A 4am start in Hampshire for me and a 5.10am start from Belgium for our instructor Sifu Mike Martello and still I get to Birmingham airport only about 10mins before he does! After a rather bleary but beautifully sunny day spent taking the mick out of our respective “languages” (those who attended the seminar will never forget the immortal words “Speak English Mothe…”well anyway very entertaining) we arrived in sunny Aldershot for a seminar on Quinna and throws.
Training began at 7pm at Connaught school gym with a floor full of mats. The “warm up” was one of the most painful parts of the session, with twisting internal body movements used to release shoulders, back and improve body alignment. The French have a saying that “pain is the craft entering the apprentice” by which yard stick we will all be super Gonfu masters after about a week of that carry on! Everyone was very warm and much more relaxed if a little aching by the end.
The Quinna seminar began with Mike throwing Dave around followed with us all partnering off and doing it to one another. We learnt about four different techniques including two excellent throws and variants on them.
Particular shining lights included Lewis one of our Monday new chaps who ended up throwing Nathaniel nearly clean off the mat whilst demonstrating great aptitude with “Soft power”. Pretty scary given that the Sword I was using on Sunday was taller than this kid! Matt Bedows and newbie Steve were also caught on camera with some very impressive mat clearing Sweva, large men flying through the air is always a sight to see! Special bravery awards should go to Chris who had never done any Gongfu before ever and Karen whose wrists are made out of glass and still managed to chuck me about like a rag doll.
By the end of nearly 4 hours we were knackered but happy to have trained and learnt some very cool things. Including a chat about Chi during which time without thinking about it all of us cast Chun side long looks in case (as the only Haan Chinese member there) he might be holding out on us for some weird mystic insight. Mike debunked a lot of the wrongly held ideas about Chi and impressed on us the fact that we all do Quigong by dint of simply breathing in and out! Brilliant!
Huge thanks to Mike for taking time out of a crazy country hopping schedule to come down to Hampshire and teach. Looking forward to more seminars in the future!