Shihan’s Self Belief Mindsets
Shihan – is a Japanese term that is used in many Japanese martial arts as an honorific title for expert or senior instructors. It can be translated as “master instructor”.
Mindset – the established set of attitudes held by someone.
Self Belief – to have confidence in ones own abilities and judgement.
These are the Mindsets that our Chief Instructor Christopher Allen lives by and shapes everything he does both in his personal life and on behalf of Tring Martial Arts Academy.
Limits Exist Only In The Mind
I firmly believe that limits only exist in your mind, if you can’t imagine something then you can’t make it happen. For instance, having quit martial arts when I was 17 (having been doing it since I was 9) I never imagined where I would be now, why would I? I was more interested in going out to nightclubs, dating girls and generally living the life I imagined I would when I was 13 or 14. Around this age I also started hanging around with a friend from school who eventually would become a world renowned music producer (you can read more about Ian here – https://www.discogs.com/artist/502988-Ian-Widgery called Ian.
Ian had a vision, he knew where he wanted to be and you know what he made it. Ian was my inspiration for my own achievements within music and that was to become a Professional DJ. I learned to DJ with Ian and others and within 12 months I had my first booking at “The Venue” in Penzance, Cornwall. After that, I knew I wanted more gigs but they weren’t going to drop into my lap. Instead I needed to go out there and promote myself, from sending demo tapes to promoters and getting myself along to various events, sometimes going to more than 1 per night, so you are “seen” supporting them. I remember once DJing at what would become my residency at The Shirehorse, St Ive’s (now demolished for housing). My set was 8 until 10pm, a warm up set for the main act which was DJ Groove Rider, whilst I really wanted to stay on for his set I reckoned that as I had already been to a few Dreamscape events that year I could skip it and get over to The Venue in Penzance for their night with DJ Dave Clarke. After shamelessly making sure the promoter knew I was there and enjoying Dave Clarke’s set for the night, I left after the second encore and headed over to a house party in Hayle (my home town) where I knew there was going to be at least another two local promoters whom I knew.
Alongside this, I was honing my craft, getting better at DJing, mixing (vinyl!) and working with some great MC’s. Eventually, by the time I was 19 I was DJing all over Cornwall and Devon. Unfortunately around the time of such great success, my Dad passed away and to be honest I took it hard, I went off the rails for a while and lost my drive. When I did get back on the decks for a gig I had nerves, I wasn’t sure I was any good and even though friends told me they had an amazing time I wasn’t feeling it.
It’s at times like this when you can listen to the negativity in your own mind and limit your ability or you can drive forward and push.
When I was 21, I left Cornwall taking my decks and records with me. Apart from a few gigs in Soho, I realised that the bottom had dropped out of the club scene, back then dance music had become over the top commercial with dumb records remixing Trumpton and Sesame Street. It all felt like there was no future to it. I don’t have any regrets in deciding to return to martial arts but I do wonder sometimes what would have happened if I had continued to move forward in music, maybe I would have been the guy who wears a oversized Mouse Head playing at Glastonbury.