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  • tsukagawa length

    So, how many ppl has ever thought of extending or reducing the length of the Tsuka gawa ?

    any one knows the significant of the length of tsuka gawa ?

    I've been told by sensei that I need to shorten my tsukagawa (he's 6th Dan) as it was too long for me. Infact sharing some knowledge I gotta know from him..a lot of ppl dun care about the length of the tsukagawa but apparently it determines good Kendo strikes ! especially if u alter it to your length, it can apparently save 3 - 5 yrs of training !

    Some thought

    I've altered mine, now it feels much better. The standard was way too long !

    any comments ?

  • #2
    I recently switched to a 38 tsukagawa because of my stumpy arms... it helped out a whole lot!

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    • #3
      ive got relatively short arms for my frame (thanks dad). when i do the inner right elbow test, my hand comes up shorter than normal 39 handle. so i buy special 38 sized handles from eguchi for my 39 shinais. im not sure if normal 38 handles would work as is since it might be thinner as well as shorter. eguchi will sell it for this specific purpose.

      the other trick i do is just roll the top end of the handle at the tsuba. works fine. no big deal.

      the point is just to remove the excess space so it doesnt look so bad since your kote is supposed to be right under the tsuba.

      supposedly, a closer grip gives relatively more quicker waza, as opposed to extra control with a wider grip. but i dunno, i think just do whatevers comfortable and learn the basics. fool around with hand position as a later technique as you progress further.

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      • #4
        At least now, when I hit men or kote, I can fully extend my left arm straight !, more power !

        I hardly use my right arm, not even to stop the shinai on a cut ! its only for directional purposes now !

        I only use my left arm to lift, strike and stop, its so much better with a shorter tsuka gawa. I had to do some sewing after cutting tho ! lol. ...it was a first but I made it !

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        • #5
          I use a 38 as well. Just as people said I would, I find shikake waza easier and oji waza more difficult, but that's fine by me for the time being. Lack of leverage at tsubazeriai can be a problem though.
          Fukumoto sensei (hanshi) described the following method for selecting tsuka length. Just do a large men suburi, really throwing the shinai out as if you were fishing. Hold normally with the left, but just have your right hand high on the tsuka (far away from the tsukagashira, I'd do it without a tsuba on and place my right hand where the tsuka would be, yes, I know this is pretty weird, but hold on a sec), wrapped around the tsuka without actually gripping at all. As you reach the end of your cut, your right hand will naturally slide (because you're not gripping) back towards the tsukagashira. The point where it stops as you finish the cut is where you should have your right hand normally. I found this really helped and far prefer it to measuring with my forearm.
          In connection with this, Sato sensei (hanshi) said that it's not possible to cut men properly unless your right hand is snugly against the tsuba. I don't have enough time now to explain the reasoning behind this, but I've always been told not to leave a gap between right hand and tsuba anyway, so it's pretty standard stuff. Combining this fact with the measuring method above, it's obvious that different people will need lots of different sizes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kingofmyrrh
            In connection with this, Sato sensei (hanshi) said that [b]it's not possible to cut men properly unless your right hand is snugly against the tsuba.[b] I don't have enough time now to explain the reasoning behind this, but I've always been told not to leave a gap between right hand and tsuba anyway, so it's pretty standard stuff. Combining this fact with the measuring method above, it's obvious that different people will need lots of different sizes.
            Actually, can you discuss a little more?

            I've always wondered why you are suppose to have the right forefinger "lightly" touch the tsuba.

            One of my sensei taught me to adjust the width of my grip according to situation. If I'm doing a long fumokomi from faraway, make the hands closer. If I'm doing oji-waza, increase the distance between the right and the left hand.

            Similarly, if you watch videos of old timers, their right hand position tend to vary depending on what they are doing.

            If you have a shorter tsuka, there's less room to adjust.

            Also, there's the issue of the jodan folks. Jodan-users tend to have a longer tsuka to allow for the right-hand catapault in jodan...so, when and if they are using chudan with the same shinai, it would seem unreasonable to have them grip with the righthand next to the tsuba, wouldn't it?

            Lastly, let's say you are visiting a dojo and used a loaner shinai. Would you grip at a distance that is correct to you or would you grip according to whatever tsuka leather is on the shinai at the moment?

            I've always wondered about the rule...it'd be nice if someone could clarify.

            Comment


            • #7
              This thread is going to turn out great!

              I often wondered about this issue myself. Because of the changes in leverage, I believe (like DCPan) that having more tsukagawa is actually beneficial as it allows more room for movements. What Kingofmyrrh said is very interesting too and I'll try it out when I get home.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Andoru
                Because of the changes in leverage, I believe (like DCPan) that having more tsukagawa is actually beneficial as ...
                It's really funny because if you line up my 4 shinais right now (DB-39M, Musha, Aun, Aun), all four have different tsuka lengths because of the thickness of the tsuka and how much the leather stretched. It actually ranges from 39 to 38.

                I've found that tsuba placement does change the feel/balance of the shinai though.

                I don't grip wide enough to need the 39, esp after doing iaido...but it's still food for thought.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DCPan
                  Also, there's the issue of the jodan folks. Jodan-users tend to have a longer tsuka to allow for the right-hand catapault in jodan...so, when and if they are using chudan with the same shinai, it would seem unreasonable to have them grip with the righthand next to the tsuba, wouldn't it?
                  One jodan-guy I know, always brings two different shinais with him, one for chudan (normal tsukagawa) and one for jodan (long tsukagawa).

                  Jakob

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                  • #10
                    Intersting stuff. When I ordered a shinai from eguchi I was recommended (by them) to get a 38 fitting on a 39 shinai. My sensei though said it didn't matter - certainly not at my level.

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                    • #11
                      I'm kindda new to Kendo and only ever bought one shinai even though I've been altering the length of the tsuka gawa (as said from the start of this thread).

                      So how much shorter is a 38 than a 39 Tsukagawa ?

                      All I did to my tsukagawa was some custom shortening, I think I shortended it by about an inch !

                      From a beginner's view, I think shortening the tsukagawa and hence allowing the left arm to become straight make learning how to cut more effectively for the beginner. This is because you would only require the strength of left wrist to stop the shinai and so right hand in effect not required except for giving the shinai control of directions.

                      I find that when I have to cut with a long tsukagawa, my right arm can extend fully but my left arm cannot and hence cannot 'throw' the cut out and so ends up more choppy than cutting.

                      I hope this thread will become a great thread both for beginners and the more experience alike.

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                      • #12
                        You should still use the right hand for tenouch and the left arm shouldnt be fully extended.

                        Jakob

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                        • #13
                          Well, turns out that 39 is perfect for me. During keiko earlier, I made sure that my right hand is as close to the tsuba as possible (I don't normally pay attention to this point) and it did wonders - shinai is easier to control overall; oji waza as well as shikake waza (harai and ochiotoshi in particular) are both easier to execute, as expected.

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                          • #14
                            My sensei pointed out that my tsukegawa (sp) is too short ---> Ihave long arms. When the standard test is administered to see where my tsuba should be placed, my hand wraps around the handle past the end of my 39 tsukegawa.


                            Any suggestions?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kingofmyrrh
                              In connection with this, Sato sensei (hanshi) said that it's not possible to cut men properly unless your right hand is snugly against the tsuba. I don't have enough time now to explain the reasoning behind this, but I've always been told not to leave a gap between right hand and tsuba anyway, so it's pretty standard stuff. Combining this fact with the measuring method above, it's obvious that different people will need lots of different sizes.
                              This I don't understand. If you shorten the tsukagawa, the tsuba will change position. Your right hand will be further away from the balance point of the shinai. So if it is a matter of having the right balance point for the movement of the tip, IMO it question is where your hands are, and not, the tsuba itself. Unless you actually use the tsuba to push against or something.

                              I've shortened the tsuba quite a lot, maybe too much for the do cuts etc. But if I try the method of doing a big men cut and letting the right hand slide into it's natural (?) position without overextending the wrists, it seems correct. And there aren't very many centimeters between my hands. You could also say (maybe?) that the abibilty of doing do cuts and round cuts has as much to do with wrist felxibility as the length of the tsukakawa? Just a thought.

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