If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the 10:41 min video “You want to strike men? In order to win…” by Fuku-sensei [Fuku] may be worth a thousand pictures. Fuku-sensei examines in depth and with clarity a way to strike men first – using a mix of video footages of men strike examples amply repeated at slower speeds and explanations with text in Japanese. I present a brief summary of the video below for those who may not be able to follow the Japanese text.
A few side comments before starting. In case you might know Fuku-sensei, I would appreciate it if you could send me his contact information. I would like to request permission to post a full translation of his text in Japanese to English and thank him for creating and sharing his video. And a ‘thank you’ to Susan Zau-san for sending [Fuku] to me.
A Brief Summary of the Video [Fuku]
From the time mark [0:03] to [1:14], sequences of a person striking men are shown where the opponent blocks and evades the men strikes. Fuku-sensei poses the question at [1:14]: Well then, when can (the men strike) not be evaded? He answers: It is when the opponent strikes men.
So, given that an opponent (X) is coming in to strike men on you, how can you strike first? This is addressed from [2:12] to [8:04]. I found this extremely enlightening.
To reach you and strike men, person X would need to cover a potentially large ma-ai (or distance) and perform a large fumikomi. Fuku-sensei refers to this fumikomi as “Strike while pushing your body forward” (体を送り打ち) – a literal translation. Perhaps a more compact and conceptual translation would be “the big step strike” in contrast to a smaller type of fumikomi explained next.
You can instead perform a smaller fumikomi which Fuku-sensei refers to as “the one (small) step strike” (一歩の打ち) and can successfully strike X’s men beforehand. An important aspect of this technique involves your recognizing the shorter ma-ai that arises as X comes in towards you. That is, you need not aim to strike where X is currently standing in kamae but rather where X will soon be as X comes in to strike you.
Furthermore, as explained by Fuku-sensei, because the movement of the legs is slower than that of the hands, the larger distance that X needs to cover with the legs makes X’s time to strike slower than that of yours as your legs can instead cover a shorter distance.
The video from [8:04] to [8:20] examines what may transpire when person X may also aim for a smaller ma-ai and perform a small step strike.
The last part of the video from [9:20] shows what can happen if person X seems to perform a men strike initially but stops part way through. Such examples illustrate, for me, the richness of possibilities in kendo.
Indeed, as Fuku-sensei states in his last sentence: “Kendo is interesting” (剣道って面白い。kendoutte omoshiroi).
[Fuku] FUKU先生, 面打ちたい？勝つために。。。, (You want to strike men? In order to win…), Posted on “Kendo – Iaido – Munyukan 剣道 居合道 無入館” (10:41 mins) https://www.facebook.com/kendoiaidomunyukan/videos/520117361488337/
Also can found at: 剣道の基本 1.合い面1 (Basics of Kendo 1. ai-men 1) 4:56 mins by moketo mokomoko (not sure which is the original)
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