Sensei Tassie

Many, many moons ago (or certainly what feels like it) I lived in a massive house on Baker Street with seven friends. When I moved in I joined the local gym on Marylebone High Street, really just wanting to lose some weight and get a bit fitter. I noticed, however, that they had a class called “Kickboxing”. I’d always fancied doing something martial arty, mainly due to my somewhat violent inclinations and the fun inherent in hitting things, but never had the balls to get stuck in. Since it was a local gym, and the locale was very much filled with MILF’s, lunching ladies and rich Arabs, I figured the class wouldn’t be too taxing.

I went to check it out and, low and behold, really enjoyed it, despite the relentless schedule of push-ups and sit-ups interspersed with hitting pads as hard as you wanted (in my case, with all the strength I could muster). A few weeks went on, and I realised my instructor, Sensei Tassie Sinclair, was clearly much better than just a fitness instructor. I Googled his ass and found out that he was a karate instructor, as well as a former British Open Champion (in 1998) and the British All Styles Karate Champion (2001). Time went on and eventually I chatted to him about karate, and he invited me to check out one of his classes for free.

Fast-forward several months and I’d been going to Tassie’s karate class every week, as well as doing two weekly kickboxing classes with him. He continued to let me train for free as the karate class was held at another gym and I couldn’t afford to pay membership to both. This was cool as it fit my idea that martial arts instruction shouldn’t be about money, but about passing on knowledge to committed people. Also, we became good friends, as I did with some of the other members of his dojo, and we often hung out drinking coffee.

I went through a phase of being unemployed, and my training went through the roof – I started ashtanga yoga and did as many classes, across London, as I could get to. Some Saturdays I did a couple of hours of kickboxing/abs/stretching in Kingsbury and then went down to Marylebone with Tassie to do another class. Madness. Tassie also convinced me to train as a Kickboxercise instructor, meaning I could help out in class and instruct my own if I wanted to (which I didn’t, and still don’t!).

It reached the point, however, when I felt karate training only once a week wasn’t enough to progress as fast as I wanted, and I made the decision to leave Tassie’s dojo and train down at Wandsworth instead, something helped by the fact that by this point I’d moved further south to Vauxhall. It was a hard decision and I was sad to leave, but I knew I’d go back for the odd session. Plus I was living in his old flat, where he occasionally dropped by to pick up post and say hello. Anyhow, he was my first instructor and his style – that of the kumite fighter – has pretty much stuck with me, something I’m pleased about as it kind of makes up for the fact that my kihon is rubbish.

Anyhow, long story aside, what’s made me write this post is that I’m really pleased to see he’s finally got around to doing something he’s spoken about for some time now – some fitness videos. They’re being hosted on the ThinqFitness website, which offers them for “rental” for a per month fee, or for free if you become a full member. There are a couple of different ones, including abs and “Fight Fit“. The two I’ve linked to have free taster clips on right hand side, and check out the “Classes” section of his website if you want to check out a real-life class!

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