Thank you Martin for giving me two topics to write about this week. When I started this blog quite a few years ago, I was warned that a blog written by a seventh dan was doomed to failure because kendo’s respect system would kill debate. This has not been the case and Kendoinfo has received close to 2000 comments. Quite a few of these have been challenging, but nearly all were good natured.
I don’t usually respond to comments, but commenting on the “stupidity” of someone’s view is not in line with kendo etiquette. It is also worth bearing in mind that the topic is kendo, not tameshigiri. I also can’t see how you made the assumptions that I advocate taking your eyes off or turning away from your opponent. The whole theme of my post was that zanshin is vital to kendo, and awareness of your opponent is the essence of zanshin.
Keeping these points out of the equation, our key disagreement is over the correct zanshin for hiki waza. You have suggested that keeping your shinai raised is both “furikaburi” and jodan. Furikaburi means to swing up, not keep up, and jodan requires a great deal of hand foot coordination that goes beyond pointing your shinai skywards. I remember Chiba sensei’s advice to a casual jodan player who asked him how to do better jodan. The answer was “stick to chudan”.
“Hit men as you step back and return to chudan” is not my invention. As part of the research for “Kendo a Comprehensive Guide” we looked at the writings of numerous famous sensei and they all advocated chudan as the end position for hiki-men. Looking at the available English language references, in both Ozawa sensei’s definitive guide and the AJKF’s Fundamental Kendo, the instruction is hit men and return to chudan. The AJKF’s “Official Guide for Kendo Instruction” takes things a step farther and cautions against hikiage as “an unacceptable action following a strike, such as exaggerated posturing after scoring a point in a match. This can result in the point being rescinded by the shinpan.”
I have always made a point of approving all comments to this blog and I thank you for contributing and look forward to hearing from you again. Please though, let’s keep within the spirit of kendo’s reigi.