Commentary by Simon Larsen
Kikuchi opens with his off centre tactic like we saw in his last match however Takizawa obviously has trained against this and uses some pretty great footwork to start the final step first. Halfway through what looks like a normal step it turns into a full strike. You can see he keeps his front foot really low which increases his range. I think this awareness of the distance despite the angle change coupled with the ability to launch his strike from so far away is why his strike lands so long before Kikuchi’s. Even though Kikuchi went for do as well and didn’t surrender the centimetres difference between do and nodo.
Takizawa starts from geidan (which I get told off for doing) and I think the momentum from raising his arm may aid in covering the distance so effectively. Something to steal and try! I suppose so long as the strike is from a long way away and you step first maybe your arm is into the normal covering position that chudan gives. Perhaps this momentum is why a lot of us have a tendency to drop the point of the shinai before striking?
Takizawa, we saw in previous matches, is a master of the “block, retreat, attack the weakness of a completed attack” tactic and he does it again to win. As before I think it is the ability to retreat with centre of gravity very forward that allows him to use this tactic. Once again he appears to achieve this through the back foot being so far back and the leg looks straight. And once again his front foot stays very low during the fumikomi.
Time to go train and watch that front knee doesn’t raise up during fumikomi! Maybe try a little long range geidan!
One of the things I love about Jukendo and Tankendo is that even (especially?) at the high levels matches are full of attacking spirit and as a result they are so often over quickly. Beats waiting through 20 minutes of encho!