The suburi pace

by Olga

Last summer I participated in seminar with Hijikata Naohito sensei. One thing that surprised me was the suburi pace.

We did suburi rather slow and were holding our shinais on the imaginary men for quite a long time. Some other senseis offer a faster pace for suburi. (I mean the pace between strikes, not between moving shinai up and down.)

So what are the advantages of making suburi slow (i.e. normal strike but then holding shinai on imaginary men long)? And what are the advantages of a fast suburi pace?

What pace do you usually use in your trainings?

Answer: Very nice question.

I think what you did with Hijikata sensei is to have a pause at the men height. This is very useful for those who start getting used to kendo swinging.

People tend to bounce up their sword in suburi. They are literally just swinging their sword instead of cutting. Sometimes they do not even know they are not striking men, i.e. too low or too high.

By pausing at the men height, we can

  • Actually cut down instead of swing and bounce our shinai back up (kensaki should be at your eye height)

  • Check if we are cutting down men, i.e. not too high or not too low and

  • Realise that suburi is not merely a warm up but actual training method.

This is rather useful for beginners. I always do this myself because I want to check my cut.

Even in suburi, each strike should have the feeling of a "cut". You can make it faster or slower but this is the first thing.
So how long do we have to pause our shinai at the men height?

Usually you do not want to pause for a long time but it is a good training method.

Hope this helps.

Comments for The suburi pace

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 19, 2009
Thank you
by: Soyuz

Thank you very much... I never knew about " pausing"!!..

Kendo-Guide.Com: Good! You can try to pause when striking next time.

Oct 16, 2009
the stop in suburi
by: Christoph

Practicing your suburi in a slow pace allows you to emphasise the stop. A lot of people (myself included) have a tendency to keep swinging when doing fast suburi, whereas you always have to pause at the end of your cut.

When you're doing haya suburi another common problem is pausing at the wrong time. You pause at the end of the cut, i.e. when you hit men and not when you pull the shinai back.

As my sensei always says, kendo is all about the details...

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your comment. People tend to forget about the origin of kendo, even though it is called ken (sword) do. This ?ken? part is what we always want to remember during our training.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Kendo Work Shop.