After the greetings in Chinese and Japanese for mutual respect, Master Rob Simpson, Director General of the Institute for Chinese Martial Arts, took the senior grades through a kung fu style stretching session geared towards flexibility and strengthening of the joints – this was going to be a seminar exploring “chin na”, or joint locking and manipulation. Master Simpson took us through a thorough stretch, again this was slightly different to what we were used to as the methods and thought processes in the Chinese martial arts are somewhat different to Japanese. I really must try and remember some of these and incorporate into my warm up routines in our regular classes…
Stretching and flexing done, we moved on to our first exercises with partners and then the fun began! Our joints were twisted and flexed in new and interesting ways, reminding us all that you don’t always need power if you’ve got control of someone’s wrist – a simple flex of your fingers can send someone sprawling without putting up any resistance.
The junior grades joined us later on and Master Simpson put them straight to work with some basic blocks and counters before moving on to some more locks and take downs. Whilst they worked on that the senior grades were learning all about defence against knife attacks – this was more application of joint manipulation and locking to get out of harm’s way and disable the attacker. We covered the various different types of knife attack – stabbing, slashing, etc. One of the moves I personally found interesting and effective was how to escape when someone has a knife held to your throat from behind – push their elbow so the knife is forced away from you as you lean back into them. Then take their wrist with the other hand, twist towards them while lifting their elbow and they have no choice but to crumple to the ground. Fascinating and effective stuff!
A thoroughly entertaining and educational time was had by all. The muscle that got the biggest work out of the day was most definitely our brains, learning and adapting to new ways of tackling dangerous situations!
We thank Master Simpson and look forward to hopefully seeing him a lot sooner than next Christmas!
– Simon Mills –