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By Bodo Roedel

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Extra info for Aikido: the basics

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How do you move your feet in Aikido? • What do the foot movements look like? As a martial art, Aikido is an art of moving. This means that correct and sure foot movements in Aikido are particularly important in order to be able to execute the techniques. Invariably, therefore, the foot movements take priority over hand movements. When the Aikido-ka has managed to master the foot movements, then he can equally easily learn the hand and arm movements – in short – the hand movements always follow the foot movements and not vice versa.

A specific feeling for the movement belongs in the sequence of these movements. On the one hand, the tension created in the ‘irimi’ element of the technique is dissolved in the ‘tenkan’ element. In ideal cases, this happens when the maximum tension is reached by Tori moving in directly. A central part of the exercise ‘tai-sabaki’ – and Aikido itself – is found by experiencing when and where the point of highest tension exists. On the other hand, ‘tai-sabaki’ indicates that the initial, opposing forces meet and these are developed further from this point – usually led by Tori.

First of all we cover a 90° movement by Tori in the direction of Uke’s front side (omote). Uke attacks with a kata dori (gripping the jacket at shoulder height – see Page 275). The distance between Tori and Uke is so large so that Uke has to take a further step to reach Tori’s shoulder. At the moment Uke starts his attack, Tori also begins to move. He takes one step forwards (irimi). The rear hand controls the distance to Uke for this. At the moment when Uke starts taking hold of Tori’s jacket, Tori changes his direction of movement turning 90° outwards.

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