Skip navigation

BBC News – Karate punching power \’all in the brain\’

via BBC News – Karate punching power \’all in the brain\’.

The BBC are running an article that suggests training in martial arts helps to build brain cells!

Admittedly for combat sports that train full contact all the good work is probably undone by regular blows to the head, but for the rest of us this is just another piece of evidence that helps to support the idea I’ve always subscribed to that martial arts are good for your health. It may be a stretch but increasing brain matter seems to me to be a good way to lower the risk of adverse brain related conditions in later life.



So the olympics are over and the football season is nearly upon us. Pundits on every media stream are telling us quite rightly that footballers can learn alot from the olympic atheletes and we have government campaigns aimed at getting more people involved in sport especially youngsters. I think the message from the olympics should be much more than that. The various stories of atheletes overcoming hardship to follow their dreams are inspiring and cross the boundary of athletics or competitive sports into other areas of life from academic studies to arts and crafts. If you want to be good at something the only person stopping you is you (within the bounds of finances and the law). The genuine satisfaction shown by atheletes who missed out on medals but performed a personal best is a reminder to us all that the only person who you need to compete against is yourself, that if you do your very best then you can be proud of yourself (and quite honestly who else matters?). Obviously this applies as much to training Wing Chun as it does to anything else. Of course as someone who is officially middle aged, who would be considered well past their peak for most if not all competitive sports it helps that Wing Chun can be practised well into old age and the olympics has inspired me to train even harder. I won’t ever get a gold medal, or even a bronze one because we don’t have them in Wing Chun but that’s cool, I’ll just be as good as I possibly can be happy in the knowledge that its a personal best.









Thanks to one of my senior kung fu brothers I now have sissy grips on my knives!!! Before anyone says anything it seemed like a good idea at the time.

In all fairness the grips do make the knives much less slippery when your hands get sweaty and so add a lot more oomph to the various actions (meaning that my newly mounted tyre is taking a beating). On the downside because they’re more grippy they are more difficult to spin and twirl, but at least I’m not in danger of them slipping out of my hands at an inopportune moment and causing irreperable harm to both the house and my marriage.



No, not around my waist (although I really do have to step up the cardio and ab work ahead of the holiday later in the year). Having seen various videos of folks using tyres in their training I was inspired, so I popped along to a local scrap yard and got myself a nice shiny used tyre – well ok it was dirty, smelly and full of stagnant water but I was excited.

I initially hung the tyre from the ceiling with some sturdy chains and proceeded to give it a good hiding with my knives.

Unfortunately the swinging of the tyre meant that it wasn’t really working so I went to plan B. Armed with my trusty hacksaw and jigsaw I set to work cutting the tyre in half. All I can say is that it’s not a task for the feint hearted, the folks who make these tyres do a great job. Anyway I finally managed to get the thing cut through and mounted onto the wall and it was well worth it. Hours of fun to be had with the knives. I did a workout yesterday and the feedback through the blades is amazing when you really go for it. Not sure what the neighbours think as the impact makes the whole house vibrate. I’ll post a vid as soon as I can but for now here’s a pic of my new toy.


tyre for wing chun knife training



I was doing some research for my latest project and came across some interesting stats in the British Crime Survey. Apparently 20% of violent incidents are likely to involve a weapon of some description. 6% of violent crimes are likely to involve a knife or other similar weapon. Of course these are only the reported numbers and they differ considerably from the numbers reported to police, but interestingly despite claims and counter claims the level of violent incidents has been constant for about the last five years. 20% or 1 in 5 is a seriously high number and if you’re training in martial arts for self protection it brings a whole new dimension.


Gemma Howell
(July 30, 2012 – Source: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Europe)

I used to love watching Judo whenever it was on the TV. I will admit that I watch just about anything martial arts related from the UFC to Fight Quest and I never tire of it. The Judo at this year’s olympics though is leaving me a little cold. I can live with the television replays and the interminable inquests by the various judges anytime there is a borderline decision to be made, but Gemma Howell’s disqualification left me stunned. As I understand it, and correct me if I’m wrong, Gemma was disqualified for grabbing her opponent’s legs! This is judo for pity’s sake. Apparently the rules of Judo have been changed since the Beijing olympics so that grabbing the legs is now not permitted unless there is some strange combination of events that include the opponent having a particular hold on the back of your gi. I feel very sorry for Gemma Howell who was putting up a very game performance. From the position Gemma was in she clearly felt her opponent grab the back of her gi but lacked the rear view camera that would have told her in that split second that the grip was only with one hand.When Kano created Judo he removed certain elements of the original Jiu Jitsu to allow it to practised full force in a competitive manner that could be taught in schools. Whilst much was removed, what remained was still an effective art but with rule changes like this one it makes you wonder what they’ll ban next. Maybe they’ll remove holding the sleeves, or perhaps the use of the sweep, who knows but I wonder what the founder would make of it all…… 





Hope everyone who came to training in Bromsgrove last night enjoyed it. The hall was surprisingly cool given how lovely and warm it was outside. It was great to see some of the chi sau starting to come togther and some of the footwork getting crisp and dynamic, but I cant believe how quickly the two hours went. The new members to the class realised I think last night that things aren’t quite as easy as they seem and I noticed by the end of the class that there was a new found appreciation for what the more advanced students in the room were doing. Of course the most lasting impression of the night will I’m sure be the demonstration of how effective tan sau can be against a hook. 10 out of 10 for my willing partner who gave it everything he had (the years of kick boxing meant it was a meaty one), I think it left a lasting impression on everyone who saw it….or felt it.

Whenever we teach new students some of the first things that we explain to them are how to do the basic punch and centre line theory. Most students who stay for any length of time can recite a good explanation of the centre line, indeed within Worcestershire Wing Chun Kuen and the other Midlands Wing Chun Kuen clubs we ask for an essay explaining it in the first assessment. Despite being such fundamental principles its amazing that a large proportion of Wing Chun practitioners display an abject disregard for these most basic tennets when training, playing chi sau or fighting; preffering instead to flail away with straight arms playing pat a cake.

At last night’s class we were exploring bong lap and tan da. After moving from drilling to application we finished the class by getting the headguards and gloves out to allow some light contact and it was great to see the penny drop for a lot of the guys and even better when one (yes you know who you are) declared in surprise that you can really feel the difference both as the deliverer and receiver when the shots are focused on the jic seen even with minimal power.

If you know the theory of how to punch and have been taught about the centre line, next time you’re training stop and think about the technique that you’re throwing and the range that you’re in. Of course if you aren’t wearing protective gear try not to smack your training partner in the teeth as its a sure fire way to lose friends.

Not Wing Chun but fak sao and spade palm target the same area and are delivered with as much force as you want. Don’t advise trying this at home, it’s a sure-fire way to damage your mates but it does show the effectiveness of targeting the vulnerable areas.

An old clip but still seriously funny – you attacked me wrong! LOL . Way too many martial arts classes and self defence courses are too close to this for comfort.