Sometimes in life we have a choice and sometimes the choice is made for us regarding circumstance and opportunity. Last week saw us lose a teacher and brother from within our Krabi Krabong brotherhood, but it has also thrown open an opportunity for me to realise a dream and an ambition! Something I thought had passed me by.
I have lots of experience and I suppose many styles I have studied to a very high level, but this is where I belong I realise that. It is where I am meant to be and so I will try and embrace this opportunity 100% and help show the world the culture and beauty of this martial Art.
Anyone interested in practising authentic and practical krabi Krabong please get in touch you can visit us here or we are available to come to you.
I am 52 years old and been doing Martial Arts, most of that time but I still feel like I have unfinished business another thing to learn a style to try, I watch boxing and think yeah I should go back to it get myself back into boxing shape, just to show that I can? My training with Chu Sifu was about getting rid of ego training in an art to keep that art alive and to be part of a culture and to learn skills that are no longer taught. When I went to Krishna it was like an epiphany in a lot of ways what he was doing and showing sort of made the jigsaw whole for me, it made my Kung Fu better by opening my mind to different concepts and ideas. After illness I started Taiji but not just a mainstream style I wanted to train in a little known and rarer style, so went to Sun Style Taiji and in Dave Martin found a great guy with no ego who just wanted to do the best he could in promoting his chosen style. I am not sure where this blog is going as I write it I just need to get some thoughts down as to why after all this years I still feel I have something to prove to myself? Is it ego? is it vanity to be known as one of the best? or is it just the way I am made? I lost my dad when I was 12 years old and maybe not being able to prove to anyone that I was good at anything, academic has driven me on as I really feel within Martial Arts I have found what I was born to do, I have trained with some of the best guys in the world within their chosen arts and continue to do so when opportunity arises, as I sit here typing I think well I could train the old stuff pick up the sticks again, push myself to new heights physically and mentally, but I don’t want my mind writing cheques my body cant cash, to me that would be detrimental to my development, I think where I am I am meant to be, training in what I should be for my health and well being, I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone who cares to read this but would appreciate any thoughts you have, I have stopped at many crossroads along my Martial path, stumbled and fell many times, been kicked and punched without a blow being thrown, I suppose I have answered my own question, do I have unfinished business?yes, with myself
I think with the stringent law on edged weapons that operates with the UK it is important to look at effective empty hand striking to include more emphasis on the knife defence element and the use of effective disarms, then use appropriate immobilisation of opponent. I feel the empty hands should be taught first along with knife defence, then weapons.
Within the 5×5 system we use western boxing as a catalyst learning jab, cross, hooks and uppercuts throwing in a variation hook from Muay Chaiya Nawarrat that gives us our base 5 techniques these are drilled in combinations using pads and then in sparring once competency is gained.
We can also use empty hand drills like Higot Hubud and Pakgang to gain sensitivity and variety.
For the knife defence we can use hubud again or themed sparring working up to doing blocks, disarms and counter techniques to near full speed and power to add realism.
Even though we are learning to deal with life threatening situations we should still train safe with regards to our partner and try to work with as many different shapes and sizes of opponent.
The last element is being prepared mentally to deal with the threat of injury and having the right mindset to go with the physical tools you have developed, recognising adrenalin dump how to avoid it, pressure testing what you learn regularly in a safe environment, environment awareness is also important and switching on the alert if you are in strange places, trust the instincts you have developed if you feel like running then run away don’t let ego rule your natural instincts, only fight when you have no choice.
Practicinga martial art is a fun and rewarding experience and so you should enjoy your practice but that does not mean you are not serious when it comes down to the wire.
Those of you who can be bothered reading this blog maybe think I have jumped from one art to another but I can assure you that I have not started to learn an art unless I had a competency and was teaching the other other art I was practising. So that is my first rule if you get a good grounding in one style before moving on, this does not mean getting a black belt but maybe getting some teaching experience as it helps and really learning the basics of whatever style you choose.
There is no secrets in martial arts, the only secret is practise and you must practise everyday to reap the rewards, I was lucky in that my first teacher Chu Sifu frightened me so that if he gave me something to practise I did it till he said stop not because I was scared physically but I was worried he would tell me to leave and I wanted so much to learn from him, that work ethic as helped me over the years and I am sure if you contacted any of the teachers I have mentioned and asked about me they would say I am a hard worker. Many people have said I am a natural at Martial arts, I don’t believe that as I have worked long and hard to get the skills I have and I am still working everyday to improve. My teacher in China paid me a great compliment, he said I was worth teaching because I worked hard. My friends teacher Wen Laoshi commented I was a good student, as even when it was snowing I was in the park at 7.30am.
My enthusiasm has waned like everybody else over the years and I have had bad times, but I have never stopped training it is this that builds your character and gives you the mental attitude to face and deal with problems, in my darkest days I could practise and feel better, remember you practise for your benefit not others! So get out there and prove to yourself, you are who you think, be positive! Learn, teach and more important enjoy your chosen art or arts after all this is just the rantings of a martial arts anorak who will never stop training and sharing what he knows as long as there are people who want to learn.
If anyone reading this wants any help or advice they think I can give please get in touch.
I first got in touch with Phil O’hare through a Google search. I wanted to pursue western boxing but did not want to be cannon fodder at a club so private lessons were the answer for me. Phil is a great teacher very technical and very knowledgeable over a six month period we progressed from just doing pad drills to sparring for 7×3 minute rounds my fitness was at an all time high as the motivation Phil gave me pushed me to train boxing 3 times a week in a friends gym plus my private with Phil on early Monday mornings, the other days I did core exercise training it was great just what I wanted and I cannot recommend Phil enough if anyone is looking for real self defence skills with an environment designed for you to learn at your own pace in a controlled none aggressive way then contact Phil.