Kata: Ju tai Tan 1


  • Take a defensive geidan (aimed more at the opponents back knee rather than their front knee).
  • 3 steps in.
  • See the opponent thinking of doing something.
  • Strike them.
  • Zanshin.
  • Lower the mokuju.
  • Return to centre.
  • 5 steps back.


  • Slightly delayed behind the mokuju taking geidan make a small covering of their kamae.
  • 3 steps in.
  • Think of striking them and start to move.
  • Get hit.
  • Wait til their zanshin has been done and let the mood settle a bit.
  • Return to centre.
  • Lower the tanken.
  • 5 steps back.


I rarely get to demonstrate sen-no-sen in kata. So I like it when we do this one as it is something I am trying to fix in my shiai as well. For it to work for me there are two key ingredients I have to pay attention to.

Firstly to be acutely aware of the distance I can strike correctly from. In kata, I have heard it said, “you want your mokuju to touch the opponents shirt but not their skin”. Maybe an exaggeration but seems a good thing to aim for. I have also heard it said “if you hit the skin make sure to say sorry” so take “things I have heard said” with a grain of salt. The easiest way to learn your striking distance is to have a wall or similar target and practice not moving your feet and striking so that you just touch the wall.

This is even better if you can have someone hold a mokuju tanpo against the wall for you to hit as any lack of shime in your strike and any distance misjudgement means your strike will completely fail.

Once you can strike well regularly, start including some footwork. Then you will be able to adjust the length of your step to accommodate different distance rather than ruining your strike by leaning or reaching to cover the distance.

Secondly my second step is the important one. So long I plant that right foot firmly and am mentally thinking of striking from that point the third step and following fumikomi are easier to have nice timing with. When I used to focus on the third step being important I would also have a small delay between reaching striking distance and then actually striking.

Ignore the way I grab the floor with my toes when performing zanshin. No one has said it is bad and I should stop it but a few people have been a little surprised by it. Probably not best to copy.

Timing is important here as with all kata. They key changes in timing are:

  • Walk in: Slow-tempo
  • Strike: Fast-tempo
  • Hold the strike for a short period. You can see in the video that Terada
  • sensei wasn’t happy with my timing of the strike for the videos before
  • these, I was staying too long and my zanshin didn’t flow from the strike, it
  • was just a thing I did after some other thing.
  • Withdraw from the strike: Fast-tempo
  • Zanshin: Mid-tempo
  • Return to centre and completion of kata: Slow-tempo

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