Complete guide to Kendo waki-kate: Thorough explanation from basics to applications

Kendo is not just about learning techniques; understanding the deep tactical meaning of each stance is essential to improving your skills.

In particular, “Wakigamae” is an important key to further deepening your understanding of Kendo due to its unique shape and use.


This article provides a wide range of explanations, from the basic form of Wakigamae to applied techniques and practice methods.

The purpose of this is to provide insight into how to master Kendo’s waki-game and apply those techniques to actual combat.

The content allows everyone from Kendo enthusiasts to beginners to learn all about Wakigamae in detail and put that knowledge to use in practice.



Introduction: The importance of wakigamae in kendo

In Kendo, a variety of stances each have different tactical value, and the waki stance is one of them.

This stance is extremely effective in certain tactical situations, and understanding and mastering it as a Kendo technique will expand your range as a swordsman.


Tactical value and usage scenes of Wakigamae

Wakigamae is a stance in which the tip of the sword is held to the side or slightly downward, and the body is turned slightly to the side.

The biggest feature of this stance is that it is difficult to clearly see the preparation for the attack.

Since it is difficult to predict the opponent’s next move, you can effectively create surprise attacks and sudden changes.


Tactical value :

  1. Balance between defense and attack : Waki-kate gives a defensive appearance, but allows for a quick switch to attack. The lowered tip of the sword makes it easier to control the opponent’s attacks from below, making it easier to strike and attack from above.
  2. Unpredictable Attacks : Attacks from the side stance are very unpredictable, especially effective against inexperienced opponents. You can unleash a flash at the perfect time while hiding what kind of attack your opponent will launch.

Use scene :

  • Tactics in a confrontation situation : Effective when considering your next move while maintaining distance from your opponent. It is possible to confuse the opponent’s consciousness and hide the intention of the attack.
  • Situations where you need a breakthrough : In situations where you need points in a match, or when your opponent is defensively strong, an unexpected attack from a side stance can change the flow of the match.


Learning Wakigamae is extremely important not only for deepening your Kendo techniques, but also for acquiring tactical versatility.

It is recommended that you practice with an eye to practical application and take full advantage of the many advantages of this stance.



Basic form of Wakigamae

Wakigamae is a tactical stance that is useful in certain situations in Kendo.

By learning the basic form of this stance, you will have new technical options in competition and practice.


Correct posture and basic limb position in Waki-kamae

Posture : In waki-kate, the basic principle is to turn your body slightly to the side. This has the effect of minimizing the area of ​​your body relative to your opponent and reducing the target of your attack. Keep your back straight and lean forward slightly to maintain a posture that makes it easy to move and maintain balance. It is important not to look directly into the opponent’s eyes, but to have a wide field of view to capture the entire movement of the opponent.

Hand position : The right hand holds the shinai at waist height, and the left hand holds the end of the shinai handle at a slightly lower position in front of the body. This hand position allows for quick and large swings, increasing the chance of a counterattack. Hand position should also be adjusted to support quick movements during counterattacks.

Foot position : Basically, the front foot should be slightly forward, and the back foot should be slightly apart to give a sense of stability. The front legs are slightly bent and ready to step forward at any time. The hind legs support most of the body weight and allow quick movements and changes of direction.



Mastering Wakigami begins with being able to accurately execute these basic postures and limb positions.

By thoroughly practicing these basics in your daily training, you will be able to attack and defend from waki-kate more naturally and effectively.



Advantages and disadvantages of side stance

Wakigamae occupies a unique tactical position in Kendo, and its effectiveness is highlighted in certain situations.

However, when using this stance, you need to take advantage of its advantages while also paying attention to its potential disadvantages.


Advantages and precautions of using Wakigamae

merit :

  1. Difficult to predict attacks :

    • Waki-kamae has a very unique form, and its attacks are harder to predict than normal kamae. This allows you to perform attacks that surprise your opponent, allowing you to land effective strikes at unexpected times.
  2. Wide attack range :

    • Since the hands are in a low position and the tip of the sword is facing to the side, it is possible to attack a wide range from the side stance. In particular, you can make full use of a variety of attack techniques, such as large swings to the side and slashes.
  3. Quick turn to defense :

    • Wakigamae has a structure that allows you to quickly transition into a defensive stance. This allows you to quickly react to counters and take defensive stances after an attack.

Demerit :

  1. Energy consumption :

    • Waki-kame puts a strain on the lower body in particular, so maintaining it for long periods of time can consume a lot of physical strength. Fatigue accumulates easily, which can be a disadvantage in long battles.
  2. Narrow field of view :

    • In waki-mame, your body turns sideways, which narrows your field of vision. This can result in delayed recognition of attacks from a wide range, which can be a disadvantage, especially when playing against multiple opponents.
  3. Technical difficulty :

    • Waki-gae is a technically difficult stance that requires precise form and timing. Improper use can put you at risk, so a high level of technical ability and situational judgment is required.



Fully understanding these advantages and disadvantages and using waki-kate at the appropriate time and situation will lead to improved kendo techniques.

It is recommended that you hone your technique by paying attention to these points in your daily practice.



Attack techniques from the side stance

Wakigama provides unique attack opportunities in Kendo.

In order to attack effectively from this stance, it is essential to know the correct way and timing to strike.

Here, we will explain in detail attack techniques from the side stance, as well as tips for effective strikes and timing.


Tips for effective hitting and timing

Effective way to hit :

  1. Big swing downhill :

    • The most basic attack method from Waki-kate is a large round attack. In this technique, the tip of the sword is swung high and then brought down powerfully towards the opponent’s face or torso. You can use the sideways stance of Waki-mama to widen the range of your attacks.
  2. Side payment :

    • When attacking your opponent from the side, horizontal sweeps are effective. In this technique, the tip of the sword is swung wide to the side, aiming at the side of the opponent’s torso or face. With attacks that combine speed and surprise, it is possible to evade the opponent’s defense.

Timing tips :

  1. Assess your opponent’s movements :

    • In order to attack effectively, it is important to closely observe your opponent’s movements and identify opportunities for attack. Take advantage of the opponent’s openings and attack, such as immediately after the opponent launches an attack, or at the moment when the opponent temporarily stops moving.
  2. Attack speed and power balance :

    • When attacking from the side stance, the balance between speed and power is important. Rather than a sudden attack, it is more effective to strike forcefully at a speed that makes it difficult for your opponent to respond. The key to a successful attack is to use sudden acceleration or changes in movement to confuse the opponent.



Attacking techniques from the Waki ​​stance will show their true value with practice and experience.

It is recommended that you be aware of these techniques and timing tips during daily practice, and practice so that you can react naturally in actual combat.



Side defense tactics

Wakigama offers unique tactics that are not only used for attack, but also for defense.

Defensive tactics when using this stance focus on adjusting your posture and identifying counterattack opportunities, allowing you to effectively outrun your opponent’s attacks while creating counterattack opportunities.


Posture adjustments during defense and opportunities for counterattacks

Posture adjustment :

  • Optimize your body tilt : In waki-kate, you turn your body to the side to face your opponent. When defending, it is important to make your body more compact and adopt a posture that makes you less susceptible to attacks. By pulling your body slightly back and moving the tip of your sword out of your opponent’s line of attack, you can avoid a direct blow.

  • Lower body stability : In order to maintain a strong defensive posture, lower body stability is essential. By planting your feet firmly on the ground and keeping your center of gravity low, you can quickly respond to sudden attacks.

Identify opportunities to counterattack :

  • Analyze your opponent’s attack patterns : It is important to carefully observe your opponent’s attack patterns and find a certain rhythm and repetition. This makes it easier to find gaps in attacks and time your counterattack.

  • Instant Counterattack : From Waki-Station, the strength is to be able to dodge the opponent’s attack and immediately turn into a counterattack. You can anticipate the moment when your opponent’s attack misses and quickly launch a counterattack. In particular, the greater the opponent’s attack, the greater the chance of a counterattack, so it is important not to miss that moment.


Defensive tactics using waki-kate can be gradually mastered through practice.

Practicing these defensive techniques repeatedly during daily practice and instilling them in your body so that you can react naturally in actual combat will lead to improved kendo techniques.



How to practice Wakigamae

Wakigamae is one of the basic stances of Kendo, and specific practice methods are effective for mastering it.

In this section, we will introduce practice plans and specific drills for Wakigamae that you should incorporate into your daily practice.

By doing these exercises, you can systematically improve your Wakigamae technique.


Wakigama practice plan and drills for daily practice

Practice plan :

  1. Checking and maintaining basic form :

    • At the beginning of each practice, make sure you have the correct posture in Wakigamae and use a mirror to check your form. Start by maintaining correct posture, hand position, and foot position.
  2. Movement practice :

    • Practice moving forward, backward, and sideways while in waki-kame. At this time, be careful to move smoothly without losing your stance, and focus on balance at each stage of movement.
  3. Performing consecutive hits :

    • We have set up a drill where you perform consecutive attacks from the side stance to increase the accuracy and speed of your attacks. In particular, practice repeated rapid strikes at short intervals to increase the speed of counterattacks.

Specific drill :

  1. Target hitting :

    • Practice hitting accurately at the target from the side stance. The target used is placed at a specific height and position to maximize the effectiveness of Wakigamae.
  2. Reaction speed improvement drill :

    • When practicing with a partner, perform drills that require immediate reactions from waki-kate. Have your partner attack you randomly and practice reacting and counterattacking them instantly.
  3. Endurance enhancement :

    • In order to extend the sustainable time of Waki-mame, practice holding Waki-mame for long periods of time. This will improve your strength and endurance when holding waki-kate for long periods of time during a match.



By incorporating these practice methods, you will greatly improve not only the technical aspects of Wakigamae, but also its tactical use.

By incorporating these into your daily practice, you will expand your options for fighting using wakigama and improve your overall kendo technique.



Advice on wakigama for advanced kendo players

Kendo’s Wakigama provides a valuable opportunity for even advanced practitioners to deepen their technique and insight.

By accepting specific techniques and advice from experienced kendo practitioners and applying them to actual combat, you can improve your tactical use of Wakigama and the precision of your techniques.


Specific techniques and advice from experienced people

  1. Emphasis on stability :

    • Wakigamae begins with a solid foundation. It is important to always keep your center of gravity low and keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Waki-kame tends to involve a lot of movement, but you are required to pay attention to your weight distribution so that you can move quickly at any time.
  2. Control the other person’s consciousness :

    • Wakigamae is the ideal stance for catching your opponent by surprise. Guide the opponent’s gaze and prevent them from reading your next move. An effective way to accomplish this is to use your gaze to distract the other person.
  3. Instant power release :

    • Attacks from the side stance demonstrate their true value through the instantaneous release of power. At the moment of attack, you can concentrate all your power on one point and unleash it all at once to deal a powerful blow to your opponent. Mastering this technique requires precise timing and technique.
  4. Continuous practice and reflection :

    • No matter how skilled you are, there is always room for improvement in Wakigamae. After each practice or match, it is important to look back on how you use waki-gae, assess which areas can be improved, and utilize this in your next practice.
  5. Try a multi-pronged approach :

    • In order to maximize the effectiveness of Wakigama in actual combat, it is effective to combine it with different techniques and tactics. For example, it is recommended to adopt a variety of approaches, such as using feints from a side stance and watching your opponent’s reaction before choosing your final attack method.


By keeping these pieces of advice in mind and honing your waki-game techniques in actual combat, you will be able to aim for even greater heights as an advanced kendo expert.



Summary and future usage of Wakigamae

Wakigamae is a unique stance in kendo, and its effective use expands a kendoist’s technical repertoire while increasing tactical depth.

In order to master this stance and make further use of it, you need to create an effective practice plan and set clear goals.


Planning a practice plan and setting goals

Planning a practice plan :

  1. Regular form checks :

    • Regular form checks are essential to improving your wakigamae technique. At least once during each weekly practice, under the supervision of an instructor, assess the accuracy of the stance and make adjustments as necessary.
  2. Performing specific drills :

    • We regularly conduct drills specific to waki-game to strengthen specific technical aspects such as the stability of the stance, accuracy when attacking, and quick transition from defense. This includes movement practice, target hitting, and reaction speed drills.
  3. Simulation and practical training :

    • During practice, we simulate actual match situations and practice various scenarios using Wakigamae. This will develop the ability to respond immediately in actual combat and improve tactical application skills.

goal setting :

  1. Setting short-term and long-term goals :

    • The short-term goal is to be able to attack from the side stance with a certain degree of accuracy. A long-term goal is to utilize waki-gae in domestic and international kendo tournaments to achieve actual results.
  2. Incorporating ratings and feedback :

    • Establish a process for continuous improvement by accepting regular self-evaluation and feedback from leaders. Through this, we aim to steadily improve our technology.



Through these practice plans and goal setting, you can systematically improve your kendo waki-game techniques.

By incorporating these elements into your daily practice, you will deepen your understanding and use of wakigama, which will lead to more advanced kendo techniques.


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