Toru Takamizawa

Toru Takamizawa was the best Karateka I ever met, physically he was incredibly fast, dynamic and for a small man powerful. Technically he was a genius. He structured Wado Ryu Karate in a way that I still use to this day in all my methods of training. He failed me on my second Dan grading and from then on I travelled from Kent to Birmingham every Wednesday for many years for private lessons. Financially he was terrible because money embarrassed him and that led him to trusting all the wrong people and he needed rescuing from financial ruin. To do … Continue reading Toru Takamizawa

Pain…

PainWhen I was young I taught myself to like pain, it made me train harder, made me focus and never give up. When I was hit, I tasted blood and fought harder. I constantly found myself joyously saying “is that all you’ve got?” There was a perverse pleasure in pain. As a matter of principle I would never, ever give up and you would have to kill me to stop me. Now at 72yrs old I’m in constant pain, with an amputation and phantom leg pain, painful arthritis in both shoulders and remaining leg, prostate cancer and radiation treatment inflammation … Continue reading Pain…

Okimitsu Fuji

This is Okimitsu Fuji’s hand written history and the photos he gave me at the time, must have been in the 1980’s. I used to have private lessons with him every Tuesday morning for many years, I’d go to his house and wake him up, we’d go to the Irishman’s club in Dartford where he’d give me a private lesson. We became good friends and he was a good Japanese cook so he would cook for me and my family. My daughter Caroline would call him ‘Uncle Oki’ and I also took Toru Takamizawa and his wife to his house … Continue reading Okimitsu Fuji

Podcast My 50 Years In Martial Arts

Key quotes and takeaways from the show: Never practice struggle! “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” – Aristotle. Balance!… Martial arts (and life) are holistic. Develop your mind, body and emotions. A good coach teaches on all of these levels. A good coach sees the kind of person their student is (type of learner, physical, mental and emotional state, etc.) and gives them what they need in that very moment. The same goes for a class. A good coach forgets about themselves and provides students what they need most at the time. Use meditation to … Continue reading Podcast My 50 Years In Martial Arts

The Empty Chair

There is the chair,He used to be there,Hair gone grey,Body wasting away,Cognitively impaired,But with humour shared. Strong when he was young,With punches that stung,A high standard of Kung Fu,With kicks that flew,But time took the skill,And made him sit still. He ended in the chair,And had to stay there,Until the part that cannot be destroyed,Finally returned to the void. Now his spirit is still there,As always willing to share,For those with respect,Are still able to connect. Continue reading The Empty Chair

The Eyes Have It

Where your intention (yi) goes your energy (chi) follows. In Tai Chi we use an ‘eye’ form, whilst practising a hand form we look at certain parts of our own body (usually a hand or hands) with the intention of sending our chi energy there. This has the effect of moving our chi and sending it to where we need it. It helps us to learn how to raise our energy, colour it with the right intention, focus and discharge it. Vision can be focused and unfocused, activating and utilising both sides of the brain and using peripheral vision to … Continue reading The Eyes Have It

Neurodivergence And Martial Arts

In hindsight I realise that I’m neurodivergent. To anyone that knows me or learns from it’s probably quite obvious. I’m not on any recognised ‘spectrum’ but as a child I didn’t get on with my family, couldn’t get on at school, couldn’t learn in the way I was taught, failed all my exams was always unhappy and was generally thought of as ‘stupid’. I hate crowds, bright lights and loud noise. I feel sick in cars, with flashing lights and with a lot of different smells and foods. I’m highly empathic and sensitive. It was only when I encountered martial … Continue reading Neurodivergence And Martial Arts

Paper Tgers

I’m constantly unsubscribing to martial art pages, people and groups that ridicule others. Often someone will post a video of karate ‘bunkai’ application to a kata from up to 40 years ago and then ridicule it. I was practising Karate (that’s me in the photo with Takimazawa Sensei) and working security in the 70’s and knew that the kata had to be studied and what was demonstrated was not practical and only a demonstration for shows. Pairs work was to drill practical skills safely and was not exactly how it would be applied in the street. We practised the ‘art’ … Continue reading Paper Tgers