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  • Chisai (small) waza; when, how?

    Recently been evaluating how I teach chisai waza and I'd really appreciate your experiences. I'll just throw questions out there and see where it goes before offering my own experiences.

    -When do you teach someone small, fast (chisai) waza?

    -How do you teach them?

    -What drills do you do to help them develop that waza?

    -How did you learn this waza yourself?

    -What variations of this waza, if any, do you know, teach, try yourself?

    And:

    -In your region, do instructors differentiate between sashi waza and chisai waza? We seemed to go round and round on this before - before making this thread I looked up old threads and feel there was a lot of misunderstanding about the terms used, the correct time to teach them, how to practice them one's self, when to use them, and whether or nor it was "good kendo" or "too shiai like."

  • #2
    BTW, quote from Robert Stroud-sensei from an old thread in '08 that resonates with me:

    http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/sho...mall-MEN/page2

    In my opinion, there is not a big and small men rather one correct way to hit/cut men. The difference as touched upon above is due to distance and timing, MAAI if you will.

    You have to use a sashi men or small men because there is no time to take a full swing. Rather you only go up as far as you can given the situation.

    Kihon is an idealized practice because you have enough time to take the full swing, but when someone is racing at you at high speed you will not be able to meet them with a big full swing men.

    At a minimum this way of looking at it can be productive in connecting the big and small MEN strikes.

    Comment


    • #3
      And this vid from Imafuji-sensei is an old favorite:

      http://youtu.be/G-c79ID2i2I

      Also, article:

      http://www.kendo-guide.com/small_men.html

      Comment


      • #4
        I'll restrict my answer to chisai-men for now.
        -When? Around 1 kyu, sooner if they're quick studies.
        -How? As you move your center of gravity forward, thrust left hand toward opponent's men while using right hand as fulcrum. Just before the shinai goes vertical, cut down with the right hand. Apply tenouchi just before shinai makes contact. Cut and go through.
        -Drills? I tell the beginners that chisai-men takes a while to develop, so if they feel something strange going on with their swing mechanics, they need to go back to big men-uchi and work out the bugs and then try chisai-men again. Also, suburi. Nothing like suburi to refine swing mechanics.
        -How did I learn it? Lots of practice ... and also lots of mitori-geiko, watching how more experienced folks do it.
        -Variations I try myself? Thinking about the entire chain of mechanics required for chisai-men can be distracting. Sometimes I just try to "focus my energy" into my kensen and then "throw" the kensen into the men-buton. Don't teach this to beginners. If they don't have the basics to back it up, weird things will happen.
        -Sashi vs. chisai: The preferred term at my dojo is chisai. I am hearing that the term sashi is kinda falling out of favor among the influential hanshi sensei.

        Comment


        • #5
          -When do you teach someone small, fast (chisai) waza?

          => Whenever kenshi is ready.. But they have to understand the big waza first. Main reason is that they need to understand that we are using left hand.... Otherwise, they will always use right hand.

          -How do you teach them?

          => Start with big and getting smaller and smaller...


          -What drills do you do to help them develop that waza?

          => I personally think Chisai waza is all bout seme and footwork and I think that is why it is hard to understand.. Start big waza from far away and get closer with smaller waza

          -How did you learn this waza yourself?

          => Maeda sensei has been tellimg for two year. But one day I watched ayu-men against Maeda sensei video and realize how big my swing is...

          -What variations of this waza, if any, do you know, teach, try yourself?

          => I tried seme and kote.... It is freaking hard since some sensei wouldn't give you the point for small kote... I am wondering if I have to better fumikomi...

          Comment


          • #6
            -When do you teach someone small, fast (chisai) waza?
            After they have decent understanding of big waza in terms of all the main components of yuko datotsu especially kin ken tai, left hand power, zanshin and tenouchi. If they cannot do a decent okii waza they will not be able to do a decent chisaii waza.

            -How do you teach them?
            They should know maai and tenouchi. We have them start with men and have them come forward almost like tsuki then at the last moment raise their kensen just over the mengane and strike using full extension of the arms , good snap of both wrists together led by the left, and powerful tenouchi followed by good zanshin, footwork and follow through. We go a step at a time and start off slowly doing one or two aspects at a time until each aspect has been done many times then try to tie it all together. First slow and then faster till full speed is reached.

            -What drills do you do to help them develop that waza?
            We do a lot of tenouchi drills to strengthen their tenouchi. We also do wrist flexibility excercises hitting form a small distance (with no footwork, just hitting over and over quickly) as good wrist and good tenouchi are main components of doing good chisaii waza. Another aspect of yuko datotsu (large or small waza) that is very important is zanshin. We drill these things separately and then together. We do this as a kihon style drill where we are just looking at a certain aspect of the hit and then we try doing it in a more jigeiko format or in uchikomigeiko format.

            -How did you learn this waza yourself?
            There is no waza I am done learning and many have given me help. In particular though most recently I would give credit to Fujiwara Masaru sensei (7dan). Fujiwara sensei in particular has given me insight into chisaii waza most recently using some of the points mentioned above.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks, guys. Follow up question. When I asked when and how you learned chisai waza I am asking at some point did your sensei take you aside and say, "Okay, this is how you do it?" And then, as with all things kendo, you tried it, trial/error, copied, got follow up pointers, etc.?

              Mike: would like to hear a bit more about the drills.

              Comment


              • #8
                Charlie, I will have a big write up with drills, explanations, tests etc all building on one another, but for now you can look at some drawings which might be useful with the following in mind:
                There is no difference between big and small men, its all a matter of how much the shinai travels along the arc.

                http://www.flickr.com/photos/7928959...n/photostream/

                You might be able to figure out some what I will say based off those figures. I will have more drawings to come.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Charlie View Post
                  Thanks, guys. Follow up question. When I asked when and how you learned chisai waza I am asking at some point did your sensei take you aside and say, "Okay, this is how you do it?" And then, as with all things kendo, you tried it, trial/error, copied, got follow up pointers, etc.?
                  We would practice chisai men in kihon geiko since I was kyu level, led by senior students, but I don't think my sensei directly taught me chisai men until I was 2 dan or 3 dan.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is kinda old video of me practicing with Maeda sensei. I watched this video over and over again and it just shows how efficient Maeda sensei's movement is compare to mine... Since then, I tried practice more small waza. Actually, Maeda sensei recommend to do smaller waza as well.. But also combination of small and big waza helps...

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_vLLWrz0aE

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I started before I got into bogu, which is the norm, here. Weirdly, it was a comment Neil made somewhere on this site that really clicked the how of it in for me. (Weird in the sense that one would think direct instruction in the dojo would be more beneficial. But that wasn't how it worked for me.)

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                      • #12
                        Makes sense, b8mack. Happens to me often.

                        Rain: nice vid!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Charlie, sorry it has taken me so long to reply. A lot of the drills we use are probably ones you are already familiar with For wrist flexibility and tenouchi one drill we do is to have a motodachi hold out their shinai on both hands at about kote level and the kakarite hits using mostly wrist motion and tenouchi. The instructor will call out when to start and stop and will also call out to hit harder or to use bigger motion to increase. I think this is a pretty common drill.
                          We also do drills where both people are in chudan and the kakarite will come into the motodachi to do morote tsuki but at the last moment raises kensen up so it it just above level of mengane but no hit. We also do a drill where the kakarite will lunge forward with right foot but leave left foot planted and move shinai first at tsuki then up to men and hit using good tenouchi. This is usually not done at full speed but is used to reinforce the pressing forward with the kensen without a large upward motion and finish with a strong tenouchi. We also do a smilar drill but with proper foot movement, forcing the kensen forward towards the tsukidare using the hips then a small upwards motion followed by a good snap with the wrists and strong tenouchi.
                          We also do similar drills for chisaii kote and do. For kote raise so that the kensen is just above the the aite's shinai then a snap of the wrists with tenouchi. For do the main point is small upward motion, keeping hands centered and a firm, quick push/pull with the left hand while using a flexible snap with the right hand. I'm sure I'm leaving details out but it is a lot harder to write out this stuff that showing it of course.

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                          • #14
                            Good stuff, Mike, thank you.

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                            • #15
                              Today, i realized that my chisai waza sucks.......

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