Understanding what seme is


Do you remember the chart of the final goal, technique level and waza to practice at each destination at Requirements for Each Dan Grade? You can see the chart below.


We strike each other. For you to be able to strike a target successfully, you make sure that your opponent has an opening. Does your opponent give you an opening? Quite unlikely. So how do you strike an opening? You need to MAKE an opening. How do we do that? 


What do we expect from seme? An opening. That is why seme is very important. 

Do you remember this diagram?

Before we execute a datotsu, you need to execute a seme. Don’t worry about tame at this stage. You need to worry about it when going for your 6-dan and 7-dan exam. 

Here is what happens if your seme is executed successfully.

Seme and Expected Reactions from Your OpponentSeme and Expected Reactions from Your Opponent

You execute seme. And the green blocks are what your opponent will do. 

Against your seme

  • Body movements: Your opponent simply steps backward or step forward. 
  • Shinai movements: Your opponent lifts his/her shinai up, pushes it forward, presses his/her shinai over your shinai or simply lowers his/her shinai down.
  • Blocking: Your opponent takes a blocking action; covering men or kote.

Some of them can be “openings” for you to strike already. But of course, when your opponent moves his/her shinai over yours, then you cannot strike.

Seme is a first step to see what your opponent does. When your seme works, your opponent will react to you big enough so you will see an opening to strike

Ex. Seme -> Opponent Strikes Your Men -> You Strike Debana-Kote.

watch the video

More for the intermediate

More About "Seme"

"Kendo Guide for The Intermediate" is available at Vimeo. Stream the videos on your smart device/TV or you can download them. The written instructions are also available for you to download. 

No shipping info or waiting time needed. The Exam won't wait for you. Start right way.

Click here to check it out for more detail.