A lifetime of Martial Arts
I'd like to say that my inspiration for martial arts was a deep seated need to be a world champion martial artist, truth is I was bored! Thankfully, at age 15, myself and a friend stumbled upon a Karate class being held in theHolbrook community centre in Coventry, just a stone`s throw from where we lived. Forty five years later, I can honestly say, at that point, the only thing I wanted was..... never to be bored again!!
Fortune favoured me that day...
We didn't dive straight in, I was too timid in those days, my friend and I peered through the windows and watched, trying desperately not to make eye contact with the class members, about two weeks later my friend coerced me into taking a class, I was caught, hook, line and sinker. The Martial Art was Wado-Ryu. I trained once a week, to start with, but quickly stepped up to twice a week & then three times a week. Finally, I had found something that was to become my lifelong passion. I have experienced many Martial Arts over the years and I enjoy learning the history behind them. Consequently, despite having more than two decades under my belt (pardon the pun) I had never attained a black belt in any one art. It was time to choose and commit to one.
Tang Soo Do came my way by pure luck!
I joined the local Tang Soo Do club in October 1998 with my daughter Claire. I couldn't believe how nervous I felt on the way there, even though I had trained many times at various clubs. It wasn't too far into that first lesson when I realised that this was the style of Karate I wanted to stick with. Everyone welcomed us and was very patient. I picked everything up quickly and was put in for my first grading after only 5 weeks. At the grading I sat at the back of the hall waiting to take my turn for what seemed like a life time. Myself and another student, were last to grade. The whole club was watching whilst we demonstrated what we had learned, we passed with flying colours.
Through martial arts I have enjoyed many seminars and foreign trips, the pinnacle of which was in 2004 when I and four other students went to Korea, the home of Tang Soo Do. We trained for 12 days, what a great experience. We went to some very remote places, one of which was deep into the Korean jungle. There were still wild white tigers roaming around and thankfully we didn't come too close to any... that we know about anyway!
Whilst in Korea, we performed a demonstration for Masters and Grandmasters, this was televised, but unfortunately, I have never been able to get hold of any of the footage. I have also performed on the same stage as the world famous Shaolin monks on a couple of occasions. I have participated in endless demonstrations in front of hundreds of martial artists and the general public. These have been all over the UK including, Birmingham`s NEC, "SENI" an annual Martial Arts show.
I finally achieved my first degree black belt in 2000. What a great feeling of satisfaction and pride. I am now a 5th degree black belt and still feel enormously proud and passionate about Martial arts. The great thing about entering a Martial arts class is, everyone makes you feel welcome and you soon relax into it.
In June 2016, I founded `YU KANG DO`, this basically means `the soft/hard way`. There is more to the meaning, but it is a system that allows the student and myself to develop better. Concentrating on what works best for all practitioners, will allow them to study the areas of Martial Arts that holds more interest and value. The student will still have to train in basic punches, kicks, blocks etc, but the emphasis will be placed on what excites and will advance them more. Personally, I think ALL parts of any system are important and none should be neglected. To sum it all up... Learn everything you can and focus more on what will make you a better Martial Artist and Person!
Teaching Martial Arts is my passion, every student that comes through our doors is an opportunity to share all that I have learned and help them develop their confidence and all that I have benefited from.
-Master Paul R Pears 6th Dan-
Chief Instructor & Examiner