Kote doesn’t exist on it’s own. Always apply seme with initiative, and when there is pressure to the men and tsuki, the kote becomes viable. Once you move out, you need to direct your body straight forward without stopping, with the intent of cutting through your opponent’s shoulder. We inquired about the story behind Matsuwaki Shinsuke’s kote-technique which he has mastered during his tokuren days (elite police squad training).
7th dan, born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1978. After graduating from Toyo Daihimeji High School, he entered Nihon University. After graduation, he worked at the Metropolitan Police Department. Currently serving as assistant instructor of the 4th riot police squad. He has participated in the All Japan Championships, won the World Kendo Team Championship and the All Japan Police Team Championship.
Players who are strong in shiai have a good men technique, but they are also good at kote. I was originally good at men but not at kote. During my university days, I have experienced a fractured collarbone. Even so, my practice continued and during that time I could only strike men because of the pain. Call it an exploit of injury, but I was able to study the opportunities for men strikes and it became a speciality of mine. After that, I entered the Metropolitan Police Department.
However, I became painfully aware that men-strikes alone would not work. Therefore, I visited Sato Katsunobu sensei, Kurita Waichiro sensei and Terachi Tanetoshi sensei and conducted thorough research on kote-techniques in my first and second year in the tokuren. It turned out that results in actual battle will vary greatly depending on whether you can strike the kote properly or not.
The first thing I noticed is that it was harder for my opponents to see a kote-technique coming when you do not aim for it, but rather perform it as a byproduct. Anyone who has experience in kendo will know this: sometimes you have the intent of making an ippon with men by performing kote-men, only to see your kote landing nice and crisp. Incidentally, you shout “kote!” to claim the ippon. I had this experience often. During those days I struck kote like that one time, and Terachi Kenjiro taught me: “That’s the way to land it”.
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