I find it odd when my students look up at me from the mat with utter disbelief after I have thrown or pinned them, or the eyes of a weapons student bulge in terror as I attack them, or counter one of their attacks.

I believe the French phrase for the facial expression is: “What the fuck just happened?”

Why is it after so many years they still seem surprised when the technique works?

I understand with the beginners. They are new to the art and the instructor. I am an unknown to them. And, to be honest, my physique is not that of the stereotypical Hollywood martial artist. More akin to Rooster Cogburn than Bruce Lee.

But surely it should no longer be a surprise to my regular students that I actually know what I am doing and that the art actually does work as advertised.

Maybe if I start going to the gym again and stop making disparaging remarks about Isaac Newton on the mat?



“I call that bold talk for a one eyed fat man”

Lucky Ned Pepper


Kai Cho

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