Before the first step...

This article was initially published in the French Magazine Dragon Spécial Aikido in January 2019.

Any technique in Aikido begins with Kamae. That is true for Tai Jitsu, Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo, to the point a beginner will often see himself “corrected” if he puts the wrong foot forward. But out of its traditional aspect and its martial appearance, what is the actual point of the guard?

The term Kamae can be more or less translated literally as posture but is often understood as the guard, i.e., the waiting posture, the one that directly precedes the fight itself. The guard is an essential element of martial arts, and more generally of any physical activity. Think of the guard of a boxer or a fencer, or even at what is done in different sports on this subject.

A look around the table
A quick glance at various sports activities allows us to clearly identify waiting postures. A rugby player about to tackle will stand firmly on both legs, knees bent and ready to pounce. A sprinter in the starting blocks. A tennis player’s feet parallel, knees bent and racket in front of him.

Read more on the Seishin Tanren dojo website

In table tennis also the opponents use a guard to maximize their chances.
Photo: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0


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