Basic list of Kendo stances: Make a difference! A complete guide for beginners and experts alike

In Kendo, stance is the basis of technique and also has a psychological effect on the opponent.

This article provides a detailed list of the various stances of Kendo, their characteristics, and how to practice them.

We aim to serve as a guide for all swordsmen, from beginners who have just started learning Kendo to advanced players who want to hone their skills, to understand and select the stance that best suits their style.

By learning the background, benefits, and uses of each stance, you will deeply experience the trinity of Kendo technique, mind, technique, and body.



What is Kendo stance? Introduction to the basic concept

In Kendo, “Kame” is more than just a stance or position; it is a combination of the swordsman’s psychological state, technical preparation, and strategic intent.

This section introduces the basic concept of Kendo kame and delves into its role and importance to the swordsman.

In understanding and practicing Kendo, stance forms the spiritual and technical foundation of Kendo.


The role and importance of Kendo stance

The stance of Kendo is not just about defending against the opponent or preparing for an attack, but it is also directly related to the swordsman’s mental preparation.

The stance is fundamental to determining how a swordsman launches an attack or parries an opponent’s attack.

The stance also serves as a means of exerting psychological pressure on the opponent, and serves as a nonverbal means of communication that conveys the swordsman’s intentions, confidence, and anxiety to the opponent.

Therefore, learning the correct stance is a very important element in Kendo.


Basic posture and attitude of stance

The basic posture of a Kendo stance must combine stability and ease of movement.

A swordsman is required to keep his feet firmly on the ground, keep his center of gravity low, and maintain a stance that allows him to move swiftly forward, backward, left, and right at any time.

Additionally, it is important to maintain concentration and feel a spiritual connection with the opponent when preparing for the stance.

With inner calm and outer readiness, a swordsman is ready to handle any situation.

As a result, not only the technique but also the high level of spirituality in Kendo will be pursued.



List of basic stances in Kendo

In Kendo, stance is one of the most basic and important elements when confronting an opponent.

There are several types of stances, each with their own characteristics and suitable uses.

This section introduces the basic stances of Kendo in a list format, and provides detailed explanations of the characteristics and tactical uses of each stance.


Jodan no Kamae (Jodan no Kamae): Characteristics and usage

Jodan stance is a style in which the sword is held high above the head and is known as an aggressive stance.

From this stance, it is possible to make a large and powerful strike, which can put overwhelming pressure on the opponent.

The Jodan stance is especially suitable for swordsmen with a long reach or for those who want to use an aggressive offensive strategy.

However, due to its high stance, you need to protect the open area, so you need to be careful when defending.


Chudan no kamee (chudan no kamee): the basics of the basics

Chudan stance is the most basic and common stance in Kendo.

The sword is held horizontally in front of you, providing a stance that allows for balanced offensive and defensive movements.

This stance can be used in any situation and is used by everyone from beginners to advanced players.

Chudan stance allows quick reactions and a variety of techniques to be developed, so it is recommended to learn it as the basics of Kendo.


Lower stance (lower stance): Defense-oriented stance

The lower stance is a stance that focuses on defense, with the sword held low.

This stance is very effective as a tactic to invite your opponent’s attack and counterattack.

The lower stance is a stance that requires patience and good timing, as it allows you to protect yourself and see your opponent’s openings.

A swordsman using this stance must be calm and have accurate judgment.


Yokodan no Kamae (Yokodan no Kamae): Offensive stance

The Yokodan stance allows for aggressive and unpredictable strikes by holding the sword to the side of the body.

This stance is suitable for surprise attacks and direct hits to vital points, and is used to increase the variety of attacks.

However, the position of the sword is unique, so it will take some practice to get used to it.


Godan no Kamae (Godan no Kamae): A rare but strategic stance.

The second stance is a very unusual style in which the sword is held back.

This stance aims to solidify your defense and decide the match with a big blow.

Swordsmen who use this latter stance fight while waiting for a chance to make a killing blow, but as it requires a high level of skill and tactical insight to use it, it is considered a stance for experts.



Detailed explanation of each stance

Each Kendo stance has its own unique history and cultural background.

The stance is the basis of a swordsman’s tactics and techniques, and how it is selected is directly related to success in Kendo.

In this section, we’ll dig into the historical background of each stance and our approach to choosing the best stance during a match.

This will allow readers to choose stances according to the situation, allowing them to develop their kendo more strategically.


History and cultural background of each stance

The stances of Kendo have evolved from ancient martial arts, and each stance has a background in the school of martial arts from which it originated and the era in which it was used.

For example, Chudan no Kamae is the most basic stance in Kendo and one of the most frequently used tactics by Japanese samurai.

Jodan stance was favored by samurai during wartime as it indicated an aggressive posture.

These stances reflect the tactics and philosophy of each era, and this spirit has been inherited in modern Kendo.


How to choose a stance: the optimal stance depending on the situation

When choosing a stance in Kendo, you need to consider your opponent’s style and technique, as well as the situation of the match.

The middle stance is well-balanced and can be used against any opponent, but against an aggressive opponent, it is effective to use the upper stance to apply pressure.

If you want to use a defensive tactic, the lower stance is suitable, inviting your opponent to attack while aiming for a counter.

In addition, Yokodan and Godan stances are suitable for special situations and surprise strategies, providing tactical versatility.


When choosing a kendo stance, it is very important to understand these historical backgrounds and tactical meanings.

By taking advantage of the characteristics of each stance and making the optimal selection according to your opponent and the flow of the match, you will be able to improve both your kendo techniques and tactics.



How to practice techniques starting from stance

In Kendo, stance is an important element that is the starting point of a technique. In order to perform effective Uchiwaza, it is essential to practice moving from stance to technique in a fluid manner.

In this section, we will explain in detail how to apply these techniques to basic Uchiwa techniques and how to practice applied techniques that can be used in actual combat.

Through these exercises, we aim to strengthen our Kendo techniques from the ground up and be able to use them freely during battles.


Application to basic techniques: Uchi techniques from stance

Uchi techniques from stances are the basics of Kendo, and it is important to understand how each stance leads to a specific attack.

For example, direct men-uchi and toko-uchi can be performed naturally from the middle stance, but powerful men-uchi can be performed from the upper stance.


When practicing these techniques, the goal is to hit the impact point quickly and accurately while maintaining a stable stance.

During practice, you are required to be aware of the movement of your center of gravity and the movement of your feet, and strive to coordinate the series of movements smoothly.


Practical application technology using stance

Applied techniques in actual combat include various transformation techniques and feints that develop from stances.

For example, from a yokodan stance, it is effective to attack quickly after seeing the opponent’s reaction, and from a lower stance, it is effective to lure the opponent’s attack and take advantage of the opening to make a thrust or counterattack.

When practicing these techniques, it is important to develop the flexibility to change stances according to the opponent’s movements and the ability to quickly assess the situation.

Additionally, paying attention to how you use your body when changing stances and performing techniques, especially how you rotate your hips and open your shoulders, is key to increasing the power and speed of your techniques.


By practicing from Kendo stance to technique, you can acquire a variety of offensive and defensive techniques that take advantage of the characteristics of each stance.

This will improve your Kendo skills and allow you to stay one step ahead of your opponent.



Tips for practicing and improving Kendo stances

The stance in Kendo is not just a posture; it is an important element that reflects the balance of the entire body, distribution of power, and mental state.

Improving the stability of your stance and your mental concentration will directly contribute to improving your overall Kendo technique.

In this section, we will explain in detail core training to stabilize your stance, as well as breathing and meditation techniques to improve mental concentration.

By incorporating these practice methods, you can significantly improve the quality of your Kendo stance.


Core training to stabilize your posture

The stability of a Kendo stance begins with a strong core. A strong core stabilizes your movements and allows you to react quickly and accurately. Effective exercises to strengthen your core include:

  • Plank : Uses all the muscles evenly throughout the body, and is especially effective for strengthening the core.
  • Russian Twist : Strengthens the muscles around the abdomen and hips and improves rotational power during stance.
  • Leg raises : Trains the muscles that help control the lower body, focusing on the lower abdomen.

By performing these trainings on a daily basis, you will effectively strengthen your core, which is the foundation of your stance, and contribute to improving your Kendo performance.


Breathing techniques and meditation techniques to improve mental concentration

Mental concentration is very important in Kendo. Breathing exercises and meditation techniques are effective ways to improve concentration. Incorporating the following strategies into your practice will help you stay calm and focused:

  • Deep breathing : Deep, slow breathing calms your mind and reduces mental stress.
  • Zazen : Practice zazen in a quiet place to calm your mind. This increases your resistance to pressure during matches and allows you to make calm decisions.
  • Mindfulness meditation : This training improves the speed and accuracy of your reactions in Kendo by focusing your attention on a specific moment.


Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine will help you develop not only your Kendo stance, but also your mental strength for the actual competition.

This will improve your overall Kendo technique and lead to success in competitions.



Kendo stance and match tactics

In a Kendo match, the choice of appropriate stance and tactical approach determine the outcome.

In this section, we will explain in detail how to choose a stance during a match, techniques for reading your opponent’s stance, and counter tactics based on this.

By understanding and applying these tactics, you can expect to significantly improve your performance in matches.


Match stance selection and tactical approach

Choosing the best stance during a match is the first step to strategic success. The choice of stance is based on your own special skills, the characteristics of your opponent, and the flow of the match.

For example, against an aggressive opponent, by choosing a defensive lower stance, you can lure the opponent to attack and create a counter opportunity.

Also, if you want to establish an advantage in the early stages of a match, a Jodan stance that applies pressure is effective.

The choice of stance should always be flexible and switch quickly depending on the match situation.


Techniques to read your opponent’s stance and counter tactics

The ability to accurately read an opponent’s stance is extremely important in a Kendo match. You can predict the opponent’s attack intent and next move based on their stance, and formulate effective countermeasures.

For example, if your opponent is standing defensively in Chudan stance, you can make them feel uneasy by actively closing the distance and applying pressure to attack.

Also, when your opponent makes a big move from the upper stance, one tactic is to quickly shift to the lower stance and launch a quick attack from defense.

These counter tactics require you to always carefully observe your opponent’s movements and react quickly to those movements.


In a Kendo match, the choice of stance and tactics can create unexpected developments.

By always preparing multiple tactics and responding flexibly, you will be able to steer the flow of the match to your advantage.


Kendo glossary

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