Translation: Pepijn Boomgaard, Sato Mariko
What is the “ideal Kamae” for you? What kind of Kamae will put pressure on the opponent and improve your performance in a match or an exam?
In this article, Uehara (7th Dan), who has achieved brilliant results since his student days and is still active as a player, talks about the “3 requirements of an ideal Kamae”.
Uehara Yuji (7th Dan)
Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan in 1981. After graduating from Fukudai Ohori High School, he went to Chuo University and joined FUJIFILM Business Innovation Corp. His achievements include winning the All Japan Businessmen’s Kendo Tournament once and the Kanto Businessmen’s Kendo Tournament five times. He has long been involved in coaching students at his alma mater, Chuo University.
Enrich your Ki (spirit) in the Tanden by Kiai
Based on my experience as a player and instructor, the following three points come to mind when I think of the ideal Kamae.
(1) The Tanden is filled with Ki.
(2) Both shoulders are relaxed (the shoulders are lowered), but you can respond instantly to the opponent (you can strike immediately)
(3) With (1) and (2), the tip of the Shinai exerts pressure on the opponent.
I have been involved in teaching Kendo to students for a long time and have seen many different students’ Kamae, and these three points are common among the strong players.
(1) is not only related to good Kamae, but to all aspects of Kendo. Even if one understands the concept of enriching one’s Ki in the Tanden by feeling, few people seem to be able to explain and put it into practice.
In student Kendo, I have seen the following case many times. When the opponent is better than you, one can naturally fill their Tanden with Ki. However, when the opponent’s ability is inferior to oneself, it is difficult to create a state of full Ki and one is unable to exert one’s strength as they would like. The person himself wonders, “I’m not in bad shape, but….”
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