View Full Version : Knee Walking - Shikko

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Ewan Wilson
12-22-2008, 05:49 AM
think Shikko is the correct term, not sure.

I came back to class last week after having to take a good while off after breaking a finger. (nothing to do with Aikido) we spent a good portion of the class practising techniques from kneeling and walking up and down the mat on our knees. I haven't done it for ages and I really struggled. when I took it slowly my sensei said my technique looked ok. but whenever I sped up, my rhythm went all over the place and when trying to perform techniques I was not moving my knees properly. slow and weak around the hips?

can anyone recommend any exercises for developing the area around the hips or tips for better knee walking? I tried to think of one point and driving movement from there but fatigue set in alarmingly quickly. anyone know any insider tricks to help?

Janet Rosen
12-22-2008, 10:06 AM
Yeah : be patient with yourself!

Lyle Laizure
12-23-2008, 03:45 AM
Be paitent is great advice. Best exercise is to practice.

Nathan Wallace
12-23-2008, 07:47 AM
Are you bouncing up and down as you go? when you sink your center into the earth do it through extension not literally. keep your hips at the level just higher than where you move up and down while shikko...ing? and move along that plain. see if that helps. and do it alot. practicing shikko is great.

John Matsushima
12-23-2008, 08:03 AM
can anyone recommend any exercises for developing the area around the hips or tips for better knee walking?

Doing more shikko will develop the muscles you need.

Don't bounce, go slow,and keep good posture. I also found that taking smaller steps makes it easier.

12-23-2008, 08:14 AM
little and often our sensei tells us.

Luc X Saroufim
12-23-2008, 09:24 PM
i remember the days when i used to dread Shikko. the pain will go away soon.

Stefan Stenudd
12-24-2008, 04:02 AM
Here are some things I usually tell my students:
Keep the same height, like a train on its track. Aim straight forward with your knee, until it touches the ground, then turn your body to aim forward with the other knee, and so on.
To soften the knee's floor touch, spring a little extra forward at that moment, with the toes on that leg's foot.
To avoid friction burns, lift your toes sligthly from the floor when you turn and when you slide forward with the other leg.
Don't make steps bigger than a 90 degrees angle of the leg, and not that much smaller either, or you're hardly moving forward at all.
I guess you find a good shikko technique if you think of it as sliding forward like on a railroad track, and if you allow your body to make proper turns at each step.

Maybe you can see what I mean on my suwariwaza ikkyo video clips here (but that's mostly quite short steps):
You can also check the hanmi handachiwaza clips.

12-24-2008, 04:21 PM
It's probably been said, but listen to your body. I'm a fan of daily practice, but slowly and step by step. When I practice kata I try to always do shikko/seiza forms of waza, focusing on gliding across the floor (as if I were on ice and each step were like ice-skating) and smooth, whole-body (everything moving in unison) feelings...it seemed to make it easier. I think it helps to start on soft ground too and progress to something harder...less bruising on the knees anyway.

jennifer paige smith
12-24-2008, 04:32 PM
I'd focus on the gluteal muscles and the toes. If you focus on maintaining your butt underneath your lower back your weight will likely stay back rather than forward and this will help in maintaining aligned posture.
Use your toes like shock absorbers and this will also keep your weight from going too far forward( which it sounds like is happening by the descriptions you offered).
By reducing the forward weight of your body you should accomplish the relief you need on your knees and you might even get a jump on improving your overall suwari posture and mobility!
Keep your weight back and low.

01-05-2009, 07:24 AM
There is an excellent video on developing suwari waza and shikko techniques from Hiroshi Ikeda sensei.

Ewan Wilson
01-05-2009, 09:29 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll try to heed it tonight.

01-05-2009, 02:20 PM
Doesn´t Ikeda sensei have really bad knees? So bad that he does standing rei etc?

There is an excellent video on developing suwari waza and shikko techniques from Hiroshi Ikeda sensei.

Tony Wagstaffe
01-06-2009, 08:53 AM
Doesn´t Ikeda sensei have really bad knees? So bad that he does standing rei etc?

Yep and he was very good at it from all accounts......

I would take the advice of less but often and make sure you are properly warm before doing so...... best time is at the end /after a randori session doing suwari waza to cool down.....
I have difficulty in it now ......in fact I have always found it uncomfortable in the big toes but still practice it for suwari waza...... I'm not so sure that shikko actually develops strength in the legs and hips....... I have found that regular squats and forward lunges (Isotonic and Isometric) with the back straight and lowering the hips into a low position do far more in strengthening the legs than shikko on its own do......
Listen to your body is a good notion.......
My own take on this is some are more better (predisposed) than others according to their physical make up and natural flexibility in their joints..... which varies widely ...... for example I'm more fexible in my hips than in my big toes!!??


01-06-2009, 10:01 AM
Doesn´t Ikeda sensei have really bad knees? So bad that he does standing rei etc?

The story I was told was that after having knee surgery Ikeda Sensei wasn't as consistent with his rehabilitation as he could have been and that may have contributed to his current lack of seiza/suwari waza. I believe I also heard someone say that Ikeda Sensei used to do shikko on stairs many years ago, which may not have helped his knees much. NOTE: I wasn't there, so I don't know. Also, Shikko Stadium Running is not recommended or mentioned in the Ikeda Sensei Shikko video mentioned by someone else above.

Personally, I believe that proper long term knee health involves strong, balanced and flexible muscles around the knee joint, at least that's my hope.

I'll second what many have said, practice and pay attention to your body. My knee pain tends to be related to tight muscles in the back and side of my upper legs, but your mileage may vary. I also recall that it took quite a while for my ankles and toes to get stretched and strengthened before shikko felt reasonably good. I chose to work a little bit at it every time I showed up to class.

01-06-2009, 10:27 AM
I agree with John -- it looks to me like the people who do the best shikko have a combination of strength and flexibility in the right places. I think what I need is to work on achilles tendon flexibility and strengthening some of the smaller core muscles.