Several people picked up on the fact and commented that dropping the shinai point can in fact be a very effective way to make an opening in your opponents’ kamae, thereby giving you the opportunity to attack successfully. I agree one hundred percent. My last post was about the problem of inadvertently dropping your kensen because of either incorrect posture or too much tension in the way the shinai is held.
Kensen is of course moveable and the kissaki should not be fixed when you face your opponent. Many teachers talk about moving the kensen in a triangle from your adversaries’ throat to his dou mune to his left eye. By doing this you can encourage him or her to move in various ways. Dropping the point can encourage an attack to men or kote which gives the opportunity for debana or oji waza, but be aware that your tsuki is also exposed and that you become a target for uchiotoshi men.
Move the point up to your opponent’s left eye and he sees an opening for men, giving you the chance to take debana men or kaeshi dou. Aim at his right eye and he sees your kote and you may get the chance for kote nuki men or kote suriage men.
It is all about making your opponent move, and as we have talked about before, there are two fundamental ways to do this. We either push in and take his centre, or we make him come to us and take away the initiative. This second approach is referred to in kendo as hikidashi (drawing out).
Kamae like most things in kendo is taught to us in simplified form at the early stages of our learning process. Of course it is easier to think about pointing your shinai at the nodo than being given a variety of choices, but once our kamae becomes established, we can experiment with the areas at which we point the shinai and learn how by doing so, we encourage our opponent to move or discourage him from moving.
Kendo no kata teaches us a lot about kamae, and though we rarely use gedan-kamae, hasso-kamae and waki-kamae in shinai kendo, practising them in kata gives us a great lesson in flexibility and adaptability. Gohon me in the Tachi no Kata gives us a text book lesson in how to combat Jodan. Point to the kobushi and make him move.
So, sorry for any confusion last week, what I meant was don’t unintentionally signal your next move through the point of you shinai. On the other hand you should use every trick in the book to make your opponent move.