These sitting and kneeling techniques are more difficult for Europeans than for Eastern students. The Aikido manner of kneeling and sitting is the Orient's natural way of sitting. Unless one starts young it is hard to acquire this suppleness. But with persistent practice one should be able to learn these techniques. This is a very good exercise for the student's body especially for the hips.
When I began Aikido my teacher instructed me mostly from the kneeling positions. This lasted for two years. Because of this I got a good idea of the use of the hips in Aikido. Later on, after practising these postures which can be seen in Plates 51 and 52, try the actual knee walking. Start with one knee resting on the mat, keeping your feet underneath your buttocks. The other knee is bent. Keep your hands on top of your knees. Now lower the knee that is bent onto the mat and spin on your knee until you are in the opposite direction, bringing the other knee into the bent position. Continue this move - alternatively changing knees and turning from side to side. Keep your shoulders relaxed, the small of your back straight and your toes bent uppermost. Practise until you are able to move in all directions with a smooth rhythm. Then practise the technique with a partner - sometimes techniques should be practised with one of your kneeling and the other standing. Occasionally practise with both of you kneeling.
Each technique is done to counter a particular attack on form. The form in which your partner attacks you is described in each technique to help the student.
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