The influence of Chidori ashi

During “corona” time, we manage to do a lot of solo training. Solo training for a prolonged period can change our movements. It is necessary to understand the mechanism behind the changes. This post is an attempt to explain some points I am working on during this “corona” time. I have the opportunity to practice in my Dojo without the danger to get infected by the virus. Most of you will notice the modifications in my ideas for training, after all, life is always changing according to our experiences.

Chidori ashi

The influence of Chidori ashi is a rather complicated and includes more than the placement of the feet. Of course, there is a pattern for foot placement. But we cannot forget the role of the center line, gravity, pelvic tilt and some other elements.

A basic “chidori-ashi” pattern

Hanmi gamae or half posture is a basic stance in many martial arts and it is used in a lot of circumstances.

Chidori ashi is mostly used to have a bigger range of hip/lower back turning: koshi-mawari.

After some training, you will find out your own direction to use hanmi gamae and certainly the benefits of Chidori ashi posture.

The centre line

The centre line is an imaginary vertical line. In general, this line is perpendicular to the floor. The picture of Teruo Fujiwara shows a perfect centre line.

During taijū no dendō (transferring body weight), the center line can tilt a few degrees depending on the conditions.

Offensive Centre line

The first set of the JAA-Tandoku undo – shomen uchi/shomen tsuki – is using the center line in an offensive way. This originates from swordsmanship. When the sword breaks away from the center line, we are vulnerable to an attack from opponent.

Some points to take into account:

The centre line is a straight line in front of the spinal column. Everybody’s spine has a different shape. Some of us bear a natural hollow lower back, others have almost a hunchback.

Center line is not a fixed line in a perpendicular format to the floor. It is possible there is some inclination of the center line. If the inclination is going out of range, we need to do some adjustment to avoid too much tension. See below for this kind of adjustment.

When we learn to move “koshi” or lower back, we will take into account the structure of our spinal column. It is not wise to force our structure into a stance which can result in chronic pain.

Before we perform the movements of tandoku undo tegatana dosa, we must first master the skill of koshi mawari.

Protecting the center line

Both hands are protecting the centre line after adopting a chidori ashi posture.

In his book on Aikido, Senta Yamada made a notice about the importance of the centre line. Yamada sensei is using a hanmi gamae.

Stepping into “kamae” – hanmi kamae or chidori-ashi – has to take into account the important concept of the centre line.

The hands are protecting the own centre line and are pointing towards the opponent’s centre line.

A weapon is protecting your own center line, and on the other hand it is also threathening the center line of opponent.

Angle of inclination

The centre line has on top a direction range of 360°. The angle of the inclination is rather small when standing in shizentai.

The angle will increase when adopting hanmi gamae or Chidori ashi posture in the direction of the posture. The range of movement (forward, backward and turning) is influenced by the placement of the feet. (See below)

During inclination, the role of koshi comes into play for adjustment by using a pelvic tilt.

Pelvic tilt

Koshi mawari is a very complex movement and “pelvic tilt” is a part of a complete koshi mawari.

There are 3 positions of the pelvic:

  • Neutral
  • Posterior pelvic tilt
  • Anterior pelvic tilt

Neutral stance is used in the situation when no action is needed. A posterior pelvic tilt is in general used when the inclination of the body is going forward and we need to make adjustments for applying taijū no dendō. A anterior pelvic tilt is used when we retreat for an incoming power. The anterior pelvic tilt is needed to execute the rotational movement of the body – koshi mawari –

Range of turning movement

By using “chidori ashi” posture, our range for koshi mawari is much larger than for hanmi kamae. Chidori ashi posture opens the front of the koshi more than a basic hanmi gamae. While a basic hanmi gamae has a range of about 135°, chidori ashi posture has a range of about 180°

Range of bodyweight movement

When adopting hanmi gamae or chidori ashi posture, the body weight can move in an efficient way forward, backward and turning. A combination of these 3 actions is possible. There are 3 basic body weight postures, and in each posture we can turn the body. By adding “tsughi ashi” or sliding feet, we create almost unlimited possibilities of movements for offensive or defensive tactics.

  • 2 forward – offensive movement
  • 3 neutral
  • 4 backward – defensive movement

Taijū no dendō and gravity

Basically the center line and gravity are in the same area, but it is possible to have a small inclination depending on the situation. For example, just before a strike or a push is applied, the body moves a little forward to put body weight on the ball of the front foot. Releasing this tension will rebound the power stored in the tension. A pelvic tilt is needed to transmit the power of gravity (stored in the tension of the front foot) into the opponent. The line of gravity is moving forward to keep the body up.

Forward movement

The body in the previous picture has an egg shape. If you generate a mental image of an egg shaped central body, you will feel and understand the interaction of the pelvic tilt, the center line and gravity. The influence of Chidori ashi and the associated elements becomes apparent if you practice this on a regular footing.

Partner practise

It its necessary to use partner practise to experience the influence of your solo training. In “corona time”, weapon training can be a solution. This will be a theme for another “post”.

About shobukaidojo

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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