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Thread: Toes up, Toes Down?

  1. #1
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    Default Toes up, Toes Down?

    OK.

    This question is mainly directed to those folks that practice both kendo and some kind of koryu bujutsu.

    Basic premise, during ashi-sabaki drills, at least one of my sensei really emphasize keeping your toes down.

    I've also seen references where folks talk about inching forward as if using your toes to pull yourself forward.

    That said, this past weekend, I had the please of watching a Shinkage Ryu/Owari-Kan Ryu demo lead by Mr. Hunter Armstrong.

    I notice that almost without fail, all of the more advanced students move with their toes raised the entire time...even when standing in kamae.

    I did ask one of my friends who was in the demo why they did that...before I share though, I want people's experience on why they keep their toes up or down.

    Thanks!
    David Pan

    "What distinguishes budo from various sport activities is the quest for perfection."

    - Kenji Tokitsu

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCPan View Post
    ...This question is mainly [emphasis added] directed to those folks that practice both kendo and some kind of koryu bujutsu.
    Well, you did say "mainly."

    Toes down gives good grip for quick lineal movement on wooden floors as found in a Kendo hall.

    Toes up reduces chances of tripping on rough ground as found on the dueling grounds, battlefields, streets of Old Edo, etc.

    But I bet that's what you were already thinking, wasn't it?
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Those with kids will tell you about toes up and picking up the feet to move through a dark house with lots of very sharp, small kid's toys scattered around.

    I'm sorry, but the toes up, stomp around in the field theory only works for me if there's thick grass you have to step over to avoid tripping. Otherwise my feet are down where my toes can feel that rock that's about to roll under my foot.

    Kim Taylor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Taylor View Post
    Those with kids will tell you about toes up and picking up the feet to move through a dark house with lots of very sharp, small kid's toys scattered around.

    ...

    Kim Taylor

    Seven-year-old in my house. Two am this very morning I wake up with a spasm (piriformis syndrome, or at least I think that's what they called it). I grumble, roll out of bed on the floor and stretch things out, then I stumble off to the medicine cabinet to take my meds. On the way back I step on one of my daughter's lego pieces...

    So if you're having your battle anywhere there may be lego strewn on the floor -- toes up. Caltrops are for sissies -- they should just toss lego pieces on the ground...

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    From the little I've seen, sword styles that developed in a context of training outdoors often seem to emphasize the toes-up approach, while sword styles that developed in the context of training on a nice, smooth wooden floor emphasize the toes-down approach. For several schools, lifting the toes is an extremely deliberate thing, so it must be important to them-- watch the unpo of Jikishinkage Ryu or the unique stepping method of Maniwa Nen Ryu, and you'll realize that, for whatever reason, these styles attach great importance to proper stepping.
    David Sims

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    My opinion is, in all likelihood, worth exactly what you are paying for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdlarman View Post

    So if you're having your battle anywhere there may be lego strewn on the floor -- toes up. Caltrops are for sissies -- they should just toss lego pieces on the ground...
    Try UK electrical plugs with the pins facing up. The most painful thing to step on!
    Mat Rous

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    Well, you did say "mainly."

    Toes down gives good grip for quick lineal movement on wooden floors as found in a Kendo hall.

    Toes up reduces chances of tripping on rough ground as found on the dueling grounds, battlefields, streets of Old Edo, etc.

    But I bet that's what you were already thinking, wasn't it?
    LOL, that was the "same" response that I was expecting. And my own pre-formed retort would have been why in the world would that make a difference if you are wearing "footwear".

    Surprisingly, the reason I was given was that toes up drives your weight back which makes you engage your hips more.

    I'm asking about it because I'm not convinced that hip engagement is "toe" dependent....
    David Pan

    "What distinguishes budo from various sport activities is the quest for perfection."

    - Kenji Tokitsu

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    David Pan

    "What distinguishes budo from various sport activities is the quest for perfection."

    - Kenji Tokitsu

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    Well, on that site, Miek Skoss reports that Yagyu Sensei said much the same thing I did.

    Who am I to argue with someone like him?



    Quote Originally Posted by DCPan View Post
    LOL, that was the "same" response that I was expecting. And my own pre-formed retort would have been why in the world would that make a difference if you are wearing "footwear".
    See the photo here: Samurai Photo

    Relatively soft sole, toes often hang over the edge, no "upper," etc.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Here's another picture of a "properly fitted" waraji.

    It shows pretty well why one might want to walk around with toes raised as often as possible.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    Here's another picture of a "properly fitted" waraji.

    It shows pretty well why one might want to walk around with toes raised as often as possible.
    I see...

    I still don't get why some of the koryu folks train "barefoot" outside though :P
    David Pan

    "What distinguishes budo from various sport activities is the quest for perfection."

    - Kenji Tokitsu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Taylor View Post
    Those with kids will tell you about toes up and picking up the feet to move through a dark house with lots of very sharp, small kid's toys scattered around.

    I'm sorry, but the toes up, stomp around in the field theory only works for me if there's thick grass you have to step over to avoid tripping. Otherwise my feet are down where my toes can feel that rock that's about to roll under my foot.

    Kim Taylor
    I suppose stomping around in the slippery jungle slopes cutting trees and banana with my long bolo wearing flip-flops comes fairly near to field work. Stones are no problem but mud! Very often losing my footwear or they slip around too much. I suppose I should wear welly boots. A lot of the locals just take them off and go barefoot. Never realized how essential it was to get a good base before using the hara and cutting outside. Another interesting point is where the opponent theoretically falls when you cut him down. One thing for sure is my stuff does not fall when I want it without careful planning. Four bananas yesterday with trunks over 10" Enough to make more than a few shakes and food!

    Good job they never had barbed wire in ancient times.

    Still waiting for that cobra as thick as a coconut to turn up the neighbors have seen.
    Hyakutake Colin

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    Jesus, Hyaku, where the hell in Japan are you?
    Josh Reyer

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