Incidentally, I don't know if anyone can corroborate this, but I have been told in the past that part of the reason the seiza posture proliferated throughout feudal Japan was because it was painful and made moving difficult upon rising. For instance, if your responsibility were to protect your lord and a potential threat/enemy came to visit, by putting him in seiza you increased your chance of intervening should he attempt anything because you would be assured that he would be moving slower.
Food for thought, anyway
[Edited by Magma on August 28, 2000 at 02:48pm]
never heard that one, although I have heard that they sat in seiza because it was considered to be impolite to stand in the presence of the Daimyo, who usually sat on a raised dias, and to be taller than he was considered rude. Seems a little more believable than that.