Re: VERY Basic Footwork Question
Many aikidoka have bad knees (in fact I had some knee pain from incorrect aikido). Therefore be careful!
Interestingly the heel or toe problem is also something which seems to be contraversial in tai-chi.
As per health. I changed the way I do irimi-tenkan based on my new chief instructors advice and found I had less knee problems. Just ensure that your knee is not twisted! i.e. the hip joint is ball and socket, whereas the knee joint is really only a hinger type joint. Thus your foot should always point the way your knee is pointing. There is no risk of going over on your ankle if you start practicing slowly and then (in a matter of weeks) do it fast. It is far far more stable, very quick, and does you no damage.
Do irimi tenkan very slowly and step in turning your foot the other direction. Your hips should be quite flexed by now (both knees and feet pointing inwards like one of those karate stances). You then bring your leg round behind you but NEVER over reach with the leg. i.e. the front heel should point towards the back heel.
Thus, I would agree with Mark above (i.e. the whole foot is used) and I would say to Deborah that I agree that martial arts are adapative and (not wanting to 'stand on her Sensei's toes') that if it hurts it's wrong and that I forsee knee problems!
The benefit of using the ball of foot rather than the heel for turning is that it is more difficult to misalign the knee and foot. Also, Ueshiba can be seen to raise his rear foot onto his toes in some video footage. Also, most martial artists (including boxers) would tend to emphasise the use of the ball rather than heel.
From a practical point of view I'd have to agree with Gozo Shioda (Book: Shugyo), in that the floor outside the dojo is not flat and keeping contact at all times with the floor can sometimes be difficult or a hinderance. Despite some advanced aikidoka from my past telling me to always keep contact with the floor, this is not always supported by the aikido of Ueshiba who sometimes can be seen to almost leap around an uke. I think the contact with the floor view comes more from the necessity to draw your centre (back, down or forward) once the connections with uke has been made.
Last edited by ian : 01-24-2006 at 05:24 AM.