When I first found the studio, I looked in to see a bunch of guys in boxing gloves hitting boxing mitts. My first thought was, oops wrong class. But it was in fact the right class. They use Sanda as a base for skills development and as a warm-up.
Akuzawa Sensei's website is worth reading, especially the Bujutsu section. Towards the end of class he was kind enough to show his skills to me directly and let me test him in various ways. He also partnered me with his senior student Miyakwa Kazuhisa for a significant portion of the three hour long class which gave me a good sense of what he has been able to transmit.
Although, I believe it is quite difficult for most students to grasp, Akuzawa Sensei is using an apophatic method, "...[W]e aim to give our students the physical tools to forge a Bujutsu body able to bring its own imperfections to light, address them, and come to its own answers--all of this eventually leads the practitioner down their own path in the Martial Way." While most people would read that statement in context as iconoclastic or individualist, to me it is simply explaining that the methods themselves primarily point to what you are NOT supposed to do.
Take for instance these two exercises: Both have fixed foot positions. The one top goes up and down. The one on the bottom goes forward and backward. They are both designed to take all arm and leg power out of the system as well as any size advantages or gravity/momentum/positioning advantages-- Thus leaving only "internal" mind-energy changes of the torso for generating force. What the practice reveals is all the possible things you could do that are wrong. This is really important because all those "wrong things," like tension in the shoulders, might seem like they are giving an advantage in a more dynamic or volatile exercise.
No matter how much you simply copy the external shape, it is impossible to simply copy movement that happens internally. To add to this, the concept of bujutsu, unlike martial sports, does not adhere to rules, so you must be able to flip your perception and look at things in a completely different light.
Here I think he is suggesting that the mind limitations normally associated with social dominance also limit power and options. To practice 'internal' arts is to fundamentally play a different game.
You must not get bogged down on the "shape" of things in practice. I also strongly believe that you should not create a method that is set in stone. Bujutsu itself is the ability to use the body in any situation, any environment, and as such is the embodiment of change. This means that training must be tailored to yourself by endless trial, error, experimentation, and adjustment if you want to understand the true essence behind movement.
Again he emphasizes the apophatic; make mistakes and learn from them. Sure, there is a method here, but the method is pointing to something. When you figure out what it is pointing to, the method can be burned away.
Akuzawa Sensei is a warm, generous and open guy and his students were all welcoming. The best test of his power I got was when he asked me to hold his arms down at his sides. I was instructed to use any kind of force adjustments I wished to try and stopping him from lifting his arms up for the opening movement of Tai Chi. I was ready, in position, holding his arms with all my creative effort, but he unconsciously decided to scratch his head! His "head scratching" power was totally unstoppable, he took me with him.
He is clearly offering a method, it uses boxing gloves and some Shaolin and Xingyi type repeating lines, and a bunch of two person resistance/cooperation exercises that teach various things, and he advises students to do standing meditation practice on their own. But he is also clearly saying, don't get stuck on the method, the method is all about limitations, the fruition is about freedom.