How to hold your shinai when sensei is giving out instructions?

by Joseph

How to hold your shinai when sensei is giving out instructions?

Before a drill, sensei will take a minute or two to demonstrate the drill, explain it and give us important points. In between the drills, while we are listening to our sensei, what is the proper way(s) to hold the shinai?

Background: I tried keeping the chudan-no-kamae but it feels awkward and distracts my focus from what my sensei is saying.
I was told not to just hold the shinai by one hand with kensen lowered and not to put it on shoulder (something about only a ronin does these).

I have seen others taking the waki-gamae but shifted so that the kensen pointing to the lower right side and left hand in front. When the drill starts, they just have to point the kensen back and make chudan.

I tried sage-to and hold it in my left hand but then I will have to taito and nuke-to to start the drill.

BTW, since I just started a few months ago and only practice kendo once a week, I made the decision to purchase your videos.  They really help to remind me of the basics and the important points. I like them.

 I just hope that you have some on nuki and on killing your opponent's sword. I had a couple of those drills but I forgot the important points already :(

Answer: Thank you for your post and having purchased Online Kendo Basics Video!

What you want to do when you listen to your sensei in training is a position of “kamae wo toku”.

Kamae: Stance (usually chūdan)

Toku: a verb. It means “to break” or maybe “to loosen”

When you hear, “kamae wo toite” meaning “please loosen your kamae”, you let your sword down turning your sword to your right. 

Keep the tip of the sword (kensaki) at around your opponent’s left knee height.

We use this in Kata when we move backwards from the centre (the sword meeting point).

This means “we are not going to attack anyone but we are not resting. So if you come and attack me, I am ready to counterattack you.”

If we lower our sword straight down, it becomes “gedan” so we are obviously ready to fight. So it is not a good position to listen to your sensei.

However, when you have your sword as the kensaki to your right (totally right side of your body), it means “resting”.

Hope this helps.

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