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  • Left hand in the front?

    Hi,

    I just attended my very first Kendo class today and I loved it!!

    I was instructed to hold the shinai with my right hand in the front but I am kind of left-handed and I feel weird and uncoordinated. It feels so much natural to put the left hand in the front and step out with my left foot. I feel I have more power and control that way.

    My question is: Are there people out there who practice Kendo by holding the shinai with their left hand in the front? Is it allowed? Can I ask to be allowed to hold it to my natural tendency/comfort? If I can, how should I approach the sensei to explaine this? Or should I just forget about it because it is not allowed or done?

    I am so new and I really appreciate all your advices. Kendo is so much fun and there is so much to learn and I am looking forward to my next class already!

  • #2
    I don't think you can. Sorry.

    However, I think you may have an advantage in the long run. In kendo it's the left hand that does the cutting, as you're left handed you're less lightly to put too much right hand into the cut.

    Your right hand is only needed with any strength for techniques most would consider intermediate level and above. By the time you tackle these, the shinai will feel more comfortable in your hands.

    Comment


    • #3
      Glad you enjoyed your first Kendo Class You have now started, just keep on going. Starting is easy, continuing is difficult.

      Not really sure what changes when you are left-handed. I'm sure there are others here who will be able to answer your questions better than I could.

      Comment


      • #4
        sorry

        Originally posted by terrince
        Hi,

        I just attended my very first Kendo class today and I loved it!!

        I was instructed to hold the shinai with my right hand in the front but I am kind of left-handed and I feel weird and uncoordinated. It feels so much natural to put the left hand in the front and step out with my left foot. I feel I have more power and control that way.

        My question is: Are there people out there who practice Kendo by holding the shinai with their left hand in the front? Is it allowed? Can I ask to be allowed to hold it to my natural tendency/comfort? If I can, how should I approach the sensei to explaine this? Or should I just forget about it because it is not allowed or done?

        I am so new and I really appreciate all your advices. Kendo is so much fun and there is so much to learn and I am looking forward to my next class already!
        I hate to say it but (as far as I know) its not allowed

        However, I hope that you enjoy kendo! I have a cousin who is left-handed who will be starting kendo soon ^_^

        Comment


        • #5
          It is permitted, but very much frowned upon unless there is some kind of exceptional circumstance such as disability.

          Comment


          • #6
            I spoke to someone recently (it may have even been Nagao sensei, King) who said that he had seen a couple of peeps in keishicho doing it. People couldn't get the hang of going against it because everything is mirrored for them, whilst their opponent just carries on normally, because his opponents are normally doing "standard" chudan anyway.

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            • #7
              I'm left-handed, but to be honest, i'm more comfortable holding the shinai as intended, with right hand nearer the tsubs and right foot forward.

              Historically, samurai/swordsman were all taught right-handed. Musashi was allegedly left-handed and one particular why he developed and mastered his 2-sword school.

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              • #8
                Kendo is conformist... that means everyone does everything the same, regardless of which handedness you are... the nice thing is that everyone gets the same instructions and no confusion of switching feet and hands that you may have in other activities so just enjoy that it is so clear cut and you will get used to it...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Many people would actually tell you that being lefthanded is an advantage when holding the shinai the standard way even if it feels strange to you. Most of the strenght should come from the left hand, most beginners use their right too much. There are even waza where you only use the left hand, which will obviously be easier for lefthanders. As far as I know there are no 'ancient and accepted' kendo waza using only the right hand (outside of nito anyway...), although some will let go with the left hand while passing through after do uchi.

                  Anyway, if you do a search on these forums you will find that this question has been posed before, and many people strongly disapprove of this sort of kamae unorthodoxy.

                  Edited to add the parenthesis above.
                  Last edited by don quixote; 4th November 2005, 11:22 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hand positions.

                    I have heard more than one sensei mention that right or left handedness makes no difference, it's a learning curve for everyone. You definitely do not want to deviate from the standard. It would mess up everything. Stick with it and you'll see what I mean.

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                    • #11
                      Left hand in front - Thank you everyone for your advice

                      Big thanks to all of you who posted your advice. I will try to stick with my right-hand in the front for now and try to get use to it. If it gets to the point of extreme fustration then I will think about ask for permission to do it left hand in the front.

                      I am actually right-handed in general but in certain situations my left hand/leg has a much better execution of speed and control -- like my left leg is the "stronger" leg when I do martial arts, way faster and accurate than my right leg. So theoretically it would work perfectly for me if I put my left hand in the front for control and right hand in the back for power, since that is the correct technique. I guess I took some of the leftiness from my brother, who does everything left sided.

                      Anyhow, thanks again and if you have more comments/advices please do post.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "...then I will think about ask for permission to do it left hand in the front."

                        Don't bother asking because it just isn't done. Does anyone on the forum have sensei who have taught kendo with the hands in this manner? Does anyone practice any other Japanese sword art like iaido, ittoryu, etc that teaches with hands in this manner?

                        Unless there is an odd exception lurking about, it just isn't done and no one will answer this question.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by terrince
                          like my left leg is the "stronger" leg when I do martial arts,
                          Then you'll probably need to stand with a reverse stance on the feet as well. It's quite difficult to generate power from the hips standing the wrong way round. Take a look at people doing boxing for example...

                          Originally posted by stuart wilson
                          I have heard more than one sensei mention that right or left handedness makes no difference, it's a learning curve for everyone.
                          I think this makes a lot of sense. To beginners their main problem is that they are not used to coordinations of their body movements, be it arms/feet or left/right. I've a left-handed kohai who bends her elbows a lot when she raises the shinai for a cut (too easy taking de-gote from her). But this problem also exist in right-handed people. Makes me wonder what advantage do left-handed people really have.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First of all, welcome to Kendo

                            Like most people here said, being left handed is already an advantage for you. So, maybe, if you stay long enough, you can do Jodan, where you hold your shinai above your head. Most attacks are one handed, left handed. Gotta wait some time before you can do jodan, though. Anyway, Good luck on you kendo and hope you dont quit.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Think of it this way: Most of us are right handed, meaning that our strong hand is the right. Yet all had to learn to use our left hand. Equally you'll learn to use your right.

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