Halifax Kendo Club

The Kendo Mindset

Out of all the books I have on Kendo, one of them always stands out in my mind as it is quite good. It is written with general and specific instructions for performing the various waza and full of great pictures. But the great part is that the author includes many of his own opinions and general observations regarding some of the theory and application of the various techniques. In the chapter on Jodan no Kamae there is one line in particular that stood out and I have always remembered it. Although it is written with Jodan no Kamae in mind, in my opnion it applies equally as well to all of Kendo regardless of Kamae.

Jodan ni moto meru me ra re ru no ha osore (w)o suteru te kiru yuki de aru.

A rough translation of this is:

"If you want to pursue Jodan, you must throw away your fear and cut it from you. Have courage."

The author then goes on to say that in order to be successful at Jodan, you must demonstrate a fearlessness of being hit. He plainly states that "if you are at all afraid of being hit (especially by Tsuki) then
do not assume Jodan no Kamae." You must also attack your opponent at every opportunity given to you, as this is the essence of Hi no Kamae .

This mindset, or "
Kokoro no Kamae" is essential for a successful Jodan. But isn't this also true for Kendo in general? If you watch a match between two Kendoka (lets say both are in Chudan no Kamae) of equal skill level, the player who will win the match is the one who can mentally overcome their opponent via a strong and unmoving spirit. If one player was to attack the other with an honest sense of fearless determination, honestly having no fear of the opponents potential counter attack, they will score a hit.

So, perhaps the above statement regarding Jodan no Kamae can be generalized for all of Kendo by simply saying:

"Osore (w)o suteru te kiru yuki de aru."


"Throw your fear away and cut it from you. Have courage."