A Neat Tip to Help Develop Debana Waza (出鼻技)

I recently came across a video on the topic of debana waza (出鼻技) in which the Sensei* describes a neat tip to help develop debana waza (出鼻技) [KendoStepUp_Debana].   The audio is in Japanese and captioning is in English.  For those unfamiliar with the term, debana waza refers to techniques applied at and timed to when the opponent is just about to start or starts his or her attack.  More precisely,

Debana waza refers to “Counter-attack techniques delivered at the moment of Debana where Debana refers to “the very moment that an intended strike (by the opponent) begins, which provides an opportunity for (the) counter-attack.” These include “Debana Men, Debana Kote, Debana Tsuki.”  [Kendo_Dictionary].

I have been interested in developing debana waza and the ability to discern the instant when the other is about to strike so that I can initiate the counter-strike beforehand.

The tip, described at the 12:22 min mark of [KendoStepUp_Debana], amounts to inserting a very slight movement when receiving a strike during Kihon (basic) practice.   The idea is to advance your front foot (e.g., your right foot if in chuudan kamae) very slightly forward (e.g., by 1 cm) at the instant when the other person is just about to start his or her strike.  For example, let’s say, we are practicing men-uchi and I am serving as the moto-dachi and receiving men strikes.  At the moment when I sense the other is about to start his or her attack, I advance the front foot slightly.  The slight movement is likely important to avoid distracting the partner.

I think the tip is brilliant for several reasons:

  1. I can practice the timing of the debana waza by
    1. Developing the art of “paying attention” with soft eyes [KendoNotes_SoftEyes] to detect the debana moment when the other is about to move and
    2. Making sure that the mind is ready and that the body is ready to move at any given moment with, for example, more of my weight on the rear foot – rather than the front foot.
    3. Combining both sensing and the motor response (as opposed to only one of the two).
  2. As explained by the Sensei, this practice can develop into an unconscious habit from which the debana waza can arise more readily and spontaneously.
  3. I get to enjoy Kihon practice even more – since I can practice while also receiving strikes.  A win-win situation.

* I couldn’t find the Sensei‘s name on the YouTube channel or on his website https://kendo-gokui.com.


[Kendo_Dictionary] “Dictionary for Japanese-English Kendo Terms,” (PDF, 50 pages).

[KendoNotes_SoftEyes] “‘Soft Eyes,’ A Way of Seeing and Being – Quote and Resources,” KendoNotes.com, December 21, 2018.

[KendoStepUp_Debana] KendoStepUp “Debana moment of Kendo.You should understand this.” Dec. 17, 2021 (15:08 mins)


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