Don’t step back – a dilemma

Do you know that stepping straight back is the worst option one can have? If you do not believe this, imagine when you need to dodge a car. What would you do? Would you step back in line with the car’s direction of movement? I am sure you would not. You will want to move out-of-the-way or you will be run over. Well this concept applies in randori geiko where your opponent is charging at you. Now you can see that it is not such a good idea to step straight back and receive all the energy and power from the attacker. We must learn better options including how to step back in angles, to side step and even to step forward.

But very strange, unsoku ho starts with stepping forward and 2 steps back. While in koryu no kata, stepping back with multiple steps is absent. It seems there is a difference between old style and so-called modern style. Lets take for example 7-hon no kuzushi found in koryu no kata dai yon.

7-hon no kuzushi jodan kuzushi. In the old style the rotational style is promoted.

old style jodan kuzushi

Shodokan or new style is following an almost straight line back.

Shodokan style jodan kuzushi

From a pedagogical side of view, promoting stepping back with multiple steps, creates a pattern which cannot be used in randori geiko or koryu no kata.
Tai sabaki (side stepping) with or without tenshin (body rotation) has to become the first basic way of moving in martial arts training.

A 1-step back option
Stepping straight back can be an option, but only one step, and not multiple steps like in unsoku ho or jodan kuzushi. The “one ” step can be used to make or keep the distance, after keeping the correct ma-ai (distance and/or interval) side stepping or forward stepping is required. Using multiple steps are creating momentum, which can be used by the opponent.

Tandoku undo – Tegatana dosa

Tandoku undo is basically a solo exercise, but the movements of tegatana dosa can be used in a paired format.
As explained in another article, the basic movements of tandoku undo tegatana dosa have their origin in the tegatana no godosa or the 5 handblade movements.

When practising paired exercises, there is always a connection with the partner or opponent. Keep always this connection.

Tegatana dosa – shomen uchi & shomentsuki

Both are performing tegatana dosa 1.
When moving back, keep seichusen slightly forward. Always wait for the offensive movement of the partner. During the practise don’t include a stop, keep the flow going on. Of course keep your zanshin on the action of the partner. Zanshin is keeping the mind on alert.

Although the start of the article mentions “don’t step back”, in the exercise we move back without losing the connection with the partner. There is no excessive momentum created in the own body.

tegatana dosa 1 paired

Tegatana dosa – uchi mawashi & soto mawashi

Both are performing tegatana dosa 2
When moving back, keep seichusen slightly forward. Always wait for the offensive movement of the partner. Keep zanshin. Use tenshikei.
tegatana dosa 2 paired

Alternative method with side stepping. Grasping the wrist is without pulling by contraction of the arm muscles.

tegatana dosa 2 paired side