INTERVIEW KENDO TECHNIQUE

Susumu Takanabe’s Men

10/01/2018

Takanabe Susumu kyoshi 7th dan
Born in 1976 in Kumamoto Prefecture. Proceeded from PL Gakuen High School to University of Tsukuba, after graduation, appointed to Kanagawa Prefectural Police. National Police Team Championship victory 4 times · Individual victory 3 times, World Championship Team victory & 3rd place, All Japan Championship victory etc. Currently, Kanagawa Prefecture Police Tokuren Captain.

Facing off after moving in half a step more

When I apply seme myself, I do it with the intent of making them freeze. And then it becomes important how you create your striking distance.
Concretely, I take half step in from my maximum striking distance, and am patient until our nakayui cross and break their posture from there. The point is to not rush into striking without being confident that you can hit. Since I started stepping in 1 extra step, I started thinking about all sorts of patience.
When I was younger I used to strike with insufficient seme, perhaps because I was focused on striking from a far distance. I received debana kote and kaeshi do many times as a result. Since Miyazaki Sensei told me “you should make half a step more”, I try to make sure I apply seme until the last moment and hit with patience.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Luvo2018 10/02/2018 at 12:38 AM

    Hi, thank you so much for translating these interviews. It is a bible for Kendo lovers 🙂 as you probably know.
    So far I just watched the DVD´s from Kendo Jidai as my Japanese reading skills are neglectable….
    One point for improvement: If you post an article on Facebook, I click on the Link, but can`t find a way to Log In. I always have to
    change to the Homepage to search the Log On Link (where it is way down the Page as well).
    Can you move it to the Top somehow ? Thanks !!

    • Reply Kendo Jidai 10/02/2018 at 4:06 PM

      Hello Luvo2018,

      Thank you for your support and advise!
      We will look into this issue.

  • Reply Harryksk 10/02/2018 at 3:46 AM

    when he mentions taking a half a step forward, does he mean with just the right foot?

    • Reply Kendo Jidai 10/02/2018 at 4:01 PM

      Hi Harryksk!

      Good question!
      Even though we could not possibly answer this question for Takanabe sensei, you could argue that stepping in with only the right foot could constitute half a step.
      Then again, making a small step with both feet could also be half a step.

      Personally, I like the idea of stepping in with just the right foot. You can change into a strike really fast that way.
      What do you think?

  • Reply thanhdoan 01/10/2019 at 10:29 AM

    Hi Kendo Jidai,

    Thank you for your great posts.

    I have a question. As a shodan kenshi, I am practising the seme and found this post is really good.

    However, I got confused about taking a half right step forward to put seme on opponent.

    Do we always have to talk a half right step forward in order to put seme and strike?

    For example, when I do jigeiko with same or lower level kenshi, I can do it and strike. Even I do not need to take a half step forward because they move in my distance or they lean their body forward so they are in my distance then I just need to strike.

    But when I do jigeiko with more senior kenshi, they always move to close distance then I got confused. Because of that, I dont have enough space to take a half step forward then I have to move backward to gain the distance or just stand. .So when I move backward or just stand then they can strike me. As you know, in this situation, I got confused so I am basically freeze.

    Please could you give me pieces of advice to clear my confusion on seme?

    Sorry if the question is not clear as I have limited knowledge on seme !

    Many thanks

    • Reply Kendo Jidai 01/17/2019 at 2:45 PM

      Thank you for your comment.
      The reason why we interview famous players and introduce the essence of their skills is to encourage readers’ inspiration and to make it a hint of training kendo.
      This article is about “seme” which serves in part as a preparation before striking.
      By using the technique introduced in the article, there is no way that the all opponents will move in the same way.
      To answer your question more specifically, there will be situations in which you can’t perform half a step before you strike as you described. These kind of situations require a different approach.
      By knowing about famous player’s / teacher’s words and attitude towards kendo, let’s train better and harder with each other!

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