Fumikomi Exercise

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.

9 thoughts on “Fumikomi Exercise

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  1. Hi Simon, if you are doing two or more fumikomi steps as part of a Nidan or Sandan Tsuki combo, I imagine that the steps would be smaller. In that case, how would one develop power in a shorter fumikomi step? I feel that I can develop power in a longer fumikomi step of 2 feet or so, but what about in a step of 6 inches or so?

    1. Not entirely sure which power you are talking about. Like going forward momentum? We don’t run through after the strike so that doesn’t matter so much. If you mean striking power that should be achieved largely through shime rather than momentum so fumikomi is only there to aid in shime I think. If you bring your back foot up fast you will have a better transfer of power from your legs and keep your centre of gravity nicely forward so again distance shouldn’t matter. This applies to taiatari as well, a long step to gather momentum probably leaves your centre of gravity behind which means you push with your upper body, two smaller steps with fast back foot are more likely to get your hips (by which I think everyone means centre of gravity) into the power transfer and deliver a lot more force. Maybe watch some shiai videos of the big boys and pay attention to their back foot?

  2. Thanks for the detailed reply, Simon 🙂

    I have a related question: In the YouTube video at 0:32, the subtiles says “Kick with the back leg.” Does this mean kick backwards with the rear foot so as to push off of it with more force? Or to kick the rear foot forward towards the front foot to complete the Fusion step?

    In addition, when looking up Jukendoka on YouTube to study their shiai, who do you think has the best footwork, including fumikomi? Any particularly legendary names on the current tournament circuit, or historically (like how one watches fights of certain boxers who are known specifically for good in-out footwork, or good head movement, or good angles, etc)?

    1. For the kicking do both. Don’t step with your front foot, kick with your back. Don’t leave your back foot behind.

      I have no idea who would be on youtube from the past and for the current people best to look at all the finals and pick something you think you can emulate. If you copy the loser and end up coming second that is still pretty great 🙂

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