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Smaller, more conservative steps

Photo courtesy of Rutty
The topic of the month is evasion.  We are making a deliberate study of how to step out of  the way of an incoming attack. Check back through this month's archives to see some of the previous posts.  Today I wanted to add a small detail - that is, a detail about small steps.
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You want to take small, conservative steps out of the way. Avoid huge, lunging evasions.  Consider Mifune's famous beachball lecture.  If you take a beachball and kick it dead center, it acquires a lot of energy and flies a long way.  But if you kick it tangent to its surface, barely grazing it, it mostly just stays in place spinning.  Even if you get slightly off-center your energy will go, to a large extent, into spinning the ball instead of sailing it.
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The same goes for evading an attack.  Even if you only get partially out of the way, you will be in a much better position than had you stayed put.  The energy you take from the attack will be greatly decreased and off-target. (But it will still pay you dividends to put on some boxing gloves sometime and learn to take a hit).
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So, if you only have to get slightly out of the way to disrupt an attack greatly, you can afford to take smaller steps, rendering you faster and more stable.  We train this by cutting a square of paper the width of your stance (slightly narrower than hip width) and doing footwork exercises referencing off of the corners of the square.
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Patrick Parker, is a Christian, husband, father, judo and aikido teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282
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