Shizen No Kamae: The Moment Before Change

Hidden within Shizen no kamae is the key to understanding all kamae. This simple looking stance, two feet on the ground, hands and arms relaxed, spine upright... It is how we've readied ourselves all our lives for all variety of activity.

But outward forms can be misleading. Hatsumi Sensei has reminded us many times that the form of the kamae is not the kamae. Rather it is the spirit and feeling held there. The lifetime of experience with our bodies held naturally. But there is something within Shizen no kamae that goes beyond our experience. It starts with another idea Soke has given us about kamae. He simply calls it, "the moment before change."

In the moment of change we can connect to more than ourselves through 先達 sendatsu (guidance) or 閃達 sendatsu (flash of inspiration). This guidance or inspiration comes from a connection to nature; our own nature and the opponent's, as well as the nature that surrounds us. Soke tells us that Shizen no kamae is the embodiment of nature.

It is the like deer that bounds away without having seen you. Or the leaf that turns toward sunlight. Hatsumi Sensei says that "Nature's creations continue to live bound by the ties of nature." And the intuition (kandankei 寒断計) they receive from nature should be treated with more significance. This intuition or guidance speaks to us without words or thought. Can you feel this in Shizen?

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This is actually very difficult to feel in any posture. Why? Because we let our "self" get in the way. True kamae therefore is to learn to move unhindered by our accumulated knowledge/ideas, i.e. without involving our ego. Gambatte.


Very good article, Thank you for your knowledge, Greetings from Salta Argentina. Claudio

Michael Glenn

Muchas Gracias Claudio. Un abrazo a todos mis amigos en Argentina.

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