Power Of Flight

By Mike Ilderton
Published on Mar 11th, 2009

Most, as those who have begun to know me, would say that I am pretty upbeat. I have the body of a 66 year old and the brain of some one around 8 or 9!

As Dee as said in the past, "Immaturity, in Mikes case, could last forever."

However, this weekend I think I began to grow up.

Some four years ago I began to teach Martial Arts at a Finchale College in County Durham. The College seeks to rehabilitate young people suffering from Mental or Physical Disabilities.

This was a new venture for me. From the outset, it was not possible to teach pure Kenpo or Karate due to the fact many of the students had no confidence in themselves. They have little belief in their ability to perform or even interact with other people

We began with warm ups incorporating kicks and blocks always performing in line and without much physical contact. I incorporated Tai Chi and Escrima into the program and as confidence began to develop, individuals came to the fore.

Past experience and a life that had ended with a break down or accident, resurfaced; Black and Brown Belts in Judo, Karate and a Tae Kwon Do Blue Belt were suddenly in the line ups and the thing became fun. Even appearing on the local TV Station at one point.

Some stood out more than others. Wee Willie Hamilton and Chucky spring to mind, however the one that made a lasting impression was David Tuck.

David was shy at first. He had the usual "Tae Kwon Do is best" attitude, so he was difficult to judge. Beneath the surface there was a kind caring person who began to enjoy his martial arts and Kenpo. He was the only student (because of their short tenure at the College) who got to full orange belt (and was graded by 5th Degree Bob Jones in my presence).

I was so proud of him that day. Later when he rang to tell me that he had achieved his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, I was even more impressed.

We had some good laughs in his final few weeks at the College. Those who have seen the photos of the final evening and the flying kicks will see just how much he was enjoying life.

Sadly I have to report that the good times did not last. Young David took his own life last week.

Tomorrow I am at the service for him and to meet his parents, if they allow me to, I would like this article to appear in THE MALC as a tribute to the fine young martial artist that I got to know.

Both Philip Tuck and his wife and two sons were happy to give there blessing to this article and the photo of David. I decided to call it the Power of Flight , for the simple reason David was at that moment free of all cares.

Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: Mike Ilderton

My time in martial arts stretches back some 50 years. I began my involvement as a 15 year old and took up Judo. At the age of 21 I took up Wado Ryu karate and trained in that art for some 30 years gaining a 5th degree. In tandem to Wado Ryu at the age of 35 I began to learn Tae Kwon Do gaining a first degree in that art More for good attendance than ability I often think! At 50 and finding myself with out a good and or credible Wado Ryu Instructor, I took up Chinese Kempo and after some 5 years gained a black belt in this system.

Finding American Kenpo was a revelation to me and for the past number of years I have attempted to learn the Ed Parker system and continue to train under the guidance of my peers in the MALC organisation. I would be the first to admit that I am not an expert in Kenpo, rather I am a willing student. If I have any skills in the arts it's the ability to link speed and power with economy of motion. I was and hasten to add WAS a proficient free stylist in my younger days. In teaching, be it with the BE SAFE Programme to which the MALC is now linked, or in free style I think that I can offer an articulate and non biased opinion on the merits of the four arts that I have studied.

Other Articles by Mike Ilderton

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