Engage The Core & Spine

Anyone that studies with me knows that I use the word ‘engage’ a lot to do with the spine and core. This is because it takes a lot of study to learn how to use them for internal power, we have to forge really strong intimate connections to the ‘feel’ of every part of the core and spine and how to utilise them in technique. From the way we press and pulse the feet to the floor up through the legs to open and close the hips to manipulate the pelvic floor and bow and pulse the lower back, kidneys … Continue reading Engage The Core & Spine

How To Learn

When I learned my martial arts in the 70’s and 80’s I went to lessons, took a notebook and took notes in my own way. When I went home the notebook went up on the mantelpiece and I worked from there, it was very personal and taught me how to learn. When I went back for my next lesson my instructor expected me to have practised and learned what we did last time. IMO it’s still the best way to progress. Nowadays we produce the notes for the students and videos that can be used on any device, the problem … Continue reading How To Learn

I’m not normal, I acknowledge that. I’m out of synch with what is accepted as ’normality’. I don’t have to try to think outside of the box, I have a problem understanding the logic of inside of it. I have never related to our culture, was a very troubled person until I discovered the intelligent analysis of Buddhism and Asian philosophy. It didn’t bring me to normality but helped me to understand that my cursed mind in our culture was also a gift that has helped me to share my ‘outside the box’ thinking with others who feel out of … Continue reading

Don’t Waste Your Time Training

Sometimes I wonder how much energy and time have I wasted on pointless exercise. All that mindless running, weight training, push-ups, sit ups, ‘warmup’ exercises and sparring that burned valuable energy, wasted time and did nothing to direct me where I needed to go. You can’t put an old head on young shoulders but with hindsight I could have done things in a far more intelligent fashion. A lot of ‘traditional training’ had so many repetions of useless movement and the blind ignorance of teaching ‘in the way my instructors taught’. Training should have a far more intelligent, structured approach … Continue reading Don’t Waste Your Time Training

The Power Of A Logo

This is an original handmade piece of glass made by Ruth Dathorne for our Dojo and is important to me as it is the only 2 logos I’ve ever used in my 50 years in the Martial Arts. ‘Logo’ means ‘word of god’ and represents the soul and ethos of my path in the Martial Arts. The person in the foreground was hand drawn by me in the 1970’s and is a yin/yang representation of a technique used in both Tai Chi and Karate and was our logo, badge and used on the front of the book we did in … Continue reading The Power Of A Logo

The Name Tai Chi

There is often a misunderstanding about the name ‘Tai Chi’. It translates as ‘grand ultimate’ and as ‘chuan’ means ‘fist’ which is the generic term for martial arts most people read it as ‘Grand Ultimate Martial Art’ and see it as arrogantly stating that it’s the best martial art which is wrong. Tai Chi is a kung fu system and had many names like ‘deceptive boxing’ and ‘soft cotton boxing’, what most people call the yin/yang symbol is properly named the ‘tai chi’ symbol and existed for a long time before the art representing the harmony of Taoism, so legend … Continue reading The Name Tai Chi

The Skeleton & Martial Arts

The skeleton plays an important part in martial arts. It gives structure to the soft tissue.If you cut it down or across the middle you can see it’s symmetry, therefore you can see the importance of left and right and upper and lower body harmony for balance, mobility and power. When balanced and the soft tissue around the joints has no excessive tension the joints are unlocked, loose and aid mobility. To destructure an opponent and make him lock his own skeleton up you only have to make any part collapse, protrude or lean out of alignment. Continue reading The Skeleton & Martial Arts

Cultural Indoctrination

When you’re young your body can consume your soul. People notice your body, you’re proud of it and carry it in that way. You train it, dress it, preen it people notice and you are flattered by their attention. You only exist in the eyes of others and they notice you. Social media ‘selfies’ bear this out.  The gym pics, the 6 pack pics, the bathroom selfies, the desperate need to be noticed, how you look on the outside is who you are. Martial Arts clubs pander to this, meditation and a deeper, holistic health are pushed to the side … Continue reading Cultural Indoctrination

Instructor’s Eye

You think your instructors can’t see behind your BS, your excuses, your mask… but the truth is they can see right into your soul. It’s just polite for the instructor to not reveal what they see, so they smile patiently as they listen to the excuses, the distractions and only help or reveal what they see when appropriate. It’s up to the student to tread the path, to put in the time and effort, to sort out their life and emotions, an instructor has to wait until the time is right to put in their bit. But don’t think for … Continue reading Instructor’s Eye

A Successful Martial Arts Coach

After 50 years in the martial arts and going through various incarnations of successfully teaching various arts, being one of the first professional instructors and starting one of the first full time centres, growing old and having to use others to teach many classes I’ve learned a bit about teaching and running a full time centre. What’s the biggest secret of success? It’s you. The coach. This point is often glossed over with ‘continued professional development’ like gathering certificates, doing courses, seminars and the like, but neglects the most important part. You need depth, the part that can’t be easily … Continue reading A Successful Martial Arts Coach