Questions About Jodan

by Zak Pullen
(Statesboro, Ga, U.S.)

I am new to Kendo. I have been doing it for the greater part of the year. I don't have a dojo, just a collegiate Kendo club with a senior student and no sensei.


As it stands we are getting someone from a city over to come act as our sensei about once a month or so.

I haven't gotten to meet him yet and as helpful as my fellow club members are, there information just doesn't collaborate with anything I have seen or read.

To top it off some of the things I have read up on are vague or contradictory of one another. I am extremely interested in learning Jodan-No-Kamae, but this subject is especially hard to find good details on.

I have found multiple articles and multiple explanations, but nothing concrete and detailed. I know that self teaching can be problematic in Kendo, I just want to know more so I can at least get an idea of some of the movements mindsets and strategies behind it.

The thing that intrigues me so much about it is the spiritual and mental aspects of it. I know the aggressive style of it comes from the intense spirit of the user. In a way it seems as a battle of wills of sorts.

Other than the defensive stances against it, all I know is some general stance details that you can get from a picture or watching.

If you know anything more or have any suggestions it is appreciated. Thanks again I've always been a big fan of your site keep up the good work.

Answer: Thank you for your post and kind words, Zak. As you said it yourself, self-teaching is very problematic and beside jōdan is not for beginners. You do need an instructor to learn jōdan.

Having said that, the jōdan is called a kamae of the fire level. What that means is, as you described, you must have fire-like ki energy inside you. In other words, you must overwhelm your opponent with only ki.

Because when we take jōdan, we do not have our sword in front of us like chūdan. That means we are showing our opponent our body with no protection. Simply it is very fearful for jōdan practitioners.

Also jōdan cannot use their shinai to control their opponent’s shinai. Jōdan people need to make an opening without using shinai.

That is why jōdan practitioners must have a great ki. Thus, this is not for beginners.

It is said that jōdan practitioners must have an image of fudōmyō-ō. It is surrounded by the fire and it won’t move. That is why we use this as an example of what attitude we should have when taking jōdan.

I am not going into techniques here.
 

Hope this helps.

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