When most people think of Kung Fu, images of high flying warriors brandishing weapons come to mind. But there is another kind; a kind that is simple, direct, quiet, and deadly. Wing Chun Kung Fu is known the world over for its logical approach to self-defense. Put this efficient form of combat under the same roof as Aikido, Taijiquan, Baguazhang, and Chinese exercises like Qigong, and you have Self Care Arts. Under the tutelage of Sifu Martin Kelly, students learn to become healthier, well adjusted human beings, who are also capable of self-defense.
EXAMINER: Martin, tell us about Self Care Arts.
SIFU MARTIN: Self Care Arts started when I was teaching Wing Chun to martial artists from different styles, most of who were from hard Karate systems like Shotokan. It opened their eyes because they were used to linear forces, while Wing Chun tends to avoid and redirect force while attacking. I taught Wing Chun in parks for about 2 years. After a while, I had quite the gathering, so at the behest of my students, I opened up the school.
While in college, I minored in Therapeutic Recreation, and I also received a degree in Exercise Science, which led me to the arts of Tai Chi, Baguazhang, and Qigong, all known for their health benefits; I saw a real need to spread the knowledge I had in these arts because I noticed that many martial artists tended to sustain injuries that rendered them unable to continue to practice their chosen art. This has opened doors to the local medical community; for ten years now, I have been involved in using these Chinese restorative arts in physical therapy for Centura Health, helping patients regain balance and agility. This is the internal, health oriented aspect of Self Care Arts. The students with me now practice these healing arts, and I am pleased to report that the results have seen them become healthier as well.
EXAMINER: And the external, combative side?
SIFU MARTIN: The Mountain Dragon Martial Arts (MDMA) program is our external, combative face. It is a synthesis of Wing Chun Kung Fu, Aikido, and Jujitsu. At first glance, it may seem that these arts might not be suited to work with one another, but conceptually, they all share the same principles. For example, the sensing, avoidance and redirection of force is a tactic found in all three. The outcome of the encounter is where the differences might begin to manifest themselves. Thus, if we were to act against a straight punch, we might use a Wing Chun parry and punch, followed by an Aikido throw, followed by a Jujitsu submission. We also address what we call the pre-contact range, where sound decision making, emotional control, and an effort to avoid and escape the encounter is addressed. In fact, this is the MDMA energy sensing, avoidance and redirection principle applied to our relationships with other people; in essence, this is far more important because it teaches us how not to fight. If it was purely all about destruction of other people, well, there are far better ways to kill human beings; there’s biological warfare, there’s drone attacks, nuclear weapons; this is the world we live in. Simply put, our ultimate goal concerning self-defense is being able to live better lives as human beings.
Self Care Arts is located at 1626 W. Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. For more information, contact Sifu Martin Kelly at (719) 573-8801.
AUTHORS NOTE: foamcage.com, Eric Taimanglo, Martin Kelly and Self Care Arts disclaim all liability from any personal injury or damages resulting from the use or misuse of the techniques demonstrated in this article. All techniques demonstrated are for information purposes only.