I;ve been reading the book of five rings (which I found on the internet somewhere in it's entirety..) recently. There's a bit on footworkery.
What are the methods known as "jumping foot", "floating-foot" and "fixed-steps" that Musashi didn't like?
It's a good book.
Still trying to figure it out...
Still reading it... waiting for another version of the translation. Lent mine to a friend... I'll get back at this later on...
I'm not 100% certain, but hearing from people talking about foot work in different martial arts I would presume:
- jumping foot: where you leap from one position to another (quite springy and dynamic, somewhat akin to some forms of aikido!)
- Floating foot: weight looks to be forward, but the weight is not actually commited to the front foot so the foot can be moved quickly
- Don't know about fixed steps (I presume this is having a strong stance and changing stance in a particular and regulated way).
Whether to curl up your toes, grip the ground with your toes, walk on your heels, walk on the balls of your feet etc is also something which seems to differ (and I think Musashi comments on that as well). At the end of the day, I think its like a lot of stuff in martial arts - something is done for a reason, and if that reason is not understood the movement/condition can easily be exploited. (which is why void is the final state).
Re-read mizu no sho - the book of water
I think what Musashi was trying to explain that one needs to be calm (living calmness that is) and not to take any particular stance.
Musashi believed that we should always be calm in any way. Wether we are in a fight, walking, eating, sitting, and so on, our state of mind should always be calm but ready.
Well, what Musashi explained actually corellates to Ki. But, he did say that he didn't want to use anything from an esoteric Buddhist scripture or anything too spiritual. That's why he uses examples, like those stances. What those stances are, does not actually matter in getting to his point.
In Aikido, there are no actual fixed stances, one only needs to be balanced, centered (one point), and unified (mind and body). Understand this, and the stance that one needs will be revealed.
But if you must know what those stances are, this is what I think (I'll use the terms that Ochiai Hidi sensei uses):
Jumping Footwork - If you ever seen a Tae Kwon Do competition (since I was in TKD myself back in the past, ITF and WTF), you will see that the person does not stand still, but bounces in position. The reason for this is that it is for easier reaction. In TKD, it is believed that if you stand still, it will be slower to react. This is true at some point, since TKD uses a lot of kicks.
Floating Footwork - When you see a Kendo competition, you will see that they look as if they glide on the floor towards their opponent. I believe sliding (ashi sabaki) is what was meant by the floating foot.
Static Foot Position - This sounds like Sumo to me. One stands their ground, becoming a mountain. A mountain does not move. This position is opposed to the other two.
I hope, by this, I had any meaning in what I've just wrote.
These expressions are pure Kenjutsu terminology. They have survived into modern Kendo so you can ask any Kendo practitioner and he will give you ample information. My Sensei follows Musashi's advice and preaches the natural way of walking. He doesn't like Tsugi Ashi walking and prefers Ayumi Ashi for any given situation.
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