I am not and have never been a violent sort. Yes of course, I had fights as a child, but never really did anyone any harm even as an adult. I have always been a big lad so size was my advantage in most situations which meant I never had to fight, and when the time came that I did, I would usually use psychology to resolve the situation by saying something like "are you sure you want to do this?", "do you know who I am?" or "do you know what I do for a living?", none of these were said to to be a big head but as a tactic to make my opponent stop and think just for a second. Of course the bully would take that second to finish the opponent off, but I didn't I would simply walk away.
When I was in school I was bullied a lot, outside of school I lived in a predominantly Indian area, which meant as a white person I would regularly get beat up by Yaz (he was the biggest and hardest kid on the street - he had a mustache at 13!). I had to go into that area to deliver papers, so almost daily I would get beat up. In all honesty I never deserved any of the beating except the last one - I decided enough was enough and when they approached me I asked what the f*ck had I done this time, and I stood my ground, needless to say I got my ass kicked again, but this was different, I stood up to them and it never happened again.
I would of course return home and my mom would see me and say "you have been fighting" and I would get another beating from her.
My home life was full of violence so I REALLY don't like to fight to hurt, merely for fitness, sport and entertainment.
I understand the discipline required to partake in these art forms and trust me, they really are art forms. I studied Kung Fu, Karate, Kickboxing. I also practised a little Tae Kwon Do and Aikido. When I was a personal trainer I was able to train people in self defense and work them out with Boxing drills using a Tae Bo style approach.
My love for the Martial Arts came from my childhood I guess.
My very first Martial Art film was Enter the Dragon I went to a friend of my step dads (Steve) and he was watching it on TV and I was amazed, we had to leave so I didn't get to see it all, but I recall not wanting to leave.
Bruce Lee has always been an amazing individual for so many reasons and always will be one of my all time heroes. I bought some Nunchuka's as pictured above when I was about 12, I had them for a week and then sold them as my head and body was black and blue from swinging them around not knowing how to use them properly and Bruce making it look all to easy!
Then of course during the 80's NINJA's were everywhere. I must have seen every ninja film produced and most were awful; but I couldn't get enough. My favourite ninja was Sho Kosugi who was also the only real life ninja.
Throughout the 90's Jean Claude Van Damme shown up and WOW!!! He was amazing, his ability and skill. My favourite film of his was Bloodsport, because of the sheer range of Martial Arts skills involved and the fact it was based on Frank Dux's life story.
I managed to get a signed photo from JCVD; yes I went that far!
Sadly later in his career he lost my respect by disrespecting women and using cocaine (allegedly).
Others that impressed me with their abilities were:
Mark Dacascos, his best film if you like Capoeira was - Only the Strong (in my opinion).
Jackie Chan, of course - his best film was Drunken Master (in my opinion). I have been a huge fan from way back and his early movies with Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung are a must see for Martial art fans. Sadly since he has been so desperate to break the American box office he has let his ideals slip - he swears, he uses blue screen and now lets Hollywood dictate to him, all of which he claimed he wouldn't do, pity!
Jet Li, amazing, very skillful fighter - his best films were Shaolin Temple or Fist of Legend (in my opinion) - he has taken some weak roles since, shame!
Gordon Liu - Classic Shaolin fighting films - his best was 36 Chambers of Shaolin (in my opinion) - he played in MANY Shaolin films and they are great to watch
Tony Jaa - Amazing Thai fighter with lethal knee blows - his best is Ong Bak 2 (in my opinion), he is surely going to be massive - great to see Thailand getting in on the Martial Arts action as Muay Thai is awesome. When I was in Thailand it was great watching Muay Thai fights and the atmosphere and music was electric.
Steven Seagal - this Aikido master started off well, but I think his ego or lack of acting skills ruined his chances of making it big - his best film was Hard to Kill (in my opinion).
There are of course many more people and films - but I wont go on - this is already an epic post.
Whilst growing up I learnt about all sorts of arts and their strengths and practicalities.
As a kid I never took any formal classes - I wasn't allowed, as my parents thought it would make me violent. All I wanted was to know how to protect myself and get discipline.
The discipline came from home whether it was needed or not.
Later when I was about 14, I took some Karate lessons, they were ok. Then we moved again so they stopped. Later when I was 16 I took up Karate again, as now I was living on my own having moved out of my parents home.
I took this for a while and enjoyed it. I got to Blue belt although we never fought all we did were kata's and practise moves. In fact the first time I got into a 'proper' I threw a punch and 'pulled' it (means didn't make contact), the guy flinched for a second then relaised he hadn't been hit so went at me again, this time I made sure I connected. He never tried again.
I left this school after taking my brother (Punch) there, he was tall and skinny and very harmless, but was curious. We stood in line about to start the drills, when the instructor walked over, he asked my borther "what was that?". Punch replied, "erm its a watch". "Take it off" said the instructor, he then took it in his hand - read the front which said SHOCKPROOF. "shockproof is it, lets see" he said and hit my brother on the head with it.
Of course my brother got upset more from embarrassment than pain, I'm sure.
Yours truly was far from happy and I used several expletives asking what was he playing at being such a prick. The instructor responded saying something honestly I cant recall, my blood was boiling - NO ONE hurts Punch. I squared off to him, he laughed.
In my head, I kicked him right in the mouth - in reality, I was grabbed by another student.
I got my belongings and Punch and we left; I never returned.
When I practiced Kung Fu we did spar and did enter competitions - my best was called the British Open Martial Arts Tournament, in which you fought people from all styles - as I stated in my previous post I was a 92kg's which put my into the (open) heavyweight category.
So we go to the weigh in and in walked the biggest mutha you have ever seen (Arnie look-a-like I swear to you), the room went quiet I asked the guy behind me "who's he?" The fella said "what weight group you in", I told him the open, the fella responded by telling me he was the open champion! OMG!!!! Suddenly I felt sick.
Luckily I never had to fight him. It turned out in the final it was him against one of his classmates. The fight started, the class mate got in a few taps the 'arnie lookalike' then clipped him with an uppercut - they fellas jaw broke on both sides!
The big guy broke down in tears - I was amazed, he was actually a gentle giant.
As for my fight I managed to get the bronze medal - I had done well up to this point was due the silver as I was a point ahead, but I figured one quick kick to this guys head and its over.
I flicked my foot up and..... .....thin air??!?! He had dropped to the floor and swept my foot from under me, then hit me as I went down putting him ahead on points by one.
DING went the bell, the rest is history.
The guy who went through instead of me is the guy who's jaw got broke so I aint so unhappy about that.
The problem with these types fights is they are run OK, but not great or properly. It's mainly folks giving up their time to be judges and to organize the events, which are usually held in sports clubs during the weekend. Also there isn't a professional body organizing these events, so each one you attend is different.
You also get some real egotistical assholes to. All they want to do is hurt you - for me the points are enough, the sport, the adrenaline but others just want blood.
I have always enjoyed the Ultimate Fighting Championships this is what the martial arts scene needs to stop fighting going underground - not exclusively, but thanks to movies like fight club several little clubs popped up where people really got hurt. Here they can fight and its a controlled environment with proper conditioned fighters choosing the risks they take, yes of course it can be dangerous but so is driving around a race track at 200 kph.
Men, more than women, have always needed things to compete over. From Gladiators, to football, to the Olympics. We are always competing with each other to see who's the best.
The UFC is regulated and is growing rapidly due to the rise in Mixed Martial Arts and with more of the UFC fighters breaking into movies and the movies becoming mainstream this will make it even more acceptable I guess, the same happened with Hip Hop.
One fact is boxing appears in more films than any other sport, that in itself says something.
The style that I like currently is Krav Maga which was developed in Israel. It is used mainly by the army and police. It is extreme and a very fast close combat style. The thing I like about it most is it is really a survival technique, it is not about fighting.
If you must, you will hurt your opponent, but the idea is to get away from the situation.
Well I hope that enlightened you somewhat and don't fear I'm a lover not a fighter.
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