There seems to be some sort of issue around tai-atari at the moment. All over the place I see people saying that it shouldn’t be done or it should be done during kirikaiesh. The thing is that this is coming from higher level sensei and it makes it very confusing for newer kendoka.
One of the things that gets hammered into you about kirikaiesh is that it is meant to be a complete demonstration of your kendo. So if you’re not meant to be doing tai-atari then how is it a complete exercise any more?
My sensei and shihan always have taught a proper tai-atari and for those of you that do expect a proper response to it from motodachi will know how annoying it is when you don’t get it.
The 3 main men cuts in kirikaiesh are meant to be done at full speed. This is why on the last one, motodachi moves out of the way so kakarite can go through. So if you don’t get a proper tai-atari response on the first 2 it screws up kirikaiesh.
The best person to do kirikaiesh against should feel like hitting a brick wall. They take the men cut and resist you with everything they can. If they step back there’s nothing to stop you properly, the distance and timing gets all screwed up and the rest of the kirikaiesh is rubbish. It also encourages people to step back too much and another thing that gets hammered into you is to not step back when facing an opponent.
So, for the sake of helping the training of your fellow kendoka and for consistency, do a proper tai-atari.