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Deconstructing Ippon

We all know what an ippon is, right? It’s what we strive for every time we don our bogu and head to the dojo. We love the sound and feeling it makes when the datotsu-bu makes contact with our opponent’s datotsu-bui. Conversely, if you’re doing kendo right, it’s a good feeling being on the receiving end of an ippon that leaves no doubt in your mind that you’ve been well and truly beaten – it gives you impetus to train harder to try and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. However, have you actually ever stopped to consider exactly what makes an ippon? Or are you wondering how to have more success when attempting an ippon? If so, look no further than Deconstructing Ippon.

Deconstructing Ippon is a series of video lectures by KW’s Editor-in-Chief, Alex Bennett. In these lectures, Alex methodically dissects the process of landing the perfect ippon, or yuko-datotsu. There are five stages in this process:

1. Assail (Seme-ai)

2. Destabilize (Kuzushi)

3. Technique (Waza)

4. Execute (Uchi)

5. Lingering Mind (Zanshin)

Each stage is explained in great detail using diagrams and tables, and examples from historical texts, as well as thoughts and insights gleaned from Alex’s 35+ years practising kendo. There are five videos that make up the Deconstructing Ippon series titled:

1. San-sappo

2. Kuzushi (Destabilizing the Opponent)

3. Striking Opportunities

4. The Strike

5. Zanshin

These lectures were filmed in September 2021 for the New Zealand Kendo Federation when the COVID-19 situation worsened there and keiko had to stop. They will be available to our Patrons who are on the “Kerai” tier or above.

The first part will be released on Sunday December 12, 2021. The other four parts will be released over four months on the schedule below:

Part 2: January 9, 2022

Part 3: February 13, 2022

Part 4: March 13, 2022

Part 5: April 10, 2022

The Kendo World Patreon can be found here: We have new and exclusive content monthly on our Patreon with interviews, live chats, magazine and book previews, and more available on the three Ronin, Kerai, Daimyo tiers. Why don’t you check it out?

PREVIEW: Deconstructing Ippon - Part 1: Introduction and San-sappo

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