Nicole: Harai-Waza continued

Re: Continue on Harai-Waza training, Wednesday 15/06/2016

This is a continuation from the training we had with Harai-Men. Last week, we learnt about Omote Harai-Men (hitting downward at 45 degrees from the right) and Ura Harai-Men (hitting 45 degrees upward from the left).

We focused our training on the Harai part. Sensei advised that it is important to have our wrist relaxed. We use our wrist to create the hit motion like pulling lever using both our wrists. The pivot point of the pulling/pushing motion should be centre of the handle of your Shinai. Sensei mentioned we can move our Kensen slightly off the centre to invite our opponent to enter into our hitting range to initiate this Waza. As your opponent entered to your hitting distance, you strike a Omote Harai-Men. As beginner, the most common mistake is that we often moved the Kensen to side way rather than at an angle of 45 degrees upward. Senpai advised that if we do it in an angle hitting downward, the gravity will assist downward force so our Harai will have bigger impact with less effort.

Sensei also had showed some waza relevant but different to Harai-Waza as well, namely Maki-waza. Maki (巻き) means to twist so as the name suggested, we rotate our Shinai with our left hand as our Kensen come into contact with the Shinai of your opponent. The rotating motion will "twist" your opponent Shinai off the centre line and create an opening for you to hit. We can rotate our Shinai clockwise (right) or anti-clockwise (left) depending which side your Shinai is when you crossed Shinai. If you rotate for a full circle, your opponent's Shinai will point upwards when it's bounce off. If you rotate for a quick half circle, your opponent's Shinai will point downwards when it bounce off. Just like Harai-waza, it is very important to keep your wrist relaxed and let your left hand do the job. The distance and timing for the execution probably needs to happen earlier than Harai-waza since Maki-waza works like a drill. Sometimes we might get too close to hit Men as the Shinai bounce off from the centre.

Sensei also demonstrated that we can use the shape of our Shinai (the little bump just before the Nakanui) to suppress your opponent's Shinai. The Shinai will slide a little bit due to its smooth surface and go off centre. This brief moment is also a great timing for giving your opponent a surprise Men cut.

* Thanks to Nicole R. for the taking the notes.