Stand up and Defend Yourself!

Last week one of our regular and very committed students, Tamer, got into a situation of violence where he had to defend himself. Here is his testimony (also posted to our testimonials page):

“I had an experience not to be forgotten last week when I was with some friends out in town, like any other week we met up and went for a meal and it was time to go home. I was with a friend at the time and nearly approaching my car when 2 youths approached us asking for my car keys or they will stab us. For a split second I remembered the words of my Sensei Cailey Barker that the best form of defence is offence and before the youth finish the sentence my friend and I launched at the 2 youths and neutralised the situation. 

Immediately after about 15 youths started running towards us with belts and baseball bats and started wildly swinging the belts at us, I remembered from our Bushin training when fighting multiple opponents to keep constantly moving so your opponent does not surround you and that’s what I did and I tried to stay calm and keeping my guard at all time.

Thankfully I managed to come out of the situation safe and unharmed and this is testimony to the Bushin training and considering I have only been training in martial arts for 7 months is shows how effective Bushin is.”

I can only offer my humble praise for Tamer. These situations are usually horrible and a far cry from the stuff you see in movies. The reality is not about being able to bring your attacker down with a flick of the wrist like Bruce Lee, but having the awareness and preparation to know what to do when put into a situation of potential violence. The basics of self defence involve preparation, awareness of surroundings, coupled with some simple decisions, such as knowing when to fight or flight.90% of self defence is how you react, what you say, how you position yourself and how you act. The actual physical part is usually a small portion of the battle and over before you know it.

The fact that Tamer was able to survive the situation relatively unharmed is without doubt a true example of pure self defence. Coming from someone with only 7 months training in Bushin and no previous martial arts experience, this is a great feat. I believe it is testament to 3 things: Tamer’s skill and ability, the effectiveness of Bushin training and a degree of luck. Winning a fight is not putting your opponent on their back. It’s about walking away in one piece. I’ve been in a number of fights and I’ve never lost.

Bushin is a system of self defence. Training is extremely practical, incorporating highly effective techniques and a large emphasis on sparring. This is not for competition purposes but designed to defend your life. You should bear this in mind when practising. Don’t go through the motions, throwing your arms and legs around the room with little thought or effort. Each movement should be performed as though your life depends on it. Fast, strong, focused and with the martial spirit. This is true Bushin.

Note: we run a couple of basic self defence courses during the year in our normal training programme. We are also able to accommodate bespoke self defence courses for corporate, schools, communities etc. Please contact us if you are interested.

Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Face your enemy!

It’s time to start training. There is no better time than now. Not tomorrow, next week, not when you have more money…now!

The work-personal life-training balance is very difficult to maintain. You will go through times when one will dominate at the expense of the others. That’s ok but its important not to turn the training tap off. Don’t stop. Keep maintaining it even if it’s at a lower level.

More importantly, never, ever give up. If you do, you lose it all. All that hard work goes out the window and in time all is forgotten. Better to keep it going at a lower level for a long time, than go crazy, train too hard, then crash and burn. Training is your health pension that conditions your body and mind to have less problems in later life. Prevention is far better than a cure and training is the best medicine around.

However, words are cheap and action is more difficult. It’s not easy to follow the path when so many things distract you and tell you to quit. Don’t stop trying though. “Nana korobi, ya oki” if you fall seven times, get up eight.

Over the last two months my training has been at a real low. I’ve been hindered by illness, injury, personal things, travelling and working all hours and weekends for a new job. But that’s all done now and I’m ready to start training hard again. I’ve got this guy I have to fight. I’ve fought him before a number of times, sometimes losing but usually winning. But he’s a really tough guy and a very good fighter. He often tries to put me down and tells me to quit because I’m past my best. But I won’t. I’ll train my hardest, fight him and win. If I don’t win, I’ll be back the next day and fight him again. Every day until I win. I won’t stop. I won’t give up. He is my worst enemy. He is me.

Social Gatherings

We’re organising 2 social events  for everyone:

  1. Picnic in Green Park on Saturday 31 July.  The plan is to meet outside the station at 1pm and head over to Green Park. There’ll be eating and room to practice on the grass (if that’s what you really want).  Please  bring something to eat/drink.  If anyone’s a vegetarian or has any nut allergies/etc, that’ll be good to know.
  2. After grading meal on Thursday 26 August.  This is for anyone grading or not grading.  We have a table booked at Preto’s, Brazilian restaurant in Victoria.  This is an all-you-can-eat buffet. (n.b. there will be an open training session that night for people who aren’t grading). You can find out more from:

For more details speak to Fiona.

Bushin Fighting Spirit #2

The sparring seminar was a great success and well done to all those that attended. The first part of the seminar focused on different ways to attack. This is an important started point because the majority of martial artists tend to revert to type by attacking only. Certainly most of the well ranked fighters tend to be “hunters”. First we practised the 5 ways of attack from Jeet Kune Do:

  1. Single Direct Attack (SDA) – A single, direct and unexpected attack to opening
  2. Attack by Combination (ABC) – Multiple, rapid attacks to overcome an opponent
  3. Attack by Trapping (ABT) – Immobilising a hand or foot to gain entry
  4. Attack by Drawing (ABD) – Baiting an attack and then intercepting and countering
  5. Progressive Indirect Attack (PIA) – Feigning an attack to an area to create an opening

Most people use SDA and often revert to this by natural instinct. It is important to try and move away from this and consciously practise different ones to improve your sparring ability.

Secondly we focused on tactics to defend and counter using distance and timing. For distance (ma-ai) we used the different ranges: close, mid and far. These are useful ways to neutralise your opponent’s attacks. For example using close range punches to counter kicks, or far distance to pick off a puncher. For timing we practised 3 variations: late (go no sen), neutral (tai no sen) and early (sen no sen). This is probably the most important element to being an effective fighter. It involves blocking an attack before it starts, countering at the same time or letting the attack finish and then countering. All useful ways to break up your attacker’s momentum and destroy their flow.

Thirdly we practised using different levels of contact: non, semi and full. Using various types of kit, such as boxing gloves and head protectors allow you to learn how to react if you get hit. Plus you can discover your weaknesses, particularly not protecting your head enough. If you think you are holding your hands high enough you are probably holding them too low.

Finally we practised a mix of continuous and point sparring. The latter being with full protective gear and judged in a competition format. This is an extremely important in learning to perform under pressure, as close as possible to a real live fight.

Lots to learn and lots to practise. The main thing is to pick one thing at a time and work it in to your normal sparring. Don’t be lazy or panic and revert to type. Keep trying new methods and work to improve your weaknesses. At the end of the day it’s all about practise. The more you do the better you get. Work hard and work to win. Until next time…