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How to Do Suwari Waza in Aikido

Learn how to do suwari waza from the instructors at The New York Aikikai in this Howcast aikido video.


Suwari Waza. Waza means technique and suwari means on your knees. The way you move on your knees is a tai sabaki called shikko. Every technique we do in aikido standing, we have to do on our knees in suwari waza. Or with the uke standing and the person throwing on their knees. Which is kind of how I do aikido all the time because I'm so short.

I will show you a few techniques from suwari waza. We start out on our knees, facing each other and I ask her to do a shomen, a head strike. I'm going to move in for ikkyo, first technique, ikkyo. I will show you as soon as I'm done how you walk in suwari waza.

You start out in seiza. This is called seiza, our basic position. My feet are relaxed. The first thing I do is come up, you can do this with me if you want. Then I bring my feet together, under my butt. I ease my way down. I bring my knees together, feet together, ease my way down. Knees together, feet together, ease my way down.

To turn, I put both of my knees down and I turn. If you're a catcher in baseball, you already know how to do this. Backwards is the same thing. We can just walk around, turning, turning, moving backwards.

So she could grab my wrist. I could do ikkyo again. She grabs my wrist here. I could move off the line and do an ikkyo, another mobilization. There's the pin that you saw before. If she's standing up, this is called hanmi handachi. I do the same technique. She does an attack, I do a technique.

That was suwari waza and hanmi handachi.

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