Avoiding De(bana)-Kote

This comes from a recent discussion on the Kendo World message boards on the topic of debana kote.

Immediately below is the original post which started the discussion and what follows are some selected responses..
This is not meant to be all-encompassing, of course. Just a little food for thought...


I remember reading somewhere (probably on this forum) that in the lead up to the last WKC, the Korean team coach got the national team to practice hitting men as a way of dealing with Japan's strength in scoring with dekote (seems counter intuitive yeh?).

Being a taller player, I'm often concerned at being hit dekote in shiai and am wondering if others have advice as to how one can attack men and not be 'as' open to this cut?

I know that seme, timing, opportunity etc are all crucial. I also realise that dekote is best struck be pressuring your oponent to attack men and scoring in the instant before they attack - I'm pretty sure there's not much you can do about that one. Thus, the dekote I'm talking about is the one which is more oji than shikake waza, where an opponent just uses speed/timing to hit you after you've initiated your attack. The only advice I have been given is that when striking men, to make sure it is with the whole body, as when one does so, it is (apparently?) rare an opponent will hit your kote.

Has anyone got any advice/experience with this? Is there any info going around about what the Korean coach meant by countering Japan's dekote with strong men cuts?

Selected responses:

1. Attacking kote-men is one way to neutralize dekote. (- response from a 5.dan)

2. If you are hitting his men or his kote, or if the aite [the opponent] believes you can, he won't hit the debana kote. Also the biggest reason I can think of to open yourself up to getting a dekote hit scored on you is to rush into your attack too quickly. If you face someone who likes to zap the attacker with a debana kote you need to hold off the attack (but not the pressure of the attack) until they are open or not ready. (- response from a 7.dan)

3. When you practice jigeiko, my suggestion is to not worry about the debana kote during jigeiko, simply focus on hitting a good men. Once your men is strong enough, and you have a proper sense of when to hit, the debana attacks will simply not happen (or come as often). I guess this was the original point about just hitting men (by the Korean team to prep for the WKC). However when you do shiai or taikai, the above approach will be counter productive. During competition focusing on patience will be more fruitful. You just can't be strong and patient unless you spend enough hours doing the jigeiko with the focus on hitting the men. (- response from a 7.dan)