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Thread: Seiza manner

  1. #1
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    Default Seiza manner

    may i ask the seiza manner when i holding a pair of sai?
    can i put down the sai in both my side (one on left and one
    on the right) when i seiza on the floor and bow? is that alright?

    thanks!

    Pritt William

  2. #2
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    Default Not sure it matters

    Generally only Iai or Kendo type classes end up bowing with a weapon. That usually is to show reverence for the weapon itself. In Okinawa we would only do a formal bow from Seiza at the beginning and ending of class and usually the weapons are gathered up before that. If not then generally they would be put to the left side together but that was just to kind of get them out the way if you follow what I am saying. The left side for Sai is used as that is the hand we hold them in when doing the standing bow before begining the Kata. Weapons that were held in the right hand are Nunchakku, Tekko, and Kama. Akamine sensei explained that they were held in the right as they could be used immedieatly from the right hand where as Sai generally have an action similar to dwawing a Sword where the energy is generalted by crossing the center of the body. Kind of makes sense but then you could use the same logic for holding them on the right and striking to the left. Anyway I don't have a hard and fast answer but hope that this bit of rambling helps.
    Yours in budo.

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    I've got another seiza-related question. I've always been told that seiza is done with the knees closely together, especially for women, and that wider knees are the sign of someone who doesn't know seiza, or a bumpkin. I'm seeing a woman instructor, Okinawan style, who's sitting with her knees at almost 90 degrees from each other. Is this Okinawan, or just wrong? (I don't think she'd take it well if I said anything, this is more for my own personal knowledge. )
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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    It was mentioned to me that women should have a fist between the knees and that men should have two fists. I don't recall who told me that, so can't vouch for the accuracy of the statement. I'll wait for additional verification here!
    Respectfully
    Mark W. Swarthout, Shodan

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    Default Ymmv

    Women - Legs together ( no gap ). Men 2 fist gap is fine.

    Perhaps some Ryu allow their women to be a little bit more risque.
    Ed Boyd

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    Default Weapons away prior to seiza

    In my experience, Tim has the right answer. In almost every situation, the weapons are put away before seiza. The only time I've seen someone in seiza with weapons is during a test or some other sort of embu where time does not allow for storing them out of the way. In these instances, the rule is generally to handle them crisply and quietly.

    Sai are simply laid at the right side with the pommel level with the knee and controlled until both have settled without rattling. This same rule holds true for tonfa, nunchaku, etc. The only exception might be tekko. These are often secured inside the gi, tucked into the belt to keep them quiet.

    In all cases, the emphasis on quiet is not so much because of the sound. Rather, the process of quieting the weapons also secures them so they are not going to flop around and injure you or someone else on the deck. Quiet is polite, which is good. But secure is safe, which is better. Does that distinction make sense?

    Again, these are the rare exception. 99% of the time, weapons are racked before seiza.

    Hope that helps.
    Doug Daulton

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    Trevor,

    As far as the spacing in seiza the only “rule” I know of is one fist gap between knees. We don’t have any females in our Iai class so the issue has never come up.

    As far as kobudo and seiza Tim and Doug have covered what I understand to be correct also.
    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

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    Thanks, all. I was a bit perplexed by that.
    Part of the question that I still have is, is this wider seiza an okinawan thing? Japanese way's with knees close together, but from what I've learned a wider seiza is a "yokel thing," which is apparently the Japanese characterization of the Okinawans...
    As some on this board have exemplified, it runs both ways!
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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    Default Seiza

    Knees alomst touching for women and with about one fist for men is pretty universal in Japan. There is no special tradition in Okinawa at least not that I have seen since the 1980's.

    I have to agree with Doug on the idea that quiet and safe would be the main concerns with weapons if you were doing seiza. Mostly only Iai or Kyudo will have a weapon ready when doing Seiza. Some Koryu like Arakiryu have technique for attacks or defense from seiza and therefore have weapons. There is one where you defend your self from an attacker to whom you were serving tea which basically involves tossing the tea tray into his face. Kind of makes me wonder who you are inviting for tea....

    Other seiza in Iai will account for sitting in armor and that ends up with a modified position where the right leg is under your tailbone and your left is more verticle. Almost like a kneeling position for a marksman.

    The last two examples would not be Okinawan tradition due to the arts being from mainland and the ban on swords by the Satsuma clan.
    Yours in budo.

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    Default

    Thanks! It pretty much confirms what I initially thought, to my disappointment. Ah, well, at least I know that I'M doing it correctly!
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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    When we sit in seiza, our knees are apart . Then when we bow our knees come together, then come apart again when we come up. I have never been told about the fist rule. I just know the knees come together so you don't topple over on your face when you bow. Like someone mentioned we are taught to attack from seiza.
    We don't bow out with weapons usually, but when we've bowed out with sais or tonfa, a weapon is on each side. If you need to attack, the weapon is were you need it to be.
    Debra Reese

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    Default

    All,
    Seiza, while now as common in Okinawa as it is on the mainland, is not a native posture there. Okinawan men traditionally sat with crossed legs. Women sat similarly or in a kind of “side saddle” posture used by women informally in Japan today. Like seiza, though with the hips slid to the side, legs deeply bent. This latter posture, by the way, is the one almost always taken by Okinawan priestesses in performing various rituals. So talking about the "correct" way to do seiza in the context of Okinawan arts is like talking about the same thing in the context of those arts as they are taught in the US. Seiza is not an Okinawan custom so there really isn't any right or wrong about its etiquette within the framework of traditional Okinawan culture.

    As for rituals concerning weapons in Okinawan combative arts, these fit into a broader category of formal prostrations called unpai. Weapons, like many other objects, are, according to traditional Okinawan beliefs, endowed with seyaru or shiiyaru, which means they have a specific spirit. However, in daily use, not much attention has been paid to this. There may be various times of the year when the weapons are “honoured” in different ways in ceremonies, but they are not handled in any special way relating to their spirituality in daily use.

    References:
    Lebra, William. Okinawan religion: Belief, Ritual, and Social Structure. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press. 1966.
    Miyagi Eisho and Takamiya Hiroe. Okinawa rekishi chizu. Tokyo, Kashiwa Shobo. 1983.
    Ogawa Toru. Kinsei Okinawa no minzoku-shi. Tokyo, Kobundo. 1987.

    Cordially,
    Dave Lowry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lowry
    All,
    Seiza, while now as common in Okinawa as it is on the mainland, is not a native posture there. Okinawan men traditionally sat with crossed legs. Women sat similarly or in a kind of “side saddle” posture used by women informally in Japan today. Like seiza, though with the hips slid to the side, legs deeply bent. This latter posture, by the way, is the one almost always taken by Okinawan priestesses in performing various rituals. So talking about the "correct" way to do seiza in the context of Okinawan arts is like talking about the same thing in the context of those arts as they are taught in the US. Seiza is not an Okinawan custom so there really isn't any right or wrong about its etiquette within the framework of traditional Okinawan culture.

    As for rituals concerning weapons in Okinawan combative arts, these fit into a broader category of formal prostrations called unpai. Weapons, like many other objects, are, according to traditional Okinawan beliefs, endowed with seyaru or shiiyaru, which means they have a specific spirit. However, in daily use, not much attention has been paid to this. There may be various times of the year when the weapons are “honoured” in different ways in ceremonies, but they are not handled in any special way relating to their spirituality in daily use.

    References:
    Lebra, William. Okinawan religion: Belief, Ritual, and Social Structure. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press. 1966.
    Miyagi Eisho and Takamiya Hiroe. Okinawa rekishi chizu. Tokyo, Kashiwa Shobo. 1983.
    Ogawa Toru. Kinsei Okinawa no minzoku-shi. Tokyo, Kobundo. 1987.

    Cordially,
    Thank you very much! That's very helpful. I take it, then, that the discussions about karate self-defense from seiza are a rather recent phenomenon? I'm sure that the koryu will have their own techniques from seiza, but that's probably not relevant here...
    Trevor Johnson

    Low kicks and low puns a specialty.

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