Sunday 16 July 2017

Toe Direction

The direction of your toes doesn't have to be 'perfect'; however, perfection must always be sought after in daily training.
A very important aspect,  especially in regards to unsoku/ashi-hakobi, is ‘TOE DIRECTION’. This is not only about external form but optimal efficiency, angle of movements and, consequently, transfer of power.

Besides intention, spirit, trajectory, and positioning: the power in the Karate-Do I practise, and teach, is ‘generically derived’ from four main sources:

1) Propulsion / Transferring of weight: via moving the body;

2) Compression and expansion – vertical power;

3) Rotation of the hips/waist –horizontal power; and,

4) Relaxation: and resulting ‘snap’ of techniques.

Toe direction is especially important for ‘propulsion/transferring of weight: via moving; but almost equally as important when comes to rotation of the hips/waist: as it is one of the keys to perfectly coordinate the upper, middle, and lower sections of the body; in particular, the ‘harmonious twisting’ of the ankles and hips.
Above and beyond this point is that, here in Japan,—the advanced method employed by the more elite practitioners—
is close-guarded or, as the saying goes, ‘kept in-house’.

Obviously, mastery and continuous practise of this imperative aspect of Kihon is vitally important: if one is seeking maximise the effect of ‘martial arts karate’ techniques.

I'd like to conclude with an encouraging point… For many karateka, especially non-Japanese practitioners, directing their toes correctly is particularly troublesome. The good thing is that this can be overcome by knowing where, and how, to use ones power: especially by using the aforementioned elite method. More than anything else, this relates to the correct use of kakato (kakuto chushin)—heel centralisation/centreline  and tsumasaki—the toes of the opposite foot when moving.

In this context this ‘fundamental’ doesn’t only relate to coordination but, again, as mentioned above, weight transfer.
Hence, ‘snap’ can be made by the lower and upper body and, simultaneously, maximum bodyweight can be applied: the ideal mix of heavy and light, hard and soft.

Once karateka can do this, they can move on to much more advanced aspects. My plan this year has been to include this aspect then within my teaching schedule and, then next year, we will begin to go well beyond this (and other vital elements). Overall, 2017 has been, and continues to be—a technical springboard for 2018 and, indeed, into the future. My best wishes to everyone here in Japan, and around the world, from an increasingly hot and humid Oita Prefecture.

押忍, アンドレ

© Andre Bertel. Oita-City, Japan (2017).

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