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Akuma calls himself the Master of the Fist. To be honest, it seems to be true in the Street Fighter universe, although in the broader view of the blog he may have some competition with Raoh, Little Mac, and Captain Falcon… At any rate, Akuma hits, and he hits hard. Hard enough to blow apart volcanoes, meteors, submarines, islands… You get the idea. So, what can we do to emulate that kind of raw power?
Not Just a Shoto-Clone
While historically Ryu is an older Street Fighter character than Akuma, in canon lore Akuma is on the same level (or above the level) of Ryu’s master, Gouken. Though Ryu, Ken, Akuma, and Gouken all study the same art (ansatsuken.) Now, ansatsuken is not an actual martial art style, and though those four characters are sometimes referred to as “shoto-clones,” ansatsuken bears very little resemblance to Shotokan.
I actually did a video a while back on the fighting style of Akuma, and you can check that out here:
Beyond that, if you’d like to pick up a martial art style that’s somewhat similar to Akuma’s, I’d recommend checking out Kyokushin Karate. Mas Oyama (the founder of that style) became famous for breaking stuff with his fists (his nickname was “The God Hand,) and doing crazy stunts like fighting bulls armed with only his bare hands. Now, I can’t say for sure what the inspirations for Akuma’s design were, but if I had to guess, Mas Oyama was one of them.
Now, we’ve talked about this before, so first let’s do a quick review of what we learned with the other hard hitters on the blog.
With Little Mac, we talked about how repetition is key in developing punching power. If you do bag work on a regular basis, your punches are going to get stronger – that’s just the way your body works. That’s why it’s part of The Akuma Workout.
With Captain Falcon, we talked about how striking is a full-body effort, it doesn’t rely on just your hands and arms. Your core and your legs play a much bigger part. That’s why we work twist crunches and tons of leg work into the Akuma workout as well.
In the end, though, Akuma doesn’t just punch hard, he hits hard. His kicks are ridiculously strong, his shuto (karate chop) strikes are deadly, and basically everything he does, hurts. Dude deals death with his limbs.
In this, we have to combine all of the above. Obviously, repetition is key. You need to learn proper technique (find an actual instructor to help you with this, it’s definitely a real-life-instruction kind of thing. Finally, you need to add mass, and maintain speed. A heavyweight boxer is going to hit harder than a lightweight boxer, every time. It’s simple physics. If he’s moving at close to the same speed (and yes, people with big muscles can be just as fast or faster than people with small muscles,) he’s going to hit much, much harder. This is where Akuma’s training regimen and overall size come into play.
You may not be shattering islands anytime soon, but I can promise you that by following the above steps you’ll definitely be able to shatter bricks. I’m actually working on that now, myself (weekly training regimen updates on the YouTube channel soon!)
Developing Your Hadou
Now, I’m not going to get all woo-y on you right now. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’m not a big fan of any supernatural “magic” or “chi” or “ki” nonsense. But there is something to be said for the internal focus that traditional eastern energy development techniques bring. In addition to focus, they grant a body awareness, as well, and as such I’m a fan of practicing an “internal” martial art (even if you don’t buy into the mystical energy stuff.)
Hadou means surge, or “wave.” In the Street Fighter universe, it refers to one’s own intent in the use of your energies. Akuma practices the satsui no hadou (“surge of murderous intent,”) however your intent does not have to be murderous. Even if there is violence in your actions, there does not have to be violence in your convictions.
If you’re interested in developing your own internal awareness and focus (your “hadou,”) then I would advise you to start out by meditating every day, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes before be (or after you wake up.) I wrote up a nice little starter tutorial for you here, but there’s also a bunch of other resources out on the internet if my methods don’t strike your fancy.
Beyond that, I would recommend taking up an “internal” martial art like tai chi or qi gong. Tai chi is definitely the more popular of the two, but either will work. There are other styles out there as well, but those are the ones I would recommend as they’re the most common, and the ones I’ve got experience with. You’d be surprised how these arts will affect you.
If an internal martial art is not available to you, believe it or not, yoga can also be a good substitute. Obviously there’s no martial intent in it, but it will still improve your body control, awareness, focus, and flexibility (all of which will help develop combat prowess.) I don’t think Akuma’s the type to be wishing “namaste” upon someone any time soon, but you have to work with what you have available to you!
Remember, your own hadou is your internal energy, your mental “surge.” If you buy into the ki/chi thing, great, more power to you! If not, there’s still a lot of value to be taken from the contemplative ares.
That’s it for Master of the Fist! I’ll see you again on Monday with The Raging Demon! As always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace