Thursday, July 27, 2006

Same hand stuck foot

James Reuster gave me an idea several years that I have gotten a lot of mileage out of. I think he learned it from the Aikido of Maryland folks. It is "same hand stuck foot." This is the idea that whatever hand is the power hand, you would prefer to stick that same foot to the ground. Until this point the model we'd used was "same hand same foot," or the idea that whatever hand was the power hand, the opposite foot was grounded in the back. "Same foot" is a great way to apply power in a push, but it is very hard to be neutral - tori ends up stuck in a push whenever he starts it. The "stuck foot" idea pretty much cures that problem, leaving tori much more neutral and mobile.
The tai chi guys talk a lot about "ground path," including this guy, who has a lot of interesting articles and some good tapes on the idea too. The idea of ground path is to create a route through your body from the power hand to the ground so that the force the opponent puts on you ends up directed against the ground. With the "same foot" idea, the ground path goes from one hand through the center and down the opposite leg. This sticks both sides of your body in place - the power hand on one side and the grounded foot on the other side, reducing your mobility. Alternately, the "stuck foot" idea creates a ground path from the power hand through one side of the body and into the ground. This leaves the center and the other side of the body free to move and respond if the technique does not work.
It turns out that it is easy to correct when you find yourself stuck applying force in "same foot" so that you are in the more mobile "stuck foot." You can either change the power hand or the grounded foot. Both of these fixes show up in the wrist releases and especially in randori and make a big difference in your mobility.

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