A lecture video by Takumi Chikamoto (Kyoshi 7th dan) [Chikamoto Lecture], forwarded to me by a sensei, prompted this article. I found the video very informative and helpful. Chikamoto sensei addresses the relative grip strengths of the hands and digits on the shinai, among many other topics. I sensed that his grip-related comments and a deep dive into this area could help improve the quality of the sae (sharpness) in my strikes.
I survey the literature and videos on this topic including the aforementioned video (in Parts 2 and 3 below). A two-handed grip associated with the chudan-kamae is assumed. This article is broken down into the following parts:
- Relative Grip Strengths – Why Emphasize the Left Hand? (Part 1)
- Relative Grip Strengths – in Brief (Part 2)
- Relative Grip Strengths – in Detail (Part 3)
- Relative Grip Strengths – Exercises to Improve Shinai Control (Part 4)
- Relative Grip Strengths – References (Part 5)
Updates: Oct 25, 2021 – Added quotes from Koda Kunihide Sensei and Geoff Salmon Sensei on using the left hand to push the shinai from kamae to strike in Part 2.
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