I saw Akuzawa on Youtube videos. It had endless static drills, that were not fighting and were in a 'play nice' environment / rule/set. The video even stated basically that. So what is one supposed to make of that?
Nothing, videos are one thing, feeling it is another.
Here's what I had to say on 11-1-2005 after watching some of the Aunkai videos from http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31125
"Saw these a while back when his student was pushing him as the greatest thing since sliced (crustless of course) bread. Honestly, not that impressed, if you've ever been thrown around by Don Angier or his guys, you'll see nothing new here. It's not that it's bad, but it's not exactly groundbreaking..."
And here's my post to the same thread after training with him (oddly enough, exactly one year to the day later on 11-1-2006):
"So I just got back from a trip to Japan and Ark allowed me and a training partner of mine to work into one of his classes. Huge thanks to him, Rob, Adam and the rest of his guys. So having actually had a few hours of face time and more importantly hands ON time, I thought I should follow up on this post. The short version is that I'm currently soaking my feet in a lovely wasabi-soy concoction that should make having my feet in my mouth a much more plesant experience. Ark probably is about the best thing since crustless sliced bread, and (to me at least) it most certainly felt groundbreaking. But beyond Ark's own very considerable skill, I was equally impressed with the very high level of skill of his students that had been with him for a couple years. It was clear that not only was he able to do some amazing stuff, but that he had a system for building these same internal skills in others. Further, he's able to do so in a relatively short period of time. Rob's been training with Ark for about three years (if I remember correctly) and easily had better body skills than nearly anyone I have dealt with in Aikido in the US, that list would include some 6th-8th dans who are serious mucky mucks in the seminar circuit. What they're doing is not very similar to what I've seen of Don Angier's Yanagi Ryu, but felt a bit more like what Systema might be one day. I generally call it like I see it, but when I'm wrong, I'll be the first to admit it, and I was certainly wrong on this one. Again, huge thanks to Rob for coordinating our visit and Ark for having us. My only regret is the sleep I lost that night trying desparately to wrap my head around some of the things that were done in class."
It sucks, but you just have to feel it, try it on and play around with it. Live in it for a while. I've got a total exposure time to Ark of about four hours (1/2 that over beers) and maybe another 6-10 with Rob and it's changed the way I move on a very fundamental level.