Question on Terry Wingrove

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Moosey, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. Macko

    Macko New Member

    I've read this whole thread with a smile on my face, as I am one of his so called (former) disciples.

    I trained every week with Terry in Wanstead, East London, for a number of years. he taught me jujitsu and karate. I respect the man and what he teaches. I may not be a Judan or a master, with the knowledge that some of you have, but I've trained in many different MAs with more instructors than I can ever remember and he is the best I have ever trained with. Including the late, great Vernon Bell. Who incidentally hurt me much more than Terry ever did.

    Make no mistake about it, his sessions are not for the feint hearted and after a few hours on the mat with him. You will without doubt think of him as a complete *******.

    He does not teach sport or nice pat pat techniques. What he teaches is koryu and it hurts more than you could ever imagine. However, in all the years I trained with him (and Len Davies) the worst injuries we had in the dojo were a couple of dislocated shoulders. Yes Terry goes in hard and he hurts you, while smiling and repeating his demonic 'no pain no gain' catchphrase. But although the pain is debilitating while he is applying whatever technique he is demonstrating, he vary rarely causes injury. That is because he doesn't go big on atemi. If he does employ an atemi into the technique, it's almost always used as a 'weakener' to obtain a position where a technique can be applied.

    What he teaches is an aki-jitsu based, daito-ryu syllabus. There are lots of locks, pinches and nerve holds. The reason why it hurts so much is that he will grab a handful of nerve endings and manipulate them. The result of his manipulations is a temporary switching off of the brain. How is this done, by a massive sensory overload, due to the pain. However, this is short lived and all you have to show for a level of pain that no smashed nose, broken jaw etc could ever come close to producing, is a little bruise on your bicep, inner arm, between your toes, on your neck etc. The funny thing for me, is that I watch Terry's youtube videos and think to myself, that looks fake. However, unless you have been his uke, you cannot appreciate how painful his techniques are. It may look to those who have never trained with him, that the uke is putting it on, but the reality is that when he gets his hands on you, all you want to do is scream. It's not put on and it's not fake. You have to experience it to believe it.

    Take it from me, at 6 -2 and over 20 stones, with a very high pain threshold, I was one of his favourite ukes (I don't suppose I helped my cause, as a teenager, by referring to myself as 'The Guvnor' in the dojo). We'd be in a class with say 100 people and he's look around for me. Lol, I used to hide but was always happy to be his uke, as the guy is a master (think of it like this. If you play tennis and Roger Federer needed a partner to have a hit with, you'd jump at the chance). I once got fed up of him demonstrating long hair techniques on me, so I had my hair cut into a number 1 skinhead. The next session, I came in, he called me up and demonstrated the same techniques, using my ears as leverage, instead of my hair.

    What you guys who have not trained with him, week in week out, don't get, is that he is a very professional and sensible instructor. I still have the book (anatomy and physiology by Ross & Wilson) that he requested all of his regular students buy. We used to study physiology with him, as he said you cannot hurt the body if you don't know what it's strengths and weaknesses are. He didn't just teach us how to hurt (let's be honest, that's why all of us do martial arts. As we can't learn self defence unless what we have learned, hurts our assailant), he also taught us how to repair the human body. Many a time in the dojo, he used his wealth of experience to revive a downed man, injured by his training partner. Whether that be from a kick in the balls, a punch on the jaw, winded opponent. Realigning dislocated shoulders etc.

    Another favourite saying of his is 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'. What this meant is that if you came into the dojo in a dirty gi. You wouldn't be allowed to train. Not would you if you stank or had B O. He respected all of his students and fostered an atmosphere where fellow students respected each other as well.

    At the end of each session, he'd also take us through meditation, during which, he would often explain that although a technique we'd been practicing could potentially leave a man in a wheelchair or kill him. We should consider our actions. He'd ask us how we'd feel if we paralysed a man who had attacked us. How would we feel if our actions lead to a family break up. A child forced into care, as the man couldn't work. This is the side of him you don't see on the videos. You see a bully, whereas I remember an instructor who told us the best form of self defence, is to run from trouble as fast as you can. Only using what he had taught us, as a last resort.

    This is the man these youtube videos don't show. Trust me. In all the years I trained with him. He never maliciously knocked a man out. He may have gone in harder on the senior grades but that's to be expected and I guess it's true of all dojos worldwide. He would never punch a low grade student but he would walk up behind you and apply a nerve point while you were drilling with your partner. You'd spin around and have the raging bollock ache with him. But after a while, you develop a second sense to your surroundings and not focus 100% on the person you're grappling with. One day he told us that's why he does it. Saying it's no good beating a man if his mate can walk up behind you and attack you. His constant prods and pinches were designed to make you be aware of your surroundings. Something that I have never forgotten. However, without the awful pain from his pinches etc, I would have never remembered this lesson.

    You may not believe what you see on youtube. And those of you who have never met him, may not respect him, after hearing people talk about him. However, for your own development. Just attend one of his seminars or training sessions. Meet the man. See how he trains and find out a bit more about him. Notwithstanding his undoubted knowledge and ability. I can almost guarantee that after a few sessions, you'll wonder where the bullying comments came from. Terry is many things (good and bad) but he is not vindictive, nor is he a bully.
  2. mattt

    mattt Valued Member

    Wow - quite the thread necro. Based on the writing I was expecting to see a horrible person, and about to explain how striking a compliant uke betrays the trust of martial arts, but then I watched this and thought he is a nice old chap and people are flopping over like penguins.

  3. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    There's that word again!

    Where did mr Wingrove Study Daito-Ryu and who with, just out of interest?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  4. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    A MOD interjection here.

    I will be modding from a biased viewpoint.

    Terry and I first got in contact as we both wrote for Traditional Karate Magazine, though I'd known of Terry for years because of his standing and place in the English Karate community. When he found out that we had an acquaintance in common in the Aikidoka Pierre Chassang he became very chatty and invited me onto one of his courses and gave me a free pass to a large martial arts event. On Terry's course he was very careful of my safety as he knew I had underlying health issues and he would only let me train with one of his Uke and was not prepared to have a number of the techniques tried on me.

    In my experience Terry is a very knowledgeable and experienced martial arts practitioner. I do not agree with a number of his methods, but then I do not necessarily agree with a number of the methods used by a large proportion of the members of this forum.

    Debate about martial arts techniques is one of the primary purposes of this forum. That is fine. Personal attacks and libellous statements will not be tolerated.
  5. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    These two quotes do not match up.

  6. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired


    Is it the Daito-Ryu thing?

    You just wouldn't let it lie....
  7. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Actually no.

    It's the idea that what is being taught is
    If it is based on Aikijujutsu then even ignoring the the usual Daito-ryu difficulties it is not koryu.

    The above quote seems to show that it is a modern system based on an older syllabus.
  8. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I'd have thought it obvious that Terry is teaching "a modern system based on an older syllabus". You've got to be pretty dumb to train and converse with lots of leading martial artists from different Japanese ryu over 60 years and not incorporate that knowledge into your own syllabus.

    I suspect Macko is confused between things coming from koryu and things being koryu.
  9. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Probably. I've had a quick read of the thread and it seems a few people have shared his confusion.

    Personally though I take issue with nicking bits of koryu and teaching it, if that's the case. It's bad manners for a start and also has various issues about the depth of instruction received and how it relates to what has been taught.

    You might get some ideas and new tricks but once you step away from the ryu-ha you start being far to general to claim what you are showing is "from a koryu".
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  10. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Big difference and very important when trying to justify the validity of what you teach!
  11. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I think this is where we part company. :)

    If anyone thinks it's bad manners to teach what you know when you're an instructor, or that 'if you've only learned a bit of my system you can't possibly understand that bit' (never mind what else you might know to give it some context) then they are away with the fairies so far as I'm concerned. People learn and mix new stuff all the time - if they didn't we wouldn't have so many different MA systems.

    To me the validity of what is taught is judged first and foremost by whether it works, not on where it comes from.
  12. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Wrong! When it comes to Koryu it's all about where it has come from!
  13. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    My opinion on this would breach MAP TOS. :Angel:
  14. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    Live a little! It's Christmas!
  15. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    How awkward. It seems a wild animal invaded your home and defecated on your keyboard whilst you weren't watching.
  16. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    These are, in most cases, protected systems. Living cultural assets.

    If someone has been good enough to share a little of that with you then you respect it and act accordingly. If he is as experienced as you say then he should understand. It's not a question of what you, I or even he thinks it is down to the wishes of the ryu. That's how it works whether anyone likes it or not.

    Again if he is as versed as you say he should get this.

    Also with how they are transmitted then it is very possible that you won't actually understand something beyond your current level of initiation.

    This is turn becomes an issue when you want to teach something as being "from a koryu".

    As I said you might pick up some tricks and such but you probably won't get the meat and bones without extensive study and once you step away from the teachings of the ryu then it ceases to be that. You just end up teaching generalised waza.

    Which is fine and is the same trap many fall into.

    As soon as it is claimed that "x waza" is from "y ryu" and that it is koryu then a whole host of other factors kick in because you are claiming knowledge of a very specific thing. In turn your students are also expecting that you are delivering what you say.

    If you say "this works" then fine and dandy, it is fairly easy to judge that.

    However if you say "this is from x-ryu" then you need to show that it shares the same traits with that ryu-ha and that you actually understand it and the system. Otherwise you are just teaching what you think it is or should be and if that's the case you aren't delivering what you claim.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  17. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Clever animal though because it's correct.

    If someone says "this is koryu" then they need to show it is in fact that.
  18. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    I didn't realise that Koryu was Japanese for 'weird martial arts cult' - I was under the impression it meant 'old school'.

    Is it a very specific thing, or is it a catchall term for old martial arts styles? You're making claims here without backing them up.
  19. Macko

    Macko New Member

    As I said in my original post. I don't presume to be an expert in all things martial arts. So perhaps my understanding of koryu is wrong. I believed it to mean a traditional style, not the modern day styles etc. I accept saying koryu and aki-jitsu does seems a contradiction (apologies for that). However, jitsu using nerve points etc may well be fairly new to the west but it's been going for centuries in Japan. Takeda Sokaku may well have founded aki-jitsu but he certainly didn't invent the techniques. He merely restored time honoured techniques, which date back to around (or even before) first millenia.

    The name aki-jitsu may be new but the techniques are fully grounded and (assuming my understanding of koryu is correct) are about as traditional as you can get.
  20. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I don't follow your argument. I think it's extremely arrogant and misguided to assume that a person from another system won't understand something beyond the level of initiation given in the koryu. If that were the case there would be no point in people cross training.

    Once you make the commitment to share a technique then you have passed it on, you can say it came from you, but you do not have ownership or control of it. You cannot patent physical techniques.

    I think that's making a few assumptions. If a technique (x) is taken from style (Y) which is a koryu, then if you teach it, you may not be teaching the koryu, but you are teaching something that has its origins in a koryu. I don't regard that as particularly important as its pretty likely that the same technique is already taught in a number of other systems, whether koryu or not.

    If you claim to be teaching a koryu itself then obviously you should limit yourself to teaching just that koryu and tell students if you ever show them something that is not part of that koryu.

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