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Old 12-21-2008, 03:36 PM   #1
seank
Location: Victoria
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Australia
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Technical hanmi question

I've been scratching my head a little over the last few weeks in regard to hanmi and overall Aikido technique. I'm preparing for my shodan grading and have at the eleventh hour found myself questioning the precepts.

I remember sitting in one of Sugano Shihan's classes and him explaining that hanmi is simply placing your feet shoulder width apart, and then turning one foot, left or right, ninety degrees. Excellent advice and allows you to properly form basic hanmi.

My question goes somewhat beyond that. In preparing for the grading we did a little bit of video work going through the gamut of techniques I need to demonstrate for my grading. One thing that really stood out is that I believe that my hanmi in key parts of the technique are too close together.

In watching many many hours of classes, various video clips and the likes, I have clearly seen the footwork and hanmi sometimes twice the nages shoulder width with the feet momentarily pointing in varying directions. I feel at times that my feet are too close together because I constantly try to maintain hanmi (both in terms of foot direction and width of my stance).

I feel that I really should be at this point exaggerating the hanmi (at least exaggerating it in my mind, so far as I feel the technique and hanmi) - the result giving me a more stable center. We have had a fair amount of disruption in the last six weeks with one instructor leaving and our head instructor getting back into training after injury, so I've been left to my own devices to an extent. This means of course that I'm left trying to work out some of the details by myself.

I know its a really stupid time to ask a question like this, but I'm at wits end trying to work out if I'm thinking in the right direction. I studied Kyokushin karate for a very long time and never had the same issues with stance, but I know that hanmi underpins proper technique in Aikido and am keen to smooth over as many rough bits as I can prior to the grading.
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Old 12-21-2008, 03:54 PM   #2
Lyle Laizure
 
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Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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Re: Technical hanmi question

Hello Sean,

In my sensei's dojo we never stressed hanmi so much. That is to say that it wasn't stressed which hanmi (hidar, migi) to begin or end a technique. Well I guess I should say that I don't recall my sensei ever saying you have to start or stop in any particular manner. Generally we began from a neutral stance, as if waiting for the bus. Now that I am teaching I continue this practice because this is likely the position you will be in if you were to be attacked. That isn't to say we don't learn stances. I apologize for being so long winded to get to this final point.....are you balanced before during and after while performing a technique. IMHO if you are balanced then your stance should be good.

I hope this helps.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 12-21-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Technical hanmi question

Right now, at this moment, you should probably let the question go. You're getting ready for your test, it's not time to got changing things dramatically.

That said, I'm constantly trying to bring my feet closer together. Close feet are quick feet. Aikido is about movment, the ability to move quickly is essintial.

Most Aikidoka keep their feet too far apart. This gives stability, but takes away from foot speed, and your ability to change direction. Aikido is not goju ryu. It's not a system where we want to "stand and take it". It's a system where we want to move around the force and merge with it.

Close feet are good feet in my opinion.

oh, and good luck on your test!

Last edited by ChrisHein : 12-21-2008 at 03:57 PM.

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Old 12-21-2008, 07:47 PM   #4
Aikibu
Dojo: West Wind Dojo Santa Monica California
Location: Malibu, California
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Re: Technical hanmi question

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Right now, at this moment, you should probably let the question go. You're getting ready for your test, it's not time to got changing things dramatically.

That said, I'm constantly trying to bring my feet closer together. Close feet are quick feet. Aikido is about movment, the ability to move quickly is essintial.

Most Aikidoka keep their feet too far apart. This gives stability, but takes away from foot speed, and your ability to change direction. Aikido is not goju ryu. It's not a system where we want to "stand and take it". It's a system where we want to move around the force and merge with it.

Close feet are good feet in my opinion.

oh, and good luck on your test!
Excellent advice. Practice hard on what you know right now to pass.

Our Hanmi is almost exactly as Chris described and in fact we keep the toes of both feet always pointed towards Uke. The "Half Step" is one of the secrets to Nishio Shihan's Aikido, and as Chris suggested "close feet are quick feet". Not only that but it gives you a better connection with Ukes center and keeps your center under you where it belongs.

William Hazen
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:27 AM   #5
Flintstone
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Spain
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Re: Technical hanmi question

Yes, what they said.

Natural stance (shizentai) is the one you will most likely be using when attacked, so it should be the stance from which to practice the technique / kata. Plus, while performing the technique, I find it better to use hanmi and/or hitoemi. Front foot pointing slightly outside, not directly to uke. Rather you point uke's center with your own.

My two cents.
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