Queen Mary Kendo Club

Yuko datotsu

Yuko datotsu is broadly defined as the accurate and intentional striking with the correct part of the shinai (datotsu-bu) onto a valid target of the opponent’s bougu (datotsu-bui) with a positive and spirited kiai and the correct posture and angle of the shinai, followed by a sustained follow-through of the positive spirit of the attack (zanshin).

In more detail, yuko datotsu can only be achieved when the following five key elements have been executed:

1. kamaeru – to assume the correct posture
To be upright, holding the shinai in a position that does not expose any targets, and prepared to attack; and to continue holding an upright posture until completion of the waza

2. semeru – to apply pressure on your opponent
To give your opponent the feeling that you are able to strike at any time by dominating the ‘centre’

3. toraeru – to seize the opportunity
To recognise and act upon the opportunity to strike

4. i. datotsu-bu – You must hit with the top third of the ‘blade’ of the shinai, between the kensen (tip) and the nakayui (leather tied around the shinai)

4. ii. datotsu-bui – You must hit the correct part of your opponent’s armour

5. zanshin – literally “residual heart”
To maintain spirit and alertness after striking your opponent and coming back to kamae so that you are ready to cut again if necessary

The following must be fulfilled in addition:

6. hasuji – The shinai must travel in the correct path and land in the correct angle; and you must cut only with the side of the shinai opposite the tsuru (string)

7. ki – You must have full spirit (kiai) and an upright posture throughout the waza

8. ki-ken-tai no ichi – The landing of the shinai must coincide with the kiai and fumikomi-ashi


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