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Old 05-08-2007, 12:15 AM   #1
Maichel
Dojo: Shu Shin Kan
Location: Antwerp
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Belgium
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Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Well like the topic says, I have a lot of trouble with sitting in seiza. Well my left knee is ok, but the right, it hurts. It's kinda like when sitting in Seiza my right knee is going to break every second, a real pressure on the knee actually.

do you guys have some tips for me so I can improve my seiza posture? I do a small warm-up and 15 minutes of sitting seiza every day.
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Old 05-08-2007, 02:12 AM   #2
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Dear Maichel,
15 min a day for a longer time and it still hurts?
Usually streching of the front side bands and muscles should help. That was the first thing I had to do for a while.

Another idea is to start sitting in seiza much shorter for a while. Pain is a tricky reaction. Sometimes it is good to endure some pain and it vanishes. But very often bearing too much pain will raise the level, especially when the pain is a sign for micro-injuries.

So you probably should try to sit in seiza only as long as it is uncomfortable, but does not hurt really and only after wam-up and stretching (front sinde of the legs). Increase the time only in little steps in order to avoid unwished effects.

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:55 AM   #3
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Actually, sitting in seiza for 15 minutes straight is not very necessary. It is important to address the pain when pain arrives.
In other words, it is ok to move. You may notice, at aikido seminars, or even in regular aikido classes, when the sensei is giving a long lecture or demonstration, people sitting in seiza bow after awhile and move to a cross-legged posture. Others move back and forth from a cross-legged posture to a seiza posture and back to cross-legged over time. I am pointing this out to show you that while it is ok to move, standing up and/or stretching during a lecture or demonstration shows a lack of respect. I would also like to point out that sitting in seiza is not about torturing yourself. If you keep a beginner's mind, you'll use seiza practice to test your determination, the seiza practice, in turn, will show you your limitations.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:09 PM   #4
Jill N
Dojo: K-W Ki Aikido (Kitchener, Ont)
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

And then there is a seiza bench for those with long term problems with knees.

e ya later
Jill.
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Old 05-08-2007, 06:39 PM   #5
dps
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

I first learn to sit in seiza using a pillow like a seiza bench. I started out with a big pillow from my bedroom and folded to sit on. Then I gradually used smaller and smaller pillows.

David
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Old 05-08-2007, 07:47 PM   #6
James Stedman
Location: Florida
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

It may take years before you are able to sit in seiza painfree for longer than 15 minutes.Probably every serious martial artist experiences pain in the knees, especially in seiza.Very important to learn to separate yourself from the pain.Not easy, but essential to hone the tools of a warrior.It is a form of body discipline that will make one better able to deal with any form of aggravation or injury.
Spend a few minutes twice a day in formal seiza.Extend the session when possible.If you have a knee injury you may have to work at it for short periods.As long as your feet don't turn blue you should be able to tough it out.
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Old 05-08-2007, 09:03 PM   #7
DonMagee
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

I just can't sit in seiza for long periods of time, so I simply refuse to sit in seiza. I broke my ankle awhile back and have permanent flexibility loss. Sitting in seiza cause pain that lasts for hours. Sitting cross legged is better, but within 5-10 minutes my legs fall asleap and take forever to come back. So I usually sit on one hip with the other foot flat on the floor and the knee in my chest, with my weight back on one arm, or with both knees up in my chest. Or in a lax environment, sprawled out with my back to a wall.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:29 PM   #8
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Quote:
James Stedman wrote: View Post
Very important to learn to separate yourself from the pain....It is a form of body discipline that will make one better able to deal with any form of aggravation or injury.
...As long as your feet don't turn blue you should be able to tough it out.
I'm not a doctor, and for all I know you may be, but I'm not so sure "toughing" it out is a good approach. While I agree the ability to control the mind with regard to pain is certainly useful, I can also see how placing an undue amount of strain (on the knees in particular) might be a very dangerous thing in the long run.
At my dojo we do a lot of seiza and I've found that easing into it after long periods of not doing it helps me best. Usually this just means regularly stretching my legs out between the sets of seiza techniques.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:59 PM   #9
xuzen
 
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Quote:
Maichel Leers wrote: View Post
Well like the topic says, I have a lot of trouble with sitting in seiza. Well my left knee is ok, but the right, it hurts. It's kinda like when sitting in Seiza my right knee is going to break every second, a real pressure on the knee actually.

do you guys have some tips for me so I can improve my seiza posture? I do a small warm-up and 15 minutes of sitting seiza every day.
Yoga poses are tough and no teacher in his right mind would require you to do those poses for a long period of time, especially if you are a new to it. The same argument for seiza position. Like any unnatural position, take it slow and steady and build it up from there.

I too cannot tolerate long seiza position, max to date is 20 minutes. I have an uncle who does Buddhist meditation/chanting can go on for 60 minutes or more.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:16 AM   #10
stelios
Dojo: aikido dojo nippos Crete
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Greece
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Will become less painful over time (years).
Divert your mind elsewhere, away from the potential of pain.
My knees went from very painful to painful to very numb to a bit better during the past 4 years. It takes some time.
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:55 PM   #11
Janet Rosen
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Pain can be a signal that a muscle is being asked to do something unfamiliar, in which case slowly building that capability is fine. For instance, when I first started training, to build my ability to sit in seiza, when I was at home and planning to brush the cats, I'd start out by sitting in seiza and switch positions when it got uncomfortable. Eventually I could sit seiza long enough to brush them both.
Pain can be a signal that injury is occurring, in which case cease and desist is the only proper advice. In general a pain that is very sharp and always associated with a specific movement or position, not depending on how long you do it, would worry me.
Without more specific info we cannot give the original poster an accurate reply.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:16 PM   #12
Aristeia
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

talk to your sensei. Ask him what the appropriate positions you can move to to releive the pain are in his school. If he says stay there, find another dojo.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-10-2007, 07:14 AM   #13
dbotari
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote: View Post
talk to your sensei. Ask him what the appropriate positions you can move to to releive the pain are in his school. If he says stay there, find another dojo.
Really? This is your advice? If I took that advice when I started, I would have left a dojo of the most senior teacher in my style of aikido in North America just because I felt some pain in seiza.

Whatever happened to disciplining the mind to transcend the pain? Just because it "hurts" does not mean your doing irreparable damage. The underlying attitude of "if you suffer - leave" makes me wonder about the reasons people pursue a "Do" in the first place. Isn't it about personal transformation (both physical and mental)? Rise to a challenge, push yourself beyond preconceived limitation to realize your potential.

Dan
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:15 AM   #14
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Well Dan,
you are right, just ache does not necessarily injury, but the real advice must be given individually.
Some tiny sensitive guys should be told just to stand it, even if it is unendurable, and some 'tough gals' should stop, if it reaches the point to be uncomfortable to avoid physical damage.
For most people it is a safe idea to stop, when it turns from uncomfortable to pain.
If recovery needs more than 2 days they should stop earlier, if they do not see progress in a month's time they should try to bear a bit more. If both effect occur at the same time, you better consult a physicist, if none of them happens, you are 'on track' and you can try to play a little bit to find your personal optimum.
If you really sufffer, you have to change something, but again it is a question of definition for 'suffer'.
And the most senior teacher in the world, is not worth o stay with, if he pushes only some students into long term damage. But I guess, yours didn't.

Best regards Dirk
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:49 AM   #15
Basia Halliop
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

How about talking to a doctor or physiotherapist or someone who actually knows enough to give you medical advice?
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:01 AM   #16
Maichel
Dojo: Shu Shin Kan
Location: Antwerp
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Belgium
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Well first of all thanks to everyone who posted a reply on my question

I think it's strange, only my right knee hurts. But like I said after a proper warm-up it gets better. Maybe I'm not patient enough tough ...

And btw: My trainer, Peter Van Marcke, doesn't make a point if you cannot sit in seiza for a long period of time, and he's advice is the same as yours, if it really is getting to painfull, sit in a comfortable position and if my knee still hurts within a few years, go see a doctor.

greetz from Belgium
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Old 05-11-2007, 09:45 AM   #17
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

I remember setting in class while the second doshu lectured through and interrupter and it went on and on. The Japanese seemed to suffer no less than I did and then someone moved and the doshu proceeded to lecture about not moving and it went on and on. When it was done about all we could do was push each other over and lay there until we had feeling in our legs again. Oh boy what fun that was.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

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Old 05-11-2007, 09:59 AM   #18
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
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Re: Sitting in Seiza.... Painfull

Oh by the way I have a small portable seiza bench I use when I know I am going to be setting for an extended period of time. Ask your sensei if you can use one and leave it beside the mat for those extended talks if he says it is OK. If I am doing breathing techniques or writing or anything from seiza I always use the small portable seiza bench.

Dennis

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