Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The importance of toes

I had never really considered how important my toes were to my karate until I recently had my toes injured.

Suddenly I became more aware of how my toes are greatly used to keep my balance as I move forwards, backwards, and sideways. I found myself tipping over like a drunken sailor as I tried to perform my kata just because the toes on my left foot weren't strong enough to do what they needed to do.

I have never thought that body parts that are so little, and so far away from the head would be so important.. but they are! If I can't move without falling over, then how good can I strike??

If toes are important to training.. then let's go even smaller.. what about toe nails.. surely they can't mean much. Yet.. as I think about it.. toenails are also very important. If they are too long they can easilly catch on the Gi material, and be torn. If they are dirty, it would be easy to scratch our fellow dojo mate, and give them an infection.

Wow.. even the smallest things can mean alot when you look at them closely.


MrX said...

I see toes like the roots of a tree. The smallest roots will anchor the tree so that the strongest wind can't make it fall.

I somtimes feel that my toes are trying the drill holes in the tatami when I do certain stances (like the one leg crane).

This is why we should sometimes practice with shoes on. Gives us a whole new perspective

[Mat] said...

we are told, in taichi, to grip the ground with our toes.

as weird as it sounds, I had never done it. As weird as it sounds, my balance as improved tenfold with this simple little thing.


CV said...

Hi my Shotokan-collegue: yesterday we had a tournament in Kata. Maybe you would like to see Photos from that?

frotoe said...

Here here! its unbelievable how important those little things are to balance. I had an accident involving a cast iron radiator a year ago (it fell off a hand truck right onto my feet) and ended up having half my middle toe amputated. not to mention several bones crushed/broken and a huge wound on the top of my foot. I still haven't gotten my balance back the way it used to be. Luckily, it wasn't the big toe or the little piggy, but it still had a huge impact. Also my circulation in that foot is horrible now. I would post pictures of the ordeal but they're really gross. (i took pictures weekly of the foot usually after the weekly debridement I had to endure)

supergroup7 said...


Practicing with shoes on.. I haven't tried that.. ever! Do you do kata with shoes on, or just sparring combinations? I bet you that the added weight of the shoes, and the grip will affect your kicking alot.


Yes Mat.. I find my toes gripping the ground alot now. We just got some new floor mats in our dojo, and guess what I learned? Gripping the rubber mat with your toes makes it HARDER to move on those mats. Your toes will indent into the floor, and although you release them when you go forward they will still stay in that indent for that brief second. I found my toes folding over, and potentially hurting when I tried to move forwards with force. I wasn't the only one in the dojo to experience this phenomena. To train on those rubber mats, I've learned that you have to keep your toes up some when you move fast.


I looked at your photos. Is that you doing kata, and standing in side stance? Very nice! I like the focus displayed in that position.


Of all people, I knew that you would understand the whole importance of our toes idea. How have you adjusted to missing that one toe? Do you find that your left foot has a different ability to balance than the right, or did your body find a way to make it as strong? I'm sorry to hear about the pain that you suffered through your rehabilitation.