Below is the interview that Sifu Marc Davis had with Combat Magazine in June 2010
“My Journey So Far”
Combat Magazine: Thank you Sifu, for this opportunity to interview you. One of the things that I’m always curious about is how people got started in Martial Arts. Can you tell us a little bit about your story?
MARC DAVIS: lt is my pleasure; many members of my family have practiced some form of Martial Arts so it has always been a part of my life. I can remember being as young as five/six years old practicing boxing, kicking and basic blocking techniques with my uncles and cousins. However my main interest grew when I was six/seven and a friend of the family showed me my first Kung Fu film, which happened to be Fist of Fury starring Bruce Lee. He also showed me some footage of an old master demonstrating his martial arts skills against multiple attackers. I could not take my eyes off the screen and after seeing such speed, power and technical skills, I knew that I must study martial arts and develop this skill to one day become an expert.
After gaining a strong foundation and studying many different styles you developed your own unique system of mixed martial arts known as MD Martial Arts, that you have now been teaching for 18 years. What was the reason for this?
MARC DAVIS: The reason for developing my own system of martial arts is very simple. The various styles that I had practiced did not cover all areas and therefore made me feel incomplete. My intention when I started martial arts was to become an expert in all areas of combat, in all ranges physical, mental and spiritual.
What is the main emphasis of MD- Martial Arts?
MARC DAVIS: The main emphasis is on street effectiveness, and body conditioning i.e. hardening the body, training the mind to respond naurally, flowing techniques and using your opponent’s strength and energy against them, and finally to be proficient and complete in all areas of combat and martial arts.
Over the years, how many students have you taught?
MARC DAVIS: I have been teaching for the last 18 years and in that time I would say that I have taught around 1,500 students – all levels from beginners to people who are black belts or experts in their own right.
You have been practising martial arts for over 30 years now. This is a long time to train. Any advice for the readers on how to keep going in Martial Arts for so long?
MARC DAVIS: I am a firm beliver in not just doing something half-heartedly but fulfilling a journey and achieving your full potential. Martial art is not something that you do just for five or ten years but it is a lifelong study (a pursuit of excellence). I think that once you see and feel the health and fitness benefits and the constant mental self it drives you on to keep training, stay dedicated and progress to the next level
What is your proudest moment in Martial Arts?
MARC DAVIS: My proudest moment was becoming an expert and opening my first kwoon/dojo. This was followed closely by writing my first book and getting published.
Do you still get to train as often as you’d like given everything you have going in your life? Do you training every day and what would be a typical training session for you?
MARC DAVIS: From the age of about 12 to 26 I practiced for three and half hours every day without fail. As I am now a lot busier with teaching and running my full time martial arts academy, I have to balance my time between many things. I currently train for two hours a day five days a week. My training varies from practicing different areas of empty hang combat techniques to weapons training, bag work, skipping, running, body conditioning, stretching and meditation.
What are your views on the more traditional aspects of the martial arts such as kata?
MARC DAVIS: Traditional martial arts must always be given full respect because it is from this very source that all forms of combat started. The most important thing is to do what suits you as an individual, your size, personality etc… Some people many prefer to stay in a traditional style all their life and I respect that.
However for me it’s all about moving with the times and whichever direction martial arts goes in then I will be right there pushing boundaries and striving or the most effective method. But remember whether you practise traditional or modern martial arts it always comes down to the individual and how they use their style or method.
Many people are saying now that traditional martial arts are all but useless for street self-defence. Do you think this is true?
MARC DAVIS: I disagree. Nothing in traditional martial arts is useless; it just depends on what you want from our art and what the rules are. Everything can be good and bad depending on how you use it – whether it is traditional Kung Fu, Karate or MMA.
How can traditional martial artists modify their training to better prepare themselves for a real self-defence situation?
MARC DAVIS: In many martial arts there are moves, techniques or training drills that are not necessary. In my humble opinion just focus on what is really needed and what will work in that situation or environment- street, cage or ring.
Do you believe the view that the only consistently effective technique in street encounters is the pre-emptive strike?
MARC DAVIS: No, it depends on the situation and your skill level. However, if you know that you are going to be attacked and you can intercept your opponent/enemy, it can be one of the most effective and important things you can do to defend yourself.
Do you have students coming into your Dojo wanting to fight like the guys in the UFC?
MARC DAVIS: All the time, I myself enjoy watching UFC, boxing or any combat sport. I try to make it very clear however, that one is a sport which many rules and the MD System has none. It all depends on what the student is looking for and what they want to achieve. I will give you the best advice that I can and then teach you accordingly. For me personally, martial arts are not about getting into the ring, it’s about street effectiveness, where there is no referee.
Do you think students and instructors have to change their training if they want to be effective at self-defence?
MARC DAVIS: You have to adapt your fighting style and training for whatever the competition is and learn to play by their rules, be it boxing, Thai boxing, JuJitsu or MMA.
Do you think martial artists address the psychological aspects enough in their training, or is there too much emphasis put on learning physical technique?
MARC DAVIS: The physical and mental side are both very important in martial arts an in my humble opinion many fight practitioners never fully develop the full potential of the mind and spirit which I believe is the most important weapon in combat.
Do you think it is possible to gain real success in life without first mastering self?
MARC DAVIS: People measure success in different ways but I believe achieving self-mastery is an invaluable tool in order to know yourself and others and to overcome anything that life may throw at you.
What inspires you?
MARC DAVIS: Nature, and all great people.
Thank you for your time Sifu, Any parting words for the readers?
MARC DAVIS: Train hard, strive to be complete and always respect others. There is always more than one way.
For more interesting news and articles form Combat Magazine click here.