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Cnaeus
05-24-2014, 10:46 AM
Hi all,
recently I was studying the development of aikido footwork. In my experience, footwork is not something they talk a lot about in aikido classes beside the basic irimi/tenkan/kaiten moves, so I decided it would worth some investigation.
I compared the 1935 Ueshiba demonstration with a few demonstrations of Moriteru Doshu.
The first thing I noticed was how very different aikido footwork was in the time of Osensei. What I noticed first was how often Osensei executed irimi/tenkan steps with hopping/jumping motions, which is quite contrary to how we learned and how Moriteru uses irimi/tenkan which is almost always being executed with sinking rather than jumping. In fact, i have rarely seen hopping movements in aikido outside of ki aikido cyrcles, but then even there jumping seems different from Osensei's moves.
But jumping is just the surface of things, somehow Osensei's movements are more fluid and often used small rapid steps for distancing...
Then I saw a rare old footage of Kishomaru Sensei at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9J9HoSZDkw where he seems to utilize the same style of footwork that Osensei does in the 1935 demonstration, which I find strange, as in later demonstrations he moves the way taught in "modern" aikido.
I also noticed many other studenst of Osensei moving that way in old videos.

Could someone please offer me some insight on why footwork changed so much in aikido since Osensei? Or do you have any clue about where Osensei's style of footwork comes from?
I have seen on some website that it comes from shinkage ryu and is called "shadow moon" - but I somehow doubt this information to be correct.

Thank you for your answers in advance

Dan Richards
09-08-2014, 01:35 PM
Philippe Voarino has made some interesting investigations into Aikido footwork.

Start with Kajo #1 and work your way up. Especially noting Kajo #3 and Kajo #10.
http://www.aikidotakemusu.org/en/archive/2012

Cliff Judge
09-09-2014, 09:00 AM
Essentially, what you think of as "the footwork of Aikido" had not been worked out yet at the time they filmed Osensei at the Asahi dojo in the 1930s.

What Osensei was demonstrating in that film was new stuff - he was making big movements and big throws. He may actually have been doing this for the sake of the film.

When I have spoken to Takumakai folks, I have been given to understand that in their lineage, the material they received from Ueshiba was considered harder / more application oriented / more jujutsu. The soft techniques were from Takeda. So this tells me Osensei was down there teaching them practical applications, but at the same time he was working on this new stuff.

Later generations of students had to figure out how to break Aikido down and make it teachable, so they came up with "the footwork".

NagaBaba
09-09-2014, 12:47 PM
When you are very short (he was 145 cm I believe) and have to cover long distances fast, the most efficient way would be to jump. Additionally, if you are heavy (and he had 100 kg) when landing you can use your weight to unbalance and create a powerful momentum to throw your attacker at the same time. So here you have your mystery resolved.

His students had longer legs so it was not necessary for them to jump anymore. Additionally, their center of gravity was higher so it was difficult for them to maintain proper posture and balance while jumping.

Also it would serve no purpose to copy external appearance of the master when your basics and internal development are not yet there. As the old saying from Himalaya goes: “His fart and your fart do not have the same meaning”

Cnaeus
09-11-2014, 03:07 PM
Philippe Voarino has made some interesting investigations into Aikido footwork.

Start with Kajo #1 and work your way up. Especially noting Kajo #3 and Kajo #10.
http://www.aikidotakemusu.org/en/archive/2012

Thank you, your post was most helpful! I wonder why such a detailed analysis can not be found in any of the popular aikido books today.

Edgecrusher
08-12-2015, 01:47 PM
It is the same as new school footwork

Michael Hackett
08-12-2015, 03:32 PM
Ken Ota sensei also "jumps" and "hops" in his practice. When asked, Ota sensei said something to the effect that because he was so short and most Americans are so tall, he had to jump to get into position. Funny enough, I've trained with one of his students for years and although he is close to six feet tall, he still hops and jumps as he enters a technique. Maybe as NagaBaba suggested, that was the reason O Sensei did similar things.

rugwithlegs
08-14-2015, 02:49 PM
I have a hard time defining the footwork.

In karate, handachi is a stance with one knee on the ground. In Aikido, hanmi handachi is two people practice with one person on both knees and the other standing. Much of the Japanese language applied to practice (not an expert, please correct me out there) seems to apply to the relationship of both of Uke and Nage together. So, not so much how you get to the correct relationship but more important that you achieve it.

Two separate ideas that need to come together- how do I move to manipulate my relationship to my advantage and how do I maintain structure for power.

Hanmi seems to have a specific use. Your feet aim in the direction of the power you express or to stabilize. A leg 90 degrees to the target is weaker moving forward than if it faces, balance is adversely affected. O Sensei in videos seems to have no problem just walking and never stopping. Basic exercises now do have us do this, not sure why.

kewms
08-21-2015, 02:43 PM
Hanmi seems to have a specific use. Your feet aim in the direction of the power you express or to stabilize. A leg 90 degrees to the target is weaker moving forward than if it faces, balance is adversely affected. O Sensei in videos seems to have no problem just walking and never stopping. Basic exercises now do have us do this, not sure why.

If your structure is perfectly integrated, then it doesn't matter where you put your feet. This is why very senior teachers -- not just O Sensei -- can be effective with much less obvious footwork than they teach beginners to use. Beginners need more external structure because they haven't yet developed internal structure.

Katherine

tlk52
08-23-2015, 11:19 AM
I agree with Szczepan,, ie: it has more to do with body structure....

also the late Sugano Sensei often used the hopping jumping steps, as did Koichi Tohei. in fact Tohei Sensei taught this (hopping jumping steps for irimi nage and kokyu nage)) in classes that I was in as a youth in the 60s. the hop gives you an extra 1/2 step in whatever directin you'
re going

Janet Rosen
08-23-2015, 12:17 PM
I agree with Szczepan,, ie: it has more to do with body structure....

also the late Sugano Sensei often used the hopping jumping steps, as did Koichi Tohei. in fact Tohei Sensei taught this (hopping jumping steps for irimi nage and kokyu nage)) in classes that I was in as a youth in the 60s. the hop gives you an extra 1/2 step in whatever directin you'
re going

Well-done, the Tohei hop also serves to slightly disrupt uke, either drawing her further in (as on hopping back on opening move of katatori ikkyo) or preventing her from regaining center (as on keeping her a bit "floaty" for the takedown on ikkyo).