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Old 04-06-2006, 08:55 PM   #1
Tristan Newton
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Suwari waza

Hi,

Not to seem like an idiot but I am curious do many non Japanese dojos do suawari waza or hamnihantachi? (sorry I dont really use `romaji` much so I have probably made a spelling mistake

Basically I mean techniques between 2 people in seiza (on their knees) or where the uke is standing and the defender on their knees.

My sensei here is so fast on his knees but I still feel clumsy even after several years.

Have people actually ever used it in a real life situation? Its very handy if you are a samurai on tatami and you want to defend yourself against someone with a katana but in our times I wonder.....

I am interested in hearing peoples ideas

Cheers

Tristan
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:16 PM   #2
Dajo251
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Re: Suwari waza

We do them a few times a month, I cant really see a practicle application, because I rarely sit in seiza outside of aikido. I think its all part of the learning process in aikido.

Dan Hulley
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
raul rodrigo
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Re: Suwari waza

My first sensei used to say that the quality of your kneeling techniques is the quality of your standing techniques. If you cant do it properly kneeling then then you can't do it standing.
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Suwari waza

it is done to a greater or lesser degree in most of the dojos i've been a member of or visited, regardless of style.
in my 2001 survey of 101 dojos, i found that barely any of them reported doing seated technique never or only for kokyudosa; 62% said not often, and when they do, just for 1or 2 techniques per class. 23% reported doing, in most classes, 1 or 2 techniques, and barely any reported often doing much of a class seated. What is interesting is looking at this in terms of selfreposrted incidence of acute knee injury in 5 yrs:
"Forty-five percent of the "many injuries" category of dojo report doing seated technique with high frequency. This is considerably more than is reported by the dojo with lower incidence rates of acute knee injuries.
I decided to look at those twenty-six dojo reporting higher frequency of seated practice (23 that in most classes do one or two techniques suwariwaza or hamni handachi, plus 3 that often do classes consisting mostly or entirely of suwariwaza or hamni handachi). Six of them are in the "highest injury" group of dojo. Their overall injury rate is considerably higher than for the survey as a whole. When it comes to male-versus-female injury rates, it is the only factor noted in the survey to reflect a major discrepancy. This is not explainable by disparity in relative numbers of female students, who comprise a similar proportion of total members for this group and other groups.
"It is not clear whether this correlation has to do with injury related to seated practice or, as with certain warm-ups, if it is a reflection of an intensity of practice. Whether the jump for women knee injuries is an anomaly is likewise unclear. Hopefully, surveying individuals who have been injured will shed some light on these issues."
in other words, high freuqency of seated techniuque may well be a risk factor for knee injuries, especially in women. problem is we have no way of assessing predisposition to risk.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:26 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Suwari waza

link
http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/AikiKnee.html

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:42 PM   #6
Mark Uttech
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Re: Suwari waza

I think that suwari waza is actually a saving grace, a technical training that helps us examine the beauties of the art. Suwari waza also plays a strong part in the art of the tea ceremony.
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:24 PM   #7
Tristan Newton
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Re: Suwari waza

Hi All,

Thanks for ideas and especially Janets long reply.

I can see how on the surface suwari waza could be bad for your knees but actually when its done properly I believe few injuries occur.

In actuality I think you are more likely to damage the joints in your big toe/foot as that should be the point which takes most of your weight.

The main problem I found when going for my shodan was that the skin on my big toe came off in chunks - not nice (Japanese summer is indeed a cruel thing).

I would imagine an ACL injury would be mainly caused by a twisting and/or hyperextension. When I was doing hapkido this was a real potential problem but I dont feel that way about aikido.

I would say the elbow joint is most at risk, especially if some new student comes along and is overly rough.

When I return home I would still like to do suawari waza as I think its actually useful for counter attack once you roll out of shihonage (if you are really fast) or from a front ukemi.

Thanks again for the ideas

Tristan
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:29 AM   #8
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
Tristan Newton wrote:
Hi,

Not to seem like an idiot but I am curious do many non Japanese dojos do suawari waza or hamnihantachi? (sorry I dont really use `romaji` much so I have probably made a spelling mistake

Basically I mean techniques between 2 people in seiza (on their knees) or where the uke is standing and the defender on their knees.

My sensei here is so fast on his knees but I still feel clumsy even after several years.

Have people actually ever used it in a real life situation? Its very handy if you are a samurai on tatami and you want to defend yourself against someone with a katana but in our times I wonder.....
I'm surprised you've reached Shodan without actually asking your instructor why you do this work.

Aikido is as wide as it is long, everyone has differing opinions and usually if you take the time to listen there will be some genuine reason for the way they practice.

In my experience the main reason for Suwariwaza work is that it prevents the disguise of poor technique by adjustment of the body position. Effectively its a lot harder to perform and if its 'not right' its a lot easier to see.

I'm sure what consitutes as 'right' varies wildly across the aikido world.

By effectively removing the legs from the equation then body position, distance, posture and so on all need to be correct. Its much harder to feel a technique going adrift and take a couple of sneaky steps to compensate.

Hamni Handachi waza is similar ...it has the added ingredient of necessitating the breaking of ukes posture prior to execution of any technique.

In a nutshell I'd say we use this practice as a teaching aid and not as "techniques".

I for one do not envisage kneeling down to anyone and saying "come and have a go if you think your hard enough"

I probably wouldn't do it standing either.

I guarantee there are others who view it differently and without a doubt they will have some sound basis for doing so.

However, I look forward to reading the posts of anyone that says this would be their position of choice in a confrontation.

D

Last edited by Dazzler : 04-07-2006 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:54 AM   #9
Tristan Newton
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Re: Suwari waza

Hi Daren,

Thanks for the feedback.

Whoever said I didnt ask?

The answer I got was that its origins are from samurai times and that they would often have to fight from a seated position.

This was from my original teacher at a different dojo and havent asked my current teacher about it.

Yours is a fair assumption however I do not think it is the actual reason that it was incorporated into aikido. When they do demos here they often combine standing and kneeling into 1 fluid "show".

I think its handy in getting you fast on your feet actually after ukemi because it trains the balls of your feet which are essential for pivoting when standing (at least in Nishio syle).

Anyway thanks for the ideas

Cheers

Tristan
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:45 AM   #10
Dazzler
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
Tristan Newton wrote:
Whoever said I didnt ask?
Thought you might say that ....perhaps I should have included an 'if' in there.


Quote:
Tristan Newton wrote:
The answer I got was that its origins are from samurai times and that they would often have to fight from a seated position.


This was from my original teacher at a different dojo and havent asked my current teacher about it.
I've heard this too. For me thats not adequate enough explanation to maintain the practice in modern time. Traditionalists are entitled to disagree but for me its a bit like taking bows and arrows to a rifle range. I'm after something a bit more relevant to contemporary times in my practice so am happy with the explanations I've been given.

At the same time I'm a firm believer in horses for courses..if this is good enough for anyone else then I have no problem with it.


Quote:
Tristan Newton wrote:
Yours is a fair assumption however I do not think it is the actual reason that it was incorporated into aikido. When they do demos here they often combine standing and kneeling into 1 fluid "show".
I'm sure they do. They do that here too. I cant really speak as to why it was originally included in Aikido. I'm sure there are some Historians on aiki web who had hands on with O'Sensei and may have asked that very question. Probably been a few threads on it too. Your question was why do many japanese dojos do it now.

So my response isn't an assumption it is a fact relevant to the dojo and Federation I practice in. As I've said there will be many different views on this each depending on the philosophy of the individual or group, and each group will have their own justification for doing things the way they do handed down from their seniors and technical advisors.


Quote:
Tristan Newton wrote:
I think its handy in getting you fast on your feet actually after ukemi because it trains the balls of your feet which are essential for pivoting when standing (at least in Nishio syle).
I'm sure it is. I've certainly seen a few short people spring off the floor when dealing with big ukes in hamni handachi waza.

Quote:
Tristan Newton wrote:

Anyway thanks for the ideas

Cheers

Tristan
Thank you too.

Cheers

D
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:56 AM   #11
Dazzler
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Re: Suwari waza

ps. From a health and safety point of view its also very useful when you have a very crowded mat.

Cheers

D
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Old 04-07-2006, 04:53 AM   #12
Karen Wolek
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Re: Suwari waza

We do suwari waza and hanmi handachi at my dojo. Not every class....maybe in one or two classes a week. Depends, though. Sometimes Sensei has us doing it almost every class for a couple techniques. And we have been doing them in every advanced class for awhile, because we are all getting ready for ikkyu or shodan.

My sensei says that doing them helps you to learn to move from your center.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:58 AM   #13
Steve Mullen
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Re: Suwari waza

I find that hanmihandachi-waza can be usefull to demonstrate how smaller people should handle a larger (i.e. taller) uki.

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 04-07-2006, 06:17 AM   #14
Nick Simpson
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Re: Suwari waza

To be honest, I'ave always found Suwari Waza easier than tachi waza. Uke generally cant attack as fast and as their already closer to the floor less work is required to get them down. Theres obviously more to it than that but thats all I can think of off the top of my head. Perhaps it's because I enjoy it?

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:22 AM   #15
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
"It is not clear whether this correlation has to do with injury related to seated practice or, as with certain warm-ups, if it is a reflection of an intensity of practice. Whether the jump for women knee injuries is an anomaly is likewise unclear. Hopefully, surveying individuals who have been injured will shed some light on these issues."
in other words, high freuqency of seated techniuque may well be a risk factor for knee injuries, especially in women. problem is we have no way of assessing predisposition to risk.
Janet, did you note the type of mat used by the dojos? In his ukemi DVD, Ellis Amdur suggests that soft mats can lead to injuries because the mat "grabs" the patella, unlike sport tatami, which have less give.

Speaking of Ellis Amdur, perhaps Tristan would be interested in these Aikido Journal blog entries:

Fighting on Your Knees, part 1

Fighting on Your Knees, part 2

Fighting on Your Knees, part 3

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:41 AM   #16
DaveS
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote:
However, I look forward to reading the posts of anyone that says this would be their position of choice in a confrontation.
Well, it'd get around the complaint that a lot of aikido techniques against kicks only work against kicks to the upper body...
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Old 04-07-2006, 09:38 AM   #17
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
David Sim wrote:
Well, it'd get around the complaint that a lot of aikido techniques against kicks only work against kicks to the upper body...
Pleas not in this thread
Please post this in one of those "aikido does (not) work". ther I'll be happy to answer ... or ignore it

Dirk

P.S. it is funny, that some people complain about aikidoka not knowing about how to fight on the ground and others asking, why one should go down in training.

Last edited by Dirk Hanss : 04-07-2006 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:36 PM   #18
MaryKaye
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Re: Suwari waza

If you teach children by training with them, hanmi-handachi is a very useful skill. We have a really skilled but smallish eight-year-old and there are many techniques I can only do on him if I can do them hanmi-handachi. (I'm not nearly the contortionist to get under his arm for shihonage, for example, and if I do most of my ushiro arts from standing I end up wearing him like a cape.)

I think my teachers do hanmi-handachi with adults mainly because it makes certain kinds of muscling or forcing techniques more difficult--the theory is that if we can learn the hanmi-handachi or suwari-waza form, we'll take back good habits to the standing form.

There is also a class of forward-roll throws (they probably form the majority of our actual hanmi-handachi training time) where we're doing the throw from kneeling because it aids uke in working on certain aspects of the ukemi. Hanm-handachi can be a good first throw into forward roll for some students.

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:07 PM   #19
Karen Wolek
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Re: Suwari waza

I'm very short, Mary can attest to that (hi, Mary!).....I'm only 5 feet tall. Sometimes I will complain (ok, whine) to Sensei that I can't do a certain technique because "I'm too short!" He'll get down on his knees and have my uke attack him, do the technique hanmi handachi.....and prove to me that my height has nothing to do with anything. Hmpf.

But hey, it also goes both ways....when the Big Guys (tm) have to do hanmi handachi, they get to see how I feel sometimes! <grin>

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:36 AM   #20
tedehara
 
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
I'm very short, Mary can attest to that (hi, Mary!).....I'm only 5 feet tall. Sometimes I will complain (ok, whine) to Sensei that I can't do a certain technique because "I'm too short!" ...<grin>
Five feet tall would make you about the height of the founder.
This art was made for you.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 04-08-2006, 06:09 AM   #21
Karen Wolek
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Re: Suwari waza

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
Five feet tall would make you about the height of the founder.
This art was made for you.
That's what everyone always tells me when I complain! "O'Sensei could do it just fine..."

Yeah, but....

he was O'Sensei! Not 2nd kyu Karen from Poughkeepsie!

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:27 AM   #22
Karen Wolek
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Re: Suwari waza

Guess what we did in class this morning? The first four techniques were:

Suwari waza katatori ikkyo ura
Suwari waza katatori iriminage
Hanmi handachi shihonage ura
Hanmi handachi shihonage omote

How does he KNOW??????

Luckily after those four excruciating techniques, we got to stand up for the rest of class. Woo hoo!

Well, I was woohooing until the last technique of the morning....a choke. I still don't like those....

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:41 AM   #23
Charles Cunningham
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Re: Suwari waza

Janet prepared a great write-up of her study of the incidence of serious knee injuries in >100 aikido dojos, which can be read at her website

http://www.zanshinart.com/Aikido/Write-up1.html

Among other things, her study addresses the question Joshua raised regarding the correlation of mat surface to knee injuries. Apparently, the 8 dojos that use wrestling mats all fell into the "no knee injuries" category, while 7 of the 8 dojos reporting the highest incidence of knee injuries used fake tatami/foam or gymnastic mats. One must be cautious in drawing too strong a conclusion from these numbers, in part because 8 is a small number (implying greater uncertainties) and in part because mat surface may correlate with some other more significant causal factor.

Charles
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:48 AM   #24
SmilingNage
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Re: Suwari waza

I ve never come across people being injured from suwari or Hanmi Handachi being nage. Most people pass on it if they a pre-existing leg ailment. But I ve never seen it cause an actual injury other some scraped up toes and knees. Though I 've seen uke injuries from those techniques.

Now I have to keep an eye out for that

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 04-09-2006, 06:25 PM   #25
seank
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Re: Suwari waza

We regularly practice suwari-waza and hanmi handachi, and both of these styles are graded as part of our normal syllabus.

As a few people have mentioned it is an excellent tool for teaching students that height does not matter, and also for emphasising proper technique (as its hard to hide what you are doing wrong).

It is also an excellent tool for learning to move with your hips and not your upper body, and also to judge and adjust for ma-ai. I find that while shikko is very easy to do, suwari-waza techniques require more thought than tachi-waza and that I must constantly adjust to the variations being closer to the ground imposes.
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