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David Board 03-03-2011 11:57 AM

Footwork differences between styles
 
I am curious as to the reasoning of the slightly different foot work between styles of Aikido.

I am learning a style based on Iwama, my Sensie spent many years training at Iwama. Our foot work remains very square. By this I mean that the front foot is "always" placed at a 90 degree angle to the back foot with the toes pointing forward. Having seen other styles at seminars and in videos the front font is often placed in approximately the same location but the front foot is placed with the toes pointed out and the heel in.

I was wondering if there was a rationalization behind the difference in foot placement.

grondahl 03-03-2011 12:09 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Do shomenuchi ikkyo omote in the air with a complete hipmovement (so that your hips/shoulders are square) first in regular hanmi and then with the foot turned out. Notice the difference?

SeiserL 03-03-2011 02:59 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
IMHO, different styles came from different people with different interpretations, skills, and limitations. Its shows in the the way they move. But the basic principles remain the same.

Janet Rosen 03-03-2011 04:28 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
What Lynn said...plus often the stance reflects an integrated stylistic set of things that adds up to a logical grouping of differences - in other words, a specific stance may reflect optimal line of movement of entry as specified within one dojo, where the line of movement is different in another dojo...whether one falls in "inside" or "outside" leg, with toes "live" or "tucked" may be very logical based on the normal and expected trajectory of throws in a given dojo...etc.

Demetrio Cereijo 03-03-2011 05:01 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
And "always" is not as "always" as it seems.

danielajames 03-03-2011 10:12 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Today getting ready for work I put my trouser belt on the other way around. I fumbled around a bit doing so, but it still holds up my pants just fine.

I have found the same to be true of different schools footwork and doing aikido

d.

David Board 03-04-2011 12:16 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Thank you all for the responses. I am still left with my question. Is there a reason for this difference.

grondahl-I did try several techniques with my foot facing out. Including Shomenuchi Ikkyo. It left me feeling awkward and unbalanced (perhaps my hips and shoulders aren't square) but I found my knees strained (and to add to that they clicked every second go) and if I tried with any speed my groin went wonky as well. I assume this is my lack of experience doing the techniques with my foot out. I also noted that I had to bend my knees more and this often left me feeling off balance. Once again I suspect this is my inexperience ate performing a technique in this manner. I'll explore more on the mat next time I get a chance.

Lynn and Janet- Thanks. Style is style. Aikido is Aikido. I was just curious if anyone had heard a reason for the difference. I guess if it is just idiosyncrasies of the shihan or dojo. Then that is all it is. I was just curious to see if there was any rationalization or reasoning behind the differences that might help me better understand the techniques.

Demetrio-thanks for noticing the quotes. The foot out stance just feels so awkward for me and to be honest even a bit painful. That I assumed that there was a reason to contort the body in such a way.

Daniel-I lived in Canberra long enough not to take offense.--My wife puts her belt the wrong way round as well. She doesn't find it awkward and it still keeps her pants up. It turns out she does it because that is the way woman's clothes are made. The buttons are the wrong way round the fly is the wrong way round and the belt goes wrong way round. A quick search turns out folks have rationalized why the buttons are "wrong" way round on women's clothing in two ways. One has to do with women being dressed by maids and men dressing themselves. Alternately it has to do with men drawing a sword. Either way folks have thought about this oddity and for better or worse came up for reasons why. In some cases the reason why is damn useless. In others they might give a hint of some thing worth while not much but maybe a smidge of something to notice.--It's all about the footy, right.

So in the end I'm not that concerned. But I was hoping that I could learn something about the other styles and by counter example my own style. By understanding the differences I could link the similarities. But if there's nothing there but one group looks like stiff legged robots and the others bowlegged monkeys and in the end it's all Aikido. So be it.

Ethan Weisgard 03-04-2011 12:26 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Saito Sensei used to use the hanmi with the front foot turned more (toes pointing slightly out) - much like what you see in Yoshinkan Aikido. If you find a copy of the book ""Aikido - It's Heart and Appearance" by him you will see diagrams with foot positions that are quite intricate. In the 1980s when I went there the first time he saw some of us from Scandinavia doing the "old" hanmi with the front foot turned slightly outward (we had learned this from Tomita Sensei (based in Stockholm, Sweden), who had trained with Saito Sensei in the late 60s). He explained that there was nothing wrong with this but he recommended just keeping the front foot straight (when standing in hanmi). His reasoning was that with the front foot turned outward it was easy to move in the direction where the foot was pointing ( for instance in left hanmi - to the front left with the same foot) but moving forward in the other direction the foot was pointing away from that direction, making this movement slightly unstable.
But he always said that there was nothing wrong with the "old" hanmi. As Jacob pointed out - some techniques use a strong hip turn and here it feels natural to turn the front foot more outward. The basic idea is the hip turns the foot.

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard

niall 03-04-2011 01:02 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
In kenjutsu (in the styles I am familiar with) the big toe is in the direction of the strike. Straight. In kenjutsu you are normally using both hands on the sword so you have an easy reference of where your centre line is.

But if you have a straight ahead big toe in taijutsu it is easy to fool yourself that you are engaging your hips and your centre when in fact your centre is still pointing out away from the aite. By opening your foot you ensure that your centre is always engaged.

That's the logic I have always understood.

Ernesto Lemke 03-04-2011 01:16 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Quote:

Niall Matthews wrote: (Post 278241)
In kenjutsu (in the styles I am familiar with) the big toe is in the direction of the strike. Straight.

I couldn't find a pic but Maniwa nen ryu has both feet pointed outwards at a 45 degree angle.
Though not related to Maniwa nen ryu but the late Shirata Sensei's stance was the same.
FWIW

grondahl 03-04-2011 02:42 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
@David: Personally I find that the stance with toes pointing outwards makes it very easy to get a full hip/center movement. It also makes me bend my knee a little more than hanmi so that it creates a deeper stance than hanmi and with the weight centered a bit more forward than hanmi.
So full hip movement, deeper stance and a bit forward creates a more stable and powerful stance than regular hanmi, but I find it harder to move from this compared to hanmi.

@David again: Check out the footwork of Nishio and his students (very forward, almost aggressive)

I think Tomita sensei still uses a similar stance (at least his back leg is still straight).

Dazzler 03-04-2011 05:17 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Quote:

Ethan Weisgard wrote: (Post 278240)
Saito Sensei used to use the hanmi with the front foot turned more (toes pointing slightly out) - much like what you see in Yoshinkan Aikido. If you find a copy of the book ""Aikido - It's Heart and Appearance" by him you will see diagrams with foot positions that are quite intricate. In the 1980s when I went there the first time he saw some of us from Scandinavia doing the "old" hanmi with the front foot turned slightly outward (we had learned this from Tomita Sensei (based in Stockholm, Sweden), who had trained with Saito Sensei in the late 60s). He explained that there was nothing wrong with this but he recommended just keeping the front foot straight (when standing in hanmi). His reasoning was that with the front foot turned outward it was easy to move in the direction where the foot was pointing ( for instance in left hanmi - to the front left with the same foot) but moving forward in the other direction the foot was pointing away from that direction, making this movement slightly unstable.
But he always said that there was nothing wrong with the "old" hanmi. As Jacob pointed out - some techniques use a strong hip turn and here it feels natural to turn the front foot more outward. The basic idea is the hip turns the foot.

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard

I like this idea of a straighter front foot enabling weight/energy/focus...maybe ki even... to be channelled in a straight line...with an uke in the line of fire I'm thinking this could be a way of aligning ones connection to them.

I've seen Phillipe Voarino discuss use of a greater turn of the foot...and suggesting that this engages the hips to a greater degree so as a positive many increase power of hip turn and enhancing cutting motion in sword work.

As a negative though, I feel that it puts extra stress and strain on ankle and knee joints...so 20 or 30 years of it could cause complications....and for me personally it detracts from the feeling of whole body alignment that I'm currently looking at.

So...not a comprehensive list...but maybe some reasoning for some differences between styles.

FWIW

D

Flintstone 03-04-2011 08:00 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Quote:

David Board wrote: (Post 278190)
I am learning a style based on Iwama, my Sensie spent many years training at Iwama. Our foot work remains very square. By this I mean that the front foot is "always" placed at a 90 degree angle to the back foot with the toes pointing forward.

I'm getting quite (in)famous for saying this all the time, but: "Huh? Really?"

David Board 03-04-2011 09:45 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Thanks! That gives me a lot to think about and play with on the mat. Both with adjustment and places to focus for a straight foot stance and potential places to mix a toe out stance into my own aikido.

@Peter-Oddly I find myself settling backwards more with the foot turned out. By taking more weight on to my back foot it seems to relieve the pressure on my knees and hips. But I think I'll play with getting more forward and playing around with it a bit. I'll also take a look at NIshio and his students.

@Aejandro-Sorry, does more often than not work better than always in scare quotes. How about typically? If not can you help me understand the issue?

Tony Wagstaffe 03-04-2011 10:23 AM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
The one that feels the most natural....

Flintstone 03-04-2011 02:42 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Quote:

David Board wrote: (Post 278271)
@Aejandro-Sorry, does more often than not work better than always in scare quotes. How about typically? If not can you help me understand the issue?

Well, typically... I would say they always use hanmi and hitoemi and kengagoshi. But then maybe it's just the group I happened to train with. Someone from Iwama could be of greater help here, but certainly not "always" and not "typically", IMHO.

Quote:

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: (Post 278275)
The one that feels the most natural....

Absolutely.

David Board 03-04-2011 03:36 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
Quote:

Alejandro Villanueva wrote: (Post 278309)
Well, typically... I would say they always use hanmi and hitoemi and kengagoshi. But then maybe it's just the group I happened to train with. Someone from Iwama could be of greater help here, but certainly not "always" and not "typically", IMHO.

Absolutely.

Ah! I see. Although I haven't heard those terms (except hanmi) before or at least not enough to have them in mind but after looking them up you are absolutely right. All those stances(?) are used at different points. So my "always" was the very broad over generalization of a beginner. Perhaps I am just refering to variations of hanmi. Anyways, thanks for the clarification and correction. Always learning.

Ethan Weisgard 03-04-2011 03:53 PM

Re: Footwork differences between styles
 
In my post I quoted "Jacob" but actually meant Peter (from Stockholm Aikidoklubb) - sorry for my senior moment there :-)

Daren: good point about the feeling of focusing energy via the stance. I feel a clear focus of energy from my center to uke's center when the foot is pointing forward. It seems less focused when the front foot is pointing at an angle.

Alejandro: I hadn't heard the term "kenkagoshi" before. It was never used in Iwama - but I understand the term by its roots - kenka and koshi! I understand that in some places the slightly forward leaning stance is considered aggressive (and thereby non-aikido-like?). To me this stance just feels energized. Saito Sensei was always in a stance where he was slightly forward but always in a position where he could move in any direction directly from that position - energized and mobile.
In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard


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