Profile of 9th Dan Kenpo Taiji Master Antoniades
A journey that started in training as a kick boxer, and changed course with a serious knee injury, has brought Athos to a deep understanding of internal martial arts, as well as spititual development and advanced street fighting techniques.
During the 70's and 80's I trained in full contact Kickboxing under Master Meiji Suzuki. During a 'bout' with the then reigning world champion Rafael Nieto I sustained a serious knee injury. Although I tried to train through the pain and injury for a while it was getting worse, and finally resulted in a knee operation where half of the meniscus was removed.
The healing process was taking too long and I was getting restless, so I decided to return to training, but the knee was giving me too much trouble, It would collapse in the middle of a fight.
A therapist said to me that if I carried on fighting before I make a full recovery I could end up in a wheel chair and they suggested that I should train in an Internal Art to build myself up internally, such as Tai Chi and Chi Kung.I was not convinced as all I knew and was interested in at the time was 'Brute force fighting',but the thought of ending up in a wheel chair,and the possibility that it would extend my fighting life was enough incentive for me to start looking into the Internal Arts of Tai chi and Chi Kung.
Realising My Product
This was the turning point in my Martial Arts training. For the first time I realised that there was so much more to the Martial Arts than just punching an kicking. As is my nature I left no stone unturned in my mission to find out all about the SPIRITUAL, HEALTH and FIGHTING ASPECTS of the Internal Arts in particular Tai Chi. I even went to China and trained with the locals in parks and temples at dawn in Several Chinese cities. I did return to Kickboxing and although the knee was improving I was still in pain and combined with my passion for competitive kickboxing dwindling I decided to look for an external(hard) style that was more 'street fighting 'oriented to train in whilst continuing my journey into the Internal arts.
Being a life long fan of The King, Elvis Presley I read that he was a black belt in a style called American Kenpo which had kicks but mainly involved a Rapid Succession of Hand strikes, which taking into Account my persistent knee injury sounded perfect to me. As I am blessed with naturally fast hands I took to it like fish to water and within months my then instructor asked me if I would become the London instructor. He invited me to Exeter where he was based, to grade for my black belt, a weekend I will never forget. As I made the 4 hour drive and entered the dojo he asked me to change as I would have to fight 10 of his black belts(one at a time!!)to prove I was good enough to become London instructor. I am convinced they were trying to kill me he he !! But, the true power of the internal arts which I had now been training in for several years revealed itself, I didn't know then but now I realise that It had allowed me to enter my Reptilian Brain instinctively releasing a primordial survival instinct inherent in all of us. That combined with years of full contact kickboxing experience allowed me to prevail and gain everyone's respect. At the end of it the instructor said to me, that is a taste of what's to come tomorrow, and true to his word this continued for 3 days at the end of which I was awarded my black belt and became London instructor.
I also continued my training in the internal and was now training with internal master Erle Montaigue who paid emphasis to the fighting aspects of the Internal Arts such as Tai Chi. Then came the birth of Kenpo Taiji as although American Kenpo is a good system it is very much an External Physical Art where the bigger stronger person would always win. I came up with the idea of Combining the fighting aspects of the Internal Arts predominantly Tai Chi with the explosive speed of Kenpo and came up with what is probably the best street fighting system in the world. It attracted massive media attention making the front pages of Martial Arts magazines and I was invited to give seminars on my system by clubs around the world and even non martial arts organisations. The media attention continues to grow. In 2001 I was Inducted into the MARTIAL ARTS HALL OF FAME and ON THE 17TH November 2013 I will be honoured again by being inducted into the Hall of Fame for a second time by the UK`s No.1 Martial Arts magazine MAI. It is good to to know that my hard and thoroughly enjoyable work in developing Kenpo Taiji into one of the World's best fighting systems is appreciated by my peers. I am truly grateful.
Kenpo Taiji is 50% Physical and 50% Mind. In other words, as well as learning to punch and kick, we must also learn how to change our mind set to that of a wild animal in a fight or attack situation. We do this by entering the Reptilian part of the human Triune Brain. We need to do this as humans are NOT natural fighters and our most likely response to an attack will be to cower in fear. The Reptilian Brain is also the doorway to the Subconscious allowing us to fight at a No Mind Reflex level, for if we stop to think in a fight we will find ourselves meditating in a horizontal position. The Subconscious will be programmed to direct all strikes to DIM MAK points to achieve instant KO or worse, using the Explosive Penetrating Power of Fa Jing(1”punch).We don`t use normal Focus vision in Kenpo Taiji but EAGLE VISION locking onto the attackers energy and becoming one with him.
Plans for the Future
I see my role in the Martial Arts to making people understand that there is a major difference between Martial Arts as they are primarily taught nowadays and a Survival Art which Kenpo Taiji is. Some of the styles out there are totally impractical in a street fight. They are a sport and there is a massive difference between sport and street survival! A student has to understand this and decide what they want out of their Martial Art. Too many people train in a sport oriented Art and then wonder why they get beaten up by a street fighter with no training. However by incorporating aspects and fighting principles of Kenpo Taiji into most Martial Arts they can be converted into a Survival Art.
I Intend to make people aware of the awesome insight which has made the Martial Arts withstand the test of time!