When entering or turning which move first, the hips or the feet?
O’Sensei’s Kuden (Saito, M., Traditional Aikido, Vol 1, p. 4) says:The rotation of the hips determines the movement of both feet, The movement of the head determines the movement of both hands.
Saito Sensei’s comment on the Kuden adds:“However, the hips move before the feet. Do not be aware of only moving the feet. It is good practice to rotate the hips to evade an opponent’s thrust.”
A simple application of this form is in the second suburi. Saito Sensei describes this technique as follows (Saito, M., Traditional Aikido, Vol 1, p. 27):
“The right foot steps back as the sword is raised overhead. At the same time, twist your hips to move your body out of the line of attack. As the strike is made, a step is taken with the right foot, and the right hip is thrust forward.”
Both O’Sensei and Saito Sensei emphasise the importance of initiating our moves with the hip. Not only do we start with hip rotation but we finish with a hip thrust. Do not lead with the feet but with the hip.
Remember the old saying from the 60’s:Don’t be square, be hip!