Sifu Damien Chauremootoo: Train with Intent and the Martial Arts Blueprint
Train with Intent
I was always fascinated by Bruce Lee`s speed. I studied various types of martial arts growing up, such as Karate, Aikido, Kickboxing, Boxing and Wing Chun Kung Fu. As a young student I always wanted to develop speed so that I could look as cool as my idols, but later on I realized while sparring in class and fighting in the ring that speed is not the only skill that I needed. I was training with speed but with no power, nor intention of hitting my partner. Therefore, every technique that followed my first strike was unrealistic as there was no true reaction. When I became an instructor, I wanted to spend more time training outside my arena.
I went to train and spar with different martial artists as well as professional fighters. The reason I did this was simple. I wanted to test my reflexes and techniques with someone that does not train within the same environment. The way it benefited me, was that I always had to stay on guard and be ready to counter every strike. Every action was causing a real reaction. It made me realize that I had to change my teaching methodology. I wanted to help my students to realize the importance of believing in every technique and drills they were practicing. There's no point practicing different techniques if you have no idea how to apply them. I hold specific classes during the week where every student, including white belts, train with full intention and no protection. Those that do not have experience are closely supervised and asked to use an open palm instead of a fist so that they do not injure each other. The benefit of training with intention allows the practitioner to develop accuracy and speed and interrupt with the right technique. Most importantly it will help them to manage their fear if they have never been in real fight before. The fact that we use realistic scenarios in class, such as dealing with multiple opponents, limited light in the room and random objects on the ground add additional pressure and force the students to improve spatial awareness. When students have practiced intentional training with their partner it translates to drills in the air. They look sharper as they can visualize their opponent's reaction. I believe that contact sparring and training with a highly skilled martial artist is as important for the students as it is for the coach. I allocate specific times during the week so that I myself can train with professional martial artists and fighters so that I can feel the pressure and improve my skills. We never stop learning.
Martial Arts Blue Print
As a traditional martial artist, I was driven by the discipline, values and perseverance. I learnt from an incredibly young age when studying martial arts to never give up and it is a must to have a strong mindset. I still remember to this date when I was going for my first Karate Belt, I was so scared. I didn't feel confident at all. Even though I knew my kata, the fear took over me and I was shaking just to do my grading. My instructor showed no compassion for my young age and wanted me to do my grading properly by being loud and fearless. Those memories are forever engraved in my mind. It has helped me throughout my life to develop a strong mindset and belief that everything is achievable if you give 100% of yourself and believe in what you're doing. Sharon Gertner is one of my students and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue around 7 years ago. Sharon was not able to exercise and didn't have strength to overcome her illness and was basically struck down and trapped with her weak emotional state of mind. Her world was shattered. Today, with my guidance using my blueprint of martial arts, Sharon has developed an incredibly strong mindset and is not only more physically fit, but she is fearless. Fearless to the point where she is now a professional photographer and has started her own business. Occasionally struck with fatigue, Sharon has the mental ability to rise above and overcome her obstacles, manage them, and still thrive with the feelings of hopelessness left far behind her.
All it takes is someone to believe in you and push you above and beyond your limits until you realize your own strength and ability. My dream is not only to teach people how to fight or defend themselves, but also to adapt this amazing blueprint of martial arts into the emotional state of self belief and awareness that can help with their daily life. When I went to China in 2013 to attend the erection of a marble plaque located in the Shaolin Temple's Henan Provence commemorating the Return Of Wing Chun to the Shaolin Temple, I could see how within the Chinese community practicing martial arts wasn't just a so called hour of exercise. It was a discipline and a ritual where everyone was training before sunrise, at school and after school as physical exercise. I always say perfect practice makes perfect, and I believe during this critical time of global pandemic that my teaching methodology can help individuals stay self-motivated and learn how to develop a strong mindset and emerge from this pandemic a better version of themselves.