Katotsu, Shita, Shita wo Tsuke, Shitadou all end up meaning about the same thing but have different contexts.
- Katotsu (lower thrust): Usually used for the name of an exercise e.g. Katotsu San Bon (3 times)
- Shita (Down): The strikers mokuju is beneath the hands and the mokuju of the receiver.
- Shita wo Tsuke (strike): Grammatically a command, this is used during the exercise to tell the striker to strike.
- Shitadou (lower area of the chest): The name of the target. 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 opponents mokuju or anything, the striker simply strikes directly and the receiver makes changes which differentiate the attacks.
In the case of Katotsu the receiver ensures that the opening made is below the receivers front hand (that is why “lower” dou). Shita simply means down, lower, beneath etc and the strikers mokuju is beneath the receivers hand and mokuju. As with the other strikes the motion performed by the striker is almost exactly the same but particular attention should be paid here as the tendency to drop the mokuju tip on the way in or to not fully elevate the rear hand are very common mistakes. A lowered mokuju means almost certainly the opponent will counter attack and score. A rear hand not in the correct position means the strike will almost certainly not score.
Please review the Tsuki video here. For the striker that covers a lot of the essential components for this exercise.
Please review the omote and ura videos for detail on receiving which is common to the strikes.
Katotsu Specific Receiving notes:
In the basic exercises, such as Katotsu San Bon, the opening created by the receiver begins with a slight scooping motion in which the strikers mokuju is lifted slight up and to the receivers right. This is done using the blade of the mokuju, not the side. Once the front hand of the receiver has moved enough to create the small
opening for Katotsu the command to strike is given (Shita wo Tsuke) and just as the strike is made the receiver extends the front arm out, forwards and to the right. Do not complete the entire movement and then give the command to strike. The intent is to train the striker to respond immediately to the awareness of the opening.
The tip of the receivers mokuju should be somewhere to the right and slightly higher than the strikers front shoulder depending on relative body sizes.
Take care that the opening is small to ensure that the striker learns to recognise a realistic opening. The large movement of the receivers arms is after their strike has commenced and is to ensure a clean and pain free strike is possible. If the receiver does not extend their front arm and the elbow is bent they will probably receive using their bicep so it is best to extend the elbow.
In more advanced exercises, such as Katotsu from To-ma, receiving is performed in a manner emulating what happens in shiai. This is seen from 00:31 in the video. The striker applies pressure (seme) to the omote and the receiver reacts to this pressure attempting to block the omote strike. Again this is a small movement to help train the striker to recognise a realistic opening, it is not a huge movement. The receivers front hand shouldn’t be higher than their shoulder. At 00:53 Terada sensei demonstrates how he reacts in shiai to block pressure on his omote.
The front hand can slide a little but should stay within the white lines. The front hand moves on a line towards the receivers left shoulder, not directly vertical. This angled movement coupled with maintained hanme creates a small opening in the shape of a triangle created by the receivers forearm and their mokuju. The rear hand of the receiver comes slightly forwards. This form of receiving is quite difficult and practice in front of a mirror is very useful.
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