Martial arts instructor Sensei Roy Huggins regularly churns out some of the best young martial artists this country has seen.
His young charges are trained under the sensei’s unique programme targeted to produce the best skills in the art form.
Sensei Roy, who has practised martial arts for over 40 years, offers self-defence and martial arts programmes at his Stars Martial Arts School, in the Maloney Indoor Sporting Arena and at his home in Tern Drive, Maloney.
He noted that a lot more people are becoming aware of martial arts and, as a consequence, more schools are opening up. However, they are placing emphasis on fighting and self-defence rather than the mental and spiritual aspects of the art form. He considers the students who complete his training programmes as highly trained martial artists.
The sensei’s programme is a sequence of the various styles of martial arts as well as some of his own unique techniques. His sessions include jujitsu, weaponry, kickboxing and wrestling techniques.
Huggins explained that martial arts range from a variety of types and styles, all of which are based on well-rounded moral teachings. The beauty of learning martial arts said that it encompasses not just the physical aspect of the sport but also mental and emotional lessons as well.
“I take a special interest in the children. I have been working with children for almost 30 years. There are a lot of benefits to the training. I also see the training as a great disciplinary tool. My programme is very exciting. I take children from as young as four years old once they could adhere to instructions. I also have a home gym, which my older students can work out in for free,” Huggins said.
Huggins, who was in the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard for 26 years and retired as a Chief Petty Officer, is internationally trained with a seventh degree black belt.
He is concerned about the quality of teaching in the martial arts art form. His aim, he said, is not focused on “belts” but also on equipping the students holistically for life.
Besides learning the skills necessary in the art form, his students are also exposed to mental, physical and spiritual concepts which the sensei believes will equip them for life’s challenges. His students are trained to be focused, confident, centred and calm and overall they poses physical fitness.
“I am concerned about the quality of teaching of martial arts. Something is missing; the spiritual and mental aspect is not a part of most programmes. People are just taking karate as a kind of exercise and it’s also being heavily focused on for tournaments. My school does not participate in competitions and tournaments. I think the focus on tournaments is killing the art form. I am a traditionalist; I believe in martial arts in its purest form,” the sensei said.
Huggins said sports karate is responsible for the “inferior and watered-down” art form being taught in some institutions.
“Sports karate has become commercial and watered down. You tend to get caught up in competitions and you lose the real purpose of the skills; you tend to see martial arts in a flashy way. When you place focus on just medals and trophies the real essence of the art is missed. I have competitions in the class itself like free sparring but I really don’t believe in competing against other schools. What we teach can be adapted in any real-life situation,” he said.
The Sensie’s classes are designed for youths but they are growing and also attracting adults who are interested in the art form. When the sensei is not training his students he is at his sophisticated home gym, where keep-fit buffs can utilise modern equipment as well as machines the sensei has designed and built himself.
“I have created some of my own equipment. I also created equipment that the late Bruce Lee used, like the gravity roman chair. I re-created all those equipment which I personally built myself. My personal gym has a combination of different top brands like the Hammer Strength, five ex Universal Body Solid, Paramount, Icarian, Body Masters, as well as my own designs and several other top brands and dumbbells ranging from five pounds increasing up to 120 pounds. My gym is a private gym; membership is based on recommendations,” the sensei said.
On November 23, Sensei Roy’s class will graduate at the Maloney Indoor Sporting Arena, where young martial artists will display their skills. “I have exams every six months. The graduation is always something to look forward to; it’s a display of all the skills and techniques they were taught in the programme,” the sensei said.