Sid Abbey
1st Dan Black Belt Judo 1991
World Champion Power Lifter “on 3 Bench Presses”
(Still holding, and undefeated, British Bench Press record)

Being the Senior Steward, I heard that another Martial Arts School was to begin at Oxford Brookes University, I thought it would be another type of ‘Karate’ style; I watched for several months and was ‘shocked’ at the realism of the training based on what I had done and seen – it was not as visual, as say, Tae Kwon Do, or Judo, it was and is ‘quieter’ although “Full Contact” from day one!

The Sifu – (Teacher), approached me having seen me watching the training sessions and asked if I was interested in martial arts – I said maybe – thinking at 57 I was too old! The Sifu, I found out was 56, so I did not feel so bad.

So, I decided to give SOMA a try in October 1995, this was a complete change from my usual Judo and weight lifting activities. I soon was able to keep up with the other Black Belts and the ‘younger set’ on the warm up exercises they do.

I foolishly asked about the ‘fabled’ 1 inch punch – did it really work? – the Sifu said yes! I asked him to demonstrate it on me; being 16+ stone I could not see it working. That was my first mistake!

The Sifu refused, as he does not like showing off. I persisted and finally he agreed, but, changed the delivery, saying that to punch me, was too dangerous – he put a protective vest on me – placed his fingers on my chest raised the heel of his hand and hit me! I was flat on my back!!!

I took up SOMA to give me added focus, as it is more physically and mentally demanding than weight lifting. It has given me substantial flexibility and this in turn has enhanced my weight lifting, at the same time giving me a wider interest in martial arts.

This School has been an eye opener to me, from the realistic ‘attack/defence’ techniques shown, the quality of different black belts from other styles who have joined since I have been with the school, and its philosophy, makes the school very different.

I have gained a great deal from the friendship of the other students many are much younger than I am; I highly recommend anyone to this School and will continue to take an active part.

The above testimonial is a direct copy of the original, which can be seen at any time in the “Tao of SOMA book of Black Belts”.

Sid Abbey – 5th January 2000