Report on a “Bakutoshi” class that anyone can do in one hour!
Mach" is a backflip school in Otsuka, Tokyo. This magazine's reporter in her twenties tried the "Bakutoshi (backflip)" class, which has been taught to more than 100 celebrities, including idols and action actors.
This reporter was skeptical.
I heard that there is a class in Otsuka, Tokyo, where you can learn to do backflips in one hour. I heard that a lot of idols and action actors go there, so I was wondering if you could go there and learn how to do backflips.
I couldn’t believe that a reporter for a weekly magazine who leads an indolent lifestyle could learn to do a backflip in just one hour.
It took about one minute to walk there, thinking of excuses for not being able to do it. Mach” was located on the first floor of a small building not far from Otsuka Station.
When I opened the heavy iron door, the room was covered with red mats, and the walls were lined with autographs of celebrities and famous YouTube stars.
Just in front of me, a petite woman was taking a backflip lesson. The next moment, the woman crouched down with a mighty thud, and the reporter was astonished. The woman fluttered up and lightly spun backward in a single backward motion. Even though she was on a mat, it was a spectacular backflip, as if she were a gymnast.
Shingo Ozeki, 45, the representative of “Mach,” smiled at the astonished reporters.
This woman did it for the first time today and was able to do it in one hour. Anyone can do it.
I decided to try it out for myself, but I would have to wait until later for a more detailed report.
First, she did some careful preparatory exercises. Then, the actual practice of backflips began. The participants jumped up and down with their hips thrust backward, using the momentum of the fall to their advantage.
Jump with all your might!
The teacher who was supporting him shouted.
After repeating the same movement several times, they checked their movements on a monitor in the facility and listened to detailed correction points before practicing backflips again on the mat. Mr. Ozeki says that shortening the interval between backflips, checking the movements on the monitor, and backflips has a certain effect.
By repeating practice and confirmation one after the other, I try not to give myself time to think,” says Ozeki. The longer one spends thinking, the more fearful one feels. If you have even the slightest feeling of fear, you will never be able to do backflips. I dare not give them time to rest, because it is much faster to learn with the body than to think with the mind. You may be surprised to hear that you can do backflips in one hour, but it is more efficient to do it in a shorter period of time.
In fact, the reporter, who had been afraid of backflips before the training began, had no time to be scared as he struggled to follow the instructions.
After an hour of practice, he succeeded in doing a backflip without assistance. Even the reporter, who had been leading an inactive life with a lack of exercise and poor motor skills, was able to do the backflip.
After the one-hour Bakudan lecture, we spoke with Mr. Ozeki again.
He said, “Anyone can do backflips as long as they follow these three principles: honesty, motivation, and commitment. Anyone can do backflips as long as they follow these three principles. You don’t need any athletic ability or sense at all. Age and body shape are also irrelevant. We have had wrestlers who weighed over 100 kg, but they were able to do it. Anyway, as long as you follow the three rules, everyone can do it in an hour.
Ozeki opened his school in 2011 and has successfully taught backflips to more than 20,000 people. Surprisingly, however, Ozeki himself has no gymnastics experience and was a complete novice.
He says, “I had been running a real estate company since I was in my 20s. One day, I was asked to be the entertainment at a wedding of one of my employees. I had always had a good sense of athleticism, so I decided to perform a backflip. However, it turned out to be a disaster. I hit my nose hard, broke a bone, and lost a lot of blood (laughs). I was so frustrated by that experience that I looked for a class that would teach backflips, but I couldn’t find one that only taught backflips. I had no choice but to go to a gymnastics class, but it was too long before they could teach me how to do backflips, saying, “First, flexibility, then let’s learn to do this move. So I decided to do it myself.”
The fee for the bakutoshi class “Mach” is 11,000 yen per hour (tax included). The class is fully booked every day, with people from their teens to their 80s coming to learn backflips. Why do so many come?
Many young people are in cheerleading clubs at school, and there are also many men in their 40s and older who come to perform as entertainment at weddings and year-end parties. Some of the older people even want to try the bakutai (backflip) that they saw Sentai heroes do when they were little before they died. By the way, the oldest person to date is 82 years old. Of course, that person can now do backflips, too.”
Many celebrities have heard of Ozeki’s reputation and come to learn backflips. He has taught more than 100 people, including those on TV projects and as a courtesy. We asked him to tell us about some of the memorable episodes he has experienced practicing backflips with celebrities.
Kento Nakajima, 28, of Sexy Zone, was a very hard worker. He practiced the three rules by putting them into his mind and body. Above all, he was a very nice person (laughs). He remembered the names of all our staff members and thanked each one of them by name when he was finished. On the other hand, I had a hard time with Satoshi Inoo (32) of “Hey! He was an honest and nice boy, but it took him almost three months to master the difficult move of doing a side roll and then a backflip for a TV project.
Actor Naoto Fujiki (50) and former professional baseball player Atsuya Furuta (57) were able to do it right away. Also, although it may seem surprising, Taro Yabe (45) of “Karateka” also mastered it right away. You might think that soft people are better suited for backflips, but in fact, it is better to have a hard body. If you are too soft, you end up in a bridge-like position and cannot do a clean backflip. In this respect, Mr. Yabe’s body is firm and suited for backflips.
Also, recently, youtubers often come to our classes. Not necessarily due to their influence, but I myself started a YouTube channel (“Ikebukuro Ozeki Channel”) in January of this year.
If one can do the bakuchitai, one can certainly boast about it as a “special skill. Those who have longed to do backflips but have given up on the idea that there is no way they can do it should consider being fooled and devote an hour to backflips.
Interview and writing： Machida Himotaro