AMBASSADOR OF THE TENACITY OF TOTTENHAM
Franck, or Master Franck as most people know him, has been teaching young people to teach for more than 21 years, in the same room in Tottenham. He has taught them about themselves, about control and discipline. He is generous with his knowledge and shows them ‘another way’ – that you don’t have to respond to things in a physical way first – that there are other ways to respond to situations.
He’s growing his expanding family, in the same way the new chieftains is growing a family, he has a huge family of students and former students who have been affected by his teachings. Spectacular.
This is me…
My name is Franck, Franck Mpinda and Martial arts have been part of my life since as long as I can remember. It’s my way of expressing myself when I am happy and also when I feel down. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, I just think of martial arts. Whether I am eating, driving, working or anything else martial arts is on my mind. I am very passionate about helping young people to become fit, healthy and to have discipline in their lives.
How Martial Arts Discovered me
In Congo, when I was young, I used to see people running around with kimonos and stuff. It was just by curiosity that I went to look at what they were doing and was just so excited by what I saw. It was amazing, and I wondered if I would be able to do the same. Slowly, slowly, I trained… That’s how it all started, I fell in love with it instantly and its been the same ever since then.
Time invested in the arts
I’ve been practicing martial arts for more than 45 years and I don’t see myself living without it. I want people to be involved with it. I want to share the importance of how martial arts can work in everyday life and have a positive effect on physical and mental well-being.
In my 45 years as a student and teacher I have mastered many arts … We say ‘maitrise’ in French, I achieved quite a lot. I’ve been 6 times black belt in different martial arts including wrestling (Greco-Roman and free Olympic) Judo, Kickboxing to name a few. It has taught me discipline, structure and above all, about control. 45 years of martial arts is quite a big achievement for me and I am quietly proud.
The plan for my art
Pinda Kai-Do is my own creation and I always say that it is a “complete martial art” that allows people who practice it to gain a wide range of defence and attack techniques. So instead of people learning various different martial arts systems, Pinda Kai-Do will give you access to everything. We place great importance on discipline and control. I think Pinda Kai-do is the sophistication of martial arts.
If you look around a lot of young people don’t know what to do in their lives and a lot of them have no discipline and don’t actually feel good about themselves so we use Pinda Kai-do as a guidance tool and to unlock true potential within people to help them excel in life. This is my drive toward teaching martial arts.
The Journey and sacrifice
Originally, I come from Congo. England is kind of my adopted country. I love it, it has given me a lot of opportunities. I’m a IT teacher in a college but like I mentioned, martial arts is a massive part of my life. I like to be around people and have a special connection with people who understand the importance of martial arts. I’m an ordinary person who likes to do extraordinary things.
I had to leave my family and when I came here, and I couldn’t speak any English so I had to learn quickly and gain understanding of the culture here, It felt like I was born again. Leaving my family was a big sacrifice for me as we are very close. I made the decision to leave my country because I wanted to challenge myself, and I don’t really regret it because I got what I really wanted.
My connection with trees
Trees mean a lot to me. When I was young, we had a lot of trees in my area where we used to live. I was very shy so If I got upset with people or wanted to get away I would run to the trees and stay there for long periods of time. By doing this, I fell in love with trees and it became my place of solace, relaxation and meditation. It was a very peaceful place where where I would often study with no disturbances.
When I find myself around a tree I feel me. I can focus on my introspection; I can see what is inside, I can discover more of that which is within me just from being around a tree.
“Practice is good but the right practice is powerful!”
Life without Martial Arts
I don’t even like to think of this… I don’t think I would be happy at all – I think I would be lost. reflecting on this, has re-confirmed to me the importance of martial arts; I walk each step in martial arts, my expression of life is seen through the eyes martial arts. Without martial arts in my life I would be totally lost. luckily, I found martial arts in my life.
Congo, a very different place
In general, life in Congo is… I cannot say a struggle but it’s free expression (if it’s not mixing with politics) The Congolese love sport especially martial arts, I like that because they encourage you to explore anything you want around sports. It may be strange thing to say but, they generally encourage you to learn the hard way. Whereas in the UK you are told what to teach, if you deviate the insurance won’t cover you. I think this is stopping people from learning correctly.
Some techniques we teach in Congo, we can’t teach it here. If something happened, you would be in trouble. Whereas in Congo You learn the technique and you apply it, you and you make sure that it works. Because of this you are able express your art fully and this is an example of what I was saying earlier, about discovery and reaching your full potential. You do it for real.
In general I prefer the UK because you can express yourself more freely. You can express your opinion more freely and generally nobody will bother you. But in Congo, it’s different – you can express yourself but expect a challenge. Let’s say you mention something negative about a politician, the next day you’ll probably disappear or they find you dead somewhere. In martial arts, you criticise my instructor I’ll beat you up. And if I’m stronger than you, you shake hands and it’s finished.
We respect our elders and our masters, you cannot criticise them. If you criticise our masters for example, expect the reaction of the students to be harsh because they won’t let you get away with it.
Physical training in Congo
In the Congo Pinda Kai-Do has a lot of soldiers and police. We teach them defence of weaponry, we use knives and sticks. They learn 10 strikes, 10 defences, and practice it for a week. When they are ready we encourage them to do it properly. If they get hurt, lessons are learnt from that.
When we think they’ve mastered the technique, we don’t give them a rubber or wooden knife like we do here as they won’t see the danger so, we use the real bayonet and if the bayonet cuts them, they are in real trouble so they apply the learned techniques accurately.
You accept the risk. That’s why I always say “la vie ou l’amour”
(There for life) before you start training so you accept that this is the way it is in Congo.