Gaku Shi Juku Kendo Kai

4.0 Advanced Reaction/Reflex Drills

4.1 Men Ouji-waza Keiko (techniques against men strikes)

Ouji-waza is about taking what an opponent hits, using his/her energy and reacting against it. In this drill, one player will hit men, while the other player will do a counter-hit off men. The keys to practicing this drill is that whoever is hitting men, MUST hit men with full vigour, full kiai and full speed. This is the only way the other player can fully learn. (If necessary, however, you may start things slowly to get the fundamentals down).

Another key is that whoever is practicing the drills (the person who reacts to the opponent’s hits) must keep their feet moving. Small suri-ashi back and forth is important as you wait for the your opponent’s moves. Make sure to keep your shinai active in the centre. Always be aware of the distance between your and your opponent’s shinai. Do not become static.

Demonstrations for these drills may be necessary as it is difficult to capture the essence of each technique just in words.

Ai-men

As the opponent begins to strike men, quickly go over top him and hit your own men.

 

Uchiotoshi men

As the person hits men on you, come from over the top as if trying to split wood through the middle. Since your hit is in the centre, your men strikes while your opponent goes off to his right.

 

Harai-men

As the person hits men, block with the left side of your shinai, raising it a little and angling it to the right. (Shinai is angling out facing right at a 45 degree angle) Once the block is made, then quickly strike down and hit full force.

 

De-gote (to right)

As the person’s arms go upwards lunge forward with kote, extending your arms, and then quickly move to your right after you make the hit. Don’t wait until the person has actually hit the men to hit your kote. Hit their kote while they are in the upward motion of hitting men.

 

De-gote (to left)

As the person’s arms go upwards lunge forward with kote, extending your arms, and then quickly move to your left, with left foot first and then right foot. Don’t wait until the person has actually hit the men to hit your kote. Hit their kote while they are in the upward motion of hitting men

 

Nuki-doh

As the person hits men, quickly bend down at your knees a little, move your body to the right to avoid the men strike and while looking at your opponent’s eyes all the way, strike down on the left side of the doh.

 

Kaeshi-doh (backward)

As the person hits men, raise your hands up and to the right. Block the men with the left side of your shinai (shinai is angling out facing right at a 45 degree angle) and quickly hit doh, move your body to the right and go through.

 

Kaeshi-doh (forward)

As the person hits men, raise your hands up and to the right. Block the men with the left side of your shinai (shinai is angling out facing right at a 45 degree angle) and quickly hit doh, move your body back to the left and quickly back up.

 

4.2 Kote Ouji-waza Keiko (techniques against kote strikes)

Ouji-waza is about taking what an opponent hits, using his/her energy and reacting against it. In this drill, one player will hit kote, while the other player will do a counter-hit off kote. The keys to practicing this drill is that whoever is hitting kote, MUST hit kote with full vigour, full kiai and full speed. This is the only way the other player can fully learn. (If necessary, however, you may start things slowly to get the fundamentals down).

Another key is that whoever is practicing the drills (the person who reacts to the opponent’s hits) must keep their feet moving. Small suri-ashi back and forth is important as you wait for the your opponent’s moves. Make sure to keep your shinai active in the center. Always be aware of the distance between your and your opponent’s shinai. Do not become static.

Demonstrations for these drills may be necessary as it is difficult to capture the essence of each technique just in words.

Nuki-men (forward)

As the person hits the kote, raise your arms as if to do shomen suburi motion, then quickly strike down on the person’s men and go forward. The opponent should end up hitting air where the kote should have been.

 

Nuki-men (backward)

As the person hits the kote, raise your arms as if to do shomen suburi motion, then quickly strike down on the person’s men and back up. The opponent should end up hitting air where the kote should have been.

 

Harai-men

As the person hits kote raise your arms a little twisting your shinai to the left a bit. You will block their kote strike with the right side of your shinai (sometimes with the tsuba area as well) and then quickly hit the men all in one motion.

Do not raise the arms too high. The men hit should be right after the block. Don’t delay.

 

A poor block can result in your opponent successfully hitting kote.

Kaeshi-men (forward)

As the person hits kote raise your arms a little and angle your shinai to the right at a 45-degree angle. You will block the opponent’s strike with the left side of your shinai. After you block, you will quickly hit the men on the left side of your opponent’s head by twisting your hands and coming around in a circular motion. Quickly move forward as you make your hit.

 

Kaeshi-men (backward)

As the person hits kote raise your arms a little and angle your shinai to the right at a 45-degree angle. You will block the opponent’s strike with the left side of your shinai. After you block, you will quickly hit the men on the left side of your opponent’s head by twisting your hands and coming around in a circular motion. Quickly back up as you make your hit.

 

Suriage-men

As the person hits kote raise your arms forward and angle your shinai to the right at a 45-degree angle. As soon as you block the kote, in the same motion, hit the men.

This is a relatively safe waza that we should all have in our arsenal.

 

The key is to make sure that blocking and hitting is all in one motion and not two separate movements.

Ai-gote-men

As the person hits kote, so will you, thus cancelling out their kote hit. But your intention from the start will be to hit kote-men, and so as your kote’s cancel each other out, you can hit men and rewarded. No special moves are required here.

This is an excellent waza that we should all have in our arsenal. In instances where your opponent is coming to hit kote (which is quite often – kote is probably the most hit waza), then this waza comes into play a lot.

Harai-kote

As the person hits kote raise your arms a little twisting your shinai to the left a bit. You will block their kote strike with the right side of your shinai (sometimes with the tsuba area as well) and then quickly hit the kote all in one motion.

Do not raise the arms too high. The kote hit should be right after the block. Don’t delay.

 

A poor block can result in your opponent successfully hitting kote.

4.3 Doh Ouji-waza keiko (techniques against doh strikes)

Ouji-waza is about taking what an opponent hits, using his/her energy and reacting Ouji-waza is about taking what an opponent hits, using his/her energy and reacting against it. In this drill, one player will hit doh, while the other player will do a counter-hit off doh. The keys to practicing this drill is that whoever is hitting doh, MUST hit doh with full vigour, full kiai and full speed. This is the only way the other player can fully learn. (If necessary, however, you may start things slowly to get the fundamentals down).

Another key is that whoever is practicing the drills (the person who reacts to the opponent’s hits) must keep their feet moving. Small suri-ashi back and forth is important as you wait for the your opponent’s moves. Make sure to keep your shinai active in the center. Always be aware of the distance between your and your opponent’s shinai. Do not become static.

Demonstrations for these drills may be necessary as it is difficult to capture the essence of each technique just in words.

Harai-men

As the person comes to strike do, block the do in a similar position of blocking a kirikaeshi men, but only lower hand position. As you block, quickly do a hiki-men and back up.

 

4.4 Tsuki Ouji-waza keiko (techniques against tsuki strikes)

Ouji-waza is about taking what an opponent hits, using his/her energy and reacting against it. In this drill, one player will hit tsuki, while the other player will do a counter-hit off tsuki. The keys to practicing this drill is that whoever is hitting tsuki, MUST hit tsuki with full vigour, full kiai and full speed. This is the only way the other player can fully learn. (If necessary, however, you may start things slowly to get the fundamentals down).

Another key is that whoever is practicing the drills (the person who reacts to the opponent’s hits) must keep their feet moving. Small suri-ashi back and forth is important as you wait for the your opponent’s moves. Make sure to keep your shinai active in the center. Always be aware of the distance between your and your opponent’s shinai. Do not become static.

Demonstrations for these drills may be necessary as it is difficult to capture the essence of each technique just in words.

Harai-men

As the person comes for your tsuki raise your arms a little twisting your shinai to the left a bit. You will block their tsuki strike with the right side of your shinai (sometimes with the tsuba area as well) and then quickly hit their men all one motion.

 

Suriage-men

As the person strikes tsuki raise your arms forward and angle your shinai to the right at a 45-degree angle. As soon as you block the strike, in the same motion, hit the men.

The key is to make sure that blocking and hitting is all in one motion and not two separate movements.

Ai-zuki

As the person strikes tsuki, go over the top of their arms and deliver a crushing blow to their tsuki.

 

4.5 Footwork timing drills

In a match, as you face tougher and tougher opponents, it becomes extremely difficult to just aim at some area (kote or men etc) and just hit it and expect to get a point. Often, you will be able to get points when the opponent is backing up, ‘about’ to move forward, caught in a vulnerable position, etc. If a player has strong kamae and is ready to hit, the chances are that you won’t be able to hit him/her. It is when their kamae is off that you have the most chances.  The following are timing drills to seize the moment.

Degashira (when they are about to go) -men

As both players are facing off in kamae, you notice that your opponent has a pattern of moving in and out. And when he moves in, you feel that you are at distance close enough that you can strike men. So watching his movements, as he is moving in, time the men perfectly and take off with a strong pure lunge.

 

Kote

If the person backs off by raising their hands and shinai in a horizontal plane, then hit the kote. The kote may come across diagonally along the same plane as your defender’s shinai

What you hit in this drills is very heavily dependant on how your opponent reacts to your kamae lunges. As you take a suri-ashi step forward with strong kamae, most people will react different. Some will lower their shinai back off. Some will raise their hands and protect their kote by making their shinai horizontal.

Kote-men

If the defender increases the strength of their kamae by putting weight into their tips of their shinai, they are susceptible to a strong kote-men attack.

 

Tsuki

If the defender’s kamae is weak, and his/her shinai points to his/her right (to your left) they are susceptible to a tsuki attack.

 

Oi (to chase) -men

After making a few aggressive steps with strong kamae, your opponent may start to back up or back off. This is an opportune time to increase the speed of your suri-ashi and catch your opponent flatfooted or going backwards. Depending on where the shinai is as he/she retreats, chase them and hit men.

When chasing them, don’t get overeager and jump from too far. Remember, in order for you to gain ground, you must be chasing in suri-ashi mode at a faster rate that which they back up.

Oi-kote-men

After making a few aggressive steps with strong kamae, your opponent may start to back up or back off. This is an opportune time to increase the speed of your suri-ashi and catch your opponent flatfooted or going backwards. Depending on where the shinai is as he/she retreats, chase them and hit kote-men.

When chasing, kote-men is one of the safest moves because for the person who is backing up, the most easiest area to hit is kote. If you were to attack men, they may hit your kote as you lunge (de-gote).

Oi-kote

After making a few aggressive steps with strong kamae, your opponent may start to back up or back off. This is an opportune time to increase the speed of your suri-ashi and catch your opponent flatfooted or going backwards. Depending on where the shinai is as he/she retreats, chase them and fake hitting the men, then hit kote.

 


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