Well done to all the club members who took part in the recent interclub tournament held recently in Wexford. It was the first exeprience for many of a competition environment, and BVMA members did very well taking home their fair share of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medals.
All of the hard work put in at squad training sessions over the past few months paid off handsomely with fighters from the clubs doing well in competition.
Special mention must go to Glenn Chegwidden who picked up a bronze medal in the Veterans section of the World Kickoxing Championships and a Bronze at the BKFA Nationals. Well done also to Sean Keogh who picked up a silver in the PeeWee section at the BKFA Nationals.
The BKFA 2014 Nationals is fast approaching and will take place Sunday 26th October. Anyone considering attending as either a competitor or supporter please let Derek know asap.
Sunday squad sessions are planned and dates will be posted soon. Squad sessions are open to all whether you are competing or not and will push your fitness to the limit for a few weeks - well worth attending.
Well, another summer course has passed and this year an impressive 18 members from the club made the journey to the North Wales resort of Llandudno.
A very special moment for some of the members of the club who graded back in May when they were presented with their new sashes and certs by Master Yau himself. This is a relatively rare occurence and personally speaking was a very proud moment.
Training each day followed the usual pattern of the early morning run/walk/Tai chi session on, over and around the Great Orme before breakfast. Training in the hall was broken up into specific sections each led by a different Guardian including warm up (Master Russell), ging development with the stick (Pete Hornby), tactics for bridging the gap (Keith Thomas), syllabus, breathing techniques (Master Yau), kicking & walking routines taking their influence from the footwork used in the bridging section (Andrew Nation/Carl Jones/Keith Thomas), Shaolin Stamping (Stewart Hunt), yoga warm down (Morag Quirk), and finally meditation (Master Russell). It was a physical and mental effort each day but a very rewarding and enjoyable one. Congratulations to Cathal, Sean and Silvia who were upgraded at the end of the week.
Its not all work, as usual the midweek BBQ was held in Bodafon Farm, hosted this year by the Stafford crew - many thanks. The end of week social, ably organised by our own Steve Kealy, was held in the Imperial Hotel and the Irish and Scots lead the way in the singing and dancing until the small hours.
It was a great week and one that comes highly recommended, its a chance to renew and cement old friendships and make some new ones - if you are looking for a recommendation the summer course newbies from this year have (as usual) already said they are going back next year so we could be setting a new group record in 2015. The venue is once again Llandudno and the course starts 26th July 2015 - start saving folks!
The Summer Course this year will feature a section each day on 8 different Methods/Tactics of Bridging the Gap, which will be lead by Guardian Keith Thomas.
A bridge is any part of the body used to close the distance to the opponent. Arm and hands are commonly the bridge. Single, Double, Triple bridging is possible using hands, feet and/or the body.
Bridging is an important concept in all Southern Kung Fu systems and Keith will be teaching various strategies and tactics to bridge the gap between you and your opponent.
There are various Chinese/Hakka sayings relating to the bridge and these include:
• If there isn't a bridge, build one!
• If there is a bridge cross it!
• If your opponent is on the bridge, shake it and make them fall off!
• If under the bridge then return to the top!
• If on top of the bridge stay on top and immediately cross!
As mentioned, any part of the body can act as the "bridge", but in Southern styles of Kung Fu the focus is invariably on 'Bridging the Arms' i.e. whenever we come into contact with our opponent's arms it can be categorised under Bridging. Therefore the main focus of training would be the control of the opponent's arms.
Controlling the bridge can be applied in various situations.
It may be that you might choose to end a confrontation by focusing the damage on the attacking arm i.e. your strike becomes your bridge, or to control or immobilise (rather than seriously hurt) a person it would be necessary seek a bridge first. It is also employed when throwing and defending against circular attacks.
When combat involves defending against some sort of lethal hand weapon e.g. knives, there is a high cost of losing; so in an era when a high proportion of combat involved knives this, historically, may have increased the focus of the Bridge in Kung Fu and could also explain why some Kung Fu techniques require the use of two arms or double arms in defending against a single strike i.e. to increases the effectiveness of control in the Bridge.
Keith's sessions gave people the concepts to practice to enable them to build the skills needed to "Bridge the Gap" and from there to control the situation and to follow on with your preferred finishing techniques.
This year Pete Hornby, 6th Degree & Guardian, taught a section each day on how to use a stick to generate greater power with Ging techniques.
The term Ging can be loosely translated as "power". There are eight Gings used in Lau Gar; each very different in character and with their own unique effect.
By the end of the course students were be able to use a stick to generate explosive power through skilful use of these Gings. This enabled all to gain the most benefit from the Gings so students could translate these into other weapon and empty hand techniques and dramatically amplify their effectiveness.
A huge congratulations go to three students from the Navan club who took the Black Sash grading under the close scrutiny of Master Yau during his recent visit to Ireland. Watching on was also Guardian of Lau Gar Peter Hornby. The grading takes about 45 minutes and is a physically and emotionally draining test but Arek, Jennifer and Laura acquitted theselves really well and the hard training put in over the years really paid off. Special mention must go to Jennifer and Laura who have been training since the very early days of the club coming up the junior classes before moving to the senior classes. It was a really impressive grading performance from the 3 guys so well done to all. This brings the number of Black Sash students in the BVMA clubs to a hugely impressive 10!!
Congratulations also goes to Niall Whyte who graded for 4th Degree and Sifu Derek Dawson who graded successfully for 5th Degree Black Sash.
Huge congratulations to Glenn Cheggwidden who continues in a rich vein of form this year with a win in the veterans section at the recent WKC tournament held in City West last weekend. By virtue of the win Glenn now also qualifies for the Irish Team to compete in the world championships in October.
Huge congrats to Eoin Sweeney from the Drogheda class who took 3rd place in the cadets section at the Irish Open, Europe's largest open competition. The cadets are 13 > 15 years of age, Eoin fought in the beginner section, 69Kg. Taking silverware at the Irish Open is a real achievement as it attracts some of the best fighters from around the world.
If you haven't already the 2013 Guardian Report (available at the link below) is a great read. It was a busy year and if even a quarter of the proposed courses come off 2014 will be even busier.
2014 is the year of the horse. The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters)
As part of the celebrations the club was asked to do a short demonstration at a dinner organised by the local Chinese community in Drogheda. Some members of the club demonstrated Fei Loong Gee, Lau Gar Luk Hup Kuin, Knife defence, Stick defence and a chi gung demonstration.