Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The least sexy is the most important
Some very smart Blogger recently characterized footwork as the least sexy but the most important part of the martial arts. I agree with this sentiment 100%.
See, aikido and judo are both footwork arts. If you can get your feet working properly then the rest of your aikido and judo tends to start to fall into place.
I've been told recently that some of my local business competition has been telling people that all my aikido is good for is running away. That it is "merely a get-away art" I suppose by that they mean that it is not a real martial art because we can't dispatch the opponents, just run away.
Well, to that I say, " Thanks!"
See, aiki is a footwork art. Nearly the only posture we ever use is shizentai (natural, upright posture), and about the only thing we ever do with our arms is to hold them straight and to open and close our hands. The entire body ethic of aikido is minimalistic - for the express reason that we don't want our bodywork to disrupt our own footwork.
Aiki is an evasion art. If you can at all possibly avoid and evade and brushoff and runaway, you do.
But the problem with that is you have to have a backup plan for when your evasion is imperfect, so we spend a lot of time learning how to hit people for maximum effect and how to bend uke's joints to reduce his mobility so he can't catch up or keep up with our footwork.
When you are good at footwork and you have good strikes and decent jointlocks as a backup plan, the opponents tend to start dispatching themselves.
But you have to have the footwork working properly first.
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