Taido Info & Directory Links

not only taido links – useful links

Taido Information

World Taido Federation Homepage

Being official, it continues to suffer from lack of meaningful content.

American Taido – National Organization Homepage

News and info on training and events in the US.

As we recently re-established an official Taido presence, this site is still new, but over time it will grow to include a complete dojo directory, info on licensed instructors, official tournaments and seminars, and other information that US-based students will find helpful.

Manjigeri’s page

There’s no English content, but random clicking will avail you of tons of videos of various techniques and hokei. With some lucky surfing, you can treat yourself to the soothing sounds of Mr. Manji’s kiai as well as the infamous Taido song. This is one of the oldest Taido pages on the ‘net and a direct inspiration for Taido/Blog.

YouTube

There’s a good number of Taido videos on YouTube, so make sure you check them out.

Dojo Websites

Yokohama Dojo

This is Negishi’s dojo where I practiced and taught Taido from 2003 to 2006. There isn’t any English content, but there are lots of photo updates on the blog. The people in Yokohama will always be a part of some of my greatest Taido memories.

Taido Associations and Dojo Directories

Australia

Denmark

England

Finland

France

Japan

The Netherlands

Portugal

Sweden

United States

Training and Health Links

“The Stretching FAQ”

Brad Appleton has done all the digging and research for you. Here is the information you should digest regarding improving your flexibility. Any instructor without a base level of education with regards to training methods is negligent at the very least. If you do not understand the information that Appleton has compiled here, you have no business giving anyone instruction in sports conditioning.

GMB Fitness

This is a shameless plug for my own company’s products – because they kick serious ass. We do a variety of things, but the ones that should most interest Taido folks are our stretching and gymnastic strength training courses. My team and I coach thousands of athletes, law enforcement officers, martial artists, and regular people all over the world, so if you need help with your training, get in touch. We can help you perform the way you wish you could.

Sentai & Sengi

Sentai is a class of Taido techniques that make use of a spinning motion.

For the most part, they are executed with the body upright and consist of a spin with an attached strike or kick. Of all the sotai, sen– is probably the easiest to conceptualize, but still mechanically-complex.

Since Sen- is the first hokei most Taido students learn, we tend to take it for granted and stop practicing it, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with sentai.

As an example, here’s a creative interpretation I came up with for the Kansai regional tourney a few years back:

Doko Go (5) Kai for Sentai

Each technique class in Taido is defined by a set of characteristics describing its proper execution, called Doko Go Kai.

Here’s the key points for executing sengi:

  1. Sentai furin – Think of wind swirling between trees. You should feel like a leaf being carried by a spinning wind. Sentai spins forward and down, using the spin and gravity for power.
  2. Kihatsu seiken – Be careful of your shoulders. By slowing or stopping your shoulders, your opponent can end your sentai. To prevent this, do not begin turning your shoulders too soon. Hold your spin until you can complete it in one quick motion.
  3. Daen koka – Sentai spins like the coil of a spring. as you rotate about your body’s axis, your hips descend, achieving their lowest position at the moment of contact with your opponent. You must remain upright when you spin. Otherwise, you will be prone to losing your balance.
  4. Sando ittai – It is important to initiate motion in your feet, hips, and arms at the same moment to begin the technique. Timing is a crucial element of an effective technique.
  5. Ganka sokketsu – Target for sentai is the ganka. It is located a little below either nipple.

Examples of Sentai Techniques (Sengi)

Sentai as a turning motion is not unique to Taido, but its application is fairly unorthodox when compared to other arts. Here are some examples of sengi (Sentai techniques):

  • Sentaizuki (sentai no tsuki) – The most basic sengi steps and spins towards the opponent, ending in ejizuki (a punch executed from ejidachi – a stance taking its name from the Japanese letter え).
  • Sentai enpi / tecchu ate – Like sentaizuki, except the strike is with the elbow.
  • Sentai shutto – Like sentaizuki, except the strike is with the shutto – knife hand.
  • Sentai haimendori – Since grabbing the opponent is not allowed in jissen, this rear grab (haimendori literally means “taking the back”) is very rarely seen or practiced.
  • Sentai gyakusenate – This is another rare one. After spinning, the elbow strikes to the rear from fudodachi.
  • Sentai shajogeri – This is simply a shajogeri executed from a Sentai spinning motion. The rotational and downward momentum of the sen movement transitions into the change of body axis to initiate the kick.
  • Kaijogeri – Similar to sentai shajogeri, Kaijo (literally “spinning condition of body”) is a roundhouse-style kick executed immediately after a spin.
Sentai no Tsuki
Example of sentaizuki provided by Tampere Taido club in Finland.

 

Sen Hokei

There are two sen hokei in Taido:

  • Sentai no hokei
  • Senin no hokei

Here’s a reference animation of Sentai Hokei created by one of my teachers:

And here’s the Kitasato University team performing Senin Hokei at the All-Japan students’ tourney in 2012:

 

Hentai & Hengi

Hentai is a class of techniques in Taido characterized by tilting the body axis. Since most hengi are kicks, it’s usually a case of “head goes down; leg goes up,” though there’s no rule that the technique must be a kick (in fact, there are non-kicking examples listed below).

Lexical Note: Hentai (変態) can also refer to a pervert in Japanese. In Taido, 変体 – “changing body.” They are homophones but unrelated.

Hengi are the classic taido techniques, defending and countering simultaneously by changing the orientation of the body axis.

Doko Go (5) Kai for Hentai

Each technique class in Taido is defined by a set of characteristics describing its proper execution, called Doko Go Kai.

Here’s the key points for executing hengi:

  1. Hentai unpu – Imagine clouds changing direction. Feel your head being pushed toward the ground, pivoting about your hips.
  2. Kihatsu seiko – The back thigh or heel is your weak point. Either one of these points can be used to misdirect or defeat a hentai technique.
  3. Ohen fubi – The body axis topples over. maintaining tension in your lower back, keep your body axis straight. As your head moves toward the floor, your leg must rise toward the target. Pivot your body axis around your hips.
  4. Santei kyogo – Both hands and the stationary foot should form an equilateral triangle. In order to push the kick towards the target, place your hands close to your foot.
  5. Kikai sokketsu – Target is the kikai, just above the navel. This is the knock-the-wind-out-of-you spot.

Examples of Hentai Techniques (Hengi)

Hengi (Hentai techniques) are probably the defining movement class in Taido, combining defense and attack with a single motion. The following are examples of hengi:

  • Gyakujogeri – Body goes back; foot extends upward. Possibly the least-esed kick in Taido.
  • Kaeshigeri – “Returning kick,” executed along the return path after a manji/shajogeri.
  • Moroashigeri – Kick with both legs, usually executed similarly to ebigeri.
  • Suiheigeri – Suihei means “horizontal,” which is the angle the body makes to the floor in the Taido version of a sidekick. 
  • Ebigeri – Taido’s archetypal “shrimp kick.”
  • Shajogeri – Shajo means “angular condition” and refers to the tilted nature of this roundhouse variant.
  • Senjogeri – Senjo refers to spinning (as in Sentai).
  • Harai kuzushiHarai is a sweep. Kuzushi is a takedown. Harai kuzushi refers to any kind of sweep in Taido.
  • Kake kuzushi – OK, this is even less common than gyakujogeri… Basically, you reach out with your foot and hook the opponent’s leg to pull him down.
  • Nage kuzushi – Nagewaza are throwing techniques, and in Taido, they tend to fall under the Hentai classification.
  • Fukuteki – This is a set of ducking escapes, but we use them to set up attacks as well, so I’ve listed it as a technical movement.
Taido Ebigeri
One of the best ebigeri I’ve ever seen, performed by my first sensei, Mits Uchida

Hen Hokei

There are two nen hokei in Taido:

  • Hentai no hokei
  • Henin no hokei

Here’s a reference animation of Hentai Hokei created by one of my teachers:

And here’s the lovely ladies of Tokyo Medical & Dental University practicing Henin Hokei for a tournament:

 

Nentai & Nengi

Nentai is a class of techniques in Taido employing a twisting movement of the body. Nentai movement is characterized by the body axis being tilted to near horizontal while twisting about that axis in order to strike, kick, or “scissor” the opponent.

Most nengi often flow best as combinations from other techniques and have a wide range of possible targets. The most common nentai techniques (nengi) are hangetsuate and ashigarami.

Nengi can be a little difficult to visualize, so here’s a video of a friend of mine doing one of the best nentai dogarami I’ve ever seen:

 

Doko Go (5) Kai for Nentai

Each technique class in Taido is defined by a set of characteristics describing its proper execution, called Doko Go Kai.

Here’s the key points for executing nengi:

  1. Nentai kasho – Imagine being in a whirlpool. Your body is twisted and turned in either direction. Grip your opponent and twist him to the ground or use the twisting motion to kick from an unexpected direction.
  2. Kihatsu seihai – Your back, chest, and hips are vulnerable. By grabbing any of these points to prevent you from twisting, your opponent can prevent you from executing any nengi.
  3. Kokan sokuhatsu – If you touch your hip to the opponent’s body before twisting, you can ensure proper distance for kicking or create more leverage with which to force him to move in a “scissor” technique.
  4. Ryotai koyatsu – You must use your entire body. It is necessary to commit yourself to the execution of nengi. If you do not move decisively and with power, your technique will be ineffective.
  5. Techi sokketsu – Target the head or legs. Many nengi work best if thrown at or above the neck or at or below the waist. While it is possible it execute a nentai technique on the body, it is easier to twist against your opponent’s joints to bring him down.

Examples of Nentai Techniques (Nengi)

Nengi (Nentai techniques) are seen in quite a few martial arts, especially grappling arts like Judo and Sambo. In Taido, the following are examples of nengi:

  • Hangetsuate – “Half-moon” kick, traditionally executed from fukuteki
  • Ashigarami– “Leg scissors,” though karami translates as “entangle,” the scissor image is effective
  • Dogarami – Scissoring technique applied at the waist or body
  • Kubigarami – Scissor applied to the neck
  • Nentaigeri – Any unspecified nengi with the feet
  • Nentaizuki – Any nentai punch
  • Kaiten shajogeri – “Rolling” shajogeri, typically executed after a previous shajo
nentai hangetsuate - Taido
Nentai Hangetsuate performed during jissen at the 2008 Asia-Pacific Games in Australia

Nen Hokei

There are two nen hokei in Taido:

  • nentai no hokei
  • nenin no hokei

Here’s a video of Congi showing the basic Nentai Hokei:

…I’d love to include a video of Nenin Hokei, but I haven’t seen a good one, so if you know of one out there somewhere, please let me know.

 

Point of View in Tournament Judging

In my last post, Bad Calls in Taido Tournaments, I charged that we have too many bad calls in Taido tournaments and that this has many negative impacts for our art. In order to illustrate my point, I displayed a video taken from the most recent Taido World Championship.

The video seemed to strike a nerve with a lot of people. That’s a good thing, as it clearly shows a player receiving a point for a technique that totally failed to connect with its target. There were a lot of good comments and emails, and I’ve been able to speak to a few people about it in person too. Good stuff, and I think that we need to have open dialogue about such things.

What This is Really About

Of course, my goal is to get people discussing how Taido tournaments operate and thinking about ways to improve it. I went into more detail on why this is important in the last post, but to summarize: bad tournaments can kill a martial art.

Although I posted a video of a jissen match, I don’t think jissen is the only place where we have problems. Hokei judging is just as bad. Gratuitous and pointless gymnastics are valued more highly than tournament judges than things like punches and kicks.

A Necessary Tangent

Since the particular video sparked some discussion and debate, I’m going to go slightly off-topic here and address the specific match.

Here’s the deal: Kaneko won. He won for a point he should not have gotten, but he did have more strikes in general and got hit the least. He won the match. Though Kohonen moved better, hiss attacks did not connect as well as Kaneko’s did. He also got hit by several attacks (that weren’t quite enough to get scored). He lost.

And I don’t really care.

The thing that bothers me is not the outcome of the match. The thing that bothers me is that a bad technique got a wazaari in a major tournament. I can be totally confident to call the kick in question a bad technique for a few reasons:

  1. It didn’t strike the target.
  2. It was very low – gedan senjo. It was clearly not nentaigeri because Kaneko’s body never tilted (well, at least not until he fell).
  3. Kaneko completed his technique sitting on the floor. He stood quickly, but he was not in control of his balance.
  4. Even if it had made some contact, it would have been a glancing blow off the shoulder. Such a technique should never get wazaari.

In this case, if Korhonen has simply stayed put and not attempted to duck the kick, he would have been kicked in the leg. Kaneko clearly bends his non-kicking leg in order to kick lower. He does this because he sees Korhonen begin his fukuteki. The only problem with that is the rule that you cannot kick someone who is touching the ground.

Assuming that the kick actually hit its target, what kind of contact would we be talking about? A glancing blow off the shoulder of an opponent who clearly saw the oncoming attack and made moves to defend himself. This is not the definition of a wazaari. At best, this kick (if it had made contact) should have received a yuko.

End tangent. Here’s what I really want to bring up today:

Point of View

Point of view is tricky. I’m always reminded of the old saying,

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one, and they all stink.

Point of view is important because no two points of view will see the same thing. This can cause all kinds of problems when trying to judge something like Taido’s jissen. Especially in an art that is built on the premise of moving in a three-dimensional space, it seems to me that two judges would simply not be adequate. Kicks can come from any directions, and their delivery is often obscured by body movement. Taido techniques should flow smoothly with the movements of the target. This can make them difficult to see.

It seems almost a given that more than two judges would be required to cover a huge court from all possible angles. The competitors are expected to cover the court form all angles, so we should definitely hope the judges can too. The two judges we use currently stand at the front of the court and the rear corner. At minimum, there is one whole side of the court that is barely (if at all) visible to the judges. This is an important point of view that gets neglected in our current system.

Let’s return to the match between Kaneko and Kohonen to get a better idea of why point of view is important. I’ll post it here again for reference:

Look at where the judges are standing in the video. They are lined up at opposite corners, with the players between them. After stopping the match, the main judge calls a time out and summons the second judge. At the time of the kick, the main judge could not see the strike from his point of view. Korhonen was between the kick and the judge.

I saw one video of the Kaneko / Korhonen match filmed from the fukushin’s point of view. In that video, it appear as if the kick makes contact with Korhonen’s shoulder as he ducks. I still don’t think this would deserve a wazaari, but I can see from the fukushin’s point of view that it looks like the kick connected somewhat.

OK, so here’s a third point of view. This is the angle from which a third judge might have been able to view the match and make a better call:

As you can see, form this angle, it’s also clear that the kick did not connect in a way that should receive a score, much less a half point.

Again, my purpose is not to dispute the results of the the WTC. I think Kaneko won the match. However, if it were just one match, nobody would care. The truth of the matter is that this happens far too often, and it hurts Taido.

There are things we can do to make our judging more fair and less biased. In jissen, increasing the number of points of view from which we judge is a fairly simple one. Adding one more judge doesn’t require any kind of equipment or additional training. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey you. Go stand over there and tell us if someone gets hit.”

Incidentally, point of view is not only a problem in jissen. Bad points of view can be a serious issue in tenkai since each player has a dedicated judge who sits in a fixed position. In hokei competition, the judges have an excellent point of view for the kiai portions of the hokei, but have almost no way of telling whether or not the other kicks and punches land on the line. Perhaps moving the two fukushin closer to the corners would improve this situation, or maybe there should be a dedicated side-line judge who watches only for this.

Point of view is tricky when the thing being viewed includes fast movements in many directions over a wide area. Addressing this issue might be one of the highest leverage changes we can make to improve our tournament system without having to resort to any drastic measures.