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How do you walk, or run?

My youngest has ultra mobile limbs. Her knees are so loose that they twist inwards when she walks or runs, and she has suffered pain as a result for a couple of years now.

Recently the pain has been getting a lot worse in one of her feet. It has got so bad that we had to take her to the doctor’s and it was there that I only truly noticed/realised for the first time in her life, that she walks and runs toes to heel. Not heel to toe as most people do.

This has fascinated me, as my wife also runs like that, and the Doctor said that there was a new line of thinking regarding the benefits of doing it this way. Apparently, it may well be down to the shoes that we now wear and which encourage a heel-strike method of walking. Strangely, this also came up in a HEMA discussion about the best way to use Buckler and Sword.  I’ve included a snippet of the discussion below.

Hello. From what I have seen, both doing HEMA and in videos, people usually fight with their upper body straight (so back straight).

However in the majority of manuscript illustrations, people are often depicted as ‘in stance’ with their upper body leaning forwards from the waist upwards with their weapons outwards. In context, would this be seen as an accurate way to stance (from a historical perspective)? Or is this a means of artistically showing stances and body mechanics (the artists choice)?

  • Alan West DiGrassi says to use the upright posture when using one handed weapons, but in his discussion of the sword and buckler he says to be in a ‘half-bow’ position, so as to maximize the amount of the body covered by the cone of defense. Funnily enough, hisSee More

    Alan West's photo.
  • Michael Brown From memory silver tells us to stand straight and tall.
  • Alan West This might be beneficial in his use of the broadsword alone, especially since you see the upright stance in later broadsword/sabre texts. I don’t recall if he says to modify it when using a buckler, but then again, ‘Paradoxes’ is very light on actual technique. Does he make mention of it in his later text?
  • Matthew Sylvester And therefore little movement of the buckler is required to move it up or down.
  • Alan West Yeah, it works great for passive defense, but the half-bowed position also helps active defense with the buckler. You can cover much more of your body from this position using the buckler with a (slightly) smaller motion of the arm.

    Alan West's photo.
  • Jacob Jewkes interesting
  • Jerzy Mi The forward stance gives you far more stopping power and hitting power. Our natural stance is a little bit forward. We have destroyed it through Heel-Strike type of movement, yet we should be leaning forward. After XVIIth century the stance stops to be forward. Heel-strike movement dominates.
  • Tom Farmer Heel-strike movement is better physiologically for your feet, knees, and just about everything else, too.
    14 hrs · Like · 1
  • Alan West I am not familiar with the term ‘heel-strike’, care to explain?
  • Tom Farmer Stepping by putting your heel down first and rolling onto the rest of your foot rather than landing on the ball of your foot or stomping flat-footed.
    14 hrs · Edited · Like · 1


  • Tea Kew Hm. That’s contrary to basically all of the evidence I’ve seen before (especially if you try and walk with a heel strike without shoes to absorb the force).
    14 hrs · Like · 3
  • Jerzy Mi no Tom, heel strike is the worst that ca happen to your organism. Flat striing is the most healthy and natural. Here is an example (scientific one)
    See More

    14 hrs · Like · 1
  • Jerzy Mi Heel strike was invented through fashion. There is no treatise of pre renaissance teaching heel strike movement. Early renaissance are also falling pose movement.

To see what this actually looks like in practice, take a look below. The video is actually very interesting and the difference in gait is far more than I ever thought it would be. Whether or not this makes medical science (I don’t know, and I’m not afraid to admit that), it is incredibly interesting. So, how do you walk or run. And, how do your children?

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7.


One thought on “How do you walk, or run?

  1. I believed that I could not actually run until I realised that heel-striking and leaning too far back were the problem. Heel strike puts shock through the leg and eventually the rest of the organism. Upper body should lean slightly forward so the body is relaxed and alert. That said, I still hate pictures of me running.


    Posted by chrisamies | March 29, 2015, 8:44 pm

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