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Old 06-03-2008, 11:32 AM   #20
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 35
Re: Akuzawa Sensei Seminar in the DC Area/Aunkai

I didn't think I'll go to this one, but I actually made it. I was glad I went.

I went to two of Ark's seminars. The D.C. one was my second one. I got a lot more out of the second seminar. I think it was because Ark didn't punish us that much during the seminar with his conditioning exercises but explained a lot more stuff.

Then again, it could be because I was a little bit more conditioned than last time , and I understood the concepts a little bit better. I would advise that if the D.C. seminar was the first Ark seminar you went to and didn't understand a thing Rob and Ark were explaining, try going to a second one--after practicing the exercises a lot--and see if things make more sense.

Anyway, these are the stuff he showed during the seminar. The seminar was mainly five parts:
1. Conditioning exercises--these were the famous Aunkai exercises that we all know and love. You know: shiko, tenchijin, maho, sei no training, etc.
2. Lots of great explanations on what we should look for on each exercises.
3. Partner training stuff: Walking maho, pushout, agete, spear punching, etc.
4. Striking drills.
5. Q&A.

The conditioning exercises were there to condition us. It is used to condition our suit, our connections, our frame, etc. Ark reminded us to keep the 6 direction tensions going at all times. By keeping our 6 directions, it allows our body to settle into place. So the weight of our body should settle into the joints down to the ground.

So as we stand in our static positions, we have to constantly adjust our bodies and relax so we get the correct requirements. Ark and Rob told us that we shouldn't feel much strain on our quads, shoulders, lower back, etc when we have the correct frame. But there's a catch-22 for this. If you're not conditioned, you'll feel strain on your quads, shoulders, etc anyway.

So I guess for beginners is to condition our bodies first--especially the legs and our arms--then we can start to change our bodies to settle into place. Not many of us had a conditioned body to fully understand it I think. And to condition our bodies, we have to do these exercises frequently.

For example, Ark made us stand in maho for about 15-20 minutes. My quads were okay, but my arms were killing me. Rob told us to slightly push our arms back so it'll "sit" on our body. But even if I did that, and no matter how much I was trying to relax my shoulders, my shoulders were killing me. I guess my arms weren't conditioned since I couldn't even hold it up using jin no matter how hard I tried.

Then there were the partner exercises. These were jin exercises for the most part. Ark mentioned that the instant we touch someone, the point of touch should automatically be felt on your foot.

When we're doing these exercises such as agete, pushout, and spearing; we have to do it slowly so we can find where the "blockage" is. IOW, where our qi is being stopped, where we tense up, where the connection gets broken, etc. So when we find that our connection breaks, we have to adjust our body and relax accordingly so it will go straight down to the ground.

So for example, during agete, as you raise your arms, you'll probably feel stress on the shoulders. So you have to stop, relax, and adjust until you feel it back go to the ground, then continue raising the arms. The first few reps was with small amount of force so you can get the jin path. Then on the last rep, the uke piles on the force as hard as he can. The focus was if we can maintain or find our jin-path under hard conditions.

One of the requirements Ark stressed for the partner exercises was to have a relaxed, straight spine. This should help the force transmit to the ground easier. Also to practice the solo stuff a lot.

We also did kicking exercises. This was fun because of my Korean background. The main points I remember were to have keep the cross stable, the planted foot be heavy, and the kicking leg relaxed. We only did front kick, and the kicking leg should swing out like a pendulum. The rebound from the contact should be absorbed into the frame (into the ground). This way we're solid, stable, and balanced.

Most of the striking drills had the similar concept. Making sure at the point of contact, the rebound should be absorbed into you so you won't get pushed back from your own force. Also, you shouldn't lean into the strike because if you miss, you won't unbalance yourself.

The striking drills were primary to feel what happens to you when you strike. And how you should absorb the force when you strike. So we didn't strike hard, it was with light contact mostly.

Overall, this was a great seminar. It was a great workout. I met a lot of cool people there. My back muscles are sore for some reason.

If my information I gave was incorrect (I was writing mostly from my memory), please correct me.
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