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  • sho-men-uchi

    i can't hit sho-men.. no matter how hard i have been trying. i could get kote easy.. but can get sho-men! i always get nailed even before my cut comes down toward the other.

    any suggestion? i know it should come sooner or later with more practice, but i would like just once to get someone with men cut!

    my timing could be off.. or i'm too slow.. not sure.. if i'm too slow or really off on timing, i would imagine, my kote cut won't go in either.. very frustrating.

    pete

  • #2
    You're probably taking a much smaller wind-up when you hit kote. That's not to say that a large swing for the men-uchi is a bad thing, just that the wind-up for men-uchi is often performed incorrectly. The problem lies in the tendency to break the movement up into two distinct beats, one for the upswing and one for the downswing. Men-uchi performed like this, however speedy, are relatively easy to read. Each cut should be performed in one beat, not two. It takes a bit to get your mind around the idea that a lifting and then descending movement are one movement, not two. Musashi touches on beating your opponent with "byohshi", which translates as "beat". He doesn't talk about winning with speed.
    We might see some responses that suggest you try using sashi-men, but these suggestions are misguided. With the right timing and beat you should be able to confidently score a men cut with a swing large enough to see the target area under your left kote when your arms are raised. This goes for kote and doh as well (not, obviously, tsuki).

    Comment


    • #3
      look at the eyes of your opponent..

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nanbanjin
        Each cut should be performed in one beat, not two. It takes a bit to get your mind around the idea that a lifting and then descending movement are one movement, not two. Musashi touches on beating your opponent with "byohshi", which translates as "beat". He doesn't talk about winning with speed.
        never thought of it that way before. i think i'll have to try this.

        thanks,
        pete

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by bullet08
          never thought of it that way before. i think i'll have to try this.

          thanks,
          pete
          If the cut is broken up into two beats then your whole body will tend to fall into this rhythm. You want your body or centre of gravity to be moving forward in one beat with your arms moving in an auxiliary motion. In the two beat action your arms are the focus of the movement and the movement of your body tends to be auxiliary to that. It might help not to think about your arms too much, but make sure your body is moving forward in a single motion. Relax your arms and they should follow your body.

          Paradoxically it is possible that you are managing to hit kote because you are doing it wrong, making the movement too small. Using the rule of thumb of lifting your left fist to the point where you can see the target under your kote still allows for quite a small swing when the target is kote. However you might be tending to hit with your right arm only. This allows you to hit quickly without falling into a distinct two beats, but it is bad kendo.

          I find men easier to hit than kote because I cheat a bit with men by resting back on my hips rather than moving forward so my centre of gravity is located further forward in relation to my right leg. This becomes difficult when hitting kote because the postion of the hands is so low that the counter balance is lost. This is something that I need to improve.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nanbanjin
            I find men easier to hit than kote because I cheat a bit with men by resting back on my hips rather than moving forward so my centre of gravity is located further forward in relation to my right leg. This becomes difficult when hitting kote because the postion of the hands is so low that the counter balance is lost. This is something that I need to improve.
            i agree with nanbanjin...at first i always think that hitting kote is easy than hitting men...but recently, i came to realise that hitting kote is more difficult than hitting men...

            Nanbanjin, can u explain more about this beat you talking about...

            anybody knows how to create an opening for Do? for me its hard to hit do. any idea??

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, as a n00b in kendo, i tend to have the same probs as bullet. Although i think my trouble lies in the fact that I, personally have NOT been taught tsuki. Yet nearly everyone else senior to me (some only a couple of months senior) in the dojo seems to use tsuki during ji-geiko. So whenever i raise up for men or even think about kote, i end up on the end of a tsuki. Now my reactions are pretty fast and i can usually deflect the tsuki (even from my sensei who uses katata tsuki like an exocet missile), but it doesn't half mess ur your spirit, always thinking a tsuki is gonna get ya, especially when you're not confident in doing one yourself throught lack of tuition in this strike.
              What i also do is, when rising up for a men cut, obviously i'm too slow cos i end up getting doh'd to hell and back. I try to make my opponent think i'm going for men then when he/she raises to block i try to cut doh. Lol, i think i'm being too ambitious.

              I've read Musashi's 5 rings and understand the principle of the single beat rhythm in striking.......but understanding is definitely different to doing... !

              Aah well.....i'm sure it will come in time.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have the same problem. My kote is good, my men is not.

                Nanza Joe:If you walk straight into your opponent they will make tsuki. If I use an opening, their shinai will be out of center and no easy tsuki possible. I've managed to get other to tsuki themselves, because I hold kamae and they just walk forward straight into it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by zato
                  anybody knows how to create an opening for Do? for me its hard to hit do. any idea??
                  By applying pressure on the opponents men.

                  Jakob

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When sensis try to hold you off with tsuki, I just try to lower my chin and bust through the tsuki with my body. I think that kind of keiko (where you try to hit "men" and your sensi stops you with "tsuki") is good for making sure your body is in to every strike.

                    I have noticed for myself that opponents read my "men" easily if my distance or maai is too close. It is harder to read the "men" if you strike it from a furter distance.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I find that some beginners have a easier time with kote than men because kote is a lot closer, so the step in is faster and, being shorter, it has less balance shift and gives less of a tell. Maybe try working on your long footwork.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by zato
                        Nanbanjin, can u explain more about this beat you talking about...
                        "Beat" is the same beat as in music. The Japanese is "byoushi - 拍子 ".
                        After years of training kendo I first heard this being taught about two or three years ago by my current instructor, who at the time had just come over from Japan. It makes a lot of sense to me.

                        Beginners are often taught to swing up and then swing down when first learning suburi. This is not a bad way to teach. After all the shinai needs to go up and then go down and it allows the beginner to get a feel for the movement.
                        However the timing of the cut should eventually be such that there is only one movement, one beat. The next time you do suburi at your club take notice of the rhythm. You'll probably find that there is a distinct division between the timing of the upward swing and the timing of the downward swing. Again this is not too bad a thing as suburi at the start of training is largely a warm-up exercise. Ideally however the movement of the cut should be continuous from start to finish. The timing should be one, one, one, one... and not one-two, one-two, one-two... (where the one is the up-swing and the two is the down-swing). I found it a little difficult to get my head around this at first. I found I needed to relax my arms and concentrate on the movement of my body to get it right.
                        The danger of hitting in two-beat timing is that it is easy to read. I think Musashi would have said it adds "colour" to the movement (Musashi labels unnecessary movements, telegraphing etc as colour and teaches that kendo - or kenpoh for him I guess, should be without this colour). Hitting in two beats also seems to slow the movement down.
                        When you see an opening you want to be able to be able to hit "now", and not "no-w". Each uchi is a single movement.
                        Obvious exceptions to this are techniques like kagsugi-waza where a deliberate pause is used.

                        I was recently reading a book on the life of Musashi and was surprised to see a quote from one of his earlier texts that referred to "byoushi". I can't interpret exactly what Musashi was referring to, but I thought it was interesting that he suggested to defeat the opponent using "byoushi" and not speed.

                        ************************

                        As JSchmidt points out, you can make your opponent lift their arms by pressuring their men. Sometimes simply going for a doh cut is enough to get the opponent to raise their arms. If you can't do this it's likely that you are telegraphing your doh cut. Delebrately telegraphing men and hitting doh is one way of going, but it's sort of cheating - ideally there should be no telegraphing, period.
                        You can also get your opponent to raise their arms by inviting them to hit your men, giving you the opportunity for nuki-doh, kaeshi-doh etc.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just to add my 5c

                          with
                          Originally posted by Nanbanjin
                          The timing should be one, one, one, one... and not one-two, one-two, one-two...
                          it view it as

                          oonnee, oonnee, oonnee, onnee... and not one two, one two, one two

                          where the cut still takes the same amount of time from start to finish, there is just noe pause between the up and down swing. As you build up strenght it will get closer to the. I also keep in mind to always have my arms movings not just my wrists (examples needed, for wasted motion)

                          one, one, one, one

                          The other thing I worked on myself and noted with beginners is going through the following routine (to varing degrees):

                          one (quickly adjust footwork/ shuffle) two.

                          where what you want to do given the above example is
                          (adjust footwork/ shuffle) oonnee

                          Think of it as once your hand start moving your committeed, come hell or been to far away.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Banza Joe
                            Ok, as a n00b in kendo, i tend to have the same probs as bullet. Although i think my trouble lies in the fact that I, personally have NOT been taught tsuki. Yet nearly everyone else senior to me (some only a couple of months senior) in the dojo seems to use tsuki during ji-geiko. So whenever i raise up for men or even think about kote, i end up on the end of a tsuki. Now my reactions are pretty fast and i can usually deflect the tsuki (even from my sensei who uses katata tsuki like an exocet missile), but it doesn't half mess ur your spirit, always thinking a tsuki is gonna get ya, especially when you're not confident in doing one yourself throught lack of tuition in this strike.
                            What i also do is, when rising up for a men cut, obviously i'm too slow cos i end up getting doh'd to hell and back. I try to make my opponent think i'm going for men then when he/she raises to block i try to cut doh. Lol, i think i'm being too ambitious.

                            I've read Musashi's 5 rings and understand the principle of the single beat rhythm in striking.......but understanding is definitely different to doing... !

                            Aah well.....i'm sure it will come in time.
                            Wether an opponent is using tsuki (like the katate tsuki your sensei uses) or just holding a strong centre, it can best be avoided by using harai waza (and seme) to create an opening for you to strike men (or kote or do). Even if they're using tsuki as an attack, if you hold a good centre its not hard (give or take ) to surpress their tsuki and hit kote or sometimes men. You shouldn't need to learn tsuki to be able to successfuly make your cuts (just practce:-). Don't let the barrage of tsuki affect your spirit, instead be gratefull (and motivated) as they're just giving the opportunity to practice overcomming their centre..the feeling of accomplishment when you begin to learn how to deal with it will make all the stress now worthwhile

                            As far as being scored on (do) when you lift to hit men, dont worry about it or try to hard to avoid it, just commit 100% to your cut - I read in one of the articles in KW a quote from a sensei that I always try to keep in mind, especially when learning something new - He said somthing like this - "you have to be cut in order to learn how to cut....hope it helps:-)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I found a quote about "Ichi-byohshi" (this time in a magazine, not the net) by Makita Minoru Sensei (Kyohshi-hachidan). Not an extensive explanation, but it's nice to have a big name behind the concept.

                              (Regarding suburi training used by Makita-sensei)
                              「。。。剣道の打突は一拍子ですので、この素振りも当然、一拍子で行います。」

                              "...In kendo datotsu is performed in one-beat, so of course this suburi should also be performed in one beat."

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