The way we sit seiza in kendo and iaido

First, I want to thank you for starting this section. It's not always easy to ask questions because of the way kendo is thought. Especially if you need quickly leave after practice due to your other responsibilities.


I practice kendo and iaido for some time. In our dojo, the way we are thought to lower ourselves to seiza is different in kendo and iaido.

In kendo, it's: "first step back with left foot and kneel on your left knee then assume seiza position".

In iaido, we somewhat lower ourselves to sonkyo while doing hakama sabaki then put left knee down first followed by right knee. So, no stepping back means we sit the spot we were standing on.

Honestly, I think iaido's way looks more graceful and neat. Can we apply it to kendo? It changes the distance and you are at the risk of sitting one step forward from everyone else in grading.

Is there a general rule on this? Please share your thoughts. (I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors or misspellings. I hope I have managed to convey what I mean without any problem. English is not my native language.)

Answer: Thank you for your question adn you're very welcome!

In kendo and iaido, we usually apply “Saza-Uki”, which means “sit from the left and get up from the right”.

So to me, as long as you sit from the left, it is fine by me. However, this is more of a micro view.

In a macro view, in kendo, others don’t sit like that. If you only sit like that, the line after everyone lines up will be no longer straight.

When you line up, you line up with the toes on the same line as others so we can keep the line straight.

We slide our left foot back and the left knee comes down to where the left toes were and the right knee comes down where the right toes were.

This is how we keep the straight line.

If you only sit in the iaido way, you will move forward and you will be sitting way forward than the rest because you don’t slide your feet back, which you have described above.

So you should not do it unless everyone does it. But it is up to your sensei so probably you should ask your sensei.

Hope this helps.

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