The passion and fascination with martial arts has always been with me for as long as I can remember. Even though I couldn’t say exactly what started me on this journey the first clear memory I have was being presented with a choice: Kung Fu or Aikido? This decision was quickly made for me when I discovered the local kung fu instructor had set an age limit of fourteen. So for two years I studied the formal Japanese art of throws and joint locks and found it a great introduction to martial arts and the learning process involved.
At the age of fourteen I contacted the local kung fu instructor, interested in discovering how different kung fu was to what I’d already learnt, and arranged to attend one of his classes. It became apparent very quickly that the class was a lot more physically demanding; the pre-class warm up was so exhausting I’d struggle to muster the energy to finish. However, after a few months I was in great physical shape and doing things that worked in real life situations.
So started my relationship with kung fu and over the years, while moving from place to place, I found myself studying under a number of teachers. As well as attending classes I also gathered a large amount of reading material and instructional videos; one author in particular who had a profound influence on me was Dr.Yang Jwing-Ming. His approach to teaching and his ability to communicate the concepts of the art gave me a deeper understanding of it and where I wanted to take it.
Some years later while living in ireland, word came to me that Dr.Yang was to give a seminar in Dublin. On investigation I was pleasantly surprised to find out that ‘Yang’s Martial Arts Association’ also had a school in Dublin and I booked my place through its director Paul Moran. On the day of the seminar I was fortunate enough to meet Dr.Yang outside the training hall; where we talked for sometime about his plans for the retreat centre and, as always, he was good enough to answer many of my questions.
Since that encounter, many years ago, YMAA has become a huge part of my life. During which I’ve found myself on a large learning curve that has made me a more confident and well rounded martial artist. Now with the permission to open a YMAA school in my home town of Gorey I hope to continue this learning, not only through my own training, but through the teaching of others