A lecture video by Takumi Chikamoto (Kyoshi 7th dan) [Chikamoto Lecture], forwarded to me by a sensei, prompted this article. A common pitfall in kendo is the under-use of the left hand and over-use of the right [KendoInfo LeftHand] [KendoInfo RightHand]. You may have heard many sensei‘s admonish students on this. Chikamoto sensei addresses the relative grip strengths of the hands and digits on the shinai, among many other topics, which caught my attention. 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)
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