in Sparks - Shin Gan Dojo

In Japanese martial arts the term Kamae most often refers to one’s fighting posture.

The Shin Gan Dojo is no exception. In fact, we practice many different Kamae. 

Over the years I’ve seen many people lack proper Kamae, be it physically or mentally. Sometimes the problem is simply being too relaxed in the limbs. More often the problem is the practitioner has lost his mental focus and is thinking about other things in a crucial moment.

The point is, somewhere along the line the meaning of Kamae isn’t being received correctly.

I think my definition will help people solidify a better understanding of the word Kamae that will in turn help with the physical posture(s).

Kamae: An expression of fighting spirit and readiness, displayed through your physical posture and mental attitude.

What I mean to say is this; both your physical posture and your mental attitude should unite. If either are weak, they will both fail. Un-readiness in the physical posture means using a hand or fist for a block or punch before it is charged with energy. That leads to broken bones. Un-readiness in the mental attitude means possibly being overcome by one who has caught you by surprise because your mind wasn’t fully engaged in the moment.

As my teacher Sensei Chadwick Minge would say, “If you are still on the outside, you need to be moving on the inside. If you are moving on the outside, you need to be still on the inside. Should you be moving both on the inside and outside, you’ll have chaos. Should you be still both on the inside and outside, you’ll be stagnant.”

The stances we take are not rigid. Nor are they totally relaxed. You should be right in the middle. Most important is keeping your focus on your immediate situation. Do not let the mind wander about during your training session. Keep the mental attitude up and aware.

In the dojo you have a perfect atmosphere to sharpen your mental awareness without the detrimental affects and consequences if lost during real world use. Practice that focus by staying engaged with your partner. Leave the outside world outside when training. Contrarily, take the dojo with you when you go back to the outside world…

Sensei Brian Simmons

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