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We are so busy planning our tomorrows and regretting our yesterdays, that today slips away.
I began practicing martial arts in 1990, there was no planning and I have no regrets. What started out as a creative hobby to keep fit has gradually become much more profound and is now certainly one of the most important aspects of my life. I dislike titles, I am a student, who teaches, my students are my training partners.
Over the years my training has included many different styles, some of which I have practiced extensively over the years. My focus has been primarily authentic Chinese martial arts, with experiences in other fighting and healing arts influencing me along the way. Every martial art taught by a good teacher has something to offer, there is no best martial art. It is the individual that counts.
I think everyone should cross train and be aware of different methods that exist, if you don’t you will never be sure what you’re learning is effective.
I discovered Nam Pai Chuan in 1997. It is martially complete. Full body conditioning, muscle sinew strengthening, sensitivity exercises, chi kung, practical self defence, san da, animal specialisation, traditional formwork, and classical weaponry are all taught comprehensively within the system. It is also a modern and evolving system, accepting and embracing changes so that it fits into today’s society, but without sacrificing its Shaolin roots and valued traditions.
Drills training is vitally important, drills are where you get your skills. An art is defined by its drills or training methods, and should contain movements with a logical and practical connection. Nam Pai Chuan has good drills, they are the fundamentals which should be practiced forever.
Many of my training partners have become good friends over the years, people I trust and can rely on. The system, for those that persevere becomes like family as you end up spending a lot of time with one another. It is supportive and protective of its members and warmly welcomes any newcomers.
My personal approach to training and teaching is equilibrium, equal emphasis on all aspects. Health and fitness, martial skill, personal development, artistic expression, competition, all receiving attention. My methods are eclectic and constantly being refined. Everything changes, nothing can or should remain the same.
Respect and loyalty are rare qualities, authentic martial arts rely on them to survive. I am a loyal person and show respect to all, I do not teach anyone who cannot do the same. I like the fact that when training, whatever your walk of life everybody is the same, it is humbling. Subdue the I.
One of the reasons I committed to Shaolin Kung Fu was because it is difficult, not for everyone. Commitment needs something else in order to be perpetuated, it needs discipline. Commitment and discipline, these are two of the most precious words for those who would seek.
Teaching is a natural progression for any serious martial artist and it is my aim through teaching to find other likeminded people. I have so often been inspired by skills shown to me that I naturally wish to give back what I have learned. Martial arts have helped me to help myself, to deal with whatever life throws my direction.
I teach everything I know without holding back information. If ready, you will absorb the knowledge, if you are not, your mind and body will reject it. The beauty of real martial arts is that they are self secret, there is no fast road, Kung Fu takes time. Unlike many competitive sports it is impossible to reach your peak early, improvement and development only comes with age and experience. There are no young masters.
I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. Too often people get set in the mindset of "if some is good, more is better". This is especially true in Chinese martial arts. People are wrapped up in a "pain based paradigm" rather than a "performance based paradigm". In short they follow the old adage, no pain, no gain. They're just convinced that if they're suffering in some way, they must be moving in the right direction. Instead people should be focusing on performance, and progress, and not the level of discomfort they're experiencing. Working hard and working long are not the same. And neither one means working effectively.
I understand the importance of goals, success is measured in terms of achieving your own goals, everyone is different, our reasons for training are not the same.
I will never understand people who are not drawn towards some form of regular physical exercise. The human body is clearly designed to move around. Sedentary lifestyles are a relatively recent phenomenon and obviously unhealthy. For those inclined, martial arts offer a unique way of developing and refining the body, mind and spirit. We must preserve our essence.
To know true light one has to explore the dark.