Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 68

Thread: Is seiza a "healthy" position?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Bergen, Norway
    Posts
    247
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Is seiza a "healthy" position?

    While seiza may be helpful for training good upper body posture, it obstructs the blood flow to the legs if sitting for longer periods of time. Is this something that can be improved with training - i.e. will the problems associated with seiza diminish over time, and the benefits increase? Is it healthy to sit in seiza for, say, 10-15 minutes each day?
    Aage Bakken

    Ki is like duct tape, it has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together. [yoj]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    nyc
    Posts
    211
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    hmmmm... I have a knee problem, so take everything I say on seiza knowing that -

    I took me a LOOOOONG time to be able to sit in seiza - I was 'late nidan' in my karate before I could. I had to get the knee flexible, then flexible and weight-bearing on a cushioned surface, then on the floor....

    I sometimes find it quite comfortable - IF I've been doing it regularly. if not - ouch! and I slide off to the side, or sit cross-legged.

    I actually like to sit in seiza, and start leaning back - a nice quad stretch.
    I keep sitting on my heels, and keep going back - ow! oo! EE!
    elbows, then head and shoulders, on the floor.
    getting up from that can be quite amusing

    I would think that - if you don't have knee problems - 10 -15 minutes in seiza wouldn't hurt you.

    mew
    Margaret Welsh

    "It's more fun when they do it to themselves." Barbara Hambly

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    55
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default I don't mean to sound rude

    But why? What does sitting in this position do for you. What purpose for self defense is sitting in Seiza?
    Daniel Son (Sonnenmeier)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    508
    Likes (received)
    0

    Cool kamae

    its a kamae.

    you should feel 'able' 'free' to moved from any position.

    :-)
    'Saru mo ki kara ochiru.' is a Japanese kotowaza or proverb. 'Even monkeys fall from trees.' or essentially 'Nobody's perfect'


    Gary Brewer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Durham, North Carolina
    Posts
    1,253
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    I would like to point out one thing about seiza, which is the reason that I don't do it regularly.

    If you look at the structure of the upper leg when in seiza, you will notice that it looks just like a lever.


    Knee------------------------------Weight on buttocks
    -------------[Fulcrum]--------------------------foot

    The fulcrum, which is provided by your bulging calf muscles and hamstrings, causes an upward pull on the knee. This is then countered by the connective tissue of the knee, which can be stretched by the force. Such connective tissue is only so elastic, and when stretched too far, does not return. When torn, it will never fully heal the way a muscle will. In other words, your knees will become much more flexible due to tissue damage. While this is not an issue when you are young, as all those bulging muscles hold the knee together, you will feel it as you age.
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sagey Plains, WY
    Posts
    898
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Knee------------------------------Weight on buttocks
    Except that you shouldn't have your weight on buttocks; instead you should be slightly flexing your thigh muscles and keeping your spine straight so that your weight is positioned in between your buttocks and knees. Your pelvis should be tilted slightly so that your lower back is flat. There should not be stress or weight on either the knees or heels. Weight is over muscle mass, not over joints or bone. I think correct position, which is not often taught overtly, alleviates the stress on knees ligaments--at least it hurts less and I can sit longer when I am doing it right.

    You are correct to say that this bad weight position can stress the knees of course. I think that most Japanese are taught how to sit correctly, but it may not trickle down to non-Japanese students if there are many non-Japanese teachers along the way.

    But why? What does sitting in this position do for you. What purpose for self defense is sitting in Seiza?
    Since this is a "Health" forum, I won't go into it, but you should read some of the discussions in the sword arts. It is a good question Mr. Bakken has because of the potential health concerns, but as far as the "Why" that has been endlessly discussed already.
    J. Nicolaysen
    -------
    "I value the opinion much more of a grand master then I do some English professor, anyways." Well really, who wouldn't?

    We're all of us just bozos on the budo bus and there's no point in looking to us for answers regarding all the deep and important issues.--M. Skoss.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    55
    Likes (received)
    0

    Red face

    Since this is a "Health" forum, I won't go into it
    Thanks for pointing this out.....sorry for posting here. My fault.



    you should read some of the discussions in the sword arts
    I should if I really wanted to do it, but I don't, but thanks for the info.
    Daniel Son (Sonnenmeier)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sagey Plains, WY
    Posts
    898
    Likes (received)
    0

    Talking Was just trying to stay on topic, but oh well, here it is.

    Alright Dan, I'll try to summarize it all.

    Thing is, some people have used seiza itself to claim one branch of JSA as superior to another and such things. In the end, it's no longer an interesting discussion to some, including me. If I am in an art that uses it, I will too. If I'm in an art that uses a different style of sitting, I will use that. But by all means if you want a more complete answer, check out these links:

    iaido and seiza

    and here Advice for Seiza

    and here Loose theory about Seiza

    and here Another seiza Question

    and some others, of varying helpfulness.

    Anyhow, it's true, seiza as we know it today isn't the most "combat-ready" position. Seiza in the past however could refer to any correct way of sitting for a particular context (c.f. Bodiford's post in the first link). Some people use seiza for meditation, most often it is a more formal way of sitting for formal functions: meetings, tea ceremony, funerals, etc. If someone practices a style of JSA that is "more formal" or "more refined" that someone is more likely to sit seiza to reflect that. I'll let those who would make judgements about which art is better, do so. I won't even attempt saying which JSA styles might be "more formal," since I don't know, and I don't want to make/lose friends from it.

    To answer your question more clearly, some have rationalized seiza in terms of self-defence as: providing balance; emphasizing hip movement; focusing one's attention on hips->upper body as later kata emphasize standing or other postures; training a sort of "explosive" strike from a neutral and harmless looking posture; "sensei told me so."

    So I hope that's a bit more of what you were asking.

    ---
    I see from my earlier post and one of the few I linked to that my description of a "flat lower back" may not sound similar to, say, Paul Smith's description of a "S-curved back." I think that a straightened spine and tilted pelvis leads to what I describe as a flat lower back but I see how Mr. Smith's description may not sound the same. The spine has a natural S curve and that is what is supposed to be emphasized. I think we may not be talking about the same portion of the lower back. In any event, the second picture from the second link is what we both are trying to describe and reccomend.
    Last edited by nicojo; 29th August 2005 at 21:00.
    J. Nicolaysen
    -------
    "I value the opinion much more of a grand master then I do some English professor, anyways." Well really, who wouldn't?

    We're all of us just bozos on the budo bus and there's no point in looking to us for answers regarding all the deep and important issues.--M. Skoss.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Naha, Okinawa
    Posts
    193
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default another link

    Seiza: The Kneeling Posture at FightingArts.com...
    Nullius in verba

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    nyc
    Posts
    211
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    [QUOTE=nicojo]Except that you shouldn't have your weight on buttocks; instead you should be slightly flexing your thigh muscles and keeping your spine straight so that your weight is positioned in between your buttocks and knees. Your pelvis should be tilted slightly so that your lower back is flat. There should not be stress or weight on either the knees or heels. Weight is over muscle mass, not over joints or bone. I think correct position, which is not often taught overtly, alleviates the stress on knees ligaments--at least it hurts less and I can sit longer when I am doing it right.

    You are correct to say that this bad weight position can stress the knees of course. I think that most Japanese are taught how to sit correctly, but it may not trickle down to non-Japanese students if there are many non-Japanese teachers along the way.

    ---

    I should have said this - sorry - yes, you don't want to be squashing your butt into your heels. you are slightly 'floating'.

    for the rest - read it and save your knees some trouble, and learn the whys and wherefores.

    mew
    Margaret Welsh

    "It's more fun when they do it to themselves." Barbara Hambly

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Posts
    5,953
    Likes (received)
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Bakken
    ...will the problems associated with seiza diminish over time, and the benefits increase? Is it healthy to sit in seiza for, say, 10-15 minutes each day?
    Here's my take on the subject.

    Seiza isn't a "healthful" or "health promoting/improving" posture the way some Yoga postures are considered to be, but it's not particularly "unhealthy" either.

    If one can sit in seiza without extreme discomfort, than it's not going to damage the body. But for those unaccustomed to it, that can be a big if.

    Starting with short sessions and adding time as one goes can be helpful. Being in good shape and doing enough physical activity to keep the joints and connective tissue loose is also important. (Not usually a problem for those in the MAs).

    The hazards of seiza, such as they are, can be minimized by keeping the synovial joints in the ankles and knees well hydrated and healthy (proper diet and exercise), and avoiding overstretching the ligaments in the knees by keeping the leg muscles healthy. (In particular, keeping the extensors in the thighs (quadraceps, etc.) stretched, and the foundation muscles (hamstrings, etc.) strong and large). (Again, not usually a big problem for MAists.)

    Sitting in seiza for hours at a time isn't suggested (there are better positions for long meditation sessions, for example), but the short bouts during iaido or the even longer periods during tea ceremony shouldn't damage anyone who's reasonably fit and healthy, IMNSHO.

    HTH.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Merced Ca.
    Posts
    436
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    I agree with Brian. Doing it properly is fine, but for long periods of time is rather taxing. I have had knee surgery, and many need another if I keep going, and more than 15-20 min. kills me, but I can hang for Iaido, but any longer just kill my knees. Gott'a love getting older or is it better???
    All My Best,

    Todd Wayman

    "…since karate is a martial art, you must practice with the utmost seriousness from the very beginning."

    - G. Funakoshi, Karate-Do Nyumon, 1943

  13. #13
    Aikinorth Guest

    Default Seiza - Purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Son
    But why? What does sitting in this position do for you. What purpose for self defense is sitting in Seiza?
    I think seiza serves several purposes. For me, doing a good deal of suwariwaza teaches my body, in clearest terms, when my center is at work and when it is not; when I am "underneath" the technique, or not. In that respect, I find it invaluable. The other, of course, is as mentioned elsewhere - I find it builds confidence and flexibility of mind.

    Paul

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Posts
    5,953
    Likes (received)
    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Son
    ...What purpose for self defense is sitting in Seiza?
    I thought I'd add something here.

    Seiza means "Correct Sitting." It was considered "correct" by the Ogasawara, who set the tone for proper ettiquette in their day. It is not a martial arts oriented kamae, it's just how people would often sit.

    So the reason self-defense applications of traditional martial arts are practiced from seiza is the same as the reason modern self-defense methods might be practiced sitting in a chair or while driving a car; because it's a position you might well find yourself in when the need for defense arises.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tokorozawa, Japan
    Posts
    1,264
    Likes (received)
    17

    Default

    One source tells me that seiza was popularized by the tea ceremony cult - you needed to be kneeling to fit more than 2 bodies into a four-and-a-half tatami tea room.
    Zen influence spread the practice into the samurai ranks, and it had another purpose there - by forbidding sitting cross-legged and running within castle grounds, the Tokugawa were able to check assassination attempts.

    One of the more senior Aikido instructors in the world, Kobayashi Sensei, says, "If you can do it in seiza, you can do it standing."

    Andrew
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •