The drop step is a simple concept, but it takes some practice to truly master this technique. This is a method of maximizing the efficiency of your movement.

To do a drop step:

  1. Slowly begin leaning forward from a standing position.
  2. Eventually, you will reach a point while leaning forward where it will be necessary to move one of your feet forward in front of you in order to keep from falling.
  3. Move your trailing foot forward to regain balance.

This is different from a regular step you might take while walking down the street because, when walking normally, we rock backwards slightly while stepping from heel to toe with the feet – there are many unnecessary movements that could slow us down.

Imagine an attacker is coming towards you. In aikido, our first objective is to get off the line of attack. Try getting off the line of attack using a “normal” step. Now try using the drop step. You should find that the drop step allows you to get off the line of attack more quickly and with less effort. To effectively avoid an initial attack, you don’t have to be quicker than your assailant, only more efficient. Getting used to the drop step will enable you to respond faster in a variety of areas of your aikido practice. If you do Tomiki-style aikido, this will also be of great value in “The Walk”, or walking kata.

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