In the world of things to do when you're not busy earning money to spend on things to do... there is a great deal to choose from. From Zumba and zero gravity yoga, to military fitness and aerial dance, plus anything in-between. I would hazard a guess however that you are reading this because you have some degree of fascination or curiosity with the martial arts. Perhaps you have many years of experience... perhaps you have no experience... or perhaps you trained Karate in your teens and you fancy getting back into something.
In the world of martial arts there seems to be just as much choice when it comes to different styles and clubs. The ones at the front of most peoples minds will be styles like Karate, Judo and Jujitsu from Japan, or Muay Thai Kickboxing from Thailand and Taewkondo from Korea, and of course Tai Chi and Kung Fu from China. Not to forget the likes of MMA, Krav Maga and Systema. Each martial art has its own flavour but ultimately it will be at the mercy of the club teaching it and where they want to place their focus. Some clubs are very competition based whilst others are more self-defense based whereas others ignore the martial components altogether.
The important question to ask yourself is... what do I want to achieve from learning a martial art?
If you are seeking to win competitions, inflate your ego, beat people up, improve your street credibility or attain a black belt in twelve months... we are not the club for you. However if you are seeking to learn self-defense, learn about yourself, learn a traditional art and are in no hurry to do so... we may be able to help.
Our club and White Crane for that matter are not everyone's cup-of-tea and we are under no delusion that it will suit everybody. Learning a martial art is about teaching your body how to make shapes. Some shapes are easy, some shapes are tricky. As a club we like to be quite particular about these shapes because if the shapes are not a certain way then the shapes will not be White Crane. The shapes teach the body the principles of White Crane and how to move in an efficient way for the purposes of self-defence. They also promote lifelong health through strength, flexibility and of course a well aligned posture. These are details that may not seem immediately beneficial but in years to come they could make all the difference. This is why we are particular about shapes, it's a long term plan and one that attracts a particular mind-set. A mind-set for detail.
Progress requires patience and is often frustrating, however the rewards stretch much further beyond winning medals. There are at times more questions than answers and at other times more answers than questions. However facing our frustrations head-on is a valuable and worthwhile endeavour if you have the testicular fortitude to look at yourself in the mirror. Most people do not.
It takes a great amount of effort and repetition to be able to perform White Crane and make it look like White Crane. If you are the type who would rather take a short cut to achieve your goals and bypass hard work and repetition then unfortunately you will really struggle to learn with us.
I am sure that most people come to a martial arts class with some form of preconceived idea of what to expect. Funky uniforms, ranks dictated by coloured belts and lots of shouting are a far cry from where we are. If you are the type who thrives in an authoritarian environment then you will not enjoy our classes. We treat people as adults and as equals.
We like to give people the space and freedom to learn in their own way through taking responsibility for themselves. We do not dangle the golden carrot of belts and rank before people to encourage development and effort. The rewards from learning White Crane, beyond the obvious health, strength and flexibility gains, are very personal insights that come from within. This will not appeal to you if your idea of reward is redeeming Nectar points or buying an iPhone. We enjoy sharing White Crane as a diverse group and we just get on and have fun through training.
If you are more interested in... yourself, what you have previously learnt, showing off, giving unsolicited advice or generally being a dick then you will not appreciate our environment.
If you are more interested in... learning, engaging with yourself and others, striving for excellence and sublimating your ego then you will most likely appreciate our environment.
Do your best. That's all we ask. Even if you can only make it along to two classes per year, this is enough to learn. In class we can only teach the movements and shapes. Repetition of those shapes is what teaches the student White Crane. Hence it is up to individuals to teach themselves through repetition. We cannot practice White Crane for you.
We could tell you that White Crane is the one answer to all of your problems, the most effective form of self-defense and something that will definitely make you more attractive to the opposite sex. However we would rather be quite frank with you. We are not 'better' than anyone else, our club is not a one-stop-shop and we are not trying to create a huge global corporation. We teach White Crane to those who get where we're coming from. In the West there is a lot of myth and fantasy surrounding martial arts propagated by the cinema and people trying to make money. It's just a martial art at the end of the day, it's not a movie, a dance, a computer game or a cult and you will not become a levitating bearded guru complete with Ganesh statues and Tibetan prayer wheels by training with us.
If we still sound appealing to you then please either come to a class or drop us a line. There is never any need to book, just come along whenever you like. Our classes are friendly and unintimidating so there will be no need to bring your Shaolin monk robes, Ninja costume or Pumpthrust 500 Ego Inflator©.