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Steven Tame
06-29-2005, 12:48 PM
Hi guys... recently I've been practicing a lot of suwari-waza due to the fact that my ni-kyu test is coming up very soon (this weekend to be precise)

Anyway I'm finding making tenkan in shikko quite difficult (for example ikkyo,nikyo,sankyo yonkyo and hanmi-handachi shiho nage.)

What I seem to end up doing is kind of pivoting on one knee and although the technique looks smooth and sensei hasn't said anything about it being wrong I'm sure some small detail of it is wrong cos it is really painful on the hard tatami.

I remember reading somewhere to change to a one knee-one foot-stance but I can't visualise how it works seems like I'd be twisting my ankle.

If someone could explain how to move for one of the above techniques it would be really helpful. I'll be able to try it out at home.

Another problem I have been having is sometimes uke doesn't end up in the intended place and I kind of have to shuffle forward slightly which looks really scrappy. How can I prevent this happening (ura waza only)

Looks like I need to invest in some knee pads anyway at least until I can change my bad habits.

06-29-2005, 07:02 PM
I would suggest double-checking if you are following the "golden rule" of shikko: Keep your feet under your weight and your weight over your feet.

You may be learning too far forward (or leaving too much back behind you) - putting too much weight on your knee(s) and thus stressing the joint in question. Aside from that, should pain be present, and should you have actually worked your way through the flexibility issues regarding the toes, ankles, knees, and hips, you might have an injury - which could be anything from as small as an ingrown hair to some kind of tissue or joint strain (or more). Double check your knee(s) for redness, tenderness, and/or inflammation, then treat accordingly.

I would also recommend adding Ikeda’s video/DVD “Za” to your library – which covers such topics and provides drills and exercises as well as some key pointers toward improving your technique. You can purchase “Za” at www.bujindesign.com. If you may find it helpful, we also have some videos on our web site that show many tenkan maneuvers from within Suwari waza. Follow the link in the signature below.

Hope that helps. Good fortune with your test.

06-29-2005, 07:28 PM
Hi Steven,

Good luck in your upcoming test!

I think that David's advice about "weight over feet and feet under weight" is really good.

Another thing you might want to try during your pivot is to visualize a downward spiral with the knee digging into the tatami as you start your pivot. This has the advantage of pushing your weight slightly forward so that you can move your feet together during the pivot - however...weight should still be mostly over feet...just a bit lighter so you aren't stuck on them.

I would also recommend *against* knee pads. I know some people swear by them, however my view is that a pad raises your height on the knee too much and this will make your movements different than what you are looking for. It would be like standing and pivoting with your pivot foot wearing a high heel boot or something <wry grin>.

An exercise to work on this is to sit seiza on the mat facing a wall with your toes up as if to do shikko-ho. However, instead of doing a forward step instead pivot 180 degrees on the mat so you end up facing the wall behind you. Then pivot on the other knee so that you face the orginal wall. This way you can pivot down the length of the dojo. This way you are only focusing on your weight and your pivots and not the technique part.

I hope this helps!




Steven Tame
06-30-2005, 01:41 AM
Thanks for the advice so far guys. I actually do have Ikeda's "za" video Unfortunately it is back home so I don't have it to hand.

This is the first time I have tried to practice a lot of Shikko on a hard tatami, back in England I practiced on gym mats so it was never painful.

My big toes are slightly un-flexible at the moment but I'm working on that. I think I'll try that pivoting drill suggested by Michael.So just to confirm some of the pivots would be made by first moving back and then turning.

My knees do get a bit red after training cos my gi seems to rub against my knees when I pivot in shikko.

I don't really want to use knee pads if at all possible but if I get pain during the test I'm sure it will affect my performance so I was thinking of it more as a temporary measure.

I think I do sometimes put my weight too far forward and will try to correct it.

Thanks for the good wishes for my test

06-30-2005, 04:13 AM
I've never tried them myself, but you could look at those thin neoprene knee pads. They might be enough padding to get you through practice without being too bulky. I've seen them at lots of sporting good stores. Here's a random example I found with Google:


- Mike

07-01-2005, 01:04 AM
My big toes are slightly un-flexible at the moment but I'm working on that. I think I'll try that pivoting drill suggested by Michael.So just to confirm some of the pivots would be made by first moving back and then turning.

Hi Steven,

Good luck with these :D

The pivots I was describing on your knees would not have you move back first. In fact, I think anytime you move your weight backwards (as opposed to moving backwards but with weight forward) you are making a mistake.

I would start this by pushing my knee in a downward/inward spiral into the mat to make a firm pivot point and then swing the body (and feet) around 180 degrees but keeping the feet under the body. Then stay where you are and start to pivot the other way by starting the inward/downward spiral on the other knee.

Another excercise you might want to consider for the toe flexibility thing is to sit in seiza and then get up on your toes. From there just push your knees forward as far as possible using your toes to do the pushing and then pull your knees back in...also using your toe strength.




Steven Tame
07-03-2005, 07:20 AM
Hi I just got back from the test which was pretty exhausting. I had to take ukemi for a san-kyu test and then do my test with an ikkyu who was testing for sho-dan without more than the time it took for the people testing for san-kyu to bow and move to the edge of the mat to rest. I was the only person testing for ni-kyu so it was quite nerve racking to get on the mat with only my uke. Once the test started though I was able to block everything out apart from my uke, myself and the examiners instructions.

Despite all the practicing I did for suwari-waza they only called 3 suwari-waza: Shomen-uchi ikkyo, kata-dori nikyo and hanmi handachi katate-dori shiho nage.

Anyway, I'm sure the shikko practice will prove to be useful when I test for ikkyu and shodan eventually.

I'm pretty sure I passed but the examiner did say two things.
1/ I need to practice san-kyo more
2/ There wasn't enough power in my techniques

I can't get the official result until Tuesday so I'll post again then and let you know how I got on.

p.s thanks for the help and support