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Concert Pianist takes Chopin to a new Level
Chopping a breezeblock during the Black Belt Grading in 2003.

Why kickboxing?

Known amusingly by some friends as the 'black belt concert pianist' and bemusement by others, I admit this is a somewhat unusual 'job description'!

Initially, I was simply looking for an interesting form of fitness. Martial Arts is a very disciplined training of the body and mind, which develops strength, stamina, flexibility, concentration as well as self-defence skills. As a professional musician I could relate to the discipline, whilst I found being stretched in vastly different areas appealing. As I eventually became more involved and progressed through the belts, I realised my own personal goal would be incomplete without taking on the supreme challenge of a black belt grading.

Just like adults learning to play the piano to Grade 8 as a diversion from demanding jobs, the extreme contrast of these two disciplines is something I enjoy, whilst meeting people from all walks of life adds a healthy balance to the many hours a pianist can sometimes spend in isolation. Theoretically I am a qualified martial arts instructor but for now I will stick to my day job!

Why did a pianist chop a block?

Chopping a block is one of the many requirements to obtaining a black belt, demonstrating power in technique, as well as mental focus and self-confidence in your ability.

Did it hurt?

…ok, a bit. (…but it hurt the block more!) I spent years under expert supervision and progressive preparation to ensure I could undertake destruction without damaging my hands and my career. Obviously I made this decision with great thought and expert advice and would not recommend it to anyone with a concert the next day. Safety is a key aspect in martial arts and the body is excellent at making slight adjustments when correctly trained. This in itself, and seeing how far I could extend my limitations, was part of my own personal challenge.

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