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Do Zanshin

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  • Do Zanshin

    For a Do strike, what tends to be the Zanshin that is the most acceptable in tournaments? I've seen a lot of people hold their shinai in their right hand above their heads to protect against potential men strikes, but is it better to just run through after sweeping the shinai in front of the opponent's legs?

  • #2
    Correct zanshin following a Dou strike is to keep both hands on the shinai as you follow through. Mind you, there is some movement in the hands of course, and the left hand can travel up the tsuka to meet the right as you strike, but proper zanshin dictates that you should be in control with both hands upon finishing. Shinai should not be pointing toward the floor, or vertical, following the strike, but in the natural-esque Chudan stance. Per usual, turn and step in towards aite.

    The "single hand" zanshin you speak of is indeed a thing. It's a shiai thing though. You'll see ippon called when this happens, but it's not "correct Kendo" per se. For example, I wouldn't do anything like that at Shinsa.

    Interestingly enough though, for Gyaku (or Hidari as it's referred to these days), the zanshin should find the shinai pointing down towards the floor.

    There may be some various other opinions on all of this, and I anticipate posts to follow, but this is what I've grown up with in regards to your question.


    • #3
      Actually at the last FIK referee seminar I was at, they didn't have a problem with the single-handed zanshin at all. Over the head may not be correct, but letting go with the left hand and the right hand out in front is fine.


      • #4
        Is that right? Well, there ya go. Kendo is a fluid thing indeed.


        • #5
          I believe the comment was that it was a trend currently happening in Japanese competition, we should be aware of it, and so long as the hit was good and everything else about the zanshin was OK, we should award it.


          • #6
            Thank you for the responses!


            • #7
              Well, 'zanshin' as the word suggests is a mental/spirit thing. It has a physical manifestation but the main point of post-strike zanshin is to retain control over your opponent and the situation after the strike. This control should be such that your opponent is not able to strike you.
              Letting go of the shinai or not, I don't think that's actually part of 'zanshin' physical manifstation or otherwise. I _believe_ that it's part of the strike mechanics and then it comes down to whether or not with the hand on or off, as the case may be the strike constituted yuko datotsu.
              Having put my opinion out there for appropriate ridicule, I was taught as Scott was with regard to the mechanics of striking do and retaining a two handed grip. Over the years I've recognized (my opinion again) that what's important is that once the strike makes contact one needs to be able to 'draw the sword through' smoothly and completely.

              For me the physical manifestation of zanshin on do is to move well through get turned around out of the opponent's distance with a proper kamae. The mechanics of that may vary depending on the relative positions when do was struck, but that's the physical part of what enables the person striking to retain control over their opponent post strike.