A few years ago when we were rolling out our Tri-brand online training idea with 4D Combat, Defence Lab and Ghost Elusive Combat all cross training and helping each other we were saying;
What music are we?
We all agreed that Andy Norman’s DNA system and Defence Lab is definitely Rock.
Phil Norman’s Ghost approach is maybe House flavoured, it's very innovative in many ways. Whilst 4D has got more of a Jazz approach technical, and efficient though it mixes with both well and sort of holds a centre ground.
Rock came from Blues as did Jazz and all the modern music idioms borrow heavily from these roots. Similarly in the Tri-brand idea we were, and are, all rooted in JKD and Kali.
If you know those arts well you can see the references easily. We’re just fulfilling what we were tasked to do. Seeking our own path and reflecting our own body possibilities and combat experience. The cards that life has dealt us change how our art is expressed.
In the early days of training with Dan Inosanto I often had a sense of frustration because he never set me a path to follow. I was deluged with knowledge but didn’t have the master plan I had pieces of knowledge here and some there but they didn’t always fit. At first, to my ignorant eyes it seemed aimless and unplanned. Later I realised I was being given a task. This was the quest he set me on. Like all great teachers he did’n’t tell me that, rather he let me think it was all my own doing. To find my way and to fill in the blanks with my own truths.
As a result of this approach I was constantly questioning everything. This was great for my development. What questions to ask? Why what when and how are a good start then add who and where. This is the path to discovery. As a result I just added stuff I’d found to the incredible stuff I was learning and added it to my previous pre JKD / KALI experience.
Simultaneously he introduced me personally to many of the greats in Kali and Eskrima and other arts or gave them my number so they could spread their art through me and the group we had in the UK . In this way I met my great friend Mike Inay. I was invited to the Philippines where I trained with the greats. Yoling and Cacoy Canete, Tatung Illustrissimo, Diony Canete, Tibercio Heyrosa, Ondo Caburnay, to name a few. I Sparred with them got beaten by them but most important felt their rhythm. Saw how they played the game. Just like Jazz and other great music they all had their sound.
The secret is to find the secret in one thing and then apply it to everything. The second skill is to then hide the skill so it looks like you were just lucky. In your own training ask questions, but have fun whilst staying gently focused. Watch and listen closely and you’ll get to some place special. Your place.
Finally to quote Kipling:
I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew)
There names are What, and Why, and When
and How and Where and Who.
Apply that to everything you do and you’ll be a winner.