Monday, December 02, 2019

How to test your balance

If you know me then you know that I am always playing balance games, standing on one foot, walking on curbs, doing judo rolls as slowly as possible backwards and forwards.
But you might have missed a really good balance game that Tomiki gave us as part of our aikido.  We know it as tegatana, or simply, "the walk," but some other practitioners call it unsoku and tandoku undo (footwork and solo exercises).
There are several movements in which the practitioner waves a hand in front of himself, turns around, and then puts the hand above his head.  These moves look a little bit like a ballet pirouette.  It turns out that these aiki-pirouettes challenge your balance in several ways.

  • Taking the step creates horizontal momentum, which you then have to control.
  • Turning 180 degrees creates rotational momentum and suddenly changes the muscles that you have to use to control your momentum and balance.
  • Raising your arm above your head raises your center of balance and makes you less stable.
  • Some groups even finish this movement on tiptoes, which raises your balance further.

So, not only is this movement pattern functional, mimicking some motions that you will see later in techniques, but it is a fantastic balance test and balance-building exercise.

Want to discuss this blog post?
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Patrick Parker
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