Fumikomi for jukendo is very important and slightly different to other martial arts I have done. Today’s footwork exercises are lead by Hisatsune sensei.
As Hisatsune sensei demonstrates the distance taken for each step is very small and the back foot comes up very quickly. During each step you are in a vulnerable state and so the step should be completed as quickly as possible.
The difference between the different ma ai (chika, toma etc) in jukendo are also a lot smaller than, for example, naginata. This means a small step can take you from “out of range” to “in range”. Taking a large step may well move you past your striking range and your opponent may be able to strike you while you are at striking range but still moving. It is better to take several fast small steps in this case.
Ideally you maintain a horizontally moving centre of gravity. Bouncing up and down as you move only increases your vulnerability and usually slows your steps down. Relax your leg joints to help with this.
Relaxed legs will also help you finish the step in kamae and ready to strike should the occasion arise.
If your back foot is angled slightly forwards pushing with the back big toe will be significantly easier. Pushing with the big toe is the key to fast footwork going forwards. However do not move your feet from an incorrect position into a correct position then step. This is a form of okuri and alerts your opponent that you are about to do something and is a hard habit to break once you have formed it.
Note the action of the front knee is horizontal movement. This is clearly seen at 00:27 when, even though Hisatsune sensei is taking a larger and faster step, he does not lift his knee in order to achieve the stomping sound.
At 00:54 you can see that Lukasz finishes the step with his rear heel firmly on the ground and then on the next step when trying to keep his heel off the ground his final posture is unbalanced as he bent his read knee a lot to get the heel off the ground. Neither of these are ideal. The rear leg does have weight on it.
To get the feeling of bringing the back leg up quickly Hisatsune sensei has an exercise where you pretend to kick a ball several times and then with that feeling fresh do the same movement stopping the back leg rather than letting if go through. This exercise also helps prevent jumping for the step. Hisatsune sensei may have used this exercise because Poland just qualified for the World Cup in football and therefore the Poles should be good at this.