Interviews

Shihan Court (IKJJU)

Shihan Court - (Master Grade) - of International Kempo Ju-Jitsu. Shihan Court kindly found time between his work and training to answer my questions. I honestly recommend that my students pay close attention to the advice and information Shihan Court provides.

 

I would like to start by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts? 

  • I first became interested at about 14, I was in school with two Chinese boys who studied Karate , I started learning with them from one of their dads, a great way to be introduced to martial arts.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

  • I’ve studied under many different masters and I honestly believe that all styles of martial arts have something to offer. We should study different styles and find what suits us but also take what those styles offer and incorporate it into what we practice or teach.

           

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

  • There have been two Sensei who had a particular influence on me, and in different ways. The first was Sensei Tatsu Suzuki when I studied Wado-Ryu karate and went for my first Dan grading with him, after the gradings were over, one of the other students asked about the grading system and Sensei Suzuki said that originally there was no grading the Master taught his students and that was that, the grading system was introduced for the western mind we needed something to aim for, the carrot and stick, I always remember Sensei Suzuki pointing to his head and saying “It’s what’s in here that counts, not what you wear around your waist”  and I remember thinking “ He’s right, it’s just an ego trip ! “it put me off from going for my second dan for a long time.

            The second was Sensei Dave Vincent with Kempo Ju-Jitsu a real down to earth instructor who was probably the best I’ve ever had the privilege to train under, a great no-nonsense approach and like myself, believed that if it works use it. He was also the only person who agreed with me when I said I had never met an expert, they don’t exist! If someone tells me that they are an expert in something they are saying they know everything about that subject! RUBBISH! We never stop learning, I’ve taught children a technique and they’ve gone and done something totally different, twice as easy and ended up with the same result. I’ve just learnt! There are no experts, I strongly dislike the use of the word.

 

Are there any other members of your family who have ever studied the martial arts?

  • Most members of my family have studied, or currently study in martial arts. My wife studied Goshin Kai Aikido for many years under Sense Alan Lee in Swansea. My daughter studied Karate and Fung Shao from myself, and Welsh Contact Karate under Sensei Clifton Brown, she even studied Kempo Ju-Jitsu for a short period. Both my sons also studied Welsh Contact Karate under Sensei Clifton Brown and learnt Wado Ryu Karate, Fung Shao, and Kempo Ju-Jitsu under myself, they both attained Black Belts after grading in-front of Shihan Dave Vincent. My eldest son even studied Goshin Kai Aikido for a number of years at the same dojo as his mum. One of my younger brothers studied Tae Kwon Do in his youth, and finally my grandson is currently learning Wado Ryu Karate at a local dojo. All in all we seem to be a pretty martial arts orientated family.

 

What ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

  • I hold a 2nd Dan in Wado-Ryu karate, a 1st Dan in Ueshiba Aikido, only a 1st Kyu brown belt in Tomiki Aikido, my instructor emigrated before I could get my black belt and I never found another Tomiki club that I could continue with. I also hold a 1st Pan Black Sash in Fung Shou Wu-Shu and was presented with my 4th Dan by Shihan Vincent and then my Master Grade by International Kempo Ju-Jitsu. I have always trained under the Japanese System( apart from the Fung Shou) and the highest I could grade to was 3rd Dan ( unlike the Western system where you can grade to whatever Dan you like) consequently, anything above 3rd Dan was presented to you for the work you put into your style and therefore a great honour, and to achieve Master Grade was something I never dreamt about!

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

  • Not really, I do favour the close in work as apposed to the longer kicks and punching techniques, close in is where Ju-Jitsu works and the more effective we are, but all techniques need to be practiced.

 

Shihan, could you tell me something about your training methods?

  • My training has centred as much around the physical aspects of the Martial Arts as around the mental, I firmly believe we have a great amount to learn and benefit from this side of the arts.  Developing our Ki , our centre, is as vital as developing our art, it’s what gives us that insight, that knowledge that makes a good martial artist.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

  • When I was younger, I trained every day for about 3 hours minimum and was attending the club three times a week, as I got older I reduced this but even now when I’m away with work I still try to practice my Kata in my room.

 

Finally Shihan, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

  • Remember, as your Sensei probably already tells you, if I know him, you train for yourself, it’s not about being better than the next person, it’s not about being able to hit harder or faster it’s about you! And like me and like your Sensei’s Dave and Mike you have nothing to prove to anyone. The best martial artist is the one who doesn’t have to use their art.

 

Shihan Court, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

Marcie Harding (Dacayana Eskrima)

Marcie Harding (Director of Dacayana Eskrima UK & Europe) kindly found time in her busy life of work, training and running the largest independent Eskrima group in the UK, to answer my questions. I honestly recommend students pay close attention to the brilliant advice she offers.

 

Marcie, I would like to start by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts?

  • I was influenced by a couple of very high profile cases of women being attacked and murdered close to where I was living in London and I wanted to learn to defend myself. I started with Shorinji Kempo in the Eighties and was very lucky to have a highly graded Japanese Master as my sensei.

 

What systems and Sensei / Instructors have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

  • I have really enjoyed every style I have studied and thought I’d become a really good and knowledgeable Martial Artist after twenty years of study of various systems. Then in 2005 I was introduced to John ‘Jo’ Biggs who turned my martial arts world upside down.

             Through Jo I found Jun Dacayana and began studying under him as well as Jo. This really put me outside of my comfort zone…. It was like starting again in my mid forties and I’m still so excited about his system. So I have learnt most from my current teachers but the time was right, I probably wouldn’t have been able to learn as much from them as quickly as I have done…. if I’d met them earlier in my journey!

 

Did any of your Sensei / Instructors particularly inspire you during your years of training?

  • Well I guess they all have in various ways which means I have found some really good instructors and studied some good systems.  However there is a distinction between good instructors and good systems. I have studied good systems with dubious instructors and average systems with very good Instructors.

                    I would add that I do not measure a good Instructor purely in terms of skill, but the type of person she/he is and their ability to teach well. Where I am now with my current Instructors I have hit the jackpot .

 

What ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

  • I have a 2nd Kyu Blue Belt in Shorinji Kempo, a 1st Degree Black Belt in Jeet Kune Do Concepts, a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Filipino Martial Arts, a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Goshin (modern) Jujutsu and I was awarded 4th Degree Black Belt in the Dacayana Eskrima System in 2008 and am being asked by my teachers (Jo and Jun) if I am ready for my next level and I keep saying no!

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

  • Well not really ...it just depends on the day, the weapons category I am training in and my mood. At the moment I’m enjoying training the pocket stick and empty hand trapping…. but next week it might be sword and dagger!

 

Marcie, would you share something about your training methods?

  • Well I am at the stage where I teach more than I train. So I use the teaching as my training, I become involved in every aspect of it, learn from every student and train with them. The Filipino arts really allow for this with their many flow drills and partner work.

 

Marcie, is there any advice on how to approach training or how many hours a week you would suggest students train for in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

  • I think everyone is different. Go at your own pace and make sure you enjoy your training.

 Some people are ‘naturals’ and could physically train half the amount of time and be just as skilful as someone who trains twice that. You can maximise your training by visualising and replaying your last lesson in your head as if you were studying academically.

           Also I go through phases -  recently I have trained a lot, having been inspired by the Dacayana System but I haven’t over-trained. I’ve taken time to ‘absorb’ what I’ve learnt by following intense periods of training with short breaks of a few days. This approach allows your muscles and brain to exchange information and catch up with each other 

 

Finally, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

  • As mentioned, don’t just train physically. Visualise and play through everything in your mind, make your training part of you whatever you’re doing – even if it’s only in your head!

 

Marcie, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

Thanks Dave it’s been a real pleasure (and it’s made me think) I hope my replies have been useful for your students

Shihan Duggan (Kyusho Jitsu Ireland)

My good friend Shihan John Duggan was able to take some time out of his hectic life and running Kyusho Jitsu Ireland to share his knowledge and answer our questions. Shihan Duggan is not only a good friend of nearly 20 years but also an excellent martial artist and instructor.

 

Shihan Duggan, I would like to start off by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts?

  • I began at the age of eleven when I joined our local judo club. A number of years later, I saw a video of Professor Wally Jay and soon found a Ju-Jitsu class.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

  • I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study under many sensei from numerous martial arts backgrounds, all of whom have given me some great instruction and advice.

 

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

  • The three people who have had the biggest influence on my years of martial arts training have been Shihan Dave Vincent, who was a phenomenal martial artist and teacher, which is a rare combination. Professor Wally Jay (R.I.P) was a big influence on my joint locking techniques and footwork. The man made it look so easy and effortless due to his economy of motion. Grandmaster Jack Hogan has helped me totally change how we apply our techniques by making them much more effective by utilising the use of pressure points, which we have added to our existing locks and throws.

 

Shihan Duggan, what ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

  • I currently hold a 7th Dan in Kempo Ju-Jitsu, 1st Dan in Judo, 1st Dan in Aiki-Jitsu, Level 3 Kyusho Certified Instructor (HKI), Certified Arnis Instructor (Modern Arnis).

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

  • I don’t have any particular favourite technique although I much prefer to be in close and using close quarter striking and joint locking.

 

Shihan Duggan would you share something about your training methods with us?

  • Only use what works for you. Try to be open minded and be willing to take new ideas on board. Practice and drill techniques until they become second nature. Practice doesn’t make perfect..................perfect practice makes perfect.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

  • I would suggest a minimum of six to eight hours a week but be prepared to put in the extra hours when needed.

 

Finally Shihan, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

  • I have trained many times with Sensei Court and he is an excellent martial artist. Listen to his advice and train hard and you will do well.

 

Shihan, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

"IT'S NOT WHETHER YOU
GET KNOCKED DOWN, IT'S WHETHER YOU GET UP"

Vince Lombardi

Hanshi Browne (FAOGB)

Hanshi Peter Browne - 9th Dan (Kudan) - Head of The Fighting Arts Organisation of Great Britain, kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. I hope that my students take notice of the advice he provides.

 

I would like to start by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts?

  • I was a Bruce Lee baby and started training back in 1972 ,first with Judo then in a multitude of different arts.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

  • I have had the pleasure of training with and under some of the worlds greatest martial artist;
    Prof. Richard Morris - Juko Ryu Ju-Jitsu/Goshin Ju-Jitsu.

      Prof Robert Clarke - Juko Ryu Ju-Jitsu.

      Prof Gunar Salders - Kempo Jutsu.

      Sensei Dicky Wu - Renshinkai Karate.

      Amar Said – Tommiki Aikido.

      Master Davis German - Tai Karate Kempo/Ju-Jitsu.

      Master Larry Tatum - American Kenpo Karate.

      Grandmaster Danny Guba - Doce Pares Escrima.

 

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

  • I have been inspired one way or another by all of these great masters.

     

What ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

  • I hold black belts in Juko Ryu Ju-Jitsu, Kempo Jutsu, American Kenpo Karate and Filipino stick and knife fighting.
    My highest grade is 9th Dan (Kudan), awarded in 2011, in Kempo Ju-Jitsu, in which I have been training for nearly 40 years.

     

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

  • I don’t really have a favourite technique but I do like circle of fire/American Kenpo Karate.

     

Could you tell me something about your training methods?

  • I teach martial arts everyday, and train with Grandmaster Guba every week in my home, the best advice I can give is your training must be realistic. Remember, the way you train is the way you fight.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

  • You should train for a minimum of 4 hrs a week although 6 hrs is much better, less than 4hrs makes learning hard.

     

Finally Hanshi, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

  • Always train hard in the dojo, you must enjoy your training but you must also remember why you are there.

 

Hanshi, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

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