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Old 07-31-2015, 01:31 AM   #1
Dan Richards
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There in no foot work in Aikido

The idea of foot work is putting the cart before the horse.

Aikido is body work. Center work.

If you're placing your feet anywhere, in terms of "foot work," you're predetermining how and where you should move.

This is a bad idea.

This is not moving from center—which moves from intention.

Interested to throw the idea out and discuss.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:44 AM   #2
robin_jet_alt
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Putting your body or your centre anywhere without having your feet underneath it is not possible. It doesn't matter what your intention is if you have not, in fact, moved. In my opinion, the idea of 'no foot work' is putting the cart before the horse.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:48 AM   #3
Dan Richards
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Putting your body or your centre anywhere without having your feet underneath it is not possible..
It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:35 AM   #4
Riai Maori
 
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.
Your arms are connected to your body and your feet are connected to your legs. Body moves, body talks always expressed by Bob Nadeau Shihan.

Last edited by Riai Maori : 07-31-2015 at 05:41 AM.

Motto tsuyoku
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Old 07-31-2015, 05:57 AM   #5
robin_jet_alt
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
It's very possible. Move your body, and your feet arrive. Ta da.
Nup. I faceplanted. Definitely need to have feet under the body.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

To split hairs...

For me, aiki is body work. Aikido is the expression of aiki and can/should demonstrate movement of any kind. As kata in aikido goes, I think there is a general idea that you are moving in a predetermined manner as a method of learning. As waza goes (the natural expression of kata movement) I think I generally agree that you need to move with a connected body according to your needs. I like to point to judo when I talk about this because judo kata almost never looks like competition waza. Although I know several people who can show you where they want to go and simply go there, regardless of my efforts to stop the movement. So at some level, we're back to, "I can move my feet however I want."

My perspective on this topic have shifted over the years. As a general observation. most people walk through a series of balance shift movements - lean forward (off balance), move feet (regain balance). Or, shift weight to one foot, move other foot. Essentially, we are creating a moment of kuzushi with every step we take. Moving in this manner, even if you can recover faster than *I* can take advantage of the opening, is not optimal movement.

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Old 07-31-2015, 12:09 PM   #7
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
As a general observation. most people walk through a series of balance shift movements - lean forward (off balance), move feet (regain balance). Or, shift weight to one foot, move other foot. Essentially, we are creating a moment of kuzushi with every step we take. Moving in this manner, even if you can recover faster than *I* can take advantage of the opening, is not optimal movement.
100% agree. I learned how to do Bagua circle-walking a few years ago and it has completely changed aikido. Normal walking footwork is off-balance almost the entire time, and does not have stability or power.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:21 PM   #8
ramenboy
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

i'll have to agree w robin and conrad. in order to keep your center between your feet, you have to move your feet (or a foot).

by 'move your body and your feet will arrive,' it seems to imply that your leaning in one direction and your feet have to catch up. if you don't, like robin said, you face plant

like conrad said, its like normal walking. lean in a direction, the body is off balance and the feet have to catch up to keep you from falling.

practice hard
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:43 PM   #9
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

IMHO, as an old boxer, everything works off footwork (tenkan, tenkan, tenkan) ...
the feet are part of the body/mind and "if one thing moves everything moves" ...

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 07-31-2015, 01:16 PM   #10
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Well, we may be saying different things that sound similar...

If you move from your center, your feet *have* to respond to your body to maintain body connection - this would be a near-instantaneous relationship (like pulling a puppet string that moves your leg) and a critical component would be that your feet would always be under your center. This is not necessarily the same thing as the typical two-part process of throwing your body forward and catching your balance by moving your feet. In this relationship, your center is purposefully forward of your feet because gravity participates in the motion similar to how a pendulum has to move off it's center to create force. In this sense, "falling" would simply indicate that your center and your feet were misaligned. While not aikido, there are several good videos of Mifune demonstrating judo in which you can clearly see the judoka having difficulty separating Mifune's upper body from his lower:
https://youtu.be/uFXbuszijCM

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Old 07-31-2015, 03:36 PM   #11
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Learn and forget. Footwork needs to learned and then during waza should be done exceptionaly with out a thought.

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Old 07-31-2015, 04:57 PM   #12
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

For me, everything starts at the feet and moves upwards.

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Old 07-31-2015, 08:44 PM   #13
robin_jet_alt
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Just to clarify, in my experience there is a limited range in which you can move your center without sacrificing your balance if you don't move your feet. If you exceed that range, then your feet have to catch up. In the time that your feet are playing catch up, you are not balanced. The trick is to move your feet in such a way as to avoid sacrificing your own balance, but allows you to move your centre, to where you want it to be. In that sense, aikido is all about footwork.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:56 AM   #14
rugwithlegs
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Have a partner frame out of you. Try to put your foot out, then start to move your weight to your foot and you'll have difficulty. Drive off the foot underneath you and then shift the empty foot forward and you should be able to move more. In the school of Baguazhang I studied, it's called Dragon Stepping and it's a basic for Whole Body Movement.

Force is MassxVelocity. Move with as much of your mass as possible, generate more force. Have a better structure throughout the movement.

While there are basic exercises for this, I do find that people who can generate force well, even non-martial artists, are at the very least doing this unconsciously to some degree.

I think this is also Peter Boylan's post on Koshi? http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/07/koshi.html

I assume the OP is referring to whole body movement and not just the torso, which still implies the feet are still being moved and the largest muscle groups in the legs are generating much of the power while the torso is engaged. I don't think he means go flaccid from the hips down and ignore your feet.

Typically your feet are your connection to the earth, and you need your base with your center within your base by a plum line to the ground to issue power through your hands. Between hands and feet, there is a very large chunk of aspiring sausage and some plates stacked up on top of each other with lumps of jello in between them. This area can bleed off power, add power, or at least connect the leg and arm.

Am I understanding the question correctly?
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:00 PM   #15
Krystal Locke
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
Force is MassxVelocity. Move with as much of your mass as possible, generate more force. Have a better structure throughout the movement.
Umm F=MA, momentum =MV.

How much acceleration can I provide, given a fixed mass? And, how much can I recruit other masses, like the really big one I am standing on?
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:18 PM   #16
Cliff Judge
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

I think the main idea here is that your center is what moves and drives everything, and I don't think anybody would really disagree with that.

Personally, where I train, discussion of footwork is for showing new white belts the ropes and it just isn't of first-order importance after a student has gotten somewhat comfortable with moving.

Lately I have been thinking that intention doesn't exist, so IMO it is probably best to consider the center to be the thing that drives everything.
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:50 PM   #17
Robert Cowham
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

I agree that footwork is important to start with and then becomes something to support center movement. And yet it can also be very instructive to really focus on advanced footwork too.

I remember Sasada sensei from the Shiseikan explaining to me the concept of switching feet (e.g. from left hanmi to right hanmi - the beginner method is to jump into the air while switching feet) as something that was easiest/fastest when the feet were unweighted at the same time as you let your center drop. At the time this seemed impossible, but with time (and the example of others), I started to get the idea of the possibilities, and to be able to replicate, if in a limited way.

The vast majority of our power comes from the ground, and if we aren't connected to the ground we don't have any power. The quality of our connection to the ground drives many things. And yet speed of movement, particularly short movements to change position or evade/dodge a strike (with hand or weapon), or to counter attack, require rapid movement of the feet. As I understand it, this movement isn't possible without both good connection to the ground and also a well developed tanden (which drives connection through the rest of the body). This also relates to the ability to raise a sword, eg. from mugamai to above your head in order to block a strike.

What is Kuroda sensei doing here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cvdNgbu97k#t=1m22s

There are many other examples of him, and his incredible speed.

Study of footwork is seldom wasted - but include the rest of the body in that...
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:04 PM   #18
rugwithlegs
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Oops. Thanks for correcting that.

Yes, you cannot weigh more, but how much mass you put into a target is a function of how integrated your body is. Only move a piece of the body, less mass in motion.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:30 AM   #19
Dan Richards
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
100% agree. I learned how to do Bagua circle-walking a few years ago and it has completely changed aikido. Normal walking footwork is off-balance almost the entire time, and does not have stability or power.
The man wins a milkshake.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:33 AM   #20
Dan Richards
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Personally, where I train, discussion of footwork is for showing new white belts the ropes and it just isn't of first-order importance after a student has gotten somewhat comfortable with moving.

Lately I have been thinking that intention doesn't exist, so IMO it is probably best to consider the center to be the thing that drives everything.
Why is training footwork good for [even] white belts, Cliff? Why not start them off on body work? Their feet are fine.

OK, "intention doesn't exist." We can play with that. I like.

Throw us a bone.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:06 AM   #21
Dan Richards
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Nup. I faceplanted. Definitely need to have feet under the body.
When you're in the car, or sitting at the bar, or watching Netlix stretched out on your foam-memory bed... Do you need to get your feet under the body for you to practice aikido... or just move?

Fall on the mat... where are your feet? Do you need them?

That's like deciding that you can't drink water because you don't have a cup.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:32 AM   #22
jonreading
 
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
When you're in the car, or sitting at the bar, or watching Netlix stretched out on your foam-memory bed... Do you need to get your feet under the body for you to practice aikido... or just move?

Fall on the mat... where are your feet? Do you need them?

That's like deciding that you can't drink water because you don't have a cup.
Yes, you want to be inclusive of applying aiki from wherever you are. For us, we'll do ground work to help remember this perspective. I am not sure this wasn't one of the reasons suwari waza played such a strong role in early aiki budo curriculum.

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Old 08-04-2015, 09:41 AM   #23
rugwithlegs
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

I had a teacher who started a class saying Aikido had no wrist locks. The premise was we should always try to lock the body using the wrists - use the wrist to restrict the movement of the shoulder, the hips, the direction Uke was facing.

Had another karate teacher say there were no blocks in karate - the idea was to strike the limbs coming at you, we just had the conversation to change our intention and focus in our training.

Is this what the thread is about? The body will move and the feet need to move, the feet remain our contact with the ground and our ability to issue power is related to our ability to root and connect, with our feet being the most used connection to the ground.

Why not start with body movement over footwork? Someone can learn to dodge in one class and constantly over years improve on their movement. People can take years and not fully acquire whole body movement. The one is far more complicated than the other. Their feet are fine? Maybe...

The Shodokan method is first moving the feet, then adding arm movements, then adding a partner. Ki Society also starts with isolating an arm exercise, then weight shifting, then stepping patterns with empty arms and then the whole body movement. Most schools go simple to complex.

The torso is what connects the hands and feet, so expressing power in the hands coming up from the ground requires the torso be engaged. In my everyday life, I seldom if ever need that much power.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:04 AM   #24
Cliff Judge
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Why is training footwork good for [even] white belts, Cliff? Why not start them off on body work? Their feet are fine.

OK, "intention doesn't exist." We can play with that. I like.

Throw us a bone.
IMO, it is best to have beginners start moving and doing things before you ask them to start feeling for what is going on inside. A little bit of form at the beginning - i.e. this is how you step for tenkan, this is how you step for irimi, this is a safe place when executing kotegaeshi, this is not a safe place - gives them a sandbox they can work in. Bodywork is what I would consider a way of helping them out of the sandbox (should they choose to accept their mission), and a way to learn how to interact with force in a relaxed and efficient manner.

I have seen some nice changes in white belts who are comfortable with basic form, when I tell them to start making their center be the leader. For example, telling them when standing up from a front roll, to see what happens if they try to get their center standing up first, rather than their head and shoulders.

Also, in America, most people are focused on their upper bodies, to the point where they can't differentiate their centers from their torsos. Get them thinking about their feet, and they will often bargain you up to the middle.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:47 PM   #25
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Re: There in no foot work in Aikido

In my mind, body moves as a unit usually when good things are happening, therefore body-work = footwork and vice-versa.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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