly you perform kendō, you will have blisters on the left foot. However, if you twist your left foot when moving forwards, you tend to keep having blisters on your left feet.

This often occurs when your left foot is already facing outward when you are in chūdan. Keep the both knees straight towards your opponent. If you have your knees straight, your toes will be straight.

It sounds like that you are going downwards instead of going forwards. I think it is because of your left foot. If your left foot is twisted when striking, it leaves your body behind.  Simply it is because your body tends to become side-on. Also it is because your left foot is twisted, you lose the power from your left foot by the twisting motion.

Fumikomi consists of two motions; one is pushing by your left foot and the other one is pulling up your body with the right leg.  As soon as your right foot lands on the floor, you have to pull up and forwards your body.

You may find those articles and videos.

Hope this helps.

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Jun 24, 2010
About left foot blisters
by: Jorge

About the left foot blisters, I noticed that if you leave your hips behinds you will create an angle in your foot that will tend to break the skin between the sole and your first toe more than usual.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Very true! Thanks for your comment!

Apr 15, 2010
by: Z

Thank you very much for your ideas and the short video about fumikomi.

I have never really paid attention to the position of my feet as I always assumed they were straight, even though I can remember on one occasion an older teacher telling me he noticed I was not pointing my toes forward.

I think when breaking fumikomi up in the two parts you said, the lunge with the left foot and the straightening with the right, the problem lies with my left foot. So from now on I will pay special attention to keeping my posture straight and that my toes and knees are directed towards my opponent.

Thanks again!

Kendo-Guide.Com: Not a problem. Make sure that your feet are not too far apart lengthwise. This makes fumikomi very hard to do too.

Apr 15, 2010
Interesting problem
by: Matt

Unsure what you mean by standstill. You should be doing fumikomi from a set kamae which is what I would call a standstill, but if you are trying to hit from toma. That is likely too far and you need to step in to issoku itto.

Other posture things that may help: think about standing tall as if someone is pulling you up by the top of your head, and keep your chest open (think about pointing your chest towards the ceiling.)

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks, M att!

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