Commentary by Jacek
The beginning of this match was a pretty terrible experience for me. The frustration from previous match, during which I was unable to score, was building up and at many occasions it is too visible that I am more than dissatisfied with my performance.
My backhand simply didn’t work as it should – it stayed down and it was all tense, which basically prevented me from doing anything worthwhile.
This tension got also to my mind, causing me to get completely confused while trying to find a way to attack properly in given circumstances. My opponent used this to his advantage and hit me with a proper attack, which bypassed my tense arms.
At this point something broke – I could not count how many thoughts went through my head in these few seconds following the attack, but the final result was that I completely let go of things that were holding me back and decided to go forward with a proper attack.
Right after the “hajime” I did just that – the tension somehow went away and I managed to hit evening the score.
I felt really good and really wanted not to lose this feeling, so I decided to just do it again. It worked as well ending the fight.
Although the fight lasted some time, the last few seconds were to me the most important not only in regards to result, but also my jukendo as a whole – I felt something changed and got better.
Commentary by Nuno
After the first match against Germany, Team Portugal qualified for the finals. After a tough fight against Ukraine, Jacek Lipiński was through and the first unofficial and completely unrecognized Jukendo World Championship was to be decided between Portugal and Poland.
Having been practicing Jukendo for over a year and running the Warsaw Jukendo Group, Jacek has a lot more to bring to the table than I do. I knew I was up against a much more experienced fighter and my strategy had to reflect that. From the beginning, and also from his help during the seminar, I knew I had to hold a better kamae and try to use hanmi more effectively for positive striking.
Well, that did not pan out as quite as I had imagined.
Now, watching the video, I think I can identify very obvious flaws on my overall posture: leg stance, for starters – way wider than what Terada Sensei taught – and hand position. My left kote is too tight and the grip is not relaxed. In addition, the right hand is not resting on the hip bone area. I think that this combination doesn’t allow me to strike as fast as I could and exposes my target area more than I should. Unwise combination when going against someone much more experienced.
Now back to the match.
Until the first “yame”, after Jaceks’ mokuju gets tangled in my himo, strikes from both parts were pretty shallow and inoffensive. This brief interruption to rearrange himo seems to have had a positive effect on both shiai-sha mindsets as you can see at the “Hajime”. Seeing the video, I think my first strike after this pause was not so bad but it lacked a) depth; b) zanshin (in case you are doing the math, the minus points seem to outweigh the good ones, but hey…I can’t always be putting myself down); I continued to strike and tried something new, kote. Managed to touch Jaceks’ kote (but an overall poor thrust) but managed to get a jougai hansoku. When fighting a superior opponent, every little advantage is worth it.
Now, seeing the video, I can see opportunities for wazas that I have no preparation for (for now), such as renzoku waza: sometimes a first attack is not so strong as to score an ippon but a second thrust would probably have managed it. Also, more seme and intention in breaking through the others’ kamae without having to do feints or do “harai” (I am referring to those sloppy attempts to break throught kamae as “harai waza”…) are points to work on.
Terada Sensei pauses the shiai to advise Jacek and I to strike positively, relaxing and completing the thrusting motion as he taught. After this brief pause, Sensei’s word had magical effects on both of us! I strike and get ippon, shuffling my feet forward I threaten with my mokuju and then strike chokutotsu, and swiftly (as I can) define zanshin. Ippon for Portugal, unofficial world domination is a step closer.
But then, Jacek crushes my dreams, scoring two ippon in two strikes, deftly exploring my weaknesses: kamae and lack of center.
For me, this was a very interesting shiai. Going against a much more experienced opponent, improvising is no easy feat. So, trying to get my basics correct and, most of all, trying to not thinking of winning or losing, but attacking and do a good match.
Now seeing the video, I can get a better feedback (with Sensei very far away from Portugal, this is essential) of my basic flaws and I can list them and try to work on them. As for Jacek, he is the worthy winner of this unofficial and unrecognized competition. And I have to thank him for this match and for all the tips, corrections and teachings he passed on to me during the Berlin seminar.
I hope we can do a rematch soon!