Mike Kinney of Murrays Bay has a passion for martial arts. Mike is chief instructor at Chans Martial Arts, teaching Shao Chi Chuan Kung Fu under Grandmaster Chan. They train at St John's School Hall in Mairangi Bay.
Mike and wife Tina have two children, now in their 20s, and both went down the competitive swimming path. Like many sports, Mike believes the disciplines learned in martial arts provide valuable life lessons for the future.
Nikki Davidson: What drew you to martial arts initially?
Mike Kinney: I've been involved for forty-something years. I did the rugby and athletics bit at school in Christchurch, but I was looking for something different. The Bruce Lee phenomenon was rampant back then and like many, I had also experienced a few times in life when self-defence skills would have been handy.
ND: Do you have a role model?
MK: I am so lucky. My role models are my instructors: Grandmaster Chan, Tai Shi Professor Yek and Shi Ye Michael Yek. They are patient, humble and highly skilled people.
ND: How do you train?
MK: At my age, quite carefully!
Seriously, it’s actually a very important question, and one we spend a lot of time and care communicating. All our self-defence techniques deploy biomechanically sound principles and are reinforced using positive psychological teaching methods. The result is the elimination of excessive physical and mental stress. And nothing motivates like your own progress.
ND: What are the benefits for someone looking to introduce Kung Fu training into their life?
MK: Martial skill, self-defence, flexibility, fitness, co-ordination, stress reduction, injury recuperation, improved concentration, better health, confidence and….. fun! Our protocols are old school, respect, honour and loyalty. Each of our students hastheir own objectives in training. But interestingly as time ticks by, they usually find other benefits they did not expect.
Our students are a friendly and welcoming bunch. One of the benefits I value is the great relationships forged along the way. I am lucky to have life-long friendships. I can’t get that from a money machine!
ND: Can you describe the feeling you got when you mastered a new skill or attained a new level?
MK: As an instructor, I get the biggest buzz when a student makes a major breakthrough with a new skill. You can see the glint in their eye…..the lights go on. Elation! Nothing compares. I would use the word mastered very reservedly. We are always learning. I recall not being able to break through on a particular skill for two years. But that makes it more valuable to me.
ND: What other discipline do you excel at or would like to try?
MK: Sing Ong Tai Chi. I have been studying this for 20-something years and love it. I can still improve as I get older. Its focus is very skill based and helps my Kung Fu considerably. It is very good for physical and mental health.
ND: Who would your ideal student be?
MK: One with good ears, an open mind, a commitment to train and a positive attitude. People of all ages can train and improve. We have students right across the age spectrum. The biggest barrier to learning is the top two inches.
ND: In five years time I hope to…
MK: Have good health and to have made continued good progress in my own training. I also want to continue teaching….I am so lucky to have a loyal bunch of students who push me to greater understandings.
For more information email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 09 478 6416