View Full Version : weight training - swariwaza

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Diane Stevenson
02-09-2009, 10:54 AM
I've reached my physical conditioning goals of general fitness to comfortably make it thru an evening at the dojo. And while I know I need to continue working to strengthen my core, I need to set some new goals (SMART etc etc.).

So, I'm thinking it would be really nice to be able to practice swariwaza techniques without looking (and feeling) like a beached sea mamal. I also suspect my excessive thumping is due to lack of strength, not part of the technique :p

I'd really like to hear from the sempai and yudansha suggestions for training routines that address the strength/flexibility needed while avoiding excessive wear and tear on the knees. :uch:


02-09-2009, 05:14 PM
Use the ground, and move less.

Grant Buhr
02-09-2009, 08:13 PM
When it comes to weight training for women, I always recommend Krista Scott-Dixon's excellent (and free, non-commercial) site:


(link is work safe)

Garth Jones
02-09-2009, 09:18 PM
Hi Diane,

For general leg strength and all the ups and downs of training, I have found walking lunges very useful. For suwariwaza, probably the best thing is to do it regularly, but never too much at once, while you build up all the various muscles. Practice knee walking - regular steps, side to side steps, long steps, and turning. This way you'll get a bit a workout without the added issues of practicing a technique with an uke. My ankles and toes have always bothered me more than my knees.

And finally, if you can at your rank in your dojo, wear a hakama. An extra layer of fabric really helps the knees! If a hakama is out, then wear judo gi pants (with the extra panel in the knees).

Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei made a video all about knee work some time ago. It's available from Bu Jin Design (www.bujindesign.com) and you might find it useful. Somebody in your dojo might well have a copy.


Nathan Wallace
02-15-2009, 08:51 AM
actually the thumping for me right now is due an injury but when im not broken it is how i do it that makes it come or go.

02-15-2009, 03:40 PM
Hi, I would like to second the recommendation to practice knee-walking at home. Shouldn't need much space, one step forward, one step back is just as hard as several in a row, right?

I also think flexibility helps a lot for suwariwaza. Side-splits and this one http://www.howtostretch.com/karlittle.jpg I think are really helpful for making knee-walking steps more easy and graceful.

C. David Henderson
02-15-2009, 04:18 PM
I think I agree with those who advocate practicing knee-walking, but if,like me, your knees are prone to injury from excessive suwari waza, finding an appropriate surface at home to practice is important -- if you can, you might want to invest in one or two tatami mats, which can be stored out of the way, but which provide the ideal kind of surface to practice.

Flexibility training is also good. A stretch we sometimes do -- where you start sitting in seiza and slowly recline backwards towards lying your back on the ground is very good. If you haven't done it before, though, be careful about alingment of your knees, and don't put too much stress on your lumbar region when going backwards.

I also find usefule a classic yoga stretch: From standing, you grab one foot by the toes, hold it behind you with the same-side arm, stretch the other arm overhead, and lean forward with your upper body while arching back with your arms and the captured leg. Tip--keep the shoulder of the arm reaching overhead lined up with the arm grasping the captured leg to maintain balance, and/or do the stretch facing a wall you can touch with your free hand for balance.

Or, go in the kitchen, face away from the counter, put the top of your toes on top of it, and stretch your knee gently towards the floor.