Sensei Says, “Renshū This…” (Footwork)

Of late, we discovered that I’ve developed some very bad habits involving my footwork. These bad habits are the cause of my falling down from tai–atari (body attack) several times.

J–sensei had been pretty rigorous with me in overcoming my fear of tai–atari and developing correct footwork, so last night’s keiko was dedicated to exercises involving a lot of long, quick suriashi across the floor and hitting the wall with our , and also lots of men–tai–atar–hiki–men. It was insane!! But I just had to trust ‘the program.’ He says that just like a boxer who throws a punch 100%, his opponent needs to meet that blow to lessens the impact by 50%. In the same way, the motodachi needs to meet the kakarite for tai–atari in order to decrease the power of the kakarite’s forward velocity, but to do so, motodachi needs to root his feet well on the ground and use his tanden to meet kakarite at the point of impact (or something like that).


Practicing tobikomi men… footwork galore!

Anyway… I’ve still got miles to go till I finally shed off the bad habits and replace them with correct ones, but I’m thankful that I have one sensei who is intent on helping me become better.

Below are some notes I’ve taken from various sources on the subject of footwork:

  • “The secret to success depends on sharp footwork.”

  • When striking do not strike from the hands but from the koshi, from the legs. – Noma Hisashi

  • “Do not think of striking with the right hand, strike with the left, do not think of striking with the left hand, strike with the koshi (hips), strike with the legs and feet.” – Noma Hisashi

  • Hips should be kept square to the front, with the buttocks tucked in. When pushing or lunging forwards your body will then keep straight.

  • “…back leg should be tense with the heel only slightly raised (just by 15 degrees). The knee of the front leg should be slightly bend and the foot should be parallel to the ground, as if a thin sheet of paper were between it and the floor.”

  • Feet should be in a position that feels comfortable and stable.

  • “…strong (but small), movement with the right foot, followed immediately by the left, allows you to bring the whole strength of correct chuudan to threaten your opponent.”

  • Simply do not step back.

  • Again, if by retreating one cannot avoid the opponent’s sword, one may cause it to miss by stepping either to the left or right. Or else one could avoid the blow by leaping into the opponent himself.

Share your thoughts?

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