By Simon Larsen
This tournament was Ippon Shobu, 1 point matches. These are fairly common in Jukendo and they are pretty high stress affairs (for me anyway). You have to walk out into the match ready to go as a moment’s hesitation or uncertainty will often gift your opponent an easy win.
As you can see from these two matches you don’t want to wait around. Shou Ippon (scoring from the initial charge) is highly respected and judges seem to want to give it. To me it represents a lot about the Jukendo and Tankendo mindset. Other Budo I have done doesn’t seem to have as much emphasis on “Commit fully to your attack and trust your training” as the starting point of a match. Many of the other types of budo matches I have been in and seen start with the opponents “moving away from each and thinking a bit”. When I started jukendo I found this approach was a very good way to end up thinking about “what on earth just hit me and how”.
That said you will often have an opponent that is faster / better than you and shou ippon won’t work. At this point you must maintain pressure. Ewa’s opponent in match one is quicker but by immediately counter attacking Ewa didn’t allow Kawaguchi to gain control of the timing of the match; Every time that Ewa moved back to distance or blocks she immediately starts attacking.
As a result Ewa scores at 01:0. You can see that the practice of fast variations of Dai Ichi Geiko has transferred almost perfectly into shiai. To me that is an indicator of a good exercise.
In the third match we see another important thing to note about counter attacks. To my mind they should not be a static thing. Many times I have been standing still in a match and done what I thought was a perfect counter attack and not had it score. I believe that judges are less likely to award a point for a static person not applying pressure. Hence keep moving, even if you don’t think you are applying pressure you’ll learn it eventually.
Takeuchi applies pressure by initiating a shou ippon charge but then slows herself just outside of Yoshida’s striking range. The initial pressure draws the attack from Yoshida which is then countered with Ura barai.
You will notice that Ewa attempted this as well and failed at 00:24. I believe the difference is the awareness and control of maai. Takeuchi slows at a far enough distance to ensure she has the time and space for the strike after the harai. Ewa allowed the opponent too close. Learning the very small differences in distance can be done with many exercises but one of my favourites (even though it is a slightly more advanced variation of Ura barai) is from Yamaguchi sensei and can be watched here: https://jukendo.world/en/2019/01/31/yamaguchi-sensei-lesson-2-tsuki-mae-tsuki-kaeshi-tsuki/