Analogue beings in a digital world

Hybropsyche reflects on his journey with Fong Tien

In my lifetime, aside my love of creating my own music and albums, I have dabbled in a few martial arts (Tae-Kwon Do, Ju-do and most recently Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do) and from all of them, I have learned that there are certain elements of all these that I can do and elements that I can’t.  Re the latter, some aspects are down to simple lack of expertise, fitness and practise, whereas other aspects are simply down to my visual impairment.

I have been an avid Bruce Lee fan since I was a teen (many moons ago!) and have watched his films on countless occasions, each time picking up a little more each time on how to apply certain moves.  Also Jackie Chan’s “Drunken Master” and the use of the Eight Drunken Gods made me think of how one could employ a defense and attack in a single move.  One thing I am developing is the use of my arms as scanners as well as protectors, so they will almost become one and the same.

All these things are great, but the one thing I have always lacked is confidence, and with the ever decreasing morality of youth gangs I have feared for my safety on more than one occasion, even with the governments plans to improve gang crime

I feel I need to keep my options open and do something that at least makes me feel good about myself, this is where the Fong Tien group came in:

– The first thing they had me doing is getting used to charging to a designated point with the urgency of a man possessed and not holding back on my screams or Kiyah’s as they say in karate.

Take downs
– We then moved on to engaging in take downs; now in this area I have always known that it shouldn’t require great strength to take an opponent down, but I have never in recent years had too much of a chance to do this in a sparring situation, so the ways shown me that day will prove very useful for my future confidence in training.  I remember the first stages of this learning was more based on positioning and (perhaps with me thinking too much) I couldn’t quite figure out what this type of movement entailed so didn’t put as much into it until Fong Tien gave me a full-on demonstration, then it was a case of practise and more practise.

The Chase
– The next part involved me chasing one of the Fong Tien group members around the room in and almost “White Crane” fashion
– There was a funny moment where the Fong Tien coordinator told us to engage in Sparring and I simply reverted back to what I already knew, again thinking too much about when I should try the new approach.

The Ground
– Following on from the Take-downs Fong Tien firstly started by wanting to see what I knew about groundwork so began a sitting on the floor exercise where I was back to back with my sparring partner and then moved into various attack positions; although I knew some things, this helped Fong Tien identify other areas I could learn about Holds and locks.

Consolidation of the day
– The final part of the day involved putting it all together from beginning to end, with my sparring partner surprising me by coming straight for me screaming with flailing arms and legs, though I backed off initially I still held my own and managed to take him down and get him into and ankle lock, so solidifying my learning with added confidence to boot.

Believing in Me

The classic Bruce Lee line often comes back to me “Don’t think, feel!” which has basically been my problem for as long as I can remember – in real situations where I could have defended myself, my thoughts and doubts about success (either immediate or for the antagonistic conclusion) clouded my responses and made me ineffective in dealing with the situation in hand.

I think I am also living proof that Bruce’s distaste for rigid systems as a means to an individuals end is right on the money.  As a person with a visual impairment, I am certainly not suited to being in a class full of students all carrying out patterns of moves like robots.  Bruce’s conception of more personalised training based on an individual’s attributes and the concepts from Fong Tien are more the means to an individuals end.  If I were to employ one of my own philosophies;

“We are all analogue beings in a digital world; all digital systems are a perpetuation of the “haves” and “have nots” only”.

From this point – OK, I am a long way off being “water” and having the “it hitting all by itself”. I am not training in martial arts to be a world champion or anything so grand, on the contrary, I train to improve my coordination of ‘self’ and most of all increase my confidence in many avenues of my life. The ideas that Fong Tien have planted as well as their and others’ beliefs in me, will go a long way to help me develop (by doing) my own confidence building system.

Nice one Guys!!


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