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  • Wakigamae and Hasso no Kamae in Shiai?

    I was wondering about the shiai usefulness of these kamae. I've been watching a few koryu kata videos on the youtube, and a lot of the waza begin in these position and make good use of the kamae. I was wondering what it was about shiai that makes these waza less useful, and if there could ever be an occasion to use these techniques?

  • #2
    These kamae are only seen in shinai kendo when someone is having fun. I've never seen nor heard of them being seriously used.

    I would venture the following reason why. Note this is just my opinion.

    Kendo has a limited number of targets, we all know this. Why is this? Well it is probably a combination of safety consideration on the one hand and the fact that although it is sparring, it is also keiko. What I mean is, it is not a replication of combat per se but training to fill in holes that other kinds of training leave open (e.g. paired kata or iai's solo kata). The goal of shinai sparring is to cultivate an unwavering spirit, not to see who could have theoretically drawn first blood. Paired kata is more for imparting realistic blade on blade techniques (though bokuto also has its limitations), iai practice is efficient at teaching real sword handling, shinai practice is efficient at getting people to make full spirited blows and learn not to wilt under pressure.

    We also know that the limited targets are men, kote, do and tsuki to the men-tare. These are most efficiently cut with kirioroshi (straight downward) type cuts, or straight in thrust in the case of tsuki, at least in so far as judging yukodatotsu is concerned.

    Hassokame and Wakigame lend themselves to a different style of cut, namely diagonal. Yes, we practice kendo no kata where these kamae are used but they go through jodan first before making kirioroshi. Maybe this is one way to use them (I don't practice koryu kenjutsu so I can only speculate). But it seems to me this isn't the most efficient way to use these kamae. Kesagiri (diagonal) type cuts would probably be the better choice and in fact, this morning I was shown Itto-ryu kirioroshi by one of my sensei. From hasso, motodachi makes a diagonal cut to the shidachi's omote side temple and loses to a spirited kirioroshi by the shidachi, who starts in chudan. The point wasn't to learn Itto-ryu (though we did use the thick Itto-ryu style bokuto) but to see how the mechanics of kirioroshi can be used against someone who's cut is not quite "man'naka" (straight on).

    There are no targets in kendo that hassokamae and wakigame would lend themselves to. That is why we don't see them in serious kendo. Nevertheless, I think it's always worth asking these questions because it can shed light on why things work or don't work in kendo.

    Just my two ryo.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dillon View Post
      These are most efficiently cut with kirioroshi (straight downward) type cuts, or straight in thrust in the case of tsuki, at least in so far as judging yukodatotsu is concerned.
      For the sake of curiosity, is it even feasible for someone to use a different strike in shiai and score a point? Assuming that their execution was excellent, had kikentaichi, et al.
      For instance, using an upward cut (like waki seems to lend itself toward) rather than a downward cut for something like gyaku-do or whatnot.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by UnimportantHero View Post
        For the sake of curiosity, is it even feasible for someone to use a different strike in shiai and score a point? Assuming that their execution was excellent, had kikentaichi, et al.
        For instance, using an upward cut (like waki seems to lend itself toward) rather than a downward cut for something like gyaku-do or whatnot.
        Sure, as long as you full fill the requirements for yuko-datotsu:

        - hitting the correct part of the target
        - with the correct part of the shinai and correct hasuji
        - with correct posture, kikentai & spirit.
        - with sufficient zanshin

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by UnimportantHero View Post
          For the sake of curiosity, is it even feasible for someone to use a different strike in shiai and score a point? Assuming that their execution was excellent, had kikentaichi, et al.
          For instance, using an upward cut (like waki seems to lend itself toward) rather than a downward cut for something like gyaku-do or whatnot.
          Cuts from wakigamae as I understand are targeted at the armpit, underside of the wrist/arm or brought in as seme/tsuki with the kissaki in the aite's face/chest zone. These of course are not legitimate targets in kendo... though they still get hit from time to time >_<.

          An upward cut from wakigamae towards a do target would be quite a feat considering that the aite will probably move in very quickly. Just speculating but you'd have to be insanely fast to step back with hirakiashi and catch the do before the aite has a chance to pass by with a typical chisaku-men (small quick men). In what I have seen of koryu kata, one could step in from wakigamae (again with hirakiashi) and catch the aite on furikaburi but rarely will anyone swing that slowly with a shinai.

          So as far as diagonal cuts are concerned, yeah a downward do cut that is a little off textbook kihon-do would be the closest. Katsugi cuts are still brought down straight on in kendo though they can be used against the neck in koryu in a kesagiri type cut.

          BTW, the Itto-ryu waza I mentioned earlier has the shidachi bringing the kissaki into the motodachi's face/throat zone causing motodachi to tilt back ever so slightly (in case anyone is interested in practicing this). It does not end with a shomen cut though the application with shinai when translated into kendo would result in a shomen-uchi.

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          • #6
            Hasso would be fine in shiai, I think. Unorthodox, and maybe embarrassing, but would work. I just don't see wakigamae being at all practical, though. Maybe you could do gyaku-do with a lot of panache... other than that, you lose a lot of time on the cut.

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            • #8
              Following on from this, I know chudan and jodan players are both seen in shiai and occasionly nito but is one person allowed/able to move between chudan and jodan in a single match ie start in chdan, move to jodan then back to chdan again? Could you also switch between matches ie one match in chdan and then the next match in nito? Again this is pure curiousity. I could the advantage being that the opponent never quite knows you are going to do but it would take a lot of skill to be good enough.

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              • #9
                Switching between chudan and jodan is no problem.

                I doubt switching between itto and nito between matches is a problem.

                Grabbing a second shinai in the middle of a match to start playing in nito would be a problem

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                • #10
                  I've seen someone win a tournament playing entirely in hasso in the sandan+ division, i believe do to an injury.

                  Waki gamae would work better if you could do upwards cuts or when engaging a naginata player as you can cut the legs. It is fun to use once in a while as you can cover significant distance.

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                  • #11
                    I believe by convention the itto-nitto switch is disallowed but not 100% sure on that. Switching between jodan and chudan is not only allowed but necessary - it is foolish to try to keep jodan when the distance becomes very close.

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                    • #12
                      I tested Hasso no Kamae a few times during practice with some of my more easy going peers and it always catches the person off guard for a second or two, but like everything, you gotta get good at it to make it work for you.

                      Would like to try it by switching to it in a middle of a match to see what happens, that's if am not blinded by my rage to hit them, hit them lots and lots till I score lol

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                        I believe by convention the itto-nitto switch is disallowed but not 100% sure on that. Switching between jodan and chudan is not only allowed but necessary - it is foolish to try to keep jodan when the distance becomes very close.
                        You cannot switch between itto & nitto in a match...and if you're playing nito and one of your shinais break and you don't have a replacement...you forfeit the match.

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                        • #14
                          I wish I could find that youtube video of the guy taking waki-gamae during a match. Seems to have been removed.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Halcyon View Post
                            I wish I could find that youtube video of the guy taking waki-gamae during a match. Seems to have been removed.
                            Here you go =)

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