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Richard Aley

Have you had much success in competition?

I have a medical condition which prevents me from entering into any competitions. It is a mild blood disorder which can lead to internal bleeding. Whilst I don't let this effect my life, and it certainly does not inhibit my training, I would be irresponsible to myself and my family by entering any tournaments.

With that said, martial arts is about beating the person inside of you, not someone else.In my youth I competed in swimming racing in two National finals, and so I really understand the desire to compete and push oneself against others. Whilst I cannot compete in kickboxing, I still feel that I have something to add that can help prepare our competitors.

I am fortunate enough to have received training from some of the best competition kickboxers, boxers and karateka that the UK has to offer (thanks to Sensei Wilson) and the underlying message with all of this training is control, discipline, respect, dedication. Whether competing or not, these foundations are key.
I would hope that what I have learnt from my time in martial arts would be of benefit to any student wishing to enter a competition.

 

What is your favourite technique?

Either front leg side kick or double roundhouse kick.

 

Do you feel Martial Arts has influenced your personal life in any way?

Without question. Martial arts has given me an inner self-belief and confidence. It has taught me the value of being able to react to situations flexibly and calmly. As a result I am able to approach life in a much more positive, flexible and relaxed manner.

 

Do you have any views on how Martial Arts is perceived?

I think the martial arts can generally be viewed as some secretive and violent clubs for fighters and Bruce Lee wannabies. I take every opportunity I can to explain that I believe the basis of any martial art should be respect, courtesy, discipline and hard work and that at Kazen Kai and TMAC these are key and that we all work hard to help each other and to enjoy our training, and that whilst we are learning skills to attack/defend our aim is to achieve accuracy and control and not to inflict any pain or injury upon one other.

 

Looking at our kickboxers it is clear to me that martial arts is a brilliant leveller. I regularly train with adults, teenagers, kids, men and women of all grades from new beginner to 2nd Dan. This is truly a martial art for everyone. I think that sparring can sometimes put people off; that is before they join in with us and realise that we are all there to help each other and to learn; to try to be better than we were before.
I have also learnt that there are some, as there always will be, who have a blinkered view on what kickboxing should be. A martial art, by definition, cannot fall into a definition - it is a military art; it flows and grows with learning, and must be able to adapt to each individual set of circumstances.
The TMAC system incorporates both traditional and modern training methods and techniques, both of which I view as essential.

There will always be a place for traditional line-based training. This is excellent for muscle memory and fitness and stamina building. We also continue to try new techniques/combinations, and experiment with sparring drills. The use of both I think is essential to achieve a balanced martial art.

 

Do you have any other interests?

I love music, gadgets and motorbikes/scooters, and having fun with my family. I also love watching martial arts movies.

 

What are your current goals in your training?

To improve my flexibility and speed of striking and kicking techniques. I view martial arts as the constant drive for self improvement, physically and spiritually. My overriding goal is to continue this pursuit. One of my (many!) mantras, is that if you leave a training session having improved a single technique a small amount then that is success. That is my overriding goal - to be better than I was before.
Also, I get a great deal back from martial arts when teaching. Seeing our students grow in confidence and improve their skill is extremely rewarding, no matter what small influence I may have had, and so my current goal is to continue to improve my teaching.

Why did you start your training?

After becoming a Dad for the first time I realised that if our family were ever to find ourselves in a threatening situation there would not have been a lot that I could have done to protect them.
Also a good friend of mine is a 3rd Dan in Tang Soo Do and we regularly talked about martial arts and their benefits and so with the aim of losing some weight and developing some self defence skills I began my journey into martial arts.

 

Where did you start training?

I began training at the Notley Garden Village community centre training in Wing Chun Kung Fu.

 

Who was your first instructor?

My first instructor was Sifu Salim Rajulawalla.

 

What is your occupation?

I handle personal injury claims for an insurance company.

 

What else do you do?

I mostly run around after my family. I read whenever I can. I have a wide interest in reading which ranges from books on martial arts, food and body science to thrillers, chillers and crime novels.