View Full Version : seiza

Daniel san
26th February 2003, 18:02
I have a question about seiza. I am able to sit like this for very long periods of time on soft surfaces. However, on anything hard it really starts to hurt my toe knuckles. What is the correct way to circumvent this? Also, what is a good opposite stretch for the ankles?
Thank you for your time.

Jake McKee
2nd March 2003, 14:45
There are a number of exercises and stretches you can do to prepare increase your "seiza stamina". Here is one that comes from Thai Massage.

1) Lay on your stomach.
2) Your partner bends your legs slowly toward your buttocks.
3) With one foot over the other, your partner keeps applying pressure, leaning in with his whole body. Hold for 20 seconds or so.

Another way to do this stretch is:

1) Sit seiza.
2) Open your feet a little wider than usual.
3) Lean back and lay on the mat.
4) Try to keep your knees and your shoulders touching the mat.
5) Stretch your arms for a more complete stretch.

Good luck!

Steve Williams
11th April 2003, 11:11
The question was not about the bending of the leg (which Jake seems to be answering) but the pressure on the joints of the toes.

Personally I don't have this problem.....

If I am in Seiza for any length of time (over about 5 mins) then my feet "go to sleep" this is fine until I get up, then I just stagger about a little until the blod returns ;)

11th April 2003, 20:42
Mmmm. Seiza that wonderful posture. My wifes sitting there relaxing in it as she eats her meal. Ogasawara has a lot to answer for. I go to other asian countries to sit with the people on chairs and the Japanese are siting and squatting in the dirt!

Seriously don't worry too much. I teach young Japanese who cant sit like that for over 5 minutes.

Especialy hard surfaces that press on the veins in the top of the feet as you sit on a hard floor. That's why Japanese women wear those little socks.

One thing wont help is if you plonk your full body weight down on your legs. The secret is too be able to strengthen the legs to sit and leave a gap the width of a thick newspaper in between backside and feet. That way you can sit for hours. (Shhhh, dont tell anyone)

Practice, practice. Have fun!

Hyakutake Colin

12th April 2003, 10:40
Thanks for the hint, Colin. My knee joints seem to be of the least flexible type, so it takes ages for me to get my buttocks to touch my feet anyway :) After around 5 mins of sitting in seiza (I haven't really taken time but it seems appropriate), the getting back up in a formal way is impossible. My muscles are in a hypernate mode that prevents quick contracting, what I assume is similar to what Steve described. It gets better with regular training, though.
As a side note, I'm able to sit in seiza for as long as I want after working out my legs and esp. thighs at the gym. It might be that my stiff thighs have been warmed up and stretched by the weight training or something with the knees' joints, I don't know. Anyway, leg squats before Iaido etc. work for me.


Tripitaka of AA
18th April 2003, 20:17
When I attended a Japanese funeral, as a member of the deceased's family (wife's late grandmother), we were required to sit patiently as a queue of mourners took turns to offer their condolences. We were in Seiza for longer than I could remember doing during training (although it was on tatami, thank goodness). I was very pleased to discover that I could out-last most of the family and it got me some admiring glances when I could stand up relatively smoothly at the end (anything that improves my reputation with the in-laws is gratefully received ;) ).

A couple of the Main members (two of Grandma's four daughters) had brought some cheating stools. They have a wide seat with a tiny single column that nestles between the feet. They sat in Seiza, but the weight is carried on the stool instead of squashing the feet.

21st April 2003, 15:20
yea seiza is a pain in the a_ _ or the knees in this case but as koryo budoka we must tolerate the pain i just feel sorry for aikidoka and kendoka

21st April 2003, 20:40
The pain isn't the problem -- the getting up is!


25th April 2003, 08:56
I used to have this weird vision, when I was sitting in seiza, of my right knee busting open, spraying muscle, blood, tissue, etc. everywhere, in an extremely wanton fashion. Kind of prevented me from sitting very long without moving around a bit. After that was gone though, I found I could just sit back and relax (at least for about 5 minutes, give or take a few).

Uhh... so, anyway... Now it's just my lower/mid back that kills me when I sit in it (usually after class).

25th April 2003, 12:48
I totally agree, the getting up part is the hardest. When I get up when I`ve been in seiza to long all of the blood suddenly flows back to my lower lengs, and my head becomes really light and often my eyes go black on me for about a second. It`s probably because the blood can`t flow properly to your lowerlegs when you sit in seiza.