When did you get into martial arts?

I was first involved in Martial Arts at the age of 15, my friends and I attended a local self-defence group in Norris green sports centre which turned out to be Traditional Ju-Jitsu. I loved the classes and once the course had ended, I began to study at the instructors Dojo in Croxteth Sports Center and then later on at Lowlands Ju-Jitsu Academy in Haymans Green Liverpool, 30 years on I am still training and teaching at my own gym Team Mushin on Queens Drive, Liverpool.
As a youngster I was bullied at school, I was in an accident as a child and I have skin grafts over most of my body, I was bullied because I look different, this followed on from my junior school and never went away. Ju-Jitsu gave me the confidence to move on with my life and try different martial arts such as Muay Thai, Grappling/MMA and Tai Chi.
I now use my experience to help youngsters who have and are going through the same thing.
What’s kept you interested in Ju-Jitsu?
I love learning and teaching, I have thought many times about retiring, but there is always a “diamond in the rough” that little kid that has that extra something. So I suppose ultimately it’s about “paying it forward” and helping people.
We work closely with children who have been bullied by offering 1-1 personal development and mentoring programs, we have had cases were children have never left their parents side and struggle to cope at school, through martial arts they have gained confidence, self-respect and courage, and earned the ability to stand on their own two feet.
You are involved in ‘fight for peace’, what’s that about?
FFP is a charity organisation originally set up in Rio and then later in London. They are passionate about working with youngsters and encourage them to be the best that they can be by offering not just Boxing and Martial Arts but Personal Development, Mentoring Leadership and Education. Working with FFP has made us see that we have always had a strong set of values, and now a focus for the future; we are now more than Martial Arts. We are looking into community projects to help the youngsters in the area, and linking with local businesses to help youngsters look to a brighter future.
How do you see the next five years?
I’m looking forward to what the future holds, and can see big growth in not only our gym Team Mushin, but our Ju-Jitsu group is going from Strength to strength with leadership programs in place for youngsters and personal development and mentoring sessions for older students we can only excel. Our Sambo group has also had great success so far in 2015, just returning from Croatia from the European Sambo Championships and having one of our youngsters and a coach picked for British Squad in Combat Wrestling World Championships later this year.
We are forming strong links with local businesses in the area, and some of these have come on board as sponsors for not only the gym but our fighters too.
For me personally after training in ju-jitsu for such a long time and starting to feel my age, my training will develop more towards my second passion Yang style Tai Chi ,and blending it with my style of ju-jitsu, I look forward to seeing how it develops.
What do you think is important for running a family based martial arts gym?
Strong values and a good support network for kids. The children see us as much more than coaches or instructors, we are family and are always there to support and help encourage them, we regularly have children’s parties and fundraising events, and work closely with the children to help them to develop the best way we can, our leadership programs have brought some fantastic results, and the children are growing from strength to strength, so much so that our summer camps have become extremely busy and our young leaders are keen to help out.
If you could do one thing different in your martial arts career, what would it be?
I would have gotten involved in Grappling and Muay Thai at an earlier age, these were always areas that I wanted to develop further, both systems compliment traditional Ju-Jitsu so much, this is something which I discovered whilst training at Kaobon, Colin Heron is an amazing coach and helped develop my skills, his fighters would always look after me and encouraged me to join the grappling classes. I now incorporate this in to our ju-jitsu classes as it will help the students become more rounded fighters, as well as broadening their minds.
What other interests do you have outside the martial arts?
In 2009 I became involved in a mediation group called Stone water zen at the annex in Hope street Liverpool, I have always been interested in meditation and found the practice, for me, has been extremely helpful and fulfilling in my busy life, so much so that in 2014 I asked to take Shiso Hosen Ceremony (leaving home) and was ordained as Buddhist Monk in April in 2014, I am now working on the transition of bringing zen practice in to my everyday life, and finding the transition of being a Buddhist monk and a martial arts very challenging, and loving every minute. But ultimately for me my goal is to help others.
If you have the chance now, who would, you like to thank from your journey?
My father Kenneth King for making me strong willed and focused
My Fiancé Adam Lindop for always pushing me to do ant try different things.
My Zen Teacher Dave Scott for guiding me on my journey and being there for me when I stray from my path.
George Pollin for always reminding me that the only limitations I have in my practice are the ones that I place.
Ronnie Colwell for his contributions to Ju-Jitsu in Liverpool, I just wish I got a chance to meet him in person.
Alfie Lewis for always reminding me that my zen and Martial arts life are the same, and to embody who I am.
All my students for without you I would not be who I am today.
If people want to know more about Team Mushin/ Muga Mushin Ryu Ju-Jitsu how can they contact you??
For further information our website is available at www.mushinmartialarts.org.uk email:sueteammushin@gmail.com , twitter:@teammushin, FB @teammushin