Foot positioning in aikido

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by Silver_no2, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. Silver_no2

    Silver_no2 Avenging Angel

    Reading through a post earlier this evening I came across one from Aikiscotsman that said "...hanmi ie one pointing straight in front and the other behind facing side on so you have a triangle from there you can run through any tech", which got me thinking...

    ...when I started at our club I was told that the way to stand correctly was simply to stand in neutral posture and then step one of your feet forward. The idea is that your feet would still be facing forward and that this position will give you the ability to move in all directions smoothly and quickly. Furthermore, we are told that the torso should be facing your attacker/opponent so that you can move in all directions.

    The positioning quoted above sounds to me (and I'm certainly no expert so forgive me if I'm wrong) as if it might limit your ability to move as fast as possible as the directional power of the back leg is facing out to the side. The body mechanics just don't seem to work as well if your back foot is horizontal. It also means that your torso will naturally twist to the side, leading to you not being in the optimum position.

    What are your thoughts on this people? Is the stance that aikiscotsman talks of something that is considered the norm to all styles of aikido other than Shodokan? What are the advantages of it?

    Anyway...of to bed now as it is passed midnight and it's a school night! Night all!
  2. aikiscotsman

    aikiscotsman Banned Banned

    It sounds like silver practices Tomiki Aikido, if you do you must bear in mind this is not traditonal Aikido as Osensei taught, but an art devised by one of his oldest stuednts. Tomiki's changed a lot from traditonal Aikido ( im not saying thats bad, i have no idea. So dont start thinking im bringing it down)

    As for the foot work im talking about, HANMI, this was O'sensies body position he adopted and perfected from understanding ken movment. its not just his feet in a triangle position but his entire body from toes to shoulder ie. if his right foot is in front so should his shoulder be instead of feet in hanmi and shoulders square( this would be only feet in hanmi)
    You will see some other people who stand with there front foot forward but turned right out to the side exposing the knee and putting alot of pressure on it and a long stance, and the hips are also square which is bad for understanding moving in hanmi, it also limits your hip monement. This is not the feet position Osensie used in Aikido ( maybe before it) Its a stance that comes from older jujitsu schools and buki schools.
    I used to see Saito sensie going crazy when he saw people standing that way he used to always say " you will never see any pics of Osensei Not in Hanmi, and hes right, when you look at any pic of the founder especially from the 30s ( when he was deciding on the name Aikido) he is awlays in hanmi.
    The only other postion is hitoemi (side on) Thsi comes from understanding aikijo movements or irmi where everything goes past you.

    I believe you guys generally stand in a box shape, as this suits the style of training tomiki wanted to do.
    To truly understand hanmi you have to understand tainohenko( the exercise Osensei studied every day and said that everyone should do this to be have strong stable hips.)
    as for limiting my speed in movement, thats so untrue. Unless you spend time working on a stance it will alwasy limit your movment.
    But try to understand hanmi is born from the ken as is most of aikido. From hanmi its so easy and fast to move in any postion, especially when you understand the ken. When im in hanmi i only have to open one side of my body to avoid a strike.
    Hope this is of some help.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2004
  3. DexterTCN

    DexterTCN New Member

    Hanmi (half-body) is a learning tool.

    Contrary to what some think, hanmi is common in Shodokan - and on that point Shodokan is in fact traditional Aikido, Tomiki was of course the first person to be given 8th dan by Ueshiba and was his student and friend for many years.

    Hanmi is not used extensively in Shodokan however. It has no value in randori as such because posture/composure/centre are tested in other ways.

    Whereas hanmi is a good tool in many forms of Aikido, techniques such as shomen-ate (where the 'stance' is of course hanmi :) ) show us that moving off-line negates any benefit from a solid stance - you cannot be solid in all directions at once. Indeed most aiki techniques involve moving offline in relation to your attacker.

    If I could make one personal observation - in the West one of the most common attacks is a very fast headbutt. The old Samurai guys didn't get many people trying to headbutt their swords. If you are in hanmi then this headbutt will put all your weight on your back foot and the fight is over quite quickly after that. All fighters know that the first thing to do is jab at your opponent to see how he deals with it. Hanmi comes from weapons and is totally unsuited to coping with jabs.

    That is not to say anything bad about hanmi, it is just to say that hanmi is not universally effective.

    Hanmi as I said is a tool, a tool for teaching principles. Shu-Ha-Ri. :)
  4. SmilingBear

    SmilingBear Valued Member


    In Nihon Goshin Aikido we use both of the stances mentioned (we call the box stance a kicking stance). However we also use an "extended Hanmi" where the back leg is straightened (but not locked) and a jigitai (excuse my horrendous spelling) where the the feet are turned out at 45 degree angles (horse stance to you TKD folk) and any number of variations on the above.

    Each stance has it's place in training, and to say that one is more valid than the other is overly simplistic. We probably spend most of our time in hanmi because its a well balanced base that's useful for transitioning into various techniques, but there are situations where it's the absolute last position I'd want to be caught with my feet in.

  5. aikiscotsman

    aikiscotsman Banned Banned

    DEx your not going to like me saying this as usual, but that is rubbish about hanmi being usless against jabs, Hanmi is such a natural way to stand, Also how on earth would my weight be on the back foot if i headbutted some one/ or recieved a headbutt. I can assure you mate there is no way that would happen. Having been in a situation before it was hanmi that got me out.
    The reason Osensei worked on hanmi for aikido is because its very easy to move from in any direction and very fast. Its also very unconfrontational, becasuse its not really a fighting stance.Hanmi also came from very old kendo schools, before they addopted square on for comps.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2004
  6. aikiscotsman

    aikiscotsman Banned Banned

    Have a look at this link to a very good website of David Alexander who stayed in Japan for 10 years. the whole site is really good with great pics and vids plus the info is fanatasic. but look at the three b/w photos of osesnei in Iwama with ken, and read what it says about his stance.
    then click on media at the bottom, then click images, then look at the 3 b/w photos of Osensie with a ken and read the info.
    hope you guys enjoy it, its one of my favorite sites.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2004

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