Tony's training in martial arts started with Shotokan Karate in Coventry in the early eighties under the direction of John Johnston (5th Dan). He also trained at other K.U.G.B Coventry clubs (all affiliated to the J.K.A.) and competed in the Shotokan Kumite competitions at Crystal Pace in the early eighty’s. It was during this period that he met and trained with his long standing friend Geoff Thompson.
For reasons related to work and moving to another area he stopped his formal training in 1992. He continued to do some bag work; weights and stretching in his garage, but felt his training lacked the intensity and variety of formal classes.
In 2002 (aged 45) he went back training after receiving encouragement from Geoff Thompson and his wife Jenny. He recalls the one defining phone call from Geoff that made him do it; Geoff was blunt, he said "Tony just get back on the mat and now". After a few weeks of training and researching current martial arts trends) he wrote an article for MAI titled "Yesterday's Truism's are Today's Falsehoods".
He believes that going back to martial arts is one of the best things he has ever done. However some hard lessons were learned. Firstly after a 10-year break he found that many aspects of martial arts had changed. Many of the concepts that were ingrained in his early years "Truisms" were now considered to be today's "Falsehoods". His article explains the adversity he had overcome to get back into training and the strategies he used (see Tony's article section for the complete text).
Tony's philosophy is that there is no real science per se of fighting; there are only some fundamental principles and mechanics that need to be understood and nothing should be crystallized as "the only way to train". He says if you get a good training partner and just train/spar together several times a week (slowly raising the tempo as you get better) you will eventually find what really works for you. Also a study and understanding of biomechanics, fitness, psychology, nutrition and strength will assist you on your way to becoming a better fighter and martial artist.
He believes you can become your own teacher if you take the time to develop the discipline of continual learning and model competent martial artists. He has learned many things from the numerous rounds of full contact boxing & MMA in his garage that he did not learn at formal MA lessons. He says he is also fortunate to be mentored by several high level martial artists such as Master Sken, John B Wills, Chico Mendes, Peter Consterdine and Geoff Thompson with whom he has established long term relationships.
He has also written articles for Martial Arts Illustrated (MAI), Shotokan Karate Magazine and martial arts websites including; Geoff Thompson's; Master Sken's; Peter Consterdine's, Iain Abernethy's, Totally Fitness.com and reviewed several book for fellow martial artists. He has traveled the world as an engineer working in the power and gas, refining and petrochemicals sector.
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