Culture > Kicking from the hip

Posted on August 16, 2016
Image courtesy of Travelwayoflife via flickr

Image courtesy of Travelwayoflife via flickr

Niamh Mallaghan on how martial arts saved her life

It all kicked off at the train station. Me and my mates were having a laugh when a girl come up to me and started slagging me off. I wasn’t in a good mood anyway, and I wasn’t going to take any bad mouth from anyone, so I started mouthing back.

She pushed me away scratching my face in the process so I saw red and smacked her round the head. There was a lot of punching and kicking from both of us but I got her to the floor and started kicking her.

I know what it’s like being on the floor when you can’t do anything about it and you know they’re bigger than you and they’ll probably end up killing you. You feel weak, like you can’t do anything. But when you’re in a fight, because you’re really angry, you just carry on. My mates tried to pull me away but I just kept going back to hurt her more.

Wing Chun is about real street fighting

When they did calm me down, and I started reflecting on what I had just done, I felt really bad. I didn’t mean to go that mad over a couple of words. But I couldn’t do anything about it. I’d already done it. That was my last fight. I was falling in with the wrong crowd, in trouble with the police and getting out of control so my mum moved us all to London.

When I found out there was no room for me in school I was back out on the streets, so my step dad had a little word with one of his mates, Seyfi, a master of Wing Chun.

“Wing Chun is about real street fighting,” says Seyfi. “Other martial arts like karate and judo have lost their original concept and developed into a competition-based art. Wing Chun has stuck to its roots. It specialises in close quarter combat. It’s direct, simple and economical.”

For a while I didn’t like it because I was the only girl. For the first time I was really shy but then I got to know the other people there. They started to help me out and show me all sorts of sweet moves.

I’m teaching violence, but not how to be violent

“Wing Chun is becoming more and more popular, thanks mainly to its most famous student: Bruce Lee,” says Seyfi. “As a 13 year old I was crazy about Bruce Lee (I still am). But in the 70s the only people teaching Wing Chun were the Chinese in China Town. I was too young to travel, and they charged a lot of money to people who weren’t Chinese. But after doing Judo, Wu Shu Kwan and Taekwondo, I finally found a local Wing Chun class. Now I teach my own students at my own school, Spirit Wing Chun, and I represent Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee’s first American student.

“Wing Chun gives you a purpose and an aim. It’s about self-expression. You learn that fighting is not something to show off with or use lightly: as you become more deadly, you realise how much damage you can do to another human being. I’m teaching violence, but not how to be violent.”

I really enjoy Wing Chun now, plus my anger has calmed down a bit. I’d think twice before I got into another fight because now I could really do some damage.

Niamh Mallaghan

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2 Responses to Kicking from the hip

  1. Adil February 16, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    This article is a great article showing of how martial arts skills can be useful sometimes in situation like Niamh Mallaghan was in. This article also shows sometimes in situations like this it might not be good idea to go over the top as she did due to the fact that going over the top can lead to police getting involved.

  2. Samuel March 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm #

    Reading this article, I felt that Niamh made the right decisions in learning Wing Chun to solve the issues that she was facing rather than giving up.

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