When I first met Akuzawa sensei I was like ‘Wow !! Being my in size and weight as me, he can still do this !!’. He is a teacher I can identify to.
Then I realized that whatever fighter he faced his answer was the same ‘use no strength. Change the way you think and the way you use your body’. And he blew them away like straw as they were attacking him.
I think about all these tall guys, with arms as my thighs, who explain that strength is useless and all is a mental and technique matter. For sure, we seem to agree, in theory. But as soon as they have to apply these no-strength principles, or what they understood of it, appears on their temple what some of my fellow instructors use to call ‘the relaxation vein’. Although they are convinced not to use any strength, they tense as they have to demonstrate at the expense of all the principle, learned or not.
I practice Aunkai since 7 years now. I attend each of Akuzawa sensei’s coming in France and I received his teaching in Japan. I now teach his art in Aunkai Cevennes, a dojo in the south of France.
Being a woman nowadays and having an occupation in which death is in not an abstract notion is my own martial way.
Every time sensei applies his mastering on a fighter, something vital and magical inside tells me this way can change the world. Just imagine aggressions, whatever they are, no more matter of weight and size. Imagine if a body wasn’t considered as able to fight according to his volume. What would happen then ?
I doubt the relations of domination’s issue in patriarchal society means for most of my brothers in arms, nor the violence they involve daily. Still, there is a lasting quite obscene ‘mansplaining’ about what ‘martial’ and ‘survival’ are.
That’s why switching the way we consider physical potential of the body changes our relations. I learn how to position myself in not as a gendered individual but as a potentially « sharp cutting » body.
Practicing Aunkai gives me a physical answer to this usual ‘mansplainning’ about what ‘martial’ and ‘confrontation’ are. I don’t need justifications : practice talks.
As I started directly martial arts (bujutsu) following Akuzawa sensei, my curriculum is blank. I started to learn with no need to erase and unlearn.
From my view Aunkai links internal and external with a fierce efficiency which means :
- Aunkai cannot be seen but felt. Thus, it’s hard to explain and teach without direct contact (specially in these nowadays lockdown times).
- Studying this art needs understanding and conditioning of one’s own body in order to affect one’s opponents one.
I use to spend many hours physically training, being frustrated, repeating tanrens and kunrens but, before all it’s a way to reconsider everything I know and the way my body functions since my childhood.
Then, sitting, standing, walking are first years epic again.
This new body use isn’t result-oriented but aims to discover the paths that follow components of the movement such as weight, gravity, space, direction…
Then, I can understand how generating force or absorb it is the same process, the same feeling frame.
Aunkai is a life choice to me, a new prism to view the world as I learn how to stand upright (literally or figuratively speaking), which my life daily challenges me.
I understand better how tensions and jolts are physical and mental signals which I, as well as my opponents, can use. Trying to minimize and erase them unifies the movement and makes it efficient.
Framing my body through axis helps me shorten the ways my body uses and then increases my movement’s efficiency.
Aunkai demands not to anticipate, to abandon the re-action mechanism, to use what the other gives and accept not to know what will come.
What makes Aunkai a bujutsu, maybe the hardest, is to accept the present moment not to enter the fear/reaction/anticipation/tension cycle. Which avoid fear is to accept the unknown offered in interaction. Acceptance opens the range of opportunities in fighting.
In my own experience, this reminds Buddhist teaching and what meditation requires as a way to learn about death, not as a goal but as a permanent state of mind.
‘A-UN’ kai is the art that unifies the beginning and the end through the line, the path
Here is my state of mind after these years studying nearby my master and all the people who practice a discipline that can sincerely question and challenge them.
I am very happy to share my passion through these notes. I hope someday we may cross hands together.