Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Suwariwaza is groundwork

Photo courtesy of DimmerSwitch
Rob commented a couple of days ago on my suwariwaza post – I don't think Rob was wrong, but that was not quite how I would put it.
The knife in kata is a symbol of power in that it represents the opponent that totally outclasses us. If we can learn to deal with the knife-wielding enemy and we treat everybody like they have a knife, then the empty-handed guy is easier to deal with. Knife teaches empty-hand but empty-hand does not teach knife.
Suwari can be symbolic of standing technique with limited motion, as Rob suggested (though I prefer to just stand up and work in a corner or small space) or it can be symbolic of being attacked while seated (though that is tenuous IMO). It is also just plain good exercise for the hips and legs and hara.
But I prefer to think about suwari not as a symbol of anything, but as a kind of groundwork. Suwari doesn't symbolize groundwork – suwari is groundwork.
The problem has to do with the formality and the level of abstraction at which suwari is done.
And my question from my previous post stands - why do we have to practice suwari in such a way that it is onerous, painful, and useless. Why can't we practice it such that we benefit from it and enjoy it? What would have to be done to our practice of suwari to make it worthwhile and fun?
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  1. Well actually doing it would be a start :) I read once that Ueshiba said that all techniques could be done from suwari. I'd like to test that.

  2. Hey Pat did you like that youtube clip that I sent you? Nasty aye?

  3. John "Nike" Wood: "Just do it!" ;-)

    Rob, I saw the video you sent. It was gruesome indeed. I'd seen that one or one like it before, and even mentioned it in a previous post, though the one I linked to has gone missing from YouTube.


    The video in question is an extremely gruesome, graphic depiction of what knives do yo human meat. Don't watch this with kids or if you're squeamish:


    I read back through that 2007 knife article article again, and I agree with what I wrote there just as much or more than when I wrote it a couple of years ago regarding knives in aikido.


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