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JAPAN REPORT VIDEO

Yokohama 7th Dan tournament: Favorite match selection / Video and recap

09/01/2018
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At the 5th All Japan Invitational Kendo 7th Dan Championships this year (Yokohama 7th Dan tournament), Keiichi Hashimoto (Saitama) from the Ita Technos business group, has attained an achievement that rewrites history by winning the tournament.
Although police officers have won the championship for the past four times, this trend was broken by a swordsman from the business world who climbed the pinnacle. In the final game against Matsuwaki Shinsuke (Tokyo) who participated in the tournament for his third time, he landed a Morote Tsuki in the extension and won the title.
The 3rd places were taken by Gonpei Noriyasu (Tokyo) and Kiwada Daiki (Osaka), for whom it’s been the second time in a row.

Favorite match selection:
Matsuwaki Shinsuke (Tokyo) K – M Takanabe Susumu (Kanagawa) 1st
match Poule – D
Controlling in front of you

Takanabe has achieved two consecutive victories by winning the 2nd and 3rd championships. This is his 5th participation and he has gotten out of the group stage every time. Last year, he met fierce resistance of the Osaka Prefecture Police but this year he was the favorite candidate for becoming champion again. This match is the beginning of that challenge.
The first attack is by Matsuwaki. He advances his Maai and goes for a sharp Tobikomi-men. Takanabe dodges this with his footwork. The second exchange is initiated by Takanabe. He goes in for Kote, then for Men and invades deep for a Kote-men. Then he advances his Maai and pressures for Men. His Kensaki is moving sharply, but Matsuwaki doesn’t break his Kamae. He stops Takanabe right in front of him. Almost 2 minutes into the game, Takanabe moves in with Seme and strikes Kote and Matsuwaki returns a Kote. Then, although the Maai is short, Takanabe lands a Men. It is very close but no Ippon is given. The fight starts unfolding after these 2 exchanges. Matsuwaki invades deeply into his opponent’s Maai. Takanabe’s hands move up for control and Matsuwaki slips past his Shinai, landing a Kote while moving in. 3 white flags go up and Matsuwaki takes the lead. It is precisely the middle of the game, 2 minutes and thirty seconds in.
In the second exchange in the second round, Takanabe, who is aiming for the equalizer, goes for Kote. Matsuwaki goes for Hiki-men as Takanabe is moving towards him. A good effort. Then, as they face off similar to the first Ippon, Matsuwaki goes for Men. He takes his opponent by surprise as Takanabe is barely able to get his Shinai in between. The flow of the match looks to be in favor of Matsuwaki. Finally, they enter the last 30 seconds. This moment is very tough for both players. Takanabe boldly applies Seme and moves in. As Matsuwaki is trying to control his Shinai from above, Takanabe goes for an all out Men with a slight Katsugi motion and lands it brilliantly. The thrilling and powerful match ends in a draw.

Takanabe was behind, but with little time left he was able to make the equalizer with his speciality, Men

Favorite match selection:
Iwashita Tomohisa (Chiba) T – Yoneya Yuuichi (Saitama) 2nd match Poule – C
An unexpected Morote (double-handed) Tsuki

This is Iwashita’s first match. He participated for the first time last year and was able to get past the group stage and make it to the best 8. Yoneya is participating for the 5th time. He is a strong competitor but was unable to get past the group stage so far. There are many fans who like his characteristic sword style.
The first strike is by Iwashita. He uses quick footwork left and right, and goes for an all out Men as he steals some distance, but Yoneya looks unimpressed. He deflects and crushes it from above. Iwashita is characterized by soft sword handling and strong offense. He is the type that follows his strikes up multiple times, breaks his opponent and forcibly follows through. The second exchange is initiated by Yoneya. He enters striking distance and goes from Kote into Men. After that, he controls from the right and goes for Kote. Iwashita also goes in for a Kote and the early game is a completely equal fight. After 1 minute and 40 seconds, Iwashita quickly applies Seme from below and goes for Morote-tsuki as Yoneya is trying to get into striking distance by moving his feet to the left and right. It lands brilliantly. Admittedly, Iwashita is good at Morote-tsuki but at this turn in the early game it was unexpected.
After this, Yoneya has to get the equalizer and starts pressuring for it, but Iwashita doesn’t respond to Yoneya’s advances. Around the end of the match, Yoneya is looking to get back in the game and goes for a Katate (one handed) Tsuki. It was a little too light and no Ippon was awarded but it still left an impression.

Iwashita takes the lead with an unexpected Morote-tsuki. Yoneya desperately tries to catch up but was unable to score an Ippon

Favorite match selection:
Teramoto Shoji (Osaka) D – Iwashita Tomohisa (Chiba) 5th match – Poule C
Strong Seme lures out the opponent

This was the first match of the afternoon. Teramoto had drawn his matches against Koseki and Yoneya with no wins. Iwashita on the other hand, won against Yoneya and drew against Koseki.
If Teramoto can win, he will pass the group stage. If he draws, his tournament life will be in danger.
From the moment they stand up Teramoto’s focus is tremendous. For the first strike, he quickly moves in and goes for Katsugi-kote. It hits the Tsuba and fist, but is certainly very close. After another exchange, he moves in sharply and goes for Katsugi-men. Iwashita bends his upper body and dodges, but it is incredibly sharp. Iwashita would like to create some pressure of his own, but Teramoto’s Seme won’t allow it. After 2 minutes, Teramoto aggressively goes for Men while controlling from the right. After that he goes Kote into Men, moves in and goes for Katsugi-men and then Katsugi-kote. It looks like he is going all-in.
It is almost 4 minutes into the game and Teramoto firmly takes the center with his Kamae. He moves in with small bursts of his footwork, and appears right in front of Iwashita, who reacts by reaching for Men. When he lands his Kensaki on Teramoto’s left Shinogi, Teramoto crisply lands a Kaeshi-do and passes through. Teramoto’s strong Seme lured out this Ippon. This was the deciding strike of the group stage and Iwashita ended at 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss. Because of this loss, he didn’t pass the group stage.

Teramoto corners Iwashita with subtle Seme and sharp strikes. 4 minutes into the game, Teramoto takes the game by scoring Kaeshi-do

Favorite match selection:
Hashimoto Keiichi (Saitama) M – M Takanabe Susumu (Kanagawa) 5th match Poule – D
An equal match build up


Matsuwaki and Furukawa both took the lead against Takanabe, who managed to score the equalizers for 2 draws. To get through the group stage, he needs to win with at least 1 Ippon in his last fight against Hashimoto. Hashimoto has 1 win against Furukawa, but if he loses to Takanabe he will be ranked lower. Simply put, he needed more than a draw. Hashimoto jumps forward quickly as they stand up. As soon as he comes into striking distance, he goes for Men without hesitation. He has good momentum. After a Kote attempt, he dodges Takanabe’s Men by stepping out of range and goes for Men himself, and we are witnessing well rounded willpower. Takanabe observes Hashimoto’s movements calmly and keeps Kamae while looking for his opportunity. Hashimoto’s arms are steadily in front of him after Takanabe finishes his strikes. However, the match is developing unexpectedly quick. As they move into the mid game, Takanabe moves in, lowering his Kensaki out of the center. He sees Hashimoto break his posture and goes all out for Kote. Hashimoto moves his arms up, and turns his Shinai around to deflect. His strike lands firmly on Takanabe’s Men who is coming towards him. Both players land their techniques and take Zanshin. The white flags go up for Hashimoto. Perhaps Takanabe struck a little too high.
Takanabe finds himself in a desperate situation. It is the 1st strike of the 2nd round. They face off as they move in on each other. Hashimoto hesitates and the instant he attempts to get out of range, Takanabe goes for Men. The Shinai is in between but he strikes through firmly and makes the equalizer.
The match ends in a draw but it was well worth watching the back and forth. Hashimoto did not merely stand his ground against Takanabe as an opponent. On the contrary, he showed a brilliant match in which he was more than equal.

Hahsimoto takes one Ippon and has the advantage, but Takanabe is looking for the equalizer with straightforward Seme. Takanabe strikes a sharp Men as Hashimoto is trying to get out of range. This landed on the target through Hashimoto’ s defense

Favorite match selection:
Gonpei Noriyasu (Tokyo) KM – Higashinaga Yukihiro (Saitama) Match 6 Poule – B
Reading the opponent and luring them in

Higashinaga slides in as they stand up. His Kensaki is pointing right at the center of his opponent. The scary thing about Higashinaga is that he can make a sharp distinction between situations and hit either Men, Kote or Debana-men from this posture. Gonpei, who is aware of this, calmly stays out of range and is moving around it. It is a maximum intensity stand-off. Higashinaga is the one who applies Seme and moves out in the second exchange. Neither player can follow their strikes through and both end up in Tsubazeriai. In the third exchange Gonpei moves out while swinging up large. Higashinaga catches this moment and goes for Kote. Gonpei didn’t follow through so it came a little short, but if he would have swung down it might have landed perfectly. It looks like the early game is developing in favor of Higashinaga. 1 minute and 20 seconds into the game, Higashinaga sticks out his Shinai to control Gonpei in the center of the Shiaijo, and after waiting until the last moment he straightforwardly follows a Men strike through. Initially white flags go up for Higashinaga’s Men, but are instantly replaced by red ones. Just before Higashinaga’s Men, Gonpei has landed a Kote.
Although it is Gonpei who goes all out for Men in the first exchange of the second round, from there Higashinaga takes over. The best highlight is when he slides in and goes straight for Men. He does not let himself get disturbed by the forceful counter-Seme by Gonpei. At 3 minutes and 30 seconds he controls from the right and the Men effort is good. It is 4 minutes into the game when they go into the end game at the pace set by Higashinaga. Higashinaga swiftly moves into striking range. Gonpei lowers his Kensaki and steps a bit out of striking distance. Higashinaga moves in for Seme with his right foot and goes for Men. However, Gonpei goes straight through with a brilliant Debana-men.

Favorite match selection:
Matsuwaki Shinsuke (Tokyo) T T – Furukawa Kousuke (Osaka) Match 6 Poule – D
Two sharp Tsuki sink into the throat

The final game of preliminary rounds. Furukawa who lost 1 match to Hashimoto, is expected to want to win this match to attain 1 win, 1 loss and 1 draw for a rank decision match, again with Matsuwaki. Matsuwaki has 2 draws so far. In order to line up with Hashimoto who has 1 win and 2 draws, it is difficult to pass the league unless he wins 2-0, or at worst 1-0. Furukawa is 38 years old and is participating for the 1st time this year. Both he and Matsuwaki have fought as the Japanese representatives at the World Championship and stood victorious.
As the first strike, Furukawa goes for Kote twice, and another one on top of that as Matsuwaki tries to pressure forward. It is powerful and the sharpness is also good. Two exchanges after that, Matsuwaki goes all out Tobikomi-men after stepping in. Furukawa cuts off the distance, but the Kensaki reaches the Mengane. Matsuwaki’s body is somewhat crooked but it is a Men with terrifying reach. While Furukawa is wary of his Men reach, you can see he is aiming to capture the rising hands of Matsuwaki, moving slowly from the left and right. Both of them have good single shot force, and it is a good eye catching fight.
The following happened about 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the game as they moved into the endgame. Both sides are feeling out truth and deceit while blades intersect. Matsuwaki slowly goes for Morote-tsuki from the right side. It sinks into the throat of Furukawa who tried to evade by slightly cutting the distance. It is an astonishing Ippon. In addition in the second round, Matsuwaki strongly shows intent for Men and moves in. He swiftly feints Men and goes for Morote-tsuki from the right side. So, Matsuwaki advances to a rank deciding match against Hashimoto with a double Tsuki that nobody expected.

After Matsuwaki lands a Tsuki in the mid game, he pierces Furukawa’s throat as he lands another Tsuki straight into the second round, and decides the game with 2 Ippons. The crowd roared


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