Commentary by Simon Larsen
Alex had injured himself the day before the match and was wearing a brace on his striking arm. Fortunately his opponent is wearing one of the older style do futon which is very bulky and provides great protection in training but I find they are very restricting. So I guess that evens things out a little.
Alex’s opening do tsuke (00:28 which he appeared surprised didn’t score) his wrist is above the tanken, similar to a correct men strike in tankendo. As a result his tanken slides off and down the target and I am pretty sure that is why the judges didn’t score it.
For do strikes I believe the correct form is to have the tanken at an angle up from the wrist, even horizontal is incorrect I think. For nodo having the tanken in the same line as your arm is good and for men the wrist should be above the tanken (although this can be hard against tall people).
From this strike Alex did learn one thing though; his opponent likes going high, men and nodo. Tatsuya also frequently has zanshin raising his tanken. Going high opens a chance for do and raising your tanken after a strike is likely to prevent it scoring. For men strikes the tanken should stay at the height of the men or come back to chudan for zanshin, similar for kote, do and nodo.
Alex takes advantage of Tatsuya’s “going high” response to seme at 00:52 and in the slow motion you can clearly see Hisatsune sensei’s advice regarding the relative distance of do versus nodo. Alex lands before Tatsuya is within 6 inches of the target.
On the restart Alex feints for kote and receives the same “going high” response. The next feint for kote is drawn back early and strikes do. Alex did get a little lucky there as the feint looked to have been at the wrong time against Tatsuya’s footwork and Tatsuya’s nodo response actually lands first by quite a distance. Fortunately for Alex it misses. I suspect a combination of lowering his tanken too much after feint, feinting when Tatsuya’s footwork had him in position to strike and maybe not enough hanmei to keep the distance advantageous to the do strike.
First foreigner through a match for the day!