a MMB! Kendo Blog: To Play Like Miyazaki Masahiro

MMB! Kendo Blog

Saturday, April 09, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
To Play Like Miyazaki Masahiro

I was watching the 2004 All Japan 7th Dan Championships DVD for the 2nd time last night. This time I specifically focused my attention on the player's body movements rather than how the shinais interact. Watching the shiai this way required much greater attention than normal watching. That's because it required an extra effort to mentally delete the shinai image in my brain so that I could purely focus on the hand and leg movements, and the distance between the shiaisha.

The intensity in each of the 7th Dan matches was very high. There was definitely no slash and bash type of kendo. The seme was very strong and the players were very conscious of their ma-ai (distance). Most of the time, the players would be in issoku-itto-no-ma-ai, which was the distance which enabled players to either strike the opponent by taking one step forward or to evade the opponent's strike by taking one step backward. They would apply strong seme to each other and forged a high-intensity connection via their shinai to try and break their opponent's centre.

The movements appeared to be very small most of the time. But when they see the chance, they would pounce for the opening opportunity in lightning speed. The reaction time was purely amazing. I had to rewind and slow-mo some of the cuts many times to really see what was going on. I wonder how they could see the openings and attack so quickly. To those 7th Dan, holding the shinai have become so natural that the shinai must have become an extension of their body.

Of the whole DVD, there were three particular things that left me a very deep impression.

Timing in Oji Waza
The first one was a kote-suriage-men waza executed so perfectly by 松尾 in the deciding point in his first round match. He saw his opponent was going for the kote and just as his opponent's shinai was about to land on his kote, he extended both his arms and swing his shinai high up in the air, his fists above his forehead and in the process did a suriage on his opponent's shinai. After the suriage waza, he had all the time in the world to land a perfect men cut on his opponent. The timing of this kote-suriage-men waza was so perfect that it seems that the waza was executed in slow motion. However, in reality, it was executed in a split second.

To be able to do a good oji waza, timing is extremely important. If you get the timing right, you can execute as large a cut as you want, just like what 松尾 did in that match.

Left Foot in Nidan Waza
The topic about nidan waza and footwork is nothing new. My Senseis always told us to bring our left foot forward quickly and don't drag it along. However, after I watched the 7th Dan Sensei executing nidan waza and moving their foot had made me understand more clearly how I should aim to bring my left foot up.

宮崎正裕 - Miyazaki Masahiro
I have watched Miyazaki's kendo highlights before, but this was the first time I had the chance to watch Miyazaki's complete matches from first round to final. For those who don't know who Miyazaki Masahiro, he is probably the strongest Kenshi in the history as a 6 times All Japan Kendo Champion, World Kendo Champion, 6 Times All Japan Police Champion and 3 Times All Japan 7th Dan Champion titles under his belt. I had to say that Miyazaki possessed the most elegant, efficient and effective kendo I have ever seen in my kendo life. He is my kendo idol now.

From the competition, it seems that Miyazaki's favourite shikake waza was uchiotoshi-men and his favourite oji waza is kaeshi-kote.

I was particularly impressed by his uchiotoshi-men because he kept getting point after point using that same technique. There must be something special in the way he did this waza that made it so effective. So I slow-mo'ed the DVD and watched Miyazaki's every movement in his uchiotoshi waza execution. Miyazaki executed the uchiotoshi waza in one step. While his left foot was about to push his body forward, he executed uchiotoshi on his opponent's shinai, and then quickly pounced forward for the winning men cut. The time between uchiotoshi and the men cut was so short that Miyazaki's opponents were left with no time to defend for themselves after their shinai was knocked down.

So today, I tried to imitate the way Miyazaki does the uchiotoshi-men using the one step movement during the jigeiko session. I found that I was able to at least get the opening that I wanted after executing uchiotoshi and would be just in time to score the men cut before my jigeiko partner could recover the shinai to block. However, I still think that the time between executing the uchiotoshi waza and the men cut was still a bit too long at the moment. I will need to cut down that time by reducing my kensen movements and using more wrist power.

I found the following link to Miyazaki Masahiro's kendo demonstration.


  • Miyazaki is absolutely crazy! I too like his men cuts. In the nanadan-sen DVD, I like how he controlled his opponents. Very good to watch and learn. That kote-suriage-men is simply unforgettable!

    By the way, your men cuts tonight were super fast!!! -_-" I'll have to call you Miyazaki soon!! :P

    By Blogger Andoru, at Tuesday, April 12, 2005 11:24:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the compliment Andrew. I WISH I had as clean and beautiful a men cut as Miyazaki. So much to learn from him!!

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Thursday, April 14, 2005 11:59:00 PM  

  • Hi! Vivian.
    I saw your blog today while I was searching for Mr.Miyajaki. I also like his Kendo Style and I'd like to resemble him...but I need to have more time and talent.

    I practiced this kendo about 10 years ago during serving in Korean military as an army doctor, and right now I started to grab the sword again...It's begining again.

    It was very nice to see your blog.

    Thank you. Have a nice day

    One Kendoka from Korea.

    By Blogger jacobghu, at Wednesday, March 11, 2009 2:17:00 PM  

  • Thank you for your comment, Jacob. Glad to hear that you resume kendo again. Keep up, train hard, and enjoy!

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:29:00 PM  

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