Forward Heel Action for the “Stomp” in Fumikomi

There are probably multiple ways to teach and learn how the forward foot contacts the floor in the “stomp” portion of the fumikomi.  That part of the fumikomi where the forward foot forcefully hits the floor.  For example, many years ago, I was taught to stomp the floor with the entire foot from the front paw to the heel at the same time to maximize the surface area making contact with the floor.  However, a couple of years ago, I came across how Koda Kunihide (Kyoshi, 8 dan) teaches it in Episodes 6 and 12 in his Kendo Skill Revolution DVD [Koda_SkillDVD] (an invaluable teaching and learning resource).  I had never heard such a teaching before and have found it most useful and effective.  I describe it briefly and would recommend watching those episodes to see it visually.

First, the forward foot glides forward above the floor.  Second, at some point where the foot stops moving forwards, only the front paw is in contact with the floor before the stomp.  The heel is not in contact with the floor.  Third, while the front paw is touching the floor, the heel snaps down and back up instantaneously for that stomp.  Koda sensei likens this forward heel action of the stomp with the floor to the sae in the tenouchi (the snap of the wrists at the instant the shinai makes contact with the target).  I’d also liken it to clapping the floor with the heel and with a quick recoil back upwards.

Some observations:

  • To perform this heel action, I find that I need to have the front toes and/or front ball of the foot in light contact with the floor as the forward foot glides forward.
  • If there is a gap between the foot and the floor as the forward foot glides forward, then the whole foot contacts the floor and the heel immediately rises after touching the floor.
  • The heel action seems to happen naturally if I focus the attention on the hikitsuke (the quick follow-up of the rear foot when the forward foot makes the stomp [KendoNotes_Hikitsuke]).
  • The combination of hikitsuke and Koda sensei‘s approach to the stomp has been most helpful.  It produces for me a quicker, more explosive and more natural fumikomi.

In closing, I think my heel is very grateful and relieved.  It experiences less pain 🙂

Thank you Koda sensei!


References

[KendoInfo_Hikitsuke] Geoff Salmon, “The importance of hikitsuke,” Kendoinfo.net, June 22, 2011.

[KendoNotes_Hikitsuke] “Hikitsuke (the Quick Follow-up of the Rear Foot) in Fumikomi – Some Pointers and Videos,” KendoNotes.com, Oct 12, 2018.

[Koda_SkillDVD] Koda Kunihide (Kyoshi 8 dan), “Kendo Skill Revolution,” 剣道上達革命, TrendAqua DVD.  (I wish I had been able to view this when I had started kendo and highly recommend watching it.)

[Koda_SkillDVD] Koda Kunihide, “Kendo Skill Revolution,” 剣道上達革命 (with English subtitles), TrendAqua DVD.

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