Training basics: Kamae & Naore Part 2

Part 1 of “Taking Kamae” can be seen here.

Moving into kamae your movements should be sharp and crisp but not jerky. Pay special attention to the timing of the hand movements. The first part of the movement accelerates towards the end of the movement then there is a slight pause before the second part begins and that the second part is more fluid. Sensei repeatedly says “Ichi, Ni” to drill this aspect into our bodies. This timing is repeated for Naore, the first part of the movement is a little quicker than the second. The pause when both hands are together and the mokuju is clearly in position shows that you are steady, balanced and can easily go to kamae if the opponent wishes to continue the confrontation. Try not to perform this mindlessly. Think of it as seme when taking kamae and zanshin when performing naore.

It is crucial that the tip of the mokuju does not bounce up and down when moving the back hand. This applies when taking kamae and when performing naore. This is achieved by not having the back hand tight on the mokuju when moving it. Instead relax the fingers so they do not catch on the trigger and move the rear hand smoothly. Ensure you back elbow is not trying to hide behind your body, this will drag your back hand out of the straight line and cause the mokuju to bounce.

When kamae is taken like this it makes the opponent less confident on running straight in and stabbing you. Taking a strong kamae in a controlled manner without jerkiness is an immediate expression of seme and so is crucial during shiai. Many people will judge your level of jukendo based on how you take kamae / naore.

Kamae and Naore in Jukendo are essential elements of Reiho (Etiquette, showing respect etc). If, as at 00:54 seconds, one performs naore in a casual manner during shiai you are not showing respect to your opponent. Given the emotional nature of shiai this is not a good way to make friends!

The footwork for kamae is to start from the 90 degrees angle between the feet when standing at attention and bring the left foot forward and point it straight at the opponent while the back foot pivots slightly to more of a backward angle, ending some 15 degrees inside making a right angle with the front foot.

For Naore bring the back foot forward, remember in Jukendo there is no moving back *You’re in the army now! No retreat!*, to the 45 degrees off centre and pivot the front foot to make a 90 degree angle between the feet with the heels lightly touching or very close.


Common Pitfalls:

2:20 The tip of the mokuju doesn’t go straight to the kamae position. It stops along the way.

2:22 The tip of the mokuju jumps up when the first movement is performed.

2:27 The back hand adjusts after taking kamae causing the tip to bounce.

2:29 There is only one movement.


Chloe also has a habit of having the butt of the mokuju trying to be at a lower location than her hip bone, more of a naginata kamae than jukendo (which makes sense as she is very good at naginata).

Note that after this correction Chloe still has her back elbow tucked in behind her body which causes some bouncing as the back hand can’t move in a straight line easily when doing Naore.

When taking kamae if your body and mokuju do not move together or your body doesn’t go to full hanmi (side on stance) the mokuju will often catch under your tare flap.

As a training exercise have a partner lightly hold the tip of the mokuju so your hands can learn the path they need to follow.

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