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11-03-2000, 12:05 AM
Aikido from a chair. :confused:

I have an intermediate level class to teach in the very near future and was wondering if anyone had any information or thoughts on Aikido techniques from a sitting position, like a chair or a stool. I seem to recall hearing about being able to teach Aikido to those who are wheelchair bound, but I have been unable to find any information on this subject. Another reason I am asking this question is that I have a bum ankle that every couple of years or so must remind me I'm not a young as I use to be. And while exhibiting as much Aikifinesse as I could in the comfort of my own home, I twisted the living ki out of it, again. It's still tender so I thought it would be interesting to explore Aikido from a sitting position.

My first thoughts are along the lines that the "techniques" would be very similar to suwari-waza or hanmi-handachi, but with less movement? As there would be no knee walking around the mat or tenkan available.

Just looking for some input.

Thanks - yours in Aikihood

Steve Nelson

Young-In Park
11-03-2000, 12:37 AM
A while ago, an instructor (with a "Let's Try It" attitude) and I tried to some techniques while sitting in a chair.

First of all, you have to be aware of your surroundings. For example, many guests on the Jerry Springer show are caught unaware while sitting in chair even though they are in a highly emotional situation.

We used a wooden chair with arm rests. Generally speaking, you have to move forward and meet the incoming attack so you can pivot and/or blend.

After avoiding the inital attack, generally you have to stand up and out of the chair. In our experiments, the uke would fall away or jump over the chair. But I suspect in real life the attacker would collide with the back rest and take the chair with them (and anyone still sitting in the chair).

One last suggestion: put wood slats underneath the legs of the chair so you can practice on the mat without damaging it. If the chair is facing towards the shomen wall, the wood should be perpendicular to the shomen wall (ie one front leg & one back leg on one wood slat).

Young-In Park

Richard Harnack
11-03-2000, 05:12 PM
Years ago, while I was training with Ace Atkinson, Sensei, at UC Riverside, we had a paraplegic man join class. This provided a challenge for Atkinson, Sensei, but one which he rose to.

Mainly, he emphasized simple wrist techniques combined with drops. Since this man had use of arms, and since he used his arms to get around, once he latched onto you, you were not going anywhere anytime soon. He learned how to move and use his mobility in the wheelchair to his advantage.

In terms of practicing in a regular chair, there is a safety issue involved. Be aware of the possibility of back injury if the chair is knocked backward with you in it, since the back of the chair rests across your mid to upper spine.

Perhaps it is safer to first train in seiza then move to the chair.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack

11-05-2000, 12:10 AM
Thanks for your very valid thoughts. After considering the points made, I feel it would be best not to proceed with an "Aikido from a chair" class. With a roll of tape and a good wrap job, I'm sure I can come up with a boken or a jo class instead.

Yours in Aikihood
Steve Nelson