How to Take Chudan: Draw Your Sword

Chudan is THE basic stance in kendo so we all must learn how to takechudan.

To be in the chudan position we have two ways:

OneChudan directly from sageto.

TwoChudan after sitting in sonkyo.

One is fairly easy so I would like to start from Two, Chudan after sitting in sonkyo.

Chudan after sitting in sonkyo

Chudan in KendoChudan
  1. We take taito
  2. On a command, "Nuketo", draw your sword out.
  3. Sit in sonkyo.
  4. Come up and be in the chudan position.

We all know how to take taito so I would like to explain how to draw your sword.

Nuketo

Nuke is "to draw" and "To" is a sword. In this case, "To" is a shinai.

On this command, push out your shinai a little forward (Picture 1) and start drawing your shinai towards your opponent (Picture 2). At the same time, take a small step forward onto the right foot (Picture 3).

* When drawing the shinai with the right hand, the left hand stays still (Picture 4).

Flip your sword forward as if you are slashing your opponent. And grab the shinai with the left hand too (Picture 5).

When you stop here, you are ready to go. That means you are in the chudan position.

Taking Chudan: NukePicture 1: Taking Chudan: Nuke
Taking Chudan: TōPicture 2: Taking Chudan: Tō
Picture 1 on Side: Taking Chudan: NukePicture 1 on Side: Taking Chudan: Nuke
Taking Chudan: StancePicture 3: Taking Chudan: Stance
Taking Chudan: Drawing Out the SwordPicture 4: Taking Chudan: Drawing Out the Sword
Taking Chudan: Holding the SwordPicture 5: Taking Chudan: Holding the Sword
Chudan PositionChudan Position

Sit in Sonkyo

Twist the left foot (Picture 6) so that both heels meet together (Picture 7).

And slowly let your body move down until your butt touches the heels (Picture 8).

That is called sonkyo.

Sonkyo: Turning Your Left HeelPicture 6: Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel
Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel Close upPicture 7: Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel Close up
Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel Close up Front ViewPicture 6: Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel Close up Front View
Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel Close up Front View 2Picture 7: Sonkyo: Turning Your Left Heel Close up Front View 2
Sonkyo: Sitting in SonkyoPicture 8: Sonkyo: Sitting in Sonkyo
Sonkyo: Sitting in Sonkyo Side ViewPicture 8: Sonkyo: Sitting in Sonkyo Side View

* Until you get used to the sonkyo position, you may feel unstable. Keep practicing. Do not lean forward when you are in sonkyo.

SonkyoSonkyo

Kamae-te

"Kamae-te" means "take a stance". In this case, take chudan.

On a command of "Kamae-te", stand up and quietly be in the chudan position (Picture 9).

Since your heels are together when you come up from the sonkyo position, you have to twist the left foot back so that the left toe faces towards the front (Picture 10).

Now you are ready to practice.

Standing Up from SonkyoPicture 9: Standing Up from Sonkyo
Standing Up from Sonkyo Side ViewPicture 9: Standing Up from Sonkyo Side View
Twist Back Your Left Foot after SonkyoPicture 10: Twist Back Your Left Foot after Sonkyo
Keep Your Feet Parallel to Each OtherPicture 10: Keep Your Feet Parallel to Each Other

Chudan directly from sageto

We take chudan from sageto when we hear a command, "Kamae To". Now do not confuse it with "Kamae-te". Kamae-te is actually an order form of a verb, kamaeru.

"Kamae To" is actually saying, "Draw your sword and be in the chudan position".

If you are not familiar with Japanese, it may be hard but you can get used to it. Just practice.

* Even though you take chudan from the taito position, we must take the taito position first and then draw our sword. So the sequence is actually...

  1. Sageto Position
  2. Taito Position
  3. Draw the sword
    (Picture 1 to 5)
  4. Be in the chudan position.

Please do not skip the taito position because that is the place we wear our sword.

Now you know how to take chudan. Now you have to know how to put your sword back, "Noto (Osameto)". 

In the video below, you can learn how to grab a shinai but here are some unique tips about how to grab a shinai correctly.

> > How to Take Chudan

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