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Old 04-05-2004, 11:52 AM   #1
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkai Canada
Location: Toronto
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 34
Sliding around on mats

hey everyone,
i cant possibly be the only person that has had this problem, but i started aikido around 6 months ago and have yet been able to get sliding around on the mats very well for one reason or another. My feet tend to stick to the mats. Its not really a problem when im doing techniques at all but some of the solo movements are pretty tough to do smoothly. Now im not sure if it just takes a certain amount of time to get your feet used to the mats and maybe build up some callouses or hey, maybe its something brand new problem no one has ever had before hehe.
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Old 04-05-2004, 01:20 PM   #2
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
I was taught a way to walk in kenjutsu that helped me alot(sugi ashi?). When you step, you keep your weight on the back foot, and let the front foot "brush" the mat. If you were in a duel, you didn't want to trip over rocks, so you used the stepping foot like a guide, subconsciously scanning for obstacles before you put your weight on it. That's all I can think of to help.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 04-05-2004, 02:06 PM   #3
Sharon Seymour
Dojo: AikidoKIDS! & Katsujinken Dojo, Prescott Arizona
Location: Arizona
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 57
You don't mention whether the mats are vinyl or canvas ... vinyl mats tend to be a bit "sticky" on the feet.

However, it has been my experience that it takes a while to learn how to shift your weight correctly with good timeing no matter what the surface, and sometimes it is this, rather than the mat surface, that is affecting your movement.

This should improve over time, but if you are experiencing any *pain* in your knees or hips when you move, be sure to bring your problem to the attention of your sensei, who should be able to help you make corrections to relieve the strain.

There is more to balance than not falling over.
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Old 04-05-2004, 02:38 PM   #4
thatoldfool's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido de la Montagne
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23
Even though you've asked me this before, and I didn't really answer, I believe Mr. Gidney's reply is the correct one. Having thought about it, aye, one doesn't slide with their full weight on their front foot - indeed, the front foot only glides.

Watch Sensei's feet, if they're not hidden by his/her hakama - likely, you'll see that the back foot is drawn close to the front foot, and *only* then does the front foot glide forward.

"Best to be like water,
Which benefits the ten thousand things
And does not contend."
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Old 04-05-2004, 03:40 PM   #5
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkai Canada
Location: Toronto
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 34
hmmmm yes that seems logical, i'll give it a shot and the mats are vinyl...probobly pretty old as well hehe

definatly no pain in the knees or anything being a strapping young lad and all
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Old 04-05-2004, 08:59 PM   #6
Josh Bisker
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai, and Renshinkan London
Location: Oberlin, OH
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 74
it sounds like you're thinking of moving as doing something with your feet.

from a certain point of view, what happens with your feet is just another result of you moving your body. so maybe, like the guys were saying above, it's a matter of finding out what to do differently about how you move your body, not your feet. don't worry about callouses and things, ya know? more like, maybe think about if you could be shifting your weight differently as you move.

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Old 04-05-2004, 09:34 PM   #7
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
You could always Armor All the mats Some well meaning judo guy did that to our Swain mats...great lesson in keeping your center (takes forever to get it off the mats though).


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 04-05-2004, 11:00 PM   #8
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkai Canada
Location: Toronto
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 34
well tried it at class today and it helps to a certain extent but i've found that at the beginning of class is like a 50/50 chance they'll do what i want :P However after like an hour of class its not a problem anymore for whatever reason
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Old 04-05-2004, 11:07 PM   #9
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
I notice that when I have trouble with footwork in a move it usually means that my weight is not in the right place to start with. It's very hard to slide the weight-bearing foot.

Ki Society has a more "jumpy" style where the moving foot islifted off the mat, and this makes it immediately clear that you can't expect to move that foot until you get the weight off it. With the sliding styles it's less obvious but I think the same principle applies.

If this problem shows up in exercises like happo, try paying attention to where your weight is.

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:02 AM   #10
Location: Maidenhead
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 167
United Kingdom
Hi Andrew,

My first thought on reading your post was "I bet he is learning Yoshinkan Aikido". Then I looked at your dojo name

Because I had the same difficulty for a long time when I started. Especially during kihon dosa. Here's what helped me. I hope it helps you:

When you slide the front foot forward, for instance in hiriki no yosei ichi, do not move more weight onto the back leg. Take some weight off the front foot - enough so that you have very light contact with the floor and can glide it forward. Since you have not transfered more weight to your back foot, your centre will start to 'fall' forward and down (a key movement that you want to develop). Add to this forward and down movement by using your back leg and foot to help drive you forward. You can control how much of this movement is forward and how much down, by the amount of forward power you create with your back leg. When you have travelled the distance you need (1 inch, 3 feet etc), let your front foot settle again and take your weight.

Hopefully by doing this you are freeing up your front foot so that it does not stick, and at the same time you develop strong power through your back foot, leg and hips as well as develop the forward and down movement with your centre that I think is core to aikido.

Anyway, good luck!


Justin McCarthy
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Old 04-06-2004, 05:08 AM   #11
Magnus Brown
Dojo: Ellis School of Traditional Aikido
Location: Reading
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8
Hi Andrew, I've been doing aikido for about 6 months and when I practised in my kitchen with ceramic tiles I had exactly the same problem, especially when sweaty from warming up. I used to have to wear socks so I could slide over them. I find now that I can slide without socks now and I would put it down to practise on different surfaces and also most importantly not putting too much weight on the foot that is sliding.
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