Professor James Moclair has been involved in the martial arts for over 4 decades and currently holds a 10th dan in Ju Jitsu. Following the launch of his international book, he talks to Lee Hemmings from Bushi Kia International about his experiences in martial arts and his controversial ‘combat ki’ training programmes
Q, How long have you been practising martial arts?
A, At this point of time, forty three years.
Q, I know that you practice several arts, would you care to list them for the reader?
A, Oh yes, Ju-jutsu is the art that I am a tenth dan in and then my grades in other arts are; eight dan karate, eight dan kobudo, sixth dan aiki-jutsu and fifth dan traditional judo, fifth dan combat judo.
Q, That’s one an incredible list, I also understand you also practice Ki (Internal power) and you are also classed as a master of that?
A, Well, yes and no. Ki has never really been classed as a singular art and in recent years it has it has come under some ridicule from certain groups and individuals as just being just party tricks. If you explore combat ki on the internet you will see what I mean.
Q, Please explain more about your own involvement in ki?
A, Well I am not on my own on this, I along with other individuals around the world have tried to develop Ki into certain categories; they are ki for combat, ki for relaxation and ki for health. The last two are generally accepted into the martial arts community but the Ki for combat has yet to be universally endorsed.
Q, So what does Ki for combat entail?
A, You train through a program or in my case through a syllabus that I have developed to take strikes to various parts of your body without any physical injury, I know this on the surface sounds dangerous but with the right training it is amazing what the human body can achieve and take and I must add, “without injury”.
Q, The big question everyone will be asking is, why do this in the first place?
A, We must all understand that we are only human and no matter how hard we train in our martial arts we are still susceptible to being punched or kicked in a real fight. I know lots of black belts who can dish some good blows and kicks but I also know that they have never really been hit with a full contact strike or any other strike. How will these people fair in a real fight? The idea behind combat ki is to train for that incident. Imagine that an attacker hits you with his best shot and it bounces of you like a bullet bouncing of superman’s chest, what is in the attackers mind now? Can he or she believe there eyes!
Part of Combat ki training is building up self-confidence, part of that self-confidence is knowing that you can take extremely powerful blows and kicks and not get injured, this has an immediate knock on effect that if you are engaged in a fight, you are not afraid of being hit and this lets you concentrate on dealing with the attacker, using your martial arts skills to subdue and overcome the attacker. So combat ki does not replace the martial art that you train in, no, it enhances it. That is why ki, combat or otherwise should not singular as an art; it is really part of a much bigger picture of creating a whole martial art. It is my opinion that a martial art is not complete without all forms of ki.
Q, Professor, do you think combat ki has a place in modern martial arts?
A, The martial arts fraternity who train in traditional Japanese arts as a whole know very little about ki and yet it has been around for several hundreds of years, our friends from the Chinese arts call it chi and you can trance chi back in there arts possibly a few thousand years. So to answer your question, ki has a place in all arts, new and old but I do find that “modern martial arts” is seriously lacking in many area’s.
Q, Would you like to elaborate on that comment?
A, Yes, I would say from my own experience and years of research that at least seventy percent of so called “modern martial arts classes” are no more than a physical work out with a few extremely poor punches and kicks thrown in along with a few “tricks” or what they call “self defence moves” that I personally would add, will never work from the street point of view.
The problem comes from the Instructors of these classes; they know that the general public are not clued up on to what they are undertaking when they sign up for a class and that is all they need.
I have to take my hat off to the so called “instructors” as they are indeed ingenious in the ways they entice the would-be student through there doors with lots of gimmicks and sales baloney that the unsuspecting new student often falls for and then parts with “lots of hard earned” “cash” and that’s what it is all about, “money”, forget ethics, forget morals, forget high technical standards and really forget the most important part “martial arts”, just get what they class as these “suckers” to part with plenty of money and believe me it is easy money, all they do is blind the uninitiated with a few poor quality punches and kicks and get them to perspire a little and you have a winning business that will make some of these unscrupulous individuals lots of “tax free cash”.
These clubs go under various heading, “free style this”, “kick that”, “box this” and so on and claim to be the best in martial arts and self defence system in a particular area. They cover there backsides by adding the word “sport” into the title and the student is encouraged to gently tap his or her competitive partner into winning a mock contest that has no more meaning then a game of tag. They even produce “champions” with flash titles like “world champion.” At this point of time there are more “world champions” then there are stars in the sky. These so called “champions” would in my opinion never stand a chance in a real fight out in the street.
Let’s face martial arts reality; it all comes down to how you train to start with, if you train in a realistic martial arts environment you will fight in a realistic way but if are unfortunate to belong to a club as I have described, then you will find out the hard way. One, that you have wasted your money and two, you may have to spend some considerable time recovering in a hospital bed if you are unfortunate to be attacked as what you believe you have learned is useless .
Q, How would you propose to change this?
A, Realistically, there is no easy answer as these clubs are so embedded into various communities that it will take a mammoth amount of press and media publicity to change things ; one route I have personally taken is to write a book that has just been published on Kempo Karate. I hope this book will help guide new and what I class as misguided individuals into good martial arts clubs.
Q, So Professor, is the book just for new comers to the martial arts?
A, Yes and no, as I have said, I want to guide new people into good clubs and there are plenty of good clubs out there but I also want to break the stigma that surrounds Karate. Many people including lots of practising martial artists are under the false illusion that karate is only for the super supple people of this world and this stigma is fired through Hollywood with the big flash kicks that look good on the big screen.
A. The truth is you do not have to be able to do the splits or do a back flip in order to be able to do Karate and in my book the kicks are definitely not high and easily within the realms of most people. My philosophy is if you can kick them in the shin then that’s great but if you can kick them in the “family jewels” then you are a “five star karate person”.
Age is also another stigma that keeps people away from karate classes, most adults who are thirty plus feel that they are too old to start karate and indeed another martial art. This should not be the case; martial arts should be for all ages and my book shows me as a middle aged person, with few more years added on, still being able to do karate to its full potential.
I also feel another stigma karate has, is that most karate styles are viewed by fellow martial artist’s as very rigid in its approach to the fundamentals, this is not so, with most kempo system’s and in particular my own kempo karate system the system is very fluid and if the general martial arts community reads my book they will be pleasantly surprised by the flowing but extremely powerful techniques the kempo karate systems have. I would go as far to say that they may even learn some new ideas and techniques from the book especially from the attack and defence routines.
Q, When was the book released?
A, The “official launch” was at my book signing ceremony on the twenty sixth of September 2006 at my Dojo building in Dudley, West Midlands, England. I also did a prepress release to the martial arts community by sending out three hundred and thirty email poster’s to various martial arts associations’ and clubs around the world and then a further hundred plus to various martial arts media and press around the world.
Q, How is the initial response to the book release?
A, I can only describe it as fantastic; the prepress release’s initial response was excellent, some of my colleagues from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are extremely enthusiastic about the book and are placing lots of order’s via the internet. At this point of time there are over 25,000 outlets around the world that you can get the book from and it is even on sale in France, Germany, Switzerland and South Africa. At the official launch book signing we had the local press and representatives from various martial arts magazines. I also had tremendous support from my own students and from the local martial arts community.
Q, You mentioned that you can buy the book over the internet, at what internet sites is the book available?
A, All the normal ones like; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, W H smiths, Tesco and if you do a search on google or book butler or one of the other search engines there are hundreds more site where you can get the book. You can also buy the book direct from my publisher’s at Authorhouse.com.
I would also like to add that you can also buy the book from any bookstore and if they don’t it in stock you can place an order for it by quoting the ISBN number 1425930298 or just the title.
Professor Moclair, thank you for this interview and good luck with your book.
A, No I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak about the book and to pass on some of my views to your readers. I know that some people will not share my views and may take offence at some of the comments I have made, but at the end of the day all “martial arts instructors” should have one common goal and that is to make sure that they offer the best instruction possible to there students and if my book just gives them a small push in the right direction then the title of the book, “A breath of fresh air” has done its job.
“A Breath Of Fresh Air: Kempo Karate Novice to Intermediate” is available from: authorhouse.com
Article contributed by: James Moclair, www.taijutsukwai.com
Article date: September 2006.