It's hard science. Listen to Richard Feynman explain it.
Actually, the "details" are trivial and don't matter at all. ...
That's not what this is about. Aiki has no details.
You were more right the first time:
Indeed, please listen -- Feynman explained concisely what the discipline of science IS--- and what it isn't:
An elegant theory is always slain by one ugly little fact. Details -- are indispensable. As it should be...
And sometimes irreconcilable theories are joined seamlessly by some other ugly little fact...
As to Shioda's "big toe" view of Aiki ("ball of the foot" is an closer functional translation, in my view) -- versus Montague's weighted heel in Bagua -- these actually are inverses of the EXACT same principle (in-yo).
Walking (very primitive
) is governed by a coordinated set of structural signals driven by the muscle spindle receptor organs -- when the weighted extended leg is suddenly unweighted, the flexor reflex triggers (seen even in infants) -- and which in a normal gait shortens the posterior leg causing the free swing of the leg forward slightly above ground level and without any muscular driver at all. Walking is very efficient for this reason -- though the reflex pathway fades and has to be reestablished in learning to walk self-supported. A related aspect is the stretch reflex. Any muscle that experiences a sudden (esp. resonant -- ~5-10 Hz ) stretch, will contract -- as the thigh contracts when the knee tendon is tapped sharply.
Montaigue is thus entirely correct to focus on weighting the heel in terms of maintaining dynamic structural stability in movement without relying on voluntary musculature -- both conserving energy for the fight and removing structural cues of intent that your opponent might respond to.
What Shioda is doing in rising to the balls of his feet is two things 1) enabling the drop of his center to the ground to power his aiki-sage
AND being able to driving off his heels to his toes in aiki-age
-- and 2) enlarging the stability region of his dynamic balance center giving him more structural room and therefore more potential power to play with.
The latter you can demonstrate yourself -- stand flat-footed, and bow yourself backwards as far as you can "statically." Then -- raise your heels off the floor and keeping bowing backward on the ball of your feet -- you can go much farther. In fact both balance schemes are NOT static, but dynamic -- and the rising to the toes increases the sway stability regions of the body as a whole by introducing one more degree of freedom, by freeing the ankle from the ground.
Shioda is thus entirely correct in focussing his weight and action at the ball of the foot in terms of maintaining dynamic structural stability in movement.
Both are right.
When we bounce ourselves on and off our heels dynamically in furitama and tekubifuri we make these semi-reflexive connections within our own bodies that both drive these forms of structural actions, and habituate our bodies to both modulate them AND to damp them from causing reflexive action in our own bodies. in fact this normal vertical bounce -- which we naturally damp into an amplitude so small we do not notice it -- is itself the the source of our vertical stability
These structural sensors are most sensitive at these resonant frequencies -- because a driven resonance can become highly destructive even a low energy. This training teaches the structure to damp the applied
oscillations themselves reflexively -- making them simply an expanded part of normal stability action -- rather than simply going hard over -- up or down.
In doing so, we then learn to apply such driven oscillations through the body into the opponent and which -- depending on which phase is used, "up or down," loosely speaking -- causes the involuntary stretch reflexes to trigger extensor (aiki-sage
) or flexor (aiki-age
) muscles of the supporting limbs, respectively causing a buckling collapse of his structure, or causing him to pop up off the ground.
Because a static moment
is simply a potential of a rotation/oscillation -- the structural forms of correct stress tension in the body propagate in a similar way in the opponent to channel his own reactions along the same the reflexive pathways -- by his own resistance causing the reflex to be triggered (or always on the cusp of being triggered), and thus preventing effective resistance along the paths that those those reflexive actions would take. (Kokyu tanden ho). This training is a way of slowing down the action to observe it and its forms and its stress disposition more closely.