a MMB! Kendo Blog: Simple Concept, Hard To Perfect

MMB! Kendo Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

忍耐 + 掌握人生
Simple Concept, Hard To Perfect

I trained at Master Kim's dojo last night. After stretching and doing warm-up suburi, we moved on to quite a lengthy ashi-sabaki session. We had to do some 30 times of Okuri-ashi (both large and small steps), Fumikomi-ashi at very quick speed up and down the dojo. My legs were very tired at the end of the ashi-sabaki session, especially my calf and gluteal muscles of the left leg. Luckily, with my daily morning gym workout, my legs were holding up quite well than they would otherwise be.

We then put on our bogu and moved on to the waza session. We only practiced a handful of waza today - kiri-kaeshi, men-uchi, hiki-men, hiki-kote, kote-men and aiuchi-men (with shinai-gliding movement), but we practiced all these waza with great focus on every bit of technical details.

We spent a good amount of time practicing the last two waza - kote-men and aiuchi-men (with shinai-gliding movement).

The kote-men we did last night was a variation of the normal kote-men. The idea is like this: you first go for the kote. If your opponent blocks the kote cut by knocking your shinai to your left hand side, you swing the shinai around to cut sayu-men.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? I thought it was very simple in concept too. But my goodness, it was so difficult to execute. Firstly, I had trouble with my footwork when cutting kote. The kote cut itself was another problem, because I was too focused on doing the follow-up sayu-men that I basically didn't intend to land the kote cut properly on my opponent. Then with the sayu-men, I got caught up with the distance - too close. After a few tries, I made some slight improvements and got a nod from Master Kim for the last kote-sayumen. But I knew there are a great deal of work to be done. This kote-sayumen variation is an extremely good shiai waza, and it will be good to practice it so that I can naturally use it in my game in the future.

Kote-sayumen was tricky enough I thought. But no, the simple aiuchi-men (with sliding along the shinai movement) was unbelievably difficult to execute. The idea is like this: you go for men-cut at the same time as your opponent goes for your men. During the rising motion, you glide along your opponent's shinai to take the chusen. Then it's a matter of dropping the shinai on the men.

You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to glide, take chusen and drop the shinai in a split second. By the time I glided along the opponent's shinai, my opponent would already be in the distance to cut my men already. I was always a step slower than my opponent. Practicing with someone with strong arms didn't help either. Master Kim and Jimmy were all wondering why I couldn't execute that waza and kept on explaining to me the concept. I understood the concept, but it was just so hard to grasp the timing and make my hands faster.

Then Jimmy said he would have a try on doing that same waza on my practice partner. Now, he had troubles with executing the cut as well. He was able to do it on the little kids with not much arm power. But against this guy with much more power, he also had the same problem. So we spent like 20mins just discussing and trying how to do this waza. In slow-mo, we were able to do the gliding-men cut. Tried a little bit faster, and everything would fall apart again. I could see Master Kim was getting a little bit frustrated at why we couldn't execute that simple gliding-men movement. But for us, it was very difficult. The problem for me is, I don't have quick hand and small enough gliding movement.

We finished off the training last night with us doing jigeiko one-by-one with Master Kim. The training ended 30mins overtime.

Anyway, the followings are some of the points I got out from last night's training:


  • More power please! Need to make an ippon cut.
  • Distance!! Move backward to get the correct distance before stretching out to cut kote.


  • Must intend to hit kote. If the kote-cut is blocked, then swing around to cut men.
  • Distance!! I had problem with getting the distance too close. Must get the distance right in the followed-up men-cut.
  • For this particular kote-men variation, the body's center-of-gravity should be kept lower than usual when executing kote cut.

Aiuchi-men (with shinai-gliding movement)

  • Small gliding movement to take chusen from opponent
  • All movements should be executed at the rising stage


  • Hi Vivian,

    About the gliding-aiuchi-men, are you gliding during the upswing (furikaburi) or gliding down as you cut?

    Sounds similar to kiriotoshi?

    By Blogger Kihon, at Thursday, June 02, 2005 1:16:00 PM  

  • Hey Kanyil,

    Oh yes, that's the jargon I want!!! I remember you mentioned the name that night after the UNSW training, but I just couldn't remember, but I couldn't remember the name anymore when I wrote the blog.

    Thanks for that! Kiriotoshi... I will remember that name.

    By Blogger Vivian Yung, at Thursday, June 02, 2005 5:40:00 PM  

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