Kenichi’s Seikuuken training is extremely brutal and, truthfully, difficult to replicate. At the very least, we can offer up an imitation of the training and try to capture the essence of what the Seikuuken is. Essentially, the Seikuuken (at least the first stage of it) is an imaginary circle around your body the represents the range of your movement. Ideally, you shouldn’t allow anything to enter the realm of your Seikuuken (at the first stage). It is meeting an attacker at the gate, so to speak.
The training below is designed with this concept in mind. There are a few options for the levels of the training, but the concepts remain the same. The Seikuuken is said to require a calm, mirror-like, mind. Keep that in your thoughts as you train. You’ll need to empty and calm your mind in order to use this skill as it is expressed in the anime.
Kenichi’s Seikuuken Training
Level One: Grabbing the Fish
>If you have access to a stream where you can stand and attempt to grab or slap fish out of the water, by all means, do so. Remember that the concept here is not to go for where the fist is, but where it will be. However, if you do not (like most) have access to a stream as previously mentioned, there are other methods available to you.
>The alternate method of “Grabbing the Fish” is done with a tennis ball. A partner will stand at the furthest point of your reach, where you can still grasp the ball, and then drop the ball. You will then attempt to snatch the ball out of the air. It is, I think, not a direct correlation nor as effective as actually catching a fish with your bare hands, but it will have to do. You could also try to catch a fly or another bug that has landed. This has more of a parallel to catching a fish, because you are making the first move. When you have regular success with this training, you can move to the second level.
Level Two: Blocking the Fist
>The second level is a partner will circle around you and toss out random attacks. You’ll have to block the attacks as they come and your partner can increase in speed as you get better at it. The strikes should be tossed out at the extent of the striking partner’s reach and should be intercepted as early on in the movement as possible. For instance, if a punch comes, it should be blocked or deflected before it is extended out or just as it begins to move, but not before.
Level Three: Bees’ Hell
>This training is one of the things that is not really capable of being imitated. In the manga, it shows Kenichi undertaking this part of the training by balancing on one leg on three rocks stacked on one another, while bees attacked him. The Elder told him he should brush off the bees before they stung him. Although I do not recommend doing this at all, I think it is worthwhile to note that it is not the dangerous thing for a bee to fly next to you or even land on you– it is the act of the been stinging you that is dangerous.
>I think the key here is that you need not worry about attacks that you either perceive to be coming and are not or feints that the enemy may throw at you. You only need worry about the committed attack that is actually coming toward you. This is, obviously, easier said than done. I have a couple of training methods hear the can be useful. The first will require two partners tossing (once again) tennis balls at or around you. Your goal is to only react to the ones that are going to hit you and either catch or deflect them. To make it more difficult, you can stand on one foot, so balance is a factor. If you need to increase the difficulty, you can stand on one foot while on a half-balance ball.
>The second training method is similar, but will be a partner tossing out attacks at you, while your goal is to only respond to the ones that are going to hit you. It is recommended that you wear gear for this, so you are not unnecessarily injured in training. Your partner should also be including feints during this training. You can include the balance training here as well. After reasonable success with this training, you can move to the next level.
Level Four: Dodging or Redirecting Large Force
>The previous levels have mainly been things that aren’t really going to hurt you if they connect (either because it’s a tennis ball or because you are wearing gear); however, now it’s going to get just slightly more dangerous. I still recommend that you wear gear, but this is going to be more of a sparring scenario. Your opponent can strike at you, attempt to grab you, or use a practice weapon (padded preferably) while you attempt to dodge or parry anything that is sent at you. The goal, again, is to intercept it on the outside edges of your “Seikuuken” (that invisible circle I was talking about). So, if it’s a punch, kick, or an attempted double leg takedown– you need to parry, dodge, or redirect it. In general, the parrying or the redirecting will come before the dodge. You really only dodge if you miss the parrying or redirecting. Don’t focus so much on technique when doing this training, but focus on the concept of the Seikuuken and really clear your mind. I think you’ll be suprised at what happens when you just allow your body to move as is necessary.
That’s all for the Seikuuken Stage 1 training. The rest of the training will come in time, but just focus on this for now. Until next time, good luck and train hard!
On a side note, we added another FB fan. Good work, guys! Keep inviting your friends and spreading the word!
Stephen Ross is a Certified Personal Trainer with a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina and author of Real Anime Training since 2007. He has been studying various modalities of fitness for 20 years and is greatly interested in helping people improve their lives, both in the gym and out.
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