Queen Mary Kendo Club


Basic strikes

men – cut to the top of the head

kote – cut to the wrist (you only the wrist closer to you: right when your opponent is in chudan position, or left when your opponent is in jodan position)

do – cut to the right side of the torso (or from your viewpoint, the left side), immediately below the ribs

tsuki – thrust to the throat (generally not performed by beginners)

Footwork (see Kendo Guide for images)

suri-ashi – sliding footwork

okuri-ashi – this is the name of the basic kendo footwork. Feet should be should width apart, with the left at the back and the right at the front. Your feet should not cross when moving. To move forward push with the back (left) leg; to go backwards push the front (right leg); to go left push with the right leg and to go right push with the left leg.

ayumi-ashi – “walking” footwork where the feet are allowed to cross

fumikomi-ashi – slap of the front foot as it lands on the floor for a cut (this is not made by stamping, repeatedly stamping will hurt your knees)

hiraki-ashi – changing the direction of the body by stepping out to the side

taisabaki – stepping out of the line of the incoming strike so that the body is safe

hikitsuke-ashi – pulling up the remaining foot after stepping so that the feet return to their original positions

tsugi-ashi – an advanced type of footwork often only used by high grades where the left foot is pulled up to be much closer to the right foot to allow for a bigger step

waza – technique

shikake waza – attacking technique

oji waza – counter-attack

hiki waza – attack followed by zanshin going backwards

debana – cutting the opponent as they strike

degashira – mostly used as an alternate way of saying debana

suriage – parrying the opponent’s shinai with a rising slide

harai – parrying the opponent’s shinai with a sideways slap

nuki – avoiding the opponent’s strike to counter-attack

kaeshi – using the force of the opponent’s cut to strike back

uchiotoshi – cutting the opponent’s shinai to create an opening

kiriotoshi – cutting the opponent’s shinai whilst they cut

makiotoshi – flicking the opponent’s shinai out of the centre using a corkscrew motion

tokui waza – a favourite technique

morote – two handed

katate – one handed

nidan waza – two part technique

sandan waza – three part technique

renzoku waza – multiple part technique

sayumen/yokomen – cuts to the head at a 45 degree angle

gyaku do – cuts to the right hand side of the do (from your perspective). This technique can be considered to be a little bit flashy


tsubazeriai – close quarters position where the tsuba (guards) are touching

taiatari – body check performed by using the legs and hips to transfer energy into the opponent (not a push with the arms)

omote – outside edge of the sword (this is the side that touches the opponents sword in chudan). Generally speaking omote techniques are performed on the right hand side of the opponents sword (from your perspective)

ura – reverse side of the sword. Generally ura techniques are performed on the left hand side of the opponents sword (from your perspective)


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