Setting Sail

We gave Isaac a good send off last week as he starts university on the south coast. Isaac started over a year ago with Bushin following a background in karate and others. His thirst for martial art knowledge was insatiable and continued to train in other styles, never short of a question or two. He recently graded to green belt, scoring highly on the sheet, and has been a consistent grade-on-grade improver. Although Isaac will be away for a few years getting to grips with uni life, there are plenty of quality martial art clubs to seek his teeth into. I trained for four years on the south coast and set up my own club when I was attending Southampton University. The club is still running to this day.

Cross-training, mixed martial arts and MMA are all the fad now. I remember when the concept was just starting to grow in the early to mid 1990s. In actual fact Bruce Lee pioneered and popularised it in the 1970s but it really wasn’t until cage fighting took off that martial artists really started to explore outwards. Most traditional styles are reluctant to “share” their students with other clubs and styles. This is especially strong in the Japanese styles which follow the tradition of “one style, one master”, where you are an apprentice to your master and it is deemed rude and disrespectful to train elsewhere. This was certainly the case when I learnt Shorinji Kempo in Japan. A short hop to the local karate club would have been a short hop out of the door.

However, nowadays it is seen to be far more acceptable. This is mainly because martial arts have progressed so dramatically over the last few decades and many teachers now realise that one style does not necessarily have all the answers, whether it’s technical or philosophical. I started cross-training half way through my martial career, branching out initially into Taekwondo, Wing Chun and Tai Chi. I found that I learnt more in few weeks that I had learnt in few years and my technique and application improved enormously. I also found that I appreciated my roots more because I could better understand the quality of a style and its instruction.

In Bushin I actively encourage cross-training. I still do it myself. It is not something to be ashamed of or kept secret. It should be embraced…after all most martial arts have similar aims and there are only so many ways you can be grabbed and be punched. Ultimately we all want to be better people, fight better, learn skills, get fit and sweaty, plus have a bit of fun. Most of the styles I’ve trained at over the years are similar in this regard. As long as it doesn’t distract you from your “home” style and you can still distinguish which dojo you are training in, there is no issue. I found most mixed martial artists are more rounded individuals, open minded and more skilful fighters. As Bruce said “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”

My only hope is that my students get better and challenge me. If they do, I will improve…and then, ultimately, so will they. I look forward to the day when Isaac sails back to the Bushin shore, with a full cargo of martial art skills so we can all learn from him. Happy travels…

A Fresh Start

Summer is over and as we look into the grey Autumn skies it’s time to dust off the kit and put some body work in. Well done all those that trained hard through the summer period. For those others, it’s time to start training again. There is no better time than now. Not tomorrow, next week, not when you have more money…now!

The hardest thing without a doubt is to walk through the door of the dojo. However, when you do make the effort and get to training it makes it all worthwhile. At the end of the lesson, you feel fantastic: invigorated, worthy and honest. More importantly, you feel better about yourself and better about your life. After all, isn’t that the key to life?…making it better for yourself so you can enjoy it more.

Don’t go mad and train yourself into the ground. Just block off the two evenings into your diary and be consistent. Go rain or shame, emergencies accepted. Push yourself to be there and reap the benefits. Human willpower is a fantastic machine but very hard to find the on button and the gears. But you can do it. I know you can. With some effort you can work 12-14 hours a day, run a business, look after a family, socialise and still have time for your own training. I know because that’s what I do. But, if you don’t take the first step then you will never know…

Whatever your goal and motivation, martial arts are of fantastic benefit. You get fit, you get strong, your confidence improves, your self discipline increases, you make friends and most importantly you learn the useful skill of self defence…far better than pumping iron in the gym. The new motto on our website is “change your life”. If you want to laugh, sweat and cry then give it a try…

Sparring Seminar – This Thurs

Reminder – sparring seminar this Thursday. 7.30-9pm in Studio 1. I shall be spending the whole lesson on teaching sparring tactics such as the JKD methods of attack, distance, timing and of course tricks of the trade learnt over the last few decades in competing. We shall be using all the kit we can to get a feel for different contact, varying rules and of course performing under pressure.

Come and join us!

Bushin Reloaded

Welcome the new look Bushin website. Refreshed and re-loaded! Take a look and let us know what you think. Still a few final tweaks to go here and there but its largely done.

Big thank you to Paul and Summer for the photos and Olly for the technicals….and of course to those all that took part with the smiles, grimaces and squeels of pleasure and pain!