Koza-zuwari (交差座り) (Cross Legs Sit Down Position)
Hello and welcome to the second fundamental loosening exercise that is part of Isaka Sensei's (IS) sit down lessons. This one is particularly enjoyable if you like the idea of loosening up your hip joints and your lower back.
NB: be careful though- remember these exercises are never mandatory and should never cause undue pain. If you have prior injuries of conditions that make such exercises painful, IS will never expect you to do them. In fact, all the exercises on IS curriculum are mypace.
This practice makes sense if you just remember the more conventional standing version of it, koza-dachi, which IS demonstrates here on the right. As
you can see, conventionally we use it as the preparation position in kihon for a yokogeri-keage or kekomi; now in IS slow motion positions, the kosa-dachi is pretty extreme. The sit down version of it, as you've now guessed is a great way to build the flexibility in the pelvic curdle to get good at these kicks. Also it's a good note to let you know if you are overweight. If you are too fat, you can't cross your legs, so you'd better shed the lard, or you are kidding yourself. Sorry if this isn't very PC, but there you go.
OK you can start right over left or left over right.
Again you can go mypace but the best way is to
make sure you are getting into the right position is to lean forward on all fours, cross one leg back over the other and then sit back, like this. Then best thing to do is sit back slowly into the cross legs position, this way you can gradually use the leverage of the knee to act as a lever. Again, it is really important to keep the lower back (in fact the entire back) straight and upright. Let's face it, yokogeri kicks with people leaning over forward too much look really ugly, don't they?
The next stage if you want to is to stretch in a circle; you can stretch forward and then to the sides like shown here, but remembering proper breathing. While I am not exactly supple (I have gone from being horrible to normal over the years) I couldn't even stick one leg over the other properly when I started. Now I can lean over a little. I feel like a champion. For me, it isn't getting a medal, its finishing the race that counts! These movements really provide the value add. Note, if you have any enthusiastic people who want to give you a shove, tell them to back off. These exercises should be done at your own pace and to your own limits. You will be surprised however how your horizons will expand after a few months.
Oh happy times!
Part III: Kata-ashi yoko-geri-zuwari