Tsubazeriai (鍔迫り合い)

Tsubazeriai means warding off (and pushing back) each other's sword with one's own sword guard in a duel, this is also synonymous with "neck-and-neck" competition.

Tsubazeriai in kendo (Japanese art of fencing)

Tsubazeriai in kendo is where, during a duel, each opponent wards off (and pushes back) the other's bamboo sword with their own bamboo sword guard, this is also when hikiwaza (a technique performed while stepping backward) is attempted. When the fencer in tsubazeriai is deemed to have no will to attack their opponent, the play is deemed a foul.
When the match comes to a stalemate in tsubazeriai, the fencers are sometimes separated by the referee, this separation is called 'Wakare.'

History

A book entitled "Notes of oral instructions on 'kenjutsu' (Japanese art of swordsmanship) of 'Hokushin Itto ryu' (a school of 'kobudo' [Japanese classical martial arts])" was written by Shusaku CHIBA (the school's founder). This book and others mention the term 'tsubazeriai,' which was originally described as sokuizuke (in Chinese characters, "即位付") or gedanzuke; incidentally, sokuhizuke (sokuizuke's synonym, written in Chinese characters as "続飯付"), used in Maniwanen-ryu, Kashimashin-ryu, and Mugai-ryu (these tree are kobudo schools), means "sticky like the paste made from boiled rice." From this the term "tsubazeriai" came to be used in kendo.

Wakigamae zuke (How to fight with your bamboo sword pointed to your side): --- when a fencer tries to thrust at their opponent's throat; the opponent raises their wrist to avoid the thrust, and thus they often become locked in tsubazeriai. --- To avoid a thrust, the attacked fencer raises their wrist, often locking the two fencers in tsubazeriai; if the attacking fencer can strike the opponent's wrist from above, it is counted as a successful strike, called 'migi kote utase' (the stroke to the right wrist). from "Notes of oral instructions on kenjutsu of Hokushin Itto ryu."

Temoto do: This refers to a strike to the torso, which is attempted when a fencer in tsubazeriai sees an opening in their opponent's guard.
from "Kenpo Hiketsu" (The Key to Swordsmanship)
Please note that some letters are boldfaced by this article's author.

Changes in Kendo regulations

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department kendo refereeing draft rules (made in 1926): Article 6. The refereeing shall be based on the following sections;
--- Section 5. When players come near each other, become locked in tsubazeriai, and press their own bamboo sword against their opponent's shoulder, one of them may thrust (or forcibly topple over) their opponent at the moment of separation, but this is not recognized as a valid strike.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department kendo refereeing rules (established in 1933, and revised in 1934): Article 8. Fencers shall not do things listed in the following sections;
--- Section 5. Pressing their bamboo sword against their opponent's shoulder during tsubazeriai

The refereeing rules of the kendo matches held in the presence of Emperor Showa for the celebration of the 2,600th year of the Imperial reign: (matches were held from June 18 to the 20 in 1940) Article 9. --- Section 44. When fencers come near each other, become locked in tsubazeriai, and press their own bamboo sword against their opponent's shoulder, one of them may thrust (or thrust after forcibly toppling over) the opponent at the moment of separation, but it is not recognized as a valid thrust. However, a thrust at the moment of separation is recognized as a valid one, if the tsubazeriai is only momentary.

Students' kendo match rules (established in 1943): --- Article 5. The referee shall pay close attention to the following sections;
--- Section 6. When the fencers become locked in tsubazeriai, the referee shall make them strike or thrust the opponent as soon as possible. When done too late, even strokes and the thrusts that make contact, will not be considered valid. Note: Fencers shall not intentionally close the distance between them and their opponent exclusively to limit the space that the opponent can use for their attacks.

Kendo game rules (established in March 1950) --- Article 3. Referee --- B. Refereeing Method --- Section 5. In the event that tsubazeriai continues for five seconds, the referee shall stop the match, make the fencers return to the mark, and restart the match.