35th Generation Disciple
Training is really my heart felt passion, I've been training for as long as I can remember. I grew alongside 3 brothers, we wrestled, punched, kicked for hours everyday. I think it was then were I learnt the aptitude for martial arts and understood the external movements of the human body. As a teenager and into my adult years, I eagerly began learning more and more martial disciplines, I especially loved JuJitsu.. but I think Bruce Lee said it best:
“I personally do not believe in the word style. Why? Because, unless there are human beings with three arms and four legs, unless we have another group of human beings that are structurally different from us, there can be no different style of fighting.”
In my late 20’s, I came across a teacher named Shifu Shi Yanzi, the 34th generation fighting monk from Shaolin Temple. His mission was to spread Shaolin culture within Europe. Over the last 10 years that I studied under him I learnt through hard work, what perseverance, dedication and self-discipline was. The students within my era really had no choice in the matter, it was a simple 6-8 hrs of training everyday 7 days a week with one goal; to prove that whatever we had learnt within his syllabus we could use in real situations. Everything had to be done over and over again, 1,000 kicks wasn’t uncommon in our training routine within a day. Shifu firmly set our minds on the prize, mastery!
I remember there where sayings from time to time Shifu used that would reinforce our commitment. Sayings such as “You train a day, you gain that day, but if you don’t train one day it's like loosing 30 days”. Another saying was “Gong fu is like rowing upstream, the second you stop, the tide pushes you back to the beginning, so you waste your effort. If you are going to give up, don’t waste your time starting”. Then Shifu would end it with a laugh belittling the fact thats its near an impossible task. The biggest inspiration for all my peers back then was that it wasn’t just talk, but that Shifu was the living proof. Everything he said, he could do. He always showed us first, always. Then would say “Copy, its simple… just do as I do”.
Shifu Yanzi was really the standard set in my eyes as to what a master should look, act and sound like.
From 1999 - 2010 I trained extensively in:
Qi gong and meditation (for oneness of mind and body)
Traditional forms (for co-ordination, flexibility, stamina and strength)
Sanda or free fighting (Chinese military combative fighting system)
After 5 years I finally starting competing, becoming the British National Champion in two weight classes in Sanshou. I got elected to compete in the World Games in Vietnam in 2007. Back in my teenage years I also trained extensively in Wing Chun, boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing. All this former experience really helped when trying to understand the dynamics of hand to hand combat through standup striking. After 2008 with a deep understanding of hand trapping and striking I then turned my attention to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). London Shoot Fighters Academy is well known within the martial arts world for producing world class competitors, therefore I decided this was the best place to further my studies. This lead to 4 years learning freestyle wrestling and JuJitsu to complement my striking. One of the best things about MMA is that it brings honesty to the table. If something doesn’t work, you have to replace it for something that does. It also made me clearly see why Bruce Lee's expression, “I do not fear the man that practices ten thousand kicks one time, I fear the man that practices one kick ten thousand times”, will always stand eternally true.
After several MMA fights, amateur and professional, I decided to turn to teaching. My goal wasn't fame or fortune, but to prove that I can use my chosen set of skills.