This blog is becoming increasingly request driven. Morgan Hooper of Enshinkan Dojo in New York asked for clarification on a previous post on seme-geiko and some the finer points of maai and footwork in seme .
As I mentioned when I last wrote about seme- geiko, I was introduced to the practice by the late Furuya sensei at morning keiko in Sakai. Subsequently I practiced it a few times with his student Uegaki Isao sensei. All of these sessions were with senior ranked kenshi and it was taken as read that everyone knew the mechanics of seme, so no detailed instruction was given. Seme-geiko is effectively kakarigeiko for seniors, but with emphasis on creating the correct opportunity to strike. Each partner spends a short time pressurizing their opponent and creating chances to make 4 or 5 clean attacks. These are made going forwards in a straight line so waza are limited to men, kote and kote men.
I realise that I haven’t come close to answering Morgan’s question, but let me try to make a few points on seme generally and leave you to transcribe them into seme geiko.
To make effective seme from chudan kamae you must:
- Step deeply enough into your opponents space to break his composure
- Move to your uchi ma, a distance that suits you rather than him
- Keep the centre at all times
- Move in with only one step
- Move from your feet and keep correct posture. Do not just push your hands forward
- Usually you step in with the right foot and smartly bring your left foot up to follow so you can move effectively into the attack as soon as his concentration is broken
- Breathe in before you enter distance and retain your breath in your tanden during the process of making seme, releasing it in kiai as you make the attack
- Strike in the timing of one
- Do not raise or lower the tip of your shinai as you move in, as this this will alert your opponent to your intention
- If your seme does not have the required effect retain the centre and move back out to safe distance.
These points only apply to moving forward for shikake waza. Hikidasu, or drawing your opponent in is another post in its own right.
Morgan also asked about how to impose mental dominance when making seme. The answer to that one is similar to the old musicians’ joke – How do you get to Carnegie Hall? – Practice.