Re: Aunkai Founder Minoru Akuzawa @ Orange County Aikikai - Sept 20 & 21, 2014
Hi everyone - I'm a Wing Chun practitioner since the Summer 2009, and I thought I'd post some of my thoughts on training Aunkai here in Tokyo.
I first heard of Aunkai in 2010 from a Wing Chun instructor of mine who was based in Beijing at the time. One of my Wing Chun brothers had been training in Aunkai for a few years and from the sound of it, they trained the seemingly elusive "internal strength." IS was something that I heard could also manifest itself in Wing Chun if I trained properly.
At the time, “internal strength” was a mystery to me, so I decided to visit the Aunkai in October 2010 since I lived in Tokyo.
Honestly, the encounter was a bit mind-numbing. At the time, all I could comprehend during my visit,was that strength seemed to not matter. <I got tossed around by guys that weren't that big, nor seemingly athletic in the normal sense>
During this initial encounter, what I took away was that Aunkai taught how to condition the body to move on another paradigm, one that didn't use the pylometric force that one normally associates with athletic movement. In fact this was a rare occasion where the words "Size matters less" really rang true.
While I saw how effective Aunkai was, I wasn't able to continue due to work obligations and time constraints. And honestly, a lot of it was over my head.
However, I did continue to train in Wing Chun. In 2013, I hit a wall in my training. I went back to the Aunkai, and I was hit with realization that in order to truly understand Wing Chun I had to understand internal strength - something I was readily reminded of when I touched Ark. I reminisced and I remembered that Aunkai was teaching internal strength, and focused more on developing a refined use of force, one that wasn't immediately obvious. I quickly learned that it was not about how hard I trained, it was about how smart I trained.
Intuition lead me through exercises to gain a foothold on what "internal strength" was. The training has been frustrating at times, but Ark and the other students have always been there to "course correct" me when I zoomed on a tangent. I realized that it was possible to practice the exercises in "shape", following what I thought I was being told, but still not be able to develop internal strength correctly. For this, hands on corrections by Ark or others that have a better understanding have been invaluable.
For me it has been a process of exploring your own movement not to mention relearning "how to learn."
It has been about 1 year since I have truly started to explore my own movement and I feel I can confidently say that I have my foot firmly in the door. To me its evident in all my everyday movements. It has radically changed how I walk, lift a mug, or even stand around in a bar etc.
I realize that most martial arts are supposed to be manifestations of internal strength, be it Judo, Aikido, Tai Chi, Bagua, or Wing Chun. But I think its easy for one to practice the outward shape of a martial art, and miss the true essence from which it came from. Now, I don't think you need IS to be an effective fighter. But I do think IS gives a person a card that levels the playing field, and provide an advantage to those that are not as big, as strong, etc (when compared to someone without IS).
I just wanted to give a big thanks to everyone here in the Tokyo Dojo that's helped me to get where I am - I can only imagine what its like to have a whole day dosage of Ark!
Wish everyone a great time at the LA seminar!