BLOG POST - Masatake Sumi Sensei (Hanshi 8dan) on Zanshin

About 3 years ago, I had an amazing Keiko at Shubukan, at the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka. One of my favourite Sensei in the world - Masatake Sumi Sensei (Hanshi 8dan) was there. He gave a massive amount of wonderful advice, but I'd like to share with you his specific teaching on Zanshin.

He said that there are 3 crucial points to Zanshin, and they are :

1) Keep your eyes on your opponent - you must keep your eyes on your opponent as much as possible, especially after making a strike. You shouldn't pass through mindlessly showing your back to your opponent, or try to run away. You should keep them in your sights, and be ready for their next attack.

2) Your voice should be strong and powerful - when you shout 'Men', 'Kote' or 'Dou', it should be an extended, strong shout that extends to until the Waza is completed - with some power/voice remaining in your abdomen, ready to make another strike immediately if required. It should not 'fade off', and it should not contain small breaths or repetitions (as in - 'Kotekotekotekotekotekote!' type shouts)

3) You must retain strong posture - your Waza should be completed with correct, and strong posture. This means not throwing your arms in the air, above your head after striking Men, or learning forwards or backwards after a hit. This leaves you very vulnerable to retaliation, and can be dangerous if you are pushed over.

I really wanted to share this, as Sumi Sensei was keen to stress that Zanshin is easily misunderstood, and I thought it was an amazing, yet simple explanation!

If you haven’t seen it, I have also featured this lesson in an episode of The Kendo Show, so check that out too:

 Hope you enjoyed!


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