PDA

View Full Version : There in no foot work in Aikido


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Dan Richards
07-31-2015, 01:31 AM
The idea of foot work is putting the cart before the horse.

Aikido is body work. Center work.

If you're placing your feet anywhere, in terms of "foot work," you're predetermining how and where you should move.

This is a bad idea.

This is not moving from center—which moves from intention.

Interested to throw the idea out and discuss.

robin_jet_alt
07-31-2015, 01:44 AM
Putting your body or your centre anywhere without having your feet underneath it is not possible. It doesn't matter what your intention is if you have not, in fact, moved. In my opinion, the idea of 'no foot work' is putting the cart before the horse.

Dan Richards
07-31-2015, 01:48 AM
Putting your body or your centre anywhere without having your feet underneath it is not possible..

It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.

Riai Maori
07-31-2015, 05:35 AM
It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.

Your arms are connected to your body and your feet are connected to your legs. Body moves, body talks always expressed by Bob Nadeau Shihan.

robin_jet_alt
07-31-2015, 05:57 AM
It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.

Nup. I faceplanted. Definitely need to have feet under the body.

jonreading
07-31-2015, 11:33 AM
To split hairs...

For me, aiki is body work. Aikido is the expression of aiki and can/should demonstrate movement of any kind. As kata in aikido goes, I think there is a general idea that you are moving in a predetermined manner as a method of learning. As waza goes (the natural expression of kata movement) I think I generally agree that you need to move with a connected body according to your needs. I like to point to judo when I talk about this because judo kata almost never looks like competition waza. Although I know several people who can show you where they want to go and simply go there, regardless of my efforts to stop the movement. So at some level, we're back to, "I can move my feet however I want."

My perspective on this topic have shifted over the years. As a general observation. most people walk through a series of balance shift movements - lean forward (off balance), move feet (regain balance). Or, shift weight to one foot, move other foot. Essentially, we are creating a moment of kuzushi with every step we take. Moving in this manner, even if you can recover faster than *I* can take advantage of the opening, is not optimal movement.

Conrad Gus
07-31-2015, 12:09 PM
As a general observation. most people walk through a series of balance shift movements - lean forward (off balance), move feet (regain balance). Or, shift weight to one foot, move other foot. Essentially, we are creating a moment of kuzushi with every step we take. Moving in this manner, even if you can recover faster than *I* can take advantage of the opening, is not optimal movement.

100% agree. I learned how to do Bagua circle-walking a few years ago and it has completely changed aikido. Normal walking footwork is off-balance almost the entire time, and does not have stability or power.

ramenboy
07-31-2015, 12:21 PM
i'll have to agree w robin and conrad. in order to keep your center between your feet, you have to move your feet (or a foot).

by 'move your body and your feet will arrive,' it seems to imply that your leaning in one direction and your feet have to catch up. if you don't, like robin said, you face plant

like conrad said, its like normal walking. lean in a direction, the body is off balance and the feet have to catch up to keep you from falling.

SeiserL
07-31-2015, 12:43 PM
IMHO, as an old boxer, everything works off footwork (tenkan, tenkan, tenkan) ...
the feet are part of the body/mind and "if one thing moves everything moves" ...

jonreading
07-31-2015, 01:16 PM
Well, we may be saying different things that sound similar...

If you move from your center, your feet *have* to respond to your body to maintain body connection - this would be a near-instantaneous relationship (like pulling a puppet string that moves your leg) and a critical component would be that your feet would always be under your center. This is not necessarily the same thing as the typical two-part process of throwing your body forward and catching your balance by moving your feet. In this relationship, your center is purposefully forward of your feet because gravity participates in the motion similar to how a pendulum has to move off it's center to create force. In this sense, "falling" would simply indicate that your center and your feet were misaligned. While not aikido, there are several good videos of Mifune demonstrating judo in which you can clearly see the judoka having difficulty separating Mifune's upper body from his lower:
https://youtu.be/uFXbuszijCM

Mary Eastland
07-31-2015, 03:36 PM
Learn and forget. Footwork needs to learned and then during waza should be done exceptionaly with out a thought.

Rupert Atkinson
07-31-2015, 04:57 PM
For me, everything starts at the feet and moves upwards.

robin_jet_alt
07-31-2015, 08:44 PM
Just to clarify, in my experience there is a limited range in which you can move your center without sacrificing your balance if you don't move your feet. If you exceed that range, then your feet have to catch up. In the time that your feet are playing catch up, you are not balanced. The trick is to move your feet in such a way as to avoid sacrificing your own balance, but allows you to move your centre, to where you want it to be. In that sense, aikido is all about footwork.

rugwithlegs
08-01-2015, 07:56 AM
Have a partner frame out of you. Try to put your foot out, then start to move your weight to your foot and you'll have difficulty. Drive off the foot underneath you and then shift the empty foot forward and you should be able to move more. In the school of Baguazhang I studied, it's called Dragon Stepping and it's a basic for Whole Body Movement.

Force is MassxVelocity. Move with as much of your mass as possible, generate more force. Have a better structure throughout the movement.

While there are basic exercises for this, I do find that people who can generate force well, even non-martial artists, are at the very least doing this unconsciously to some degree.

I think this is also Peter Boylan's post on Koshi? http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/07/koshi.html

I assume the OP is referring to whole body movement and not just the torso, which still implies the feet are still being moved and the largest muscle groups in the legs are generating much of the power while the torso is engaged. I don't think he means go flaccid from the hips down and ignore your feet.

Typically your feet are your connection to the earth, and you need your base with your center within your base by a plum line to the ground to issue power through your hands. Between hands and feet, there is a very large chunk of aspiring sausage and some plates stacked up on top of each other with lumps of jello in between them. This area can bleed off power, add power, or at least connect the leg and arm.

Am I understanding the question correctly?

Krystal Locke
08-03-2015, 03:00 PM
Force is MassxVelocity. Move with as much of your mass as possible, generate more force. Have a better structure throughout the movement.


Umm F=MA, momentum =MV.

How much acceleration can I provide, given a fixed mass? And, how much can I recruit other masses, like the really big one I am standing on?

Cliff Judge
08-03-2015, 03:18 PM
I think the main idea here is that your center is what moves and drives everything, and I don't think anybody would really disagree with that.

Personally, where I train, discussion of footwork is for showing new white belts the ropes and it just isn't of first-order importance after a student has gotten somewhat comfortable with moving.

Lately I have been thinking that intention doesn't exist, so IMO it is probably best to consider the center to be the thing that drives everything.

Robert Cowham
08-03-2015, 03:50 PM
I agree that footwork is important to start with and then becomes something to support center movement. And yet it can also be very instructive to really focus on advanced footwork too.

I remember Sasada sensei from the Shiseikan explaining to me the concept of switching feet (e.g. from left hanmi to right hanmi - the beginner method is to jump into the air while switching feet) as something that was easiest/fastest when the feet were unweighted at the same time as you let your center drop. At the time this seemed impossible, but with time (and the example of others), I started to get the idea of the possibilities, and to be able to replicate, if in a limited way.

The vast majority of our power comes from the ground, and if we aren't connected to the ground we don't have any power. The quality of our connection to the ground drives many things. And yet speed of movement, particularly short movements to change position or evade/dodge a strike (with hand or weapon), or to counter attack, require rapid movement of the feet. As I understand it, this movement isn't possible without both good connection to the ground and also a well developed tanden (which drives connection through the rest of the body). This also relates to the ability to raise a sword, eg. from mugamai to above your head in order to block a strike.

What is Kuroda sensei doing here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cvdNgbu97k#t=1m22s

There are many other examples of him, and his incredible speed.

Study of footwork is seldom wasted - but include the rest of the body in that...

rugwithlegs
08-03-2015, 04:04 PM
Oops. Thanks for correcting that.

Yes, you cannot weigh more, but how much mass you put into a target is a function of how integrated your body is. Only move a piece of the body, less mass in motion.

Dan Richards
08-04-2015, 08:30 AM
100% agree. I learned how to do Bagua circle-walking a few years ago and it has completely changed aikido. Normal walking footwork is off-balance almost the entire time, and does not have stability or power.

The man wins a milkshake.

Dan Richards
08-04-2015, 08:33 AM
Personally, where I train, discussion of footwork is for showing new white belts the ropes and it just isn't of first-order importance after a student has gotten somewhat comfortable with moving.

Lately I have been thinking that intention doesn't exist, so IMO it is probably best to consider the center to be the thing that drives everything.

Why is training footwork good for [even] white belts, Cliff? Why not start them off on body work? Their feet are fine.

OK, "intention doesn't exist." We can play with that. I like.

Throw us a bone.

Dan Richards
08-04-2015, 09:06 AM
Nup. I faceplanted. Definitely need to have feet under the body.

When you're in the car, or sitting at the bar, or watching Netlix stretched out on your foam-memory bed... Do you need to get your feet under the body for you to practice aikido... or just move?

Fall on the mat... where are your feet? Do you need them?

That's like deciding that you can't drink water because you don't have a cup.

jonreading
08-04-2015, 09:32 AM
When you're in the car, or sitting at the bar, or watching Netlix stretched out on your foam-memory bed... Do you need to get your feet under the body for you to practice aikido... or just move?

Fall on the mat... where are your feet? Do you need them?

That's like deciding that you can't drink water because you don't have a cup.

Yes, you want to be inclusive of applying aiki from wherever you are. For us, we'll do ground work to help remember this perspective. I am not sure this wasn't one of the reasons suwari waza played such a strong role in early aiki budo curriculum.

rugwithlegs
08-04-2015, 09:41 AM
I had a teacher who started a class saying Aikido had no wrist locks. The premise was we should always try to lock the body using the wrists - use the wrist to restrict the movement of the shoulder, the hips, the direction Uke was facing.

Had another karate teacher say there were no blocks in karate - the idea was to strike the limbs coming at you, we just had the conversation to change our intention and focus in our training.

Is this what the thread is about? The body will move and the feet need to move, the feet remain our contact with the ground and our ability to issue power is related to our ability to root and connect, with our feet being the most used connection to the ground.

Why not start with body movement over footwork? Someone can learn to dodge in one class and constantly over years improve on their movement. People can take years and not fully acquire whole body movement. The one is far more complicated than the other. Their feet are fine? Maybe...

The Shodokan method is first moving the feet, then adding arm movements, then adding a partner. Ki Society also starts with isolating an arm exercise, then weight shifting, then stepping patterns with empty arms and then the whole body movement. Most schools go simple to complex.

The torso is what connects the hands and feet, so expressing power in the hands coming up from the ground requires the torso be engaged. In my everyday life, I seldom if ever need that much power.

Cliff Judge
08-04-2015, 10:04 AM
Why is training footwork good for [even] white belts, Cliff? Why not start them off on body work? Their feet are fine.

OK, "intention doesn't exist." We can play with that. I like.

Throw us a bone.

IMO, it is best to have beginners start moving and doing things before you ask them to start feeling for what is going on inside. A little bit of form at the beginning - i.e. this is how you step for tenkan, this is how you step for irimi, this is a safe place when executing kotegaeshi, this is not a safe place - gives them a sandbox they can work in. Bodywork is what I would consider a way of helping them out of the sandbox (should they choose to accept their mission), and a way to learn how to interact with force in a relaxed and efficient manner.

I have seen some nice changes in white belts who are comfortable with basic form, when I tell them to start making their center be the leader. For example, telling them when standing up from a front roll, to see what happens if they try to get their center standing up first, rather than their head and shoulders.

Also, in America, most people are focused on their upper bodies, to the point where they can't differentiate their centers from their torsos. Get them thinking about their feet, and they will often bargain you up to the middle. :)

JP3
08-04-2015, 06:47 PM
In my mind, body moves as a unit usually when good things are happening, therefore body-work = footwork and vice-versa.

robin_jet_alt
08-05-2015, 12:39 AM
When you're in the car, or sitting at the bar, or watching Netlix stretched out on your foam-memory bed... Do you need to get your feet under the body for you to practice aikido... or just move?

Fall on the mat... where are your feet? Do you need them?

That's like deciding that you can't drink water because you don't have a cup.

I admit that I was working under the assumption that you were talking about performing tachi-waza, where you are standing from the beginning of the technique through to the conclusion of the technique. I was not considering techniques performed from a prone position. Obviously, when in a position where you feet do not touch the mat, you make use of those parts of your body that do touch the mat. However, I maintain that UNINTENTIONALLY falling over when you begin in a standing position is not a desirable outcome.

As for your analogy, for the motion of lifting a cup to your mouth to be an effective means of drinking water, I believe that some kind a of cup-like receptacle is necessary.

mathewjgano
08-05-2015, 11:19 AM
The idea of foot work is putting the cart before the horse.

Aikido is body work. Center work.

If you're placing your feet anywhere, in terms of "foot work," you're predetermining how and where you should move.

This is a bad idea.

This is not moving from center—which moves from intention.

Interested to throw the idea out and discuss.

I get the impression we can learn a lot from studying how we walk/step. If Aikido is center-controled body work, incorporating the legs/feet early on seems like a good way to integrate them into the activity.
If predetermining where we should move is a bad idea, how do we ensure we don't fall off a cliff or other edge, or move into some other detrimental position on the ground?

jonreading
08-05-2015, 12:44 PM
I get the impression we can learn a lot from studying how we walk/step. If Aikido is center-controled body work, incorporating the legs/feet early on seems like a good way to integrate them into the activity.
If predetermining where we should move is a bad idea, how do we ensure we don't fall off a cliff or other edge, or move into some other detrimental position on the ground?

I think the idea is that your foot should not lead your movement, but support your body's movement. To answer you question, I would say that if you do not commit to moving your body over a cliff, your feet should not walk you off it. Now if you feet are just doing what they want...

It seems a silly answer, but look at a better example... A classic arm bar applied from the guard position is often baited with an open lapel (or other attractive choke advance). Top position inserts the arm to control the lapel. Bottom position disconnects the arm and rolls into arm bar position. Why does this work? Because the attacker leads the movement with his arm, which can be isolated. The bait is designed to get the attacker to reach outside of his range:
https://youtu.be/ibizOGoRVPs
You play with someone who does not lead with the arm and the bait fails more often because the attack never really disconnects the arm from the body. How can you tell if the attack is connected? Because the arm feels like a cable with which you can do nothing.

Why do I like this example? Because both partners are disoriented to a typical ground path of support and you get a very definite feel of success. If you are dependent on your feet, you'll have difficulty. If you are not connected, you'll have difficulty.

Erick Mead
08-05-2015, 01:13 PM
The idea of foot work is putting the cart before the horse. ...If you're placing your feet anywhere, in terms of "foot work," you're predetermining how and where you should move.
I get the impression we can learn a lot from studying how we walk/step. If Aikido is center-controled body work, incorporating the legs/feet early on seems like a good way to integrate them into the activity.
If predetermining where we should move is a bad idea, how do we ensure we don't fall off a cliff or other edge, or move into some other detrimental position on the ground?
I'd be very curious how people in this discussion view how we walk/step. I have my own thoughts but I am curious about how their thoughts on walk/stepping inform their opinions on this topic.

mathewjgano
08-05-2015, 01:53 PM
I think the idea is that your foot should not lead your movement, but support your body's movement.

That makes sense to me.

This is not moving from center—which moves from intention

But I don't see how it's necessarily true that focusing on the working of the feet/legs (footwork) precludes use of center, whether moving to a predetermined location or not. If we begin with the premise that all movement originates with the center, then teaching footwork doesn't seem like it would automatically be a bad thing, which is suggested in the OP...as I interpret it, at any rate. If, as you suggest, most people have bad habits in using their legs, I would think focusing on footwork might be a good way to correct that.

So rather than describing all footwork as bad and necessarily disconnected from center, I'd rather see the suggestion of how to incorporate center-driven movement into it.

It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.
I've seen the opposite quite a lot in beginners who are focusing more on their upper body and allow themselves to move into some fairly strange positions because they forget to allow their feet to move. By drawing attention to how their feet work/support their efforts (footwork), we were able to correct this to some degree.

mathewjgano
08-05-2015, 02:04 PM
I'd be very curious how people in this discussion view how we walk/step. I have my own thoughts but I am curious about how their thoughts on walk/stepping inform their opinions on this topic.

My walking is based on something I experienced playing soccer as a kid: every step is kicking the ball. There seemed to be a correlation between this and how I could stop or even blast through kids who were much bigger than me (when kicking the ball at the same time). When I run long distances and I'm getting tired, I focus on making every step a small kick to an imaginary ball. I have to focus on not over-exagerating the motion, and it takes a few steps before I can find a smooth rhythm, but suddenly my legs aren't tired and I find myself speeding up naturally.
What are your thoughts?

Janet Rosen
08-05-2015, 02:13 PM
My walking is based on something I experienced playing soccer as a kid: every step is kicking the ball. There seemed to be a correlation between this and how I could stop or even blast through kids who were much bigger than me (when kicking the ball at the same time). When I run long distances and I'm getting tired, I focus on making every step a small kick to an imaginary ball. I have to focus on not over-exagerating the motion, and it takes a few steps before I can find a smooth rhythm, but suddenly my legs aren't tired and I find myself speeding up naturally.
What are your thoughts?

The guided visualization I have my older adults start each Surviving Falls class with has us, as we walk, first feel feet on mat, extend them down down, find knees and hips and connect them with feet....THEN moving up to the center (I have them imagine the entire abdomen) as the engine and prow of a ship cutting through the ocean and the feet stay underneath to carry us along....there is more but that is more like what you describe than how folks talk about unbalancing. My seniors are already unbalanced enough so we are trying to get them to walk smoothly with good structure :)

Erick Mead
08-06-2015, 10:51 AM
My walking is based on something I experienced playing soccer as a kid: every step is kicking the ball. There seemed to be a correlation between this and how I could stop or even blast through kids who were much bigger than me (when kicking the ball at the same time). When I run long distances and I'm getting tired, I focus on making every step a small kick to an imaginary ball. I have to focus on not over-exagerating the motion, and it takes a few steps before I can find a smooth rhythm, but suddenly my legs aren't tired and I find myself speeding up naturally.
What are your thoughts? I think walking is what made us smart. Human walking is 25% more efficient than the ordinary locomotion of other mammals of similar size. Our brain constantly consumes 20% of our calories just ticking over. Without the excess energy budget from the development of walking -- human beings would not have had the lavish resources necessary to evolve and operate our brains.

As to walking itself, it is an exercise in optimizing momentum conservation -- whereas for combat, the optimization needed is in concentrating and dissipating structural moments and dynamic momentum. There are other schools of thought, but for a number of reasons, including what I have learned from aikido, I tend to follow those who conclude that the early innate structural reflexes are instrumentalized in normal development (https://books.google.com/books?id=jX4x_ypm2jkC&pg=PA157&lpg=PA157&dq=stepping+reflex+walking+coordination&source=bl&ots=SNz7F9V5xk&sig=zMXDHZj18bXSp6ZNlJxBoGTrtH4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDIQ6AEwA2oVChMI8pXFsdqUxwIVEn-SCh3-mgrh#v=onepage&q=stepping%20reflex%20walking%20coordination&f=false). Normal efficient walking is an orchestration of reflexively driven pendulum swings. We don't push off the back leg as we do for running. We commence a topple over the forward leg, and a set of reflexes we possess since birth kicks in to orchestrate our stepping behavior. As we develop it comes under greater and greater voluntary control, and develops greater sophistication of unconscious coordination.

In the linked discussion, they criticize this conclusion, noting the distinction between the early infant stepping reflex with weight on the full sole and the more usual older infant learning to walk with weight on the toes. On the other hand, they fully recognize the distinction between dynamic righting and relatively static equilibrium, which is blended together in adult walking. But as anyone can tell from taking a good backward koykyu stretch, you have a far greater range of righting stability or dynamic power of balance when your weight is on your toes, than when the feet are planted flat. Shioda even emphasized this. This probably explains the distinction noted in the link for infants, who quickly realize they can recover from being destabilized over a wider range of disturbances more easily when the weight is on the toes, even though static equilibirum there is more precarious. Hence the early walkers can often move pretty steadily if they keep going -- but when they stop they flop down, because they don't have good standing equilibrium yet.

I also conclude that other reflexive aspects of structure can also be instrumentalized -- and exploited -- through training. Examples include the triggering of flexor reflexes in the legs by torque stretch of in nikkyo, and the triggering extensor reflexes in the legs by the inverse torque of sankyo. Ikkyo seems to me to be an aspect of the startle reflex.

Conrad Gus
08-06-2015, 04:41 PM
In my mind, body moves as a unit usually when good things are happening, therefore body-work = footwork and vice-versa.

I'll buy that for a dollar!

mathewjgano
08-07-2015, 07:33 PM
The guided visualization I have my older adults start each Surviving Falls class with has us, as we walk, first feel feet on mat, extend them down down, find knees and hips and connect them with feet....THEN moving up to the center (I have them imagine the entire abdomen) as the engine and prow of a ship cutting through the ocean and the feet stay underneath to carry us along...

Very interesting! This does sound very similar. I'm looking forward to my next run so I can really focus on this some more; I'm going to need to since I haven't been training much.

I think walking is what made us smart. Human walking is 25% more efficient than the ordinary locomotion of other mammals of similar size. Our brain constantly consumes 20% of our calories...
We don't push off the back leg as we do for running.

Interesting idea! It's probably a chicken and egg thing, but my hunch has been in somewhat the opposite direction, and I've wondered how much our smartness/brainpower has shaped our walking/running, since it has been through self-observation that I have gradually refined my walking and running efficiency...also for what it's worth I do my best to blur the lines between walking and running. It creates an interesting tension/contrast.
One of my observations from my ball-kicking approach is that it keeps me from over-emphasizing the push off the back leg. In "kicking" I'm also strongly engaging the other leg by way of the lower abdomen; there is a sense of throwing one leg forward while pushing back on the other, and I feel more springloaded. I'll also shift between "kicking" and "skating," which is similar to how skiers move on flat ground, and which seems to engage the back side of the legs/body more.

One more bit, since I'm thinking about it in preparation for an upcoming run, I focus heavily on skull stability and alignment along the vertical axis or I feel my weight a lot more in my legs and feet. The mental intent behind skull stability for me is very similar to when I used to target shoot: aiming/looking "inside the inside" of the center line.
Mostly gibberish probably, but it does seem to have a remarkable effect on my ability to endure relatively long distances...and from a certain standpoint it does feel like it is related to proper(-ish) aikido movement, and is very much foot oriented in that I have to pay a lot of attention to how my feet are striking the pavement and how they connect to the rest of my body's movements.
I'm reminded of something O Sensei said where a person's fists will reveal which way he wants to cut; it seems somehow true to me that the feet can reveal something about how the opponant wants to move, as well.
...Just spit-ballin' though. I certainly don't train enough to know much well. :)

Michael Douglas
08-09-2015, 11:12 AM
Just popping in to agree with every one of Robin Boyd's posts.

MRoh
08-10-2015, 09:27 AM
It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive.

Correct footwork is a technique that has to be learned, like any other technique.

Ta da

Ok, Tada.:)

When Tada Sensei ist teaching a class, he often begins with footwork.
Setting the feet is fundamental.

Does your center know how aikido's technique has to be done by itself?
You also move from center in karate, in Iai, or in other mrtial arts. The footwork is different. So just moving the body from the center does not lead to a correct aikido movement.

Mary Eastland
08-10-2015, 09:50 AM
Correct footwork is a technique that has to be learned, like any other technique.

Ok, Tada.:)

When Tada Sensei ist teaching a class, he often begins with footwork.
Setting the feet is fundamental.

Does your center know how aikido's technique has to be done by itself?
You also move from center in karate, in Iai, or in other mrtial arts. The footwork is different. So just moving the body from the center does not lead to a correct aikido movement.

I agree with this. When a student does a technique and does not do the footwork correctly the technique does not work. For example: when nage backs up taking small steps instead of doing tenkan the uke does not loose their balance.

A better title would be IMO "learn the footwork and then forget it". By that I mean focus on the whole picture and trust your technique.

lbb
08-10-2015, 10:34 AM
Chicken, egg, chicken, egg, lather, rinse, repeat.

Mary Eastland
08-10-2015, 10:55 AM
Chicken, egg, chicken, egg, lather, rinse, repeat.

Yup, that is how it works...if you never leave the basics you don't have to go back to them.

jonreading
08-10-2015, 11:59 AM
Couple of things for me:
1. I think kata has a role in the instruction of waza and that includes a general instruction of body movement, including feet. Learning kata and actively expressing aiki within movement (waza) are two different things.
2. Footwork and aiki may have a correlated relationship, but if your body requires [large] external movement of any sort to affect kuzushi, then you are not using aiki. This is not to say that you are not achieving kuzushi, just not be means of aiki.

I get into trouble when I think about my body movement as given equal and opposite to my partner. i.e. if I get to take a step, my partner gets to take a step. Sometimes, this gives me a physical advantage, such as when I take a large step to my partner's small step. Sometimes, it gives me a disadvantage such as when I try to make a tenkan movement and my partner does not follow me. Physical movements are tricks, a collection of things we can do that gain advantage over our partner. Hence the age-old claim that anyone can stop your waza if they know it's coming. Except the good guys can tell you it's coming and do it anyway. Why? because they're not tricking you with their bodies.

Mary Eastland
08-10-2015, 12:58 PM
The combination of aiki and technique creates aikido for me.

Each now is blended with as it comes. Kata training provides an alphabet to spell with aiki.

Currawong
08-11-2015, 05:47 PM
This discussion reminds me of the Yoshinkan Aikido principle about it being "all about the kamae".

The way I see it, "footwork" is to "kamae" what "unbalancing" is to "kuzushi". We are developing the structure and integration of our body within the movements of the techniques. I don't think "footwork" is a particularly good term for any of it.

Edgecrusher
08-19-2015, 02:58 PM
It is all relative, is it not? How I am taught and how I teach are going to differ from someone else. It is my understanding that some places do not emphasize foot work whereas, some schools/instructors do. Foot work is as important in my training as ki is. In fact both are hand in hand.