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Striking a female's men as a guy during kirikaeshi

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  • Striking a female's men as a guy during kirikaeshi

    Greetings fellow Kendoka,

    Not sure if this has ever been discussed, but I have a question about striking a female's men during kirikaeshi. I have been in bogu for a couple of months and for the last few weeks I have been working on kirikaeshi. During training last week, the senpai came to me after my completion of kirikaeshi and said "We don't hit females that hard". I didn't feel like I hit her hard at all, to be honest. Being the only male in my current group, are there techniques anyone could recommend to ensure I don't hit men too hard but allows for proper training/technique? I sincerely felt horrible when that was pointed out.

    Here are my main points focus on when I begin kirikaeshi;
    • Left hand one fist away from forehead.
    • Strike men using wrists, left hand controlling the downward motion. Right hand controlling left to right. Focus on fumikomi.
    • Location of strikes

  • #2
    Ask your instructors to show you how to control your cuts using tenouchi. I have never seen your kendo so here is some general advice for people new to bogu: relax, slow way down and try not to use any power.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
      Ask your instructors to show you how to control your cuts using tenouchi. I have never seen your kendo so here is some general advice for people new to bogu: relax, slow way down and try not to use any power.
      Hehe.

      Sorry, I couldn't resist.

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      • #4
        Two things you can try:
        1. Practice striking a fixed target. A horizontally positioned shinai is easy to set up using someone else from your dojo. Do a basic men strike and try to hit the shinai with your monouchi. Don't run thru, just hit as you step in (kihon). Once you have that dialed in, have the receiver pull the shinai out from under your cut randomly. Sometimes leaving it in position, sometimes pulling it out of the way just before you hit. If you have proper ten no uchi, and are hitting correctly, you will stop your swing at the location of the shinai regardless of it being there or not.

        2. When you strike the men, for regular men and for the kiri kaeshi you are working on. Squeeze your hands at the moment of impact. If you do this then the hit will happen at the target surface, instead of pounding down past the point of impact.

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        • #5
          Others said what I planned better, but here are a few additional thoughts...

          Our own "don't strike so dame hard" talks usually apply when working with kids or people significantly smaller than us. I know many women, and men, who get pissed in our dojo if we don't treat them with respect and simply do our best to do good kendo. That said, the upper ranks do stress to all of us that kendo is not about strength. We are not trying to bash each-other into submission.

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          • #6
            Bear in mind when hitting shorter people (women and children are generally shorter than adult men) that they are going to feel more pain than taller ones as your cut is going to be more squarely on top of the head. Additionally for kids their bogu is often cheaper/not as protective, plus well they are kids. So you need to pay even more attention to your shinai control.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
              Ask your instructors to show you how to control your cuts using tenouchi. I have never seen your kendo so here is some general advice for people new to bogu: relax, slow way down and try not to use any power.
              This.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                Bear in mind when hitting shorter people (women and children are generally shorter than adult men) that they are going to feel more pain than taller ones as your cut is going to be more squarely on top of the head. Additionally for kids their bogu is often cheaper/not as protective, plus well they are kids. So you need to pay even more attention to your shinai control.
                As a short-ish adult male I can vouch for this.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                  Bear in mind when hitting shorter people (women and children are generally shorter than adult men) that they are going to feel more pain than taller ones as your cut is going to be more squarely on top of the head. Additionally for kids their bogu is often cheaper/not as protective, plus well they are kids. So you need to pay even more attention to your shinai control.
                  Originally posted by Wookiesmurf View Post
                  As a short-ish adult male I can vouch for this.
                  I thought about this as well. I'm rather tall compared to others in our dojo. Last night I practiced a bit of suburi in seiza focusing on the basic techniques I learned in our beginner I class. Though it can be difficult while adjusting to bogu, it IS paramount to remember the basics. (I do know what I'm doing now is still "the basics", but you know what I mean).

                  Thank you all for your help. I'll post my progress.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by coronzon View Post
                    • Left hand one fist away from forehead.
                    • Strike men using wrists, left hand controlling the downward motion. Right hand controlling left to right. Focus on fumikomi.
                    • Location of strikes
                    Well, like others have said, it's hard to say without seeing what you do, but some basic things.

                    1. Strike FORWARD, not down.

                    2. Change your visualization. Some sensei say cut to the chin, some say mouth, some say eye brow. Changing the depth of your visualized cut will change the power.

                    3. Get a stationary target and strike that...as you get familiar with the impact, you can get a better sense of how hard you are striking.

                    Good luck.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DCPan View Post
                      Well, like others have said, it's hard to say without seeing what you do, but some basic things.

                      1. Strike FORWARD, not down.

                      2. Change your visualization. Some sensei say cut to the chin, some say mouth, some say eye brow. Changing the depth of your visualized cut will change the power.

                      3. Get a stationary target and strike that...as you get familiar with the impact, you can get a better sense of how hard you are striking.

                      Good luck.
                      Thank you, I'm looking at building an adjustable (for height) target dummy for my yard. (my ceilings aren't conducive for standing practice). Most of the sensei in our group say cut to the mouth. I think the senpai's comment threw me a bit because I had been working closely with Sensei weeks prior and they were saying I was doing well. I'm putting a lot of weight on the senpei's comment because I want to avoid injuring, insulting, etc. other kendoka.

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