The martial arts is an integral part of my life and my teachings as well. I first got involved with learning the martial arts at the age of 12 in 1984 and have never looked back. It's such an incredible field of study and one that can enhance your life in numerous ways. One obvious way is that you learn to defend yourself and in this day and age, that is super important. Another is that it's an excellent way to get fit. There are many people I've taught who don't necessarily have an interest to learn martial arts for combat, but rather as a form of fitness. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training has been scientifically proven to be one of the best, if not THE best method to lose bodyfat and it is a key component of the training in martial arts. We often train in rounds which are between 2 and 3 minutes long followed by a rest of 1 minute. That's the very definition of interval training and it works great! And the third, and in many ways the most important, is the psychological and spiritual side of it. I can't tell you the number of times I've experienced stressful situations and the discipline of the martial arts got me through it. On top of that, by simply learning to unlearn and just "being", that is extremely powerful to helping you take control of your life. You can read more about that in my book Centreline : Live, Focus, Breathe", but I can tell you it's been a huge help for me.
So what are the exact martial arts that I teach. There are three arts that I teach. They are Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) which was the first martial art of Bruce Lee, Western Boxing (the Peekaboo or Mike Tyson style), and Baguazhang (or Bagua), a very fine martial art.
Ving Tsun is a close quarters fighting system and is excellent for women (It's the only martial art I know of that was created by a woman) and people of smaller stature. You don't need to be extremely powerful to use this system. It takes advantage of the body structure, leverage, angles, and strategy to get the job done. The Centreline is the most important concept in the system. The goal is to protect your centreline while dominating and destroying your opponent's centreline. This is done through proper positioning and strategy. Economy of motion and efficiency is another important part of the system as well. We have an expression which we teach in Ving Tsun. "Save time, save movement, save energy". Training in Ving Tsun is pretty no-nonsense. Punches, palm strikes, finger strikes, knife hand attacks, elbow strikes, low line attacks, kicks, and knees are all a part of the system. This is not a martial art for sports competition. This is a down and dirty street fighting system designed to get you home in one piece. Scoring points and getting a decision isn't the point here. Survival is. Street situations are violent and brutal. Your first best option is to avoid it entirely or become invisible. If that's not possible, learn Ving Tsun and protect yourself! And as with the other martial arts, it provides a great workout!
Boxing is another one of the arts that I teach and I find it blends perfectly with Ving Tsun. Specifically I teach the Peekaboo style of Boxing as I was taught. The fantastic thing about this style of Boxing is that it incorporates many of the same principles as Ving Tsun. But it also brings other things to the table. While Ving Tsun is specifically a close range self defense system, Peekaboo Boxing has more of a "long range game" but is also very effective at close range. With the constant movement and tight guard, the defense of this system is one of the best I've ever seen. If you've ever seen boxers such as Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, or Archie Moore, that's the Peekaboo style. The conditioning drills that we do are absolutely fantastic and there is true beauty in the simplicity of it. There are really only a handful of techniques and footwork methods that are used in the system, but a virtually limitless number of possible combinations that you can use. Whole body power is the key here and you'd be hard pressed to find another martial art that trains the coordination as well as Boxing. Also the defense and body movement in the Peekaboo Boxing style is second to none. After all, a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one. We believe that when you're not hitting, you're moving. Not only is this great for self defense and fighting, it's a great workout. Believe me, a session of ducking, slipping, weaving, and pivoting is an unbelievable leg and core workout!
The third art is Baguazhang (Yin Style). This is a more traditional art. While Ving Tsun and Boxing are fairly modern by martial arts standards, Baguazhang has a very old history and is one of the most highly structured martial arts in the world. Characterized by circular walking along with various hand techniques and stepping patterns, it is not only very good for health benefits, but it is a highly effective martial art due to the fact that it's rather unorthodox and also very powerful. Various joint locking and other techniques not present in striking arts are contained in Baguazhang which can really help to round things out. As a traditional Chinese art, the animals and the elements are a big part of it and there is an entire science behind it. It ties right in with traditional Chinese medicine. And although using the body as a whole are important for Ving Tsun and Boxing, I believe it's even more important for Baguazhang. There is an expression in the internal arts. "One part moves, all parts move". The movements of Baguazhang are very rooted and very powerful. One little known fact about Baguazhang is that it was the art that the ancient Imperial bodyguards of China used. It's in fact ideal for dealing with multiple opponents. However I feel the greatest benefit is its health benefits. The feeling you get from a session of this martial art is unbelievable!
All of these arts can be classified as internal arts. Meaning that rather than using force on force such as hard blocks and tension, we use softer, relaxed energy, body evasion, deflections, parries, and other movements which allow us to borrow the opponent's energy and use it against them. This way we are not reliant on being stronger than the other person. That's simply not realistic. There is always someone bigger and stronger than you and relying on brute force is just suicide. By using better strategy, not only do we have more realistic and usable martial arts, but we also have arts which promote better health, fitness, and longevity. The martial arts are more than just a form of exercise. It's an entire way of life and has enhanced mine in ways I can't even begin to count or name. It was an honour to have been given the title of instructor in these arts and an even greater honour to teach, pass these arts down to future generations, and in turn enhance their lives just as mine has been.