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white rose
02-22-2006, 04:26 AM
Hi guys.

How important do you think the basic techniques in Aikido are.

I ask this as I have been on courses with high graded Sensei and they all say the same thing, 'if your basics are weak, your Aikido is weak'. I was always taken back to ai hamm after every grading. I also do this to the people who train with me.

This is not always the case, in Aikido, which I know has many styles one being Ki Aikido that may not focus on technique as much as the one I train in. But even so, Ki Aikido will have basics that are at the heart of its teaching.

I have been told of classes were people have no idea about technique or basics at all and have seen this of myself.

So in that vain of thought, can you teach Aikido technique without some sort of basics and basics without technique.

Sean :D

Mark Freeman
02-22-2006, 05:27 AM
Hi Sean,

Can you teach mathematics without the concept of addition subtraction multiplication and division? Of course not. Aikido is no different, without understanding the basic underlying principles, you can't do aikido. You may be able to do something which looks something like aikido but it wont be aikido. Not as I understand it anyway.

I have been told of classes were people have no idea about technique or basics at all and have seen this of myself.

What do they call what they are doing? not aikido surely.

So in that vain of thought, can you teach Aikido technique without some sort of basics and basics without technique.

I don't think it is possible to teach Aikido technique without some sort of basics.
I do think it is possible to teach 'some' basics without technique.

I study and teach Ki Aikido and you are right, basics are at the heart of the teaching, they are used to build a solid foundation of understanding so that more advanced practice is possible. I can't see how that would not be present in all 'types' of aikido. When I watch a student perform a technique, if something is not going right, it is (in my experience ) 'always' something basic that needs to be addressed, one of the basic principles of aikido are not being followed. When I practice under my own teacher, and I'm having trouble with particular move/technique/exercise, my teacher usually smiles when he points out my missing of something basic!
I find this gives me great empathy with my own students, we all struggle with the basics of aikido.

My 2 penneth worth,

cheers,
Mark

happysod
02-22-2006, 05:35 AM
...Ki Aikido will have basics ... mutters in annoyance, falls into pseudo guru style much beloved on aikiweb - basics same in ki aikido as in all aikido (we just look sooo much more dashing and beautiful when doing them).

As regards your actual query, I'd say that no, you can't teach easily without a solid foundation. However, you may also have just hit a problem with terminology. If a club downgrades the dojonese terminology, you may be quite able to stump somone with what, to you, is a simple question easily understoood but is a concept which is taught using a different set of words.

damn... Mark got there first

Peter Goldsbury
02-22-2006, 06:24 AM
Hi guys.

How important do you think the basic techniques in Aikido are.



Mr Cassidy,

(1) What techniques do you regard as basic and (2) why do you think they are basic? I would think you would answer the first part of the question by citing 1- 4 kyu, the four basic waza of irimi nage, shiho nage, kote-gaeshi and kaiten nage (though I think this is a postwar basic) and a few types of kokyu nage. What about the second question? Why are they basic: because you learn them first, or because they are the foundation of all the other techniques?

Have you ever practised 1-kyo with a shihan, 7th or 8th dan, for example? I do not just mean taking ukemi during a seminar, but in regular practise, with soneone else teaching the class. Occasionally I have done this and I have found that the techniques are 'basic', but the way they are practised by these shihan is far from 'basic' and has opened my eyes to vast possibilities in my own training.

Sometimes, I sense in these forums frustration among beginners that 1-kyo is something you do first and then, when you have mastered 1-kyo, you pass on to more advanced (and more interesting) techniques. 1-kyo is thus seen as something you meet at the very beginning of your aikido career and then progress from.

Another question. Would you regard ukemi as a basic technique? However, there are levels of ukemi. So, for example, would you regard a backwards mae-ukemi (from sumi-otoshi, for example) as basic. I would think not, but would you include advanced ukemi as 'basic techniques'?

I once encountered a 1-kyu student who could not take proper ukemi. He wanted to take his shodan test and return to the UK. My answer was that if he returned to the UK with a blackbelt and such a poor level of ukemi, he would be slaughtered in any dojo. I advised him to postpone his shodan test and work on his ukemi skills He did not take my advice, returned to the UK--and no longer practises aikido.

Best wishes,

grondahl
02-22-2006, 06:42 AM
How important? Is there anything exept basics?

Basic practices for aikido in my limited view:
tai no henko, morote dori kokyu-ho, ikkyo, shihonage, ichi no suburi and ju tsuki.

And ukemi.

happysod
02-22-2006, 06:45 AM
tai no henko, morote dori kokyu-ho, ikkyo, shihonage, ichi no suburi and ju tsuki. this is what I was meaning by dojonese. Several of these terms I'd have to look up to see what you meant as we just don't use them.

ian
02-22-2006, 07:38 AM
I think the basics of all martial arts, regardless of style, are the same. The techniques of aikido are a method of practicing these basics. The basics are correct timing and distance; correct posture (inc. use of centre) and relaxation. As a whole, this is effectively 'doing the right thing at the right time', which sounds trite, but it is what we are trying to learn.

The basic 'techniques' specifically ikkyo and irimi-nage, I think are the easiest route to understanding these basics, because without them the techniques make less sense and are more difficult to do; although the basics are identical in all techniques.

In the excellent book 'Master Tesshu: Sword of No Sword' (John Stevens) Tesshu talks about having to do 3 years of basic cuts (full time) prior to learning any sparring techniques. In kung-fu, traditionally the student would only learn how to stand in the horse stance for the whole 1st year of training.

Without the basics the techniques are empty and useless.

MikeLogan
02-22-2006, 07:55 AM
And before actual techniques are the building blocks of those techniques; or in other words, techniques such as ik(1)kyo and up are the manifestations of kihon waza applied to the setting of yourself and opponent:

Uke delivers shomen,

1 the basic principle of maai describes the space of reaction, and
the pace of reaction.

2 perhaps you haven't got the ideal grip in a particular instance of
meeting the above attack; sensing the connection through each
portion of contact between nage and uke allows nage to influence
uke without starting the whole technique over.

3 Zanshin, maintaining awareness of not just uke but
also surroundings for potential threats helps enable the body to
think for itself through the movement without over-focussing on
"why won't their arm move where i want it to!?"

4 balance; before, during, and immediately after technique.
it can go so far as to even affect simple breathing, not to mention
the ability of good balance to protect against those awkward
stumbles when uke holds on a bit longer than one is used to.

5 extension. keeping uke at arms length, either their's or your's,
both protects you, or unbalances them, which is what primarily
allows for the execution of technique.

6 center. Act from where nage is strong, and uke is weak, several
other bits in here that I will not even pretend to expound on.

There are others, such as line of attack, relaxed action/ reaction, uuuhh, oh, breathing (not as mentioned in #4) at the proper moments throughout reaction and action.

I'm no pro, but this is just the most readily shared opinion I can distill from my own experience. The basic techniques, some might say, are little more than the natural progression of events when nage applies the basics to any given attack. Mastery of the basics perhaps very nearly does equate to mastery of aikido. perhaps.

michael.

MikeLogan
02-22-2006, 07:58 AM
Well, jeez ian (dodkins), way to say what i wanted in a quarter of the space and time needed. ;)

Jorge Garcia
02-22-2006, 08:25 AM
The basics (of techniques) are essential if your system of techniques is internally consistent. My Shihan has the same kind of movement in almost all his techniques so all advanced kinds of movements in succeeding applications of the basic techniques are the same. He always shows all kinds of strikes and movements where uke doesn't get a chance to grab and then tell us that it is the same as whatever basic technique he started with.

odudog
02-22-2006, 03:19 PM
The basics are very important. The trained eye will see the basics in every technique. The advanced techniques are only the basics in the beginning with some other stuff throw on top of it. Just think of doing Shomenuchi Ikkyo {basic} then do Shomenuchi Ikkyo Nukute {advance}. If you can't do the basic, then you most definately can't do the advanced.

SeiserL
02-22-2006, 04:12 PM
How good is the written word without a basic alphabet?
How good is mathematics without the basic numbers?

IMHO, its all in the refinement of the basics.

DaveO
02-22-2006, 06:02 PM
Basics or fundamentals?

Two different things - but folks have been using the two terms interchangeably.

A Basic is an introduction. A Fundamental is a foundation.

Basics are different for each style and art; often from schoole to school - they're what have been set down in the syllabus. Fundamentals are common to all arts - or should be - since they are core principles of movement, defense and attack.

:)

Dajo251
02-22-2006, 10:19 PM
Hi Sean,

Can you teach mathematics without the concept of addition subtraction multiplication and division? Of course not. Aikido is no different, without understanding the basic underlying principles, you can't do aikido. You may be able to do something which looks something like aikido but it wont be aikido. Not as I understand it anyway.



cheers,
Mark
My sensei once told me that, than again he is a math teacher by day so it made even more sense
dan

Mike Fugate
02-22-2006, 10:21 PM
I agree with Mark Freeman on this one.....I think Mathematics is a perfect example of Aikido and is even perfect for Kung Fu. With out the basics there is no techniques or ever advanced techniques... You can't expect to understand Einesteines equations with out learning the math skills needed. Same thing. This is why so few Traditional Martial Artsist are able to represent their arts in combat. :ki:

xuzen
02-22-2006, 10:57 PM
My judo teacher said you need 3 to 4 months to learn basic ukemi before proceeding to techniques in randori fashion. I did not believe him. I was thrown with the most basic O'goshi, and it scared the hell of of me. I humbly went back to learn the proper ukemi. I was served the humble pie... it tasted bitter sweet.

And yes, basic is important. Poor basic means you can't learn the advance stuff.

Yours Humbly,
Boon the humble pie eater.

Dirk Hanss
02-23-2006, 05:03 AM
How good is the written word without a basic alphabet?
How good is mathematics without the basic numbers?

IMHO, its all in the refinement of the basics.
Finally a point, where I can argue - as professional.
You can do mathematics without numbers, you can dan create even a mathematical universe without the basic operators.

And there might be 10 people out of the 10 bln, who could learn it another way - if they find a teacher. If I was to ask to teach someone, I always would start teaching to count (with the help of the fingers). That's how it works for most. And even if they are skilled, you always have to come back to the fundamentals, i.e. when is a theorem proved.

And that is probably the reason, why in all budo I know you have fundamental techniques that are taught again and again, and you have basics all beginners start with.

Dirk

seank
02-23-2006, 06:02 AM
Isn't this a question regarding kihon? You practice until you understand the fundamental aspect of a technique; until it becomes natural and can be performed without thought (eventually... hopefully).

I don't like the idea of something being referred to as basic because it lessens the importance of creating a solid foundation on which to build everything else.

Can you learn something without a solid foundation? Sure... but remember the adage about building on sand and rock; one building is more likely to be weaker than the other... I believe that solid technique needs a rock to stand firm, but of course thats just my opinion ;)

Lyle Bogin
02-23-2006, 08:00 AM
Here's a story I think is relevant.

Once I was travelling in Hawaii performing a "shaolin disciple" in the opening act of the "Jackie Chan Martial Arts Spectacular". Wu Bin, Jet Li's former coach, was still traveling with the Beijing Wushu Team at the time (they were the main act of the show). We asked him to say a few words at dinner one night and he said "just practice the basics, don't worry about learining too many forms". Of course, we all nodded and admired his wisdom.

But later, over drinks, my instructor said "basics are important, but he also doesn't want you to be able to compete against his guys. they learn 100 forms by the time they finish grade school".

white rose
02-25-2006, 07:14 AM
Hi all.

Mr. Goldsbury asked about 1-Kyo. I hope I get this right and he is referring to ikkyo. This is the only technique one of my Sensei does. He will try and do ikkyo and if this does not work, or he feels uku resists he will do another technique. This how I'm being taught at the mo.

Its very different to the old way I was taught. This was were you had 9 basic techniques and then another techniques were what I would term at the time is add on's. It was a very good way of learning the different ways in which you do technique.

But it had in my oppion something missing from it, it was like being taught parrot style.

As for basics or fundamentals, The use of the word basic to me does bring up images of first starting Aikido and you must move on from there. However, in my training I find going back to were I started from is very helpful in that it will never be perfect, and so I must do them over and over again.

I hope that makes sense. But why should, I never do any other time

Mike Fugate
02-25-2006, 12:24 PM
As for Jet Li's coach...well he was right. One should focus on basics, for the most part. It doesnt matter if you learn 20 forms or a 100........because I would rather know and start to master only 3 forms, compared to their 100 forms, that they could never applicate. Only competition that matters is the reality of execution of techniques and with out mastering of the basics one will always lack true power :ki:

Lyle Bogin
02-25-2006, 04:30 PM
Mike, what makes you say they don't know the applications of their forms (although admittedly in this case wushu is built upon performace for an audience)?

Those althetes that I met from this school of training were incredibly powerful.

James Kelly
02-25-2006, 10:18 PM
ok... a lot of strong affirmation that it's all about basics. This is the party line and I tend to agree.

And yet....

I come from a school that emphasized basics almost to a fault (if that's possible). Many advanced students would come to town and see our practice and conclude that the training was too simple and go to one of the other dojo where things were a little flashier. No bigie, let them find their own way.

And students from my school and I would go to seminars where we'd find students who train at schools that don't focus on basics so much and we'd sort of chuckle to ourselves... this guy's trying to do super-crazy double-secret nage and he can't even tenkan. Or he's floating around the mat like a Shihan and he can't even handle a hard shomen. Again, they're having fun so let them. But we knew in our hearts that we were doing the real deal. Real aikido.

And yet....

Years later. These students, for whatever reason they skipped past the fundamentals, seemed to figure it out. Advanced teachers teach advanced technique and a beginner is best served by putting the advanced stuff in his pocket for a later date and focusing on basic technique. But sometimes that can't happen and in my experience even those who start right out with fancy stuff, eventually the basics come underneath them (sort of like building a house from the top down which is a no-no, but not impossible).

They may have had a harder time at the beginning, trying to pull off the fancy stuff when they really didn't have the chops, but eventually out of necessity I expect, everything comes together.

Maybe it's all abuot how much time you put in on the mat, basics or not. Just a thought.

Nick Simpson
02-28-2006, 05:43 AM
Shioda - 'You must always go back to the basics.'

Something to that effect anyways. Without decent basics, then what will you acheive?

As well as the 'nine basic techniques' (Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Shihonage, Kotegeashi, Iriminage, kaitennage, Tenchinage, in my opinion) I would list ukemi, Tai sabaki, Irimi-Tenkan, Tai No henko, whatever you want to call the body movements/exercises. The principle of Irimi and the principle of Tenkan. I'd pick those as the wider spectrum of basics (in my opinion).

After some time training, adding timing, intent, kuzushi, atemi etc etc and some of your own foibles they become something else, as Mr Goldsbury said with regards to the shihan. But I beilieve that you should always practise the basics and strive to practise them at a higher level.

I too have seen people with no or little correct knowledge of what I would call basics. For example, attacking, which I would put in the 'Ukemi' tag. If someone who has trained for 6 months does not know how to perform yokomen uchi, then what can you hope for from their waza? Then again, perhaps it is to much to expect that early in someones training?

Dazzler
02-28-2006, 07:36 AM
as usual I agree with much of what is posted...but would like to make a distinction between basics and technique.

The basics or bases of aikido are absolutely fundamental. Without them then it is not Aikido.

The basic techniques are less important. They are the delivery mechanism for teaching the bases.

Generally, in my experience, most aikikai dojos practice the 'techniques' listed by Nick.

The question is why do they practice them?

Do you practice ikkyo to be good at ikkyo?

Or to develop posture, distance, timing, blending, correct breathing and so on?

A basic ikkyo is a fixed form. **

To have the goal of perfecting ikkyo for the sake of ikkyo to me is a mistake. Will your perfect ikkyo practiced on a 6 foot uke be exactly the same as on a 5 foot uke? Will it help against a kick?

To use ikkyo to have perfect timing, blending et al which can be applied to any form is a much better goal.

For this reason I feel any number of techniques could be used to teach these bases - not just the standard 9 listed by Nick.

Having said all that...the 9 don't exist by accident. My feeling is that these have come to the fore over time as the most effective vehicles for practicing the bases. Presumably specifically selected by O'Sensei from his experiences in other arts.

I'd suggest do not be fixated on the technique...look at what is within the technique.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers

D

** "No fixed forms" - Bruce Lee (according to the film....)

Robert Cheshire
02-28-2006, 12:17 PM
Ditto on most of what has already been written. Jorge Garcia Sensei is right on the money with how we teach Yoseikan as well. MOST of the black belt throws we have has a building block in the basics. In fact, we did a week long camp once with the theme "It's all Robuse (ikkyu to those non Yoseikan folks)." Where our U.S. Technical Director showed how ALL of our throws can be found to have some element of robuse in it.

Another reason to really learn the basics is because we have been known to ask for a very basic throw on an advanced kyu / dan rank belt test. The expectation of how you perform the technique grows with your rank.

Just a quick comment!

Nick Simpson
02-28-2006, 01:06 PM
Having said all that...the 9 don't exist by accident. My feeling is that these have come to the fore over time as the most effective vehicles for practicing the bases. Presumably specifically selected by O'Sensei from his experiences in other arts.


Just to add to what your saying Darren; I believe O'Sensei said that everything you need to learn aikido can be found in Shihonage. He apparently had one student who practised only that technique.

Lan Powers
02-28-2006, 05:13 PM
I have heard of him!!
If I understand correctly, he had a mental condition where that is a *track* that he falls into whenever he attempts ANY sort of technique.
Un-intentional shihonage, un-planned shiho, un-WANTED shihonage...
I wish I could remember the reference to him......Shiho-Sam is the name if I have it right. Kind of sad really. (but funny too shrug)
anyone else ?
Lan

koz
02-28-2006, 05:39 PM
The basics are fundamental to a point, then they are no longer relevant. Oh, and while not relevant, they are not irrelevant.

But you can't get to the latter without understanding the former.

Dazzler
03-01-2006, 04:29 AM
Just to add to what your saying Darren; I believe O'Sensei said that everything you need to learn aikido can be found in Shihonage. He apparently had one student who practised only that technique.

absolutely.

With us NAF guys its Tai No Henka rather than shihonage.

we start every class with this and use it as a reference for every thing else.

Vary the maai one way and you have kotagaeshi...change it the other way you have irimi nage.

and so on .....

Cheers

D

Jerry Miller
03-01-2006, 05:42 AM
absolutely.

With us NAF guys its Tai No Henka rather than shihonage.

we start every class with this and use it as a reference for every thing else.

Vary the maai one way and you have kotagaeshi...change it the other way you have irimi nage.

and so on .....

Cheers

D

I was kind of noticing that but I am way to young to make much of it yet. I just file it for future reference. :)

Nick Simpson
03-01-2006, 11:37 AM
have heard of him!!
If I understand correctly, he had a mental condition where that is a *track* that he falls into whenever he attempts ANY sort of technique.
Un-intentional shihonage, un-planned shiho, un-WANTED shihonage...
I wish I could remember the reference to him......Shiho-Sam is the name if I have it right. Kind of sad really. (but funny too shrug)
anyone else ?

I'd forgot about that! If it was the same person then I did hear a story about him being asked to leave the dojo, so he started hiding in some bushes in a park or some such and jumping out on passers by and performing shihonage on them. That couldnt be weirder if you wrote it for a film/sitcom...

Lyle Bogin
03-05-2006, 09:16 AM
Without stressing the basics, how could we underhandedly insult oneanother by telling eachother we need more of them?

Josh Reyer
03-05-2006, 09:32 AM
Shioda - 'You must always go back to the basics.'

Something to that effect anyways. Without decent basics, then what will you acheive?

As well as the 'nine basic techniques' (Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Shihonage, Kotegeashi, Iriminage, kaitennage, Tenchinage, in my opinion)

FWIW, in his Takemusu Aikido series, Saito Morihiro listed the basics (kihon waza) as Ikkyo-Yonkyo (Vol. 1), Shiho-nage & Kotegaeshi (Vol. 2), and Kaiten-nage, Tenchi-nage, Koshi-nage, & Juji-nage (Vol 3).

I myself was rather shocked to see koshi-nage and juji-nage listed in "the basics"! But I think the reasoning goes that they still form the same paradigm as ikkyo through yonkyo. They are structured attacks that help illuminate principles, rather than scenario based technique.

Nick Simpson
03-06-2006, 04:44 AM
FWIW, in his Takemusu Aikido series, Saito Morihiro listed the basics (kihon waza) as Ikkyo-Yonkyo (Vol. 1), Shiho-nage & Kotegaeshi (Vol. 2), and Kaiten-nage, Tenchi-nage, Koshi-nage, & Juji-nage (Vol 3).

I myself was rather shocked to see koshi-nage and juji-nage listed in "the basics"! But I think the reasoning goes that they still form the same paradigm as ikkyo through yonkyo. They are structured attacks that help illuminate principles, rather than scenario based technique.

Wow, thats interesting. Did he include Iriminage? I see what you mean, while I tend to think of jujinage and koshinage as more advanced techniques, really theres only 15 or so distinct techniques anyways and they all stem from the same core principles. Everything else is a variation or a kokyunage.

Josh Reyer
03-06-2006, 04:59 AM
Wow, thats interesting. Did he include Iriminage?

Whoops! Yes, it's in Vol. 2 with Shiho-nage and Kotegaeshi.

Nick Simpson
03-06-2006, 05:56 AM
I was gonna say!

kokyu
03-06-2006, 08:23 AM
I think in a real attack, one is more likely to do the basic techniques, than some fancy variation, because the basic techniques are fast and easier to perform with power. So, practicing the basics techniques is quite important, IMHO.

Also, when practicing the basics, it is easier to focus on the more fundamental principles of Aikido - e.g. connecting with uke's center, kokyu ryoku, etc... the mind isn't partly distracted by the complexity of the movement.

There is a complementary thread on Training more advanced techniques (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8715) that overlaps this discussion.

Finally, I was wondering what percentage of everyone's general training class (not the beginner's class) is devoted to kihonwaza - i.e. basic techiques that are at most 2-3rd kyu grading techniques. Is it less than 50%?

MaryKaye
03-06-2006, 10:10 AM
Finally, I was wondering what percentage of everyone's general training class (not the beginner's class) is devoted to kihonwaza - i.e. basic techiques that are at most 2-3rd kyu grading techniques. Is it less than 50%?

More like 90%, though it varies by instructor. I had to struggle to learn yonkyo for my third kyu test, because most of the instructors preferred to go back to ikkyo again and again....not that my ikkyo couldn't use work, but there was yonkyo on the test....

One of the reasons that I really enjoy seeing my seniors promoted is that we may get to do something flashy and advanced while working on their test prep. I learned the two-uke techniques from Taigi #20 this way.

The Instructors' Class might go as low as 50% emphasis on the basics; lower than that only when test-prep is involved.

Mary Kaye

Carlos Rivera
03-06-2006, 04:46 PM
You have to lay the brick to build the foundation, or if you pour concrete (which I have done in the past) you have to mix it well so it can settle and be really solid. There are "20 year techniques," right? Even at a seminar with Hitohiro Saito Sensei you start with the basics, and he will correct you so you have a fairly good idea what your "basic technique" should be. Otherwise, you get a big "DAME" (which translates to wrong) if you insist on not paying attention to details involved in correction.

Same thing goes for your basics, whether techniques, weapons or posture. At our dojo (as in many Iwama style dojos) we start with basics in every class and build off from there (heck, we even have an "all basics" class). By the time you realize that your basics are woven into most every technique you can imagine, then it becomes clear there is a foundation laid out for good Aikido and good practice. And yet it becomes second nature, as it should be.

Don't you need to learn how to walk before you can run? :cool:

Perry Bell
03-07-2006, 09:13 PM
I think the basics of all martial arts, regardless of style, are the same. The techniques of aikido are a method of practicing these basics. The basics are correct timing and distance; correct posture (inc. use of centre) and relaxation. As a whole, this is effectively 'doing the right thing at the right time', which sounds trite, but it is what we are trying to learn.

The basic 'techniques' specifically ikkyo and irimi-nage, I think are the easiest route to understanding these basics, because without them the techniques make less sense and are more difficult to do; although the basics are identical in all techniques.

In the excellent book 'Master Tesshu: Sword of No Sword' (John Stevens) Tesshu talks about having to do 3 years of basic cuts (full time) prior to learning any sparring techniques. In kung-fu, traditionally the student would only learn how to stand in the horse stance for the whole 1st year of training.

Without the basics the techniques are empty and useless.

Hi Ian

You are absolutely correct, I have bee practicing and teaching karate and Aikido for 30 years and in both the basics are fundamental, I have also been involved in the building industry for most of my 47 years and I know that if I don't follow the basic principles of laying a foundation the building will fall down.

Perry :)