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The Basic Kendo Stance

Chudan No Kamae

Let's start from the feet and work up. The key here is to work on your footwork. Footwork takes time to develop. It will feel weird at first, so you must consciously work to have proper footwork.
1. Your feet are shoulder width apart .
2. Your right foot is forward, such that you if you could slide your left foot right behind it.
3. Stay on the balls of your feet: In Kendo, you are always on the balls of your feet, never on your heels. This way you will always be moving forward, never backward (theoretically).
. Correct: right heel high enough for a paper to slip under, left heel high enough to put a thumb tack under it.
4. Keep your hips straight: Your hips must be straight to ensure that your left foot will be straight. You will probably be repeatedly told to work on turning your left hip in, to the point it feels initially uncomfortable.
5. Keep your left leg straight.
6. Your weight should be about 90% distributed on the left leg, 10% on the right.
7. Your back should be straight. Your navel should point up rather than down.

Next, Tenouchi (grip).

1. Remember, the Shinai is a sword. The tsuru (string) should face the ceiling as the other side is the cutting edge. For both hands, you will grip the sword with the pinky to middle fingers. This will take time as these are your weaker fingers and it is normal for a person to initially grip with their thumb and pointers.
2. The left hand grips the end of the tsuka (handle), such that the pinky covers the very end. There should not be any tsuka past the pinky. Grasp firmly, but not to the point that your knuckles turn white. The left hand is the power hand.
3. The right hand grips right below the tsuba (sword guard). The Shinai should rest less firmly in your right hand then your left. As most people are right handed, you must keep this in mind. The right hand is the guide hand.
4. Your wrists should be turned in such that both thumbs point towards the ground. 5. You should hold the sword such that your left hand is a fist away from your body. The top of your left hand should align with the bottom of your navel.
6. The tip of your Shinai should point towards your opponent's neck or your own neck, when you do not have an opponent. Beginners tend to point higher, so it is a good idea to use a mirror when figuring this out. 7. Your arms should not be extended and stiff. Instead, make a circle with your arms.

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