Queen Mary Kendo Club

Session #10: All cuts start with the same action

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This week our coach emphasised that all cuts (men, kote and do) should start with exactly the same action:

  1. The body remains still and upright throughout steps 2 and 3.
  2. Push the shinai forward along the line of the shinai with both hands.
  3. Continue to raise the shinai as if trying for tsuki (thrust to the throat).
  4. Once the shinai has been raised high enough for the respective cut, bring the shinai down to cut the target and step forward at the same time.

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This is a very advanced way of cutting, so don’t worry if you can’t grasp it just yet. We’ll continue to work on this in the coming semester.

To practise the concept above at home, if you should wish to do so over the holidays, our coach introduced us to the following exercise that Jeff Humm-shihan (Hizen Kendo Club) recommends:

  1. Sit in seiza facing a wall with your shinai in chuudan, shoulders relaxed. Position yourself so that the tip of your shinai is 2-3 inches away from the wall. Make sure you are not hunched forwards or arching back (see Fig. 1).
  2. Push your shinai forward along the line of your shinai until it almost touches the wall.
  3. Lift the shinai along the wall, making sure the tip of your shinai is raised vertically (see Fig. 2).
  4. When you can no longer lift your shinai along the wall without leaning forward (this is when your right arm is parallel to the ground), lift your arms to do a men cut as normal
  5. The men cut should stop at the height of a usual men, with the tip of your shinai just touching the wall.
  6. Return to chudan and repeats steps 2 to 6.
Fig. 1: Correct seiza posture is upright but natural.

Fig. 1: Correct seiza posture is upright but natural. (Image drawn by Wayne Muramoto.)

Fig. 2: The red line shows the approximate path that the tip of your shinai should follow.

Fig. 2: The tip of your shinai should approximately be tracing the red line as you lift your arms.

If you have any questions about the above, please leave a comment below and we’ll try to clarify.

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Author: Sybil Wong

PhD student in Molecular Oncology at Barts Cancer Institute, QMUL

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