Posture for kendo

The importance of posture in kendo cannot be explained that easily but I will try.

Before you proceed, please understand your goals and objectives of kendo.

The idea of a natural posture is called "shizentai", but not necessarily natural, and requires effort and attention to achieve.

Posture in BoguPosture in Bogu: Good Posture Helps to Support Your Neck to Hold the Men Up.

Natural Posture

We call it shizentai, that means a natural posture. But I am sure you don't feel its natural. It is an ideal posture but not natural. So you have to learn it and earn it. And then apply that to kendo. You should pay attention to your posture all the time, not only when you train kendo. Shizentai must become a part of you. 

You can learn shizentai on page 28 in the book and the Kendo Basics I. Make sure you go over it.

How is it natural?

The natural posture in kendo is not only a good posture but it is the posture so you can attack your opponent anytime you need to. That's that basic idea of the natural posture in kendo. Mind you, in kendo we only have one opponent right in front of us at a time. We don't have multiple enemies in kendo. 

You need to stand tall and look confident. That is a good posture and will need to become your posture. Please look at the picture below. This is also under "Posture and Kiai" at the Kendo Guide for the Intermediate web course

The illustration indicates two things; 1. Alignment, 2. Center of Gravity.

  1. Alignment: Your ear, shoulder, hip bone, knee and ankle are aligned straight as shown in the illustration below. This is the same between male and female.
  2. Center of Gravity: This center of gravity is located as illustrated when you stand straight as described above. And the center of gravity can be found at a point that is 56% of your height from your feet for male and it is 55% for female. I am sure it is varied from person to person, but this is a general idea. Interestingly, it is around where we call “seika tanden” where it is considered to be a place where the energy is held.
Good Posture and Center of GravityGood Posture and Center of Gravity

Make a Good Posture in a Second

It is very easy to make a good posture, at least your upper body. 

  1. Shoulders up
  2. Shoulders back
  3. Shoulders down

When you do this, you feel like your chest is sticking out too far, but it is not. When we try to have a “good posture”, we tend to stick our chest out and at the same time our stomach as well. That is not what we do here. We want to accomplish a good posture “naturally”.

If you have stiff shoulders and stiff neck because you have rolled your shoulders and stick your necks out for years. You might have to loosen up these muscles. 

Please take this section very seriously. It is not only about kendo but it is about your health too. You see people with bad posture. It is not because their age but because they don’t care. 

Bad posture: Looking at the computer screen intensely is normal now.Bad posture: Looking at the computer screen intensely is normal now.

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Complete Beginners Table of Contents

Are you ready to go to the next steps? Mind you, don't go too far. You might skip the important parts of the kendo basics.

  1. Goals for the Kendo Beginners: Not knowing what you should achieve will waste your time and efforts. Know your goals and work at them!
  2. Kendo Etiquette and Manners: You need to know etiquette and manners of kendo. And also the important terms in kendo that are all in Japanese. So make sure to go over this page.
  3. Posture for Kendo: You must learn a good posture for kendo. We call it shizentai. Learning a good posture is good for your health too. So learn it now.