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Rabih Shanshiry
11-09-2009, 04:59 PM
Osu!

I am experimenting with the width of my kamae stance. The classic Yoshinkan guideline is that "the distance between your feet should be one and a half times the length of your own foot."

Is that traditionally measured from Left Heel to Right Heel or from Left Toes to Right Heel (resulting in a much wider stance)?

Any insights?

...rab

Adam Huss
11-12-2009, 08:55 AM
Weight: 60 % weight on front leg, 40% weight on back leg.

Foot orientation: front foot cocked outboard (toes away from body), rear foot also toes pointing away, but to a lesser degree (or rather it will feel like a lesser degree). Bring your heels together and your feet should make a 90 degree angle.

Length: Stance length is about one and a half foot length from rear foot to front foot for a 60/40 weight dispersion stance.

Width: Width-wise your front and rear foot should have a line intersecting between them. When at the dojo, if you have sectional mats (ie, not wrestling mats), find a seem and use that as a guide.

Finally, make sure rear hip is cocked forward. You good with hand/arms?

So in summation, the foot distance thing is for the depth, not width, of your stance. This increases with weight distribution. For example, in kyuju go do kaiten you start in the 60/40 stance, and as you pivot you drop to a 70/30 stance...which I think is 2-2.5 foot lengths apart. I believe the lowest stance is in shumatsu dosa 1/2, getting you to the 80/20 stance, with 3-3.5 foot length apart. Width doesn't really change, unless you get into hitoemi or maybe the Hozoin Spear stance as seen in some versions of sokumen iriminage.

I hope this is accurate and congruent with your school's teaching. If not, follow your teacher's counsel.

There are many more experienced Yoshinkan aikidoka on this forum as well. I would defer my answer to their guidance as well.

And remember, this is a training stance.
Osu!
Adam

Adam Huss
11-12-2009, 08:57 AM
hey, I am pretty sure that stance length is measured rear to to front heal.

Rabih Shanshiry
11-12-2009, 11:38 PM
hey, I am pretty sure that stance length is measured rear to to front heal.

Adam - osu!

I appreciate both replies. Everything you wrote in the first message lines up perfectly with my understanding. I'm good on the arms - at least in theory. My lead arm has a tendency to get lazy and droop - but its a known problem.

You indirectly pointed out the carelessness of my language - I am asking about stance length (front-to-back) as you indicate above rather than actual "width."

I had assumed that the stance length is measured rear heel to front heel as you suggest but others have argued that it is from rear toes to front heel - which results in a much longer stance. I'm playing with both approaches to see what feels more stable but I'm not sure if the shorter stance feels better simply because I'm more accustomed to it.

...rab

Adam Huss
11-13-2009, 09:31 AM
Hey Rab,

I meant to say rear toes to front heal. So yeah, its going to be a bit of a longer stance. One thing I neglected to indicate is that we normally say "1 - 1.5" foot length. Adding in that variance to allow for those with, say, big feet or longer legs..or whatever. So the Yoshinkan 60/40 kamaemi will be a bit longer than most aikikai kamae. The 70/30 stance is similar to a karate zenkustu dachi, if that helps put it in perspective.

Osu!!
Adam

Rabih Shanshiry
11-13-2009, 09:33 AM
Hey Rab,

I meant to say rear toes to front heal. So yeah, its going to be a bit of a longer stance. One thing I neglected to indicate is that we normally say "1 - 1.5" foot length.

That helps a lot! It confirms what I have suspected - been doing my kamae incorrectly. What feels more comfortable isn't always better.

Thanks for the input - it's been a big help.

...rab

Adam Huss
11-13-2009, 09:48 AM
Rab,

It'll get more or less comfortable, maybe familiar is a better term. Most Yoshinkan stances aren't that comfortable when one begins as it is forcing the body to conform to movement and positioning that isn't natural. This is true of most martial arts, or really organized physical activities in general. I find kamae and kihon dosa the most critical part of my training in Yoshinkan aikido, so your concern for correcting is admirable. It's not as sexy as practicing some dynamic technique, but it allows one to be able to do these techniques with effect. Cheers,
Adam

Charlie
11-13-2009, 12:08 PM
Hey Rab,

I meant to say rear toes to front heal. So yeah, its going to be a bit of a longer stance. One thing I neglected to indicate is that we normally say "1 - 1.5" foot length. Adding in that variance to allow for those with, say, big feet or longer legs..or whatever. So the Yoshinkan 60/40 kamaemi will be a bit longer than most aikikai kamae. The 70/30 stance is similar to a karate zenkustu dachi, if that helps put it in perspective.

Osu!!
Adam

Hi guys,

Hope you don't mind me butting in...

Moving into basic kamae should not be an overly long stance. Transferring from basic kamae into other stances will increase the length of the stance, however, the general rule of thumb for basic kamae is *approximately* 1 and 1/2 your foot size distance between your feet.

The easiest way to measure this is to find 2 intersecting lines on the mats that form either a + or an upside down T. Place one of your feet along side one of the lines making sure that the other line bisects the middle of that foot.

Place the other foot on the second line so that your two feet together also form a T. Make sure that the heel of the second foot lays smack dab in the middle of the first foot.

Now, on the second foot, mark off where your toes end. After marking off where the toes end, move that same foot and place the heel where the toe mark is.

Notice where the middle of your foot now lays and mark that point. Finally, move the same foot once again and place your heel at this last point. This should be *approximately* 1 and ½ your foot size.

As for the rest of the stance, I differ to your instructors because we all tend to stress different aspects of the stance -- well…differently! However, this portion of the stance is fairly *universal*.

I think what is more important than the exactness of the distance between the feet is what all this is supposed to be teaching us. Why go through all this measuring when it may be easier to just say -- stand in place with your feet together. Now move your feet to shoulder width apart. Now keeping your left foot in place, turn to the right and shift your weight forward while extending your hands and arms. If you checked the distance between your feet at this point using the method I discribe above, you would probably see that it is *approximately* 1 and ½ your foot size!

Or try this…walk across a room a couple of times staying relaxed and normal. Now while utilizing your natural walking gait, stop anywhere mid-walk and note the distance between your feet. Chances are you will find it to be *approximately* 1 and ½ your foot size. Extend your hands and arms again and you should be fairly close to your basic stance.

Rabih Shanshiry
11-15-2009, 06:55 AM
Hope you don't mind me butting in...

You're not butting in at all. The exercise you outlined is very interesting - I'm looking forward to trying it out. I appreciate your insights!