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10-09-2002, 11:30 PM
My knees suggest me some questions

1. ¿Why the practice of aikido includes Seiza's situations?
2. ¿Is a japanese culture influence only?
3. ¿What means ONLY in this case? ¿why is important exercise Seiza to be a good akidoka?

Thank you.

G DiPierro
10-10-2002, 03:32 AM
¿Why the practice of aikido includes Seiza's situations?Aikido's techniques come from an art originally called oshikiuchi, which roughly means "inside of the palace or castle." It was customary to check one's long sword at the door when entering, so jujutsu would be the primary form of self-defense in this situation. And since normally one would be sitting in seiza, the techniques were designed to be done from that position.¿why is important exercise Seiza to be a good akidoka?I don't know. Some people say that it helps learn to move from one's center, but I'm not sure that it has much modern value beyond simply preserving the historical origins of the art.

Mr. P
10-10-2002, 03:51 AM
IMHO :o , seiza's is good to search for details we miss :confused: in tachiwaza.

Moves are shorter, and one have to search for more energy in one's center.
Before, I didn't believe :disgust: that suwariwaza techniques were useful (indeed, if somebody wanted to attack you, he'd use his legs :cool: ).
Now, although my knees are bleeding :eek: and I cannot feel my foot fingers anymore :freaky: , I understand better what was wrong in my tachiwaza techniques.

Thanks for your attention :straightf ...

10-10-2002, 03:53 AM
ah, the infamous seiza question :)

i don't know. in the beginning, my knees bugged me a lot 'bout seiza, but now, there's no problem. perhaps it goes away w. practice? :) for some ppl at least

10-10-2002, 10:02 AM
I practice hanmi handachi because sometimes I get knocked down and don't have time to get back up before having to deal with an attacker. It's worked out this way so many times in randori that I am confident it would happen on the street. And I'd rather know how to deal with it rather than just getting the crap beat out of me :D

10-10-2002, 11:58 AM
To keep this post short and simple (and keeping in mind that I'm still just a humble mudansha, too): doing suwariwaza will let you feel firsthand how important it is to move from your center, and not just by using your limbs. No matter how you look at it, it's a good exercise.

At least that's how I experience it.

10-10-2002, 12:16 PM
a learning method , not necessarily something you do in day to day activity.

besides movement from center (very important as a study of center). there's a study of height differentials (hanmi handachi) which is useful when you don't have a great variety in partner size/shapes.

also, once again another study in ma-ai. your mobility is reduced, but technique is still possible.

How do you do tecnhique when you can't run around or jump or if you're looking up at nage?

eventually painful, so i hope you get it in moderation

10-10-2002, 12:26 PM
The traditional nature of suwari waza sometimes appears not to have practical application. Although one may not find oneself needing to defend from this position, training from Seiza lends benefits that enhance other tecniques from standing position, not to mention focus and concentration.

It's a 'Wax on, Wax off' thing!


10-10-2002, 03:05 PM
a learning method , not necessarily something you do in day to day activity.

Another one I'll use sometimes is to have nage sit cross legged (hanza, sp?). It changes the dynamic considerably since nage is no longer mobile and must blend and lead uke where they want them without the benefit of being able to move off the line. It's fun :freaky:


10-10-2002, 06:49 PM
Seiza is the heart of my martial arts practice! Without it, I'd really not be getting very far, but because of it, I'm learning very fast and developing better physically. With movement there needs to be balance. What differentiates martial arts and just flailing around stupidly is the ability to remain still, to stop, to control both the start and the finish of motion precisely. Seiza is the lesson of sitting still, focusing on balance and harmony. Seiza is one of the most important things you can do.

It has more benefits too though, it improves your breathing skills, making your aquisition of oxygen and your expulsion of CO2 much more efficient. One of the single most important physical benefits is that it helps improve your posture. Correct posture affects balance, breathing, recoverly, suppleness, running, jumping, and standing still. I even talk more smoothly when I've finished Seiza, because my diaphram muscle is more relaxed, my breathing is improved, my nervous tensions have decreased, and my voice becomes richer and smoother. To balance your body gives you a steady platform from which to work, that is very important.

Mentally Seiza has benefitted me immensely. I have a rule when engaging in Seiza; I'm not allowed to get up until I no longer feel compelled to. Once it becomes a matter of desire to stand, then I may do so, but until that nervous need to stand up and move around goes away, I must sit and focus. This gives me self-control, puts me in control of my own compulsions. It means my logical mind is setting the agenda, not my body or my negative emotions. Furthermore it's a great time to sit and relax, to drain away the tensions of the day. I regularly do Seiza by the river, focusing on the sound of the water flowing, or some other nuance of my environment. It's really a beautiful thing, and it's changed my life for the better.

Janet Rosen
10-10-2002, 06:51 PM
As somebody who can no longer sit seiza or do seated technique due to knee injuries, I find that I miss the crispness and clarity that comes from having one's center so well defined.

Sitting cross legged does NOT substitute as no matter how I adjust I cannot find a way to be both in good vertical posture AND have structural stability from my center while sitting cross legged.


10-11-2002, 12:15 AM
Thanks for your points of view.

Does anyone knows which is the interpretation of Seiza in the japanese community?


10-18-2002, 10:39 AM
I find hanmi handachi is very useful for me to learn to apply techniques correctly against taller opponents. Most of my fellow students are shorter than me (I'm only 6', but that seems on the tall side). Doing hanmi handachi with, say, a 5'1", 95 lb uke, forces me to adjust technique both from a centering perspective, and by forcing me to do the technique correctly (rather than muscling them to the ground).

Our Sensei also explains the importance in feudal Japanese culture of learning to fight/move from the kneeling position, which was the position in which you received your superiors (usually friendly) and guests to your home (perhaps not friend). In this context it makes perfect sense.

Yours from the bottom ranks,


10-18-2002, 12:26 PM
Have you ever helped out a a children's class or worked with a uke who is smaller than you?(we have students who are moving up from children's to adult class, who are height challenged. I know I feel height challenged when working with a 6 foot plus uke!!)

Seiza ( suwari waza) does give you that centered connected feeling and in my case I find it is a good check to insure that I remain centered during the entire technique.

10-25-2002, 05:31 AM
Seiza...mhm...from my point of view this is actually the only position in which I feel being centered. I tried doing yoga a few years back but the cross-legged position was not very good for me - it kept pulling me backwards. Sitting in seiza does produce some pain at the beginning - I should know, I'm a begginger in Aikido myself :) but to my understanding the pain eventually does go away. As for it's benefits I should think it helps the body be relaxed so you can breathe more easilly and correctly though the main reason for the japanese people sitting in seiza is in my opinion a simple fact that they don't have (or didn't use to have) tables as high as we do, no chairs etc. So seiza is in fact derived from the cultural bacground of Japan. Just like Aikido is. If Aikido were a european martial art from, say, the 15. century, modern Aikidoka would probably be sitting in large massive wooden armchairs when doing breathing excercises. Our sensei doesn't really force anyone to sit in seiza - it's always your choice. If you can't sit in seiza long enough to do the excercises you can either sit in some other position or simply lie flat on your back and relax.

Anyway, what should I know, I'm just a beginner :D

Friendly regards, Miha

Greg Jennings
10-25-2002, 07:11 AM
Seiza ( suwari waza) does give you that centered connected feeling and in my case I find it is a good check to insure that I remain centered during the entire technique.
FWIW, most people I talk to make a distinction between the foot position (resting on tops of feet) of seiza and that used in suwariwaza (I think it's "keiza" and is on one's toes).


Jermaine Alley
10-30-2002, 01:15 PM
don't forget the importance of strong knees for sieza and keiza (thanks greg jennings) I am at a point in my studies where my knees are the strongest. After i train in suwari or practice shikko, to warm up, i try to do about twenty leg extension focusing on strengthen all of those things that are under my knee cap.

Think about strengthening those knees if you are going to be doing a lot of seiza, suwari etc.


G DiPierro
10-30-2002, 08:12 PM
FWIW, most people I talk to make a distinction between the foot position (resting on tops of feet) of seiza and that used in suwariwaza (I think it's "keiza" and is on one's toes).Since, you brought it up, I beleive it is pronounced "kiza" and written with the same "za" as seiza but with the first character meaning "dangerous, fear, uneasy." Hence, kiza reflects more of a ready position whereas seiza is simply the traditional formal sitting position.

In any case, suwariwaza is written with the character for "za" used in both kiza and seiza. Actually, there are a couple of different characters relating to sitting which are read as either "za" or "suwa(ru)", though since I don't know how to get them into my posts I'm going to go into more detail about them. In any case, suwariwaza does not refer to any specific seated position and I have seen it practiced from both seiza and kiza. I usually use both when I practice suwariwaza.

10-31-2002, 06:00 AM
practicing seiza will improve your centering, and by practicing seiza (along with other suwari-waza exercises) it will also strengthening the hip and knees, and thus will improve your movement in standing techniques also.

10-31-2002, 06:32 AM
Just as Mr. Kauzar said, suwariwaza does improve your centering, as well as your standing technique, and I like to practice it (just not the whole class please). One problem I've been having lately however, is very painful toes. I rolled my big toe a couple of months ago, and that is still bothering me, but my toes in general have been giving me lots of grief recently during suwariwaza techniques. Anyone else? any suggestions?

Bruce Baker
10-31-2002, 06:39 AM
Seiza is the middle ground between standing and ground techniques.

If you are very stiff legged, from a lifetime of standing as I was in the beginning of my aikido training, it will take years to undo the stiffness and adapt to seiza.

It might take many months of stretching, working your legs, and varying between seiza or sitting crosslegged to finally become comfortable with knee walking techniques, but once you become comfortable, it will open up a whole new world between standing and grappling.

11-01-2002, 01:50 PM
Seiza helps you understand the importance of hip movement and correct positioning. It's tough to learn and do but the rewards far outweight the difficulties. The first time I did suwari waza I was cursing every minute of it; it just didn't make sense why we had to do it. But then I realized that tt's almost impossible to move correctly in suwari waza if you don't move your hips correctly. if you do enough suwari waza, you eventually learn to move with smoothness from the hips and that translated to power in tachi waza applications.

Gopher Boy
11-03-2002, 07:05 PM

I agree whole heartedly with Bud - suwariwaza is very important in learning to use your hips. Personally, I get happy like a little kid when we do ikkyo in class and get a little pouty (also like a little kid) when we don't :p . As a beginner, no other technique has taught me as much as ikkyo.

To do ikkyo, especially against a stronger, larger or well grounded partner, good hip movement is essential.

Footwork is important in aikido but often, beginners copy the footwork of instructors and wonder why they can't get any body to go down. Answer: not enough hip movement. Solution: more suwariwaza (yay ikkyo!)


Gopher Boy
11-03-2002, 07:15 PM
Oh - and also (thanks Miha) Sieza is good to help your breathing. The posture naturally opens up the chest for greater airflow. Also, for people with bad backs, sieza is a blessing. It is rather more comfortable to assume a correct posture than slouch when kneeling this way. It helps in the same way those funny stools do - you know, the ones with the angled cushions.

I think that (yes, desipte my other post) it is valuable regardless of any martial application - it calms you, helps you to breath and relaxes your back - just what is needed before and after class and inbetween techniques.


paul spawforth
11-22-2002, 10:41 AM
Seiza was the traditional way of "sitting properly" in Japan you needed techniques from seiza in case you were attacked whilst sitting i believe.....