Can Kung Fu actually make you younger? We always thought it would make us immortal – but younger?  Isn’t that going the wrong way? Well, Gary Oliver who trains with Instructor Karim Daoud at FWC Watford Club, thinks that Kung Fu has made him younger – and he’s got proof.

“I joined Kung Fu later in life (at 55 (well, almost 56) I am the Grandpapa of my Club!). It’s never too late and I am so glad that I am part of this journey.

Having been an avid sportsperson all my life I have undertaken many sports including rugby, football, canoeing, cycling, and then the curse of the GYM….  none of them really conducive to Kung Fu! So 6 years ago, one cold January a leaflet dropped through my door and caught my eye….so I gave  Kung Fu a try. Read More

Depression and training – can you have both? Mental health is private and personal. Training in class is public and visible. No-one knows how you are feeling, what you are saying to yourself inside your head. How could the tough confrontational world of Kung Fu possibly help? We train hard, there is physical and mental pressure to focus and move, to improve technique week after week. We stand side-by-side in class, trying to keep up, catch on to new skills, do one more push-up than last time. So what about all the research being done on the effects of training on depression, such as in January’s issue of Scientific American Mind?

As we so often do, we looked within our Club for answers. Instructor Joshua Villar did the asking. And he didn’t have to go far, as he trains with Professor Carmine Pariante.

Forward By Instructor Joshua Villar

Depression is such a delicate and complex subject that I very quickly became aware of how challenging this article would be to write. I realised I would have to show people how Kung Fu can benefit someone suffering from depression without making Kung Fu sound like ‘the cure’. Read More

The April 2017 FWC Kung FU Competition was once again held in South London. Last year Femi Adeoye, who trains with Richard Wagstaff at FWC London South wrote up his account, So as not to disappoint his public, he has repeated the reportage for this year’s event.  So here is Femi’s blow-by-blow account from his very personal perspective – pun fully intended.

“Another year, another FWC club competition. I came into the day off the back of my relative success in the last competition, just over a year ago.  My aim for the day was to better my bronze and gold of 2016. The day started (oh so) early at 9am. After an inspirational performance by the instructors which saw them all displaying a different pattern simultaneously, the competition was officially underway.

Read More

“Just under two weeks ago I was awarded my FWC Black Sash.

To put this into context, they have been awarded so rarely in the past, that I had honestly decided that they were, in fact, the stuff of legend, and that I would probably never receive one.

So I was, as you can imagine, absolutely delighted (and, if I’m honest, a little thunderstruck) after 28 years of training to finally have the honour of Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo first tell me that I had earned it during lunch on Instructor Camp in Egypt, and then tie it around my waist in Sunday Class at Angel. Read More

This entry is part 12 of 11 in the series Training challenges

We haven’t had one of these for a while – a training challenge! Instructor Joshua Villar set one for himself – and without wishing to steal his thunder (whisper it) it’s a knuckle walk. Why would anyone want to do that (as Josh asked himself when he was half way through)? Well, the simple answer would be that walking on your knuckles toughens them up – it’s one way of doing it.  But maybe there was also an element of exploring pain thresholds and endurance. Either way, like that other famous endurance event, Le Tour de France, you can read about it rather than do it, and wince at the photos in the comfort of your own home.

“I will set the scene. A lone Kung Fu Instructor stands on top of a hill Read More

I have to own up here – my birthday has always been in the October half term break. So I have a great fondness for Autumn. “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” as Keats described it. But it’s so much more than that – the russet colours, the delight in sudden days of warmth and sunshine, the despair of early dark evenings (especially as the clocks always change to British Winter Time this week), reflections on Summer joys, anticipation of Christmas (what! already!!! – oh yes…). And so what are the delights and challenges of Autumn Training? Read More

Women in Sport Week – is that about me, asked our women students?  Many young girls are only too happy to be involved in sports, dance, and martial arts. Somehow their zest for movement diminishes as they grow up. The reasons are various – Read More

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

Convalescence¹ – an old-fashioned word that doesn’t seem to be used any more. We tend to use “recovery”² which is approximately the same, but “convalescence” has a more definite feeling of a process over time. You may have followed Dennis’ story of injury, illness and recovery in the previous two articles in this series.  If so you will know that Dennis has made remarkable come-backs from a serious car accident and from sepsis. But he went through a planned period of convalescence. This is the story of his convalescence from sepsis – life-threatening infection.

Fresh air, nutritious diet, plenty of rest. All sounds rather twee and Jane Austen doesn’t it? But whenever Dennis was frustrated at not being up to doing something (which happened quite often) he had to remember that we used to send people to Italy or Switzerland for months at a time to recover from serious illness and “build up their strength”. To Sanatoriums, Nursing Homes, Convalescent Homes – giving people time to get their strength back. Sure we have painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, but although they make you “better” they don’t make you who you used to be.

And maybe we don’t use that period of healing any more in the way that we could. Life is binary – Read More

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

After an operation to improve his nose airway, Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo, was struck down by an enemy he couldn’t see. But he could feel it. Running through his bloodstream, wreaking havoc, causing intense pain in an infected ankle (how did it get there from his nose?). Antibiotics could help – but would the spectre of antibiotic resistance rear its head?

April 2016 – Minor operation. Quick recovery.

Back on feet, feeling fine, teaching lessons. And then the pain starts. High pain threshold – keep going. Feeling worse, but the nose feels ok – wonder why the ankle hurts? Five days later in hospital on intravenous antibiotics. C-Reactive Protein 353. Diagnosis: Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteremia, Cellulitis, maybe Osteolmyelitis. Ten days later, back home with daily nursing visits to give the drugs through a PICC line. Go to class in a wheelchair. Six weeks later, intravenous antibiotics stop. Go to class with a walking stick. Read More