My beginnings in the Martial Arts

Date: 9th February 2017
Author: Master Bonthuys

My father was an Army Sergeant Major, and was my main inspiration and a very strong, positive influence for the 34 years that we shared together. When I was bullied at school, rather than sorting it out for me, he taught me boxing, and also took me to see an army friend of his that was teaching Judo to a small group of soldiers. He was a Japanese trained black belt (which was very rare in those days).


I was 9 years old when I took my first martial arts lesson in September of 1966, and stuck with it until my father’s next posting without a grading (my instructor was a tough Army PTI who never even talked about belts). This would be unthinkable for most people today. I just wanted to learn, and he just wanted to teach.

It was a small class and was so much fun! As a child, I had no concept of the belt system. I just wanted to know that it worked - and that I was having fun learning whilst working hard. I wanted to beat the bully, and I eventually had an opportunity to put my new boxing and judo skills to the test and teach the bully a well-earned lesson (another story).

I learned a lot from those early days. I learned about myself. I learned that if I believed hard enough, reality would be waiting for me just around the corner. It was up to me to make it happen. Satisfaction was based upon learning and repetition of technique to a degree of personal mastery within the framework of my own ability. Keep pushing harder and harder.

These days I try to ensure that my own students learn something valuable every lesson and leave each class sweating - with a smile on their face! I try to teach that there is a huge difference between martial arts training (personal development in life) and self defence training (personal safety on the street). Healthy eating for a long life and for self-defence against obesity, cancer and disease is another aspect of personal safety too.

I instil the understanding that to be your personal best means that you do not compare yourself to the student stood next to you. This type of comparison can lead to a false of superiority or indeed a false sense of inferiority.

Train hard every lesson. Apply yourself. Listen hard to your instructor. Challenge yourself and learn the craft. Be the best version of you that you can be… Above all, have fun and enjoy the experience!


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