By Simon Larsen and Emily Jackman
If you’ve not seen the first lesson video, tsuki mae, then we definitely suggest reviewing and practicing the exercise from there before using the refinements and advancements in this second lesson.
This starts with the same basic exercise as lesson one, the tsuki mae where the shuugisha makes an omote strike quickly followed with a step forward into the opponent, thereby forcing them to retreat with a similar step backward in order to receive the thrust correctly.
In this lesson, we see the continuation where the receiver is carefully guiding the omote thrust into position so that they can then force the shuugisha’s mokuju out of the way to return with an omote thrust of their own.
In order to make this happen, the receiver creates a path using their kote as the strike is coming in. If you watch from 13 seconds into the video you can see Yamaguchi-sensei raising his front forearm up to catch the attacking mokuju on the kote and his own mokuju so he can guide it into position as he absorbs the strike. Now that he has both mokuju where he needs them to be he extends the front arm down through the centre line forcing an opening. He can then step off side to make a return omote strike.
It’s important that when guiding in the first attack that the receiver both raises the front arm and brings it in toward their body in order to create a strong, clean movement as they force the attacking mokuju out of position. If the arm is too far out in front it’s harder to create an accurate path to guide the mokuju into place and makes it more difficult to extend the forearm to move it out of position.