UNDERSTANDING YOUR ROLE AND
What is a Motodachi?
The one who takes the role of an
instructor when developing their juniors
AJKF Kendo Dictionary
What this means: To guide and take
responsibility for the development of your
kohai and “pull them up”.
What is Keiko
Originally to study (Kei) ancient (Ko)
times. This term is used for Bugei (martial
arts study) (literal meaning of kanji for
keiko). The word does not just mean
practice but the importance of your
attitude. How the training is connected to
your daily life and creation of self through
the practice of kendo. This unification
becomes an important element in your
michi or the do part of kendo.
Kirikaeshi- points to be aware of:
◦ Breathing & Kiai – 2 breaths, kiai like singing
one note indicating one breath
◦ Hands above head on men strikes
◦ Left hand in center on sayumen
◦ Correct hand position on strikes
◦ Okuriashi – not walking especially when going
backwards ( juniors are big violators of this)
Do NOT Ignore this – BE AWARE of your KOHAI
Things a motodachi does
When receiving kakari geiko do not be a
post – interact and develop your oji waza.
Receive them and make them do taiatari
and hiki waza.
Move in on them and force them to go,
close in to make them hit out (hiki waza)
Only move aside for brand new bogu
people, experienced people need to go
around you or taiatari.
Description of Various Keiko
Uchikomi-used to train beginners and intermediates
to strike the various targets. Limited to shikake
waza, men, kote, kote-men, hiki-men and very
limited migi doh, and hiki-doh. NO hidari doh or hikikote. Moto focus is on lifting of hands and position of
hands, okuriashi, fumikomi, (no stepping with right
foot). Be mindful of goose step, and right foot staying
behind the right knee. Make them hit through on a
straight line, turn the correct direction and moto
moves aside after contact. Move back if you are
going to receive them for taiatari and hiki waza. This
encourages completion of footwork and helps to keep
them from just walking into taiatari.
Kakari – build up rensoku waza and
Learn to see the openings, moto should
open target after the kakari-te start their
attack so they respond to the opening.
Do not move out of the way, step in and
receive the kakari-te and make them do
Make them go around you
Mind their kiai & breathing is sufficient
with good follow through.
Yakusoku-moto leads kakari-te to strike
various targets and waza (similar to
uchikomi but more advanced.
Gokaku–one on one between equals.
Even if there is a difference the approach
is as if both are the same level of
Hikitate – method where the higher rank
lets the lower rank strike without being
obvious. This allows the kohai to
The Motodachi Goldilocks
◦ One is too mean; they bully and
beat down the kakari-te. If the
kakari-te doesn’t quit they will
probably become a bully later.
◦ One is too nice; this one doesn’t
push or correct the students and
makes openings too obvious.
• One is just right; they use their
footwork and seme to teach the kakarite to see and feel the opening. They
teach the student to sense the mental
state of their partner. They run them
to the edge but not over the cliff with
the encouragement of “One more, one
They insure during the keiko that the
students attitude is correct – sutemi, no
running backward, no circling.
They insure that the student is sincere
Things a Motodachi Does
Remember you are not doing shiai with
them- especially the juniors, make them
attack, do not tolerate poor attitudes and
If a kyu backs away or tries to do keiko as
an equal with kodansha this is bad and
builds terrible manners and attitude.
Correct this behavior.
What to teach
New people in bogu, provide obvious
targets, move to the side and make them
go through. Essentially uchikomi keiko at
a slower pace.
During the practice watch for and correct:
◦ Left hand that does not stay in the center
◦ Feet are straight and in the correct relationship
– no ayumi ashi
◦ Weight is 60% on left foot & 40% on right foot.
What to teach
Brand new bogu
Pick up hands
Do not rush them
Correct too much right
Correct too much upper
Re-enforce fumikomi so
they develop hitting
with hips and not arms
3 Kyu and above
Pick up hands
Mind their posture
when striking – no
leaning in and bunny
ATTITUDE – sincere and
Provide chances that
are not obvious to
develop shikake waza.