Here are a couple of cool videos of the late, great Masashi Chiba Sensei teaching the basics of Jodan no Kamae. Chiba Sensei was a world famous master of Jodan no Kamae, and 3 time All Japan Champion. I was very fortunate to have met Chiba Sensei, and benefit from his teaching, and to this day I consider him one of the most influential teachers in my own Kendo.
His tips on Jodan are as follows -
- First, from Chudan no Kamae, step forwards with your left foot, and raise your hands over your head.
- You left hand should be about one fist distance away from the left side of your forehead.
- The angle of the Shinai should be about 45 degrees, and the Kensen should be slightly to the right.
- When you stand in Jodan like this, your fight your opponents with your Kote, Tsuki and Do completely exposed.
- You should expect lots of Ai-uchi.
- When you hit from Jodan, for example Men - move your left foot, at the moment of the strike, pull the right hand to your hip. This creates a similar movement to when you stretch your arms out. It allows you to extend your left shoulder, and strike with speed. This pulling of the right hand is very important.
- Next let’s talk about how to hit Men and Kote, and also about Seme.
- When you hit Men, the height of your left hand should be at about chest level. Letting it come up too high is the worst habit.
- With Kote, if you simply attack by striking downwards, whilst the opponent’s Kensen is outside of your body-line, you cannot hit. So you must move so that their Kensen is falling within your body-line. Then you can successfully strike. You don’t just move the Shinai to get around the opponent’s Shinai, you must use your feet to move diagonally forwards and left. Whilst moving, you can threaten to strike Men. You must make sure the Hasuji is correct.
- If you feel threatened that you will receive Tsuki, and drop your hands to cover, you will completely expose your Men and Kote. Instead, with the feeling of using the left hand to deflect the Tsuki, and simultaneously strike Men. The Tsuki will miss, and you will hit Men.
- When the opponent is going for Kote, you can attack with the feeling of Debana, or you can lift your hands for Nuki Waza. As soon as you feel their hands coming for your Kote, you can instantly hit Debana Men.
- Generally, someone in Chudan will mainly do Seme towards your Kote or Tsuki. So it is important to remember how to deal with this.
- Finally, we must consider distance. If we are too close, it is undesirable, if we are too far, we cannot reach, even with one-handed strikes.
- It is extremely difficult, but there is sort of ‘special’ distance for Jodan, or ‘Jodan no Maai’. It is important to study this.
- If you make sure to not break your Kamae, even if you are tired, or feeling threatened to be hit, and stand with an attitude of ‘come on!’, and ‘I don’t care if I die!’, without breaking, then you will do well in Jodan.
Hope you enjoyed!
All the best,
Video from 吳皞天