Martial artist fights for world status
SOME PEOPLE THINK that kung fu is the name given to the fighting moves they see being executed by Bruce Lee or Jet Li in a movie.
Martial artist and owner of Fighting Measure Martial Arts Club, Daniel Gilkes, will happily dispel those myths for you and explain the various disciplines and philosophies during group classes at the Wildey, St Michael business, privately at your home or in sessions at businesses.
Gilkes told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY he has been teaching Muay Thai, a form of kick boxing, and Filipino Martial Arts, for the last “six years or seven years”.
“I am a JKD or jukundo practitioner. It is part of the art and philosophy that Bruce Lee left and is part of his legacy. Everybody knows him from the movies, but it is actually a philosophy and training that he developed before he died. JKD is not a system specifically, but more a philosophy of training. It is a process, the original JKD consisted of 26 different systems and the main root of it is to absorb what is useful and reject what is useless,” Gilkes explained.
“An extension of that is to find your own fighting measure. Where do you stand? Where is your comfort zone? That is your fighting measure for the most part; finding you.”
After starting martial arts with Shotokan Karate when he was 14 years old, he stayed with that discipline for three years. He was then introduced to another system which he said “directly connected to me and how I think” and being involved and learning that discipline, he said it was at the insistence of his instructor, Sifu Wayne Quintyne, that he opened a club.
“Initially, I didn’t have the space to do it because as you know most small businesses die from [the cost of] rent. I moved to Wildey [with my family] and we have a space in the back of our house that I cemented and put a roof on. I operate from home to cut down on expenses. I said then that I would start and see how it goes from there.
“We’re still not a huge school. There’re about eight children and about ten adults in terms of the group classes. Over the years, I’ve realised that it’s becoming more of a niche market in terms of what I offer. So, in the last two years I’ve directed my attention to private classes where I go out to clients or they come to me. Group classes are three days a week and private classes I have every day including Sundays,” he said with a laugh.
Before starting, clients are asked their main reason for wanting to train and what they are looking to get from it. He also seeks to determine if the reason is fitness, competition, or self-defence.
“I also get clients saying they are tired of the monotony of going to the gym and using machines. They still want to be worked out physically but they want to have the dynamics of learning a martial art while they’re doing it,” he noted, adding that he recommends Muay Thai because it is physical in nature.
“Muay Thai is a ring sport, so everybody is being trained to be fighters. So, whether you actually step into the ring or not, I run the programme like a fighting programme, so you have that same level of endurance that, you have to build up.”
Gilkes, who has several awards in martial arts, said a client has to put in the work to get the desired results.
The Filipino martial art is not as physical as Muay Thai and he recommends it to clients for self-defence.
“It gives you a bigger awareness of the self-defence aspect of yourself, your situations and understanding those and how to get yourself out of some of them or rather, how to process the information that is being given to you at that point in time. The very first aspect of self-defence is awareness . . . ,” he explained.
“Martial arts is a lifestyle but it’s not for everybody but I believe that everybody should at least do a three or six-month course in a system that builds your awareness around keeping yourself safe”.
As for the future, the instructor said his goal is to have a “proper training facility”.
“For me, because it’s a passion outside of training and teaching, it is really close to my heart. I am what I do so, I would like to have a facility that helps develop fighters in Barbados and put them bigger on the world stage.” (GBM)