well, i’ve given it a little time, just in case there was a surprise turnover, but things have panned out just as i expected – hengi is the number one favorite taido technique.
41 people cast their votes in my poll about favorite taido techniques, and the results are not even close – 16 votes for hengi over 9 votes for tengi in second place. my favorite movement, nengi, scored only 5 votes, even with sengi (5) and ungi (6).
so why is hengi so popular? i have a few ideas. actually, several people told me that they expected tengi to win (despite not voting for it themselves) because i had mentioned the movement that is the most fun to perform. that seemed valid. after all, tengi is a lot of fun and a lot of flash – nobody can deny that bakuchugeri is cool, but it’s damn-near unusable. i think the fun-factor of tengi accounts for second-place status, but most people are just not good enough at using tengi to call it their favorite.
the thing about hentai is that it’s the archetypical taido technique. nothing looks more like taido than hengi. if taido is defined by the change of body axis in order to defend and attack simultaneously, then hengi is on the money. kicks like shajogeri, senjogeri, and especially ebigeri are quintessentially taido-esque. back in the early days, when shukumine would enter his taido students in karate tournaments, ebigeri earned the nickname taidogeri because taido white belts were using it like a magic bullet to defeat much more experienced karateka.
come to think of it, anytime i’m asked to tell people what taido is all about, i talk about unsoku and tengi, but i demonstrate ebigeri. it’s as if taido theory has these amazing infinite possibilities, but for practical application, hengi are the simple, elegant, and brutal all-purpose tools we reach for first. hengi are the sledgehammers of taido – super-efficient at doing what they do (incidentally also working on the principles of leverage and displaced center of mass) without superfluous ornament or extra “features”.
anyway, thank you to all who participated in the poll – even those who think jumping around and spinning all the time is fun. by all means, please also vote in the new poll: why do you practice taido?