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Old 06-20-2010, 01:14 PM   #1
Jeremy Hulley
Dojo: Seattle School of Aikido Shinto Ryu/Seattle Icho Ryu
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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..

Jeremy Hulley
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
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Old 06-20-2010, 02:21 PM   #2
Lee Salzman
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Did they give any explanation as to why/how being softer (does that only and strictly mean more relaxed?) in the upper body (which parts specifically and under what functions of those parts?) caused a more profound impact on the attacker, and what that impact is?
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:48 PM   #3
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Lee,
It was more that when I was softer in the upper body and in the kua it had a more noticeable impact on ark and Rob. Getting softer seemed to me to focus on the connections and not so much on using the large muscle groups to maitan the cross.

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:33 AM   #4
AllanF
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Sounds like a great day.

"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."

This sounds like the triangulation principle my teacher does with me. In that if he is pushing straight on to your shoulders (or any where it really doesn't matter as the principle is the same) you form a triangle with your intent in order to "empty" his power and move him. [ie if you are standing facing each other and your 'attacker' has his hands on your shoulders, right hand on left shoulder left hand on right, then if you were to push directly into the attacker it wouldn't work therefore you focus your intent on any point on his arm and push there with you opposite shoulder. the effect is that one side of your body goes down the other up displacing his power and as your point of focus is also an empty point for his force he will be moved easily.] Is this what you were doing?

Allan
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:07 AM   #5
Upyu
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Quote:
Allan Featherstone wrote: View Post
Sounds like a great day.

"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."

This sounds like the triangulation principle my teacher does with me. In that if he is pushing straight on to your shoulders (or any where it really doesn't matter as the principle is the same) you form a triangle with your intent in order to "empty" his power and move him. [ie if you are standing facing each other and your 'attacker' has his hands on your shoulders, right hand on left shoulder left hand on right, then if you were to push directly into the attacker it wouldn't work therefore you focus your intent on any point on his arm and push there with you opposite shoulder. the effect is that one side of your body goes down the other up displacing his power and as your point of focus is also an empty point for his force he will be moved easily.] Is this what you were doing?

Allan
Simpler than that Allan, I should probably clarify that I was simply putting all my weight down onto Jeremy's shoulders.
The point was to take the incoming force, down into the tanden area, forming a ball of pressure there, and then, as if it were balanced atop of two bowling balls sitting in fluid (that's my own meatphor), manipulate the incoming force. It was to give an idea of how the kua and tanden are interrelated and really one big piece.

If that makes any sense
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:08 AM   #6
Upyu
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Did they give any explanation as to why/how being softer (does that only and strictly mean more relaxed?) in the upper body (which parts specifically and under what functions of those parts?) caused a more profound impact on the attacker, and what that impact is?
Lee:
Being relaxed in the upper body is a direct result of the lower body and middle portions being able to take the load of the upper body onto itself. In otherwords, if they're not conditioned enough, you won't be able to relax the upper body.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:14 AM   #7
HL1978
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Jeremy, did it ever feel like Ark had you completely release the pressure?
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:33 AM   #8
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

No,
He explicitly said to hold the pressure at all times and to send it as needed to the arrns and legs for striking. That refined use for the pressure is quite a bit above my pay grade right now..

Last edited by Jeremy Hulley : 06-23-2010 at 09:33 AM. Reason: spelling

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:26 AM   #9
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Jeremy, did it ever feel like Ark had you completely release the pressure?
hi Hunter, may I ask why you asked this?
Josh
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:22 PM   #10
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
hi Hunter, may I ask why you asked this?
Josh
Sure a couple of reasons, its something I have been thinking about since the various internal methods talk about moving the body into different positions utilizing pressure.

If all the pressure is released into a strike/throw etc, and pressure is what moves you, it is going to take some time to build it back up again. I assume that being able to maintain some pressure would allow you to do multiple strikes/movements without having to reset the body. Perhaps someone with more chinese martial arts experience can comment if during something like a fajing, all of the pressure is released or not? From my outside observation, it looks like they gather some prior to the next movement, and I wanted to know if they are adding to what is remaining, or if they expend it all.

I also know from my own practice when doing something like the tenchijin/shiko exercise that I leak out a lot of that pressure sensation and have to regather/re-establish it so regular muscle movement creeps back in to transition to the next position. I wanted to have some idea if I was on the right direction or not with having to keep some there at all time.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:10 PM   #11
David Orange
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
If all the pressure is released into a strike/throw etc, and pressure is what moves you, it is going to take some time to build it back up again. I assume that being able to maintain some pressure would allow you to do multiple strikes/movements without having to reset the body...
Hunter, I was most impressed, amazed and startled by Akuzawa Sensei's telling me that you keep your power inside yourself and that all techniques are actually done within yourself--that what happens to the opponent is because he responds to how you're managing yourself. Of course, at the same time, I know he uses the term nyu ryoku, meaning to "input power" to the other person...

But my impression is that you channel the internal pressure into your arms and legs but don't let it actually go out of yourself.

Of course, I'm still scratching my head over all that....

FWIW

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 06-24-2010, 09:28 AM   #12
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Sure a couple of reasons, its something I have been thinking about since the various internal methods talk about moving the body into different positions utilizing pressure.

If all the pressure is released into a strike/throw etc, and pressure is what moves you, it is going to take some time to build it back up again. I assume that being able to maintain some pressure would allow you to do multiple strikes/movements without having to reset the body. Perhaps someone with more chinese martial arts experience can comment if during something like a fajing, all of the pressure is released or not? From my outside observation, it looks like they gather some prior to the next movement, and I wanted to know if they are adding to what is remaining, or if they expend it all.

I also know from my own practice when doing something like the tenchijin/shiko exercise that I leak out a lot of that pressure sensation and have to regather/re-establish it so regular muscle movement creeps back in to transition to the next position. I wanted to have some idea if I was on the right direction or not with having to keep some there at all time.
hi Hunter, Dave. Thanks. That is very interesting. I think I see what you're saying. Do you remember this thread, a while back. What you're talking about reminds me about what MS kindly and insightfully posed as a question, "There's a particular reason to do Shiko, as opposed to say Fune Kogi Undo, but for all practical purposes they're just facets of the same jewel.". here. I took a swag at answering it. not too sure how good i did. it's what i came up with. You're an ee right? I thought of an electrical analog; DC vs AC current. DC is the offset bias pressure, and AC is the circulating pressure. Both need to be built up. DC so that you never run out of pressure; and AC so that you can move and conduct pressure to 1/where you need it and 2/so it stays inside.
those are only my _thoughts_ on this. i do not know; but it kind of fits with my training. depending if we're on the same wavelength (and if or if i'm not out to lunch) this may all be irrelevant..
Your questions on fajin are also my questions. I would appreciate to hear someone knowledgeable on it. I guess so far fajin is an actual instantaneous issuing where it all goes out. but that empty state is of a very small time. that's why not to issue too much. it can hurt you. saw on rsf some of the guys talking about this; and there are rules (1/5 strikes in form practice, and only do it if you will hit the target, etc..etc) in some of the disciplines for how much to do/not do this type of stuff. (...but better to search there ..velly velly intellesting). Josh
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:46 AM   #13
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Jeremy, That was awesome. Thanks for writing about your experience. J
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:57 AM   #14
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

You are welcome...

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Old 06-24-2010, 12:08 PM   #15
ChrisMoses
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Hunter, I was most impressed, amazed and startled by Akuzawa Sensei's telling me that you keep your power inside yourself and that all techniques are actually done within yourself--that what happens to the opponent is because he responds to how you're managing yourself. Of course, at the same time, I know he uses the term nyu ryoku, meaning to "input power" to the other person...

But my impression is that you channel the internal pressure into your arms and legs but don't let it actually go out of yourself.

Of course, I'm still scratching my head over all that....

FWIW

David
Kaeshi!

Everything returns. This is one of the easiest differences to demonstrate who are used to some of the Ki Society tricks like the unbendable arm. What you're doing is qualitatively different than the old, "arm like fire-hose" analogy, it's a loop or a filling sensation. When I'm working with people who are new to pushout, I often tell them to attempt to make themselves larger rather than to think of pushing me away from them.

Chris Moses
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:31 PM   #16
Lee Salzman
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Kaeshi!

Everything returns. This is one of the easiest differences to demonstrate who are used to some of the Ki Society tricks like the unbendable arm. What you're doing is qualitatively different than the old, "arm like fire-hose" analogy, it's a loop or a filling sensation. When I'm working with people who are new to pushout, I often tell them to attempt to make themselves larger rather than to think of pushing me away from them.
I think a failing point of that can be that it is descriptive - not prescriptive. So when you say to someone, pretend there is something flowing through your arm like it is a fire hose, or make yourself larger or more expansive, you are drawing on the person's preconceived notion of what larger means. And unfortunately, this idea of larger may not convey the actual objective feeling you are trying to get across.

Be larger where? How? I mean, you can't unload every detail of the body on some newbie, but I think there is a minimal amount of prescriptiveness that can be layered upon initially so that the complexity of the final prescription approaches the desired effect. And if you couple that gradual increase in prescription with verification of desired objective effect, then hopefully you can reconstruct the desired output.

Like, initially when someone uses the arms, maybe their mind is using their arms like a pair of disembodied hands, with the arms just kinda doing whatever to get them where the mind wants them to go. So you prescribe, extend the shoulders and the hands away from eachother. That engages the elbow joint. Then you might say extend the upper arm away from the torso. That engages the shoulder. Then you might later prescribe to extend the hand away from the lower arm, that engages the wrist. Then fingers from the hand... and so on. By the time you're done, you get a pattern of movement that is more objectively conveyed, with less room for misunderstanding.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:11 AM   #17
gregstec
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I think a failing point of that can be that it is descriptive - not prescriptive. So when you say to someone, pretend there is something flowing through your arm like it is a fire hose, or make yourself larger or more expansive, you are drawing on the person's preconceived notion of what larger means. And unfortunately, this idea of larger may not convey the actual objective feeling you are trying to get across.

Be larger where? How? I mean, you can't unload every detail of the body on some newbie, but I think there is a minimal amount of prescriptiveness that can be layered upon initially so that the complexity of the final prescription approaches the desired effect. And if you couple that gradual increase in prescription with verification of desired objective effect, then hopefully you can reconstruct the desired output.

Like, initially when someone uses the arms, maybe their mind is using their arms like a pair of disembodied hands, with the arms just kinda doing whatever to get them where the mind wants them to go. So you prescribe, extend the shoulders and the hands away from eachother. That engages the elbow joint. Then you might say extend the upper arm away from the torso. That engages the shoulder. Then you might later prescribe to extend the hand away from the lower arm, that engages the wrist. Then fingers from the hand... and so on. By the time you're done, you get a pattern of movement that is more objectively conveyed, with less room for misunderstanding.
Hi Lee,

You just touched on the major problem with teaching mental intent. Everyone's thoughts are just so subjective that it is extremely hard to get the exact same result between two people using the same words or mental image since, as you say, each interprets it differently. However, your suggestion to break it down into smaller stages that include feedback from an external source for correctness of feel, is a very logical way to approach the problem and I have had some success with that method recently.

Greg
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:55 PM   #18
Lee Salzman
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
Hi Lee,

You just touched on the major problem with teaching mental intent. Everyone's thoughts are just so subjective that it is extremely hard to get the exact same result between two people using the same words or mental image since, as you say, each interprets it differently. However, your suggestion to break it down into smaller stages that include feedback from an external source for correctness of feel, is a very logical way to approach the problem and I have had some success with that method recently.

Greg
I'm not even sure it is really about teaching - it seems of utmost importance to us as students. We get to see and work with world class teachers very infrequently. So maybe when we do, okay, they put us through our paces for a day, we feel like we saw and felt some awesome stuff, but a week later, it's like, what did I actually learn?

If anything seemed vague or I am dependent on traveling to someone or them traveling to me to get correction and ensure I'm even training the right thing in the first place, it seems like a losing battle that can't be won. At least if it is broken down to where I think I logically understood what someone was trying to teach me, I can measure improvement and diagnose my own problems way easier in the in-between times - because the person took the consideration to teach me how to teach myself.

But if it's just - here, do a bunch of these and then come see me in a year - the probability of me screwing something up badly will be nigh on 100%. Wasted effort for me, wasted effort for the teacher.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:29 PM   #19
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
If anything seemed vague or I am dependent on traveling to someone or them traveling to me to get correction and ensure I'm even training the right thing in the first place, it seems like a losing battle that can't be won. At least if it is broken down to where I think I logically understood what someone was trying to teach me, I can measure improvement and diagnose my own problems way easier in the in-between times - because the person took the consideration to teach me how to teach myself.

But if it's just - here, do a bunch of these and then come see me in a year - the probability of me screwing something up badly will be nigh on 100%. Wasted effort for me, wasted effort for the teacher.
Agreed--especially where the teacher is still developing the system and how it is taught.

One possible bridge between solo drifting for long periods and regular training in the teacher's home dojo is finding decent, committed training partners who have exposure to some of the same concepts and training that you're working on. Without that, this work can become a solipsistic nightmare.
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Old 07-01-2010, 01:35 PM   #20
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Quote:
Allan Featherstone wrote: View Post
Sounds like a great day.

"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."

This sounds like the triangulation principle my teacher does with me. In that if he is pushing straight on to your shoulders (or any where it really doesn't matter as the principle is the same) you form a triangle with your intent in order to "empty" his power and move him. [ie if you are standing facing each other and your 'attacker' has his hands on your shoulders, right hand on left shoulder left hand on right, then if you were to push directly into the attacker it wouldn't work therefore you focus your intent on any point on his arm and push there with you opposite shoulder. the effect is that one side of your body goes down the other up displacing his power and as your point of focus is also an empty point for his force he will be moved easily.] Is this what you were doing?

Allan
"One side.... down the other up"

This is a shear. FWIW.

"The empty place" = the right angle to the sum of forces in the effective lever arm -- which is also where you find the shear -- why your elbow tends to drop when you curl weights.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:03 PM   #21
ChrisMoses
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Re: Lesson with Akuzawa Minoru

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
"One side.... down the other up"

This is a shear. FWIW.

"The empty place" = the right angle to the sum of forces in the effective lever arm -- which is also where you find the shear -- why your elbow tends to drop when you curl weights.
And was not what Jeremy or Rob was talking about or doing.

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