recently I was studying the development of aikido footwork. In my experience, footwork is not something they talk a lot about in aikido classes beside the basic irimi/tenkan/kaiten moves, so I decided it would worth some investigation.
I compared the 1935 Ueshiba demonstration with a few demonstrations of Moriteru Doshu.
The first thing I noticed was how very different aikido footwork was in the time of Osensei. What I noticed first was how often Osensei executed irimi/tenkan steps with hopping/jumping motions, which is quite contrary to how we learned and how Moriteru uses irimi/tenkan which is almost always being executed with sinking rather than jumping. In fact, i have rarely seen hopping movements in aikido outside of ki aikido cyrcles, but then even there jumping seems different from Osensei's moves.
But jumping is just the surface of things, somehow Osensei's movements are more fluid and often used small rapid steps for distancing...
Then I saw a rare old footage of Kishomaru Sensei at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9J9HoSZDkw
where he seems to utilize the same style of footwork that Osensei does in the 1935 demonstration, which I find strange, as in later demonstrations he moves the way taught in "modern" aikido.
I also noticed many other studenst of Osensei moving that way in old videos.
Could someone please offer me some insight on why footwork changed so much in aikido since Osensei? Or do you have any clue about where Osensei's style of footwork comes from?
I have seen on some website that it comes from shinkage ryu and is called "shadow moon" - but I somehow doubt this information to be correct.
Thank you for your answers in advance