Interview By Christopher Evans
Out Of The Dark Shadows
Up-Close And Personal With Multiple British Martial Arts Hall Of Fame Awardee Andrew ‘Chi’ Osbourne
Who Is Andrew ‘Chi’ Osbourne?
The name Andrew “Chi” Osbourne may not be a familiar name in the world of martial arts outside of Great Britain, but when those who are big names need help, advice and inspiration in all things martial arts related, Andrew is at the top of their go to list, a fact that still bewilders the humble martial artist,
” You know.. I’m just ME..just a down to earth normal guy.. It’s not as though I’m Muhammad Ali going around saying I’m the greatest of all time.. It amazes me that people who I’ve never met before in my life from all over the world, know who I AM and are fans of the martial arts style I’ve crafted and take comfort and inspiration from what I do..”
Meeting Richard Bustillo
“The most surreal moment was in 2015, when I was inducted into British Martial Arts Hall of Fame. I was standing next to Richard Bustillo, who was one of Bruce Lee’s senior students, waiting to be presented the award. He looked at me and said,
“I know you, you’re Andrew “Chi” Osbourne, your Tai Chi forms are phenomenal, a really touching style you have.”
“My jaw just dropped, Bruce Lee is my all time idol, he still is, and to have that come from one of his senior students just blew my mind, I almost went into shock… I just didn’t know what to say to him!”
What Is His Background?
Andrew, who counts Bill Superfoot Wallace, Benny The Jet Urquidez, Art Camacho and British actor Mark Strange as personal friends, still lives in the same area of Wolverhampton in the British Midlands, famous for its steel manufacturing factories, that he was born in and grew up in.
” I was born in the 1960’s in to a mixed race family, my father was a musician from Jamaica and my mother was white from the UK, and I was one of ten brothers and sisters… which may seem unusual now, but at the time you thought nothing of it… you just had to queue up to use the bathroom and get on with it.. the life we had wasn’t too bad.. we cared and looked out for each other.”
What Martial Arts Did He Study?
Andrew was inspired by the kung Fu craze that was sweeping Britain in the 1970’s to take up martial arts.
He spent his formative years studying Wada Ryu Karate with Sensei Joshua Johnson (M.B.E) the first black martial arts instructors in the UK. He then studied, Hung Gar, and latterly Mian Quan Pai.
“Those were tough years, but very educational.. a lot of things we did and the conditions we practiced in, you couldn’t get away with today.. But at the time, that’s all we had, you just did it and grew from the experience, gained an understanding and respect for other people and other martial artists. The hard work did pay off, and a lot of the grounding I had was forged during those early years”.
In the late 1980’s and into the early 1990’s Andrew started to develop his own form for tai chi kuen, this earned him the ‘Chi’ moniker addition to his name.
What Is His Martial Art Style?
Andrew’s unique style is more akin to free form dance then any strict form or kata.
“My style… you can call it the extension of my soul. It does change depending on how I’m feeling and what mood I’m in. When I do my forms on stage for a demonstration or during my daily practices it does feel like the whole universe is watching and that I draw in that power from this unseen source and .. slowly let it go .. then .. boom.. you can feel the energy flowing. It is an emotional release, even for those watching…”
“At the time people thought that Tai chi was just for the elderly, but it is a foundaton for every martial art. I gravitated towards Tai chi as it was all about healing yourself, rather than hurting and doing damage to others, but at the same time it can be used as an efficient fighting style when sped up and used in defense.”
“There wasn`t anyone teaching tai chi kuen to the level that I was looking to achieve at the time, there was no internet back then, so I learned everything I could from books, from my peers in the martial arts industry in the UK and I just asorbed as much informaton as I could travelling around.”
“Once again referencing the little dragon Bruce Lee with his old adage, take what is useful and reject what is useless… That’s what I did with my taichi kuen style, it references the hard and soft styles development from the Shaolin temple, and all the diferent family lineages thereafter, it is a bit of mixture of many styles… kind of like chop suey to use a cooking analogy… a bit of this from here… a bit this from there, to create the perfect dish.”
“You can feel the power..the chi power.. people just start crying or feel a happy feeling when I do my thing.. it’s almost spiritual”.
In 2011 Andrew had to put his martial arts skills to the test when he suffered a racially motivated attack at his workplace by a person who suffered from severe mental health issues .
“The person had a vendetta against my family for being mixed race…He knew where everyone lived and had a hit list if which order he was going to do things in..”
Andrew’s quick thinking and martial arts skills, not only prevented the attacker from causing any serious injury to Andrew’s colleagues, but also saved the life of his family. Andrew was awarded a bravery award for his actions by the metropolitan police.
How Yin Yang Helps in Tough Times
In subsequent years, Andrew has been inducted into the British Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and also acknowledged in the recent volume of the world’s Greatest Martial Artists of All Time Almanac. Not bad for someone who is an independent martial arts practitioner and doesn’t teach in a school or dojo.
“The ying yang symbol means a lot to me, and kind of epitomizes my style and my philosophy of life in a nutshell.. I’ve had some great times and also have been through some really dark, tough times ..in recent years I’ve suffered from PTSD, been placed in sheltered accomodation, been made unemployed ..but with help and support from my family, friends and my martial arts family throughout the world I’m starting to get back on top of things.” I’ve released a clothing line, with t-shirts that have positive slogans that are selling quite well. I’m currently working on my second autobiography, which I hope to release by the end of the year. It will cover all that has happened in my life since the last book, and also a few new revelations from my past, and also my thoughts on martial arts.”
Ultimately, I’m just me doing what I love to do .. practicing martial arts and helping people stay positive. My advice to everyone out there going through tough times, is to do what you love to do as a tool to help heal yourself…no matter what happens in life… be yourself, as everyone else’s [life] has already been taken.”
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