2017 AJYJC: Women’s Individual: Round 1: Match 4. Mirai vs Ayana

Commentary by Simon Larsen

I am not a qualified judge in Jukendo. These are just my thoughts.

Red applied a lot of pressure from the beginning. She covered 3/4 of the distance to her opponent in the opening charge. There were not enough openings in her kamae as she ran that white could try and score during the charge. In my opinion scoring against someone as good as you by standing still and waiting for them to run in is a pretty unwise tactic.

White attempts to regain momentum but is forced to move backwards showing just what an advantage the person with forward momentum has in a match between roughly equal skilled people. Note that to step out in jukendo both feet must completely exit the court.

I believe the separation at 00:56 is because the judges felt the match was getting bogged down in a situation where no good jukendo would come out of it. In Jukendo both players can receive hansoku if they persist with this kind of behaviour for 10 seconds but in this case it was just to facilitate nice Jukendo with maybe a little verbal warning to them.

For the second charge you notice that white does not make the same mistake and the two meet in the centre and red is forced to retreat in order to maintain a distance from which to apply attacking pressure. Red appears to have less technical skill and I think is attempting to win the match by never allowing white to choose the distance and attempting to maintain constant attacking. I find people using this tactic against me incredibly hard to defend against, it can just smother you and get you into a defensive mindset from which I usually lose on my stupidity.

White maintains composure and rather than playing the same game of relentless simple attacks at 01:22 starts using harae waza to create openings. Red is no longer retreating to striking range and returning with immediate attacks, the retreat is instead too close to be of any real threat and White is no longer smothered.

The strike at 01:38 seems to be the turning point of the match. Even though White has retreated the footwork is absolutely ready for going forwards and attacking. Red makes the mistake of dropping the mokuju tip on her attack and White strikes over the top of Red’s mokuju and with a horizontal barrel. Red’s strike at the same time is pointing up and her back hand is too low. I might have paid this point for White but probably the zanshin wasn’t good enough; White wasn’t in kamae and threatening Red after the strike, instead she was standing still and looked a little off balance.

It did appear to give White the confidence to take advantage of Red’s constant pressuring though. A small retreat at 1:43 to the distance at which Red always is happy to attack from and the same strike over the top of Red’s lowered mokuju and this time with zanshin.

Once the habit of Red’s lowered mokuju was revealed (as clearly shown at 02:06 and 02:09) there was no need to charge across the gap and white scored the second point taking advantage of that habit.

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