Starting in September we have a range of new classes starting at our Basingstoke based Martial Arts Club.
Ladies Kickboxing Class
From Tuesday 9th September at 7:30pm we are running a Ladies Only Kickboxing class. Focussing on Fitness and Self Defence, this class is suitable for beginners. If you’re looking to get fit and tone up, this is going to be a great class for you.
You’ll be burning lots of calories, hitting our range of bags and pads, having a good time with friends. No men allowed, they wouldn’t be able to stand the pace.
Karate Kata Class
Multiple World Karate Kata Champion, Lindsey Andrews is coaching a Karate Kata only class every Tuesday evening from 6:30, this is a pay as you go viagra class for existing members and will cover a range of Kata from different Karate styles. This Karate class in Basingstoke starts on Tuesday 2nd September.
Children’s Martial Arts Classes
Every Wednesday afternoon from 4:00pm, we will be holding a new class dedicated to those children aged between the ages of 6 – 9 years old. This class covers a wide range of techniques from our Karate syllabus.
Every Thursday afternoon from 5:30, we will be running a new class for our older children between 10 – 14 years old. This class introduces them to our Kung Fu syllabus and included standing work, grappling and throws along with groundwork.
On the wall of our dojo in Basingstoke is a list of 8 words that face students every day when we train. I have to admit that even though I have previously looked at these words many times, I don’t really think that it is until having worked through much of the research for this project that I now understand these fundamentals more clearly and their applications.
These eight ideas are the underlining principles that need to form the foundation of sound ‘soft’ martial arts. If skill in martial arts can be thought of as a series of layers, then this is the first of these followed by the 13 dynamics (The Eight Gates & Five Steps as covered previously) and then finally different techniques applied on top of these which will be specific to each form of martial art.
The Eight Principles
Feet – are the way in which our bodies connect to the ground, so are key to transmission of energy through the body and to balance. Feet in general should always be pointed in the direction of power and used to press against the floor to generate power – this is the key to good rooting and the ability to generate a spiraling of energy from the feet, up the legs and through the rest of the body. Contact with the floor should be though the pads of the feet, always being mindful of where your center of balance is – toes should just be lightly in contact with the floor.
Posture – in order to really master awareness of where your body is and what is happening in terms of balance and stance it is key to be constantly mindful of this every day, not just in training. Through the pressure generated by the feet, the body naturally brings itself upright. The feeling here should be as if the head is pulled upwards by a string and then allowing the body to soften and relax so the body is effectively not ‘standing on its bones’. Good posture will give you a free passage of energy and also enables you to breath correctly.
Mind – its important to have a high level of awareness or ‘liveliness’ in order to be able to stay highly focused. This is especially important in threatening situations where it is critical to be able to maintain a strong, concentrated and powerful mindset. Discipline and willpower are also key to achieving this. Poor posture or breathing can particularly effect the mindset.
Breath – good breathing is key to increasing the oxygen flow through the body and ensuring the mind stays alert. Breathing action should come from the lower abdomen (the Tan Tien), pushing outwards on breathing in and opening up the back and shoulders.
Internal – in Tai Chi this is also know as ‘energizing the inner orbit’, opening up the energy flow around the body. On breathing in, you channel Chi through the Governing Vessel (running over the skull and along the spine) and breathing out channeling through the Conception Vessel (bisecting the front of the body). The Governing and Conception Vessels are connected by touching the tongue to the top of the mouth. Internal also refers to the ability to channel energy/force from the contact point with an opponent through the body, down the legs and into the feet. Key here is being able to connect the top and the bottom half of the body, so for example force is not just taken into the shoulders or upper body resulting in being thrown off balance.
Power – power can be generated from many parts of the body, but is most effective when used in conjunction with each other e.g. with power being ‘layered’ up through the actions of different joints or muscles. An example would be a punch, which some students may only use the hips to generate power. However, when layered and timed correctly power can be greatly amplified through using first the muscles around the spine, then to bring in the action of the shoulder, arm, waist, hips, legs and finally the feet. The majority of the power in this instance is generated from the spine, which is the core muscle at the centre of the move.
Wedge – the point at which out hands our other part of the body would normally travel to when meeting an attack (the interception point) and combines the first four principles above to be able to first block and then begin to redirect a strike. Key here is the feeling of ‘wedging’ through an attack towards the opponent, and this principle is key to self defence aspects of any martial art, however is offensive rather than defensive. The wedge principle can be applied with many parts of the body including legs, head and shoulders as well as arms and hands.
Spiral – spiraling comes after the wedging action and is a way to turn the an opponents energy or momentum against them, taking force away from the opponent and turning into a lock, strike or throw. A spiraling action is also present in the way force is transmitted through the body and the legs to the feet and again helps to keep the connection in place between the upper and lower halves of the body.
As can be seen, many of the above are closely interlinked and in most cases cannot really practiced without the other, in particular the first four principles feet, posture, mind and breath. In Chinese martial arts these are commonly know as Neigong which emphasises training the coordination of an individuals body with the breath. The last four principles are closely aligned with Qigong, which is the channeling of Chi through the body. Chi can also be used to repel, parry or absorb an attackers energy.
It is also very important to be able to able to recognise the condition of these principles in an opponent. For example by being able to analyse where their balance is e.g. weight might be in their heels; perhaps they are distracted so may not be fully mindful of the situation; an aggressor may also be breathing heavily with a puffed up chest which will also impact their posture and balance. An initial attack can also be targeted at disrupting one of the eight principles which can then be followed up with the primary attack aimed at disabling the opponent.
The Eight Principles are at the heart for the Shikon system put in place by Steve Rowe Shi Kon’s Chief Instructor. More information can be found her
Members of Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy’s Kung Fu section were selected to join the Shikon National Kung Fu Team competing at The British Council for Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA) annual Qinda semi contact sparring championships held in Gillingham in Kent.
The BCCMA is the Sport England recognised national governing body for Chinese Martial Arts covering disciplines such as Kung Fu and Tai Chi, both of which are practiced at Shin Gi Tai. The annual championships are a great way for competitors to test their skills within the rules using Kickboxing punches, kicks and strikes along with throws. Unlike an MMA event these rules do not allow groundwork. Each bout was fought over three rounds, each lasting upto 2 minutes. Qinda is the semi contact category and Sanda is the full contact category.
The team included the Basingstoke contingent of:- coaching and competing Bryan Andrews (46) and Mark Nevola (50) along with Harry Cronk (13), Emma Baldry (15), Edward Andrews (9), Peter Syckelmoore (26), Raph Canlas (19) , Sal de Francisci (35), Jamie Venning (21), Paul Gadsden (19), Tom Roe (23) and Richard Dossett (26).
It’s fair to say that there were some nerves from several of the competitors, this being their first Kung Fu competition. As soon as they stepped onto the mats, those nerves went immediately. The event was well run and attended. It was split into ages and weights categories to make it fairer for the competitors.
First up for Basingstoke was Edward Andrews who although only 9 competed in the Under 11 ages category. He fought tremendously well to get through to the semi final stage before narrowly missing out on a Bronze medal coming fourth. He used his speed against bigger opponents to his advantage and got some nice head kicks and throws in on his opponents.
Next up was Emma Baldry fighting in the Under 16 Females. She had a good day quite easily going through to the final with convincing displays of punches, head kicks and throws. In a tight final, Emma was narrowly beaten in the first round, before coming back very strongly to dominate her opponent in the second with a dazzling performance of close quarter throws and kicks. In the interval Emma’s opponent had an asthma attack, the medics decided that she was able to continue. In the last round Emma’s compassionate nature took over and she backed off slightly, this cost her the gold medal, but was a decision she didn’t regret, ending up with a silver medal.
Harry Cronk finished off as the last of the Junior contingent from Basingstoke. Through to the final he used his experience in the first round of his fight to overwhelm his opponent with a barrage of kicks and punches combined with some nice throws to win the round. His opponent, rather energised came out in a determined mood for the second round, needing to win the round to stay in the fight. Harry weathered the initial barrage and came back strongly with a couple of good throws, followed by some hook punches to draw ahead. Having taken the lead from that point on, he never lost and comfortably won the round and in just two rounds he became the Under 14 Under 55Kg Male BCCMA National Qinda Champion. This was Harry’s first Gold medal at a National Level competition, to say he was elated would be an understatement.
We only took three children to this event from Basingstoke, but managed one fourth place, one silver medal and a gold medal.
The adults who received a medal were as follows:-
In the over 18s, unlucky for us two of our fighters were drawn together in the first round with Pete Syckelmoore and Tom Roe competing against one another. In this instance Pete’s experience paid off and he won the bout with a range of dynamic attacks. Peter and Tom fought in the biggest division of the day and there were some very good fighters within it. Peter won his next round with some very exciting techniques including a nice flying kick and some spectacular take downs against his opponent to win that round. Sadly he lost the next round to the eventual winner. They were quite evenly matched, but his opponents greater experience won through, with Pete trying many exciting techniques, but not quite connecting with all of them, it gave his opponent a chance to counter attack and gain points. Peter did come through in the repercharge to win third place and was probably the most exciting fighter of the whole day, he gained some valuable experience.
Raph Canlas was next up and gave a good account of himself against some much more experienced opponents coming through with some good throws. He made good use of his throwing and close range grappling skills but lost at the Qtr final stage. In a bizarre twist the two people who went through to the semi final in his half of the draw were both disqualified leaving an opening for Raf to go through to the final. His opponent was more experienced and used his greater punching and kicking skills to good effect to keep Raph at bay and secure gold, but still a very good performance from him.
We moved onto the veterans categories with our final two team members and coaches. Mark Nevola was first up in the <75k Category. Mark is known for his fast accurate hand and foot techniques. It took him a little while to warm up and to find his feet, so to speak. But when he did he was able to unleash a barrage of kicks and punches against his unsuspecting opponents, his footwork was such that we was able to move in strike, score and retreat to a safe distance before his opponent could react. Mark won through to the Silver Medal position in a very close final which went to three rounds and saw the lead go back and forth between both competitors.
Last up was Bryan Andrews in the Heavyweight Veterans category. It’s fair to say that the first round of the Quarter Finals, Bryan fighting was a bit of a disaster with him getting swept and nearly knocked out, meaning that he convincingly lost the first round. Thankfully in the interval he reassessed his tactics and came out with a different approach, which paid off, with him winning the second and third rounds using some big throws and kicks to tire his opponent out. He went into the semi final and won the first two rounds within a short period using better ring craft to force his opponent to make mistakes. The final of this category was exciting with Bryan unleashing strong, fast accurate hook punches and sidekicks to take the first one. The second round proved to be the final round with Bryan taking the fight to his opponent from the beginning again using a wide range of effective techniques including a nice major hip throw and some outside foot reaps. The only hiccup came part way through the round when after a hook punch the two fighters began to grapple, Bryan forgot the rules and used a knee strike to the stomach, resulting in a warning. The fight restarted with Bryan again taking the initiative going straight into a throw and then finishing the fight off with a combination of hook punch, side kick and outside foot reap. A successful day all in all and another BCCMA National Qinda Champion, this time in the Veterans Heavyweight category.