of the most important factors that could determine an outcome of a
match is the level of court awareness. Many times I have seen kenshi
with good kendo lost a match because they were forced out of the court
twice (each time a kenshi is out, he receives a hansoku; two hansoku
will constitute an ippon). Losing to hansoku is the worst. It is better
to lose two points because one knows for sure the opponent is clearly
Here are several tips in court awareness:
lateral footwork to avoid being pushed out by the opponent. While the
opponent pushes forward to get you out, turn your hip at least 90
degree right or left to get out the direction of his force. Never fight
on a straight line, especially when you are dealing with big opponents.
Always move around, change the direction all the time, that will
protect you from being driven over.
2) All the courts are
square, meaning the distance from the center of the court (marked by X)
to the four lines are all the same. By looking at the center at the
court and its position to the lines in front of you, you can estimate
the distance from your current position to the line behind your back.
This is very important.
3) The best way to get your opponent out
of bound is to force him to a corner. Once he's in the corner, it's
less room for him to maneuver.
4) If your opponent is near the
line, you can try to push him out. The best way to do it is to strike
and then use the force of body contact to push him out. Remember to use
your lower body because it generates more power than your arms.
However, you can only do it once. Repeated pushing will get you a
5) If your are in tsubazeriai (body contact) with the
opponent back near the line, you have an advantage (meaning, don't ever
get yourself in this situation; or if you are in it, get out quickly).
Because your opponent's back in near the line, he won't risk doing
hiki-waza (there is no space for him to go back). Don't use brute force
to push him out because you will receive a hansoku. Instead back up
slowly, keep your concentration. Your opponent won't use hiki-waza, but
he may use shikake waza to go forward. Once there is a good distance
between you and your opponent, drive forward and hit. If you score a
point, great. If not, use body contact ot force him out.
6)Judges stand at a corner of a triangle. It is difficult to judge from behind you. So, you should be on a line of the triangle..
These tips could help you getting started. However,
true awareness of the court (or anything else) requires a calm mind
during the match. This only comes with constant training.