unusual seiza problem - pain in BACK of knee
I started aikido a couple weeks ago. I am having intense pain during seiza, but it is in the back of the knee. Anyone heard of this before or have any suggestions?
From talking with instructors and reading on the web, it seems most people either have (1) stiffness in the front of the knee when they first start aikido or (2) legs falling asleep with (3) shin/ankle/foot problems in a smaller number of newbies. But these are not my problems.
I did seiza years ago in kendo and karate. It was always uncomfortable, but I could do it and the more I trained, the better I felt during seiza. My current situation is quite different. I cannot get into proper seiza now. My butt is up in the air, and my upper body is forward. The first few classes, my knees simply felt incredibly stiff, and I was trying to get back/lower. Then I started having pain in the back and along the sides of the knee, in what seems to be the hamstring tendons. I am 95% sure this is from seiza and not an acute injury from other training. Anyhow, the pain is only there during seiza or shikko. The knees were swollen at one point, but using Ice Compression and Elevation, the swelling went away.
Obviously, one's first thought is problems with tendons and ligaments, but what I don't understand is how you could have pain in tendons on the back of the knee from seiza. I can understand pain in the front of the knee, but the back? Even if I have very stiff hamstrings, it seems like the flexion during seiza should be less of a problem than with the legs extended.
Before starting aikido, I was doing heavy weight training for 2 years, then 7 months travel without exercise and mostly sitting on buses and trains. My legs are rather large, but I have seen fat Japanese doing seiza properly and also there are several large gentlemen in my dojo who have no problem with it.