Ikken Part 3 – Kyokushin-kan Instructor’s Seminars – Concept #2 Part 3 – What is Ikken?

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Kancho Royama practicing Hai. Without the meditation-like mental picture that he maintains, the physical exercise is much less meaningful. Yet, for the beginner, it’s good for balance and lower body strength.

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I thought I would focus this part 3 essay on Ikken on how to do a specific exercise that Kancho Royama regularly encourages. It’s one that can be practiced in just a few minutes of each karate training (although Kancho would encourage us to practice if for longer periods of time). It’s also very simple (i.e. to practice) and I have given you all that you need to begin your practice, right here in this essay. The exercise is called “Hai,” pronounced like the Japanese word for “yes.”

To review, the purpose of Ikken training is to harness ones Ki energy, and learn how to apply it in kumite. As stated in Part 1 and 2 of this essay, it’s not so important if the beginner doesn’t quite get it in terms of what it’s all about. Like zazen, or sanchin kata for that matter, if you practice it, its greater meaning will reveal itself to you over time. Meanwhile, the mere physical aspect will strengthen your body and improve balance. Therefore, it can be an exercise for the white belt, as well as for the black belt. For one it might be more about balance and strength; for the other it might be more about Ki.

The components of all Ikken training are 2, each of equal importance. The first is posture (or movement). The second is visualization. In the top photo at right Kancho Royama started with a position. He then started moving forward very slowly (similar to Tai Chi) but with a very specific image in mind. I.e he’s visualizing a specific image and concentrating on maintaining that mental picture as he moves forward. Without the meditation-like focus on that image, his exercise would be much less meaningful. Luckily, it’s an image that we can all understand very easily.

In the subsequent several photographs, Kancho Royama is teaching Ikken to foreign visitors to Japan. Kancho Royama endorses daily practice of Ikken to supplement ones karate training. Here’s a exercise that we can all add to our karate training, even today. Why not practice for three 3-minute sets, for example, during every karate training, starting today? One has to start somewhere. Continue reading

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Kyokushin-kan Instructor’s Seminars – Concept #2 Part 2 – What is Ikken?

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Students practicing tanto, the basic standing form of Ikken.

This author thought it would be beneficial to the Kyokushin-kan community to summarize, to the best of my ability, some content of Kancho Royama’s Internatinoal Instructors’ Seminars, held every year in Japan. Although I do have the dual advantage of having attended more of Kancho’s seminars than any other American, and of having acted as Japanese-English interpreter for those seminars in many cases, the reader should understand that, still, I can only do the best I can to explain concepts presented by Kancho and other high-level instructors in Japan. I do have the advantage of having been there, but my level of understanding in karate is only just what it is, and I can only explain what Kancho and others explain, through the lens of my own limited understanding. Yet to assist the development of Kyokushin-kan in the West, I will do the best I can.

In part one of this discussion of Ikken, I tried to give an overall introduction what what Ikken is. Please be sure to read Kyokushin-kan Instructor’s Seminars – Concept #2 Part 1 – What is Ikken? by clicking on the Instructors’ Seminars in Japan tab above. In this second section, as promised, I will endeavor to describe some of the training method.  Continue reading

Kyokushin-kan Instructor’s Seminars – Concept #2 Part 1 – What is Ikken?

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Sensei Sun Li, successor to Ikken Master Sawai Kenichi, teaches each year at Kyokushin-kan Internatinal Instructor’s Seminars.

This author thought it would be beneficial to the Kyokushin-kan community to summarize, to the best of my ability, some content of Kancho Royama’s Internatinoal Instructors’ Seminars, held every year in Japan. Although I do have the dual advantage of having attended more of Kancho’s seminars than any other American, and of having acted as Japanese-English interpreter for those seminars in many cases, the reader should understand that, still, I can only do the best I can to explain concepts presented by Kancho and other high-level instructors in Japan. I do have the advantage of having been there, but my level of understanding in karate is only just what it is, and I can only explain what Kancho and others explain, through the lens of my own limited understanding. Yet to assist the development of Kyokushin-kan in the West, I will do the best I can.

Ikken is a parallel, Chinese martial art heavily stressed by Kancho Royama and other instructors during Kyokushin-kan’s seminars. At its foundation is the training of ki energy. Westerners who’ve never seen Ikken might think it similar to Tai Chi, although it is very self-defense oriented (one might say combat-oriented) in that the goal is to learn destructive (and therefore defensive) physical power that transcends the normal sources that we tend to think of when looking for power (i.e. our muscular system). Continue reading