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Stan Meador
Stan Meador's picture

Here are two examples of seated and ground defense from non-Japanese martial arts. Granted, it is not the traditional Japanese posture.

Portuguese Stick Fighting in a Chair

Portuguese Stick Fighting on the Ground

One aspect of stick training is that the stick moves very fast and the eyes are trained to perceive at that speed. When an unarmed attcker arrives, the hands often seem to be moving more slowly in comparison to the speed of the sticks.

Also, Kung Fu's Dog Boxing is said to contain a lot of ground fighting. The extent to which they practice from a seated position is unknown to me. At about 1:45 in this clip they are in a one knee down kneeling position to begin the form application.

Anyway, here are a few other examples that show training from a seated or on the ground position. I think the key is that they train from positions of disadvantage. This seems to be a theme in many kung fu styles as they often have two weapon sets where one is obviously disadvantaged (e.g., fan vs. spear).

I hope this contributes to the discussion and to our overall knowldge of other arts.


miket's picture

Found it!  smiley

I mistakenly attributed this in my prior post to Mafilindo, her DVD is actually on Madjapahit silat.  This is only the highlight reel, but it gives you a sense...  its a very well done DVD with some good stuff on attacking the knee joint from an assyemtric position and to a lesser extent, grounded kicking.  Worth having in your library.


Iain, I'm sorry, I can't seem to figure out how to embed the offsite link direct so that it shows up as a picture...  M

michael rosenbaum
michael rosenbaum's picture


I'm confused, and have been for sometime now with this post. We agree everyone sets, squats and kneels but where this came from we haven't decided, especially with Funakoshi. Therefore, I'd like to ask the following questions.

1. Did Funakoshi learn squatting/setting/kneeling defense from the Okinawan mountain Gobblins. You know like the Ninjas learned their kneeling defense.

2. After Funakoshi returned from the mountain did he prefer squatting to kneeling when he fought.

3. When Funakoshi walked to Japan, did he squat or kneel when he rested mid-way in the South China sea?

4. Did Funakoshi practice kneeling defense during the hour it took for him to comb his hair?

5. Did Funakoshi have a secret squatting/kneeling kata that he taught to only a select few?

Curious and confused minds want to know.

You guys have agood day!

Mike R.

Harald's picture

Summarizing the information in this thread so far, I would say that considering seating postion in self-defense training is very reasonable since one sits in public on a lots of occasions.

If Funakoshin invented defense techniques from seiza it might have been an adoption to Japanese culture. Anyway, it´s a cultaral thing. What are the kinds of situations you might be confronted with?

The shindo yoshin ryu kata, the wado idori and the aikido examples have much in common. But it does not apply to shotokan, if I am right. I sympathisize with Iain´s way of taking it: have an open mind and apply the principles you have learned and practised in various kinds of situations.

Real fight is not in a cage! A pimp would avoid fighting a mma-fighter but pleases him to sit down and have a beer on his charge...and then helps him to swallow the beer/lglass..If you engage in such a situation your abilities are limited! Very big and strong people are said to be brought to silence against an intelligent but indescene fighter.

A minor point on unsu bunkai:

The kick from the floor (whatever you kick: mae-geri, yoko-geri, mawasi-geri, ushiro-geri...?) is a counter-attack. Right. But you first duck and then counter-attack. You are not on the floor and get attacked, or do you?

In sum, I subsribe to Iain´s points.


Stan Meador
Stan Meador's picture

Did the seiza exist in Okinawa prior to the late 1800's? If it did, then it is likely that some techniques were derived for the eventuality of being attacked while in that position. If it did not, then it is highly likely that no techniques were derived for such an eventuality since it would not be an eventuality, unless an Okinawan was visiting in Japan and was attacked while in the seiza. If the Okinawans only encountered the seiza position in Japan then the developments probably came after they began synthesizing the martial arts with Japanese cultural realities. So, does anyone know where the seiza existed in Okinawa prior to the late 1800's?

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

MikeT wrote:
Iain, I'm sorry, I can't seem to figure out how to embed the offsite link direct so that it shows up as a picture

Hi Mike,

It needs you to enter the embed code and I don’t think regular users have the ability to do that … just us admin types :-) It’s a security think to prevent anyone posting anything impropriate. So I tend to embed them all the videos after the event i.e. people post the youtube link, and I’ll do the embedding next time I’m online. With the one you posted, they have prohibited embedding so it can’t be done. Hope that helps.

All the best,


lcpljones_dontpanic's picture

in answer to those questioning whether the seiza seating position was used in Okinawa in found this on the web;


basically the post says that

Seiza was not a normal seating posture in old Okinawa. Men traditionally sat with crossed legs while women sat similarly or in a kind of “side saddle” posture used by women informally in Japan today.

so it would appear that Funakoshi included this as part of the asimiliation into Japanese culture.