The moving body
Among the fundamental elements of budo or bujutsu are, taijū no idō or bodyweight shift and taijū no dendō or bodyweight transmission. The displacement of the bodyweight is when one moves so that one moves his center of gravity and the transmission of the weight of the body is an extensive use of the displacement of the weight of the body which makes it possible to transmit the weight of his body to the other. Hino Sensei states: “Strictly speaking, the movement of the body’s weight is to move by making one’s body a single block. For example, moving forward, or backward, being a solid block …

stepping with gravity

Taïjū no idō

Controlling own body during displacement is controlling the effect of gravity.
Taïjū no idō or body weight movement is a skill for example to avoid an attack from the opponent. By using the proper footwork, the distance between tori and uke can be managed in favour of tori. Sometimes the skill of avoiding an incoming attack can be done without displacement of the feet.
Gravity gives weight to physical body and can be used to start displacement during footwork.
The power generated during this displacement is called “Ido ryoku”.
Another skill to generate ido ryoku is tenshikei or diagonal tension. (see chapter Tenshikei)

Taïjū no dendō

Taïjū no dendō or transmission of body weight. using gravity
This is a skill to transfer body weight into the opponent without pushing or tensing muscles.
It is used to facilitate the creation of kuzushi (balance disturbing).
To perform this action, contact with the opponent is needed.

If we attack with shomen uchi or shomen tsuki (straight forward attack) we need to put the weight into the attack.
When performing tegatana awase, we also can put weight in the tegatana.
Don’t confuse putting weight into the opponent by a pushing action.


Footwork a basic exercise in Tomiki Aikido and a fundamental “pattern”.
To call Tomiki Aikido a martial art we must consider the situation of the opponent. The opponent will always react on our movement. If we move too early we will have difficulties in performing a successful action on the opponent. If we move too late, we will be defeated.
Using a movement before we take action on the opponent has to be avoided. By using gravity sensation pattern we can avoid to give a signal.

The gravitational pull to initiate your steppping movement

How to use the gravitational pull in unsoku exercises?

The answer to this question is simple : weight shift to reach the starting point of a movement. When you need your rear foot or leg to initiate your stepping movement there is always a move called Okori (起こり), initiation, beginning (of a movement). On the other hand, if you “fall” which is exactly what will happen when you lose your balance there is no Okori, the opponent cannot detect your initial move. Of course after the initial falling move you will use your leg muscles and a slight kick off with your rear foot but the difference you can make during the first one hundredth of a second is so critical in a confrontation.

Point instability

“Moving from the state of instability”

What is the state of instability?
It is a posture where you can move the kyokotsu in the desired direction without giving a signal to the opponent. There is no use of intentional power, you only use taïjū no idō or body weight movement as the main source for your movement. Taïjū no idō or body weight movement is the skill to bring you to the edge of stability into instability.

When you have the sensation of gravity, you will also experience the point where stability is changing into instability.
We also know we put a foot in the direction of the instability without a conscious thought. The body reacts naturally.
The starting point of a movement with the feet forward, backward, to the side or diagonal will happen without any extra movement.
This gives a great advantage when attacking or defending, because the opponent will not receive any indication when the attack or defence starts. The movement starts from emptiness, the mushin mugamae concept.

“Mushin Mugamae”

Kenji Tomiki used often the expression “mushin mugamae”, sometimes translated as “empty mind, empty posture”. In mushin or mugamae we find “mu” or “emptiness”.
Musashi Miyamoto (1584-1645), famous Japanese sword master, wrote a book called “Gorin no Sho” or “The book of 5 ring”. In the chapter about “Mu” or “Emptiness” he wrote:
Knowing what doesn’t exist and knowing what does exist, that is Mu.
The study of martial arts is based upon how to use the body and mind. If we are not mindful of our body we will never progress, we cannot think about our body, but we have to feel and experience the dynamics of our body and mind, therefore we need to empty mind and body to absorb new experiences and not sticking to old habits.

Find your own speed for performing movements.

By using the sensation of gravity and the moving from the state of instability, we will find out our natural speed during the stepping.
There is no intentional movement or no intentional power to accelerate, the stepping is complete natural.


Aikido is a dynamic martial art. Footwork is a part of Tandoku Undo (Solo exercises). See also Tandoku Undo Tegatana Dosa.
The method of moving around is a skill based upon several methods of stepping. There are many methods, but in case of basic training we will consider only these 4 methods.

• ayumi ashi
• tsugi ashi
• suri ashi
• mawari ashi

Musashi Miyamoto – Book of Water : With the tips of your toes somewhat floating, tread firmly with your heels. Whether you move fast or slow, with large or small steps, your feet must always move as in normal

ashi no korobi: rolling – folding/unfolding of the foot.

Ayumi ashi (stepping)
Stepping can be seen as the action of a wheel on each foot. There are 3 actions with the foot and the knee is the centre of the wheel.

1. putting the heel
2. putting the ball
3. putting the toes

Synchronisation of the front and back foot is necessary to have a smooth stepping movement.

way of stepping03

During stepping the knee is flexible and can be seen as the leading factor in the movement.
By keeping the knees flexible you can keep the body on the same level.
You will avoid the up/down movement and the left/right swaying of the body.

Tsugi ashi (shuffle)

Basically tsugi ashi is bringing the back foot (in case of moving forward) quickly forward by keeping the leading foot always in front

Suri ashi (sliding feet)

During suri ashi the foot keeps contact with the floor. There is no lifting of the floor. Only short distances are possible without going up and down of the body. This way of stepping is only useful in a place with a flat floor. It is also a method to use weight shift as power generation in specific situations.

Demawari ashi (turning feet)

This is an important footwork method and will be used during kata and randori. Tenshikei the method for spiral power is using this footwork.


About shobukaidojo

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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