Gaku Shi Juku Kendo Kai

2.0 Basic Drills

2.1 Kirikaeshi

This is the basic hitting drill that is typically  used to warm up after putting on the "men". The following is an explanation of kirikaeshi broken down into five steps.

1) One big men and tai-atari

Big kiai followed by men and tai-atari. Once in kamae, do not let left foot sneak up. Right foot lunge and as you hit the men with your shinai, so should your foot hit the ground with your kiai “MEN”.

Receiver should give good tai-atari resistance.

2) Nine Sayu (Left and right) men

(One breath in) 4 hits going forward, then 5 hits coming back. All one long kiai. (end your breath on the 5th strike. All one long kiai.

Right-left-right-left, then Right-left-right-left-right

3) One big men and tai-atari

Big kiai followed by men and tai-atari. Once in kamae, do not let left foot sneak up. Right foot lunge and as you hit the men with your shinai, so should your foot to the ground and your kiai.

Receiver should give good tai-atari resistance.

4) Nine Sayu-men

(One breath in) 4 hits going forward, then 5 hits coming back. All one long kiai. (end your breath on the 5th strike). All one long kiai.

Right-left-right-left, then Right-left-right-left-right

5) One big men

Big kiai followed by men and go straight through past your opponent.  Once in kamae, do not let left foot sneak up. Right foot lunge and as you hit the men with your shinai, so should your foot to the ground and your kiai.

Receiver should move quickly out of way so hitter can go through you.

 

When the hitter hits through, the receiver MUST always move quickly to his/her right to avoid the person who is hitting.

2.2 Basic Hitting

The following are the basic building blocks to modern contemporary kendo. Basic Hitting is probably one of the most important drills that you can practice. Speed is not important initially. Kiai, kamae, footwork, proper hitting and the movement of body – all of these as ONE single entity – is absolutely crucial. In Japanese, this is called
”Ki-Ken-Tai” or “Spirit-Sword-Body”. Once you are able to combine all of these factors together, then increase your speed. If you having problems, then slow down, and make sure your form is perfect
.

If you are the person who is hitting, go straight through after you hit. If your receiver does not move for you fast enough, ask them to do so. If they still don’t dodge you fast enough, do a tai-atari.

Receivers need to quickly dodge the hitters and move to your right to let them go through you.

Men

 

A big motion as if you were doing a sho-men suburi, followed by big step, kiai, and hit and follows through.

 

The kiai should be “yaaaah” up until the time you hit and then “men!!!” up until the time until you turn around. (Repeated for “kote” and every other waza”).

After you hit and go through, make sure there is at least 4 or 5-shinai lengths space between you and the receiver before you turn around.  (Repeated for “kote” and every other waza”).

 

As soon as you turn around to face your receiver, your kamae should be on them and read to go. (Repeated for “kote” and every other waza”).

Kote

A big motion as if you were doing a sho-men suburi, followed by big step, kiai, and hit and follows through. The target is not the head, but the opponents right wrist.

Receivers need to quickly dodge the hitters to let them go through you.

 

Hitters should not hit hard; they should look to hit the kote slightly gripping the left hand as they hit.

Doh

A big motion as if you were doing a sho-men suburi, followed by big step, kiai, and hit and follows through. The target is the opponent’s right side of the body. So you need to hit at a 45-degree angle from your left side and then move your foot to the right as you go through.

 

Kote men

A big motion as if you were doing a sho-men suburi, followed by two big steps and hits and follows through. The target is first the wrist and then the head in consecutive blows.

 

Receivers need to quickly dodge the hitters to let them go through you.

 

Hitters should not hit hard; they should look to hit the kote slightly gripping the left hand as they hit. Also make sure that you take ‘one step for one hit’. So for this exercise, two step-two hits.

Kote doh

A big motion as if you were doing a sho-men suburi, followed by two big steps and hits and follows through. The target is first the wrist and then the opponent’s right side of the body in consecutive blows.

 

As you hit the doh, you will do so at a 45-degree angle from your left side and then move your foot to the right as you go through.

Receivers need to quickly dodge the hitters to let them go through you.

 

Hitters should not hit hard; they should look to hit the kote slightly gripping the left hand as they hit. Also make sure that you take ‘one step for one hit’. So for this exercise, two step-two hits.

Kote men men

A big motion as if you were doing a sho-men suburi, followed by three big steps and hits and follows through. The target is first the wrist and then two consecutive men hits. 

Receivers need to quickly move backwards to allow the hitters to have ample hitting space.

 

Hitters should not hit hard; they should look to hit the kote slightly gripping the left hand as they hit. Also make sure that you take ‘one step for one hit’. So for this exercise, three steps-three hits.

Hiki (backwards)

men

From close in quarters (typically after tai-atari), the hitter will take step backwards as if doing the sho-men suburi backwards and hit the men and quickly back up.

Your Zanshin for this position is to have your hand above your head, straight up and arms extended.

Hiki (backwards) kote

From close in quarters (typically after tai-atari), the hitter will take step backwards to your left and hit the opponent’s right kote and quickly back up.

Your Zanshin for this position is to have your hands beside your body, straight out and arms extended.

Hiki (backwards) doh

From close in quarters (typically after tai-atari), the hitter will take step backwards to your left and hit your opponent’s right side of the body and quickly back up.

Your Zanshin for this position is to have your hands straight out in front of you with arms extended.

2.3 Advanced Hitting

These are only for senior students. Junior students should read this section and try to get a feel for what these techniques are about and when the senior students practice this, try to watch them and learn by observing.

Sashi Men

 

A smaller motion men that aims straight for the throat and then at the last second hits the men.

 

It is important that your opponent’s shinai is ‘attacked’ before you hit men.

Extend your arms when you hit the men. Make sure your left hand is as high as your neck upon the impact of shinai to the men.

‘Underneath’ Kote

If you notice that your opponent has a tendency to raise his hands when you attack his kamae, you might want to try this waza.

 

Attack his/her kamae and then go underneath his shinai so that when you hit the kote, you are hitting from under the shinai, not over the top as when you do a more conventional kote.

Make sure your feet are moving towards your opponent.

 

If you miss the kote, make sure you are able to be in a blocking position immediately. If you miss the kote, you are vulnerable.

‘Fake the men’ kote

Attack his/her kamae and then make a thrust with your shinai towards his/her men. (Make sure you take a full step as you do the thrust). As your opponent raise his arms to protect his men, then hit the kote from the left side at a slight angle.

 

Harai Kote

Using left hand, move shinai underneath your opponent’s shinai and come up by hitting the right side of your shinai against their right side of the shinai. You will hit the shinai up at a 45-degree angle and in one smooth motion, then hit kote.

Make sure your feet move forward at the same time your hands do. You might want to make this into a two-step attack. The first step is in conjunction with the shinai hitting your opponent’s shinai out of the way; the second step is in conjunction with hitting kote.

 

Using the left hand is the key to success for this. Aim at the base of their shinai rather than the tip.

Harai Men

Using left hand, move shinai underneath your opponent’s shinai and come up by hitting the right side of your shinai against their right side of the shinai. You will hit the shinai up at a 45-degree angle and in one smooth motion, then hit men.

Make sure your feet move forward at the same time your hands do. You might want to make this into a two-step attack. The first step is in conjunction with the shinai hitting your opponent’s shinai out of the way; the second step is in conjunction with hitting kote.

 

Using left hand is the key to success for this. Aim at the base of their shinai rather than the tip.

Morote Tsuki (for black belts only)

Two hand Tsuki. While moving forward slowly in suri-ashi, move your shinai straight down. This movement will bring your opponent’s shinai down. As this happens, then immediately extend arms and jump and hit Tsuki. If you miss, quickly recover and hit men for a “tsuki-men” attack.

 

Katate Tsuki (for black belts only)

One hand Tsuki. While moving forward slowly in suri-ashi, extend your left arm and jump and hit tsuki. If you miss, quickly recover and hit men for a “tsuki-men” attack.

 

Katsugi men

While moving forward slowly in suri-ashi, bring your arms back to your left side. This will look like you are going to hit kote. In one big motion then, attack men. 

Don’t do this too often or else you will get used to it and not be able to do straight sashi-men.

Gyaku doh (for black belts only)

As you move forward in suri-ashi, point your shinai and aim it to your opponents left eye in a thrusting motion. This will bring up their hands and then you can quickly strike their doh on their left side.

 

Hiki (backwards) Doh Men

From tsuba-zuri, take your arms to your opponent’s right side and pretend that you are about to hit doh. As your opponent goes to protect the doh, then quickly bring arm up and hit men and back up.

 

Hiki (backwards) Men Doh

From tsuba-zuri, take your arms to your opponent’s head and pretend that you are about to hit men. You may even give him a big tap. As your opponent goes to protect the men and raises his arms, then quickly jump back and hit doh and back up to your left.

 

2.4 Uchikomi (hitting drills)

The aim here is to put together consecutive hits and is a free flowing exercise to combine different attacks while moving your body and keeping your head clear. Both the hitter and receiver have equally difficult responsibilities for this exercise. Typically, uchikomi is short and free flowing to ensure that the hitter can stay focused and sharp.

For ‘good’ uchikomi to occur, there needs to be from the hitting side is will and desire to work hard. Most of the owe ness falls on the side of the receiver, whose responsibility is to it is motivate, push them, pull, and in general, help the hitter get better. If you are the receiver for uchikomi, it is not a time to rest.

Hitter

The hitter should give big kiai and look to hit wherever is ‘open’, whether it is men, kote, doh, or tsuki (for seniors), kote-men, kote-doh etc.  The hitter must keep their legs moving quickly and not stop until told to do so.

 

Receiver

When facing the hitter, give an equal amount of kiai as the person who is hitting. If their kiai is not sufficient before they hit, stop them, and make them do the hit again.

If you would like the hitter to do a tai-atari (body block), then give them a firm tai-atari. Do not step backwards. Give them maximum resistance. If not, move out of the way and let them go through. The hitter should always go straight through and not have to go around you. The receiver should always move to the right to avoid the hitter.

If the hitter is slow to go through, then give them a push with your shinai across their lower back and help them go faster.

As the hitter goes through and turns around, make sure you have followed quickly behind them so that they don't have to wait more than one second before being able to hit again. Open up multiple places and let them be creative.

Depending on the time, the receiver should call the end of the uchikomi for that person at around 20-30 seconds.

 

The time can be greater however up to a minute or longer.


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