At 9:30 Saturday morning, 26 martial artists gathered together in the warm up room of the University College of London to participate in what was to become a very hard, but very enjoyable and worthwhile day. Sparring is more than just thumping & being thumped, & Chief Instructor Dennis Kah Swee Ngo spent the first hour or so categorising us into different types of fighters. As Dennis explained: How can we know our apponents if we do not know ourselves? By understanding what kind of fighters we are we can learn to capitalise on our strengths and work on our weaknesses.
Then Dennis demonstrated various sparring movements- a breathtaking display which gave us all a hint of what we are working towards! Next came a series of sparring exercise techniques which involved striking and blocking moves, plus punching & kicking pads held by our partners. The latter exercises were extremely aerobic, leaving us exhausted in pools of our own sweat! They clearly demonstrated how easy it is to forget good technique and just brawl when tired and under pressure.
Lunch came next - a welcome chance to rest and re energise ourselves. After lunch began the real sparring, where we had to learn how to swich techniques and play with our opponents. This was followed by sparring against all 25 of our fellow students- one after the other! This was a real killer, but did show that many of us performed at our best while under pressure. Too tired to use brute force, we had to relax and use better techniques.
The day left us tired & aching, but with the real feeling that we had all learned something. I think that everybody who attended would not hesitate to recommend the next sparring day.
I would personally like to thank Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo for organising the day & for his demonstrations which once again reminded me what a beautiful & yet devastating art Fujian White Crane can be.