:"For the more generic use of the word "jōdan" in Japanese martial arts, meaning "upper-level," see "Jōdan"."

Nihongo|Jōdan-no-kamae|上段の構:じょうだんのかまえ, also known as "jōdan-gamae", and frequently shortened simply to "jōdan" among kendo and ninjutsu Bujinkan practitioners, is a basic "kenjutsu" posture. Jōdan-no-kamae means upper-level posture (lit. 'high/upper degree posture').


Jōdan-no-kamae is one of the five stances in kendo: "jōdan", "chūdan", "gedan", "hassō" and "waki". In jōdan-no-kamae, the sword is raised above the head in front of the body in readiness to strike. [cite book
last = Sasamori
first = Junzo
authorlink =
coauthors = Gordon Warner
title = This is Kendo
publisher = Charles E. Tuttle
year = 1964
location = Japan
pages = p. 86
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0-8048-0574-1
] It is the most aggressive stance of the five.

There are commonly two types of jōdan-no-kamae, left ("hidari") and right ("migi"), referring to which foot is out in front. As a more rare case, only one hand is used to hold the sword. Even rarer, the positions of the hands on the hilt of the sword may be reversed.

In normal practice or competitions, left ("hidari") jōdan-gamae is the most common. Its advantage is the reach of the strike, the intimidating posture and the speed of the strike. Its disadvantage is the weak defense, since the throat, wrists and body are open. In order to protect the vulnerable area, a jōdan user must have a very fiery spirit to "scare off" the opponent. It is also more difficult to judge the striking distance ("maai"). Therefore, this stance is only used as the normal stance during practice or competition by experienced "kendōka".

Both jōdan-no-kamae positions are used in Nihon Kendo Kata.


As one of the most basic postures, jōdan-no-kamae is common to virtually all schools of "kenjutsu". The primary attribute of jōdan-no-kamae is always the weapon lifted above the head of the practitioner. One of the only significant variations is the relative position of the elbows. Some styles, including aikido, for one, prefer the elbows to be as far inward as possible. Many others insist on the elbows being open.

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