Kendo Striking Areas
Uchi-dokoro (striking areas)
The target areas in Kendo are classified as Men (the mask area above the ears), Kote (the
glove, just above the joint of the wrist), and the Do (side portion of the breastplate). All blows
must be declared loudly by name as they are struck to the targets. In general terms, the complete
top section of the head is counted as Men, the gauntlet portion covering the lower forearm as
Kote and the entire lower section of the breastplate as Do. The only thrust in Kendo is termed
and declared as, Tsuki.
Direct attacks are known as Shodan-waza whilst composite techniques or two separate
attacks used in combination are called Nidan-waza (two step techniques). The most complex form
employed are Sandan-waza (three step techniques) and if no score is made the participants must
separate and re-start. The following classifications refer to delivery and are not specified when
Shomen-uchi (striking the front mask)
This is shown in plate 115 and consists of a vertical, or straight blow to the centre of the
mask. Note that the blow is delivered on the reinforced padding above the grill, with the cutting
edge of the Dage-kibu (striking base).
Plate 116 shows the position during the follow-through, on the first step, as the attacker
passes to his own right and carries the Shinai forward. In actual fact the attacker is dashing past
at this point, rather than standing.
Hidari-yokomen-uchi (striking the left side mask)
This is shown in Plate 117 and after lifting the blade exactly to the centre it is canted over
to strike diagonally to the opponent’s left temple. Note that the cutting edge has turned inwards
to strike the rim of the grill at ninety degrees. The follow-through will appear exactly as for
Shomen and apart from the canting over, the same form applies.
Migi-yokomen-uchi (striking the right side mask)
This is shown in plate 118 and is exactly the same as Hidari Yokomen. It is normal to
pass to the attacker’s own left after cutting to this side.
Migi-gote-uchi (striking the right wrist)
In its basic form this consists of a vertical blow which strikes over the joint of the right
wrist. Note that the arms are extended and the blow is again delivered with the cutting edge of
the Dage-kibu. As can be seen the Migi-gote is the only directly open target, plate 119.
Plate 120 shows the first follow-through step as the attacker passes to his own left. Note
that the Shinai is carried forward and brushes over the opponent’s right shoulder.
Migi-do-uchi (striking the right breastplate)
This is shown in plate 121 and consists of a low diagonal blow to the right side of the
breastplate. Note that the technique is delivered a little more deeply than for the Men and Kote
attacks and again the cutting edge is turned inwards. It will be seen that the arms are well
extended forward into the line of attack and that the left hand remains inside the Chushin-sen
Plate 122 shows the first follow-through step after cutting the Do, as the attacker passes
to his own right. So as to pass clearly the blade is snapped back to the attacker’s right shoulder
when passing. This form of pass can also be used when attacking the Migi-gote, if the opponent’s
Shinai happens to be high.
These are the five basic striking attacks in Kendo and all are precisely the same in nature,
merely directed to various targets. The direction is forward when cutting, neither downward in
cutting the Men, nor sideways when cutting the Do.Kendo Striking Areas