from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kamae [ ka.mae ] ( Japanese構 え) is a term used in Japanese martial arts ( Budō ) to denote the basic posture or starting position of the fighter. The kamae is made up of the outer and inner posture. The kamae are adapted to the characteristics of the respective martial arts. Often, however, it is true that you can react to an attack in this position, but you can also attack from this position.

Kamae in the Budo styles

Kendoka in Chudan-no-Kamae


In Japanese fencing there are:


The middle basic position is the standard position in Kendo. Both feet are parallel and point to the opponent, the left foot is slightly back. The big toe of the left foot is roughly level with the heel of the right foot. Both feet are about a foot apart. The point of the sword points towards the opponent's throat. The left hand holds the sword just below the navel. Chudan-no-Kamae is the most common form of Kamae in Kendo.

Seigan-no-kamae is also used as a variant . The tip of the sword points slightly to the right and is raised a little, thereby pointing to the opponent's left forearm ( kote ) (in Jodan-no-Kamae). This variant is used in the fifth Nihon-Kendō-Kata.


The upper basic position is an offensive posture in which the Shinai is held above the head. There are two different variants:

Migi Jodan-no-Kamae , with the Kendoka facing the opponent, as in Chudan-no-Kamae. The Shinai is held in front of the head, the left hand a fist's width away from the forehead so that the fighter can see the opponent under his hand

Hidari Jodan-no-Kamae , the Kendoka stands with the left foot forward, the body is turned slightly to the right. The sword is also turned slightly to the right.

Both forms of Jodan are used in the first Nihon-Kendō-Kata.

Fighters who hit primarily one-handed (katate) from the Hidari Jodan-no-Kamae in Shiai (competition) are called Jodan fighters and, like the Nito fighter (with two swords), take a special position in kendo that normal people rely on Chudan-Kendoka have to stop (e.g. by changing the kamae Seigan Jodan-no-Kamae . The Shinai is slightly higher than in Chudan and the Shinai tip targets the raised front kote of the Jodan fighter).

There are also seldom Jodan fighters who stand in the normal kendo stand and from there in Migi Jodan-no-Kamae , but change hands so that the left hand suddenly grabs the Shinai in front under the tsuba.


The tip of the Shinai is lowered to knee level. A position that many Kendoka find unfavorable in competition, but occurs in the third Nihon-Kendō-Kata. This kamae can be an advantage if you are kendoka against a Naginata fighter, as the latter is primarily aimed at the legs. In the old Kendo style, such leg attacks were still allowed, so the Gedan-no-kamae was also useful in Shiai.


This kamae is similar to the Hidari Jodan-no-Kamae, only the sword is not held above the head, but to the right of the head, the guard plate ( tsuba ) is at the level of the mouth.

This kamae form is used in the fourth Nihon-Kendō-Kata.


The sword is hidden at the bottom behind the body to hide the length of the sword from the opponent. The tip of the sword is about knee height.

This kamae form is used in the fourth Nihon-Kendō-Kata.


The "falling" or "broken" kamae is not an attack or defensive posture in the strict sense, but represents a dissolution of the same, in that it offers no offensive or defensive advantages. It is used in the context of kata etiquette and is similar to Gedan-no-Kamae, but with the sword turned sideways.


Natural upright standing with no sword drawn

See also

Web links