Back to Basics

Back to Basics Naziyah


Most of my training is done outdoors in rough forest terrain, and as such I don’t often wear my dobok/gi (martial arts uniform) because of Scotland’s crazy weather. However, when I do (and when I wore it indoors in classes) I’d often find myself reaching for my white belt instead of the black.
It was strange, but it felt very comfortable.

It reminded me of the very basis of the arts, and their foundations. It was humbling. It symbolized the beginning of a rough yet beautiful journey – one which would continue till my last breath.
The white may be the start of the journey, but black is by no means the end!

It’s easy to get caught up in the more advanced aspects of any field or art when we’ve been in it for so long, however, it’s important to revisit the basics and foundations of that art in order to keep our grounding stable.
Just like a house, no matter how beautifully designed it is or how magnificent the architecture may be, if the supporting foundations are weak, the entire house will come crashing down.

The beauty of martial arts (and any arts) is that there is always more to learn, always more to do. Just as I’ve learned in the sciences and all aspects of learning, the attainment of knowledge is never ending! The more we learn, the more we realise that the less we know! It’s fantastic!
It makes me thirst to learn more!

I still personally, till this day, consider myself a newbie in the arts, but I like that! It keeps me on my toes!
During those times when I can’t physically train due to ill health, it stands as a reminder that there is much more to the arts than solely the physical side.
There’s the mental, psychological and spiritual training too. There’s the research.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel proud of our accomplishments and how far we’ve come, but reminding ourselves once in a while that we’re all still students in life helps to keep us grounded =)
The longer I’ve been in the martial arts, the less physical it actually became.
This doesn’t mean you train less! Not at all! The physical training was, of course, higher than ever before, but with time and wisdom comes a whole new aspect of what the arts offer.
It becomes a way of life. A journey. A quest.
A quest to find a better ‘me’.

Remember to go back to basics.
Whether it be simple forms, stances, or something as simple as taking time to appreciate the journey itself.
Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful learning curve for me =)
Be good, be safe and be wise.


Weapons Photography – Dark Reflections

Naziyah_reflection(Photograph of Naziyah Mahmood – Photography by J. Jamieson)

A sneak peek from yesterdays shoot! I look like the evil overlord of the underworld!! (No, that wasn’t the theme though!)
The photograph is practically untouched (bar some extra background the was cut out).
A reflection of the dark overlord in a mirror!

Image © Naziyah Mahmood, 2014

Martial Arts – Article by Community Martial Arts News

Hello again!
I apologise for my long silence (for anyone who may visit my page from time to time), I just seem to have been caught up in more things that usual lately.

In September, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Gareth Davies for the online Welsh Martial Arts Magazine – Community Martial Arts News.
I consider myself a novice in the field of martial arts, but it was such an honour to have had this article published by Gareth, who had contacted me after finding one of my sword photos online (as mentioned in the article).

Article: Naziyah Mahmood – Community Martial Arts News

The passage speaks a bit about my martial arts history, a bit about my own life, and about Sensei too.
I realise that some parts are a little muddled, but the gist of it is there! (I just hope it doesn’t come across in an arrogant way, as I truly do see myself as a novice!)

Thanks to Charles Hamilton and Fiona Brims for allowing CMA to use their photos of me, and to Gareth for turning what should have been a twenty minute phone interview into a two hour bout of hilarious banter between us!

Elegantly Dangerous?!

(Written as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Why, thank you?: What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received? If you can’t think of any — when’s the last time someone paid you a compliment you didn’t actually deserve?)

Naziyah sword 3

(Photograph of Naziyah Mahmood by Fiona Brims)

pic 3

(Photograph of Naziyah Mahmood by Fiona Brims)

Naziyah sword 2

(Photograph of Naziyah Mahmood by Linda MacPherson)

Naziyah sword 1

(Photograph of Naziyah Mahmood by Linda MacPherson)

Recently, I was invited by two photographers to have a photo-shoot with my martial arts weapons, which was lots of fun as the two of them are such wonderful ladies!
I’ve modelled before in the past, however it was usually to help out friends or at the request of photographers, but I honestly don’t see why anyone would want my face as a subject!

Nevertheless, these phenomenal ladies were able to transform me from my usual alien-like self, into a somewhat presentable human being – a rare feat.

Knowing my love for martial arts, and especially my swords, we combined my several cultural backgrounds with that of my martial arts passion to produce the above photographs (amongst many).
I received, to my own surprise, many lovely and sweet compliments from my friends on social media, however one that stuck out was about looking “elegant, yet also dangerous”, which apparently (according to my friends) summed me up.
Clearly they haven’t seen my clumsy ways! Thank goodness!
Although I feel I don’t deserve any of their lovely compliments, my heart melted from the warmth of their affections.

Recently I had just been feeling a little down about myself, but these wonderful ladies managed to cheer me up, for which I could never be thankful enough.

(Props used were my own- antique lotus Katana and Steel Chinese fighting fan)