Seiza

Xue Sheng

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Speaking as one who could never sit comfortably in seiza, and who happily does Chinese martial arts now so I don't have to. When I did, I had to cross my ankles. That is not comfortable either, but it was the only way I could do it.
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

Eric Damon Rapier

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I try it that way as well. Its all uncomfortable currently. But I'm putting the time and effort in to hopefully get to a comfortable space in it.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Speaking as one who could never sit comfortably in seiza, and who happily does Chinese martial arts now so I don't have to. When I did, I had to cross my ankles. That is not comfortable either, but it was the only way I could do it.
I hate seiza. Even as a kid, I hated it, and even doing it since childhood, I still don't find it comfortable. No amount of stretching really helped, it's just not a comfortable position to be in. I'd always fudge it, and am grateful I no longer have to sit in it.
 

Xue Sheng

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I hate seiza. Even as a kid, I hated it, and even doing it since childhood, I still don't find it comfortable. No amount of stretching really helped, it's just not a comfortable position to be in. I'd always fudge it, and am grateful I no longer have to sit in it.

I actually came across more recently with Pranayama, hated it then to, even more actually. The only way I could even do that was sitting on Yoga blocks
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

Eric Damon Rapier

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I hear both of you...it doesn't feel natural. I'm gonna give it an honest try though. Hopefully it gets better.
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

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Hahaha...tell me about it. My 47 year old knees definitely don't like it
 

punisher73

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I wish I could remember what/where I was reading it, but they talked about even the Japanese students when sitting in seiza for too long would occasionally pass out or their legs went to sleep and had trouble getting up.
 

Yokozuna514

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When I started Kyokushin karate 10 years ago I found it very difficult to sit in seiza for any extended period of time. I am older than you are and not particularly flexible but Kyokushin is all about pushing through discomfort and overcoming obstacles through persistence. After 6 or 7 years, I could sit comfortably for an extended period of time. Now I find it quite comfortable to sit in seiza and do so even when I'm coaching basketball and addressing my team.

As many have already said, it takes time for the ligaments to stretch and it is best for it to be done over time. What you may find is that your movement in your art will get better as your body gets used to the work (which will include sitting in seiza). Good luck and stay on it.
 
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pgsmith

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Hey Eric,
Here's the advice I give to new students encountering seiza for the first time ...

Practice helps. Since westerners don't use this position, it takes a while to acclimate the body. Practice at home on the carpet while watching television, but only for a short time each. It will gradually get easier and your time will increase.

Do squats. Squatting completely down and back up is also something we as westerners don't do very often. It will help develop the proper musculature to make seiza easier, and will improve how oyu get up and down from it.

Pay attention to how you're sitting. Most people don't spend much time giving instruction on how to sit in seiza, as it wasn't something that was needed from the Japanese origins of our arts. However, there are a couple of things that are required to properly align the body. First, don't slouch. The immediate reaction to the pressure on the top of the feet is to slouch forward, which actually puts more weight on the ankles. Instead, try rotating your hips forward. this increases the effort of your quads while shifting your weight forward off of the tops of your feet. Your quads will get stronger, and your ankles and feet will thank you. Also, try and maintain body alignment. Keeping your weight centered over your hips at all times will make your feet hurt less.

It gets easier over time.
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

Eric Damon Rapier

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Pgsmith thank you. I can definitely put the effort into slowly working towards getting used to seiza
 

Hanshi

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Time was when I had no difficulty kneeling in seiza; but then I started when I was a kid. Sadly, I can no longer doe this. As a Zen monk I was used to sitting anza (actually a degree of lotus) but this has been impossible for years. Now it all has to be in a chair. Aging isn't for sissies.
 

gpseymour

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Hahaha...tell me about it. My 47 year old knees definitely don't like it
Most folks who start with me are in their 40's, and it's not nearly as comfortable for them as for me. I had one guy who trained with me for 3 years, and never could really settle into it.
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

Eric Damon Rapier

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Before Goggle your word, I thought you were talking about this.

cross-legs.jpg
Heck no!!!!! My legs would snap apart like toy figure legs lol
 
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Eric Damon Rapier

Eric Damon Rapier

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Do standing quad stretches. Make sure you're grabbing your foot up near the toes, not around the ankle, so you're improving ankle mobility as well as stretching your quads.

This actually helped!!!
 

JP3

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Twice....once in the beginning for about 45 sec to 1 minute. I can feel how tight my shin and foot muscles are. My knees and ankles feel compressed. And my quads are tight as well. Also, I am currently unable to sit all the way back on my feet. I hunch over.
Sounds like you're answering your own question. Go witht he advice above, short periods, treating the act of getting "down into seiza" as a stretching exercise in & of itself. It DOES get better. Like stretching for the leg splits, a feat I never did actually accomplish, but you get better and better as you go.
 
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