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Old 11-14-2010, 04:20 PM   #1
Dave Plaza
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How do you develop the big toe?

Hi folks,

I am reading an aikido book by Gozo Shioda. At the beginning he talks about shuchu-ryoku (focused power) and the importance of it, this is the power developed from unifying the whole body.

Quote from the book...

the "trick" to concentrated power is in the big toe. When we fix the big toe to the floor, power comes into the hips. To that power you can the add the acceleration of the "spring" action of the knee. If these movements are all done together, a very powerful force is developed. Because of this, developing the big toe through, for example, kneeling techniques are very important.

My question is, do you agree with the importance of this, and if so, what are these kneeling techniques, and also do you know of any further "big toe" exercises?

Thanks

Dave
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:53 PM   #2
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

With kneeling techniques I assume he means working in suwariwaza?

I think you can make a start by just being aware of your big toes when you practice your footwork. Which part of your foot do you stand on, or push with when you start a step? Can you think of a connection from you big toes to your knees to your waist when you move?

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:48 PM   #3
Abasan
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

If you look (but don't stare) you will see that Gozo Shioda, Kancho Inoue and I think even Joe Thambu has pronounced turned in big toes... its probably the way they have their weight placed on the toe and the movement that comes with it.

But I heard that Osensei used to wear white socks in his last years to the dojo. The tatami although cleaned regularly still give out stains, but they found that only his ball of the feet is black, the rest remained white.

However, a method I would deem close to having this power in the toe would probably be practising standing up on your toes and bouncing up and down then to stand without putting weight on your heels. As you get better with the weight distribution, I bet you could channel it to your toes only if you wish.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:52 PM   #4
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Hi folks,

I am reading an aikido book by Gozo Shioda. At the beginning he talks about shuchu-ryoku (focused power) and the importance of it, this is the power developed from unifying the whole body.

Quote from the book...

the "trick" to concentrated power is in the big toe. When we fix the big toe to the floor, power comes into the hips. To that power you can the add the acceleration of the "spring" action of the knee. If these movements are all done together, a very powerful force is developed. Because of this, developing the big toe through, for example, kneeling techniques are very important.

My question is, do you agree with the importance of this, and if so, what are these kneeling techniques, and also do you know of any further "big toe" exercises?

Thanks

Dave
I can't speak to the importance of developing the big toe but I am in position to argue with Gozo Shioda. It certainly worked for him.

One of the ways that we develop the big toe strength in Yoshinkan-style Aikido is through seiza. After kneeling, the final motion is to push your body forward with your big toes.

Another exercise that I have heard of is practicing pulling yourself across the dojo, inch by inch, by your toes (especially the big toes).

...rab
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:21 PM   #5
Chris Farnham
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

I have never done Yoshinkan but one exercise I know of that is really good for building toe strength is to sit in seiza and repeatedly go from tucked toes to live toes without raising your backside off of your heals(or as close as you can get to that). With each toe flex raise your arms to about forehead level(kokyu dosa movement).

Last edited by Chris Farnham : 11-14-2010 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:51 PM   #6
Chris Farnham
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

I have never done Yoshinkan but one exercise I know of that is really good for building toe strength is to sit in seiza and repeatedly flex yours toes into the live toe position with out raising your backside off of your heals(or as close as you can get to that) with each toe flex raise your arms to about forehead level(kokyu dosa movement).
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:07 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
If you look (but don't stare) you will see that Gozo Shioda, Kancho Inoue and I think even Joe Thambu has pronounced turned in big toes...h.
sorry for stray "h" in quote, my iPod sometimes won't let me put cursor where I want...anyhow...the nurse can't help but wonder if the tuned in big toe is a midlife bunion as a result of chronic overuse of big toe? Any students of these gentlemen know if they complained of that later in life?

Janet Rosen
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:02 AM   #8
Adam Huss
 
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

grip mat with your toes, then relax and slide on the balls of your feet when moving, lock back when finish in zanshin. focus pivots and shifts on the big toe ball of foot while maintaining low and consistent center of gravity, it should feel like your snapping your heel out and you have a sudden weight shift while maintaining center. I worked on this for a month straight, being my training focus. But that's me. Best of luck.....training in kiza/seiza works well also, but Rab mentioned it already.

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Old 11-15-2010, 12:17 AM   #9
kewms
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

I think I've got a long way to go before big toe strength will be the limiting factor in my aikido...

Katherine
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:05 AM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

IMHO, awareness. All movement starts at your connection to the earth. Weight forward (not on your heels).

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 11-15-2010, 07:19 AM   #11
kokyu
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote: View Post
With kneeling techniques I assume he means working in suwariwaza?

I think you can make a start by just being aware of your big toes when you practice your footwork. Which part of your foot do you stand on, or push with when you start a step? Can you think of a connection from you big toes to your knees to your waist when you move?

kvaak
Pauliina
I agree... if you train frequently enough and your movement is correct, you will start to feel the fatigue in your big toes
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:46 AM   #12
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

By "kneeling techniques", I believe Shioda Kancho meant suwari-waza. Of course to do suwari-waza, you need to do shikko (knee walking properly).. this also develops the big toe..
As mentioned in previous posts, the most basic is moving from seiza to kiza .. then try doing this movement as the first part of ryote dori kokyu dosa, keeping the arms relaxed..

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:37 AM   #13
tim evans
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Talking Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Use it and put a sock on it.

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:08 PM   #14
Flintstone
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Inocencio Maramba wrote: View Post
As mentioned in previous posts, the most basic is moving from seiza to kiza .. then try doing this movement as the first part of ryote dori kokyu dosa, keeping the arms relaxed..
And then, some koryu perform seated techniques while in seiza, not in kiza. Uhmmm.... And they certainly display aiki.
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:08 PM   #15
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
And then, some koryu perform seated techniques while in seiza, not in kiza. Uhmmm.... And they certainly display aiki.
Well it is one way... not the only way... thanks for letting us know..

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:37 PM   #16
phitruong
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

i got a pretty big toe. didn't help my aikido any. maybe it has something to do with dropping a couple of big and heavy items on it. question, would your big toe make any different if you do aikido while wearing shoes? hate to get into a fight and have to ask folks to wait while i take off my shoes. although i kinda like my steel toe shoes.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:45 PM   #17
David Yap
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
sorry for stray "h" in quote, my iPod sometimes won't let me put cursor where I want...anyhow...the nurse can't help but wonder if the tuned in big toe is a midlife bunion as a result of chronic overuse of big toe? Any students of these gentlemen know if they complained of that later in life?
You are right about the bunion, Janet. I am not a student of these gentlemen but I did notice on a few occasions that Inoue kancho do need some assistance from his otomo with his flip-flops when stepping onto and or the mats after seminars.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:53 AM   #18
Dave Plaza
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Thank you very much everyone for your insightful, helpful advice about this.

Dave
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:42 AM   #19
Walter Martindale
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Having read neither the original Japanese nor the English translation of Gozo Shioda's description of "big toe" and reading the tale of O-Sensei and his white socks stained black under the ball of the foot - is it possible that "big toe" is a mis-translation of what the original meant "ball of foot"?
Weight on the ball of the foot, rather than settled back on the heel, permits "athletic" movement - using all kinds of springy ligaments and tendons in the lower limb for quick motion, while there's not a whole heck of a lot of power in "the big toe" by itself. Pushing off the big toe after a movement starts from the ball of the foot, I can see, but... Is it perhaps possible that some take translated statements a bit to literally?
Cheers,
Walter
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:46 PM   #20
David Orange
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i got a pretty big toe.
Have you considered toe modeling?

It's like hand modeling, only....well....

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:53 PM   #21
David Orange
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
what are these kneeling techniques, and also do you know of any further "big toe" exercises?
Dave, as others have mentioned, shikko and suwari waza are good, but to me, the "landing" from forward rolling ukemi should be onto the ball of the rear foot rather than onto the instep (top of the foot).

I've always felt this was a serious technical flaw in most aikido I've seen, where the person rolls onto the rear instep and then has to change the foot position to stand up. In yoseikan, we always learned to roll directly onto the ball of the foot, so that we can stand up directly from the roll without any changes.

Also, I've seen people (many, many people) who can't do a rear roll without picking up their rear foot and putting it down with the instep down. I think these two methods do a lot of harm to the correct development of aikido technique and power.

Best to you.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 11-18-2010, 01:30 PM   #22
C. David Henderson
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

FWIW, many yoga poses directly or indirectly condition the toes, feet, and ankles. Also they work throughout the range of motion of the joints to create balance.

David Henderson
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:22 PM   #23
cguzik
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

As Charles mentioned, many yoga poses are good for this. For example, surya namaskar (sun salutations) involve rolling over the toes when transitioning from a low plank pose (chaturanga dandasana or stick pose) to upward facing dog, and then rolling over them the other way when transitioning from upward facing dog to downward facing dog. In other words, rolling around your toes to go from the tops of your feet touching the floor to the balls of your feet touching the floor.

A good exercise for developing toe strength is to stand on your toes / balls of your feet for as long as possible. You can also do multiple repetitions (heels lifting up as high as possible... stay there... back down, repeat). This is also good for developing your balance.

Chris

Last edited by cguzik : 11-18-2010 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:29 PM   #24
cguzik
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

There is a youtube video that includes a very brief clip of Gozo Shioda pinning someone's foot to the floor using his big toe between his partner's big toe and second toe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKqiF...layer_embedded

It looks like he's transferring a large portion of his weight right through that one toe... which would in fact require some strength there.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:32 AM   #25
Dazzler
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Re: How do you develop the big toe?

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Having read neither the original Japanese nor the English translation of Gozo Shioda's description of "big toe" and reading the tale of O-Sensei and his white socks stained black under the ball of the foot - is it possible that "big toe" is a mis-translation of what the original meant "ball of foot"?
Weight on the ball of the foot, rather than settled back on the heel, permits "athletic" movement - using all kinds of springy ligaments and tendons in the lower limb for quick motion, while there's not a whole heck of a lot of power in "the big toe" by itself. Pushing off the big toe after a movement starts from the ball of the foot, I can see, but... Is it perhaps possible that some take translated statements a bit to literally?
Cheers,
Walter
Toe..che! we are thinking on the same lines
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