My Martial Arts Journey at Cumberland Martial Arts Academy

During the month of February, I'll be training at CMAA. You'll be able to see my progress by coming back regularly.

I'll be learning Wing Chun Kung Fu with Sifu Robert Teske and Muay Thai & some MMA with coach Nicholas Seguin.

Entry #1:
Wing Chun Kung Fu - 02/01/2018 - 8 to 9:30 PM

This was my first time training Wing Chun. It was quite different in a good way. My new Sifu, Sifu Robert Teske, told me to take it easy and learn as much as I could and that it didn't matter if I didn't master all of the movements. In the video below, you can see Sifu perform the beginning of what we learned:

As you can see I'm in good hands for my martial arts journey. In fact, Sifu Robert Teske will be presented with the Canadian National Martial Artist Lifetime Achievement Award.

Here's a bit more about Sifu Robert Teske:

- 46 years of martial arts experience

- holder of many NCCP certifications ( Making Ethical Decisions, Making Head Way in Sports, Design a Basic Sports Program, Nutrition, Teaching and Learning, Planning a Practice, Prevention and Recovery and Basic Mental Skills)

- Wushu Canada Level 7
(Gold Sash Wing Chun Kung Fu)

- Wushu Canada National Senior Coach

- Sanda Fundamentals
(Wushu Canada)

- Certified Canadian Sanda Judging
(Wushu Canada)

- Wushu Fundamantals
(Wushu Canada)

- First Aid, CPR & AED certified
(St. John’s ambulance)

- Wushu Canada National Coaching Director

- Wushu Ontario Sanda Committee Chairman

- 2nd Degree Black Belt WTF Tae Kwon Do

- 1st Degree Black Belt Meibukan Goju Ryu Karate

My main takeaway from my first Wing Chun lesson is to build your structure and take it slow. I had the opportunity to learn from Gold sash, Harry Szuto, a Ving Tsun Disciple. He showed me many moves. To be honest, I don't quite remember the names. The learning curve is quite high and that's why Sifu Robert Teske told me to take it slow.

I am fine with the learning curve. I find it very rewarding to learn something brand new. That's what is lacking from the fitness world. We need to challenge our brain as well. It keeps us young and fresh.

Entry #2
Muay Thai - 02/05/2018 - 8 to 9 PM

This was actually my 4th time training with Coach Nicholas. I showed up 5-10 minutes late this time around because my wife made me watch This Is Us ;). Actually, she didn't make me, it is quite an entertaining show.

When I showed up, the group was starting their warm-up with a skipping rope. Once that was done, I jumped in and we were working individually on combos. We then doubled up and started hitting the pads (my favourite part!). I was teamed up with Jordan, a CMAA veteran. He's been training there for 3 years now and is about to participate in his first fight in the next month. Thank you for the tips!

I won't be able to make it tonight because it's This Is Us' season finale but I'll be back this week.

For a more in-depth review check out my first blog post about CMAA and Muay Thai:

Entry #3
MMA and Open Roll - 02/9/2018 - 7:30 to 9 PM and 02/10/2018 - 1 to 2 PM

My Friday nights are now dedicated to MMA and Open Roll.

Mixed martial arts ''is a full-contact combat sport that allows both striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts.''

The 90 minutes of training is invigorating. I am a fish out of water and I am learning so much. I feel like Neo in the Matrix at times when he first learns martial arts. In reality, I feel more often than not like a human pretzel. The Open Roll / BJJ is a very humbling experience. I always lose and that's the beauty of it. You learn so much more by losing. Eventually, maybe, I'll win but for now at least I'm learning.

Entry #4
Muay Thai - 02/12/2018 - 8 to 9 PM

This is coach Nicholas S. on the bag demonstrating some of the combos we've been working on.

Entry #5
MMA and Open Roll - 02/17/2018 - 7:30 - 9 PM

You've been hearing me talk and write a lot about Open Roll. The best way to explain it is to show you a video of my two MMA coaches. I hope you like it. On a side note, I'm actually proud of my transparent text that I added.
I've participated at about half a dozen open rolls and tonight was by far my favorite. For the first time, I didn't lose. I also thought that I did a pretty good job trying out what we were learning during the class. Next entry, I'll add a MMA video to show you how fun it is.

Entry #6
Wing Chun Kung Fu - 02/20/2018 - 7:30 - 9 PM

This was my 2nd session of Wing Chun. I felt slightly more comfortable (emphasis on slightly). It was still loads of fun learning. What I particularly like about CMAA is that every member is helping me out. I am by far the newbie in the group and everyone there wants to help me with their bit of wisdom.

My final thoughts...

I feel like I've learned quite a bit during my Kung-Fu and Muay Thai training.

In Wing Chun, we talked a lot about power & control. Having both simultaneously or/and sequentially was very hard for me. It required great physical and mental awareness. But failing at times isn't negative. I strongly think failing leads to learning and learning leads to accomplishing. I wish I had more time to learn Wing Chun because I find it relaxing and invigorating at the same time. It's both a spiritual and physical journey.

What I particularly enjoyed about Muay Thai was hitting the pads. It provided me with an outlet to release some stress. Also, it was a mental challenge to remember the different combinations (especially when I was the one holding the pads). You can't zone out during the explanations because you'll look like a fool afterwards. Practising Muay Thai forced me to be in the present moment. When you live in the present moment, you forget about the past and you stop worrying about the future. What a relief it can be to live in the present moment.

In conclusion, here are my three reasons to visit CMAA:

1) Bilingual instructors: Most instructors spoke French. They could easily instruct in French or in English.

2) Variety: CMAA offers many types of classes (kids bjj & muay-thai, women only Wing-Chun, Kung-Fu, Muay Thai, MMA, BJJ and bootcamps).

3) Everybody there wants you to succeed. CMAA created a friendly environment where everybody is there to learn and enjoy themselves.