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dalen7
01-16-2009, 04:12 PM
When your doing a technique, it is true that it doesnt matter really if your are in Ai Hamni or Gyaku Hanmi when executing the technique.

However it does seem to dictate whether you do Omote vs. Ura.
For some this may be stating the obvious, but it is something I have been playing around with - trying to feel the flow of what works better.
(Which may be subject to the person executing the technique at the end... hence the request for feedback) ;)

Example:
1a) Shomenuchi Ikkyo.

Uke & Naga start off in the position of Ai Hanmi.
Uke then steps out putting them in the position of Gyaku Hanmi - (as Nage slides forward, outside, not changing foot position) -

In the above scenario it would seem that the 'best' flow would be to go with Ura, as Nage will be outside of Uke as he slides...(otherwise his/her foot would cross and tangle...unless its a pivot.)

1b)

Uke & Nage start off in the position of Gyaku Hanmi.
Uke then steps out putting them in the position of Ai Hanmi -
(as Nage slides forward, inside, not changing foot position) -

In the above scenario it would seem the 'best' flow would be to go with Omote, as Nage will be inside of Uke as he slides...(otherwise his/her foot would cross and tangle...unless its a pivot.)

2)
The above scenarios were in the case of Uke stepping and changing the overall stance, from Ai Hanmi to Gyaku Hanmi, (or vice-versa), and with Nage 'sliding' and not changing foot position.
(Could say Nage is doing Irimi...but depending on ones interpretation of this it may not be completely accurate to say that.) ;)

Now the opposite to the first scenario, thus #2, is if both Uke & Nage change step.
So Gyaku stays Gyaku, etc. (Of course the results would be the same as above...the only difference is both changes their step.

So...
Sliding forward, (or 'irimi, if you will) for Nage while Uke changes step...vs. Uke & Nage both changing stances.

Which do you prefer?
And then which do you prefer from #1. (Concerning the position that flows better for entering with Omote & Ura).

Thank for your time...

Peace

dAlen

p.s.

Pondering along similar lines about Chudan Tsuki Kote Gaeshi.
Though, from a technical point this is an 'Ura' only move. (Do to the speed of the punch.) So the question again lies with which entering position feels more natural.

Ai Hanmi seems most natural with Chudan Tsuki Kote Gaeshi for me as it is a straight attack.

Gyaku Hanmi is a pivot, which, for me, doesnt feel as smooth.

So the question is what flows with you. ;)

Garth Jones
01-16-2009, 09:44 PM
Hi Dalen,

You are going in the right direction with your thinking. If I could offer some food for additional thought....

Most dojos have a preferred 'most basic' way to set up an attack and a technique. In mine I have uke and nage start in gyaku hanmi. Uke then steps forward to strike shomen, which puts the two in an ai hanmi relationship. Nage then slides out and forward for an omote or steps behind and tenkans for ura. This could be set up just as well as a slide and strike, etc.

The goal you should be heading for, I think, is to be able to do omote or ura regardless of the initial setup. To get there pick one of the possible setups (the one your sensei likes best might be a good idea:) ) and work on that until it's really smooth. Then work on a different beginning situation, and so on.

Later in your training I think you will find that it doesn't matter so much - you will be able to move correctly and smoothly. In a more dynamic situation you won't be able to define the beginning setup so well anyway.

Tsuki Kotegaishi - I think of this as 'irimi tenkan.' The first blend is a strong irimi movement that connects me to my uke primarily through their elbow (never try to catch the punch!) followed by tenkan, during which I pick up the wrist. There is an omote-like kotegaishi, but it is very hard to do from a punch - better from yokomenunchi or shomenuchi, or a grab.

I hope this is helpful....

Cheers,
Garth

dalen7
01-17-2009, 01:25 AM
I hope this is helpful....

Cheers,
Garth

Thank you Garth for your insight concerning this, it was indeed very helpful.

Your right, I need to get more comfortable with each stance - Im still pausing to ponder which foot needs to go where, as some movements feel more natural at first.

But with time and practice I will eventually get to doing this more intuitively... I hope - at least I don't totally feel like I have two left feet as I used to. :D

Thanks again for your time.

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
01-17-2009, 01:58 AM
I wanted to add to the above...

As I think through all this, suppose my problem I am having is with the initial step in one of the processes.

More specifically if I were to go with URA from a Gyaku Hanmi position.
For now, to simply things, lets say that this is where both Uke & Nage start in Gyaku Hanmi...but only Uke changes footing to end up in Ai Hanmi and I go to slide forward before doing a tenkan, which - if I understand it correctly - is needed now for the Ura.

The problem for me is my right leg crossing over in front of my left.
Guess this isn't what would be done, as balance is lost?

The alternative, I suppose, is that I can just take my rear foot and move it "off the line" which would temporarily keep my original forward foot (right) in the line of attack...then moving into tenkan?
{I notice that sometimes footwork can partially, and even somewhat 'fully' leave you in the line of attack - which I initially thought was not 'permitted' in Aikido...or rather, was not good form.}

Sorry, I know its tricky with words - Im sitting here visualizing each step to make sure Im accurately describing what Im thinking about. :)

Aikido Steps as a guide:

Maybe this will clarify a bit more where Im coming from.
I may have mentioned this already, but Im trying to take the 8 basic steps that we have, and understand them within the actual movements of the techniques themselves.

That is, each movement I make, I try to apply one of the 8 'official' steps - with each technique sometimes having one or two steps that are not part of the list...this acts as a great guide for me to clean up my sloppy footwork. :D

But, as I said, there are some movements that the 8 steps - at least initially - don't seem to cover, so I have to play around with what seems best...but at the same time, as I mentioned with the one foot that has to stay in the line of attack, seems to go against Aikido principles.

Conclusion:
Whew - a long way to go about describing this - but its pretty accurate in helping to show how Im approaching this...

Since this thread is about footwork & technique, I will list the 8 basic movements we have so that people can discuss this as well, seeing its relative to what was just discussed - and will help me out the more I understand about this particular topic. :)

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
01-17-2009, 02:36 AM
8 Steps:

1) Irimi:
From Hidari/Migi Kamae, forward foot steps diagonally - toward the outside - pivot 180 degrees while sliding back foot toward you.
(Back foot is now in the forward position.)

2) Irimi Tenkan:
Same as above...but at the end of Irimi take the forward foot and slide behind you.

note: I have noticed that this movement, unlike Irimi, does not have the foot sliding back after the pivot. There is a pivot and then it slides totally behind the other foot. Although this could act as one continuous motion as well. I suppose it doesn't really matter and depends on the situation. ;)

3) Ushiro Tenkan:
Its the same as Irimi Tenkan - but minus the initial step & pivot.
Also, you can alternately slide one foot back behind the other without needing to change directions...and of course can incorporate the two together.

4 & 5) Tenkai Ashi & Kaiten Ashi:
From what I was told, these two movements are essentially the same. (Perhaps one is stationary, while the other has one foot sliding...I done know.)

From Hidari/Migi Kamae, pivot 180 degrees...thats it. ;)

6) Tsugi Ashi:
From Hidar/Migi Kamae, take your front foot and slide it directly forward, followed by the back foot sliding up behind the front.

I suppose you could do it the opposite.
Slide the back foot up behind the front foot and then slide the front foot forward.
(Here is the contradictory point in Aikido, that is you are not moving off the line. We use this as one of two possibilities in Ikkyo. Though I thought I heard the instructor refer to it as 'Irimi' as well...)

7) Ayumi Ashi:
note: We have 3 ways to dot his technique, i will outline the most common.
Take your back foot and put it directly in front of the forward facing foot. (The back foot will face outside the body.) Again then are 3 different methods for this one and I wont get into it...but the idea behind the method is pretty much the same.)

disclaimer: ;) Sorry, this one was pretty weakly described - especially for someone new to the steps.

8) Tai Sabaki:
I always see on the net this is called body movement - but its not really referred to as a technique or a part of footwork. (When the name by itself indicates this.) :)

From Hidari/Migi Hamae step with your back foot, placing it infront of your forward foot, pivot, then sliding the foot which is forward behind you - Ushiro tenkan, the second movement.

Conclusion:
I hope that wraps it up nicely and that it is accurate.
It may need more explanation for some.

And I would love to hear of other steps that may be missing here and their japanese names. ;)
(As well as examples of how they fit into techniques, like described in my above post.) :)

Peace

dAlen

p.s.
If Im not mistaken, the clearest written info on the net about this is from Stephen S., a member here at Aikiweb from Sweden.
Though I havent been able to find it at his new site.

Garth Jones
01-17-2009, 07:44 AM
Hi Dalen,

It's interesting how varied aikido teaching is - in 20 years of learning and practice I've never heard any of my instructors (Saotome Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, Mary Heiny Sensei, Akira Tohei Sensei) or any of their senior students talk about a list of 8 basic steps. In fact, Akira Tohei Sensei taught two versions of a step that aren't on your list. He called them front foot and back foot tenshin.

Front foot tenshin - a big movement - step back and off the line 45 degrees. Say you are left foot forward, you will step back to your right rear and end up with your right foot forward off the line of and 45 degrees to the initial line of attack. Very useful for blending with yokomenuchi, for example.

Back foot tenshin - move back and off the line 45 degrees - this is a slide with an angle change. Say that you are again left foot forward - slide back to your left rear such that you are 45 degrees to and off the initial line of attack.

Anyway, practice the footwork your sensei is teaching you but remember that all footwork should get you efficiently and with good balance where you need to be and at the right time. As you progress in your training, experiment - try moving in more deeply, or less, more to the side, or less, turning earlier or later, and so forth. The dojo is a wonderful laboratory to test what works best for your body.

Now, back to ikkyo - I didn't follow your description perfectly (this would work so much better in a dojo!) so here's my version:

Case #1 (slide and cut) - you are left foot forward, your partner is right foot forward (gyaku hanmi). Your partner slides forward on with their right foot and cuts shomen with their right hand. For ikkyo omoto step forward and off the line a bit with your right foot, blending with the attack and doing ikkyo. For ura, slide forward and off the line with your left foot (bring your back foot with you so you're not lunged forward), blend with the attack and do ikkyo. For me this is probably the least intuitive but if position and timing are good, it can be very smooth.

Case #2 (step and cut) - same gyaku hanmi set up only this time your partner steps forward with their left foot and cuts with their left hand. For omoto slide forward and off the line (bring your back foot with you) blend with the attack, etc. For ura, step forward (maybe not very forward if their attack is deep)and off the line, blend with the attack, and do tenkan to finish the ura.

I hope this is helpful.....

Cheers,
Garth

dalen7
01-17-2009, 08:47 AM
In fact, Akira Tohei Sensei taught two versions of a step that aren't on your list. He called them front foot and back foot tenshin.

Now, back to ikkyo - I didn't follow your description perfectly (this would work so much better in a dojo!) so here's my version:

Case #1 (slide and cut)

Case #2 (step and cut)

I hope this is helpful.....


Hello Garth,

Thanks for the post, you brought up some excellent points.
Aikido really seems to be about learning about yourself...your movement & flow, etc.

Amazing how little things can go unnoticed yet dramatically affect your movement. Here is something some of you might find a bit funny...

I always tried to 'power' my way through the moves.
When told to use my hips, I thought: "I am".
But I suppose I was more like a robot in movement...because what makes the hip movement affective is the feet turning as well. (My feet were basically staying in the same spot!)
I know, how basic...but it shows how out of tune the upper body can be with the lower body.

So this whole focus on foot movement has been of help to me.
Even in areas such as concentration or imagination.
Before if I had read steps that you or I wrote, I would have skipped over it..."to much for the brain to think about".

Now it helps me to 'slow' down and focus...imagine what is being said through the steps. - Never been much of one to imagine the process in my head...thought to much for pictures. :)

Stepping deep is a key...otherwise you end up with the 50 steps trying to do one movement. I know this is something our instructor has shown us - basically that our movements are not smooth and flowing...we laugh, but continue doing the same thing. Takes practice and some good attention to detail to adopt a new pattern in movement.

My brain is about to explode with all the possibilities of movements. J/K. :)
Seriously though, in the past week since I was able to take the private lesson and tape it, I am understanding so much more...its like I had the puzzle pieces and now with the footwork its beginning to click.

Your point about Yokomenuchi is appreciated as well, in my next test I have quite a bit of Yokomenuchi to go through. (Seems that we have more Yokomenuchi test wise then Shomenuchi, but I suppose the movements would be similar for most of the throwing movements?)

Again thanks for the post - as I mentioned I love to hear how everyone else is going about it to see what is in common and how I can improve what I already have...at this point there is quite a bit that can be improved. :)

Peace

dAlen

Marc Abrams
01-17-2009, 09:41 AM
Look on the Aikido Journal website for a double DVD series by Shizuo Imaizumi Sensei. The entire DVD series revolves around footwork.

Marc Abrams

dalen7
01-17-2009, 01:10 PM
Look on the Aikido Journal website for a double DVD series by Shizuo Imaizumi Sensei. The entire DVD series revolves around footwork.

Marc Abrams

Thanks, I will definitely look into it! :)

Peace

dAlen

ramenboy
01-26-2009, 02:19 PM
i agree w garth and the other show say do it the 'standard' way in which your instructor shows it.

the latest usaf news website has a great interview with yamada sensei where he addresses the importance of footwork.

perfect timing, dalen!
http://www.usafaikidonews.com/

SeiserL
01-27-2009, 11:27 AM
IMHO, first learn the basic techniques and footwork just the way your instructor/school/style/organization wants it.

Then, learn the variations of the footwork and technique.

Then, lt it go.

But footwork and basics always matter. When I cannot get a technique, first I look at the footwork.

dalen7
01-27-2009, 03:24 PM
i agree w garth and the other show say do it the 'standard' way in which your instructor shows it.

the latest usaf news website has a great interview with yamada sensei where he addresses the importance of footwork.

perfect timing, dalen!
http://www.usafaikidonews.com/

Thanks - just read the article, some good points for sure. :)

- not to stop someone constantly in the technique.
- not to remain sloppy as you go through the grades.
Seems like you need a balance so that you can nip some of the sloppy habits at the beginning. i.e., I think way to many people do not move properly from the hips,etc. (Me having been one of them.) :)

Peace

dAlen

dalen7
01-27-2009, 03:36 PM
IMHO, first learn the basic techniques and footwork just the way your instructor/school/style/organization wants it.

Then, learn the variations of the footwork and technique.

Then, lt it go.

But footwork and basics always matter. When I cannot get a technique, first I look at the footwork.

Its interesting, Koichi Tohei Senseis movements are like a wave that goes up and down. The way Im being taught is that its not good to go up and down.

Personally I see merit and both...though with Toheis method it seems it gives you more momentum. What do I know though, there seems to be so many variables in this its crazy. :)

Suppose after awhile it starts to come together? :)
(I sure hope so) :D

Yokomen has been frustrating me recently. (Especially Yokomenuchi Tenchinage...)
We dont practice it much, (though a lot is on my next test), but what we do feels considerably different from what I can find on the web.

It seems instead of stepping back we actually go directly into the attack, using atemi, and then swing the arm down and around.
Which seems impossible if your so close to the person...but I guess I need to play around with it more.

Point being, I havent been able to completely figure out a consistency to our own base structure. (Im sure its there...but it was only a week or so ago I finally got some video footage of my instructor as a supplement. - it was a good start...for those who dont know, Im learning all this basically by watching as I dont speak the language here where I live...so a bit more challenging for me.) :)

Thanks for the replies...

Peace

dAlen