chapter  3
Kendō Meditation
Pages 4

Kendo practitioners are not professional meditational practitioners. They do not take the lotus position. They take the folded-knee posture (see Plate 3), which was the formal sitting posture of the samurai as well as of cultured people in the Tokugawa period. (Even today, cultured Japanese sit on their matted floor in the folded-knee posture.) But there is a subtle difference between the two postures. Because the samurai were required to be alert at all times, their toes on both feet were positioned close to each other - not overlapped or spread apart - so that they could be used to 'spring up' in case of a sudden attack. The practitioner, therefore, uses this formal position in dojo (unlike the judo practitioner, for example, who sits with his feet folded in front). This is also the posture the kendo practitioner takes in meditation. Aside from this, kendo meditational posture is identical with that of Buddhists: the practitioner sits in an upright position (back straight, shoulders relaxed, chin up but placed close to the throat) with eyes closed (or half closed, the eyes then focused on the tip of the nose). Above all, they must breathe rhythmically.