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I.K.J.J.U. Instructor Interviews

O'Shihan Court (IKJJU)

Shihan Court - (Master Grade) - of International Kempo Ju-Jitsu. Shihan Court kindly found time between his work and training to answer my questions. I honestly recommend that my students pay close attention to the advice and information Shihan Court provides.

 

I would like to start by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts? 

  • I first became interested at about 14, I was in school with two Chinese boys who studied Karate , I started learning with them from one of their dads, a great way to be introduced to martial arts.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

  • I’ve studied under many different masters and I honestly believe that all styles of martial arts have something to offer. We should study different styles and find what suits us but also take what those styles offer and incorporate it into what we practice or teach.

           

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

  • There have been two Sensei who had a particular influence on me, and in different ways. The first was Sensei Tatsu Suzuki when I studied Wado-Ryu karate and went for my first Dan grading with him, after the gradings were over, one of the other students asked about the grading system and Sensei Suzuki said that originally there was no grading the Master taught his students and that was that, the grading system was introduced for the western mind we needed something to aim for, the carrot and stick, I always remember Sensei Suzuki pointing to his head and saying “It’s what’s in here that counts, not what you wear around your waist”  and I remember thinking “ He’s right, it’s just an ego trip ! “it put me off from going for my second dan for a long time.

            The second was Sensei Dave Vincent with Kempo Ju-Jitsu a real down to earth instructor who was probably the best I’ve ever had the privilege to train under, a great no-nonsense approach and like myself, believed that if it works use it. He was also the only person who agreed with me when I said I had never met an expert, they don’t exist! If someone tells me that they are an expert in something they are saying they know everything about that subject! RUBBISH! We never stop learning, I’ve taught children a technique and they’ve gone and done something totally different, twice as easy and ended up with the same result. I’ve just learnt! There are no experts, I strongly dislike the use of the word.

 

Are there any other members of your family who have ever studied the martial arts?

  • Most members of my family have studied, or currently study in martial arts. My wife studied Goshin Kai Aikido for many years under Sense Alan Lee in Swansea. My daughter studied Karate and Fung Shao from myself, and Welsh Contact Karate under Sensei Clifton Brown, she even studied Kempo Ju-Jitsu for a short period. Both my sons also studied Welsh Contact Karate under Sensei Clifton Brown and learnt Wado Ryu Karate, Fung Shao, and Kempo Ju-Jitsu under myself, they both attained Black Belts after grading in-front of Shihan Dave Vincent. My eldest son even studied Goshin Kai Aikido for a number of years at the same dojo as his mum. One of my younger brothers studied Tae Kwon Do in his youth, and finally my grandson is currently learning Wado Ryu Karate at a local dojo. All in all we seem to be a pretty martial arts orientated family.

 

What ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

  • I hold a 2nd Dan in Wado-Ryu karate, a 1st Dan in Ueshiba Aikido, only a 1st Kyu brown belt in Tomiki Aikido, my instructor emigrated before I could get my black belt and I never found another Tomiki club that I could continue with. I also hold a 1st Pan Black Sash in Fung Shou Wu-Shu and was presented with my 4th Dan by Shihan Vincent and then my Master Grade by International Kempo Ju-Jitsu. I have always trained under the Japanese System( apart from the Fung Shou) and the highest I could grade to was 3rd Dan ( unlike the Western system where you can grade to whatever Dan you like) consequently, anything above 3rd Dan was presented to you for the work you put into your style and therefore a great honour, and to achieve Master Grade was something I never dreamt about! Recently I have received my 10th Dan in Kempo Ju-Jitsu, as Head of the newlt re-formed International Kempo Ju-Jitsu Union, from the Japanese Ju-Jitsu Association in Japan.

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

  • Not really, I do favour the close in work as apposed to the longer kicks and punching techniques, close in is where Ju-Jitsu works and the more effective we are, but all techniques need to be practiced.

 

Shihan, could you tell me something about your training methods?

  • My training has centred as much around the physical aspects of the Martial Arts as around the mental, I firmly believe we have a great amount to learn and benefit from this side of the arts.  Developing our Ki , our centre, is as vital as developing our art, it’s what gives us that insight, that knowledge that makes a good martial artist.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

  • When I was younger, I trained every day for about 3 hours minimum and was attending the club three times a week, as I got older I reduced this but even now when I’m away with work I still try to practice my Kata in my room.

 

Finally Shihan, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

  • Remember, as your Sensei probably already tells you, if I know him, you train for yourself, it’s not about being better than the next person, it’s not about being able to hit harder or faster it’s about you! And like me and like your Sensei’s Dave and Mike you have nothing to prove to anyone. The best martial artist is the one who doesn’t have to use their art.

 

Shihan Court, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

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Shihan Duggan (Kyusho Jitsu Ireland)

My good friend Shihan John Duggan was able to take some time out of his hectic life and running Kyusho Jitsu Ireland to share his knowledge and answer our questions. Shihan Duggan is not only a good friend of 30+ years but also an excellent martial artist and instructor.

 

Shihan Duggan, I would like to start off by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts?

  • I began at the age of eleven when I joined our local judo club. A number of years later, I saw a video of Professor Wally Jay and soon found a Ju-Jitsu class.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

  • I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study under many sensei from numerous martial arts backgrounds, all of whom have given me some great instruction and advice.

 

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

  • The three people who have had the biggest influence on my years of martial arts training have been Shihan Dave Vincent, who was a phenomenal martial artist and teacher, which is a rare combination. Professor Wally Jay (R.I.P) was a big influence on my joint locking techniques and footwork. The man made it look so easy and effortless due to his economy of motion. Grandmaster Jack Hogan has helped me totally change how we apply our techniques by making them much more effective by utilising the use of pressure points, which we have added to our existing locks and throws.

 

Shihan Duggan, what ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

  • I currently hold an 8th Dan in Kempo Ju-Jitsu, 1st Dan in Judo, 1st Dan in Aiki-Jitsu, Level 3 Kyusho Certified Instructor (HKI), Certified Arnis Instructor (Modern Arnis).

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

  • I don’t have any particular favourite technique although I much prefer to be in close and using close quarter striking and joint locking.

 

Shihan Duggan would you share something about your training methods with us?

  • Only use what works for you. Try to be open minded and be willing to take new ideas on board. Practice and drill techniques until they become second nature. Practice doesn’t make perfect..................perfect practice makes perfect.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

  • I would suggest a minimum of six to eight hours a week but be prepared to put in the extra hours when needed.

 

Finally Shihan, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

  • I have trained many times with Sensei Court and he is an excellent martial artist. Listen to his advice and train hard and you will do well.

 

Shihan, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

Shihan Holland

(Ni Kawa Kobu Jutsu)

Shihan Mark Holland Kindly took the time to give us a little bit of background on himself. Shihan Holland is the Kobudo Director for Kyusho Jutsu Europe and also part of the Black Belt Committee for the International Kempo Ju-Jitsu Union.

I would like to start off by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts?

 When I was a lazy and very tubby 16 year old my dad forced me to walk to the library one Saturday afternoon.  I came across a book on Aikido by Koichi Tohei.  It made such an impression on me I found a club and joined up a week later.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

 Ryukyu Kobudo, Kendo, Tanjo Jutsu and Hoshin Jutsu under Mike Finn Sensei.

 

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

 Most of my inspiration comes from training with Mike Finn Sensei.  He has a very structured and traditional approach to teaching aimed at bringing the best out of the students and improving traditional martial art skills. 

 

What ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

 7th Dan Ni Kawa Kobu Jutsu.

3rd Dan Ryukyu Kobudo.

1st Dan Seitei Tanjo Jutsu

1st Dan Hoshin Jutsu

1st Dan Kendo

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

 I really like practicing the Ryukyu Kobudo Bo Kata.  In my early years I avoided them because they hurt a lot.  It took me many years of practice to get used to it.  Now I can’t get enough of them.

 

Would you share something about your training methods with us?

 I teach the way I have been taught.  Work the basics hard and bring it forward to kata and freestyle practice.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

 It is not a secret at this stage that you get out what you put in.  For beginners to intermediate students, I suggest at least two classes a week with good quality instructors and supplement that with as many seminars or sessions with other instructors as they can manage.

 

 Finally, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

 Use your chosen system to develop your own discipline and inspiration.  Progress at your own pace.  It is not a race.  If possible, get together with students of similar grade and practice everything together outside the club.  A group commitment  can keep you motivated.

Shihan Holland, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, I’m sure my students will appreciate it, I know I do.

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Shihan Court

(Combat Martial Arts)

I would like to start off by asking how and when you first became involved in martial arts?

I was introduced to the world of Martial Arts at the tender age of 4yrs old. My Father was an avid practitioner and so would instruct myself, my younger brother and older sister at home. The teaching involved drills and training in a game or play like manner to start, but his main aim was to ensure that we would be able to protect ourselves if needed. From that moment on I was hooked and have not looked back since, 40 years later I still love learning new things.

 

What systems and sensei have you learnt the most from during your time in the martial arts?

My main influence would have to be my father (O’Shihan Court), he instructed me in Wado Ryu, Fung Shao and is still one of my Kempo Ju-Jitsu Sensei. My first official Sensei was the amazing Sensei Clifton Brown who I studied Welsh Contact Karate under, his friendly manner and openness have always stayed with me. For my Kempo Ju-Jitsu Training (apart from my Father) Shihan Dave Vincent was an incredible influence on me, and Shihan John Duggan has continually inspired me. Finally my last two instructors who have both massively impacted and improved my Kempo Ju-Jitsu are my Dacayana Eskrima Instructor Marcie Harding, and my Zen Judo Coach Shihan George Launders.

 

Did any of your Sensei particularly inspire you during your years of training?

All of my Sensei have and continue to inspire my Martial Arts Journey in one way or another, they show me that I have so much yet to learn, whilst making me appreciate what I have already mastered. I look up to each of them as Sensei, Friends and most importantly Family.

 

What ranks do you currently hold in the martial arts?

5th Dan (Godan) Kempo Ju-Jitsu

2nd Degree Black Belt in FMA

2nd Dan (Nidan) in Wado Ryu

Level 1 Alicaway Combat Knife System

Brown Belt (1st Kyu) in Zen Judo

Blue Belt (3rd Kyu) Welsh Contact Karate

I also trained in Goshin Kai Aikido for just over 3 years, but refused to grade

I was also trained to 1st Pan Black Sash Level in Fung Shao but again never officially graded

 

Do you have a specific technique that you favour and love to practice?

I like the majority of the techniques I learn and use, especially sticks, Jo, Bo, Eskrima. However my overall favourite techniques would have to be Elbow for the Empty Hand, they are great close range impact weapons, and Knife for weapons.

 

Would you share something about your training methods with us?

I try to do some training each day, I am on the mats as a student every Monday learning Zen Judo under Shihan Launders. I teach Kempo Ju-Jitsu and Dacayana Eskrima twice a week (two hours of each a week). I try to find ways to incorporate aspects of my training into my everyday life, i.e. stances, rotational movement, breathing etc. I do what I can whenever I can, and I also enjoy researching new ideas and the history of the Martial Arts, I feel knowing where your techniques came from is very important to help you work out where you are aiming to go on your journey.

 

How many hours a week would you suggest students train in order to reach the level of skill you have currently achieved?

Everyone is different and life can get in the way. When I was younger I trained four time a week in martial arts, plus I did cycling, walking and swimming. Now I have less time so I try to do a little every day, even just 10 mins, as I believe this is better than just once a week in class. Try to fit something in each day and it will help with your training overall. As to reaching my skill level I would say I still have a long way to go but that is the whole point of training.

 

Finally, do you have any words of advice or tips for students looking to excel in their martial arts training?

Enjoy what you do, if you do not enjoy it there is no point n training. As martial artists we strive for perfection, but never achieve it, we endure pain and get injured, but if you can not laugh and smile and have banter whilst doing that, if the thought of going to your class fills you with dread, then stop, try something different. You will fail (multiple times), you will likely get injuries, others may surpass you, but do not be hard on yourself, your journey is yours, you have only to be a better you than you were yesterday, and you are never alone on your journey.

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