Emily’s Starter Kata guide: Mokuju tai mokuju

Disclaimer: these kata descriptions are the authors own interpretations of the patterns are based on the AJJF videos and the written descriptions from Kendo World articles. Some of the terminology may not be 100% accurate but is intended more to help in visualise positioning based on basic strike knowledge. Any errors lie with the author and not with Jukendo.World.

This is my first time blogging for Jukendo.World although I spend a lot of my time in it as the resident video editor and site co-ordinator. I’ve only had a little jukendo training myself but have recently begun a training group in Melbourne, Australia and felt that it was time to start creating resources that might be useful to others who are starting out.

This is intended only as a rough guide to the mokuju vs mokuju kata – it was compiled from watching several video demonstrations of the kata to try and break down what is occurring. I then modified them once I bought copies of Kendo World containing Baptiste’s descriptions of the kata. Where possible, I have tried to break the explanations down into simple language but there is some assumption of knowledge of the various techniques. Any errors in the description are mine and I’ll endeavour to update/correct them as they are discovered.

Each kata is broken up into two parts – the longer, more detailed version and the ‘Too Long, Didn’t Read’ (TLDR) version which just notes the key points. The detailed section has two paragraphs – the first is the key techniques of the kata, the second paragraph is identical for all the kata as the close for each of them is the same.


In Baptiste’s article (KW, 2009, vol. 5-1, pp. 97-105) very helpfully makes mention that  you can mentally divide the kata into two sets – the first four where the shikata attacks with specific strikes (omote, ura, shita, nodo) and the second four where the uchikata attacks with the same set of strikes but is then ‘countered by the shikata’. So really, if you know the shi’s role for the first four kata, you know the uchi’s role for the last four.

Number 1: Ipponme: Omote
Both start in chudan-no-kamae. 3 steps in to reach ma-ai, Uchi tenses as if preparing to strike, Shi initiates with omote strike, uchi providing access with slight movement of mokuju tip to the left.

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae.

 

TLDR version: Both chudan. 3 steps in. Uchi = Okuri. Shi = Omote. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 2: Nihonme: Ura
Both start in chudan-no-kamae. 3 steps in, Uchi shortens last step to stay just outside of ma-ai.  Shi takes small step in, putting pressure on Uchi. Uchi reacts by pushing back to the right and slightly up to allow Shi to evade (slip under) and make ura strike.  

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae.

 

TLDR version: Both chudan. Shi 3 steps in, Uchi short. Shi = step and pressure/ Uchi = pressures slightly right and up, Shi = Ura. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 3: Sanbonme: Shita
Uchi takes gedan-no-kamae, aiming at shi’s right knee, Shi is in a slightly lowered chudan-no-kamae. 3 steps in, Uchi short of ma-ai – Shi takes small step in, putting pressure with an omote type feint, Uchi responds with a deflection up. Shi takes opportunity to evade below Uchi’s mokuju and strikes their lower chest area with a shita strike. Uchi should ensure that they have moved left arm far enough up and right to open up the lower chest (shitadou) region and keep their elbow out of target line.

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae

 

TLDR version: Uchi right knee gedan, Shi lowered chudan. 3 steps in, Uchi short. Shi = step and omote feint/ Uchi = deflect right and up, Shi = under and shita. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 4: Yohonme: Nodo
Uchi takes slightly lowered chudan-no-kamae, Shi is in gedan-no-kamae, aiming at Uchi’s left knee.  3 steps in, Uchi short of ma-ai –Shi takes small step forward and pressures with feint toward Uchi’s lower chest region (shitadou), Uchi pushes down on Shi’s mokuju in response. Shi evades out from underneath and strikes Nodo.  

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae

 

TLDR version: Uchi lowered chudan, Shi left knee gedan. 3 steps in, Uchi short. Shi = step and shita feint/ Uchi = deflect down, Shi = under and nodo. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 5: Gohonme: Migi no haraizuki
Both start in chudan-no-kamae. 3 steps in. As they enter ma-ai, Uchi makes omote attack.  Shi responds with migi no harai or deflection strike close to Uchi’s front hand that directs down and to the right before pulling back into kamae. Shi strikes omote without moving forward.

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae

 

TLDR version: Both chudan. 3 steps in. Uchi = omote / Shi = migi no harai. Shi = withdrawal kamae, stationary omote. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 6: Ropponme: Hidari no haraizuki
Both start in chudan-no-kamae. 3 steps in, Shi short of ma-ai. Uchi takes small step in, pressuring to right. Shi responds by putting pressure to the right. Uchi evades by coming under and making ura strike but Shi deflects with hidari no harai near Uchi’s left hand directing down and left. Shi pulls back into kamae and strikes ura without moving forward.

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae

 

TLDR version: Both chudan. 3 steps in, Shi short. Uchi = step and omote feint / Shi deflect right. Uchi = under and Ura. Shi = Hidari no harai and stationary Ura. Shi = withdrawal kamae. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 7: Nanahonme: Shita no haraizuki
Shi takes gedan-no-kamae, aiming at Uchi’s right knee. Uchi takes slightly lowered chudan-no-kamae. 3 steps in, Shi short of ma-ai.  Uchi takes small step in, putting pressure with an omote type feint, Shi responds with a deflection up. Uchi takes opportunity to evade below Shi’s mokuju and makes a shita strike to their lower chest area. Shi responds with a shita no harai deflection close to Uchi’s front hand with a direction down and to the right. Shi pulls back sharply into kamae and then makes an omote attack without moving forward.

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae

 

TLDR version: Uchi lowered chudan, Shi right knee gedan. 3 steps in, Shi short. Uchi = step and omote feint/ Shi = deflect up. Uchi = under and shita. Shi = Shita no harai, withdrawal kamae, stationary omote. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

Number 8: Hachihonme: Maki-otoshi
Uchi is in gedan-no-kamae, aiming at Shi’s left knee, Shi takes slightly lowered chudan-no-kamae.  3 steps in, Shi short of ma-ai. Uchi takes small step forward and pressures with feint toward Schi’s lower chest region (shitadou), Shi pushes down on Uchi’s mokuju in response. Uchi evades out from underneath and strikes Nodo.  Shi responds by extending left arm and pushing Uchi’s mokuju up whiles stepping back. Shi performs makiotoshi by bringing their back hand sharply back down to their back hip while keeping tip of mokuju covering their centre; Uchi should try to ensure heart area opens for final attack. Shi steps forward and makes omote attack.

Shi pulls mokuju strongly back into position as they take a large step back. Shi makes small step forward (zanshin). Uchi leads pair back to chudan-no-kamae. Both move together into gedan-no-kamae. Retreat 5 steps. Raise mokuju together back into chudan-no-kamae

 

TLDR version: Uchi left knee gedan, Shi lowered chudan. 3 steps in, Shi short. Uchi = step and shita feint/ Shi = deflect down, Uchi = under and nodo. Shi = deflects up, makiotoshi, withdrawal kamae, stationary omote. Shi = Draw Back. Shi = Zanshin. Chudan. Gedan. 5 steps back. Chudan.

 

*This is an ongoing set of guides started by Emily Jackman who helps to manage and create the videos for Jukendo.World. She also runs the Jukendo Melbourne group, the Victorian Naginata Renmei and is the current Vice-President of the Australian Naginata Federation. In addition to atarashii naginata and jukendo, she is also studying Toda Ha Buko Ryu under the guidance of Keeley-sensei.

These guides are also available on the Jukendo Melbourne Facebook page as works in progress.*

4 thoughts on “Emily’s Starter Kata guide: Mokuju tai mokuju

Add yours

  1. Hi Emily,

    During the Hidari no haraizuki and the Maki-otoshi, what part of the mokuju is making contact with the opponent’s mokuju close to their hand? Is it the top side of the mokuju (i.e. the top of the barrel of the rifle, in relation to a firearm)? (For example, it seems to me that in the Migi no haraizuki and the Shita no haraizuki, the bottom side of the mokuju is making contact with the opponent’s mokuju. Is that correct?)

    Thank you, have a great week!

    – Peter

    1. Hi Peter! I’m sure Simon or Baptiste will correct me if I’m leading you up the garden path but as I understand it, hidari no haraizuki and maki-otoshi both try to catch the opponents mokuju on the side of the barrel – left side for the harai and right for the maki. We’re hoping to have some video/photo references on the site soon but in the meantime if you check out the video by the All Japan Jukendo Federation with Baptiste and Sato-sensei you can actually see it’s on the flat for both during their demonstration; for the maki-otoshi it’s caught quite high up so it’s more towards the bottom edge but if it’s caught lower it will be more on the side.

    2. And with the migi and shita no haraizuki I do believe both are aiming to contact using the bottom of the barrel. With migi I find makes a lot of sense for that to happen because of the angle the mokuju is held when in chudan no kamae; retaining that angle while raising it up and forward in preparation for the harai naturally aims the bottom of the barrel towards your opponents mokuju and means there’s no rotation of the weapon as you return back to kamae as part of the harai.

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