Friday, September 14, 2007
Shall We Dance?
The Aikido Tango
You gotta love this! Harald Ross and assistant Stefan in one of the absolute best Aikido demonstrations I have seen yet. Watching this has given me several new ideas to add to some of our lock-flow drills, as well as some Bagua applications.
Tai Chi Chuan Stepping and Aikido Stepping:
Here is part of an exchange between Pat at Mokuren Dojo and myself from earlier this year:
I have a question i've been pondering and I figure youre probably the one to answer it since you apparently know a ton more about Chinese arts than anyone else I have access to.
Why in the Chinese martial arts does it seem that they make a point of stepping down onto the heel first, when in Japanese martial arts they tend to preach to land on the ball of the feet first?
Well, I don't claim to be that expert on Chinese arts, but I have discussed this in the past with my Aikido instructor, Chuck McCarty.
He said the Japanese method of stepping method is do to rigid adherance to the sword arts, and possibly a bouncing mobility as in the way some systems spar. (think Kendo)
Chinese arts use a slightly less mobile root, in my opinion. Even in Bagua, which employs twisting and turning footwork, the foot is generally placed flat or heel first.
Formosa Neijia had a recent blog on how immobile some Taji practitioners are in their defense demonstrations, which is to a fault. I have learned a lot from my somewhat limited Aikido training (two years), and feel that cross-training has really helped my Tai Chi.
So with this in mind, I returned from a seminar with my Tai Chi Chuan instructor Michael Gilman last Saturday with some more "rooting" information.
When recieving a push or incoming force, we "root" to THE INSIDE of the rear foot, then release, return or discharge energy back through THE OUTSIDE of the rear foot. As you approach weighted root on the front foot, your root goes to THE INSIDE of the front foot. In this fashion, the root will always be in the INSIDE of one foot and the OUTSIDE of the other. Furthermore, another thing that was made evident is that the Aikido "hanmi" or basic stance is much narrower than the Tai Chi Chuan root. Much more like "walking a rail". This works for Aikido's rapid stepping patterns, (and sword technique) but not for more rooted things like push hands or close grappling.
Moving through the form and push hands with this new rooting technique (which he has been trying to get us to grasp for the last three seminars) has given us a new, deeper level to practice at.
Anybody have other ideas?