Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru
On Wednesday, June 9th I had a private full day lesson with Akuzawa Minoru, founder of the Aunkai. Rob John graciously translated for me the entire day.
For those who don't know I met Ark and Rob in Tokyo in 2006 after Rob invited us to their class. We hosted Ark in Seattle in 2007 and again in 2009. I also attended the May 2008 seminar in DC.
We started with a review of shiko, mabu and ten chi jin. We focused on sitting so that my center of gravity led me into sitting correctly into the kua area.
We did a partner paired exercise where Rob and I were at arm's length and we touched of fists together horizontally and then sunk and as we sunk turned the fists vertical feeling the pressure build internally, with focus being on maintaining the pressure with your own body and not actively trying to put power into the partner.
We moved into a partner walking mabu where Ark and Rob had me focus on relaxing my upper body and extending my legs into a relaxed lower back to both receive and output force. We did hands to hands and hands to fists.
Then we worked on the push out. Rob and Ark both encouraged me to relax my upper body more and to relax the lower back I assume to create a cleaner ground connection.
After lunch we reconvened at a park where we did more walking mabu. This time with Rob and I holding a bo between us.
We worked on Shin Tai Juku with a bo and shin tai juku as a response to strikes and also some paired shin tai juku practice. Ark was focusing more on some practical applications of the movement.
We then moved to a community center where we did some agete, some exercises where I was in seiza and Rob would put his weight on my shoulders. I would have to figure out how to move him.
We also worked on some more application stuff. Ark and Rob both re-enforced that I needed to be softer in the upper body and softer in the kua area and that by softening I had a more profound impact on the attacker (Ark or Rob).
We finished up with Rob and I doing a striking and absorbing partner version on shin tai juku. I needed to sink into and soften the kua both to generate and absorb power.
It was a really solid day and I learned a great deal. Rob is a great translator and host and Ark was helpful, challenging, informative and supportive.
The private lesson was well worth it..