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Pivot

Exercise - Aikido - Beginner - White Belt

"Basic Building Blocks" of Movement: Shuffle - Cross-step - Pivot - Shift

Description

The third of the basic building blocks of movement, it consists of changing the direction kamae points, by pivoting it on an axis that connects the ball of the lead foot, the lead knee and the lead wrist. The stance (left side / right side) stays the same. The movement is the first of two ways to change the center line (change the stance direction or angle), the other being the Shift. Pivots nearly always involve swinging the back leg "backwards" (i.e. pivoting in the direction the back heel is pointing). For the odd times when we'll want to pivot the other way, we call it a "reverse pivot".

This is the central body movement at the beginning of most #2 techniques, and is the main component of the Basic Movement Tai No Henko Ni (95 degree Pivot).

Beginners should practice it initially with their hands on their hips, the development of a strong lower body being the priority. When incorporating the upper body, the stance stays the same, so the hands don't move. Care should be taken with pivoting to ensure that the front toe and knee are pointing in the same direction, espectially at the end of a strong pivot. Avoid torque on the knee which can produce repetetive strain injury over time if practiced the wrong way.

Technique

  1. Start in left or right side kamae
  2. Begin by relaxing / softening the front knee, moving the center of gravity forward.
  3. Rotate the front foot, leading with the knee and swinging the front heel out to the side.
  4. Swing the back leg, which is kept strong and straight, backwards in an arc.
    • Keep the foot flat and in contact with the ground using suri-ashi, paying particular attention to the outer "blade" of the foot.
    • Keep a strong, square hip.
    • Pivots can range from 90 degrees to 180 degrees or more.
    • The ball of the front foot ends on exactly the same place it began, with the rest of kamae rotating around it.
  5. Once in the new position, take a moment to run through the "mental checklist" to ensure a strong stance.
  6. Repeat pivoting several times on each side, then switch to the other leg forward (left and right)

To do a reverse pivot:

  1. Start in left or right side kamae
  2. Begin by relaxing / softening the front knee, moving the center of gravity forward.
  3. Swing the back leg around "forwards" in an arc, keeping it straight and in contact with the ground (suriashi).
  4. Rotate the front foot on the ball of the foot, bringing it to kamae.
  5. Once in the new position, take a moment to run through the "mental checklist" to ensure a strong stance.
  6. Repeat reverse pivoting several times on each side, then switch to the other leg forward (left and right)

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