2017 AJYJC: Women’s Individual: Round 1: Match 8. Sakika vs Nemoto

Commentary by Simon Larsen

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

This match to me showed the importance of the basic exercise Toma Tsuki where you start from standing still, run a short distance and strike the motodachi then perform Hiki Nuki zanshin. It also showed me the importance of the same exercise with an experienced motodachi that is able to strike you if, and only if, you have created an opening while running in or during your zanshin. I hate the exercise for exactly the reason it is so important:

If you don’t control the centre you create openings for your opponent.

Here Red advanced quicker in the opening charge and White created an opening to strike Ura by lifting her mokuju high. I suspect that this may have been telegraphed to Red when White dropped her mokuju tip low just before lifting high. White showed great determination in chasing Red after the strike but Red’s zanshin, while initially low, looks to have been on the centre line enough to fend off the first attempt at a retaliating strike and block the second.

The second point White unsuccessfully attempted to score and then her zanshin was low and under Red’s wrist. Without the control over the opponent’s wrist or weapon you need enough distance to prevent a counter attack.

There will always be matches where your opponent is better than you but this is a good reminder that even the basic exercises can make it harder for them.

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