2006-09-18 Tokyo Sanda Seminar Report

I was first introduced to the Aunkai by my friend and colleague, Robert John. From the beginning, I knew we were taking an approach to bujutsu like none I’d ever been exposed to before. The teacher, Minoru Akuzawa, had through his own training and research reduced his bujutsu to nothing but the simplest core elements. Here there would be no wasted movement, no wasted energy, and no wasted time.

Others here and elsewhere have written on the basic principles we use (body axes, centering, rooting, etc.) in much greater detail and in greater depth than I can, so I will leave the reader to explore them on their own. I will also assume the reader knows the rules of sanda and how a sanda match typically proceeds.

0918_02

The sanda session we held here in Tokyo on September 18th, 2006, was to be my second attempt at applying those principles against a real live human opponent who would be trying to impose their own will upon me at the same time. My goals this time were the same as they were last time: remain calm, keep my structure intact, claim victory over my own fears and anxieties.

In the last session I accomplished some of those goals, and this time I was hoping to build on the experience and on my training in the interim. I am happy to say that I have made some progress, which I will report for you now.

My match was the first of the evening, and I was paired with a newcomer. A grappler, he is well built for the ground game. For stand-up, however, he seemed far too tense. In a way, this perhaps encouraged me to let go of my own tension, calm down, and deal with his attacks successfully. Of course, I took my own share of hits (including one that gave Mitsuhashi my back and very quickly ended the engagement), but for the most part I gave a good account of myself.

By the end of my match, I knew that I still had to work on pursuing my three goals, but I also knew that if I am able to do this much with little or no time dedicated to sparring practice, then the Aunkai way (Frame <> Principle <> Foundation) must be the real deal.

Watching the rest of the matches that day only reinforced my conclusions. In particular, the need to stay loose and fluid, the need to stay in gthe pocket?Ewith your assailant, and the ultimate futility of a purely technical approach were clear to me.

The next step for me is to constantly be training as though the next sanda session were tomorrow, since the pursuit and ultimately the accomplishment of my three goals can only lead me to one place: total control of the self, and therefore by extension control of my opponent to the point where the idea of gopposition?Eitself becomes unnecessary.

Long live the Aunkai!

(Adam Xavier/Aunkai bujutu class)

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0918_04

2018-09-17 Tokyo Open Seminar

Overview
One-day Aunkai Open Seminar in Tokyo given by Akuzawa sensei.
Theme: Unbalancing, and creation of a stable form

Aunkai has a strong focus on training in posture and use of center of gravity, to become stable in a manner transcending age.

What does it mean to talk about body usage that transcends age?
Why is it that this cannot be achieved without relaxation?
What is internal usage in comparison to external usage?
What kind of tanren is it that develops deep understanding of posture?

In this seminar, regardless of level, participants will experience the progression of training from contact, through unbalancing, to striking and free practice in a fun manner conducive to learning.

  • Date: 17th September 2018 (Monday—public holiday)
  • Venue: Musashinodai Primary School Gym Hall (Access information)
    Address: 5-1-1 Kami-Saginomiya, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 165-0031
  • Time: 13:00-17:00 (Meeting at 12:30 in front of Assembly Room)
  • Fee: 6000 JPY (Aunkai members: 5000 JPY)
  • Application: please use online application form.
    Note: direct participation without prior application is not permitted.

Further Information

  • Participation: 18 years or older and in good health. Experience not required. No other particular prerequisites.
  • Clothing/footwear: clothing easy to move around in; indoor shoes (barefoot also OK).
  • Other: please bring own water/drinks, towels.
  • Dinner reservation: post-seminar dinner with sensei is planned (expected cost approximately 3000 JPY). A great time to ask questions, mix and mingle, and benefit from each other’s experiences.
    Confirmations can be made in advance, with finalization during seminar break.

2018-02-12 Tokyo Open Seminar Report

Akuzawa sensei’s Tokyo Open Seminar on 12th February 2018 coincided with a public holiday, accompanied by warm spring-like weather making the training that much more enjoyable.

The seminar at the Shinjuku Cosmic Sports Center (seminar details) passed all too quickly, with the participants, some from overseas, gathering a lot of information about posture and its applicability to transmitting the weight naturally, used in exercises for connecting with the partner, and making space inside the body for movement. Akuzawa Sensei’s topic for this seminar was how to train the body to overcome the limitations of age.

The initial part of the seminar involved stretching, especially the inner hip joint, inwards and outwards, on the ground, and then using the spine and hips to crawl forwards on the belly, followed by similarly on one’s back. This type of movement training is intended to help form a connected relaxed body without relaying on the upper body and shoulders to initiate movement.

Thereafter, a very difficult and important partner exercise commenced, where one person stood heels and back flat against the wall, and the partner pushed in turn against the upper chest, middle chest, or abdomen with one hand. The objective was to stand straight against the wall, and practice using the slight tilting and straightening of the back and corresponding sinking of the body in the inner hip joint to absorb and return the push and thereby initiate forward movement. The creation of “space” between joints allows the internal realignment and dispersion of external force, and requires relaxation and self-awareness of one’s body structure and the ability to manipulate it sensitively.

Next, the same type of connection was practiced without a wall as support. The person being pushed would absorb the push through the aforementioned straightening and sinking relaignment, and then let the hips glide forwards to one side of the pushing partner, legs following appropriately, sinking towards the ground, taking the partner with them if done smoothly. This “catching” of the push and subsequent ease of movement together with the connected partner, forms an important cornerstone of skill in unbalancing.

Having an entire seminar available to concentrate on a few critical aspects of training was a valuable experience for newcomers and regular members alike, and everyone felt grateful for the opportunity to learn from sensei and to explore this body movement with partners and integrate it further into their own practice.

Many thanks to all who attended.

Connected movement training on the floor.
Training connected movement on the floor using legs and spine as much as possible.
Connected movement training on the floor.
Training connected movement on the floor without using arms.
Standing against wall learning initial movement.
Posture and absorption training against a wall, learning how to move forward.
Akuzawa sensei demonstrating absorption and connection.
Akuzawa sensei demonstrating how to absorb and connect with partner as part of kuszushi (unbalancing).

2018-02-12 Tokyo Open Seminar

Overview
One-day Aunkai Open Seminar in Tokyo given by Akuzawa sensei.
Venue is the Cosmic Sports Center in Shinjuku.
Theme: Deepening the study of body transformation.

  • Date: 12th February 2018 (Monday—public holiday)
  • Venue: Cosmic Sports Center, Shinjuku, Tokyo. First floor No. 2 Budo dojo (Access information)
  • Time: 12:10-15:10
  • Fee: 6000 JPY (Aunkai members: 5000 JPY)
  • Application: please use online application form.
  • Related: announcement in online version of the Hiden Journal

Seminar Contents

The theme of the seminar revolves around how to break out of the standard model of body usage, transform it and thus become free from the limitations imposed by age.

The way to achieve this in Aunkai is to diligently train in specific methods based on body principles and thereby to foster a new realization and mentality. This seminar will teach the practice of these specific methods.

Sports martial artists looking for ways to improve their skills, martial arts enthusiasts interested in deepening their knowledge of the body, and anyone interested in Bujutsu from beginner level is welcome, and should equally find the content of value and interest.

Application should be made via the online form above.

Further Information

  • Participation: aimed at experienced martial arts, beginners very welcome as always.
  • Clothing/footwear: clothing easy to move around in; indoor shoes (barefoot also OK).
  • Other: please bring own water/drinks, towels.
  • Dinner reservation: post-seminar dinner with sensei is planned (expected cost approximately 3000 JPY). A great time to ask questions, mix and mingle, and benefit from each other’s experiences.
    Confirmations can be made in advance, with finalization during seminar break.

2017-09-18 Tokyo Open Seminar Report

See Tokyo Open Seminar 2017-09-18 for seminar announcement. This post is a report after the seminar, given by Aunkai founder Akuzawa Minoru, in which sensei gave explicit guidance on how to use the kua and chest to control the arms and overall body usage, in an approach intended to be useful for martial artists in competition and sparring.

Impression and Report

Despite the location being on the outskirts of Tokyo, it turned out to be very successful and a pleasurable experience for all participants, who enjoyed the intensive time spent on partner exercises designed to give feedback for one’s own training.

Attendees numbered 14, with about half being members from the Aunkai organization, as well as a few repeat attendees who had experienced Akuzawa sensei’s seminars before. Among the new attendees was a gentleman from Kyushu, and one who had seen sensei’s interview on Youtube, as well as a lady boxing practitioner.

Sensei began the seminar with detailed versions of walking exercises, where one partner pushed on the other’s chest and the pushed person walked backwards without bracing, endeavouring to drop the push down the chest into the kua.
From that exercise, we moved on to walking with both arms extended, elbows straight, hands touching, and attempting to walk without leaning or bracing, using the drop of the chest and the turn of the kua in cooperation.

Since the seminar was 4 hours long, and the day extremely hot after a typhoon the previous day, there were offcial water breaks every hour, and informal ones as the need arose.

The next type of exercise involved one partner standing in wide stance with kua bent, with the other person pushing against the belly in a committed manner, just enough to put the pushed person at the limit of what they could absorb.
The objective from here was to rely on the platform created by kua rotation and chest drop, and use the legs to step and then simply drop, leaving the partner to feel glued or stuck to the belly.

After training pushing against the belly, the push position was changed to the middle of the torso, and then the chest. Feeling oneself on a platform without leaning, having free use of the legs without bracing, and sensing oneself as a unit with the partner attached, was a good introduction to how to deal with an incoming force such as a punch, as sensei demonstrated, handling it at the moment of contact in exactly the same way.

Sensei had participants train two to a staff for a while, to experience moving freely with a solid contact between the two partners. Owing to the heat, this training was done quite lightly, as people concentrated on getting their body to hold the lessons from the previous exercises.

Finally we practiced movement and application against a simple straight punch from the partner, with sensei giving instruction to individuals on how best to adjust their body usage to keep a unit-like sense and avoid using normal strength. This was both relaxing and freeing, a great balance to the constrained exercises.

After the seminar a number of participants joined in for a reserved dinner and chat until late in the evening, gaining even more open discussion with sensei.

Photos

Body coordination training using rokushakubo.

Balance and coordination training.

Body coordination training using rokushakubo.

One of a set of standard Aunkai body coordination exercises.




2017-08-13 Tokyo Free Open Seminar Report

See Free Tokyo Open Seminar 2017-08-13 for seminar announcement. This post is a report after the seminar, given by Aunkai Hanshi Kazuhisa Miyakawa, to offer an introduction to the Aunkai method of training, with its salient points explained in as simple a manner as possible for both beginners and practicing students.

Message from Miyakawa hanshi:

Thank you very much for attending the Aunkai trial seminar on August 13th.
I hope you enjoyed and understood Aunkai method.
I would really like to see you soon again.

Impression and Report

The seminar garnered attention for being free, and is a milestone for the Aunkai organization in being the first seminar in Japan given by Miyakawa hanshi. It turned out to be very successful and a pleasurable experience for all participants, making full use of Miyakawa hanshi’s extensive experience teaching overseas in Europe over the last few years.

Attendees numbered 23, with about 10 members from the Aunkai organization among them, as well as a few repeat attendees who had experienced Akuzawa sensei’s seminars before.

Miyakawa hanshi began with a brief overview of the Aunkai method, demonstrating with French instructor Richard Segissement (kyoshi) as his partner. The main point conveyed were the use of a connected body to transmit center of mass without pushing off the ground, punctuated by demonstrations with the rokushakubo and with empty hands to move the partner seemingly effortlessly, when compared to trying to do the same thing with so-called ordinary strength.

Since the seminar was 3.5 hours long, and the day humid and hot, there were water breaks every 30 minutes or so, giving people time to regain their energy.

The exercises Miyakawa hanshi had participants do are all standard Aunkai partner warm-up exercises, and the focus was purely on feeling a connected body, and obtaining a sensation of affecting the partner through transmission of center of mass with relaxed hips and without any use of the knees or upper body tilting.

Pushout proved to be a popular exercise, as it has been found throughout the world where Aunkai is spread! Finally, some breaking balance exercises were done for the last 20 minutes or so, giving participants a feel for how relatively easily a partner can be affected.

One tanren exercise was shown and practiced together near the end of the seminar: Ten-chi-jin. After working on a connected body and affecting as well as being affected by
the partner, the idea is that it would be easier to grasp the essential elements of the tanren.

After the seminar a number of participants joined in an impromptu dinner and chat until evening, bringing to an end a very enjoyable day of mutual training and learning.

Media and Photos

Miyakawa Kazuhisa hanshi with Richard Segissement kyoshi demonstrating transmission of center of mass.

Miyakawa Kazuhisa hanshi with Richard Segissement kyoshi demonstrating transmission of center of mass.

Miyakawa Kazuhisa hanshi with Richard Segissement kyoshi demonstrating transmission of center of mass.

Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating with Richard Segissement (kyoshi).
Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating with Richard Segissement kyoshi.

Miyakawa hanshi explaining to attentive seminar participants.

Miyakawa hanshi explanation importance of collecting the body together.

Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating transmission with finger against resistance.

Hatta-san and John Robinson practicing transmission of center of mass.

Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating center of mass transmission with seminar participant using a rokushakubo.

Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating center of mass transmission with seminar participant using a rokushakubo
Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating center of mass transmission with seminar participant using a rokushakubo.

Miyakawa hanshi demonstrating partner walking exercise with seminar participant.

Richard Segissement kyoshi practicing partner walking exercise with seminar participant.

Hatta-san and a seminar participant practicing breaking balance (kuzushi).

Glen Braun and a seminar participant practicing breaking balance (kuzushi).

Group photo at end of seminar.

Group photo at end of seminar.

Dinner after seminar.

Dinner after seminar.

2017-08-13 Free Tokyo Open Seminar

Overview
One-day Aunkai Free Open Seminar in Tokyo given by Miyakawa hanshi.
Theme: Introduction to the Aunkai method.

Update: See 2017-08-13 Tokyo Free Open Seminar Report for a report of the seminar.

  • Date: 13th August 2017 (Sunday)
  • Venue: Shinjuku Sports Center, 4th floor Budo Hall(see link for access [Japanese])
  • Time: 12:30-16:00
  • Fee: 400 JPY (per-person Shinjuku Sports Center usage fee)
  • Contact: please use online application form or optionally contact Miyakawa hanshi directly by email. Further information can be found on Miyakwa hanshi’s Facebook page.

Seminar Content
Miyakawa hanshi will cover the basics of bujutsu including posture, breathing, walking, transmission of power, striking, contact, the mechanism of unbalancing, among other things.

Further Information

  • Participation: aimed at anyone interested in martial arts training, from beginner to experienced practitioners, beginners very welcome as always.
  • Clothing/footwear: clothing easy to move around in; indoor shoes (barefoot also OK).
  • Other: please bring own water/drinks, towels.

2017-09-18 Tokyo Open Seminar

Overview
One-day Aunkai Open Seminar in Tokyo given by Akuzawa sensei.
Theme: Cultivation and Implementation

  • Date: 18th September 2017 (Monday—public holiday)
  • Venue: Musashinodai Gym Hall (Access information)
  • Time: 13:00-17:30 (Meeting at 12:30 in front of Assembly Room)
  • Fee: 6000 JPY (Aunkai members: 5000 JPY)
  • Application: please use online application form.

Seminar Contents
The purpose of this seminar is to deepen understanding of the body as
a whole, while learning to build a body independent of physical age.
We will study how to move from forging the body through exercises
designed to integrate the principles, to application in practice.

Akuzawa sensei will diligently coach a method of sparring based on the
principles of bujutsu.

Both beginners and experienced martial artists are welcome, and should
equally find the content of value and interest.

Further Information

  • Participation: aimed at experienced martial arts, beginners very welcome as always.
  • Clothing/footwear: clothing easy to move around in; indoor shoes (barefoot also OK).
  • Other: please bring own water/drinks, towels.
  • Dinner reservation: post-seminar dinner with sensei is planned (expected cost approximately 3000 JPY). A great time to ask questions, mix and mingle, and benefit from each other’s experiences.
    Confirmations can be made in advance, with finalization during seminar break.