I remember seeing an old Kung Fu Flick back in the 70's and there was this boxer. Thin and wiry with muscles like whips. His body tanned and his oriental features hidden beneath a grimace. You knew he was a tough bastard and he was being tested by his enemies after they had killed his teacher. It might have even been Bruce Lee! I can't be sure but I think the line went something like…
"I'm not a fighter…I'm an engineer"
He then, very thoroughly, whupped them all!
It made me crack up because at that time in my life I was serving an engineering apprenticeship and the guys in the Shipyard used to call me "Kung Fu" ,and so it has some kind of meaning to me.
Imagine my surprise 30 years later, eventually meeting someone who was also just that…A fighter and an engineer. A man who uses engineering methodology and is creating a system of training and a philosophy on life that is very much grounded in the real world… In an otherwise confusing world of bullshit and marketing that has become the Martial Arts. (Can I use a capital letter to emphasise the importance of this field? Mmmm I wonder?)
The man is Tony Terranova. Its name that makes you want to sing and maybe there is a song somewhere about a Tony, a Tony Terranova.
If not there should be.
He is like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stifling atmosphere of hazy ideas and smog laden nonsense. Here is a man who has put his engineering knowledge to work and has made sense of it all. He has over the years trained with the best. Then he came and trained with me. He is also an open minded individual. Something you don't get, or get very rarely in the martial arts…and being open minded means he listens to what you have to say then thinks about it and does not let his ego intrude. In other words …is scientific about it.
Honesty and Integrity and an Open Mind are powerful forces in creating something and this he has done in bucket-loads. Tony will test everything before reaching a conclusion. He will even test the bloody conclusion until he is happy that it stands up to regular use. He is a man with common sense! At last a soul mate, someone who will do the Martial Arts a favour and hopefully wake them all up.
"Give them a shake Tony"
I was thinking this when I was with him last. Training with him out in the Brecon Beacons …which he took to like a duck to water. Put him out of his comfort zone and he just gets on with it. In fact I don't think he feels he is out of his comfort zone. He takes everything on the chin and carries on with supreme confidence. This he gets because he tests everything… so there is no room for Fear or Doubt. I know anyone training with him will get this sense of Confidence. That they will walk away eager to meet him again at the next training session knowing that they too will feel like this. At the end of the day that is all you can ask of your teacher.
Tony Terranova is a Fighter…and a bloody great Engineer….
Bob Spour www.bobspour.co.uk
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