Bob Edwards
Black Sash Traditional Wing Chun

I’ve always trained in one way or the other, weight lifting, cycling, swimming, boxing. All through my teens I did various sports of one kind or another. I’d always wanted to do a martial art and had tried karate but it didn’t really suit me.

Anyway I heard about Wing Chun and thought that it might be more my kind of martial art.

It wasn’t until I went to work in Brussels about 5 years ago that I actually found a club quite near to where I lived.

Well to cut a long story short, I went and had a look; I liked the club and the people. There was one problem though, the lessons were taught in French, a language I didn’t understand (even now) but the Sifu was patient and quite amused I think, by a monolingual Brit struggling to learn Wing Chun and French at the same time.

Well my Wing Chun progressed even if my French did not.

My work in Belgium finished and I found myself in Oxford and wanted to find a new place to train.

I had been looking on the web and was intrigued by “The School of Martial Arts – SOMA” at Oxford Brookes’ University, Oxford.

Some clubs can be very inward looking and discourage people who have a different style or outlook from attending.

I found SOMA to be refreshing, it’s good to try other styles, and after all in the real world people don’t stick to a script, they don’t always punch in a certain way. They kick you when you’re on the ground and sometimes even use illegal weapons (Oh dear…).

At SOMA it is these types of scenarios that are discussed and replicated within the lesson!

They have pads, mats and bags if you want to practice striking or cover ground work; also a Muk Chong – “Wooden Dummy”.

The Black Belt ‘students’ come from various styles (or none at all) and have different levels of skill.

The club has a nice atmosphere, the students laugh a lot, and the enjoyment factor seems high. Eddy our Sifu does his best to make all welcome; it doesn’t matter to him if you’re young, old, a black belt or novice.

He’s there to help everyone.

Bob Edwards