Aunkai redivivus

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Aunkai redivivus

Postby Tom on Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:26 pm

I've met and trained (briefly) with Akuzawa Minoru, Rob John and Ellis Amdur. I have great respect for their skill and willingness to share insights on martial arts, particularly the "martial body." When I met Akuzawa and John in 2009, I was very impressed with what I saw and experienced, although I was not able to understand very well how, for example, with me grasping his wrists firmly as we both faced each other in seiza--the aiki age exercise of Daito-ryu aikijujutsu--Akuzawa could flip my 100 kg. up and onto my back with no overt effort on his part, and so subtly and swiftly I didn't have much opportunity to resist or fight his movement. Both Akuzawa and John have continued to train hard and improve, both in their skill level and in the teaching. In 2019 Amdur updated a 2005 blog post on his first encounter with the Aunkai system with commentary/explanation by John. For those interested in training the martial body and understanding very high skill level (Akuzawa), the updated post makes very good reading.

It's also helpful to take a look at the Youtube video clip by He Jinghan (Yin style baguazhang from Gong Baozhai) that John references: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMlti_xA61A.


Amdur's blog post can be found here: http://kogenbudo.org/akuzawa-minoru-the-body-is-a-sword/.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Bao on Thu Jan 21, 2021 5:17 am

Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

Tom wrote:It's also helpful to take a look at the Youtube video clip by He Jinghan (Yin style baguazhang from Gong Baozhai) that John references: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMlti_xA61A.


Here is what he wrote about the video:

"In this instructional video, Hejinghan demonstrates an almost perfect flatness of his back and chest—a characteristic I’ve also observed in the son of Chen Peishen, an instructor of Small-Frame Chen t’aijiquan. While Ark used to focus on dropping the chest—likewise describing the result as ‘flatness’—this is organizationally and visually distinct from what Hejinghan displays"

I am not sure if he really covers what He Jinghan is actually teaching. And I don't really understand why "flatness" would be something to aim for. What He Jinghan is teaching is actually to use and move the scapula, and to move the arm from the scapula. He is not teaching how to keep the back or chest still or in a static position. What he teaches is much more about building awareness and use it in an active manner. This awareness and the conscious movement, the trained flexibility and ability to move the whole arm from it, is what bypasses the shoulder and teach you how to connect the alignment and power through the back instead of having it stop at the shoulder. If you think about it as a static posture or "flatness" you really miss the whole point of what he is teaching.

From an interview on HJH's homepage:

“Q – You just now referred to shoulders. Could you explain how to effectively use your shoulders?

A – Most people think that the arms start from the shoulders. In fact the shoulders have two locations. Close up to the neck there is the area which takes the load when we are carrying something heavy – or stretch to take out our wallet. However the arm in fact starts at the shoulder blade in the back; this enables the arm to stretch across the body. So if we want to use the arm effectively we must first effectively use the shoulder blade. But this part of the body has for a long time been overlooked by most people.

Q – So the arm can be thought of as similar to a chicken’s wing.

A – This is a very good analogy. The root of a chicken’s wing is like a human shoulder blade. When a chicken flaps its wings it uses this part."


https://baguaquanlessons.com/2019/12/30 ... e-jinghan/
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Bhassler on Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:05 pm

I like Akuzawa Minoru-- not many can show the level of speed, crispness, and connection that he does. Even better, some of his students have started giving their own workshops, and they move just like he did back in the day. I'm less enamored of the more recent videos of him I've seen on Youtube. It seems to have gotten a bit excessive and moved from efficient, powerful movement to "guru/puppetmaster flings his own students about". I mean, I guess after 15 or 20 years on the circuit you get bored and want to try something new...



As for the article, I take it with a grain of salt. Amdur clearly has his own take on things and his own interests that color his views of different martial arts. In general, I roll my eyes when anyone starts talking about "universal" principles or methods that apply to all martial arts. I roll them even harder when people start talking about the mechanics of arts they don't themselves practice.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby wayne hansen on Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:01 pm

Is that the new stuff or the old stuff
I hate when students only try to follow until they are thrown
The women were signaling the attacks with a little ki ai
The teacher misses quite a few defences but the students at least wait for him to catch up
The pole is pretty basic nowhere good aikido
Even easier with two people holding the pole
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby C.J.W. on Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:54 am

I think he has some interesting body mechanics that are unique and characteristic of the Japanese arts he studied.

His use of spine and upper body structure are a little rigid for my taste, but...to each his own. ;)
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:23 am

One thing I didn't mention is his lack of balance in his limbs when doing chi Kung
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:19 am

Akuzawa Sensei and Rob John are down to earth, open, and friendly people. The method develops some interesting skills and abilities. When I visited about a decade ago the group was an experienced and diverse group from different arts who all recognized that Akuzawa has something special.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:35 am

Nice guys they may be but I can only judge on what is presented here
As for the people who train with them coming from various arts I see this happen with teachers far worse than him
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Bhassler on Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:08 am

To be clear (since the thread seems to be going that way), my criticism is just of the recent demos, not of the people or the practice.

I like the older videos, as they clearly show that it is a method of body organization that is being practiced. Hitting people and throwing them around is more of a teaching tool than something meant to show how great the practitioner is:


Even in demo/application mode, his body moves exactly like in training. I think this older demo shows the practice better because it relies less on training artifacts (like holding little sticks, or grabbing both wrists and never letting go no matter what):


I don't think people's criticisms of the method itself are particularly relevant unless they've actually practiced it and/or can demonstrate something better.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:41 am

wayne hansen wrote:Nice guys they may be but I can only judge on what is presented here
As for the people who train with them coming from various arts I see this happen with teachers far worse than him


Well, it's more than I have seen from you with your Cheng Man Ching patty cake. Hardly the end all be all. My point was that there were a group of black belt level players from a variety of arts all working there because they felt what he has to offer. They were happy to mix it up, too. And, when I say that Akuzawa had interesting abilities, it's not something I say lightly.

Anyway, you can always google some stuff or check out some of these (again, it's not much like Cheng's art, which itself isn't much like most other arts).


Some of his shenfa



Rob being his open and chill self



ark talking about his system a bit.

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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Jan 22, 2021 1:42 pm

Paddy cake paddy cake baker man
You are right I haven't put a lot out there
I have had a couple students as high as 6 dan
Have fought my own share of full contact and come from a school that was rebound from taking on all comers
I fought in the 75 Tang Shou Tao full contact tournament in Taiwan
Was excepted to wear the Bak Bakan logo by Edgar Sulite,Tony Diego and Topher Rickets
My photo can be seen in one of Edgar's books teaching him some Hsing I
However it is not about me
It is about what was presented here and my analysis of it
I looked at a playlist of 17 clips and it only confirmed what I say here
If you disagree fine that is what you see
You may be far more astute than me
I only write what I do to see the response of those here and it is always helpful
If my stuff helps some others here to see something fine
If not I will go back to my paddy cake
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:09 pm

wayne hansen wrote:Paddy cake paddy cake baker man
You are right I haven't put a lot out there
I have had a couple students as high as 6 dan
Have fought my own share of full contact and come from a school that was rebound from taking on all comers
I fought in the 75 Tang Shou Tao full contact tournament in Taiwan
Was excepted to wear the Bak Bakan logo by Edgar Sulite,Tony Diego and Topher Rickets
My photo can be seen in one of Edgar's books teaching him some Hsing I
However it is not about me
It is about what was presented here and my analysis of it
I looked at a playlist of 17 clips and it only confirmed what I say here
If you disagree fine that is what you see
You may be far more astute than me
I only write what I do to see the response of those here and it is always helpful
If my stuff helps some others here to see something fine
If not I will go back to my paddy cake


That's all fine. I have just never seen you post anything positive about anyone, but I've seen you post a plenty.

So, you fought in some leitai? How did you do? Mike P was the champ in '75 and the following year, IIRC. He has videos up, too. But he is doing the things he learned from Master Hsu. I have only seen you doing Cheng taichi, so, what gives? You thought that a better martial art? Again, that's fine, just trying to put a finger on it.

Perhaps Aunkai is a system that is powered differently than yours to enough of an extent that you would need to feel a bit before making such comments? It was for me.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby wayne hansen on Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:37 pm

I was defeated by the guy who won it that year
I fought in the TST tournament mike wasn't there for that
The tournament he won was a multi style one
I only teach TST stuff to certain students and the only stuff I have out ther was filmed at one class in 86
My teaching has always been hand to hand and have never felt any need to film it
I have posted positive stuff when I think it is of benefit
You will notice I never respond to posts by a number of people here because I find no need
I haven't seen any film of you is there somewhere I could view it
Last edited by wayne hansen on Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:54 pm

Ah, the TST tourney, not the Worlds--gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. And, for what it's worth, I thought the vids I have seen of you were quite nice (although you seem a bit pompous with your students). I'm not a professional teacher, and wouldn't claim to be on or near your level re taiji.

There are some old vids of me posted on this forum. Those include me doing the taijiquan form I learned performed in two very different ways, some taijiquan application drills, some wrestling, and some judo kata. None of it all that special. FWIW, I, too, have competed in full contact sanda, judo at the blackbelt level, plus probably too many scraps of all sorts from my teens into my 30s.

Here's the one with some mellow drilling. I'm the guy in the cast. My buddy did Guang Ping (and did chin to toe in well under 90 days) and we both fought in the Baltimore tournaments.

Last edited by Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aunkai redivivus

Postby Trick on Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:47 am

Tom wrote:

Amdur's blog post can be found here: http://kogenbudo.org/akuzawa-minoru-the-body-is-a-sword/.

Thanks for this link interesting reads
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