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Old 07-01-2003, 08:18 AM   #1
justinm
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Back foot flat?

This question is primarily targeted at all yoshinkan folks out there: Which part of your rear foot do you keep most connection on the floor with - inside edge, outside edge, both?

Does this change as your stance lengthens?

Thanks
Justin
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Old 07-01-2003, 09:54 AM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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I make most contact with the ball of the foot (big toe) with both feet...but I try to keep the whole foot in some contact at all times. Because I'm not the most flexible person out there, my back heel comes off the mat much more than it should. I've never really thought about it as an "edge" kind of thing...but since the big toe is on the inside edge, I guess that's what gets the most contact. My goal would be to keep the whole foot in contact, but then, I'm flatfooted, so...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 07-01-2003, 01:55 PM   #3
SmilingNage
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That depends on how you throw, some styles throw from hanmi, some use a sword stance(both feet facing the same way). Keeping the whole foot in contact with the mat is what has been stressed to me. I dont train in yoshinkan, so my comments arent contributing much.

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 07-01-2003, 02:13 PM   #4
aikidodragongio
 
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The whole concept behind the foot being behind and "flat" is that it is your step-off point. While all your weight is centered it is distributed between the front leg and anchored on that back leg. So, to answer your question, it should be your whole foot that connects with the floor. However, that's what works for me and that's what I was taught, others may beg to differ )

That which does not kill us can only make us stronger
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Old 07-01-2003, 05:48 PM   #5
camel
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Not sure if this will be much use to you, as I'm not training in Yoshinkan, but at the Aikikai dojo I train at here in Japan, we're taught to keep the heels of both feet slightly off the mat at all times. The way it was explained to me was that one should think of their heels as being off the mat just enough for a piece of paper to be able to slide underneath. Needless to say, it's quite difficult.
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Old 07-01-2003, 09:58 PM   #6
Kevin Wilbanks
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Sorry Brett, but that sounds a little crazy to me. Since there is no way to put most or all of your weight into one foot with the heel slightly off the floor for more than an off-balanced moment, that pretty much limits you to stances where your weight is somewhere between both feet. While this may be a good position for cranking and twisting, it's a position of virtual immobility. In order to step or slide, you need to be able to let your weight sink completely into one foot, probably mostly in the heel or in the mid-foot. If you don't plant your whole foot, or at least mostly solidly through the heel, you simply can't move, except to lurch or stagger. The only other way to attain some balance on the ball of one foot is to raise up into a ballet postion. This is just basic physics.

In general, I would say since mobility is what makes Aikido work, nitpicky details about how one stands two-footed are more important for quasi-static and slo-mo drills than for actually doing business in a dynamic scenario/event. In a fluid situation, one's weight will almost always be on one foot or transitioning from one to the other.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-01-2003 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 07-01-2003, 10:25 PM   #7
camel
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No need to be sorry, just passing along what I've been told/shown. It may sound crazy, but I've seen fairly strong evidence that some people can move quite well like that.
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Old 07-01-2003, 10:36 PM   #8
Kevin Wilbanks
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I question whether you have actually seen people move quite well like that, since I'm contending that it is probably impossible. People have told you that, then you have seen them move. Since I assume you weren't on the floor looking for the paper-width crack beneath the heels, I'm suspcious. It is possible to move and act almost purely on the balls of the feet, but it is more of a bouncing, dancing kind of movement, where the weight is dropped into both feet or one momentarily, a la boxing. If the Aikidoka you've seen aren't bouncing around, their weight is often in their mid-foot and/or heels, or they are not moving their feet. It's physics.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-01-2003 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 07-01-2003, 10:53 PM   #9
camel
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Okay, maybe I'm not explaining it correctly. I did not mean to imply that the weight was constantly on the balls of the feet. Rather, I was simply told to keep the ends of my heels just a touch off the mat. The majority of the foot is in constant contact with the mat, just not the heel itself. Also, bear in mind that my Japanese is very poor, as is my teacher's English, so the probability of miscommunication was quite high, although he went to great gesticulating lengths to make sure I understood. Perhaps I didn't. Either way, I've been trying to utilize this idea in my training, and have not noticed any of the adverse effects you mention.
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Old 07-01-2003, 10:55 PM   #10
PeterR
 
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I'm going to disagree big time here. In the various forms of shizentai (natural stance) your weight is between the feet and the paper thin wedge under the heel sounds about right. From this stance you have an incredible amount of mobility. Of course during the thrust in any of eight directions (basic Shodokan unsoku practice) requires weight to be shifted to one foot or the other but the whole foot does not have to be firmly placed on the ground. Moreover, that shift is only transitory during the moment of the thrust. Shizentai is maintained immediately after the thrust and of course after the movement is completed.

Tsukuri one of the most effective means of rapidly closing distance is in effect a planned, off-balanced, lurch. You just finish in ----- you guessed it shizentai.

I doubt very much anyone can move nearly as effectively with one of both heels firmly placed.
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Sorry Brett, but that sounds a little crazy to me. Since there is no way to put most or all of your weight into one foot with the heel slightly off the floor for more than an off-balanced moment, that pretty much limits you to stances where your weight is somewhere between both feet. While this may be a good position for cranking and twisting, it's a position of virtual immobility. In order to step or slide, you need to be able to let your weight sink completely into one foot, probably mostly in the heel or in the mid-foot. If you don't plant your whole foot, or at least mostly solidly through the heel, you simply can't move, except to lurch or stagger. The only other way to attain some balance on the ball of one foot is to raise up into a ballet postion. This is just basic physics.

In general, I would say since mobility is what makes Aikido work, nitpicky details about how one stands two-footed are more important for quasi-static and slo-mo drills than for actually doing business in a dynamic scenario/event. In a fluid situation, one's weight will almost always be on one foot or transitioning from one to the other.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-02-2003, 02:06 AM   #11
aubrey bannah
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Your big toe
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:43 AM   #12
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
I'm going to disagree big time here. In the various forms of shizentai (natural stance) your weight is between the feet and the paper thin wedge under the heel sounds about right. From this stance you have an incredible amount of mobility. Of course during the thrust in any of eight directions (basic Shodokan unsoku practice) requires weight to be shifted to one foot or the other but the whole foot does not have to be firmly placed on the ground. Moreover, that shift is only transitory during the moment of the thrust. Shizentai is maintained immediately after the thrust and of course after the movement is completed.

Tsukuri one of the most effective means of rapidly closing distance is in effect a planned, off-balanced, lurch. You just finish in ----- you guessed it shizentai.

I doubt very much anyone can move nearly as effectively with one of both heels firmly placed.
Try standing on one foot with the heel paperwidth high off the ground and you should be able to see what I mean. Without contorting your body and limbs around as if on a high wire, it doesn't work. It's an inherently unbalanced position.

I experimented with what you said, and it does indeed seem like lurching about, trying to reorient the weight between both feet - basically being precariously off-balance much of the time. I don't like the idea of 'planning' ahead, even as far ahead as it takes to lurch. One thing I have learned from martial interactions is that plans almost never work, because by the time they are executed, the situation has changed and the plan is too old. I take this as the whole point behind no-mind and developing spontaneous responsive capabilities. By the time my planned lurch is completed, I may well have wished I hadn't lurched, or wish I was in a more inherently balanced and adaptive position where I could change direction without going through 4 weight-shifting steps. When I contrast this with the capability to be balanced on one or both feet, throughout each step, I can't imagine how someone could prescribe that movement style for a martial art where balance is important.

As far as speed goes, the movement method you propose is almost certainly slower in a dynamic, improvisational situation, because you have to transfer the weight from between the feet onto one to start to take a step or slide, and when you finish a step, you have to move the weight back between the feet and find a two-point balance. That's two extra actions that the guy who is simply planted and balanced in one foot and steps into a position of balance on the other foot doesn't have to make.
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Old 07-02-2003, 07:31 AM   #13
Ron Tisdale
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Kevin,

Read some of Shioda Sensei's books, or check out the nearest shodokan or yoshinkan dojo with a 5th dan or better instructor. You'll find that the physical practise of some remarkable aikidoka doesn't adhere to your "physics".

Ron (the proof is in the pudding) Tisdale

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Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 07-02-2003, 09:27 AM   #14
Kevin Wilbanks
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If there's a sensible explanation for physics-defying biomechanics in the book, and you understand it, why not summarize?

As far as the pudding goes, how am I going to be able to tell if their heels are a paper-width high off the ground? I could imagine working something out with high-speed video, force plates, and possibly computer analysis tools, but I'm afraid I have neither the qualifications nor the equipment.

Kevin (the saying is "the proof of the pudding is in the taste") Wilbanks
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:27 AM   #15
Roger Mouton
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Not looking to fuel a debate but simply adding more information/viewpoints for relavent discussion..

Another martial art that uses a light-heal foot technique is Fencing.

Beginners are commonly taught to completely raise heal of their back foot. As people progress they often get closer to the paper standard or even to just maintaining most of the weight on the ball. The front foot seems to take care of itself as you are typically leaning forward or backing up (which tends to put you on your toes). Granted, Fencing is brutally linear but wasted vertical motion (ie bobbing) is frowned upon and good fencers are usually very smooth and very fast.

As to Aikido, to execute a tenkan, if you are not already on the ball of the pivet foot you may already be too late.

As to the original question, I don't know about yoshinkan folks but a ballet instructor I have been fortunate enough to study stretch and bar work from would insist that you try to keep the weight centered across all the toes (neigher inside or outside edge)so that your ankle bears weight in proper alignment. This helps your knees too.

(to those of you who got to the bottom of my post..)

Hi,

I am new here, to what appears to be a good place. I found you guys a couple of years ago when I started studying Aikido but I didn't stay as the terminology blew me away. I tried you out again last weekend and found that I only have to look things up occaisionally so I have signed on.

Best regards,

Roger
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:37 AM   #16
aikidodragongio
 
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Alright, here's what it comes down to. The rear foot is flat for the purpose of establishing a strong Kamae. It also helps you learn to keep your posture both in the beginning of a throw and at the end of a throw. During a technique, however, of course you're going to keep your feet live. If you kept that foot planted for all your techniques it would be like dragging an anchor behind you.

That which does not kill us can only make us stronger
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Old 07-02-2003, 12:54 PM   #17
Ron Tisdale
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
If there's a sensible explanation for physics-defying biomechanics in the book, and you understand it, why not summarize?
a) you can read

b) I don't do physics, nor do I play a physicist on tv

c) Note: I said "your 'physics'"...

d) I have no intent on getting into one of the pissing matches you regularly engage in (in my opinion only, I'm sure you're a very nice guy)
Quote:
As far as the pudding goes, how am I going to be able to tell if their heels are a paper-width high off the ground? I could imagine working something out with high-speed video, force plates, and possibly computer analysis tools, but I'm afraid I have neither the qualifications nor the equipment.
Ah, not qualified? hmmm...

And I am not the one who talked about "paper-width" anything...
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Ron (there are a couple of variations of the saying...now our illustrious readers have two of them) Tisdale
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Old 07-02-2003, 01:51 PM   #18
Kevin Wilbanks
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Ron,

If you don't want to get into a pissing match, why did you reply to my posts using vague dismissive tactics and not engage the content?

Telling someone to go read a book is a bit lame. If you understand the book well enough to know that it contains information to correct or contradict what I say, then you should be able convery the information briefly in your own words. If not, how do you know it would even be useful to refer me there?

Likewise, telling me to go watch some advanced people who purportedly espouse never putting the weight in the heels is also lame. I could be positively amazed, and afterwards they could tell me they never put more than an ounce of bodyweight on their heels throughout, but it would still prove nothing. If I'm not just going to blindly take your word for it, I'm not going to take theirs.

As far as how nice I am or am not, I don't see how that's relevant to the discussion.

As far as the pudding sayings go, they may both be commonly used, but only one makes any sense.

Roger,

If you take a look at some Ikeda Sensei videos, you will see him pivoting on his heels. I've never seen him move "too late".

Also, I am aware that fencers and kendoka stay up on their toes. However, as you say, their movement is mostly linear, not spontaneously omnidirectional. Even more important, they don't really have to absorb or transfer much force when they strike or block, they are just looking for a light tap. I just don't see how one can push or throw someone, especially with certain techniques like koshinage, with virtually all the weight on the balls of the feet.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-02-2003 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 07-02-2003, 03:57 PM   #19
Alfonso
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wow, let's get religious about this ok?

I mean, goading a Yoshinkai about foot placement?

You troublemaker...

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 07-02-2003, 06:58 PM   #20
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Roger Mouton wrote:
Another martial art that uses a light-heal foot technique is Fencing.
Did a bit of that in university - damm was I bad.

When people talk about the paper thin wedge it is imagery - what they mean is probably better described as Roger did. Weight is not distributed evenly but rather forward.

Kevin;

You don't plan the lurch - you are sensitive to timing and ma ai and MOVE when the situation demands it. A rooted stance is not going to give you that level of responsiveness. Lurch is probably not the best word to use as it denotes a certain clumsiness but you watch a good Shodan or just about any Nidan (don't need 5th Dan for this Ron) in the Shodokan system you will see the speed, grace and pure explosiveness of tsukuri.

Coincidently I have been introducing tsukuri to my beginners over the last few weeks mainly to get their tanto attacks to have a bit more bite. Nishio-san may be seriously cute when she is tanto (well anytime but I digress) but you want to cry with the timidity. Huge improvement once she undertood how to explode.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-02-2003, 08:18 PM   #21
RonRagusa
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Consentrating your weight at your center and keeping it off your feet allows you to assume a low, stable, centered stance and still retain a remarkable degree of freedom of movement. It also allows you to move without first having to raise yourself up in order to get your weight off your feet.

After years of training, I have found that it largely doesn't matter what parts of your feet are on the mat at any given instant. What does matter, at least from an ability to move standpoint, is how you control the distribution of your weight.
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:10 PM   #22
Kevin Wilbanks
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I'm still not sure what we are talking about here. If we're talking about a movement prescription which contends that one never allows the weight to rest in the heels, that's one thing, if we're talking about generally favoring resting on the balls of the feet when a somewhat static hamni is reached it's quite another.

Given a pause in a two-footed stance, I can see how the ball-footed stance would allow one to spring off the back foot, harnessing the stretch-shortening cycle (i.e., plyometric calf power) to move forward with good power. I am willing to entertain the possibility that in this situation, the "off-the-line" speed one could attain would be better than a foot-planted movement strategy. However, in a continuously active randori situation, I see the opportunities for setting up in this position as very limited. The question is, is the additional power available via using the stretch-shortening cyle worth all the trouble. It seems the main effect of keeping the heel up would be to waste energy and induce calf muscle fatigue.

The way I learned to move in Aikido was to be as balanced as possible at all times. We even did drills in which we would walk around and sensei would clap or shout and we would have to freeze to see if we were balanced in mid-stride. The idea behind this style of movement is to walk as though one was stepping on tall, precarious pillars, and all weight must flow as downwards as possible. Moving from one foot to another in this scheme is more a matter of falling or sinking downward into the receiving foot, not leaping with calf power. This style of movement can also be very fast, but one is never off-balance, and the possibilities for altering trajectory during transferrence of the weight from one foot to another are greater, I think. Most importantly, one can be balanced and powerful on one foot or two, and during the transfer of weight, the power of the dropping weight is able to be harnessed and transmitted horizontally - not just in the direction of horizontal center travel. In a calf-powered quasi leap, if one is on the upward arc, there is little power, and on other side of the arc, there is almost no power available to transmit in any direction other than the direction of the leap.

I think that both types of movement have their place. As to who uses which when, and to what effect, I'd like to see some high-speed video analysis, as opposed to just listening to theories.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-02-2003 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 07-02-2003, 10:28 PM   #23
C. Emerson
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The big toe is the secret, I think some masters would tell you the same.

-Chad
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Old 07-03-2003, 01:28 AM   #24
aubrey bannah
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Another view

http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~yoshinryu...shinryoku.html

Such powers I poccess for working in the political field have been derived from the spiritual field. Mahatma Gandhi.
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Old 07-03-2003, 01:33 AM   #25
aubrey bannah
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Sorry,

http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~yoshinryu/eng-

chushinryoku.html
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