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Note: This article assumes that you understand the "The Really Short Beginner's Guide".
The Basics of a Cut
Kiai: Here is something that you can work on before you even begin practice. During keiko, you will hear some people who have developed their own Kiai, and other people who say ‘O-RI-A’ as their Kiai. As a brand new beginner, you may feel awkward and your Kiai may result in little sound. It may sound and feel weird or awkward to Kiai but if you can produce a loud, strong Kiai, everything else will come. If you do not have a loud, strong Kiai then your Kendo will lack in spirit. The key is to try.
Maai: On the simplest level, Maai is distance. There are 3 types:
2. Touma: this is a distance where it will take you more than one step to cut.
3. Chikama: Chikama is shorter than Issoku itto-no-maai. Many people like to cut from here, but it is too close! Being in this position is dangerous.
Swing big: When you cut, cut big. Lift your Shinai with both of your hands over your head. Your left hand should be about a fist away from your forehead. Make a circle with your arms. If you do so, then the tip of your shinai should not dip low.
Cut with Ki Ken Tai no Ichi: When you cut you cut with your spirit, sword, and body as one. Basically, when you cut men, you must Kiai "Men", hit men, and fumikomi (stomp) at the same time. Your fumikomi will take time to develop, but make sure that your kiai and cut happen simultaneously.
Go through & Zanshin: When you go through, keep your form and go straight, run over your opponent if you must. Go through far enough such that your opponent is not able to cut you just by turning around. Then, turn towards them - if you went off to the left, you could have to turn right; if you went off to the right, you would have to turn left. Then step foward into chudan. Do not turn and move backwards or turn while going sideways!
Types of Cuts
Kote: This is a cut to the forearm. We practice cutting a person's right kote. A left kote under certain circumstances.
Do: The Do cuts through the ribs and belly to the coccyx. We generally practice cutting a person's right do. When you cut and go through, your tip must remain up.
Hiki: Hiki cuts are cuts while going backwards. You must cut, go backwards to a safe distance and then step forward into chudan.
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