In kendo, there are four specified target areas to be hit. They are again divided into left and right side of the body. Strikes are made on the head (men), the wrists (kote), the body (do), and a thrust to the throat (tsuki) is also valid. These specified target areas are protected by the armor and also named after the armor parts.
The specified target areas are:
To count as a scorable point, the attack has to be made in harmony with the mind, using accurate sword conduct and correct posture (= ki-ken-tai-itchi / unity of mind, sword and body). The idea is to make a correct sword strike as if it was a real sword.
The upper part of the men covering the skullcap is one target area. It is divided into three smaller areas, the sho men (middle), the migi men (right), and the hidari men (left).
The kote (gloves) are divided into migi-kote (right) and hidari-kote (left). Usually, kote refers to the opponent’s right side. When the opponents choses a posture, where the left kote is in front of the right one, the left kote becomes a valid target area.
The do (body armor) is divided into migi do (right side) and hidari do (left side). Usually, do refers to the opponent’s right side. The opponent’s left side is called gyaku do, which means „opposite side do”. Back in the days, the samurai wore their swords on the left-hand side. Thus, the left side of the body was protected by the swords, which made it difficult to attack there. Today, this means that a strike to the left side of the do, has to be very precise to score a point.
Tsuki refers to the throat. In contrast to all other target areas, the tsuki is being stabbed, not struck.
Target area of the shinai (datotsubu)
The proper striking portion is about one-third the length of the shinai from the tip with the side representing the blade and the adjacent areas of its right and left side.
Scorable strikes (yuko datotsu)
There are six prerequisites for scorable strikes:
- strike or stab
- with the proper shinai striking portion (datotsubu)
- at the scorable target area (datotsu bui) of the opponent
- with great determination,
- and correct posture,
- and zanshin (continuation of awareness after the attack)