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Tristan Newton
04-06-2006, 09:55 PM
Hi,

Not to seem like an idiot but I am curious do many non Japanese dojos do suawari waza or hamnihantachi? (sorry I dont really use `romaji` much so I have probably made a spelling mistake :)

Basically I mean techniques between 2 people in seiza (on their knees) or where the uke is standing and the defender on their knees.

My sensei here is so fast on his knees but I still feel clumsy even after several years.

Have people actually ever used it in a real life situation? Its very handy if you are a samurai on tatami and you want to defend yourself against someone with a katana but in our times I wonder.....

I am interested in hearing peoples ideas

Cheers

Tristan

Dajo251
04-06-2006, 10:16 PM
We do them a few times a month, I cant really see a practicle application, because I rarely sit in seiza outside of aikido. I think its all part of the learning process in aikido.

raul rodrigo
04-06-2006, 10:21 PM
My first sensei used to say that the quality of your kneeling techniques is the quality of your standing techniques. If you cant do it properly kneeling then then you can't do it standing.

Janet Rosen
04-06-2006, 10:24 PM
it is done to a greater or lesser degree in most of the dojos i've been a member of or visited, regardless of style.
in my 2001 survey of 101 dojos, i found that barely any of them reported doing seated technique never or only for kokyudosa; 62% said not often, and when they do, just for 1or 2 techniques per class. 23% reported doing, in most classes, 1 or 2 techniques, and barely any reported often doing much of a class seated. What is interesting is looking at this in terms of selfreposrted incidence of acute knee injury in 5 yrs:
"Forty-five percent of the "many injuries" category of dojo report doing seated technique with high frequency. This is considerably more than is reported by the dojo with lower incidence rates of acute knee injuries.
I decided to look at those twenty-six dojo reporting higher frequency of seated practice (23 that in most classes do one or two techniques suwariwaza or hamni handachi, plus 3 that often do classes consisting mostly or entirely of suwariwaza or hamni handachi). Six of them are in the "highest injury" group of dojo. Their overall injury rate is considerably higher than for the survey as a whole. When it comes to male-versus-female injury rates, it is the only factor noted in the survey to reflect a major discrepancy. This is not explainable by disparity in relative numbers of female students, who comprise a similar proportion of total members for this group and other groups.
"It is not clear whether this correlation has to do with injury related to seated practice or, as with certain warm-ups, if it is a reflection of an intensity of practice. Whether the jump for women knee injuries is an anomaly is likewise unclear. Hopefully, surveying individuals who have been injured will shed some light on these issues."
in other words, high freuqency of seated techniuque may well be a risk factor for knee injuries, especially in women. problem is we have no way of assessing predisposition to risk.

Janet Rosen
04-06-2006, 10:26 PM
link
http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/AikiKnee.html

Mark Uttech
04-06-2006, 10:42 PM
I think that suwari waza is actually a saving grace, a technical training that helps us examine the beauties of the art. Suwari waza also plays a strong part in the art of the tea ceremony.

Tristan Newton
04-06-2006, 11:24 PM
Hi All,

Thanks for ideas and especially Janets long reply.

I can see how on the surface suwari waza could be bad for your knees but actually when its done properly I believe few injuries occur.

In actuality I think you are more likely to damage the joints in your big toe/foot as that should be the point which takes most of your weight.

The main problem I found when going for my shodan was that the skin on my big toe came off in chunks - not nice (Japanese summer is indeed a cruel thing).

I would imagine an ACL injury would be mainly caused by a twisting and/or hyperextension. When I was doing hapkido this was a real potential problem but I dont feel that way about aikido.

I would say the elbow joint is most at risk, especially if some new student comes along and is overly rough.

When I return home I would still like to do suawari waza as I think its actually useful for counter attack once you roll out of shihonage (if you are really fast) or from a front ukemi.

Thanks again for the ideas

Tristan

Dazzler
04-07-2006, 02:29 AM
Hi,

Not to seem like an idiot but I am curious do many non Japanese dojos do suawari waza or hamnihantachi? (sorry I dont really use `romaji` much so I have probably made a spelling mistake :)

Basically I mean techniques between 2 people in seiza (on their knees) or where the uke is standing and the defender on their knees.

My sensei here is so fast on his knees but I still feel clumsy even after several years.

Have people actually ever used it in a real life situation? Its very handy if you are a samurai on tatami and you want to defend yourself against someone with a katana but in our times I wonder.....



I'm surprised you've reached Shodan without actually asking your instructor why you do this work.

Aikido is as wide as it is long, everyone has differing opinions and usually if you take the time to listen there will be some genuine reason for the way they practice.

In my experience the main reason for Suwariwaza work is that it prevents the disguise of poor technique by adjustment of the body position. Effectively its a lot harder to perform and if its 'not right' its a lot easier to see.

I'm sure what consitutes as 'right' varies wildly across the aikido world.

By effectively removing the legs from the equation then body position, distance, posture and so on all need to be correct. Its much harder to feel a technique going adrift and take a couple of sneaky steps to compensate.

Hamni Handachi waza is similar ...it has the added ingredient of necessitating the breaking of ukes posture prior to execution of any technique.

In a nutshell I'd say we use this practice as a teaching aid and not as "techniques".

I for one do not envisage kneeling down to anyone and saying "come and have a go if you think your hard enough" :D

I probably wouldn't do it standing either.

I guarantee there are others who view it differently and without a doubt they will have some sound basis for doing so.

However, I look forward to reading the posts of anyone that says this would be their position of choice in a confrontation.

D

Tristan Newton
04-07-2006, 03:54 AM
Hi Daren,

Thanks for the feedback.

Whoever said I didnt ask? :)

The answer I got was that its origins are from samurai times and that they would often have to fight from a seated position.

This was from my original teacher at a different dojo and havent asked my current teacher about it.

Yours is a fair assumption however I do not think it is the actual reason that it was incorporated into aikido. When they do demos here they often combine standing and kneeling into 1 fluid "show".

I think its handy in getting you fast on your feet actually after ukemi because it trains the balls of your feet which are essential for pivoting when standing (at least in Nishio syle).

Anyway thanks for the ideas :)

Cheers

Tristan

Dazzler
04-07-2006, 04:45 AM
Whoever said I didnt ask? :)


Thought you might say that ;) ....perhaps I should have included an 'if' in there. :D



The answer I got was that its origins are from samurai times and that they would often have to fight from a seated position.


This was from my original teacher at a different dojo and havent asked my current teacher about it.


I've heard this too. For me thats not adequate enough explanation to maintain the practice in modern time. Traditionalists are entitled to disagree but for me its a bit like taking bows and arrows to a rifle range. I'm after something a bit more relevant to contemporary times in my practice so am happy with the explanations I've been given.

At the same time I'm a firm believer in horses for courses..if this is good enough for anyone else then I have no problem with it.



Yours is a fair assumption however I do not think it is the actual reason that it was incorporated into aikido. When they do demos here they often combine standing and kneeling into 1 fluid "show".


I'm sure they do. They do that here too. I cant really speak as to why it was originally included in Aikido. I'm sure there are some Historians on aiki web who had hands on with O'Sensei and may have asked that very question. Probably been a few threads on it too. Your question was why do many japanese dojos do it now.

So my response isn't an assumption it is a fact relevant to the dojo and Federation I practice in. As I've said there will be many different views on this each depending on the philosophy of the individual or group, and each group will have their own justification for doing things the way they do handed down from their seniors and technical advisors.



I think its handy in getting you fast on your feet actually after ukemi because it trains the balls of your feet which are essential for pivoting when standing (at least in Nishio syle).


I'm sure it is. I've certainly seen a few short people spring off the floor when dealing with big ukes in hamni handachi waza.



Anyway thanks for the ideas :)

Cheers

Tristan

Thank you too.

Cheers

D

Dazzler
04-07-2006, 04:56 AM
ps. From a health and safety point of view its also very useful when you have a very crowded mat.

Cheers

D

Karen Wolek
04-07-2006, 05:53 AM
We do suwari waza and hanmi handachi at my dojo. Not every class....maybe in one or two classes a week. Depends, though. Sometimes Sensei has us doing it almost every class for a couple techniques. And we have been doing them in every advanced class for awhile, because we are all getting ready for ikkyu or shodan.

My sensei says that doing them helps you to learn to move from your center.

Steve Mullen
04-07-2006, 06:58 AM
I find that hanmihandachi-waza can be usefull to demonstrate how smaller people should handle a larger (i.e. taller) uki.

Nick Simpson
04-07-2006, 07:17 AM
To be honest, I'ave always found Suwari Waza easier than tachi waza. Uke generally cant attack as fast and as their already closer to the floor less work is required to get them down. Theres obviously more to it than that but thats all I can think of off the top of my head. Perhaps it's because I enjoy it?

Josh Reyer
04-07-2006, 09:22 AM
"It is not clear whether this correlation has to do with injury related to seated practice or, as with certain warm-ups, if it is a reflection of an intensity of practice. Whether the jump for women knee injuries is an anomaly is likewise unclear. Hopefully, surveying individuals who have been injured will shed some light on these issues."
in other words, high freuqency of seated techniuque may well be a risk factor for knee injuries, especially in women. problem is we have no way of assessing predisposition to risk.

Janet, did you note the type of mat used by the dojos? In his ukemi DVD, Ellis Amdur suggests that soft mats can lead to injuries because the mat "grabs" the patella, unlike sport tatami, which have less give.

Speaking of Ellis Amdur, perhaps Tristan would be interested in these Aikido Journal blog entries:

Fighting on Your Knees, part 1 (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=67)

Fighting on Your Knees, part 2 (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=69)

Fighting on Your Knees, part 3 (http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=74)

DaveS
04-07-2006, 09:41 AM
However, I look forward to reading the posts of anyone that says this would be their position of choice in a confrontation.
Well, it'd get around the complaint that a lot of aikido techniques against kicks only work against kicks to the upper body...

Dirk Hanss
04-07-2006, 10:38 AM
Well, it'd get around the complaint that a lot of aikido techniques against kicks only work against kicks to the upper body...

Pleas not in this thread :eek:
Please post this in one of those "aikido does (not) work". ther I'll be happy to answer ... or ignore it ;)

Dirk

P.S. it is funny, that some people complain about aikidoka not knowing about how to fight on the ground and others asking, why one should go down in training.

MaryKaye
04-07-2006, 03:36 PM
If you teach children by training with them, hanmi-handachi is a very useful skill. We have a really skilled but smallish eight-year-old and there are many techniques I can only do on him if I can do them hanmi-handachi. (I'm not nearly the contortionist to get under his arm for shihonage, for example, and if I do most of my ushiro arts from standing I end up wearing him like a cape.)

I think my teachers do hanmi-handachi with adults mainly because it makes certain kinds of muscling or forcing techniques more difficult--the theory is that if we can learn the hanmi-handachi or suwari-waza form, we'll take back good habits to the standing form.

There is also a class of forward-roll throws (they probably form the majority of our actual hanmi-handachi training time) where we're doing the throw from kneeling because it aids uke in working on certain aspects of the ukemi. Hanm-handachi can be a good first throw into forward roll for some students.

Mary Kaye

Karen Wolek
04-07-2006, 08:07 PM
I'm very short, Mary can attest to that (hi, Mary!).....I'm only 5 feet tall. Sometimes I will complain (ok, whine) to Sensei that I can't do a certain technique because "I'm too short!" He'll get down on his knees and have my uke attack him, do the technique hanmi handachi.....and prove to me that my height has nothing to do with anything. Hmpf.

But hey, it also goes both ways....when the Big Guys (tm) have to do hanmi handachi, they get to see how I feel sometimes! <grin>

tedehara
04-08-2006, 02:36 AM
I'm very short, Mary can attest to that (hi, Mary!).....I'm only 5 feet tall. Sometimes I will complain (ok, whine) to Sensei that I can't do a certain technique because "I'm too short!" ...<grin>
Five feet tall would make you about the height of the founder.
This art was made for you.

Karen Wolek
04-08-2006, 07:09 AM
Five feet tall would make you about the height of the founder.
This art was made for you.

That's what everyone always tells me when I complain! "O'Sensei could do it just fine..."

Yeah, but....

he was O'Sensei! Not 2nd kyu Karen from Poughkeepsie! :D

Karen Wolek
04-08-2006, 11:27 AM
Guess what we did in class this morning? The first four techniques were:

Suwari waza katatori ikkyo ura
Suwari waza katatori iriminage
Hanmi handachi shihonage ura
Hanmi handachi shihonage omote

How does he KNOW?????? ;)

Luckily after those four excruciating techniques, we got to stand up for the rest of class. Woo hoo!

Well, I was woohooing until the last technique of the morning....a choke. I still don't like those....

Charles Cunningham
04-08-2006, 11:41 AM
Janet prepared a great write-up of her study of the incidence of serious knee injuries in >100 aikido dojos, which can be read at her website

http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/Write-up1.html

Among other things, her study addresses the question Joshua raised regarding the correlation of mat surface to knee injuries. Apparently, the 8 dojos that use wrestling mats all fell into the "no knee injuries" category, while 7 of the 8 dojos reporting the highest incidence of knee injuries used fake tatami/foam or gymnastic mats. One must be cautious in drawing too strong a conclusion from these numbers, in part because 8 is a small number (implying greater uncertainties) and in part because mat surface may correlate with some other more significant causal factor.

Charles

SmilingNage
04-08-2006, 11:48 AM
I ve never come across people being injured from suwari or Hanmi Handachi being nage. Most people pass on it if they a pre-existing leg ailment. But I ve never seen it cause an actual injury other some scraped up toes and knees. Though I 've seen uke injuries from those techniques.

Now I have to keep an eye out for that

seank
04-09-2006, 07:25 PM
We regularly practice suwari-waza and hanmi handachi, and both of these styles are graded as part of our normal syllabus.

As a few people have mentioned it is an excellent tool for teaching students that height does not matter, and also for emphasising proper technique (as its hard to hide what you are doing wrong).

It is also an excellent tool for learning to move with your hips and not your upper body, and also to judge and adjust for ma-ai. I find that while shikko is very easy to do, suwari-waza techniques require more thought than tachi-waza and that I must constantly adjust to the variations being closer to the ground imposes.

Aristeia
04-10-2006, 12:00 AM
P.S. it is funny, that some people complain about aikidoka not knowing about how to fight on the ground and others asking, why one should go down in training.

Hey Dirk - I know that that comment was made toungue in cheek but still feel it should be pointed out that there is a difference beween suwari waza and fighting on the ground.

I am a big fan of suwari waza. I think it's a great tool for improving tachi waza and learning body alignment. But it should always be pointed out that suwari waza is not newaza.

And of course there is the injury question. Not the "hey look joe just hurt his knee doing that one suwari waza technique" type injury but more the "I've been doing Aikido for 15 years, how come my knees feel like crap" injury.

batemanb
04-10-2006, 03:37 AM
I`m surprised no one`s mentioned it, but practising in suwari waza is an excellent way of developing power through your hips. Working in suwari waza you have to use your hips to move, in doing technique this way, you can then transfer this movement to standing techniques which helps increase the power in your technique.

rgds
Bryan

Aristeia
04-10-2006, 04:38 AM
what bryan said. Also helps to develop a general feeling of centre (which some would argue is the same thing)

mathewjgano
04-10-2006, 05:33 AM
Hi tristan,
The dojo I train at here in America does a lot of suwari waza, but it's a pretty traditional dojo from what I understand. I find if I do it regularly and stretch well before-hand, I don't get knee injuries. Suwari has helped me to move from my center a bit better and while for all I know it could be a relatively weak position to be in, it's fun to be a smaller target whipping around low to the ground sometimes. You certainly have more mobility on your knees than on your back or stomach, making it easier to dodge around...but finding a place that won't scrape up your knees can be tough. I can roll on pavement fairly well if it's also pretty clear, but when I've pushed off with my knees it quickly became painfull, regardless.
I like hanmihandachi for what seems to be a good exercise in learning about how to establish kuzushi from different heights and ranges.
Take care!
Matt

mathewjgano
04-10-2006, 05:38 AM
...perhaps suwari is also a good way to simulate closer-quarters interactions?

Dirk Hanss
04-10-2006, 07:02 AM
Hey Dirk - I know that that comment was made toungue in cheek but still feel it should be pointed out that there is a difference beween suwari waza and fighting on the ground.

I am a big fan of suwari waza. I think it's a great tool for improving tachi waza and learning body alignment. But it should always be pointed out that suwari waza is not newaza.

And of course there is the injury question. Not the "hey look joe just hurt his knee doing that one suwari waza technique" type injury but more the "I've been doing Aikido for 15 years, how come my knees feel like crap" injury.

Michael,
for me there are two reasons to train suwariwaza/hanmi handachi.
1.) If you pin someone (in seiza) and you are unexpectedly attack by a second person it is a typical hanmi handachi situation (traditionally rather being trapped in a japanese house).
2.) Suwari waza is a way to fight on groundlevel and avoid lying on the ground (newaza), being unprotected against additional opponents.

OK the other arguments are accepted, too.

The injuries are to be taken seriously and I still wonder, how millions of Japanese and other Asian folks can sit for hours in seiza over 70 years without having these problems and our knees degenerate after a few sessions of suwari waza on soft aikido mats.

Are these genetic differences or should we only force our children to move more on knees in younger years?

Regards Dirk

Kevin Leavitt
04-10-2006, 01:27 PM
Yes suwariwaza is a good technique for developing hip movement. I think it is the whole point of doing it...that and posture and balance.

I do it all the time in groundfighting and BJJ...you have to if you are doing jiujitsu correctly! We just don't duck walk around the mat 100 times! :)

eyrie
04-10-2006, 06:06 PM
Well, if you can't sit and stand "properly", how can you hope to defend yourself? ;)

Aristeia
04-10-2006, 08:14 PM
.
2.) Suwari waza is a way to fight on groundlevel and avoid lying on the ground (newaza), being unprotected against additional opponents.

I personally don't think it's particularly effective as a ground fighting strategy. Most of the time if you can get to seiza you can get up altogether.

OK the other arguments are accepted, too.

The injuries are to be taken seriously and I still wonder, how millions of Japanese and other Asian folks can sit for hours in seiza over 70 years without having these problems and our knees degenerate after a few sessions of suwari waza on soft aikido mats.

Are these genetic differences or should we only force our children to move more on knees in younger years?

Regards Dirk
My guess is that there's a difference between sitting down to eat and talk and occasionally knee walking from here to there, and doing hours of technique involving constant movement.

eyrie
04-11-2006, 04:52 AM
Suwari waza is merely a training tool for learning how to do aikido "correctly". It's got nothing to do with groundfighting. In fact, it's got nothing to do with fighting at all, much less responses to specified attacks. In fact, if you can do aikido from seiza - WITHOUT MOVING YOUR FEET, then you can do aikido standing up, lying down, sitting in a chair, or with your back up against a wall.

ze do telhado
04-11-2006, 05:56 AM
hi, in my opinion swari and hanmi hantachi waza were used as indoor techniques, in the past ( and even today ) when indoor people used to stay in seiza and from that posicion they should be able to deal with any attack. in the present besides the same utilization, swari waza and hanmi hantachi waza are useful for developing strong hips and good balance.( sorry about my bad english )

Suwariwazaman
04-18-2006, 01:27 PM
Hello from Cincinnati, We use suwariwaza alot. I agree that it is great for dealing with uke that are bigger, and it helps with proper posture. My Sensei says the answer is in the hips. Hanmihandachi is huge. :)