Aichi Teams Match – Chuuken

Commentary by Simon Larsen

Ewa is really good at maintaining constant pressure and doing kaeshi (returning strikes) techniques. I find kaeshi techniques are really annoying, it means I have to get away from her after a successful strike so much faster and with maintained covering against her.

I believe it is entirely possible in tankendo to score even if the opponent does kaeshi but it reduces your chances a lot. You can see Tajiti is faster than her and, as 6th dan, probably a lot more experienced but the constant chasing and attacking by Ewa appears to give him pause for thought at around 01:08 and he switches to attacking from longer range.

On the restart you can see that Ewa tends to make about twice as many thrusts as Tajiti. For me this is always nerve racking, as after a failed attempt, I know I am vulnerable to a “lucky” strike.

Tajiti resumes making attacks from a distance which allows him to control when the attack starts and finishes because he has faster footwork. Ewa reduces this advantage by constantly moving forward when the ma-ai is long and continuing to attempt twice as many thrusts in each exchange.

At 02:13 you can see how effective kaeshi waza can be, Ewa gets close enough to scoring that in the same situation I would be starting to get worried about my strategy of relying on speed and attacking from range.

At 02:26 you can see that Tajiti is trying new ideas and just how risky men is. Even with the feint to kote Ewa has her tanken quickly to his do, not in a good enough way to score but enough to show clearly the risks of men strikes. Someone of a similar speed to Tajiti would likely have got there first.

As always note that men followed by raising the tanken is strongly discouraged as a form of zanshin at every seminar we have been to recently.

At 03:17 Tajiti discovers that Ewa does react to feints from long range but it is a bit late to take advantage of that and the match finishes with Hantei (Judges decision) awarded to Tajiti.

My takeaway from that match is that a big skill difference can be cancelled out with constant attacking and trust in kaeshi waza.

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