Much of the Aikido world practices with the hanmi stance. The feet kind of look like this.
On the other hand, the Tomiki system promotes shizentai, a natural body posture.
From my personal point of view, it doesn't really matter a hill o' beans as to which stance you choose. It is more than obvious that there are many splendid artists on both sides of the stance issue. As long as an artist trains in a logical and disciplined fashion, good results are going to be reaped.
Why do I bring this topic up then? Last year a particularly passionate Aikidoka and I had a discussion on an Aikido YouTube video.
Someone insulted a technique saying it had no Hanmi
I responded with - "Hanmi is not important. Most higher level Aikidoka that I like use shizen hontai - a natural body posture."
genkitengu responded with - "I'm not sure what gave you that impression. Hanmi is not negated through experience but improved upon. Aikido is nothing without hanmi. Without hanmi you cannot use your hips to execute powerful nage for example. The Founder constantly stressed the importance of basic form. Aikido without hanmi is like aikido without kiai or kokkyu: Not Aikido."
So no Hanmi = no Aikido
I would like to shatter this illusion. Here are 5 clips by Ueshiba Sensei and some of his top students.
O'Sensei - at no point do I see Hanmi
Tohei - no Hanmi
Gozo Shioda with no Hanmi
Hirokazu Kobayashi - yup, no Hanmi
André Nocquet - no Hanmi
So today's moral is - Maybe Hanmi is not so critical after all. Some artists use it. Others don't. Some use it sometimes. Maybe the lesson needs to be pointed at me too, don't be a geek about stance work.