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Tim Fong
03-14-2007, 10:35 AM
I am back from 9 days in Tokyo training with Akuzawa and Rob.

Aunkai Review:
The Aunkai folks were gracious hosts and the training was first rate. I got to feel Akuzawa's kicks as well as the hand raising exercise (age te) from kneeling. He had the hardest kicks I have ever felt, to include pro fighters from China.

More importantly, he can _teach_ what he is doing to his students. That's what is most significant to me because no matter how good a person is, I'm not too interested if they can't/won't teach.

I know some of you have already met Rob, but there are other students as well who also have developed pretty impressive skills. Static demos are impressive enough, but fighting is a whole other deal entirely. While I was in Japan I went with Rob and Manabu (who was originally a Systema practitioner) to an open mat wrestling session with some shooto (MMA) guys, and Manabu more than held his own against the shooto players, one of whom is a pro fighter. Another one of the Aunkai guys , Mitsuhashi is an experienced grappler/mma player and is making the transition to the internal style of training.

For people who are more interested in practice on the aikido-esque side of things, I should mention that Akuzawa demonstrated the age te exercise several times. At one point my friend who is a weightlifter type guy, around 185 lb., piled onto Akuzawa's wrists. Akuzawa threw him backwards effortlessly.

Akuzawa explained several times that his goal is pure motion, and to move without regard for the opponent , by focusing on keeping his own frame. Therefore a step is a step, or a kick, or a sweep.

From other people I have seen, this is just talk. Akuzawa, however, is the real deal.

MM
03-14-2007, 10:44 AM
Thanks for the review, Tim! Just makes me want to visit Japan all the more. :)

gdandscompserv
03-14-2007, 10:53 AM
Thanks for the review, Tim! Just makes me want to visit Japan all the more. :)
Japan is a fascinating land. You wouldn't regret it I am sure.

ChrisMoses
03-14-2007, 12:26 PM
More importantly, he can _teach_ what he is doing to his students. That's what is most significant to me because no matter how good a person is, I'm not too interested if they can't/won't teach.



That was what impressed me most on my visit. It wasn't just one naturally gifted practitioner surrounded by wanna bes, but rather it was painfully obvious that the system he's using works. Really nice group of folks.

Budd
03-14-2007, 02:22 PM
Great review! Thanks for the comments!

Tim Fong
03-15-2007, 12:39 AM
That was what impressed me most on my visit. It wasn't just one naturally gifted practitioner surrounded by wanna bes, but rather it was painfully obvious that the system he's using works. Really nice group of folks.

Yes. Too often in martial arts, hero-worship becomes an easy out for practitioners. Through hero-worship, a person refuses responsibility for his/her own personal development.

Thankfully, that is not the case with Aunkai.

HL1978
03-15-2007, 03:33 AM
Yes. Too often in martial arts, hero-worship becomes an easy out for practitioners. Through hero-worship, a person refuses responsibility for his/her own personal development.

Thankfully, that is not the case with Aunkai.

Hi Tim, a buddy of yours who does Kendo often worries that it seems like we are overly evangelical and that we look at it as though it is the one true path.

Anyone who has trained with Ark knows that there really isn't any hero worshiping going on. Infact its not like we even do any bowing in the class, I dont believe I ever heard any honorific japanese etc.

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-15-2007, 03:58 AM
Come on Hunter, we all say "o-sake" no? That's honorific :-)

davidafindlay
03-15-2007, 05:10 AM
Anyone who has trained with Ark knows that there really isn't any hero worshiping going on. Infact its not like we even do any bowing in the class, I dont believe I ever heard any honorific japanese etc.Yeah, totally. One of the things I really liked about the approach was the arrangement of just turning up and getting on with it.

Several more "traditional" instructors I'd enjoy training under... But Ark is someone I'd really enjoy training under, and having a beer with afterwards. This extends to the members at Aunkai too. A good bunch of people.

I think the thing that I found most attractive was the simple pragmatic nature of training.

Though I did kinda feel like I was missing something without a nice wide shiney belt ;)

Best,
Dave Findlay

HL1978
03-15-2007, 02:33 PM
Come on Hunter, we all say "o-sake" no? That's honorific :-)

Hehe, isn't that where half of the training really occurs?

Though I did learn the lesson of wild turkey.

ChrisMoses
03-15-2007, 03:17 PM
Hehe, isn't that where half of the training really occurs?

Though I did learn the lesson of wild turkey.

But have you spoken with Mr. Elijah Craig recently?

HL1978
03-15-2007, 03:35 PM
But have you spoken with Mr. Elijah Craig recently?

oops, nevermind I got the joke :)

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 05:31 AM
May I ask if this is the stuff being reviewed? It looks interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAJVQMCWeOA

Mike

Aran Bright
03-21-2007, 08:08 AM
May I ask if this is the stuff being reviewed? It looks interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAJVQMCWeOA

Mike

Ah...that's just beautiful to watch.

I SO don't want to be kicked by him though.

I have to admire as there is great strength, structure and flexibility in those movements. It just goes to demonstrate what the body is capable of when it moves as a whole.

Great stuff.

davidafindlay
03-21-2007, 08:08 AM
Hi Mike,

Yup, that's it. The first few youtube's under a search for Akuzawa are of the same stuff too.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=akuzawa

It is interesting ;)

Ecosamurai
03-21-2007, 08:19 AM
Kicking is interesting. I'll have to dig up some the stuff at the back of my brain and start practicing them again. Only this time with 'internal stuff' :)

The seiza stuff is identical to basic ki aikido exercises but it's really refreshing to see it done in a different circumstance with slightly different emphasis. Haven't tried the index finger stuff he does before, I think I'm gonna have fun looking through these vids and re-examining what I do regularly afterwards :)

Thanks for posting the review :)

Mike

ChrisMoses
03-21-2007, 03:15 PM
The seiza stuff is identical to basic ki aikido exercises but it's really refreshing to see it done in a different circumstance with slightly different emphasis.

Having felt both, I'd say they were actually quite different. You could probably do Ark's method in Aikido and people would think you were doing the same thing, but doing the aikido versions on Ark/Rob wouldn't move them a bit. To get a sense for the difference, have a partner (who you think does kokyudosa) fairly well do this with a third party. Put your hands loosely around their tricep/bicep area and feel the muscles. The way Rob/Ark do this, there is no discernible firing of either muscle groups.

Aran Bright
03-21-2007, 06:46 PM
Having felt both, I'd say they were actually quite different. You could probably do Ark's method in Aikido and people would think you were doing the same thing, but doing the aikido versions on Ark/Rob wouldn't move them a bit. To get a sense for the difference, have a partner (who you think does kokyudosa) fairly well do this with a third party. Put your hands loosely around their tricep/bicep area and feel the muscles. The way Rob/Ark do this, there is no discernible firing of either muscle groups.

So then the power must be being generated from the torso/spine.

Nice tip.

Upyu
03-21-2007, 10:02 PM
So then the power must be being generated from the torso/spine.

Nice tip.

Chris you're giving away all the secrets! HAMON!
lmao :D jk

Nice insight Aran ;)

Another tip for you then, it's not generated soley through spine/torso.
More like it passes through there. There is movement in that area though :)

Take a look at the back of the Aun Statues...they're backs are prominently developed (as well as the middle) and that's a pretty big hint if you ask me.
Not to mention the coiling of the sniews and tendons/muscles

Aran Bright
03-22-2007, 04:33 AM
Chris you're giving away all the secrets! HAMON!
lmao :D jk

Nice insight Aran ;)

Another tip for you then, it's not generated soley through spine/torso.
More like it passes through there. There is movement in that area though :)

Take a look at the back of the Aun Statues...they're backs are prominently developed (as well as the middle) and that's a pretty big hint if you ask me.
Not to mention the coiling of the sniews and tendons/muscles

Aun statues?

I'm sorry I'm not sure I'm familiar with them? Can you point out where I might find them? or pictures of them perhaps.

another question I have is about this power generation, i can only say that I've been playing around with the exercises (lets face it that's all I can do when I'm on the other side of the planet) BUT i can get something going with a feeling of pushing out through the back of the spine, down into the pelvis and this seems to 'pop' my arms out the sides. I can't help it but I feel like I want to create a circle with my arms even though they feel loose and floppy.

Sorry that's a really crap description but does that even sound vaguely familiar?

Regards,

Aran

Aran Bright
03-22-2007, 04:45 AM
I did a web search, there seems to be Aun statues all over Japan. They do all seem to have there shirts of too. Is this supposed to represent something????;)

But I think I've got your point, this development seems to be similar to those who do taiko. Am I on the right track?

Regards,

Aran

Ecosamurai
03-22-2007, 06:01 AM
The way Rob/Ark do this, there is no discernible firing of either muscle groups.

So, pretty much exactly how I do it then? Cos that's what I do when I do this stuff too.

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-22-2007, 09:30 AM
Hi Aran, The A and Un statues are Buddhist guardians at temple entrance gates, and presumably, assuming this stuff originated in India, their specific body training (or the basics of it) is what is being taught at the Aunkai. The muscle development therefore acts as a good hint as to what body parts are being used in connection. The "how" needs to be felt though. Otherwise you get people saying "Oh yeah, I do that too", like Mr. Moses (and all of us) experienced :-)

ChrisMoses
03-22-2007, 09:37 AM
So, pretty much exactly how I do it then? Cos that's what I do when I do this stuff too.

Mike

I said to get a sense for the difference, it's not the only difference. That's great that you already know how to do this stuff, I have met very few people on this side of the pond that do. It's really easy to see something and say, "We do that too" but we're often wrong.

Aran Bright
03-22-2007, 04:07 PM
Hi Aran, The A and Un statues are Buddhist guardians at temple entrance gates, and presumably, assuming this stuff originated in India, their specific body training (or the basics of it) is what is being taught at the Aunkai. The muscle development therefore acts as a good hint as to what body parts are being used in connection. The "how" needs to be felt though. Otherwise you get people saying "Oh yeah, I do that too", like Mr. Moses (and all of us) experienced :-)

Yep, I'll take that for granted, but if in the mean time I can get some tips/hints that give me something to work with then at least it will help with general posture/stance and stength

Alfonso
03-22-2007, 04:18 PM
Are we talking about these guys?
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/36/82954394_f71334b550.jpg?v=0

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/51/106064928_bd4c27fa5f.jpg?v=1141178861

Tim Fong
03-22-2007, 04:27 PM
Alfonso:
Yes.

Upyu
03-22-2007, 07:18 PM
Here's the particular Aun statue I was referring to, since they probably used a more "human" model :)
http://www.bureau.tohoku.ac.jp/manabi/manabi2/mana2-10.gif

Aran Bright
03-23-2007, 12:44 AM
Here's the particular Aun statue I was referring to, since they probably used a more "human" model :)
http://www.bureau.tohoku.ac.jp/manabi/manabi2/mana2-10.gif

Yeah, the most interesting thing I see in this picture is how 'he' is extending along the back of the arms, note the flexed right wrist and how the fingers extend out. He seems to be drawing his body just like a bow and the ribcage is almost thrust forward. He is extending strongly through the legs. The bit that puzzles me is the almost casual way he is resting on the left hip.

Thanks, I spend long hours looking at the way people stand, that is actually quite interesting.

Aran

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-23-2007, 01:11 AM
The less I say the less my foot will go into my mouth! Have to consider reading this stuff in a few years' time after all :-) If tip==personal experience, then I would say I have most trouble making the hip area open up to the sides without moving the legs apart, while keeping the abdomen from being pulled down and forward by that action. If I can keep that from happening, I can sit down and at the same time stretch the back up straight and keep the hip/torso from developing a "kink", and be resistant against a push from the front at the same time. The feet then don't turn out quite as much (they still do) and the heels seem glued to the floor, torso and legs buoyant. Checking how much in line with Akuzawa's model I am doing this will have to wait until I am in Tokyo from May.

ChrisMoses
03-23-2007, 09:23 AM
Here's the particular Aun statue I was referring to, since they probably used a more "human" model :)
http://www.bureau.tohoku.ac.jp/manabi/manabi2/mana2-10.gif

There are some other good ones on this page: http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/nio.shtml

I particularly like the last one.

On a vaguely related note, the founder of my sword ryuha renamed himself "Raifu" referencing the other common temple gate guardians, "Raijin" and "Fujin". That's badass... :cool:

Erick Mead
03-23-2007, 05:48 PM
There are some other good ones on this page: http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/nio.shtml

I particularly like the last one.

On a vaguely related note, the founder of my sword ryuha renamed himself "Raifu" referencing the other common temple gate guardians, "Raijin" and "Fujin". That's badass... :cool:And these:
http://www.aun-japan.com/

Although I am not sure whether these or yours are more or less frightening, frankly. ;)

Aran Bright
03-24-2007, 05:33 AM
And these:
http://www.aun-japan.com/

Although I am not sure whether these or yours are more or less frightening, frankly. ;)

Definitely yours.

:p

Aran Bright
03-24-2007, 05:37 AM
The less I say the less my foot will go into my mouth! Have to consider reading this stuff in a few years' time after all :-) If tip==personal experience, then I would say I have most trouble making the hip area open up to the sides without moving the legs apart, while keeping the abdomen from being pulled down and forward by that action. If I can keep that from happening, I can sit down and at the same time stretch the back up straight and keep the hip/torso from developing a "kink", and be resistant against a push from the front at the same time. The feet then don't turn out quite as much (they still do) and the heels seem glued to the floor, torso and legs buoyant. Checking how much in line with Akuzawa's model I am doing this will have to wait until I am in Tokyo from May.

As for whether your doing properly or not????????????????

It sounds like you have tight psoas/hip flexors they will pull the pelvis forward and down if you widen your stance. go for a lunge stretch. (thats if I read the above correctly)

Aran

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-24-2007, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the tip Aran, will do that. Yes, "if Iam doing it right", although it is prettym uch a given that I am not. The question is how much wrong!

Tim Fong
03-24-2007, 01:47 PM
Gernot,

I think this is an iterative process. Sure we'll get things wrong, but that's part of the process of converging on an answer better than the one we have today.

Gernot Hassenpflug
03-24-2007, 05:28 PM
Agreed. I'm thinking at the moment that training alone is hopeless, just having a teacher is no use, but the combination of the two is critical. My next place is going to have a large wall mirror, it's astounding what one misses without one.