Thread: Back foot flat?
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:10 PM   #22
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
I'm still not sure what we are talking about here. If we're talking about a movement prescription which contends that one never allows the weight to rest in the heels, that's one thing, if we're talking about generally favoring resting on the balls of the feet when a somewhat static hamni is reached it's quite another.

Given a pause in a two-footed stance, I can see how the ball-footed stance would allow one to spring off the back foot, harnessing the stretch-shortening cycle (i.e., plyometric calf power) to move forward with good power. I am willing to entertain the possibility that in this situation, the "off-the-line" speed one could attain would be better than a foot-planted movement strategy. However, in a continuously active randori situation, I see the opportunities for setting up in this position as very limited. The question is, is the additional power available via using the stretch-shortening cyle worth all the trouble. It seems the main effect of keeping the heel up would be to waste energy and induce calf muscle fatigue.

The way I learned to move in Aikido was to be as balanced as possible at all times. We even did drills in which we would walk around and sensei would clap or shout and we would have to freeze to see if we were balanced in mid-stride. The idea behind this style of movement is to walk as though one was stepping on tall, precarious pillars, and all weight must flow as downwards as possible. Moving from one foot to another in this scheme is more a matter of falling or sinking downward into the receiving foot, not leaping with calf power. This style of movement can also be very fast, but one is never off-balance, and the possibilities for altering trajectory during transferrence of the weight from one foot to another are greater, I think. Most importantly, one can be balanced and powerful on one foot or two, and during the transfer of weight, the power of the dropping weight is able to be harnessed and transmitted horizontally - not just in the direction of horizontal center travel. In a calf-powered quasi leap, if one is on the upward arc, there is little power, and on other side of the arc, there is almost no power available to transmit in any direction other than the direction of the leap.

I think that both types of movement have their place. As to who uses which when, and to what effect, I'd like to see some high-speed video analysis, as opposed to just listening to theories.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-02-2003 at 10:16 PM.
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