Chokutotsu, Omote, Tsuke, Uwadou all end up meaning about the same thing but have different contexts.
- Chokutotsu (direct thrust): Usually used for the name of an exercise e.g. Chokutotsu San Bon (3 times)
- Omote (and Ura) describes the relative positions of the two mokuju when striking. Omote means the strikers mokuju is in front of the receivers mokuju from the receivers perspective (Ura is between the receivers mokuju and body).
- Tsuke (strike): Grammatically a command, this is used during the exercise to tell the striker to strike.
- Uwadou (upper area of the chest): The name of the target (note that Omote and Ura are both targeting Uwadou). Mostly this is used in shiai to announce a point.
We took a long time to understand that all three main strikes (Chokutotsu, Dattotsu and Katotsu) the striker shouldn’t really do anything different. There are no big loops around the opponent’s mokuju or anything, the striker simply strikes directly and the receiver makes changes which differentiate the attacks.
In the case of Chokutotsu the receiver ensures that the opening made is above the receivers front hand (that is why “upper” dou) and with the receivers mokuju between the strikers mokuju and receivers body (It is on the “front” side of the receivers Mokuju hence Omote).
Please review the Tsuki video here . For the striker that covers a lot of the essential components for this exercise.
The basic exercise: Chokutotsu San Bon (3 strikes)
I think this is the most important exercise. Almost always it is the first and last exercise of a training session. When a team wins the All Japans they celebrate for their fans by performing it to high volumes of cheers for each strike. It is not performed fast, it is performed correctly.
I have been told two main explanations of doing the receiving side:
- In one the receiver allows the striker to take centre and then strike. The striker must push slightly forward and to their right against the receivers mokuju as seme to create the opening. This is not done with footwork, simply using the arms and body to take the centre line (which the receiver allows to happen) and then striking with a single step. When the striker has taken centre the receiver commands “Tsuke” for the first strike and “Onaji” (again) for successive strikes.
- In the other the receiver makes the opening by moving their mokuju to their left and the striker simply follows this movement until they reach centre at which point the receiver commands “Tsuke” or “Onaji” as above.
As these are verbal definitions they may not reflect actual reality. Most of the time we currently do something between the two extremes and closer to “striker applying pressure”; I suspect “Receiver Opening” is more useful for beginners to learn to strike straight. I see benefits in both and think it is good to know both variations simply to increase awareness of what you are doing on both sides.
The receiver allows the strike to connect and then takes a very small step back to allow the strike to finish. In the video you can see that this step is almost the completion of the strike, It is not before or after the strike.
Once the strike is complete and the receiver is still and balanced the striker pulls the mokuju back to kamae. This is done strongly and cleanly and on a straight line directly to the position of kamae. Do not let the mokuju tip bounce up or down.
A short moment after the striker has returned to kamae the receiver takes two very small and evenly spaced steps back to the correct distance for the next strike.
The striker does not shuffle their feet around during this process. On either side if bad footwork has put you in a position where things are wrong we are mostly taught to “deal with it” and focus on getting the feet correct next time. Okuri (small movements before striking) is taught to us as one of the biggest sins to make in Jukendo. Getting into the habit of correcting things after a mistake appears to be considered a good way to learn lots of okuri.
In the basic exercise the ma-ai is set by the receiver and is critical to correct teaching.
At the end of the 3 strikes each partner performs the small shake of the mokuju indicating completion of the current part of the exercise. If the receiver thinks that the striker made errors below their skill level they will often allow one more chance to get it right, when this happens instead of the shake the receiver commands “Onaji” in an attempt to draw a strike of the strikers standard out of them.
When performing in groups of 2 people this is usually followed with an immediate change in roles. When performing in groups of 3 people the striking side usually becomes the receiving side for the third person.
At the end of a given partnership exercise (either 3 strikes total or 6) the receiver takes two steps back to make distance, commands “Naore” and both partners perform Naore and bow.
Slightly more advanced exercise: Omote from to ma-ai (longer distance) with Hiki Nuki Zanshin (02:02)
From a slight further distance the striker takes a single step to close distance applying pressure to Omote. The receiver does not react to the pressure and allows the strike to occur. The mokuju often touch during the pressure section of the movement. At the end of the strike the striker then performs zanshin by pulling the mokuju back to kamae and simultaneously taking several small, balanced and quick steps back out to the starting distance. As soon as that distance is achieved the next strike commence.
For the receiver it is crucial that the opening is made cleanly so the striker learns the striking opportunity instinctively. If the opening is not made cleanly (as at 02:16) the striker may become confused as to what is supposed to be happening. Learning to make the opening aids in seeing when someone else does it.
For the striker learning not to relax at the end of hiki nuki zanshin is important.
Slightly more advanced exercise: Omote from to ma-ai (longer distance) No Hiki Nuki. (02:35)
Perform the above exercise however after the strike there is no hiki nuki (running away) zanshin. Instead the striker simply performs standing zanshin and the receiver takes two steps back to the further distance for the next strike. One of the key points in this exercise for the striker is to ensure smooth and fast footwork. No rising and falling of the centre of gravity or of the mokuju tip whilst attacking.
Very common medium level exercise: Renzoku Tsuki (Continuous Tsuki) (02:56)
In this exercise 4 strikes are made.
From a 10cm overlap of mokuju tips the receiver commands “Tsuzuite Tsuke”.
The striker strikes 3 times. After the first 2 while the striker pulls the mokuju back to kamae the receiver takes a single step (not two) to the same 10 cm overlap.
After the 3rd strike the receiver takes two large steps back to to ma-ai (long distance) and the striker performs mae tsuki by taking a step forward to close distance and then performing the final strike in a smooth and balanced manner. For the receiver this is a good exercise in maintaining posture whilst retreating.
Quite a bit more advanced exercise: Nidan waza (Two strikes) Omote, Omote (03:09)
Performed the same as Omote from to ma-ai with Hiki Nuki Zanshin except immediately after the first strike a second is made to the same spot. This requires that the pull back of the mokuju be very fast and strong and that the second fumikomi (stamping step) be very short distance. Short steps during an attack are very useful in Jukendo.
Not a very fun exercise at all: I’m not sure if it has a name, I call it “Dizzy and Tired” (03:17)
With two receivers the striker continuously strikes, pivots and strikes. The distance between the receivers can be varied; longer is good for smooth balanced attacking practice, shorter is good for stamina and learning to see the next target quickly.