PAN AM Judo Footwork

pan am judo       Judo combatants fight one on one, barefoot. Each martial artist tries to throw his opponent off-balance by pushing and pulling.  This technique sets up a final backward or forward throw-over onto the mat. While fighting, martial artists maintain an attitude of ‘mutual prosperity’. This is one of Judo’s principles; the other is the ‘maximum yet efficient use of energy’.

Judo footwork involves holistic control: carriage of head above hips, unreadable eyes, calm breath, flexible torso and complex hand movements that synchronize with feet.  The martial artist’s footwork begins simply in the ‘natural position’. Whether advancing or retreating, swinging, sweeping, clipping or hooking his feet, the fighter’s posture and way of walking are integral to his movement and state of mind. Integral and intriguing.

Natural Position

Enduring the pushing or pulling of judo is possible with solid balance. The fighter keeps his feet shoulder-width apart, pointing outwards at about 45°.  His weight naturally projects over his big toes, always equally on both feet. His knees and hips are relaxed and slightly bent.

Judo Walking Method

The fighter’s legs, hips and feet all move forward or backward at the same time in the natural position.  Weight continues to be evenly distributed on both feet. He would never put one foot forward and ‘leave his other foot behind’.  Rather, he would take a step forward on his right foot and bring his left foot forward far enough while remaining in the natural position.  The left one more or less follows the right.  The Japanese name tsugi-ashi  literally means ‘following feet’. **   He walks with his hips. His feet do not move too far apart or too close together, his body—head, shoulders, hips—rise and fall. He walks with a smooth sliding gait.

[Usually humans walk by putting their weight on one foot and advancing the other, then shifting their weight to the advanced foot as soon as it touches the floor and advancing the other foot. If we walk backwards the process is the same, only in the opposite direction. Forwards or backwards, this walking method always leaves your weight on one foot for an interval during which your body itself remains back with that support foot.] (1)

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[** Note the name of this blog.]

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)



PAN AM Archery Footwork

pan am archery    How much footwork could there be in a sport that values stillness?  Step onto the range and into the archer’s shoes for a moment. The shooting line is parallel to the target line. The archer stands with one foot on either side of the shooting line. The hand holding the bow points towards the target. The centre of the target is directly in line with the archer’s big toes. The setup of his feet ensures greater accuracy.

The ‘Square Stance’:

Stable posture is key. Feet are approximately shoulder width apart. If they were closer or further apart, the archer could sway and thus affect his aim.  His body weight is distributed evenly. His feet are ‘at the root’ of the feeling of ‘being firmly planted’. You would be able to draw a straight line from the top of his head, through his navel to the shooting line between his feet.

Archers using a right hand bow, place their left foot ahead of the shooting line and vice versa. He rotates his feet into the ‘square stance’ with feet parallel to the shooting line. With ‘straight as an arrow’ posture, the archer’s hips and shoulders are ‘in line’ with the direction of aim, perpendicular to the target face.

Once the shooting begins, the feet don’t move.

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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


Problems with Peripatetic Texting

Walking while distracted peripatetic texting

Walking and texting challenge us to pay attention simultaneously to two different activities. As with driving and texting, the dangers are real.  But walking is more physically demanding than driving, requiring coordination on many levels.

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia found these effects of peripatetic texting:

  • There is a distortion of gait and walking form, which even unintentionally, causes a more upright, rigid body position.
  • Gait patterns change; texters take shorter steps at slower pace.
  • With an unchanging head position, eyes on the screen and chins bent toward chests, their neck and lower back joints have less range of motion.
  • When arms stop swinging loosely and are bent and locked into place, there are mechanical constraints on the upper body and midsection.
  • As pelvic joints stiffen, their leg motions become jerkier.
  • Walking a straight line is difficult; texters’ feet veer to the side with almost every step.

In summary: texters walk ‘like robots’. This research suggests that their bodies and brains have prioritized the texting over the natural movements in walking. Little wonder that poles and other pedestrians get in the way.

Adapted from “The Art of Texting While Walking” by Gretchen Reynolds.