Ura / Dattotsu/ Hazusetsuke / Uwadou

Dattotsu, Ura, Hazuse tsuke, Uwadou all end up meaning about the same thing but have different contexts.

  • Dattotsu (evading thrust): Usually used for the name of an exercise e.g. Dattotsu San Bon (3 times)
  • Ura (reverse side): Usually used when describing the path to the target and is in the context of what the receiver has to do; not really what the striker is doing.
  • Hazuse tsuke (slipping out 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 Dattotsu the receiver ensures that the opening made is above the receivers front hand (hence Uwadou – Upper Dou) and between the receivers mokuju and body (It is on the “reverse side” of the Mokuju rather than the “front side”).

The strike itself should look almost identical to an omote strike (in front of the opponent’s mokuju). There should be no moving the mokuju off the central striking line. The striking point itself is the same as for Chokutotsu and Katotsu.

The receiver should make the opening in such a way that the striker doesn’t need to move off the striking line. This is done by the receiver pushing the mokuju away from their body parallel to the floor and then making a slight upwards movement with the tip of their mokuju. As this upwards movement is made the straight line to the target is available and the receiver should give the command to strike “Hazuse tsuke”. The emphasis is on saying the tsuke part of the command at the moment the opening is made by moving the mokuju slightly upwards. For any further strikes the command is Onaji (again).

The receiver needs to ensure that the distance is correct. Under no circumstances should the striker perform a bad strike in order to compensate for the distance. If the receiver is too far away the striker should simply stop in mid air in the correct posture of a strike. Both people are learning to judge the correct distance simply by looking at the opponent, not by measuring the distance with their mokuju.

The receiver should ensure that the command is given at the correct moment in the opening. This teaches the striker to see when the opening is present.

As the receiver makes the opening the striker should have a soft and flexible grip. The striker should not “fight for the centre” and resist the movement to the side performed by the receiver. This will add tension to the arms and make the strike ineffective and probably cause the strikers mokuju to bounce around when the tension releases. As the receiver makes the small movement upwards and commands the strike the striker simply pushes the mokuju forwards in a straight line which passes under the opponent’s mokuju above their hand and straight to the heart. The strikers mokuju does not make a big circle under the receivers mokuju. Maintaining contact as it passes underneath is completely acceptable.

The receiver should “catch” the strike and make a tiny step backwards to absorb the strike. If the receiver steps back before the strike lands the striker will not learn the correct distance. The striker is aiming an inch or so inside the kata of the receiver and that inch or so is all the distance required in the receiving backwards movement. The mokuju should not lose contact with the kata. The receiver should not be off balance and should not lose hanmi (sidewise stance) while receiving. I (Simon) do this by taking the weight slightly off my back foot and allowing the strike to knock me back into an even weight distribution between my feet, I don’t even really think of it as a “step”.


The basic exercise: Dattotsu San Bon (3 strikes)

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. The power involved in this movement has been described to me in various ways such as “equal to the power of the strike” and “40% strike, 60% pull”. Simply put it is just as important as the strike.

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. During (not after) these steps the receivers mokuju moves under and around the strikers mokuju (which doesn’t move) so that when the steps are complete the two partners are in perfect position for the next strike. The striker does not shuffle their feet around during this process.

In the basic exercise the ma-ai is set by the receiver and is critical to correct teaching. For example, if the “hip bone of the receiver magically moves around” and the right hand of the receiver is in the incorrect position, the distance will be wrong and the striker will have some trouble thrusting with correct form (02:40 shows this). In this situation the receiver should correct the distance when preparing for the second strike. We are taught not to shuffle around correcting the distance if you, as receiver, have made a mistake. Simply do it correctly next time.


Slightly more advanced exercise: Ura from to ma-ai (longer distance)

From a slight further distance the striker takes a single step to close distance applying pressure to Omote. The receiver reacts to the pressure creating the Ura opening in the same way described above but slightly faster. The mokuju do not necessarily touch during the pressure and opening section of the movement.

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