Chinese martial arts

No account of RAT is complete without mentioning its early foundations in North Siu Lam kung fu. While the performance of RAT and North Siu Lam look completely different, the fundamental principles and values originate from the training we received from Shifu Mike Wilkinson, Len Heiné, and Jéan Pujol. These have been emphasised and expanded in many ways, but without the very hard training and focus on persistence and determination, RAT would probably would not have become the efficient self-defence approach that it became, emphasising the great resilience of the mind.

Mike Wilkinson and Len Heiné

Mike bending steel with his throat
Mike bending steel with his throat

Mike and Len were responsible for keeping the original syllabus (as taught by Jéan Pujol) alive for decades.

Mike and Len put us through years of very difficult training. At the time we would often put it down to mental and physical torture (not), but in reality it was the best preparation for life that any aspiring youngster could hope for, as it taught self-discipline and that a strong mind is the key to success in martial arts and for life more generally. Due to the hard training the school did not produce many black sash instructors, but those who did make it demonstrated high levels of persistence. Even though the school was traditional in nature, Mike and Len introduced us to other martial arts in our training, such as Eskrima, which laid another of the important foundations of RAT, which is to have an open mind and be accepting of different ways of doing things.

Bheki and Themba performing the dragon's tail kick
Bheki and Themba performing the dragon’s tail kick

Other Chinese martial arts

The syllabus covers a range of disciplines giving the practitioner a broad understanding of Chinese martial arts.These include an introduction to Xing Yi, Bagua, Wing Chun and Lohan.

Kiora Kung Fu

In the early 2000s we began to focus on RAT training and stopped teaching to the public. Existing students could still learn the Chinese martial arts as a form of specialisation training and to broaden the practitioner’s understanding of the various forms of combat. The various martial arts fell became part of the Kiora club.