We were working on men suriage men and men suriage kote and people seem to have a degree of difficulty with both. I touched on this in an earlier broader post on oji waza, but there seem to be a number of problems with timing and distance that stop people from mastering these useful techniques.
If we look at men suriage men, my view is that the technique can be completed successfully without stepping back or to the side. If your timing and distance are correct, you can just push off from your left foot as your opponent makes his attack, lift your shinai up as his comes down and just deflect his blow with the shape of your shinai before striking men. Keep in mind that suriage translates as “sliding lift” and is not harai waza. The key factors to success are:
- You have to keep the point of your shinai forward.
- You must not anticipate your opponents attack, but you should relax and wait till it is nearly complete.
- Distance must be correct, so that the suriage is made by the monouchi touching the monouchi.
- Your opponent must attack correctly, lifting and cutting down in a single movement and maintaining the centre line. (If this is not possible, then a good alternative kihon drill is to make your opponent attack tsuki and respond with suriage men).
- Just use gentle pressure to slide your shinai up against his. Do not put power into your right hand. Some sensei suggest making a “D” shaped movement to deflect the shinai. I think that this is overkill and requires too much right hand pressure. A simple slide upward should be enough.
Once you have made a successful strike, you should continue forward, through your opponents centre line, maintaining zanshin and turning when you are in safe distance.
For suriage against kote, there are some marked changes. First you need to move your left foot out diagonally whilst pushing your left hand forward and turning your right wrist anticlockwise. This makes the suriage sharper and into more of a blocking motion. Kote is closer to your opponent than men, so your suriage should be made closer to your tsuba. Although this is a “harder” technique than men suriage men, again do not be tempted to use too much right hand power.