“Kamae” – By Hatsumi Masaaki

Masaaki Hatsumi (b. 1931) is the founder and current Soke of the Bujinkan Organization, currently residing and teaching in the city of Noda, Chiba, Japan.

He wrote a great piece on kamae, that I think everyone can learn something from, although he is a Ninjutsu practitioner and not a “Karate man”.

(Does it really matter? Not to me!)

Here it is:


“The body postures of taijutsu are more than utilitarian stances or formal ways of positioning the trunk and limbs. The kamae of ninjutsu can be best described as the physical embodiment of the mental outlook.

In any living or fighting situation, the body and the consciousness it houses are constantly being subjected to the ever-progressing development of a series of present instants. In order to be the most effective in any of these situations, the mind and body should be totally in tune with each other to prevent
inappropriate actions or reactions.

In actuality, “mind” and “body” are mere arbitrary terms that we apply to made-up divisions of one single entity. When properly applied, the kamae reflects the ninja’s heart. This means that our physical nature conforms to our intentions, and there is no division between our interior and exterior aspects. This state of integrated mind and body action is totally natural, and can be observed readily in the movements of the movements of animals as they interact with their environment.

Only human beings seem to develop the need to be trained in a natural body motion.

The kamae themselves are mere guides or suggestions for the most effective use of the body weapon. As such, they are physical attitudes, and are by no means to be adhered to in precise imitation. Each individual body, with its unique configuration of muscle and bone alignments will naturally determine it’s own pragmatic and comfortable variations of the basic fighting postures. As the student progresses, the kamae become less and less significant as specific poses, as they are gradually assimilated into the
character of the individual.

Once these fundamentals are internalized, the most advanced fighting posture becomes a ‘no fighting posture’.”

I’ve got to say, this rhymes quite well with these two quotes:

“There is no fixed kamae in Karate” – Shigeru Egami

“Kamae is in the heart, not a physical manifestation” – Choki Motobu

Dr. Hatsumi in action

Or what do you think?


  • Andi Quast
    Oh man, great how he just puts it into clear words... :O)
  • Igor
  • Jose Santiago
    Hi We are no longer natural so of course we need to relearn this. All that we do changes the environment and makes it artificial, thus we lose our nature and so those who care relearn the rest live on in a virtual world. We also believe we are to top of the food chain, until there is no food remember "the lion king". Again environment and nature. I am always amazed to watch kids at 10-12 unable to take up natural stances, not to mention their parents, who should be aware but are not - awareness is the start that takes mind or consciousness. Are we really this unaware?
  • Magus
    beside my style is Shito Ryu, I love this quote of Funakoshi: Kamae wa shoshinsha ni atowa shizentai Kamae is for beginners, later natural...
  • soke hatsumi is a living treasure!!! my teachers & i have had much pleasure training with & his shihans!!!
  • Regis
    Congratulations for sharing this great piece of knowledge with us and sharing it with your fellow katare practitioners!
  • Please share where this quote is taken from. Citing the source material allows the reader to follow up if interested and I am interested! Thank you!
  • Edward Huerta
    I have trained years in Karate-Do and years in Bujinkan ....I like your comments and I like carrot cake too! ....I have experience through bujinkan where all karate-do came from and not styles . You have to walk in both organizations

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