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Old 03-17-2004, 12:02 PM   #1
kensparrow
Dojo: Methuen Aikido
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proper seiza

Hi everyone,

I was watching an Iaido class the other night (a very cool art by the way) and I was very impressed by the Sensei's zanshin. At one point he was instructing the class on the proper way to get in and out of seiza and I was blown away by how complicated/interesting/beautiful something that (apparently) simple could be. The end result of this was that I was inspired to be more deliberate in my actions, and seiza seemed like a good place to start.

I started doing some homework on the subject but I found conflicting information. Some sources say the left knee goes down first but most say the right.

Anyone care to shed some light on the subject?

Thanks
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Old 03-17-2004, 12:24 PM   #2
Kensai
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If I'm going into seiza, then its left then right. So I can always draw my sword even when on my way to sitting down.

Then when getting up its right knee up then left.

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 03-17-2004, 12:34 PM   #3
aikidoc
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Best Aikido by Doshu shows this on page 25-26. From a standing position, you step back with he right foot and go to the right knee; then you bring the left knee back (up on the toes); then you put the toes down and the then sit seiza. Then to stand you are up on your toes and step forward with the left foot and stand up with a decisive movement.
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Old 03-17-2004, 02:53 PM   #4
ikkitosennomusha
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I usually perform seiza as John described
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Old 03-17-2004, 03:05 PM   #5
Bushi
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Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
If I'm going into seiza, then its left then right. So I can always draw my sword even when on my way to sitting down.

Then when getting up its right knee up then left.
Same here
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Old 03-17-2004, 05:18 PM   #6
Mel Barker
Dojo: University of Louisville Aikido Club
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My teacher told me long ago you can tell how well a person will do on their Aikido test by the way the bow in.

I've been working on going into and out of seiza ever since.

Mel
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Old 03-21-2004, 04:15 PM   #7
thatoldfool
 
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I use the "be able to draw the sword method," as that's what I was taught, and that's what makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps these days, as we don't usually tuck our swords into our obi, people do it differently - but my understanding is that "left first down, right first up" is the classical method. Can't prove it, just what I've heard.

"Best to be like water,
Which benefits the ten thousand things
And does not contend."
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Old 03-21-2004, 05:15 PM   #8
G DiPierro
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In iaido there are at least two methods for sitting down into seiza. The method used in MSR is to put the left knee down first and then the right. The hakama is folded behind each knee with the right hand as you go down onto it.

The method used in ZNKR seiteigata is to keep the feet together and squat, folding each leg of the hakama in turn quickly as you do so. Then you slowly lower both knees to the ground. The left should touch slightly before the right. "Avoid twisting the body or any other unnecessary movements. Sitting down should be smooth, discreet and dignified, like the dew settles on the grass (and rise like the mist lifts off the fields)."


Last edited by G DiPierro : 03-21-2004 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 03-21-2004, 07:08 PM   #9
Kent Enfield
 
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Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
The method used in MSR is to put the left knee down first and then the right. The hakama is folded behind each knee with the right hand as you go down onto it.
It actually depends on which line of Muso Shinden Ryu you follow. Some always go down left, then right. Some go down on the leg farthest from the kamiza first, such that it depends on where you are in the dojo, and what direction you're facing. My understanding is that the latter is the more orthodox method.
Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
The method used in ZNKR seiteigata is to keep the feet together and squat, folding each leg of the hakama in turn quickly as you do so.
The suwarikata for seiteigata is a modification of kendo etiquette, which isn't surpring as it's iaido for kendo people. In kendo, when engaging another person, you go into sonkyo (squat) without putting your knees down. When you do sit in seiza in kendo, you put the left foot back first.
Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
If I'm going into seiza, then its left then right. So I can always draw my sword even when on my way to sitting down.
If you can't draw your sword with your left knee forward, you're not much of a swordsman , though it certainly makes the associated hip twist less natural. Personally, I find the left knee forward more of a hinderance on noto rather than batto.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 03-25-2004, 05:34 AM   #10
David Edwards
 
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The way we are taught to move into and out of seiza in my association (BAF) is the way it is done in Hombu (and, as John pointed out above, shown in Doshu's book "Best Aikido", amongst others). That is, to reiterate, right knee first down, last up. And... *goes and double-checks* one can still draw a sword at any point while doing this. Your legs will be in hidari-hanmi kamae it's true, and the sword is most often held in migi-hanmi, but this is not a rigid matter; one can hold a sword in the normal right-handed way and still have one's left foot forward. It's not wrong.

But then, neither is putting one's left knee down first (which would be contrary to the way it's done in Hombu, and by Doshu). It's just different.

[edit] "and stand up with a decisive movement" On a mildy humourous note, I'd like to point out that this is only likely to be a decisive movement if you haven't just been sitting in seiza on a hard floor for two hours, and your legs have consequently found inner peace and harmony (read: gone to sleep) Not that anyone would ever ask us to sit in seiza on a hard floor for two hours. Not in a hot hall with many people and no air conditioning. Not while waiting to do one's grading. No, nobody would ever ask us to do that. Would they, Kanetsuka Sensei? (For those who don't know him, this is the head of the BAF. Brilliant Aikido, but there are also those who would argue he's nutty as a fruitcake) [/rant] I mean, um, [/edit]

Last edited by David Edwards : 03-25-2004 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 03-26-2004, 12:46 PM   #11
G DiPierro
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Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote:
It actually depends on which line of Muso Shinden Ryu you follow. Some always go down left, then right. Some go down on the leg farthest from the kamiza first, such that it depends on where you are in the dojo, and what direction you're facing. My understanding is that the latter is the more orthodox method.
I have never seen anything other than L-R in MSR. While it wouldn't surprise me if there were be others, it would surprise me if one of them was considered more orthodox. I'm curious as to the reasoning behind going to the leg farthest from the kamiza. What do you do if you are facing it directly?
Quote:
The suwarikata for seiteigata is a modification of kendo etiquette.
That would explain it. Nevertheless, it's quite elegant, and I often use it in aikido.
Quote:
If you can't draw your sword with your left knee forward, you're not much of a swordsman , though it certainly makes the associated hip twist less natural.
I don't think the mechanical problem with R-L is the left knee being forward. Two of the first four MSR kata are done with left knee forward on nuki-tsuke. The problem stems from fact that you must grasp the tsuba with your left hand and therefore execute hakama-sabaki with your right. If you go right knee first, your right hand ends up behind your left thigh, making it difficult to quickly grasp the tsuka without hitting yourself in the thigh. If you go left knee first, you have a relatively straight, continuous motion from any point in the hakama-sabaki directly to the tsuka and into nuki-tsuke.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 03-26-2004 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 03-26-2004, 01:29 PM   #12
Chad Sloman
 
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I was wondering about this for some time, because I got the doshu's book for christmas and saw how they were getting in and out of seiza. I was taught left then right going down and opposite back up; I don't know if this is indicative of ASU or not. In yoshukai karate we also go left then right down. I haven't been able to ask my sensei this question yet since I keep forgetting to ask him when I see him, but the other sempai who I've been able to ask who instruct don't know why there's a disparity either.

A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
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Old 03-26-2004, 01:30 PM   #13
Chad Sloman
 
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And I think I read somewhere in my pursuit of trying to figure this out that some schools of iai keep their heels close and kneel down because they were wearing kimono. but it was still left then right knee touching

A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
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Old 03-27-2004, 12:55 AM   #14
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Quote:
Mel Barker wrote:
I've been working on going into and out of seiza ever since.
John Stevens Sensei told me that once at a practice for the instructors of the northern Japan Aikikai group (minimum rank: 5th dan), Shirata Rinjiro Shihan had the whole group practicing going in and out of seiza for quite awhile as he thought they didn`t have it down yet.

Charles Hill
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Old 04-01-2004, 02:18 PM   #15
graham butt
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sitting seiza

I have always been taught to sit seiza with left knee first then right. As was stated earlier so that the sword can still be drawn.

Who was the Sensei that you watched doing Iaido?
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Old 04-05-2004, 05:37 AM   #16
Victor Ioncu
 
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Qoute from our federation regulations:

1. From standing position you pivot 90 degrees to the left and put your right knee down, keeping the foot on the toes.

2. You pivot 90 degrees to the right on the right knee and the left foot. Bring the left knee near the right knee (also on the toes).

3. Put the toes down and sit in seiza.

Does it sound sane to you?

Victor
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Old 04-05-2004, 08:37 AM   #17
Rich Babin
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In many MSR dojo there are at least two forms of seiza performed. On the Seitei waza (the new "universal" forms of the Zen Nipon Kendo Renmai the left knee comes forward first without moving the left foot, then the right so that the seiza is forward of where the feet started. In the tradidional forms (koryu) the left foot is pull rearward first, the the right drops. This results in the knees being on the same line as the feet originally were. This has some significance in testing, which is done from a line on the floor.

When arising, the right foot should not step forward, but remain as close to under the hara as possible.

All bending, twisting and other unnecessary movement should be minimized. the back and head should remain straight.

While in seiza, the buttock should be separated from the heels by the distance of a sheet of paper.

Just some thoughts from our dojo.
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