Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Beauty of Suwari-Waza

This week on the Monday training we did a lot of suwari-waza. At a certain point I found myself thinking about the beauty of execution from this position as Sensei was demonstrating. I sort of had an aesthetic experience while watching the smooth movements of Sensei and of his flexible 2 kyu uke. It was the movement and that different sort of dynamics that these techniques have that made me pensive. At home I started thinking about it some more and wondering whether other martial arts also use suwari-waza. I also browsed the web to find the perfect picture for this blog post I was already composing in my mind.

I was already researching the web for a while when I just thought I could as well post my question on reddit and see what feedback I get. Here you can read some of the comments I got. It seems like suwari-waza is also used in jujitsu. I cannot find much information about that, though. Should you have some good sources, do let me know. Iaido is a martial art I don't really know much about and apparently they also use suwari-waza. This was practiced by Crane Sensei also. See my post about an inspiring quote by her.
I was just gathering some more information about suwari-waza when I found out that in Iwama-style aikido one of the main non-aikikai aikido branches techniques always start from suwari-waza, more exactly in complete seiza. This is in contrast to most other styles where the practitioners often start already on their toes (kiza).

Some people on forums also ask themselves if suwari-waza is of any use. It seems to me that these are more the practitioners who fight for fighting´s sake. My opinion on that is close to what Zarilli Sensei says in an interview (see more here). Once you practice a martial art, you are not likely to be the typical victim. You are no longer walking around with your head in the clouds as perfect pray for pickpockets or even more tough attackers. All in all, you are most likely to lean towards the thinking described in this little converation I once read somewhere:

Aikidoka: What would you do sensei, if you were attacked on a narrow dark street in the middle of the night?
Sensei: Why would I possibly be walking down a narrow dark street in the middle of the night?

This is more like my attitude. What is your attitude towards the martial art you are practicing? Do not hesitate to leave a comment. 

Update: I also looked up some information on Daito-ryu-Jujutsu (literally, "Great Eastern School"). This is another martial art that I discovered thanks to the comments from people on reddit. Takeda Sokaku the founder of Daito-ryu-Jujutsu was the teacher of O`Sensei Ueshiba. I have already read before, that Ueshiba practiced Jujutsu before founding aikido. Some roots of techniques should be then found in the Daito-ryu-Jujutsu.

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The Voice of Aikido


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