Setting The Right Goals

Looking at the conversations on FB this morning it struck me that many people are perfectly happy learning and teaching a martial art at a superficial level and I guess that’s the same as any other art or sport and creates a gateway and introduction for many people, but what happens when you want to go deeper? Firstly you have to decide your goals as deeper can be anything from Buddhist priest to street fighter, so the search for deeper instruction becomes the major difficulty. I could never find THE instructor I needed so had to got to various sources … Continue reading Setting The Right Goals

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

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

Being Different

I was considered stupid right up until my mid 20’s. I just couldn’t get on with the way our education system and culture worked and was therefore considered lazy and disruptive, failed all my school exams and was kicked out into a succession of low paid jobs ending up in the security world not even having read a book. When I saw Japanese writing the pictatorial aspect of it strangely appealed to me. When Japanese karate came to the UK the zen ‘life and death’ simplicity also appealed dragging me in. Karate made me more violent but I had found … Continue reading Being Different