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My thoughts on doh

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  • My thoughts on doh

    Hey KWF

    I've been discussing with a friend about training in kendo over the internet for more than a year and decided to post part of it to share. Now you probably wont™ completely understand the suburi part because it's a lot more involved than what is written as we discussed more in detail about kamae and suburi. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful.

    The next thing you need to work on is your kaeshi doh. Even though I was technically taught kaeshi doh differently, executing kaeshi doh takes a lot of commitment to execute, in other words, your timing of execution is off. There are few ways to fix this in my opinion:
    1. Start your execution as soon as see intent, don't wait to block the shinai first then strike.
    2. Raise your hands lower to about face level and not above. This is true for most small waza, you raise the hands to face level.
    This is the way you execute men-nuki doh, this is also the same way you execute kaeshi doh, the only difference between nuki and kaeshi is how you use the hands. For nuki, you turn the hands 45 degrees and you rotate the hands for kaeshi. The parry for kaeshi is incidental; this is what a lot of kenshi don't quite understand about kaeshi doh. Men-nuki doh is just nuki-doh, it only becomes men-nuki doh if the aite comes for your men, if he reacts defensively to block its just nuki-doh. This depends on the timing of your execution during the match to get this reaction from the aite. This is why doh in general takes commitment to execute because you don't know for sure how the aite is going to respond.

    This is also the reason why all the old school senseis teach you migi and nuki doh first. Most people think to execute kaeshi doh, the aite needs to commit to executing men, which is technically true, but for me, this is true only for diagonally /backward kaeshi doh and not for forward kaeshi doh. So for me I need to guess correctly the aites going to execute men to execute backward kaeshi doh, it's not the same situation for nuki, migi and forward kaeshi doh.

    -For migi doh the aite needs to react defensively by raising the shinai to block just like for nuki. The one big difference between migi and nuki is that migi doh has only that one defensive action for the waza to work and it's strictly a shikake waza, you need to initiate the attack. For nuki and kaeshi you have 2 positive reactions by the aite, the aite reacts defensively by raising his shinai or he comes for your men and this can be timed for shikake or oji.

    This is what I recommend you try incorporating migi doh when you suburi. Big and small, for small only raise the shinai about face level. For suburi, it's very important that you squeeze and ease the shinai with your hands in the beginning in the upswing and the same for your downswing.

    On your downswing just turn your hands at least 45 degrees to the left just like for kirikaeshi. You can go a little more than 45 degrees if you want but no less than 45 degrees. It's very important that you don't compromise the elbows, there should only be minimal natural movement from the elbows.

    What you need to know is that this is the swing for not just migi but for nuki also. The only difference is the footwork, for migi you fumikomi slightly left and for nuki you push and turn your hips to the right, just like you do for kaeshi.

    Anyway, I don't want to overload the ol' brain with too much stuff. Try this and tell me what you think.
    Last edited by G-CHAN; 27th March 2016, 06:10 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks. I got alot out of it. For Nuki and Kaeshi what is the footwork and weight distribution: a.upon seme. b.upon impact c.release and zanshin.
    I read that yokodatsu needs the kensen higher then the hands....... ??

    Thanks Jstn


    • #3
      If your kensen is lower than your fists you are also most definitely over-extending your wrists and elbows and therefore risk injury in the process. Yukodatotsu would be the least of your problems.
      Last edited by verissimus; 31st March 2016, 01:06 AM.


      • #4
        For me the most important part of nuki do or kaeshi do or, for that matter, any of the oji waza isn't really the technical details. It's setting the stage via my pressure and distance so that my aite comes at the time of my choosing. When I practice nuki do I don't wait for men or whatever to come at me. I step inward to force the timing and then strike the do at the time they must got to men if they indicate they will go.
        If the aite does _not_ go to men then it's a chance to use a shikake waza because I'm already in position and already have the initiative.


        • #5
          To expand on what Ron said, being in position to execute is important when seizing opportunities; your kamae needs to be in the state of readiness. Executing dohs in general is difficult to understand for people, but for me, you really need to be technically efficient to execute doh because unlike executing men or kote, you can’t compromise your posture. (bendy)

          So what I see a lot of people do to compensate for this is they tend to bend the elbows when the swing the shinai up to maintain their postures, this is very common. The problem is, by doing this they over-swing when they execute. When it comes to executing most waza (big and small) there should be very little movement of the elbows.

          When we suburi, we don’t bend the elbows when we swing the shinai up, it’s the same principle for doh. The sequence on the downswing should be shoulders, elbows and wrists/hands. The only difference for doh on the downswing is you turn the wrists/hands 45 degrees to the left.

          Personally, I prefer nuki-doh over forward kaeshi-doh because there’s less movement with the hands however minute. For kaeshi, my hands begin circling nonstop from beginning to end, as I raise and lower the shinai straight up to face level and down.

          The way I was taught kaeshi doh, it is all about the technique, a lot of people tend to block the shinai first, e.g. they tend to raise the shinai over the head bending the elbows and wrists and hands on the way up so that the position of the shinai is about parallel to the floor to block the aites shinai first before the strike.

          When you do this, you’re already too late to strike the doh, you lost too much distance and what ends up happening is you strike the front of the doh. What ends up happening is you’re cranking the shinai sideways on the downswing, (baseball swing) that’s why you see the ole’ finish at the end of the strike. The cut for kaeshi- doh is no different from men, you raise the shinai straight up and down, you’re left hand should always return to your center after each cut.

          The other implications of this are how kaeshi-doh can be misinterpreted. If you execute kaeshi-doh like a baseball swing, chances are you’re not going to see how kaeshi-doh can be considered a waza that can be executed for shikake, you’ll just see it strictly as oji and chances are you probably won’t understand how the parry is really incidental. It’s all about the technique of execution.