19 June, 2010

Tetsu or not tetsu...do

Despite being full of aches and pains from my first session in months, I was determined to keep up the pace of attending new clubs as often as possible. Before last week I had never heard of Tetsudo, a tibetan martial art, but a quick visit to the website confirms that there are about forty clubs in the UK and at least 10 in Leicestershire and the surrounding area.

Tetsudo is an offshoot of Goyararu, itself a very modern combination of several arts that are tibetan, asian and western.

So is tetsudo just another MMA club?


Training in a small primary school hall with just four other students I was welcomed by instructor Bill, who had not been expecting me (I did my usual email and text combo but both went unanswered...) he was very gracious in having to abandon his planned session (as his class are all green belts and above) to accommodate this new beginner.

Bill's teaching is outstanding. Every elements from the bow to the warm up was explained and had a purpose and meaning. His technique is pretty much flawless and his application and explanations are clear and effective. He quickly rumbled me as no beginner, but was not afraid to highlight my strengths and weaknesses politely and firmy as he did with the other students. I've always had a problem with rooting my feet on turning kicks and limiting my range, I hide it well and it's rarely picked up on, but Bill saw it instantly (offering me a bit of a shit-sandwich by complimenting my front kick first). Similarly a lazy knee during a roundhouse kick was gently chastised.

Bill allowed me to join in with the basics, asking me to step aside for the sparring and kata or "keds". I was a bit disappointed not to be allowed a go, but he sensibly explained that I was uninsured. As a teacher Bill is self-efacing, good-natured and jolly without losing etiquette and discipline, his students clearly have the utmost respect for him and he in turn for the art and the association to which he belongs. He talks too much, that's my one tiny negative, but only because I'm struggling to find one.

As an art Tetsudo is not massively different from karate, the stances are low and strong for the most part and the elements of kicking and punching are the same but it's the nuances of technique, the precision which is taught from the very beginning which makes this so intriguing. Perfection is key right from the start, so bad habits (even my 20 year old ones) aren't allowed to sneak past. So if you want a black belt in the next couple of years this is not the association for you. There are only five or six belts before Black but the standards and knowledge required at Blue/ Purple/ Brown are extremely high, and there are no "basic" patterns.

I genuinely want to go back to Tetsudo and I'm torn between doing so and continuing to get a wider picture of martial arts in the county. For me basically 5 stars. If you're looking for a club for all the right reasons join now. Join Wigston Tetsudo, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your positive comments about Tetsudo, which I can certainly endorse. However, far from being an "off-shoot" of Goyararu, the founder of that art form, BS Dhaliwal, decided to change the name to "Tetsudo" in honour of his teacher Master Tetsura. "Goyararu" only continues today because a small minority did not want the change and decided to remain, as a separate group.