Martial Artist Profile: Garfield Swaby – Jeet Kune Do Apprentice Program NYC

1. What Inspires You To Train?

​Training has become a part of my lifestyle, that is to say I train my mind, “soul”, and ​body. Martial arts is uniquely capable of combining all three and that is the path I have chosen, concerned at the moment more about the journey than a particular manifest destination.

2. How Has martial Arts Changed Your Life? Your Perspective?

​I started training in my teens, then again in my early twenties, and started back recently in my mid forties.​ My earlier goals were physical dominance and power. My focus now is on skill, mastery, and embodied awareness.
4. How Did You Find Martial Arts?
​The importance of motion, movement, and ‘practical logic’ to intellectual pursuits, health, aging, productivity and even oppression/power dynamics are now commonplace in contemporary research (e.g. the book Brain Rules). During graduate school I was introduced to the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his conceptual devices for understanding society, power and domination, an important one being ‘habitus.’ From this perspective, social domination is carried in our bodies and based on bodily know-how in each aspect of life (family, politics, economics, education, art, et). Competence in life and the world isn’t based on rational calculations of data (economic, political, etc), as some people theorize, but is rather based on implicit practical sensory logic, bodily dispositions, or a ‘feel for the game.’ So violence and symbolic violence must be dealt with bodily. Thusly, I came back to martial arts!!! 
5. What Is Your Single Most Defining Factor In Training?
Trying to make normal a comprehension (habitus) of distance, and the types of fighting and tools best employed at each distance (I think I heard Sifu refer to this as one of the “Tao of martial arts”).  
6. What Was Your Biggest Hurdle In Martial Arts? And How Did You Get Over It?
​My lack of flexibility and poor cardio.  Steve Maxwell’s seminar was also helpful here.​
7. What Classes Do You Train The Most?
​JKD Phase II, Panatuken Thai Boxing. I’m also reaping amazing benefits from the apprentice sessions with Sifu Anderson and personal ​sessions with Sihing Cruz (feel free to remove the last sentence if this shouldn’t be included here).
8. One Go To Move?
​Fainting the right cross to set up the left hook option (body or head). This is actually my 2nd best goto move.
9. How Do You Get Your Training In, Even On The Busiest Week?
​If I can’t make it into the school I have a standing heavy bag at home​. I find that visualizing and shadow sparring weapons at home (I keep a pair of sticks on every floor of my house for this purpose) help tremendously.

10. How Has Martial Arts Transformed Your Body, Your Health, Your Mind, Your Ability, Your Confidence? 

​I’ve gotten into an actual physical fight 3 times in my entire life and some of my Muay Thai sparring sessions were far ​more intense than those fights. I can usually disarm a situation with jokes
​b​ut were I to ever be drawn into a fight, I pity the fool!​ As an aside, I’ve lost ~30 lbs since I started training at AMAA. Martial arts​ with sparring has helped anticipate, recognize and act in fight or flight moments.

11. Why Should I Try Martial Arts?

​A Sufi mystic was asked to describe honey, to which he replied: Which is better, that I explain sweetness for you or​ that you taste it for yourself?
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