New tsubazeriai rules in Japan - the way of the future?
As mentioned tonight at training there have been developments in Japan regarding tsubazeriai. It is anticipated, although this is not confirmed yet, that tsubazeriai will remain tightly controlled from now on. This is building on the adjustments people have made to becoming accustomed to the 'provisional' Covid-safe restrictions around tsubazeriai.
The reason for these longer term changes is to limit the ability of shiaisha to use tsubazeriai as a resting or defensive position. This has previously been a major issue in Japan at high school and university level. And as a result, through the spread of Youtube, these 'trends' get taken up around the world. The worst use of tsubazeriai before now has been for the purpose of time-wasting: where a shiasha 'runs down the clock' once they have established an ippon lead in a match.
This is from a post on George McCall's excellent kenshi247 blog. McCall sensei teaches Kendo at a high school in Osaka and is well-versed in the latest developments in Japanese Kendo, particularly in the shiai area which directly affects his students and their competitive goals.
As you can see this video was released last week by the All Japan Kendo Federation. It is not a video that has been produced specifically for the purpose, but rather a kind of unofficial-official record of a senior sensei (I should recognise him but his name slips my mind!) explaining the new rules at a shinpan seminar. No doubt there will be more information on the way soon. This is just an advance taste. These are McCall sensei's main takeaways from the video.
- Once you have arrived in tsubazeriai you have "one breath" to execute a technique. Not a set amount of time, but "a moment."
- When separating from tsubazeriai it should be quickly in one action rather than small, careful steps backward. This is basically to reduce time wasted moving back.
- Violation of the separation rules doesn't immediately mean a hansoku. The first time you get a warning, from the second time onwards a hansoku will be applied. - Moving into tsubazeriai to avoid getting hit (i.e. as defence) warrants a hansoku (in practice this can be difficult to judge).
So this means that tsubazeriai is back on the table, so to speak, as are hiki-waza. But it has to be for a reason, focused and purposeful. And you can't hang around in tsubazeriai forever.
It will be interesting to see how and when this gets rolled out to the rest of the world. Likely it will take a little while. But I think it is safe to assume that this is where things are headed.