What is Wutan Kung Fu and Tai Chi? Find out more from Sarah Scotthorne


Hi Sarah! So thanks for meeting us today,
for the March newsletter and have a chat about a bit about what you do. So I get lots of
people in the shop asking about I wanna do Kungfu and my first question is always, What
sort of Kungfu like China’s pretty big. So I wonder if you could tell us a bit about
the history of your style and what it is basically. Okay, well for beginners, we teach Wingchun and then
we went to five animals and some
people never done any Martial arts it’s quite a good style to start with because it’s
not too complicated. And then when people get to brownsash, they start
with Praying Mantis and Bajiquan which is what Bhutan is really famous for,
DOUG: Okay. SARAH:Yeah
that’s kind of how we do it. And we do stretching, sparring, padwork and weapons work in the
class. And the sparring side is light to semi so you know. I don’t like teaching full
contacts I like people to do fit and healthy and not with broken ribs
DOUG: Yeah bind up. SARAH:
Yeah, bind up. So but in Wutan as a whole there is full contact fighting not in international
level but as occasionally half of students go to training there but my own preference
in the club, is light to semi. DOUG: ok so you start off from Wingchun and five animals which is also a Southern style of it? SARAH:I think it’s more in the middle. I think so.
DOUG: And then you add in? SARAH: So we do different things
to start with and change it on as well, in the first level, which is a low stances building
up the leg muscles, teaching waist turning, basic punching and it’s a , yeah, it fits
together, like a beautiful jigsaw puzzle, but it sounds puzzling from the out, like
you ‘ll think how would that work ? but it’s really really well crafted, the syllabus,
and when you met the student, you select the challenge, there’s the next challenge, and
the introduction to weapons on the second level with a stick and then Yao Tao. so yeah, it’s
really really exciting. DOUG:so a question pops into my head, so I’m going
on off piece on my question. but if you, so is it, would you learn like a the full system
of let’s say Wing chun and Tai Chi Chuan or you pull in the bits out of you know you pull in say the
leg strengthening drills out of one or hand speed drills on the other. So how does that
work? coz obviously, some can spend a lot of time doing wing chun, so how, how do, like,
I assume its almost impossible to do those system in a complete. SARAH: I know…
DOUG: You see what I mean, i mean I’m not explaining very well but how do you, yes, but what’s the kind of thought behind the mixture of the system. SARAH: Well, I have studied pretty
much all of the Wing chun, empty hand stuff, some of the weapons things I haven’t done
but I’ve done butterfly knives and and pole and loads of chi sau I havent done loads of
wooden dummy but some other people in school have. So we’ve got wooden dummies in our center.
So Ive done most of the system enough to teach it for quite a good level. So, In a way , you
can say yeah, we do lots of different things we teach them individually so we’ve got pretty
much complete system within the school. And we choose to specialize in different things
so I’m.. I’ve been working on my Bajiquan because I’m.. that’s what Master Wu teaches but I have done a lot of praying mantis and five animals and my five animals are haven’t, there’s
a couple of forms that I’m not.. I’m less familiar with,
but then we have some different specialists within the school so some
people take one system to specialize in another people take a different specialist in and
then we, if we want to practice a particularly thing we will go to them to polish off or
ask questions or collaborate work DOUG: Yeah I was gonna ask you did you, did you do like
seminars with those specialists, can you go like put on a day or just gonna do private
so.. SARAH:We don’t usually do private lessons my teachers come and teach and we get teachers
from other schools coming from China sometimes, on the more modern Wushu but most of the things
we do are more traditional. But then the modern Wushu forms are really fun. So we do get to
see within Wutan a lot of different styles of Martial arts, and that’s quite exciting
to learn and we got an idea about most different things but there’ll be
specialists within our school. DOUG: yeah, it’s good. so can you, for people that don’t
know you, can you give us a bit of background on yourself, on how you got into martial arts,
and kind of how you ended up the way you are now. SARAH: yeah, I basically, I was.. twenty,
and my friends were going out and they weren’t staying. I didn’t wanna be on my own, you know I was
just twenty year old and I want to be with my friends, and they said they’re going to
this thing, ” and I said, What is it? ” and then they’re trying to explain and I didn’t
know what it was and I decided I will do it but I just went along, it was Taichi, so and
I was just immediately, ” this is amazing” and because my teacher is a you know, we teach
the martial side of Taichi as well as a healing side, so, it’s very much both, and he’s really
outstanding Taichi teacher. So it was amazing and I just trained with him when I first start
some of his top students straight away were really lucky to just stumbling to this
brilliant school and so then I did a year of Taichi and I did have a you know, I was
a bit of a worn teenager so,a year of Taichi just got my health up together and then I
completely changed, and was really healthy and train all the time started kungfu and,
worked in my teacher’s kungfu shop and train so I don’t know about 13 to 20 hours a week? DOUG:it’s quite a lot.
SARAH: it isn’t loads but it’s quite a lot. SARAH:that was 20 to 25
so when all my friends were off at festivals, I was training every weekend. So, it was , yeah
I think that was really good for me so. And then after, when I was 25 I already took
my A levels and did all I can. And then I went off to Nottingham University and there was
nobody there teaching so my teacher said well, you’re doing ok but you’re no good, something
like that coz you know you always have to train harder. Like the, You know the perfectionist
on the table, but he said, ok if you wanna try running a little group and see how you’ll
done. Not anyone takes a few people to practice with but it’s suddenly there was like 20
people. So whoa ! and they really enjoyed it they’re like “more nights, more nights”. So then I take
more night and then it was four nights a week, so and the Nottingham branch is still running
up there. So and then in 2000, I had a year off and
went travelling around the world. And I moved to Bristol and set up a school here and so
its being all the time training. It’s just like it has to.. part of my life.
You know what I mean, “has to”. DOUG: So your Nottingham class, did you, did you train people after then teach or did other people get kind of shift in to take over.
SARAH: No, I’ve trained them all up. And I, you know, It’s not something I sort of planned but I was
naturally quite good at and you know, like , you know I remember being in charge, you
know when you play games with the children, I was really bossy you know what I mean? and
how you’re being in charge on who’s doing what and telling everyone where to go, I assume it came from that. but yeah, now there’s been some really good teachers that come have thought quite a few outstanding teachers so. DOUG: Yeah, it’s good, so we were chatting at the shop a few weeks back
and you said you just got back from China, started training out there, so I think your,
your main guys are based in Malaysia right? so you obviously went there with him to see him?
so maybe you can tell us a bit about it. SARAH: Well They Soon Tuan is the head of Wutan in
the UK, and I just got back of holiday, and I hate flying , he rang me and said, “right
do you wanna go to China?” and I said, “When?” and he said ” You have to tell me today?”
I was just like literally in the airport, saying ” hi they, what is it?” “No, no I’m
not flying , I can’t fly, I’m not doing it” and that was like all night I’m awake thinking,
“I have to go to China”, Oh no, I’m going that’s it. So right then I clicked, “please can I go now, Please let me go” He said ” alright”. So then six of us went out to China and we had a week
in Beijing just a training in the park and just milling about and just looking at the
sights that was really nice and then we met Master Woo who flew in with his student from
Malaysia, and we haven’t all met up before so it was really exciting. And then we went
to the Beijing Sports University and I met Jet Li’s first teacher who is a tiny woman,
and then she got my room for me because it was all double booked and she was in the reception
giving them loads you know. I was nearly even out of the room but she got “Blah blah blah
blah!”. And like suddenly this amazing room and it was just lovely to see the Beijing
Sports University and that was really fun. Then this little bus arrived and yeah, then
Wutan Japan and Wutan Taiwan arrived as well and we were in this little half bus, you know, half bus every single seat was taken and I think because the day of the event moved,
it was quite difficult for some people to get there coz we didn’t book our flights,so
it was due to be more people but it was half a bus you know what I mean, it was big. Quite
big but every single seat taken I think that was just pure luck coz I’m sure, I can’t
imagine they, what made them fit in that . The suitcases just piled up you know, everywhere, and we
went off to …Taizhou the big industrial city and then there was a big Baji event there,
and there was a huge hotel. We went and had a meal with everyone, some of the , yeah,
I was quite surprised that some of the old Chinese Masters in there drinking little shots,
they are quite robust , some didn’t drink any, most didn’t drink any but some would quite
like Hardy but I think some of them maybe a policeman, or you know all types of people
are doing Martial Arts in China. And they weren’t all Bhutan people there, there were
Baji schools from all over China. And the next morning it dawn away we booked the whole
hotel up, every single room in this massive hotel were Baji people from different schools
in China. And then we opened the, we opened the display, that moment Wu tan, led by Taiwan,
UK, and a Japan we did the display and opened this huge event. It was so scary. That was
really fun and I think if you train hard and you really put your.. you know.. you do your very best,
that’s my opinion that joining in and participating in the spirit of Martial arts you know, you
work and achieve the very best you can. And maybe there’s someone better than you, maybe
you’re not so better or maybe on the day you retired, or anything but the effort and that
determination and participating is a very important thing. DOUG: you can only do better
SARAH: Yeah, but it was very odd, I actually felt quite excited and blown away, but it was quite
a very overpowering soul. SARAH: you know what I mean? first time I’m sure.
I mean I did quite, I didn’t care you know what I mean, I didn’t make any mistakes or
start from low. You know it was okay, but I still, I think if I got used to training
at that level with people at that level, all around me. I would. You don’t see many European
49 year old women in those events really. DOUG: think I mean, demoing in front of like
a knowledgeable crowd like Grand Martial arts, always the hardest crowd to perform in coz
they just you know did they know what they’re looking for. You know, they’re not just appreciating,
the, like the thing they are kind of critiquing it, so it’s always gonna be petrifying. SARAH:
Yeah, my martial arts big sister while we were out there she had her 70th birthday and
she did say you know, she’s I don’t know, her and her husband they train for years now,
absolutely awesome,Jennifer, and they had a lot of interviews with them. She’s tiny
as well and she’s still teaching she’s so skillful. She’s 70 and I’m like, “Keep going
Keep going” You know She’s a she’s an associate, they were there as well in the display. DOUG:I guess you’ll keel her over. SARAH: Apparently, she’s got really amazing heart, she’s got
really slow heart beat and has a really strong, she’s got genetically got this “dugh” wonderful
heart. DOUG:AMazing. SARAH: yea, lucky old her. I don’t know if my heart is as good,
so it was really, it was really amazing. You just watching some of the other Baji people.
And just having fun with everyone out there. Malaysian, Bhutan students they were really
funny and I was surprised that how it’s just really fun just awesome to see the display.
And I think that did has helped some.. a little bit with me understanding what levels everyone’s
at in different parts of the world. And they’re working to bring even above.
DOUG: yeah, really good to see that. So , we’ll come back to England, so you’ve got quite a few schools
in Bristol now, and you’d like, you’re doing some and you’ve got instructors that are teaching
as well. So what’s the plans for the future in Wu tan like as far as you’re concern? like
do you wanna, is it kind of way you like it or you plan to build up or what’s .. what
are the goals? SARAH: Well I think in 2015 a lot of my brown sashes seemed to either
get promoted they’re children, they leave the house, so they just stopped training.
Then we moved our advanced night, so it’s almost like a we’ve got a new next generation
coming up and they are, some of them already got a black belt in other systems. So they’re
really nice to teach, so easy, you say “Oh frank, let’s do it again, it doesn’t do it”.
There are some new people as well but it’s really fun. Last year, I was just like, thinking
oh well, who’s gonna, “I’m 49, are people gonna wanna train with me? ” Apparently, they
do. So that’s reassuring and then we seemed to have acquired the whole lot of new people
and.. Thank you Star Wars? the Olympics? Thank you the Olympics. You know I think it does
inspire people a little bit to come out and train you know. And so there are lots of other
people to train up. I don’t know if you find it as well on your training that it has to
sort of modernize all the time? it stays the same but people come in and they have different
thinking and they have different idea about what they think it is and what they want is
also changing. It stays the same but you have to sort of DOUG: Deciphering software and
add updates onto it, isn’t it? . SARAH: yeah exactly, coz you want it to be for people isn’t it? so it has to be engaging . DOUG: I guess the trick is, teaching the same thing but in away that the new generation will understand it, or like engage with it. SARAH: yeah really fun and exciting hopefully.
DOUG: Yeah, it’s interesting. I have chats with people in the shop quite
a lot and where the school’s necessary aren’t going that well. And they’re talking about
like “Oh are we’re gonna have to save the style?” you know.. “and it’s up to me to save it”
and if you think well, you know, if it’s, i personally think if there’s no place for
it then maybe it shouldn’t exist. You know, like maybe because like people aren’t doing
it aren’t engaging it for a reason it’s not that you know, like it’s people out there’s
fault. Like, people will do it if they love it and they wanna do it. And I think they
wanna understand it so I think, you’re right it is about constantly just keep on top of
the development of the society I guess. SARAH: I remember reading a book quite a bit Gandhi
when I was younger, and I was really struck about something he wrote about organization.
An organization will only stay alive if you make it useful to people, I mean I can’t really
explain really carefully but you have to adapt to the organization all the time to keep it
alive or to keep people interested. if it stays the same were not on the same time.
Even the way you know, like you know social media, how people become interested in what
you do, the way they look, it changes all the time. DOUG: Yeah, interesting. It’s alot I’d certainly think about that for a few weeks. That’s what I usually do. So just to
finish off really, I wonder if you could give us details on your club. So what they can
they train with you, where can they do that, what time if you could remember it all like
where people can come to do that and then also like phone number, and website ,email
? I’ll put it all along the bottom of the screen, So it’ll come up .I’ll put it in the
description, so yeah, can you please let us know? SARAH: Well, we’ve got, I’ve got quick
timetable, it’s bristol-wutan.co.uk and all the classes are on there. And then you can
email me or text me is probably the best thing to do. And sometimes I’m really busy, and
it can take a week or two to get back but I do try and keep on top of things quite carefully.
And some of the classes are actually full so we’ll have to take you in a month or
two and then we’ll get a little group of people joining in together. Not all of the classes
are full, some of them you can join pretty much straight away, it just vary. So, yeah.
so just text me or ring me my phone number is 07759583688 and [email protected]
DOUG: Brilliant! thank you very much! Cheers

3 thoughts on “What is Wutan Kung Fu and Tai Chi? Find out more from Sarah Scotthorne

  1. Watched a few of these "What is…….." videos now. I'm fairly new to the martial arts scene, but have enjoyed learning about different clubs and styles. Look forward to seeing more like these.

  2. brings back memories thank you Sarer for all your teachings of kung fung fu tai chi and Chinese kickboxing. times change people move on but the Chinese martial arts will live inside of me for ever. Thank You Master They for bringing wutan martial arts to the UK.

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