Gathering at the Cardiff Martial Arts Center with friends old and new for the Martin Wheeler Master Class day one kicked off with Martin laying out the lessons we would cover in this four day course.
Day one started with a warm up that lead onto us beginning with the study of body structure, looking at how we can move in response to our partners physical interaction. By moving in response to this physical input the aim was to achieve a fluid and relaxed transition from standing to a core exercises and back to standing, the emphasis was put on just concerning ourselves with the job at hand. By focusing on the task we were able to accept the information our partner was giving us via tactile contact, whilst moving through different directions we would be able to achieve our objective. This was further expanded on with the partners now pulling and lifting limbs, the endeavour here was to achieve a totally weightless feeling for our partner when lifting a limb, literally nothing should be felt by our partner as we rise to a stand, no weight, no tension. We progressively moved on to the study of tension lines running through the body, finding these lines by physically tracing them with our hands, manipulating the line by the use of slight massaging pressure to break the tension line and hence the body structure. It was emphasised by Martin that striking the tension hard and without consideration will actually strengthen the structure by causing an adverse reaction that builds the tension. The ability to cause a drastic disruption to the body structure from minimal effort fully illustrated how important it was to have an understanding of how the human body uses tension to support itself. By allowing the skeleton to complete it’s function of being a support for the muscle structure to hang off, we stay in posture with minimal tension. As soon as we are out of posture the reveres occurs and tension is intensified to take over from the skeletal system, this is where tension lines develop, or can be deliberately created. We had a short break for water and then progressed on to using the information gained in the previous lessons, this time applying them when moving with our partner using our hands to make following the tension line tangible. Our partner now began to attack constantly at around 50% speed, using our knowledge we began breaking their structure whilst being aware, but unfazed by our partners attack. The class then looked at finding those same tension lines in our partner from distance and striking them to break the line and structure before our partner had chance to initiate their attack, there by stopping them in such a way that they did not understand what was occurring. The emphasis was placed on not looking at our placement in our partner’s environment as a fighter, but as a healer. We encountered our partner’s attack with the object to massage them rather then defend or attack, as a fight is only a fight when both participants have a combative mindset. A fantastic start for the third Martin Wheeler Master Class held in Europe and we were all looking forward to the next three days,