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Old 06-30-2002, 02:31 AM   #1
Dojo: Aikido of Tucson
Location: Arizona
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 32
Question Help with Footwork

I find myself during training, doin' sloppy footwork. When it's time to do a Tenkan, I will do it, but it's VERY VERY sloppy. I was wonderin' if ya'll have any suggestions to help me with this problem, and also wondering if it will have any reprocusions on my training at a later point....

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Old 06-30-2002, 05:00 AM   #2
Tim Griffiths
Dojo: Nes Ziona Aikikai
Location: Suzhou, China
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 188
Re: Help with Footwork

Originally posted by DavidM
I find myself during training, doin' sloppy footwork. When it's time to do a Tenkan, I will do it, but it's VERY VERY sloppy. I was wonderin' if ya'll have any suggestions to help me with this problem, and also wondering if it will have any repercussions on my training at a later point....

It's having repercussions now, and will damage your aikido until you fix it. To do a technique you have to be standing with the right posture in the right place. Usually, that's the hardest bit. If the footwork is bad, both posture and positioning are bad, the movement is slow, the kuzushi will be difficult and the ma-ai will be wrong.

So, how to fix it... physically and mentally. The answer is of course practice, practice etc.

One of my favourite pre-class movements: Put your left wrist on your center and hold it with your right hand. Pull in your forearms and elbows gently against your body. This helps you keep your shoulders and hips aligned (an important posture point). Drop your center by bending the knees, keep you head up and just walk along a line in the mat, moving from T-posture to T-posture, nice and slow. Try to feel you're moving from center, and feel the stability of that center. Add a few 180 degree turns, and then tenkans. Don't watch your feet - make a step or tenkan with your head up and then check (if you walk on the line between two mats you can feel it and don't need to check).

Mentally, once the footwork is basically correct, concentrate of the movement of your center from point to point. Try to get the feeling that, for your center, an irimi is the same as a tenkan, just that the center is spinning as you move. The movement of your body just reflects and amplifies the movement of the center. The whole purpose of footwork is to move the body to keep up with the movement of your center, not the other way around.

Hope that gives you a couple of ideas to work with,

Train well,


If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 06-30-2002, 11:54 AM   #3
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Help with Footwork

Originally posted by DavidM
I find myself during training, doin' sloppy footwork. When it's time to do a Tenkan, I will do it, but it's VERY VERY sloppy. I was wonderin' if ya'll have any suggestions to help me with this problem,
KUMI IAI with BOKKEN. It's dangerous so you proceed carefully giving you time to effect proper posture from the beginning. If you're sloppy, you end up with digits bruised miserably. It straightens you out.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 06-30-2002, 03:19 PM   #4
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,886
I have a really simple exercise that helped me. Just step and turn. Alternate 90-degree turns with 180-degree turns. Step and turn 90-degree. Then step and turn 180-degree, Just keep moving with the cicular pattern. Stay level with knees slightly bent. Keep shoulders over hips and hand on your centerline as you turn. I used to do 3-400 at a time. Relax, breath, and enjoy yourself. You'll get it.

Until again,


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 07-01-2002, 08:40 AM   #5
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
How do you walk?

Eight directions of movement, lines on the floor, or simple posture practice will help.

It is easier if you keep good posture, elbows in as if you were protecting your ribs, then moving your feet will not become a contest of balance.

There are stances you can practice, and moving your feet close to the ground without scuffing or dragging them will help.

If you check with anyone who remembers the difficulty of learning early Aikido movements, I would be the most difficult is keeping the hips and shoulders alligned in movement, not twisting separatly or in opposite directions when moving left side or right side of your body.

Leaning forward, another problem in movement. Too many people lead with their head not with their body when moving.

Watch people with good posture, easy movements ... they are balanced, they are relaxed, they do not think about stepping, it just happens because they want to be somewhere else.

Practice walking on the balls of your feet, without your heels touching the floor, two or three times a day for a couple of minutes. If that doesn't make you lighter on your feet and give you better steps in practice ... we are going to have to get the cattle prod out to modify behavior. (Just kidding about the cattle prod)

Seriously, walking on your toes will strengthen muscles that you are probaly not use to using ... and it will increase your ease of movement when practicing Aikido movements.

Being "light" on your feet is the key to quickness, we will talk about rooting in other applications, later.

For right now, lines on the floor to check your movement by glanceing down, not tilting your head to look, and light on your feet with practice should make you as quick and mobile as anyone in the dojo.

Practice is up to you, but overdo it, it will happen.
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Old 07-04-2002, 04:41 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2
Foot work

After 4 years of Aikido I still had problems until I began to forget about the foot work - in other words, release that thought (worry) from your mind - you know where you are when the attack begins - go to where you should be after receiving the attack and you will do the foot work without thinking about it, in other words, the foot work will be done correctly because its the quickest way to get your body to where it needs to be. This was one of O'Sensai's big teachings - to let go after you've struggled/wrestled with the positions, footwork, etc..

Good luck
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