Ignatius Teo wrote:
So far, we've been discussing receiving a push from hanmi... and bouncing it back. OK, fairly straightforward - once you've found it. My question is, and if we're still within the parameters of baseline skill... if the push is against your weak line (like say against the chest in shizentai), where/how do you ground the push?
Well, this is one of those things that comes from practice, but I'll tell you the way I teach it, if it'll help anyone get started. First, though, let me say that it's a good hobby whenever you're standing around killing time to stand on one foot whenever you can. Even if you only lift one foot slightly off the ground or whatever.
OK, so taking a push into the chest while in a natural, parallel, or near parallel stance. Start off standing in either a left- or right-foot forward stance. Make sure the weight is fully on the back leg. A lot of Aikido people like to put the weight near the front foot and use the back leg as a "brace", but technically this is not a good way to develop central-balance. So the weight is over the back leg for this training exercise and the lower back *must* be relaxed (just slump like your mom told you not to do when sitting on the sofa). Have Uke push into the chest at no more than about 3-4 pounds and Uke should keep their elbow straight so that Nage is receiving a light but *rigid* and steady force to work with.
Nage should pretend for starters that Uke's hand in his/her sternum is really a shoulder and that Uke's shoulder is really Nage's hand.... that way Uke's force being right there can be alleviated. The idea is to let the push to the chest compress Nage into the back leg... do NOT lean forward in anticipation of the push. A push always compresses.
In order to make it easier for some people, I tell them to lean the torso slightly forward so that they're not so vertical. It makes all the difference for a lot of people to be slightly
inclined forward at first.
OK, so the idea is to let the push be held by the back leg/foot and keep the lower back relaxed. Nage should be concentrating on relaxing and letting Uke feel the ground as purely as possible.
This is one of the best things to worry about whenever practicing this stuff.... "how purely does Uke feel the ground coming through me where we're touching?".
After not too many times, absorbing Uke's push with the back leg/foot should feel comfortable. In fact, 100% of the push should be going into the ground at the back foot and if the front foot was not there and Uke slowly released the push, Nage should not lurch forward.
So if Nage is standing relaxed and mostly upright and he doesn't rely on the front foot, then we take the next step in the process. Slowly ease the front foot back while keeping the ground flowing as purely as possible from the back foot to Uke's hand. If you concentrate on not breaking the flow of the ground to Uke's hand at all times, you can move the front foot back to a parallel position, you can shift your weight from one foot to the other, or whatever... as long as you concentrate on Uke always feeling the purest possible ground through you
. Uke should keep that unwavering light, steady push there for Nage to work with.
That should get you there, but it takes months of practice to get where you can do it easily and automatically from whatever stance.
I hope the description made sense.