Pushing in shiai.

by Andrew
(Massachusetts, USA)

Imafuji sensei,

I've been enjoying your site and now your podcast. It’s a great resource to complement my in-dojo training.

I recently participated in a local shiai where a young 1-dan was doing quite well - but mostly by shoving opponents out of the match. In fact he won two matches by hansoku. I understand that being pushed out is often the fault of the one being pushed since you should be able to maintain your position. But I also thought that one could be penalized for pushing too much - but I rarely ever see it done.

Do you have any thoughts on when pushing is "too much"?

Answer: Thank you very much for your question. I am going to answer this through the shiai regulation standpoint and my personal view.

  1. Shiai Regulation Standpoint: The one should be penalized if he/she fiercely pushes their opponent out of the shiai-jo. And clearly his/her intention is to get a point by pushing their opponent out.

    Competitors should fight with their best abilities so they know what they can improve. They should not PUSH people out of the shiai-jo because they could win.

    And shinpan should stop them if one tries to push the other one out of the shiai-jo. People should do kendo not sumo in kendo matches.

  2. My personal view: I talked about this in Kendo Podcast Episode 04.

    I personally don’t like pushing people out especially for their victory. But at the same time, one should not risk themselves by getting close to the line because as the rule if we step out we will penalize.

    But I would like to see two things rather than pushing people out fiercely for their victory.

    1. Instead of pushing one’s enemy physically, make them step out by pressure like Kata No. 3.

    2. Instead of pushing one’s enemy physically, stepping back to the center so they can purely fight and test what they achieved through their training. This should be done without being told by shinpan.

    3. Shiai is fun. We can learn by losing and winning. But it is not fun when people pursue and care about their victories. If they don’t care how they win or lose then kendo is not the "way" anymore. That is my personal view.

      Hope this helps!

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