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Old 04-17-2008, 02:40 AM   #1
virelai
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improving footwork

Hi,

I'm pretty new to Aikido.
I personally believe that you need to have a strong basic to be good at something. I have 2 problems: i'm too stiff and my footworks' really bad. Can anyone give me any pointer to improve my footwork?
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:11 AM   #2
Eric Webber
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Re: improving footwork

Ask your teacher for specific footwork exercises, such as irimi, irimi tenkan, etc. Pay attention to weight distribution and balance, as well as posture. Very important: do not look at your feet when working on footwork, this will affect your balance, and you will not (hopefully) be looking down when you insert your footwork into your technique.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
ChrisHein
 
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Re: improving footwork

You might also want to look at American football footwork drills. Running backs and Quarterbacks need the same kind of motion as Aikidoka doing jiyuwaza.

You will find a lot of different drills and helpful tips from football players. Football is a multimillion dollar industry, they have some pretty good ideas.

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Old 04-17-2008, 11:03 AM   #4
Mark Gibbons
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Re: improving footwork

Relax and give yourself some time. No one else expects you to be perfect after the first few classes. The shodans are the ones that get their footwork right most of the time. If you don't understand something you can ask someone for help after class. Keep showing up.

Mark

Last edited by Mark Gibbons : 04-17-2008 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:46 AM   #5
Aiki1
 
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Re: improving footwork

Quote:
Gunawan Wibisono wrote: View Post
Hi,

I'm pretty new to Aikido.
I personally believe that you need to have a strong basic to be good at something. I have 2 problems: i'm too stiff and my footworks' really bad. Can anyone give me any pointer to improve my footwork?
It depends on what you mean. There's a difference between "footwork" and "positioning." Learning to move to a position properly should be one of the first things taught in any technique (Tsukuri.) Actual footwork, as in how to move your feet properly, involves how to move your whole body properly as well, and is often best grasped through learning how to move from center, not just the feet, and through basic sword work. In Aikido, that (and bayonet work) is where a lot of the "footwork" comes from.

That being said, the two processes are difficult to separate, and perhaps aren't made to be.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:48 PM   #6
Larry Feldman
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Re: improving footwork

You are very astute to focus on footwork.

As other posters have mentioned your own teachers and style should be your primary guide.

As a supplement, Shizuo Imaizumi has produced a 2 set DVD that focuses on footwork. It is available on the Aikido Journal site.
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:57 PM   #7
AsimHanif
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Re: improving footwork

Try ballroom dancing, hip hop clubs, salsa, etc.

Asim
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:00 PM   #8
dps
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Re: improving footwork

Quote:
Gunawan Wibisono wrote: View Post
Can anyone give me any pointer to improve my footwork?
Rope jumping.

David
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:47 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: improving footwork

Two suggestions:
Tenkan (step & turn) to rhythm (the beat of good music).
Skip rope.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:01 AM   #10
happysod
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Re: improving footwork

Quote:
Try ballroom dancing, hip hop clubs, salsa, etc
disagree if you're not already acquainted with dancing and are doing these primarily for aikido - posture, centering and stance often the opposite to what you want to develop for aikido.

Stick with the rope training and any warm-up exercises you do involving foot movement (not the ones where you wring your hands like Lady-MacBeth and bend a bit). Include short sprint training if you're feeling brave.

[insert badly translated smug admonishment here]
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Old 04-18-2008, 11:19 AM   #11
AsimHanif
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Re: improving footwork

Quote:
Try ballroom dancing, hip hop clubs, salsa, etc


"disagree if you're not already acquainted with dancing and are doing these primarily for aikido - posture, centering and stance often the opposite to what you want to develop for aikido. "

Hmmm....we'll agree to disagree. From my experience correct principles of movement can be applied to any movement art...although it may take a person some time to realize it...if they ever in fact do. They key is to find what works for you.

Asim
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:23 PM   #12
charyuop
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Re: improving footwork

After more than one year I still have some footwork problems. Slide, step, switch feet without influencing Uke, Irimi, Tenkan....
the basic movements are a few, but combining them gets you infinite combinations.

You are new, some discomfort with footwork is more than normal. I have seen it on me and my dojo mates this happening over and over. Take a step and then you get stuck for the next movement. Can't figure out what is wrong and why your feet don't answer the way you expect. Try to look for many different reasons, physics come into play...and maybe the simple reason is that you took a step and the back foot is 3 miles behind you coz you didn't geather it. Or else your Sensei sees you are doing something wrong and getting stuck. He tries to help you and tells you to move forward the right foot...right? What is right? Personally for the first month I moved the wrong foot for 500% of the times, felt a complete idiot.

Truth is you are not learning Aikido now. You are re-learning how to move. You are putting your brain literally in a "tilt" situation. Your brain has years of muscle memory of experience to count on. You need to move, the body knows how to do it. But when you tell your brain stop, what you have been doing so far is wrong, now do it this way, you create a little short circuit...in addition those information don't come from you, but from an outside source and that needs more processing from the brain.

As someone said above, give time to time and you will get there. Some more slowly, like me hee hee, some faster, but you need to give time to yourself to adapt to this new situation.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 04-18-2008, 01:15 PM   #13
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Wink Re: improving footwork

Listen, Gunawan, we've all been there, a good number of us are still there, like me, and those of us who studied more than one martial art have been there every time they started a new style. The solution is not complicated. It's practice, practice, practice and practice still some more.
Have you read the late Kensho Furuya Sensei's book, "Kodo - Ancient Ways"? It's a must read for every martial artist, whatever the style. You will learn how the warriors of the past achieved perfection, and some stories are amazing.
You will also find this one advice that I love: Take your worst technique, and practice it until it becomes your best technique. Then, take your worst technique, and practice it until it becomes your best technique. Then, take your worst technique.....
Now, go to work.
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:10 AM   #14
Christopher Creutzig
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Re: improving footwork

Quote:
Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote: View Post
Truth is you are not learning Aikido now. You are re-learning how to move.
Isn't that a big part of learning Aikido? For everyone of us?
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:47 AM   #15
virelai
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Re: improving footwork

Hi,

sorry for late reply...
thanks guys
and Marie, I'll buy the book and read it.
for now i'm doing slide, step, and switch feet few times before bed.
and i'm stretching up every morning. i'll do rope jumping soon.

thanks alot....
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:48 AM   #16
David Paul
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Re: improving footwork

ditto on jumping rope. does wonders for footwork.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:20 PM   #17
AsimHanif
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Re: improving footwork

Hi Virelai,
came across these recently...
Taken from http://www.bujindesign.com/seminar_r...article_1.html
Aikido Bridge Friendship Seminar 2008 - January 18 -24, 2008Contributed by Al Krever
"A good example of this type of this eclectic approach might be Wilko Vriesman sensei of the Netherlands who has not only studied Aikido, kick-boxing and other martial arts but has also studied Ballet for a few years to gain a better understanding of posture, balance and body movement. (There are other benefits of the study of Ballet but they are mostly social.) These arts are reflected in his movement which those who attended his evening session would agree was pretty fluid for a guy his size."

also,

http://www.mimagazine.com.au/Issue01_Jan/BruceLee.htm

Also, I'm going to disagree on the rope. I've trained a number of pro fighters and while jumping rope does have its benefits, in my experience it is not the best practice for developing the type of coordination and balance needed to move swiftly and effeciently from the ground up. Jumping rope will strengthen your calves which will help you tremendously once you DO get your feet together.
I'm sure others may not agree but again in time you'll find out what works for you.

BTW- here's a resource you might want to try.
http://www.ringside.com/DETAIL.ASPX?ID=25044

Asim
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Old 04-27-2008, 11:57 AM   #18
John Matsushima
 
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Re: improving footwork

Hello. For me, the weapons suburi practice and are great for footwork. Knee-walking is good too. Also, "Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba is a good reference.

Last edited by John Matsushima : 04-27-2008 at 12:00 PM.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:38 AM   #19
happysod
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Re: improving footwork

HI Asim,

Quote:
not only studied Aikido, kick-boxing and other martial arts but has also studied Ballet for a few years to gain a better understanding of posture, balance and body movement
I believe this again may be in relation to my comment re dancing - the problem I have is you're answering a different question to the one posed.

The key point I think we're disagreeing over is at the start of this thread..
Quote:
I'm pretty new to Aikido.
If someone is a beginner new to an art, I don't think it's useful to say they should learn something which may be related for a few years in order to improve their initial training - for me it's akin to starting to learn the guitar, wanting some help with fingering and being told to go and find a good citar teacher to improve the callouses on your finger.

Now if the question had been "I'm an experienced martial artists and want to train my posture further", I'd have less problem with your ballet comment.

Quote:
I've trained a number of pro fighters and while jumping rope does have its benefits, in my experience it is not the best practice for developing the type of coordination and balance needed to move swiftly and effeciently from the ground up.
Now this is intriguing and I hope you'll expand more - is there a series of exercises you've found to have a better payback, especially solo exercises as this is a common question from new students.

[insert badly translated smug admonishment here]
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:10 AM   #20
AsimHanif
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Re: improving footwork

Hi Ian.
The first quote you attributed to me was actually about Vriesman sensei. The quote says he studied these other arts. Its doesn’t say when he studied them only that it gave him some food for thought regarding balance, posture, and body movement. He could have studied these things simultaneously….I don’t know. My point in posting that was to highlight that my comment was not anything uncommon to study these other things. I can tell if a beginner has done some other movement art even if they are new to aikido or boxing and I usually draw upon their experiences in those other arts to help them understand (as best I can) how it relates to the aikido we are TRYING to do (or boxing).
Since the initial post said “I’m too stiff”, I would definitely suggest going to a club and having a good time. Forget about technique, learn to enjoy freedom of movement first, then think about technique.
The second point in putting off jumping rope as an early tool for developing footwork…people get frustrated if they can’t jump rope….if you’ve seen this you know what I mean. They complain about their arches, calves, shoulders, etc. Let alone not being able to sustain it for more than a few minutes.
I usually have them do a vertical cross step drill across the ring or mat. This is seen is dance as well. I also do a drill where you stretch a rope across a room, about shoulder height and they move forward and backward rolling the should to opposite sides of the rope, the feet must stay under you. Then there’s a 4 count jumping jack that have the feet cross to the front and to the sides. Of course there’s more but these are just a few examples. (American) football training has some useful drills as well.
But again, whenever someone I train has absolutely no rhythm, balance, or coordination…I always joke with them and ask them what TYPE of music they listen to…then I suggest a GOOD club!

Asim

Last edited by AsimHanif : 04-28-2008 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:19 AM   #21
Chris Parkerson
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Re: improving footwork

Quote:
Christopher Creutzig wrote: View Post
Isn't that a big part of learning Aikido? For everyone of us?
There is an old saying that good kung fu originates in the feet, goes through the legs, is directed by the waist and culminates in the hands.

Both momentum and leverage begins at the feet. The problem is "how to keep the momentum from oscillating in too wide of an arc" so it can be useful when it is directed by the waist and when it comes out of the hands.

Accomplished Japanese Aikido stepping and accomplished Tai Chi stepping is really not that different in my opionion. It just looks different from the stylized way they do it.

The key is to keep your center of gravity low. Big words... and words can get in the way. More words, "Keep weight underside." Almost like a riddle.

Here is a simple way to keep the weight underside and to determine how to keep the oscillation from going all over the place.

Take a 50 pound dumbell and hold it close to your crotch. Try to perform your steping drills. You will find that you must leave all your weight on one foot, reach out with your stepping leg (unweighted), place it on the ground and then shift weight to the outreached foot. This is the beginning. I hope you fiddle with it and it is of someassistance. There's more, but try this first.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:47 PM   #22
happysod
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Re: improving footwork

Hi Assim,

Thanks for the drills, you reminded me of one we haven't done in ages which should annoy some of them...
Quote:
I always joke with them and ask them what TYPE of music they listen to…then I suggest a GOOD club!
I just hope for your sake they don't say "Norwegian free jazz", you'd be amazed at the posture this could spawn (OK, so I'm biased, most contemporary jazz makes me want to hit the band while chanting "learn to play the same tune you muppets")

[insert badly translated smug admonishment here]
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:30 PM   #23
AsimHanif
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Re: improving footwork

LOL....I totally understand!

A'
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:05 PM   #24
odudog
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Re: improving footwork

I'm with Asim on this one. Dancing will help your feet a lot. You will be amazed on how many aikido techniques and contained within. Not only are you learning how and where to move your feet but you are also learning how to move your hips while doing the dance. I use a lot of dancing metaphors when explaining techniques {funky chicken, Saturday Night Fever, prom night slow dancing, strippers, etc...}.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:28 PM   #25
Beard of Chuck Norris
 
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Re: improving footwork

Do kendo.



Lots of suri ashi, okuri ashi, sugi ashi all used in aikdo too, allbeit with less than parallel feet.

peace and love

Jo
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