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kote too hard?

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  • kote too hard?

    Dear all,
    This is my first thread so i'll keep it brief. If you hit kote and your partner thinks it's too hard and it's hurting him/ her, does it mean that you did not hit it correctly. I get this quite a number of times so now I'm starting to think perhaps there's something wrong. Not enough tenuchi perhaps?????

    Any replies will be greatly appreciated


  • #2
    Something wrong? Probably just that you're simply hitting too hard! You're probably also hitting men and do harder than you need to be, but your partners are less likely to notice or complain about that. You don't need to use all your strength to hit well in kendo -- in fact, you shouldn't. Go for accuracy, but hit lightly. You need to have good control over your shinai for this, and it's possible that you're using your right hand too much, but others with more experience may be better qualified to comment on that.

    I've discovered that a lot of kids do the same thing (i.e. strike with all their might). Despite wearing a wristband under my kote, I often come home with bruised wrists. Last week I finally confronted one of the worst offenders, a first year junior high school student, because it seemed like nobody else ever had. I told him very nicely that he was hitting kote with too much power (I acted like I was impressed that he was so strong, but explained that it hurt and suggested that he try hitting more gently). He looked at me like that was the weirdest thing anyone had ever said to him -- possibly because my Japanese is pretty bad so I may not have said what I intended, or possibly because he'd never heard me speak Japanese before, but more likely because nobody had ever called him on it. But he hasn't done anything about it. I'm debating asking the sensei about it, but I don't want to come off as having noticed something that they haven't. But then, the sensei aren't usually ever on the receiving end of one of his kotes...



    • #3
      Get down baby

      Obviously, you're hittin' too hard. I've noticed that beginners (1 year or so) which are doing okiku kihon (i.e furikaburi all over to the one-fist-in-front-of-the-forehead mark) tend to hit like Conan the Barbarian, and I got many many bruises and welts for this kind of blow.

      Often, when serving as moto, I would warn the person that the strike is too hard and it's being painful. If they insist, I'll shout it in their ear. If they STILL insist, I dodge or parry (kaeshi like) the strike. But I confess I have a koei wrist pad which I use once in while.

      When it's a men uchi it's easier, since I'd just raise the mengane a bit. Three Conan strikes against the mengane and that shinai is history. it's a extreme solution though.



      • #4
        One time I had to stand out in front of the class and take about several beginners for hiki kote lessons. Guess who had a sore wrist afterwards!
        After the lesson I told them to cut kote with speed and accuracy not speed and power. There is a fine line between cutting this way.
        A sensei told me that if he were on a battlefield fighting. Most of the cuts he had recived from beginners would cause him to die of blood loss about 2 months after the cut!! He said when he cuts he cuts to kill. The cut should not be too light but again in practice not too hard! A grey area I am sure for most kendoka
        Last edited by John W; 15th July 2002, 09:00 AM.


        • #5
          One good way to know if you're doing it wrong is to ask your training partner to randomly move their wrist out of the way of the kote cut. If your shinai is hitting/bouncing on the floor, you will know that you're doing it wrong (no tenouchi). If not, then you're obviously just hitting too hard. If you're lacking the tenouchi, you'll find that nidan and sandan waza will be difficult.

          A crisp, sharp strike stings, but doesn't really have the same ache/pain of when someone's tried to split you into two.

          When I'm motodachi and the wrist pain is getting a bit to much I go on the advice my teacher gave me. Move your shinai slightly to the side and catch the strike on the shiai, just before the tsuba (tsuriagi style). Not to early, as the person practasing will get frustrated as there's no target, and not too late, ouch

          As for me, I can occasionally see the pain on the opponents face after a solid hit. Although, I've had a couple of Japanese teacher tell me to hit harder! I'm at a bit of a lost as to how hard constitutes a good cut.

          Any high ranking people out there give their toughts on how hard is hard enough?
          Last edited by Kuri; 15th July 2002, 02:49 PM.


          • #6
            how hard is too hard?

            For kihon practice, we are told to imagine that one is trying to break an egg that is sitting of the target, not 'hit' the target. I find that when you concentrate on this level of focus and tenouchi you are more likely to have a happy motodatchi...

            Also, I find that when I receieve a cut that gets that beautiful 'pop' sound it is usually due to focus and tenouchi, rarely because of force, or even speed.

            Just my 2c worth


            • #7
              I don't know, a chuk-do (shinai) weighs next to nothing, it's pretty difficult to hit "too hard" with it.

              I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here, but in my experience, I've found that the less-experienced, less skilled kumdo/kendo players tend to be the ones who complain that they've been hit "too hard" and the more skilled, experienced players do not complain.

              Don't go getting all bent out of shape, like I said, I'm not pointing fingers, just relating my experience.


              • #8
                Oh it is possible indeed.
                If the blow goes past a thick cotton/leather/stich pattern such as a good kote, and leaves a nasty evil welt/bruise on the arm, it's obviously too hard.

                High ranked sensei do not complain because they know that's the pain they have to take by duty to teach the students the correct way, or something like that.

                Strange enough, once people get past a low level such as shodan, they never leave a bruise in your head/arm.

                Therefore, I must disagree. Completely.


                • #9
                  Well said, alexpollijr. Plus it also depends on the quality of the kote.

                  While it's true that most veterans get accustomed to getting hit on their wrists, beginners who haven't grasped the subtlety of the kote shot tend to sledgehammer their opponent's wrist. Most just treat it as a men strike, hitting just as hard, except stopping at a lower position.


                  • #10
                    When people first start kendo they have a hard time with the "shinai-as-sword" concept. They hit their opponents as if they are hoping really to "cut" them in half. Alas the shinai is a blunt instrument. After a while they realise this, and they realise what their teachers mean when they say "you must 'cut' not 'hit'".

                    Later on, especially in shiai, some kendoka are apt to become over-aroused and so hit too hard even though during kihon training they are capable of cutting with correct tenouchi.

                    And then sometimes cutting too hard is an "evil" technique (see fave waza thread) used by experienced kendoka to take out an opponent of similar experience. Because, as was said above, the recipient knows they can't complain, it is quite insidiously effective.

                    However IMHO I think anyone who resorts to damaging their opponent is an arrogant, petty-minded sociopath who should open his own school and award himself 10th dan.