Comments for Shinai length, stomping steps and ai-techniques

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Jul 24, 2011
by: rfoxmich

I feel there are a couple of reasons that fumikomi is useful (not necessary as Imafuji sensei pointed out and if you watch 8-dan videos you can see as well).

First, the reason most often given: It helps you to bring your body power downward into the cut, that is to add focus to the strike.

Second, this is my opinion based on my thinking about fumikomi..not something I've been taught:

When you lunge in with fumikiri (kick off with all your trailing foot power), to deliver your body with the cut, there are a couple of dangers:

- Your left foot will trail,

- You'll wind up unbalanced.

My opinion is that the right foot impact is one tool you can use to both ensure your hips get pulled underneath your shoulders again to retain balance and to snap your left foot up behind your right foot...this is done by using the impact to time, and add force to re-straightening your right foot which automatically pulls your left foot up and your hips in.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for sharing your opinion!

Jul 03, 2011
ai techniques
by: Anonymous

I was watching a you tube video ( I tried without success to find the video again) where a teacher was explaining a technique that was used in their particular form of Japanese sword arts. He basically used an uchiotishi action during a men cut.

The result was that he cut at the same time as his opponent, blocked the incoming men strike and got the men cut in the same motion.

In practice I found that the hand needs to bend the wrist out a bit in order to deflect the blade. Fencing as a similar action and calls it "attacking with opposition".

Counterattacks or nuke (nuki?) actions also call for attacking at the same time as your opponent. either of these count as or relate to ai techniques or the question as stated in the shinai length, stomping steps and ai techniques post?

Answer: When executing uchi-otoshi it is said "For a successful uchi-otoshi, you need determination and commitment without being afraid of getting cut".

It is not an ai-uchi technique. In old days, if your opponent's sword touches you, you get hurt. But uchi-otoshi needs to be done knowing the fact that if you miss you either get hurt or die.

Additional information: An article says that uchi-otoshi and kiri-otoshi are different. Uchi-otoshi is two movements. You knock down your opponent's shinai down when your opponent's attacking and strike your opponent. The best example of this is the last form of Bokut? Kihon-ho, d? uchi-otoshi men.

Kiri-otoshi, on the other hand, is one movement. Your shinai slides down along the opponent's cut (men usually) and cut your opponent. So the cutting down motion also protects you from getting cut.

If you know suriage men, kiri-otoshi is the reverse version of suriage men in a very very simple explanation.

As you can imagine, this is the hardest thing to do. You must be skillful and brave to execute such cuts in fights with real swords. So it is said that you don't execute kiri-otoshi against your opponent, but against yourself to cut off the fear you have.

Hope this helps.

Jun 24, 2011
Response to the comment by Adam
by: Kendo-Guide.Com

About shinai length:

Kendo-Guide.Com: I think your guess was right. 38 was considered not too long nor too short.

It is said that Susumu Ōishi used 5 shaku 3 sun (approx. 160cm) and beat many opponents from other schools by tsuki.

The traditional schools such as Mut?-ryu (founded by Tesshū Yamaoka) apparently still used shorter shinai.

About fumikomi/tobikomi:

Kendo-Guide.Com: Very interesting point of view.

In my personal point of view, stomping is not an important part. But delivering the body forward is.

Fumikomi is not necessary even in modern kend? in order to execute proper and valid cuts. The most important thing is to perform ki ken tai icchi. That is why there are many kend? practitioners who do not "stomp" much as you mentioned in your previous comment.

"Stomping" is a result of the "delivering the body forwards by the left foot".

The faster and more strongly we deliver our body forwards, the stronger and louder our stomping gets.

If the floor is really hard, it is true that your knee and heel will get hurt. In such case, you should change the way you execute your cuts. I do that all the time. You should modify your kend? in the different environments.

Please remember that this is my personal view. When you start learning kend?, you must follow what your teacher says.

I would like to add one more thing. In kend?, sutemi is very important. In Japanese, it writes "throw your body away". Does it make sense to you? :)

It means "commitment".

When you execute a cut, you must do so without thinking about its consequence. You must put everything you have into the cut you are executing. There is no future, no past. You live in the moment.

I think cutting in like we do in modern kend? is simply to get this concept. If kend? is just hitting each other, this jumping in does not make sense. Why?

Because you cannot stop in a half way through. Once you start striking, especially men, there is no way back. If hitting was the main goal, this would simply be very illogical.

And we are even told to follow though even though we think we are not getting the men we intend to cut.

"Jumping in" or I should say "stepping in with a lot of force" is to overcome the fear of "getting stab" and "losing" and also "the craving for victory".

This leads to "ai-nuke".

About your thoughts before starting up kendo:

Kendo-Guide.Com: Glad that you are learning kend? as much as you can before taking up kend? lessons. Once you start training, these all start making sense to you. And make you confused too. :)

We all are struggling to understand the concept of kend? and apply it to our daily life. But there is only way to accomplish it.

Keep trying.

Hope this helps.

Jun 22, 2011
thank you for the reply, it helped a lot
by: Adam

First of all thank you very much for the reply. It really helped a lot.

Now I know How it happened that shinai length was set to what it is now. But I still don't understand why that standard length was set to 117 cm. Was is because everybody already used longer shinais by that time and Kōbusho decided to make the standard length somewhere in the middle? So it won't be too long, but also not too "short" as a length of a traditional sword is, because everybody were used to use longer swords already?

About fumikomi/tobikomi, I see the reason to use these techniques in the old days and also understand (if I could say it like that) the mechanics, but as for nowadays, as for modern kendo, do you think there techniques are reasonable? Is there any practical meaning to keep those techniques that basically had the effect of "surprise" and "impact" in the old days now? I just think that these techniques are rather bad for your knees and heels, and kendo does prioritize healthy body and spirit. I also saw in shiais people sometimes make smaller and smaller stomps. Kendo changed a lot after the WWII, so do you think in modern kendo such potentially "unhealthy" techniques could also be reduced? I mean just the stomp part, jumping in is okay.

I can't call myself even a beginner since I don't practice kendo yet. I'm just taking my time doing research, watching videos and reading articles about kendo and trying to understand the reasoning behind kendo techniques and philosophy. So when I will have a little bit of knowledge I'll be able to train without hesitation and will be able to seriously give it my all.

Thank you for explaining me about the ai-uchi, now I have a lot to think about.

And everything is clear with the last question, thank you again :)

Kendo-Guide.Com: You're welcome!

Due to the limitation of the number of words that can be written here, I will post my response as a comment. Thank you.

Jun 22, 2011
by: Val Serezhkin

Great topic about ai-uchi. Thank you.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Glad that you enjoyed it :)

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