By Emily Jackman and Simon Larsen
This more advanced shiai exercise is another one from Yamaguchi-sensei; it’s not complicated but it does require good timing and footwork to do successfully.
The shuugisha takes the initiative to enter from tomaai using suriashi – as they cross ma-ai the motodachi, who does not move in, attempts to thrust omote. This strike fails as the shuugisha curves their angle of approach after crossing ma-ai so that they are off to the side as they complete their own omote strike. The shuugisha needs to keep moving backwards in a circular motion after the strike to come back in line with the motodachi to start again.
The footwork needs to be smooth and your balance centred as the shift from forward to side motion should be continuous and even.
For many people doing this exercise with bogu is probably a good idea until you get the hang of distance.
- Shuugisha accelerates during the last 2 steps. There is no pause once at striking range.
- The back foot comes up very quickly to push for the final step.
- The strike is horizontal. Do not raise your rear hand to strike over the motodachi’s mokuju.
- Motodachi doesn’t open, the strike is straight at shuugisha but doesn’t follow them as they move off the line.
- The back foot can cross over during the last strikes depending on the distance.
What We Are Trying To Learn:
- How to combine seme with the strike. As the seme is applied you watch for your opening but you don’t stop moving to look.
- How to move off the centre line while maintaining posture and balance. Especially pay attention to your hips, don’t poke your bottom out to move to the left.
- Striking distance as measured from your right foot and how to adjust your footwork to be at correct distance (rather than “reaching” for the strike.