Carlos Moseley has been studying TKD for the past 20 years, after a brief period when he studied Judo, however, he sought a more dynamic and appealing art and Taekwondo filled this void. He began studying in 1985 with Master Robert and Roy Lynch, both whom were senior members of the
Massar Taekwondo Association. He trained with them for approx 3 years before becoming Master’s Frank and Jeff Massars direct student in 1988.
He has been studying with Master Frank and Jeff ever sense that time, achieving his black belt in 1996 and is currently at 4th Dan level, having achieved this status in 2003.
Carlos has been teaching TKD for, what will be 5 years in May 2006. He teaches in South Wimbledon at Christopher’s Squash and Fitness Club.
His most senior grade is 2nd Kup because, as with himself, he does not believe in progressing through the grades too quickly, rather believing that only regular practice and time can mould a competent martial artist. As master grade, he no longer actively takes part in competitions and prefers to dedicate his time to teaching and focusing on his own personal training objectives. TKD has been a truly positive influence on his life and has helped develop and mould his character, allowing him the opportunity to meet good people and excellent role models and also to travel in the USA and within Europe to places he would not normally have had the opportunity to visit.
You Tried judo but Taekwondo was for you. Can you qualify what it was about Taekwondo that has retained your interest?
Both Judo and TKD are valid martial arts and both are very technical and effective. I studied Judo for only a short period of time however I have a lot of respect for both martial arts. Personally I found Judo too rigid and yearned for something more dynamic and expressive. TKD retained my interest mainly because I preferred the style and the challenges TKD presents. The sparring elements I find exciting and capturing, the spinning back kick and hook kicks offer power, deception for me these were mind blowing techniques. I would say that TKD is exciting and that I have naturaliy remained interested and this has not been a conscious decision.
TKD has many aspects and disciplines to submerge oneself within. If I had to choose TKD would dominate everytime. Good teachers will teach a good subject and students will enjoy and excel at that subject, poor teachers will teach a good subject poorly making it less likely for a student to excel and progress. The teacher element is important. I have had good teachers and thanks to them.
You’ve spent over 20 years in the martial arts; what changes have you seen, both good and bad? There is still a lot of politics within the sport, certainly within the UK governing body. Over the years I have not seen a great many positive changes to the development of the sport, attitudes are changing for the better but slowly and in some cases reluctantly. The martial artist will soon become an endangered specie if the politicians are left to rule, organize and dictate. Politics still remains a factor and does not improve the chance or possibility of the most talented and effective TKD fighters from representing the UK in the Olympics. I think this is a great injustice to TKD and to the UK Olympic team and to the citizens of the UK, If UK TKD was successful within the Olympics and transparent, TKD would receive better publicity within the TKD community collectively. However thanks to the international Olympic movement TKD has developed technically and TKD receives global exposure. More could be and should be done? You are a firm believer in steady progress-are too many people rushed through their gradings nowadays? I think that it is natural to excel at something one enjoys, however it is important to allow oneself time to mature within their current grade before progressing. If your learning to swim and you remove your floatation devices before you can actually swim then you face the real risk of drowning. If TKD was conducted at sea you would find people being washed up on the beach shores. Many students see obtaining first dan black belt as the single goal, they rush ahead enthusiastically however they miss the journey and what it has to offer. So much is lost with this attitude.
How important is the role of competition within martial arts? The role of competition within martial arts is very important. Competition is at the roots of all the martial arts. In times gone by and far past – if the competition was lost then the enemy would win not only the competition but perhaps your land, money and life. The objective to ward of attackers can be viewed as competition only now the stakes are not so high and costly. Competitions are conducted within a controlled environment, making them enjoyable and safe. Competition brings challenges, opportunities and exposure to martial arts that are valid.
Competition is truly a good thing. It allows for diversity and presents the opportunities indiscriminately.
Master level-what does it mean to you and what should it stand for? Malcolm, to me, Master level stands for having attained a skill level some where beyond competent. A master should be knowledgeable, experienced with excellent basic application of the art. An experienced master will also be understanding, flexible and wise. Not arrogant nor politically incorrect. Through my journey within TKD I have experienced both types. The first type I respect.
What about the concept of Martial arts as a force for social good? The Massars seem very conscious of working within the community.
A good martial arts school / organisation (such as Massar Martial Arts Assoc.) will teach martial arts to a good standard to all. The students should reflect the community showing diversity, with the focus on providing enjoyable and affordable lessons to all. Working with community groups to widen the audience to encourage the opportunity for all to learn and not to promote the martial arts as some elitist activity or sport like unfortunately football has become. The main goal should not be financial incentives, many schools operate for financial incentives alone. I am glad to say that Massar MA Association is not one of them.
What is it about Grandmasters Frank and Jeff and Tony that they retain such loyalty? Grandmasters Frank and Jeff and Tony I know to be considerate, supportive, genuine and good masters with high expectations. They pride themselves at being excellent technicians of the art and capable tutors. These factors undoubtedly promote loyalty and respect.
Cross -training and Mixed martial arts are new buzz words. What are your views? In this modern and changing time not everyone wants to train in the traditional setting / environment. The rules of engagement have changed. I think that cross training and mixed martial arts are good if they can help to promote a healthy lifestyle and also serves to capture new audiences. Taking the best parts from different martial arts and combining them is not a bad thing if it proves to make an effective martial art or improves understanding and application. Some things are being changed simply for convenience. Does an art that has been developed over many many years really need a re-vamp? You tell me. Sometimes I get the impression that all reasoning and rational have been lost when one keeps recreating the wheel.
Is Taekwondo a fully rounded art if you research it deeply enough? TKD is a fully rounded art, full bodied and like wine it matures over time. There are a great many areas for one to become engrossed within, the traditional practices, patterns/forms. With the sparring and weapons there is something for everyone, regardless of age or sex. TKD is something that promotes a healthy life style and is pleasurable and rewarding-something much more valuable than a night in front of the television. There is a lot of literature on the art to aid research.
What about self-defence is that also there? TKD offers self defence, 1, 2 and 3 step sparring. These are rehearsed defence/attacking scenarios aimed to improve ones response to attack with the objective of increasing knowledge and understanding of body language and attack/defence situations. From my own experience as an Instructor – kick boxers and boxers and those who generally have the kick/punch/headbutt approach to martial arts find self defence most enlightening, the control the knowledge and application is a new concept to these groups. Women also show an appreciation for self defence as it encourages technique and generally speaking, men are naturally stronger physically than women (Sorry ladies no disrespect intended). Self defence is good because technique is superior and the main factor, not raw strength and aggression. Self defence taught realistically and correctly encourages one to focus on one’s own strengths and not the strengths of their attacker(s).
Do you get frustrated by Taekwondo being labelled as a ‘sport’? In this modern time/age the word sport conveys an image of sports people/athletes. I think this label is acceptable and reflects a positive image.
What should the balance be between competition and tradition? I have always loved the basic no non-sense traditional side of TKD. For me TKD would and could not be a force in its own right without the traditional elements. It is the traditional elements of TKD that have captured my attention for so long. When I was involved in the competitive side myself, the training, travelling, the joy of meeting people like Grandmaster Dr C.S. Park and training at the Oriental Sports Academy in America, having the honour of meeting the founder of Taekwondo the late / great Won Kuk Lee and other wonderful and
Competing against the Koreans, South-Americans-also against and within the UK/Europe and International stage was priceless. I have a great many good memories from this period of my life. Obviously not everyone will gravitate towards competition be it local or international level and it is important not to be shallow when training or teaching martial arts. There should be a good balance and mixture of training. I would say that traditional training tends to be less diluted, competition sparring can build a false sense of ability within a realistic situation if the balance is incorrect. As the late Bruce Lee said, Boards don’t hit back.
What are your own future plans? To continue training and teaching. TKD has so many positive elements to offer the young and old alike. In this age of super consumerism and materialism it is one of the things that help to keep both of my feet planted firmly on the ground. To pass on the special gift to my students, the same special gift bestowed upon me by my Masters is an honour. May I just be allowed to thank the following people for their help, guidance and encouragement – Masters Robert and Roy Lynch, Masters Frank/Jeff and Tony Massar. Masters Carlton Headley and Marcus rhooms, including Wayne / Stav / Don George & Fiasel.