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An Interview with Tim Osborn-Jenkins, PCC Instructor

Tim Osborn With Al and Danny Kavadlo

Dragon Door: What first attracted you to the martial arts?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: A lot of people get into the martial arts after seeing and being inspired by Bruce Lee. But, Jackie Chan made the biggest impact on me. I knew what he was performing was Kung Fu, so I had to learn how to do that! My friends and I sought out a local martial arts school and began our training.

Six years and hundreds of hours later I had my black belt, but needed a new challenge. That's when I started practicing Wushu and Chinese Kickboxing. Because I learned good basics in Kung Fu, I was able to make a smoother—although not easier—transition to Wushu. Wushu is faster, more acrobatic and great to watch and perform. I was hooked.

I loved the kickboxing element as well, as my movie heroes could always fight as well as perform katas. I currently practice Wushu and teach Chinese Kickboxing to private clients.

Dragon Door: How did you first become interested in bodyweight training and calisthenics?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: I was first exposed to bodyweight training and calisthenics through martial arts. We would always perform some form of bodyweight strength and conditioning in our sessions since there was no available gym equipment.

I started training in gymnastics around the same time I started learning Wushu. But it wasn't until I began working in a gym that I became even more aware of the different exercises that could be performed using just bodyweight and equipment.

On a strength and conditioning website, I came across an article that immediately caught my eye. The article was written about performing a one-arm press-up. I read through it many times, and introduced the progressions into my workouts. Later, I found articles about performing the pistol squat and muscle-up from the same author—Al Kavadlo!

All of a sudden, I was on a new and exciting path. I started to change how I was working out. I was having fun again!

Dragon Door: Which PCC exercises do you think are especially valuable for martial artists?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: Bridges, lunges, and their variations are ideal for wrestlers mimicking a shoot for a takedown or a bridge position to prevent getting pinned.

Pistols help with kicking power in any of the striking arts. There are numerous one-leg balances and low stances in Tai Chi and Wushu that would also benefit.

There isn't a martial art that wouldn't benefit from any of the push-up variations that aid in punching power.

The isometric holds and full body tension of the front lever, back lever, and the human flag represent the reality of actual combat. After initial exchanges through striking combat moves, grappling is where training isometric holds is essential. I have seen people who are strong as hell in the weight room crumble after finding themselves in this situation. These exercises bulletproof your abs and lower back as well. They’re great training for absorbing blows.
Tim Osborn Kata Practice Time Lapse Photo 

The key aspects of many bar exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, front levers, back levers, human flags, and hanging leg raises is grip strength and endurance. Judo and jiu jitsu practitioners would greatly benefit from all the exercise and grip variations as this is their world. Having good grip strength and endurance can be crucial to winning championship bouts.

Dragon Door: What was the biggest thing you learned at the PCC?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: I feel like the biggest things I personally took from the PCC in Ireland were the ideas of creativity and freedom. Knowing how to put together workout sessions without any equipment, and how to be creative with those exercises is a fantastic feeling. Not being limited to what I can do or where I can do it is a gift I will be eternally grateful for!

Dragon Door: How are you using the PCC moves in your workout sessions?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: Currently I'm including a lot of skill-based calisthenics work into my routine. Low reps, higher sets, and not working to failure. Staying fresh with quality practice is crucial. I've been combining this type of work with some of the explosive tornado and butterfly kicks from my Wushu practice. I feel great and I'm recovering faster.

Dragon Door:
Which exercise from the PCC is your favorite?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: It's hard to choose just one! I had a bit of a breakthrough at the PCC in Ireland with my front and back levers. I've been practicing them twice a week along with other skills since I got back from Ireland. Prior to the course, I struggled with them but on day two, I performed my first held back lever. My front levers improved to the point where I can now hold a straddle front lever. Receiving technical advice and encouragement from Al and Danny Kavadlo was a huge help. The front and back levers are definitely my favorites at the moment!

Dragon Door: What advice did you get for the front and back levers?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: The best advice I received on the performance of the front and back lever was to squeeze my glutes and create more tension throughout the body. It's easy to forget this key aspect and I hadn't initially thought about it since my primary concern was my shoulders and flattening out my back.

Once Danny Kavadlo helped me with this, everything seemed to fall into place. When he came back to see how I was doing, he said, "I just saw about a year’s worth of progress in twenty minutes!" That was quite a compliment!

I really think being in that kind of environment helps. The energy of the instructors and my fellow participants at the PCC enable you to go to another level. It's similar to competing in front of thousands of people. Something just happens. And it's a great feeling and experience.

Dragon Door: Who do you usually train, and how will you use what you learned with their sessions or classes?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: I have a pretty interesting client base. My youngest client is 16, and my oldest is 62—he has the best chin-ups of anyone I train! My clients are from all walks of life. Martial artists, sailors, accountants, teachers, college students, physiotherapists, osteopaths and regular mums and dads looking to get in or stay in shape to keep up with their kids and hectic lifestyles.

I have a couple of clients who I visit at their homes and the progressions I have learned at the PCC have been very helpful in coming up with more varied routines with no equipment. Incorporating calisthenics into my small group training classes again has helped too.

Being able to give clients bodyweight routines to work on while on holiday, traveling, or stuck at home means that there never needs to be an excuse. You always have your body. It's the greatest gift you'll ever possess.

Dragon Door: What did the PCC inspire you to do once you returned to your home, gym, and clients?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: I will continue working on the various calisthenics that I learned and hopefully progress to the next level of the PCC. I want to continue teaching the exercises and progressions to new clients and spread the PCC word! I want to help people achieve their goals, but also want them to focus and enjoy the moment of getting that first back lever, muscle-up or pistol squat.

I will be returning to martial arts forms (kata) competition with my new-found knowledge and enthusiasm to shake things up a bit. I might try something that hasn't been done before. I would love to return and compete in the world championships again or maybe the US Open.

I plan to start on the national circuit again and see where that takes me. I love meeting fellow calisthenics practitioners all over the globe and sharing our love for the human body and its potential. I have some busy few years ahead of me!

Dragon Door: How will you train differently for your kata competitions?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: By combining various elements of my training together. For example, in the past I might have had a resistance session, a martial arts session, a gymnastics session, and a conditioning session. Now—like many people—having extra time is a luxury, so it's important to train smart. I’m including jumps, isometric holds, skills practice, and conditioning into one session. I am also training more frequently, but efficiently by eliminating all of the non-essentials. My body likes it too. I haven’t been as banged up as before and I feel like I'm making better progress.

Tim Osborn Jumping WushuI might start one of my sessions with a dynamic warm up followed by some skill work, and after a few warm up sets, I’ll do some plyometrics. Any jump spinning kick into a low stance works here. Then I would move on to calisthenics push and pull work. Next is specific conditioning work before performing the kata a number of times with minimal rest or only working part of the routine.

I will finish with some stretching and breath work then rest. Session time should be around 50-60mins. Any longer and I'm talking too much!

Dragon Door: What are your next goals?

Tim Osborn-Jenkins: One of my next goals is to start competing again. I would like to do the nationals at the end of the year, and I'm already in the preparation stage. Combining some Wushu with calisthenics and throwing in a weapon will make things interesting!

Business is going great at the moment. I've been adding more calisthenics into my clients’ routines and they love it! I guess in life, my goal is to make today more awesome than yesterday—but not as awesome as tomorrow!

Tim Osborn With Al Danny thumbnailTim Osborn-Jenkins, PCC Instructor is an NASM certified Personal Trainer and Certified MMA Strength and Conditioning Coach. He’s currently training clients at Physio 2 Fit Personal Training in Southampton, Hampshire UK. He can be contacted via email or phone: 7818414581