Kirikaeshi and “Large, Strong, Fast, Light (大強速軽)” – from a Seminar by Kamei Sensei

Here’s a brief summary of pointers from a portion of a Southern Californian Kendo Federation (SCKF) seminar given by Kamei Toru (Hanshi 8 dan) back in 2012 at Torrance, California in this 12:16 min video [Kamei Kiri-Kaeshi].  It is on the topic of kiri-kaeshi (切り返し) and it expands on the principle of “Large, Strong, Fast, Light (大強速軽, dai-kyo-soku-kei)” that he mentions.

Thanks to Jim Vahl sensei for reminding me of this video and noting how some audio portions of the video may not have been clear.  An opportunity to work out the “translation” muscles in this mind.

Pointers kiri-kaeshi (切り返し) by Kamei Toru (Hanshi 8 dan)

  1. 0:12 min The Motodachi (receiver) moves backwards without the taiatari (or body check) after the Uchidachi strikes the initial men.
  2. 0:35 The Uchidachi (person striking) continues to move forward after striking men and starts striking sayumen (left and right sided men-uchi) only after the motodachi (receiver) raises his/her shinai to the side of the head to signal “start sayumen”.
    1. 1:37 The taiatari is used to help children learn kiri-kaeshi and not needed for adults.
  3. 3:35 There’s two ways for the Motodachi to receive the strikes.
    1. Motodachi receives with the shinai close to the men (and the hand off-center and near the body with the left hand near the bottom edge of the do).
      1. This is to encourage the Uchidachi (the person striking) to extend their arms when striking.
    2. 4:12 Motodachi can extend the shinai forward and strike the Uchidachi’s shinai (Though difficult to catch, I believe Kamei sensei called it kiri-otoshi) – to encourage the Uchidachi to use more effort
      1. This is not recommended, however, when receiving from kids – who then forget to extend their arms when striking.
  4. 4:49 Uchidachi should aim to strike the right and left side of the Motodachi’s menMotodachi can lower his/her shinai to ensure that the Uchidachi is striking correctly.
  5. 5:15 The Uchidachi
    1. Shouldn’t pull back the hands and shinai back too much and should allow a natural recoil with the arms extended forward.
    2. Should execute a good initial men strike.  No sloppiness nor rushing.  Do it from issoku-itto (or touma if you can) and with crisp/sharpness as if in a match.
    3. Should strike a crisp, accurate initial sayu-men.  The ones thereafter will follow accordingly in a similar manner.
    4. 8:08 Should strike the last sayu-men accurately.
    5. 8:35 Should return to kamae after the last sayu-men before striking the next men-uchi.
    6. 9:16 Should strike with the principle of:  “dai-kyou-kei-soku” = “ookiku, tsuyoku, karuku, hayaku” = Large, Strong, Light, Fast – as explained in more detail below.
      1. 9:37 Plus a fifth element of: “kakujitsuni” = accurately.
  6. 11:35 Teachers should be able to demonstrate the proper techniques and do as they teach.

“Large, Strong, Fast, Light” (大強速軽 dai-kyou-soku-kei)

This principle is expanded upon here.  Its more prevalent ordering appears to be 大強速軽 dai-kyou-soku-kei (where the order of the last two components are switched).  It encapsulates the natural progression of learning sword techniques according to [Hedges DaiKyoSokuKei]  [Weblio_DaiKyouSokuKei]:

  1. From [Hedges DaiKyoSokuKei]:
    1. Dai (Big) – … At this stage of learning big movements are necessary to allow you to learn the basic mechanics of the technique.
    2. Kyo (Strong) – Only when the basic technique is mastered can you move to this stage and start to add power to your movements.
    3. Soku (Fast) – Without perfect technique, adding speed is futile. The addition of speed and strength will result in power.
    4. Kei (Light) – The final stage where all movements become light and subtle yet faster and more powerful than ever before. To the observer movements appear effortless. To attempt lightness too early will merely result in weak movements, Light is a result of countless repetitions over hours of training.
  2. From [Weblio_DaiKyouSokuKei]:
    1. That is, at the beginning, strike with a big swing and hit strongly and correctly.  With time, your technique (waza) becomes faster and faster, free of any unnecessary extra power and gradually lighter and easier.  And your kendo shall become fine and have sae (the sharp, clean cut).
      1. Original Text in Japanese:  初心者指導の幼諦は「大きく正しく」ということで大強速軽はその上達への過程を教えたものである。すなわち最初は大きく振り冠(かぶ)って強く正しく打つ。そのうちに技もだんだん速くなり、無駄力をなくして次第に軽妙になり、冴えのある立派な剣道になるということである。


[Hedges_DaiKyouSokuKei] Dave Hedges, “Big, Strong, Fast, Light – Samurai’s & Kettlebells,” Wild Geese Fitness Training, June 20, 2011.

[Kamei_Kiri-Kaeshi] Kamei Sensei – Kiri-Kaeshi, YouTube, 12:16 mins, Dec 13, 2012.

[Weblio_DaiKyouSokuKei]  “大強速軽(だいきょうそくけい),” weblio 剣道用語辞典

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