Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Foot Work.

Lately I have been thinking about Footwork versus Stances after going over some basic Aikido footwork in the eight directional diagram.
There is a basic 'Guard' called Hanmi one takes up and moves through at various points, but really no stances, just Footwork.

This is where Karate is confused, I feel, because there was the imposition of standardization from outside which inhibited the natural way of doing things, thus, things became more rigid and we ended up with various names for things in order to accommodate standardized syllabus.
The Japanese love their Standards and the Okinawan Karateka were very keen to be seen as fully assimilated to Japanese Culture rather than be shunned, some of them even receiving payment for their loyalty and efforts to promote assimilation into Japanese Culture and Customs.

This is not meant to be an Anti-Japanese rant, that is there to light the way back in order that we may understand just what it is we are doing as, obviously, the way of Aikido is a Japanese way based on Japanese Standards and is NOT as rigid as Karate had become, thus leading one to feel that the Okinawans were a bit over zealous in their efforts.

What happens when we remove the word 'Dachi' and replace it with something like 'Ashi' similar to the way Aikido utilizes terms like 'Ayumi Ashi' to describe a principle of motion, like stepping, or Tenkan for turning, or Irimi for stepping inside, or Irimi-Tenkan for stepping inside with immediate turn??
What happens when Sanchin Dachi is no longer seem as a 'thing' but a 'process??' Does this take away from Karate or add a deeper level of understanding?? Most would cry foul because it is 'not a traditional way of looking at it,' to which I argue it is a deeper level of understanding a VERY traditional concept.

What happens when Zenkutsu Dachi becomes just a long forward shift and you look at it more in terms of, say, Irimi??
Saifa, for example, has an example of where it is utilitzed as Irimi with partial Tenkan into what we, presently, call Musubi Dachi before dropping into Shiko Dachi.
Drop the 'Dachi' and find another way to describe these movements as less static and rigid, more dynamic and alive, more to do with the movement of the Center, or Hara, and not so much as 'fixed positions.'

Sensei once said someone about the 'formless form' and had pointed me towards a book called 'Kodo: Ancient Ways' written by Reverend Kensho Furuya, a Zen Priest and Aikido Sensei.
This was my first introduction to the idea of Shu, Ha, and Ri... One learns to emulate, one learns to variate/deviate, then one breaks free and is no longer bound by outward forms, but internal Principles that have become their own.
In this way ALL ways become one way and there is no differentiation because they all apply to one another to varying degrees based upon the manner in which they are applied by each individual.

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