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Old 03-04-2011, 12:26 AM   #8
Ethan Weisgard
Dojo: Copenhagen Aiki Shuren Dojo
Location: Copenhagen
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 176
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
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