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Alternate stances

by Z (a dutch kendoka)

In kendo there are several forms that one can use to practice kendo. The most common are the forms with 1 sword in chuu-dan no kamae. But there are also joudan and ni-tou forms.


My questions are:

1 - Are there other forms of kendo besides chuu-dan, nitou and joudan?

2 - At what level (how many years of practice) are kendoka usually allowed to practice these other forms?

I was asking because I am really interested, but I'm unsure when to ask for permission to train these other forms.

Answer:  Thanks for your questions.

Answer to your question 1: Are there other forms of kendo besides chuu-dan, nitou and joudan?

If you are talking about the stances we ACTUALLY use in kendō, then NO. Probably the stances you mentioned are the only used in kendō.

However, it does not mean you cannot use ge-dan or hasso. I do not recommend using wakigamae because it is just to hide your sword and also cutting into legs or body parts from underneath. That means you cannot strike the targets we have in modern kendō.  

Also They are considered to be not useful in modern kendō because modern kendō, especially as youth “speed” is the key component.


Answer to your question 2: At what level (how many years of practice) are kendoka usually allowed to practice these other forms?

This is the most common question, I think. And the common answer to it is, once you study chūdan well.

If you cannot use a shinai with two hands, you cannot use a shinai with one hand.  If you cannot move freely i.e. good footwork, you cannot possibly do any other forms.

If you have a teacher to learn the stances other than chūdan, then he/she can tell you when it is good for you to learn.

My PERSONAL opinion is that if you have a good teacher to show you what to do, then you can learn some other stances at the same time you learn chūdan.

Usually this does not work well. As mentioned, if you have not master footwork, you cannot move at will. If you do not know what a valid cut, then you cannot execute a valid cut with one hand.

Ask your teacher now when he/she thinks you can learn other stances. And follow what he/she says. That is the best solution I can come up with for you.

Hope this helps.

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