Over years of training and instructing I have seen many different people train in the martial arts. My own motivation was really inspired by my Dad, he was a boxer in his day, growing up in Dublin, in the British Army and back in Birmingham in Ladywood.
His stories and his skill where my inspiration, his lessons kept to the fundamentals but executed as perfectly as possible, the physical lessons he taught sometimes taught with brutal efficiency – I still wince at the stinging slap to the right side of my face whenever I dropped my hand, in fact, I can’t remember how he did it but he seemed to always be able to land that punishing, confidence sapping slap!
Later, 1974 I think, I watched Enter the Dragon – anyone that knows me will be smiling now, I think I’ve watched it hundreds of times and I still watch it today if it comes on the television. I think I can quote most of the lines from it to… Bruce Lee the movie star was amazing, I walked out of the cinema, (we called it the Flea Pit) with a load of other guys marvelling at what we had just witnessed on the big screen! I was determined to learn more about this awesome man.In those days you could not “Google it” it was a trip to Birmingham or Dudley or anywhere they might have information in magazines etc.
It was years before I would learn about the difference between his movie persona and his personal expression of martial art, years before I would get my hands on more specific material concerning Jun Fan Gung Fu and JKD, Years before I would meet the legendary Guro Inosanto and train with him and later have the privilege of being put forward by my martial art mentor and Instructor the prolific Sifu Rick Young for his Instructor Program.
In the meantime I studied what I could, Shotokan Karate, Full contact Karate, some Lau Gar, Wing Chun and boxing and tried to find the right instructor in the right art for me. An exciting journey of personal expectation, it took me years to find what I thought was my Martial Art “home” as a student of Sifu Rick Young. I had heavy bags in the garage, wall bags, home made makiwara (punching board), stretching contraptions, some I built myself (they looked more like torture machines and felt like it to sometimes), I got that gem from a magazine that said Bruce Lee had a lot of his equipment built! I had weights and tried isometric tension as a training method. If I thought it related to martial art or JKD then I acquired it, I still recall beating myself up, literally, trying to master the nunchaka’s!
Through the years I saw people from all walks of life train, teachers, Rugby players, electricians, accountants, builders, later on Computer geeks (I mean that respectfully guy’s but just remember “A computer once beat me at Chess but was no match for me at Kickboxing) women where less evident back then and I am proud to say we have some fantastic girls and ladies train at MAC, they are energised, committed and have trained for years and earned their respect and rank. People came from all walks of life and they wanted the same thing, to study a fantastic Oriental fighting art.
WHY? The big question!
We know today that fitness, confidence and self defence skills are primary reasons. Looking for a specific art to suit their mentality, physicality or spiritual beliefs.
Sometimes, its a class that has the right times (shift working seems more wide spread these days) or the right location, a 15 minute drive from home or work.
Maybe its the facilities, our academies are dedicated martial art places, with safety equipment, training equipment, full time staff and we are committed to offering warm environment and great personal experience.I trained in some awful non-friendly places, dirty, unclean with no regard for personal safety or hygiene (these included an abattoir, a broken down old scout hut, a shed at the back of a pub where dodging dog poo was the warm up and old cold factory units)
For some it would be separate Junior and Adult classes, I never got on training with 5-7 year olds and later research indicated that children should be taught key stage specific material and that developmental age should influence what is taught – we want our students to be set to win not set up to fail, we have developed a curriculum that delivers age and developmental appropriate material.
We teach additional life skills so our Junior students get the balance right. Junior martial art is a foundation for many areas of life and we have documented success stories of improving achievement, focus, concentration, social interaction and self confidence and respect.
For our adults it can be to gain a black belt, or nowadays with all the research available on the internet a specific art or discipline. Whether you want to just train and get fit or train in a specific art for a purpose I believe we can accommodate your goals. From Kickboxing/MMA to BJJ, for sport combat to Kali for a true warrior art with weapons to JKD as an eclectic martial art for self-defence and street fighting, maybe Adrenal stress training will round out your thoughts on how you respond to forced conflict management, whatever it is our programs will help you achieve your goals.
I have loads more to share about my journey through the martial art and we will share some of the principles and material that we have discovered over nearly two decades but now I’d like to ask you;
Why did you start training?
Have the reasons changed?
I’m interested to hear why you do what you do in the martial art and what you think you get from it….
I look forward to sharing with you soon.
Martial Art Concepts Group Chief Instructor