A complete guide to Okuriashi in Kendo: from basics to advanced techniques

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art that combines technique and spirituality.

Foot techniques in particular are the basis of Kendo, and “okuriashi” is an important element that forms the core of the technique.


In this article, we will thoroughly explain the basics of Okuriashi, from the basics to applied techniques, and provide content that allows everyone from beginners to advanced players to learn how to use Okuriashi effectively in Kendo matches and daily practice. .

There is no doubt that the correct understanding and practice of Okuriashi is the key to success in Kendo.

Through this guide, you can obtain useful information to improve your Kendo skills and further enrich your Kendo life.


Introduction: What is Kendo? Basic role of okuriashi

Kendo is a traditional Japanese martial art that encourages growth both technically and mentally.

This section provides a basic overview of Kendo and details the importance of foot techniques in Kendo, especially Okuri-ashi.


Overview of Kendo

Kendo is a martial art that was developed based on the swordsmanship practiced by Japanese samurai since ancient times, and it emphasizes training not only of the body but also of the mind.

In matches held using bamboo swords (shinai), not only technique is important, but also etiquette and respect for the opponent.

Kendo is widely practiced both domestically and internationally, and is regarded not only as a competition, but also as a form of spiritual training.


The importance and basic positioning of okuriashi

Okuriashi is one of the most basic foot techniques in Kendo, and is essential for moving forward, backward, and even to the side smoothly and quickly.

Proper Okuriashi is directly linked to success in Kendo matches and training, as it allows you to control the timing of your attacks against your opponent and allows you to take advantage of positioning when defending.

Okuriashi forms the basis for honing Kendo techniques, and mastering it will lead to the effective execution of various techniques in Kendo.


In this way, Kendo is not just a physical technique, but a comprehensive training that refines the mind, technique, and body, and within this, Okuriashi technique is an important element that supports the basic movements and tactics of a Kendo practitioner.



Basic technique of feeding foot

Okuriashi is one of the basic movements in Kendo, and its accurate execution greatly influences the results of matches and training.

In this section, we will explain in detail the correct form for Okuriashi, common mistakes made by beginners, and how to correct them.


Correct form for forwarding

Correct form of the foot is very important to ensure stability and effective movement of the body.

Basically, they move forward smoothly by putting their front legs lightly in front of them and quickly pulling their back legs back together.

This movement is performed in a series, ensuring that the center of gravity of the body remains at a constant height.

A stable center of gravity is necessary to maintain balance and move quickly from one movement to the next.

It is important to use the entire sole of your foot to press against the floor and transfer the force efficiently.


Common mistakes beginners make and how to fix them

Many beginners tend to make some common mistakes when learning Okuriashi.

The most common among them are too high a center of gravity of the body, too large steps and loss of balance during the movement.

These mistakes cause you to miss effective striking opportunities and make it difficult to defend.


To fix these issues, the following steps can be effective:

  1. Keep your center of gravity low : Keep your center of gravity low by always bending your knees slightly and leaning your body slightly forward. This gives you more stability and allows for faster movement.
  2. Practice small steps : Don’t try to move big or fast at first, start by mastering the precise movements in small steps. This will improve your body control and allow you to gradually increase the size and speed of your steps.
  3. Incorporate balance drills : Daily balance training, such as standing on one leg or balancing on an unstable surface, will improve your body’s stability when stepping.


By practicing with these correction methods in mind, even beginners can effectively improve their Okuriashi technique.

Repeated practice with correct form will improve your overall Kendo technique.



How to train your feet

Regular practice and effective drills are essential to improving your Okuriashi skills.

This section introduces practice routines and specific exercises to strengthen your kendo okuriashi.


daily practice routine

Practicing Okuriashi on a daily basis is very important for improving your technique. We recommend that you regularly perform a practice routine such as:

  1. Basic Okuriashi practice : At the beginning of each day’s practice, check the basic form of Okuriashi, and perform it slowly while being conscious of the correct movement. At this stage, focus on accuracy rather than speed.
  2. Practice continuous foot forwarding : Perform continuous foot forwarding at a certain rhythm to ensure smooth movement. It will be more effective if you include not only forward movement, but also backward movement and lateral movement.
  3. Mirror practice : Perform forward legs in front of a mirror and check your form. The key is to self-check and correct areas for improvement, such as your posture and foot position.


effective drills and exercises

Here are some drills and exercises that are particularly effective for improving footwork technique:

  1. Feed legs with varying speeds : Perform drills that perform kick legs at different speeds so you can control your body at any speed. This practice will allow you to adjust your speed to suit your opponent during a match.
  2. Practice using obstacles : Set a course using cones and obstacles, and move while avoiding them. This type of practice develops your ability to respond to unpredictable situations in real matches.
  3. Timing practice : This is a timing practice performed with a partner, in which you watch your opponent’s movements and then quickly send off the legs. You are required to predict your opponent’s movements and quickly change your position accordingly.


By incorporating these training methods, you will not only improve your Okuriashi technique, but also your ability to apply it in matches.

Incorporating these exercises into your daily practice will greatly improve your performance in real combat.



Application of Okuriashi: Tactics in matches

In a Kendo match, Okuriashi plays an extremely important role in both attack and defense.

In this section, we will explain in detail how to use Okuriashi during a match from an offensive and defensive perspective.


How to use Kikuashi when attacking

In a match, using Okuriashi when attacking is essential for quickly and effectively closing the striking distance while applying pressure on the opponent. It is helpful to keep in mind the following points:

  1. Adjustment of sense of distance : Instantly evaluate the distance to the opponent and use the forward foot to get into the optimal striking distance. This requires reaction speed to the opponent’s movements, and requires foot speed according to the situation.
  2. Preparing for continuous attacks : In addition to attacking with one kick, move the legs smoothly when attacking two or three times in a row. This makes it easier to break down your opponent’s defense.
  3. Use of feints : Make full use of feints (fake movements) using Okuriashi to throw the opponent off balance and gain an advantageous position for the actual attack.


Footing and positioning during defense

Even when defending, foot forwarding is important for positioning and maintaining body stability. To make the most of Okuriashi in defensive situations, the following tactics are effective:

  1. Quick retreat : Use Okuriashi to quickly retreat in response to the opponent’s attack and avoid striking. This requires high vigilance and quick judgment.
  2. Optimize your positioning : Use the forward foot to always move to the most advantageous position. This means you are out of the opponent’s attack line, creating a chance to attack again.
  3. Maintaining Balance : Especially when defending, it is important to maintain control of your body without losing your balance. The forward legs help shift the weight and maintain a stable defensive posture.



By learning these tactics during attack and defense, you will be able to greatly improve the application of Okuriashi in matches.

Keep these points in mind when practicing, and be prepared to immediately apply them in real combat.



Okuriashi technique for advanced players

In improving their Kendo techniques, advanced practitioners must learn advanced Okuriashi techniques to further increase their speed and accuracy, increasing their effectiveness in actual combat.

In this section, we will delve into advanced Okuriashi practice methods that advanced players should master, as well as applied techniques that will help you stand out in competition.


Advanced exercises to increase speed and accuracy

To improve the speed and accuracy of your foot feed at the same time, the following exercises are effective:

  1. Interval training : Alternate short periods of high-intensity training with rest. For example, repeat a set of 10 seconds of full-force pushing, followed by 20 seconds of rest. This develops the ability to maintain high performance even when fatigued.
  2. Target practice : Practice moving to a specific mark or target with the feed foot to the correct position. This improves the accuracy of fine foot movements and positioning.
  3. Reaction drills : Practice starting to feed immediately in response to a signal from your partner or trainer. Your reaction speed and initial reaction speed will be trained, improving your immediate response during competitions.


Application of Okuriashi to make a difference in competitions

In order to stand out from other competitors in a competition, the technique of applying Okuriashi is extremely important. The following techniques may help:

  1. Use of irregular rhythms : Avoid predictable rhythms and use Okuriashi at irregular times to make it difficult for your opponent to respond. This allows you to throw off your opponent’s timing, increasing the success rate of your attacks.
  2. Multi-pronged progression : In addition to forward movement, diversify the angles of attack by making full use of diagonal and lateral moves. This makes it difficult for your opponent to defend and increases your effective hits.
  3. Immediate counterattack from Okuriashi : A tactic where you use Okuriashi to temporarily distance yourself, then immediately close the distance again and launch an attack. This allows you to counterattack at a time when it is difficult for your opponent to anticipate the attack.



By mastering these advanced training methods and applied techniques, advanced kendo practitioners will be able to achieve remarkable results in competition.

Rigorous daily training and practical experience are the keys to mastering these techniques.



Precautions and safety measures when practicing Okuriashi

Practicing Okuriashi is an important part of Kendo, and proper care and safety measures can help prevent injury and improve your technique over time.

Here, we will explain in detail the preventive measures to avoid foot injuries when practicing Okuriashi, as well as effective stretching and body care methods.


Precautions to avoid foot injuries

The ankles, knees, and hips are especially susceptible to stress when performing Okuriashi, so it’s important to take the following precautions:

  1. Proper Warm-up : Warm up thoroughly before practice to warm up your muscles and joints and increase flexibility. This reduces the risk of muscle and tendon injuries.
  2. Use proper footwear : Proper tabi or shoes designed for Kendo practice will provide support to your feet and keep you stable on slippery dojo floors.
  3. Correct execution of the technique : It is very important to perform the okuashi technique correctly. Practicing with incorrect form can lead to unnecessary injuries. Always strive to improve the accuracy of your technique by following the advice of your instructor.


Correct stretching and body care

Taking care of your body is equally important when practicing Kendo. We recommend stretching and taking care of your body in the following ways:

  1. Dynamic stretching : Before practice, perform dynamic stretching to prepare your body for the activity. For example, swinging your legs up or doing slow squats are effective.
  2. Static Stretching : Perform static stretching after practice to relieve muscle tension and maintain flexibility. It is especially effective to take time to stretch the muscles of your legs, hips, and knees.
  3. Regular massage and rest : It is recommended to get a massage or do self-massage regularly to reduce muscle fatigue. Proper rest also helps your body recover and prepare for the next exercise.


By practicing these safety measures and care methods, you can improve your Okuriashi technique and maintain a healthy Kendo lifestyle.



Conclusion: Why Okuriashi is important in Kendo

Okuriashi is one of the basics of Kendo, and mastering it has a direct impact on success in Kendo.

This section details the importance of Okuriashi and the need for continuous practice to master the technique.


How learning Okuriashi affects success in Kendo

Okuriashi is a basic movement in both attack and defense in Kendo.

The smoother this movement is, the easier it will be for the kendo practitioner to make effective strikes against the opponent, and the more effectively the kendo practitioner will be able to avoid the opponent’s attacks.

Accurate and fast forwarding is essential for improving positioning and timing during a match, as well as increasing the accuracy of techniques.

Therefore, learning Okuriashi will greatly improve your performance in Kendo and will be directly linked to success in competition.


The importance of continuous practice

Mastering the technique of Okuriashi requires continuous practice and time, rather than a one-off effort.

During daily practice, it is important to consistently practice techniques, from the basics to advanced techniques.

Also, as practicing Okuriashi places stress on various parts of your body, you must also remember to stretch and take care of your body appropriately.

With regular practice, the Okuriashi becomes a natural part of your body, and you will be able to perform the appropriate movements unconsciously.



Mastering the technique of Okuriashi in Kendo does more than just move your feet; it improves your overall Kendo skills, increases your competitiveness in matches, and ultimately contributes to your personal growth. .

For this reason, continuous practice and mastery of Okuriashi is an unavoidable and important process for everyone who practices Kendo.


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