Junior Light - Continuous Kick Boxing Champion 1996
Eight Light - Continuous Kick Boxing Fights. Five Wins
Yellow Sash Kamon Wing Chun
Achieved White Sash Grade 31st May 2000 at SOMA
Achieved Green Sash Grade 20th December 2002
Now the Sihan (Senior Student) of SOMA
Having loved martial arts all
my life, training hard in kick boxing and enjoying a fairly successful
amateur career and owning every Bruce Lee movie, I have always fancied
studying Kung-Fu, especially exotic sounding styles like Dragon and White
So when I came to Brookes University
to continue my studies, I was keen to investigate what Oxford had to offer
me, if anything, in the way of " exotic " martial arts.
I, with other students, saw
SOMA ' s demonstration at " freshers fair " in September 1998, at the
University ' s open day, specifically to introduce the new students that
had obtained a place at Brookes, the various clubs and societies we could
Never before had I seen
such a frank ' exhibition ' of how to defend oneself in real " street
" situations, no flashy techniques but just short sharp effective movements.
To round it all off several
styles of Chinese " Wu-Su " (Kung Fu) were covered by the Sifu, including
my " chosen " forms - I joined them.
The majority of training we
do at SOMA is focused on actual street situations, either suggested by
students or by our Sifu. We learn many different ' responses ' from him
and from other high grade Black Belts that are present reflecting a specific
scenario being discussed by us and our Sifu, to offer a possible solution
based on their style of training.
One year later, learned that
a student of SOMA was going for his " White Sash " - this is the first
of four such gradings - when I asked this student what was involved I
A " Student " asks the Sifu
(teacher), if he or she may attempt a grading; you are not told you will
take a grading.
Gradings are not compulsory
The first part of his grading
was to take the total School, including various Black Belts and newcomers
for the 2 hour session the week before.
This was to see if he could
teach what he had learned, structuring the session, according to the various
' students ' abilities - (he had been with SOMA for 15 months).
The second part, the following
week, was that he would have to endure a ' string ' of full power attacks
from about 20 - 30 students of all sizes, 7 students on this occasion,
were Black Belts in other styles that attended the School.
The ' type ' of attack was
given by Sifu, as was the technique to defend, but, you did not know when
your attacker was going to implement it! He / she was right in front of
The Gradee does not know in
what format the Sifu will create the situation until you are told.
This grading takes two hours
of constant pressure.
Thus proving that he / she
has some of the necessary reactions, repertoire and ability to survive,
in most cases, such attacks " cold ".by blocking and deflecting them.
But in essence, it is to really
experience just what a full power punch / kick feels like; knowing, that
to miss you would / could get seriously hurt, as in a street fight.
If the Sifu, sees a ' frisbee
' type of punch or attack - he will warm the ' attacker ' to do it again
Should he or she does not comply,
they are told that they are no longer take part in the grading, as they
are not helping the Gradee by going ' soft '.
They are in fact giving the
Gradee a false sense of achievement that they can ' block ' such an attack
easily - as the Sifu points out - the attacker nor the defender may not
be standing still and the attacker wishes to injure or hurt you!
All this for the first
grading - by personal request of the Gradee!!!
You fail this first grading
and subsequent gradings, by stopping or being stopped by the Sifu, or
by being knocked out.
The Gradee wears no protective
clothing at any time.
' Gradee ' is made fully aware of the danger at the time of asking;
also in private, before AND in front of the School prior to part two of
the grading commencing.
After 14 months of hard training,
I attempted, and passed my White Sash Grading (with a few bruises)
Having been patient, (sometimes),
in my physical and mental preparation has let me truly understand the
meaning and need for a grading of this intensity.
Since I have been with SOMA
I have been taught four weapons forms, these include;
Luk Tim Boon Kwun - Six and
a Half Pole.
Also forms using Butterfly
Knives: Gang Dao (Crossing Knives) and Baat Jam Dao (Eight Cutting Knives
Also forms from Dragon, White
Crane and Wing Chun.
Along with forms on the Schools
Muk Chong (wooden 'man' dummy).
Our Sifu does not spend hours
showing traditional forms for us to learn in any given session, it is
the application and practicality of using
techniques from the forms on the street, which the major focus.
After all this is where we
most need our skill if called upon.
All this leads to a very open
and friendly environment where questions are asked and answered during
the sessions and everyone learns whether he or she is a high grade Black
Belt or a new comer to Martial Arts.
I thoroughly enjoy SOMA and
the many friends I have made since training there.
Thank you Eddy