Waza are the different techniques performed in Kendo. Techniques can divided into shikake-waza (to initiate a strike) and ōji-waza (a response to an attempted strike).[22]  Kendōka who wish to use such techniques during practice or competitions, often practice each technique with a motodachi. This is a process that requires patience. First practice slowly and then as familiarity and confidence builds, the kendoka and motodachi increase the speed to match and competition level.

Shikake-waza Edit

These attack techniques are used to create suki in an opponent by initiating an attack, or strike boldly when your opponent has created a suki. Such techniques include:

Tobikomi-waza Edit

This is a technique used when one's opponent has weak kisei (spirit, vigour) or when they yield a suki under pressure. Always hold kisei and strike quickly.

Hikibana-waza Edit

Body and shinai will lose balance as you strike or when being attacked. This technique takes advantage of this to help execute a strike. A good example is Hikibana-kote, when a strike is made to an opponent's kote as they feel threatened and raise their kensen as you push forward.

Katsugi-waza Edit

This provides a surprise attack, by lifting the shinai over your shoulder before striking. Here a skillful use of the kensen and spirited attack is crucial for effective katsugi waza or luring your opponent into breaking his/her posture.

Nidan-waza Edit

There are two types. The first is for moving to the next waza after a failed first strike, and the second holds your opponent's attention and posture to create the suki for a second strike. The former requires a continuous rhythm of correct strikes. The latter requires continuous execution of waza, to take advantage of your opponent's suki.

Harai-waza Edit

This can be used if one's opponent's kamae has no suki when your opponent tries to attack. Your opponent's shinai is either knocked down from above or swept up from below with a resulting strike just when his/her kamae is broken.

Debana-waza Edit

This technique involves striking your opponent as you realize s/he is about to strike. This is because their concentration will be on striking and their posture will have no flexibility to respond. Thus debana waza is ideal. This can be to any part of your opponent's body, with valid strikes being: debana mendebana kote, and debana tsuki.

Oji-waza Edit

These counter-attack techniques are performed by executing a strike after responding or avoiding an attempted strike by your opponent. This can also be achieved by inducing the opponent to attack, then employing one of the oji waza.

Nuki-waza Edit

Avoiding an attack from another, then instantly responding. Here, timing has to be correct. A response that is too slow or fast may not be effective. Therefore, close attention to an opponent's every move is required.

Suriage-waza Edit

If struck by an opponent's shinai, this technique sweeps up their shinai in a rising-slide motion, with the right (ura) or left (omote) side of the shinai. Then strike in the direction of their shinai, or at the suki resulting from their composure's collapse. This technique needs to be smooth. That is, don't separate the rising-slide motion and the upward-sweeping motion or it will not be successful. Valid strikes include: men-suriage-menkote-suriage-menmen-suriage-dokote-suriage-kote, and tsuki-suriage-men.

Uchiotoshi-waza Edit

This waza knocks an opponent's shinai to the right or left. This neutralizes a potential strike and gives the ideal chance to strike as an opponent is off-balance. For success, an opponent's maai has to be correctly perceived and then one knocks down their shinai before their arm fully extends. Valid examples are: do-uchiotoshi-men and tsuki-uchiotoshi-men.

Kaeshi-waza Edit

This technique is a response. As an opponent strikes, you parry their shinai with yours. Then flip over (turn over your hands) and strike their opposite side. Valid strikes include: men-kaeshi-menmen-kaeshi-kotemen-kaeshi-dokote-kaeshi-menkote-kaeshi-kote, and do-kaeshi-men.

Debana-waza Edit

Debana-waza (n.) Counter-attack techniques delivered at the moment of debana. i.e. debana men, debana kote, debana tsuki.[1]


  1. Japanese-English Kendo Dictionary, KENDO America
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