Left foot forward?

by Pieter Lindeque
(South Africa)

The problem I have is that I feel extremely off-balance and uncomfortable in the normal right foot forward, left foot back for push off Chudan stance. Also my left calf is useless.

 However, when I lead with my left foot and push off my right then I feel very balanced and my push-off becomes powerful and comfortable. My footwork and spacing also sharpen.

I finally found a Dojo and I am officially starting my first class on Thursday. I want to ask if I would be allowed to switch my feet around but still practice Chudan No Kamae?

I know that this stance is associated with Jodan, and often seen in Jodan. I execute every Waza, Technique and command exactly as normally done in Chudan, but leading with my left foot, always pushing off the right.

Am I allowed to do this? Will my Sensei rebuke me for this? I fear that I will be held back in my Kendo due to the leading foot alone.

I have a basic grasp on the essentials and basics of Kendō; how to move, correct form, valid strikes etc.

Please help me out.

Thank you for your time.

Answer:  I understand how you feel.  Kendō is not only exercise. It includes Japanese culture and tradition.

Since samurai had their sword in on the left hip, it was natural to draw out their sword with the right hand and the right foot forwards because they had to twist back the body to the left.

That is why we have our right foot forward.

Now the question is… Can we switch our feet?

We can when we have a problem with your left foot.

However, I have to remind you the reason why we don't do it.

We have a katana (sword) with the right hand and left foot forwards. Now if we want to cut, we have to pull our sword towards our body.  It is hard and unnatural to pull out our sword with the left foot forwards.

We can strike anything with the left foot forwards but only when it follows the principle of katana.

If we ignore the "principle" of katana, kendō becomes a mere exercise.

If you think it is weak and feel off-balance, I think it is because you are not used to it yet.  Listen to your sensei and practice the stance.

If you have a physical problem in your left foot or leg, then you should talk to your sensei.  There are always exceptions.

Hope this helps.

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Apr 30, 2010
Thanks for your help.
by: Pieter Lindeque

Thank you for the reply. I went to my first class and I just adapted to the stance. I am sure that if I just keep going then I will slowly get used to it. I have to get rid of some of my Boxing and Muay Thai habits but overall I was complimented for my first class performance.

I really enjoy Kendo and will try my best to adapt myself to it. Now I just need to find a way to make my feet stop sticking so much.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thank you for your post. Here is some kendo footwork tips.

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