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Glen Doyle on the Bynon Show

Transcribed by Lynne Tourond

March, 1999


Bynon: The mysterious martial arts are not only back, they are growing in popularity. Today the 3 time Canadian Kung Fu champion Glen Doyle, the author of the Martial Artists Way, Achieve your Peak Performance, is our guest. Welcome Glen.

Glen: Thank you.

Bynon: It's wonderful to have you. Now let me ask you, as I said martial arts is growing in popularity, it's really taking off, what do you think it is?

Glen: Well, I don't think it ever really went down. I think it goes in what I call flavours, like, you know, you'll have your ju jitsu's which is really popular right now, Taibo is huge right now, um so ...

Bynon: What do you think of Taibo?

Glen: I think it is a great cardio workout. anything that works the heart is a good thing, right? I mean, boxing is a great cardio workout and it's based on boxing and kicking. Taibo is conditioning is outstanding, for actual self defense, I've not really studied it so I wouldn't make a comment on that. I mean, Billy Blanks is an outstanding champion and anything he comes up with I'm sure is decent, you know.

Bynon: OK, so you're saying the flavours, we're in to all these different kinds ....

Glen: Yah, I don't think it ever went down. I think what happens is that when something new comes along, people go "What's that!" and they study it so everyone is saying it's getting big again but in the martial arts community, it is huge,. In the States it's massive. In Canada, I think it is just the population difference obviously but um you don't see it as much in Canada because you know, it's a little more ....

Bynon: Undercover maybe ...?

Glen: Yah, closed doors, especially my style which is gung fu (sp?), it's a chinese style.

Bynon: What is, what is gung fu and how long has it been around?

Glen: Well gung fu is from China, it predates a lot of things, I mean you can trace it back almost 2000 years.

Bynon: Pasta, bread, it predates ..........

Glen: Yah, but I mean it gets a lot of its history from 14th, 15th , 16th centuries. It predates that and it is one of the oldest forms of martial ars and it's what a lot of people call the grandfather of all martial arts.

Bynon: How's it distinguished from the other forms? What's so special about it?

Glen: Well the biggest thing about gung fu is that it's circular, it's based on a circle, OK and this is not to denigrate or take away from any other style ....

Bynon: No .....

Glen: the karate styles, the Tae Kwan do styles are more of a linear type movement and they like to block and then strike. In my style of gung fu, which is called hung gar, everytime we move, we have to hurt. That is the philosophy so .....

Bynon: (Laughs) so none of this .... kind of .....

Glen: so, for karate for instance, again I have the greatest respect for it, they'll move and then block and then they'll hit, whereas gung fu, as we block - boom - we're hitting. We want to hit you as we block, we don't want you to get any momentum and it's based on a circle which means we don't go power for power! I'm a little guy, I'm not a big guy, so gung fu has worked for me because if I am fighting a 200 lb. guy, to me, certain stances in the other styles, I'll use a certain stance and the punch will come and I'll try to use all my strength to block it. Well that's a 200 lb. punch coming at me, I''m only 150, right so .....

Bynon: so when using your style?

Glen: my style - the power comes this way - I might let it go (leans to the side) or I might try to intercept it before it even gets to launch, or I might let it go past me and then I'll strike wher they're not there, where they're weak rather than wste my energy ...

Bynon: It's all pre-emptive, fast, hard and pre-emptive.

Glen: Pre-emptive or respond like an echo. You know, I contract while you expand, and when you contract, I expand, and I'll come in, right, but it's all based on a circular movement. Circles fit all things right - it's ever flowing, no beginning, no end.

Bynon: so it ties into the spiritualism.

Glen: Oh very much so.

Bynon: How different is the spiritualism ... for all the different kinds? That's the confusing part. Is it all the same kind of ....

Glen: no, tradition is tradition. The Chinese style will teach you the Chinese way, the Japanese style will teach you the Japanese way, the Korean style, the Korean way ....

Bynon: So you believe in those, it's partly a mental philosophy too isn't it?

Glen: Yah, you do and it makes you look at yourself so ultimately its knowing yourself whether you do it the Chinese way, the Japanese way, the Korean way, or any other style, its knowing yourself, and ... bettering, .. not bettering yourself, but pulling out that person that''s always in there but a lot of people don't, they don't experience it because .... our society is so .... I wouldn't say prim and proper but you don't want to step outside the lines, you go to work,you do your thing, you come home and then you're in a room by yourself and you go crazy!! but if I'm in a room with a lot of other people ... (puts on a prim and proper face) .... I have to be this .... but I don't want to do that!

Bynon: OK, let me ask you something. Do you have to know yourself before you start martial arts or do you learn?

Glen: You learn about yourself. You have to know certain things when you pick your style. You just can't walk by ...

Bynon: You have to match your personality, because I'm thinking of the one you described as the only one that matches my personality - you know - all the way to Bagdad real fast - you know - none of this posturing ....

Glen: No, you've really got to know yourself, you can't just walk down the street and say "Oh, a karate school. I'm going in." You've got to know what they're about, you've got to know what you are about, you've got to know what you are looking for and you've got to be a bit selfish when you are taking something like this because you are giving your physical availability and you are allowing somebody to step into your mind, right? I mean if I teach you, I am now taking your mind and injecting all this knowledge!

Bynon: Going back to that Billy Blanks thing, it's almost a religion. It's a bit scary actually I think. Is there a point in the older forms where it isn't so .... I think people are drawn to it but how much do you have to give yourself over to the person who's teaching it. You know, everybody is frightened of cults these days.

Glen: I understand, yah, that is true, and I have come across that a few times , people saying (whispers) "It's vry cultish!" and I mean, I'm a Catholic so I'm probably going to burn in hell for this but every general religion if we look at the definition of a cult, they all are, but I'm not going to get into that - because I'm going to get all this hate mail now .... but ...

Bynon: Send it to him, dn't send it to me!

Glen: No, but it's .... how would I put it? .... you are trusting me to influence you both mentally and physically so a) I have to be legit, you know, if I am just a fly by night guy, well, you're putting a lot of time and effort but in the martial arts, I always tell people that you get in what you put out, if you put in 10%, you will get out 10%. Now I went through what you are asking. I wore the Chinese clothes, I ate with chopsticks, you know, I tried to be so much into the oriental culture when I first joined, because "I want to do this, I want to be like Bruce Lee and if Bruce Lee is the man, he's a god, he's awesome, I want to be him!" And I wore the Chinese clothes everywhere, I used chopsticks with my parents, having mashed potatoes with chopsticks, I did the whole thing, but you learn eventually, that you become yourself. I'm still very in to my style, I respect the Chinese culture, I probably know more about the Chinese culture than a lot of Chinese people do but ...

Bynon: But there is a time for a fork.

Glen: Yes there is, yes there is.

Bynon: Now, are martial arts for everyone? I mean, people looking for some type of fitness, is there a certain type of person drawn to this?

Glen: I believe that there is a certain type of person that of course looks for martial arts, I mean martial meaning warring arts, right.

Bynon: I mean is there aggression there?

Glen: It's either they are looking to control and/or re-direct aggression, also, a lot of people trying to find that aggression in them.

Bynon: Self assertiveness, that kind of thing?

Glen: Yah, I've done seminars with a lot of women who have been abused physically or mentally and they come to the seminar not to learn how to punch and kick - when I go to a seminar, I don't teach that, I just teach them to be 10 feet tall and bullet proof and the fact that they stand strong and believe in themselves because once you believe in yourself, there is no mountain, there is only a pathway.

If you don't believe in yourself, you have just created a mountain - see what I mean, and it cuts you off, so the type of person who studies martial arts are either people who want to learn the fancy kicks and punches and what not, but also they want to learn about themselves, and maybe just get a little more , not aggressive, but you know .... robust!

Bynon: It's a wild wild world out there. We're going to take a little break and return for more of the inside. I know you help Elvis Stojko. You've got some famous clients - we are talking to Glen Doyle, 3-time Canadian Kung Fu champion and author ....

           

Bynon: What is the draw for someone like Elvis Stojko to take martial arts? What does it do, as a cross training - that's essentially what we're talking about right?

Glen: Yah, well Elvis, to set the record straight, had a black belt before he met me. He studied Karate.

Bynon: So you didn't move him on to the total line.

Glen: I believe what I remember Elvis telling me was that his Dad put him in martial arts, because, you know, Elvis is a little bigger than me but he's not a huge guy either and because he's a figure skater, his father worried I guess about the teasing and what not, and he wanted to help him take care of himself.

Bynon: That's very smart isn't it?

Glen: Oh, it is, and it also teaches self control so he's not going to use it unless he has to but, um, so but when Elvis tried to put it on the ice, again going back to the earlier section, it's very linear, it's very straight, karate is very straight edged, kind of thing.

Bynon: So it took the flow away?

Glen: It takes the flow away and skating is based on a circle. I was training his brother at the time and he was just becoming a senior, he was just switching from Junior to Senior and his brother came up to me and said, "Glen, I want you to meet my brother Elvis. He's a figure skater and he wants to really work on his stuff on the ice," and I was like Yeeaah??!! (very sceptical sound) Honestly, I did! But I said I'll meet anybody.

I'm willing to teach anybody who wants to learn, so I went up and met him and I remember he was working on his motorcycle and I walked up and, you know, his brother introduced us and I said "So what do you want to know?" and he goes, "Well what do you do?" Just like that, I'm like OK, and I whipped off a form and he like "I want to do that" That was it. Now originally, he met me to put it on the ice, but he fell so in love with kung fu that after that year of working with him, he said, I want more and more and more. Then we developed techniques that he could do on the ice but also train with off the ice.

Bynon: It's very emotional isn't it.

Glen: Very much so.

Bynon: You use a lot of emotions. Which do we call up when we are training in martial arts?

Glen: You can call up ... well I basically ...

Bynon: Is it OK to be angry in martial arts?

Glen: you see, the old school is, and you'll get a lot of masters and instructors who will still argue with me - be emotionless, no emotions - I don't agree. We have emotions, we're human beings so I teach from the standpoint, it's great to have the emotions as long as you use the by-products in a positive manner.

For anger, OK, if anybody's been angry, what happens? You get strong. Not to go wildly and attack it blindly, now that's a waste, but if you have that anger and you can use that strength, it helps your technique. If you have happiness, it gives you endurance. When you like to do something, and you're happy, you like to do it and it keeps going. That's your by-product. Love is drive and desire obviously. Fear is open-mindedness - or perception - sorry - it's perception. Um ....

Bynon: What does fear do?

Glen: Fear, you see everything! As long as you don't let it grab on to you. When you let it grab on to you, you're lost. But I use, I mean when I used to compete, it wasn't like I'd walk in (looking jaunty and snapping fingers) "Hey! I'm in a competition! No problem!" I would be afraid! But I would see all things and everything would almost move in slow motion. It was amazing.

And then sadness, is the openmindedness, that's the one I was getting to .... because sadness - if you are at a table with a group of people and five people are happy and jovial and one is sad, what happens to that table? Everybody kind of comes down, we all grab on to the negative, you know. And when you're sad, you're open minded because you want somebody to take away the sadness, so you listen more. I find that people are more openminded when they are in kind of a down mood.

Bynon: Yah, that's when we try to .....

Glen: So all the emotions, so that is breaking it down into five. But when I teach martial arts, I call on those five and I say use the by-products and don't punish yourself. That's my job! (grins) You know, so I always try to encourage them to use their emotions.

Bynon: How much of a draw is it for people to feel like they can protect themselves? It used to be, I mean we went through this phase where it wasn't supposed to be important but let's face it, there's some confidence you have out there. You know, I took boxing for a tiny little bit, whatever ....

Glen: But it's a tiny little bit....

Bynon: But you see women, and people learn how to punch. How important is that to us, you know, about getting back to primitive mankind, that if somebody attacked you, you'd have a hope.

Glen: Yah, well y'know, you have to go from your house to your job, your job to the grocery store, your grocery store to a movie, to wherever you're going, you're travelling the streets that you live on, so you don't want to be a prisoner in your own house. Um, so I think a lot of people just take it for the confidence and should the need arise, heaven forbid, that they have to call upon anything they have learned, I think that is a good thing to do.

I mean, society's changing, look at the news - not exactly - a lot of the news casts aren't nice ones and it's just the nature of the beast. I mean if you live in a metropolis, you've got more chance of being accosted or bothered than if you live in a small town, but still small towns have their problems too right?

Bynon: When could people use this?

Glen: Martial arts?

Bynon: Yah, I mean do you have a rule when you fight back? Do you ask questions ....?

Glen: You've got to defend yourself, to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Basically do what you have to do to keep yourself from harm, OK, and once that harmful motion is stopped, you should stop. Anything after that, you're acting malicious. Right, and that's basically a legal term.

Bynon: And they say people who are trained in self defense are really less violent.

Glen: I think so. I've met probably a million and a half through my years. And I don't fit the mold for a martial artist.

Bynon: I was going to say - you seem like a lovely guy!

Glen: I'll have 'em all waiting for me now, like this! (punches fist into palm several times) (They both laugh)

But no, I'll walk into a room, I'll be a clown, I'll be a joker, I get off a plane to do a show and people will be like "OK, we're waiting for Sifu Doyle." and here I'm bouncing down the thing going "Hey!" and I'm doing all this stuff, and they're still waiting for me and I'm standing right in front of them, because I don't fit the mold. They expect me to be this regal "I'm a Kung Fu master" which I don't like that term master, I don't call myself a master.

Bynon: It creates levels.

Glen: Yah, it's just something you don't want to do and I don't agree with it but I think the mold of a martial artist is just to be yourself and if you can be yourself that's great. I mean, that's one of the things that Elvis loves about me, it that I'm a goof and he can goof around too, right?

Bynon: But you goof with power! It's wonderful to have you here. Congratulations on your book.

Glen: Thank you very much.

Bynon: We appreciate it. We have been speaking with 3-time Canadian Kung Fu Champion Glen Doyle. His book is called The Martial Artist's Way, Achieve your Peak Performance.

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