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12 Jul

Broadening your horizons...

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Do you ever feel a little stuck in a rut with your martial arts? Perhaps feel a little uninspired by it at the moment? Losing enthusiasm? Or perhaps you are the opposite – chomping at the bit to learn more, understand it better, ready to embrace the martial arts in a broader sense?

All the best martial artists have broad minds when it comes to learning more – it’s healthy to look outside the dojo walls from time to time. The martial arts world is a much bigger than you may imagine and all those different types of martial arts overlap, inter-link, influence and inform each other in a myriad of ways. Many will trace their roots to the same source. Karate, kung-fu and taekwondo can all claim a common heritage; so can jujitsu, judo, kendo, aiki-jutsu and aikido. It makes sense to learn from each other – to look for the similarities and differences between the arts.


We can do this through many ways – read books, cross-train in another art, attend seminars, talk about it with martial artists from other styles. Another more interesting and entertaining way to learn about other martial arts is to attend a martial arts festival….

imgIf you’ve never been to one before, a martial arts festival is a gathering of martial artists from many disciplines to demonstrate their arts to each other and to the general public. Some festivals will showcase sporting ‘stars’ and champions or use special demonstration teams to entertain and thrill. Others will bring together a collection of local clubs to demonstrate their art using their own kyu grade and black belt students. Either way, it is an opportunity to see a range of martial arts in action, meet and talk to other martial artists and perhaps even have a go yourself! It is an opportunity to broaden your horizons, bringing back new ideas and understanding to your own art and re-energising yourself. It’s also a fun day out for the whole family.

If you are interested there is a martial arts festival coming up soon. This festival is known as the ‘Great Northern International Festival of Martial Arts’ or more affectionately – “Marfest”. This will be its 12th year and proceeds from the festival go to Cancer Research UK. The festival will be on Sunday 24th June from 10am – 4pm at the City Space Centre at Sunderland University. It takes about 2 hrs 30 minutes to drive from both Sheffield and Manchester. This will be my 4th year of attending the festival and over that time I have met and befriended several martial artists and benefited greatly from these contacts – you could too!

To find out more about Marfest 2012 visit its dedicated blog at: where you can find out all about the clubs and arts that will be demonstrating this year. And yes, there will be ‘come and try it’ mats so you’ll have no excuse not to try something new….

If you know of any other martial arts festivals coming up why not drop me a line or leave a comment to let us know the details. You can e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Photo taken at Marfest 2010 and depicts the lion dance as performed by the Moi Fa Wing Chun acadamy - always an entertaining opening to the festival!

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