The Nuts & Bolts of Kendo — Doh Waza
By Hanshi 9th Dan Nakano Yasoji — Translated by Alex Bennett
First published in Kendo World 1.4, 2002
Points to observe
What should you do with your left hand when striking doh?
You should move it up near the right hand, but not the whole way up. Your left hand shouldn’t actually touch your right.
What should we be careful of when teaching doh and gyaku-doh?
A lot of people prefer not to hit do at all. I remember one sensei who never taught his students doh, but made them concentrate solely on men and kote. They were still successful in shiai though. I also remember scoring a doh point against a particularly sticky opponent once, and being reprimanded afterwards, as doh was not really considered the right thing to do.
As far as gyaku-doh is concerned, it seems to be very popular among students, but it can be very painful when they miss. You can sometimes see it being practiced in a repetitive horizontal kiri-kaeshi form. However, gyaku-doh is an advanced technique which should only really be practised when other necessary kendo movements have been mastered. Gyaku-doh should not be taught as kihon itself. There are a number of reasons for this. It should be taught as an advanced nuki-waza, kaeshi-waza, or suriage-waza, but just to do it as a straight-off kihon technique is not so productive. Besides, as it is easier to do than the standard doh (migi-doh), people tend to rely on it much more to the detriment of migi-doh. It is better to get beginners to concentrate on migi-doh initially.