Thread: Back foot flat?
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:43 AM   #12
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
I'm going to disagree big time here. In the various forms of shizentai (natural stance) your weight is between the feet and the paper thin wedge under the heel sounds about right. From this stance you have an incredible amount of mobility. Of course during the thrust in any of eight directions (basic Shodokan unsoku practice) requires weight to be shifted to one foot or the other but the whole foot does not have to be firmly placed on the ground. Moreover, that shift is only transitory during the moment of the thrust. Shizentai is maintained immediately after the thrust and of course after the movement is completed.

Tsukuri one of the most effective means of rapidly closing distance is in effect a planned, off-balanced, lurch. You just finish in ----- you guessed it shizentai.

I doubt very much anyone can move nearly as effectively with one of both heels firmly placed.
Try standing on one foot with the heel paperwidth high off the ground and you should be able to see what I mean. Without contorting your body and limbs around as if on a high wire, it doesn't work. It's an inherently unbalanced position.

I experimented with what you said, and it does indeed seem like lurching about, trying to reorient the weight between both feet - basically being precariously off-balance much of the time. I don't like the idea of 'planning' ahead, even as far ahead as it takes to lurch. One thing I have learned from martial interactions is that plans almost never work, because by the time they are executed, the situation has changed and the plan is too old. I take this as the whole point behind no-mind and developing spontaneous responsive capabilities. By the time my planned lurch is completed, I may well have wished I hadn't lurched, or wish I was in a more inherently balanced and adaptive position where I could change direction without going through 4 weight-shifting steps. When I contrast this with the capability to be balanced on one or both feet, throughout each step, I can't imagine how someone could prescribe that movement style for a martial art where balance is important.

As far as speed goes, the movement method you propose is almost certainly slower in a dynamic, improvisational situation, because you have to transfer the weight from between the feet onto one to start to take a step or slide, and when you finish a step, you have to move the weight back between the feet and find a two-point balance. That's two extra actions that the guy who is simply planted and balanced in one foot and steps into a position of balance on the other foot doesn't have to make.
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