Commentary by Simon Larsen
Both players open in the same manner. Moving forward but in a circular pattern. To my mind this is a fairly defensive way of testing out an opponent you suspect is going to be good. The first series of strikes all look to be made by confident mindsets and the attacking spirit seems fairly even between the two of them.
At 00:38 we get a very clear image of just how risky men is. Moriuchi attempts men and is lucky that Hisatsune’s nodo strike went under the nodo. If Hisatsune hasn’t reacted badly to the lifting prior to the men he probably would have aimed for do and got it relatively easily as during the men strike Moriuchi is quite front on. I know I go on about this too much but for all the people with kendo backgrounds learning tankendo I don’t think it can be stressed enough.
At about 00:58 Moriuchi looks to be taking the initiative in the attacking. Hisatsune is relying more on counter techniques. By 01:10 Moriuchi is confidently attacking and pressuring Hisatsune and you can see on the restart that Hisatsune moves backwards a lot more during the similar “forward but circular” approach, maybe 30cm to the right of the centre line. From that point on Hisatsune only initiates 4 of the attacks. Playing defensively against an opponent is fine so long as you score points. I believe that in the long term of your training if you’re not scoring points it might be an idea to be more aggressive even if you lose points in the short term.
At 03:12 Moriuchi unfortunately over extended his arm and therefore did not score, remember that correct technique for a do strike there should be an angle formed by the arm and the tanken. Trying to cover the extra distance Hisatsune created by moving backwards just by reaching was a bad choice. Probably nidan waza would have worked better. A good reminder that when striking taking a large step often makes nidan waza really hard to do as your balance is too forward to get that extra step easily. Hisatsune obviously thought that his counter attack had a chance of scoring as well which is another reason not to do this.
I am fairly sure that Moriuchi wins on Hante due to the more constant attacking and the “almost” strike at 03:12.