Refining Men-strikes as practiced by younger Kenshi, Part 3



The ideal Men-strike with individual quality

Oishi Hiroyuki (Osaka) 6th Dan, Renshi
Born in Saga Prefecture in 1985. After graduating from Ryukoku High School and Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, he joined the Osaka Prefectural Police Department. He has made it to the best 8 at the All Japan Championship twice, won the team title at the World Championship, the title at the National Police Team Championship five times and 3rd place at the individuals three times (1st division) and has won the National Athletic Meet three times. He is currently a Kendo teacher at the Tennoji Police Department.

Sharp Men-strikes from a natural Kamae

For me, of all the techniques in Kendo, the ones that I find the most exciting are Men-techniques. I think of it as an art to break through the opponent’s center during mutual Seme and striking at their indecision through the center of their body. Here are five things I try to keep in mind with Men-techniques.

1. Maai

Generally speaking, there are four types of Maai: Toma (distant Maai), Shokujin (touch-blade) no Maai, Kōjin (cross-blade) no Maai and Chikama (close Maai). The distance can vary from person to person, depending on the physical characteristics, athletic ability, and the width of their Shinai grip (length of their Tsuka). It is important to understand one’s own characteristics, and to study and find the Maai (eye measurement) at which one can develop their techniques from Issoku Itto (one step, one sword’s) distance.

2. Opportunity

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