Detlef Zimmermann

„Above all there is relaxtion.“

Hanover-Langenhagen. Olaf Pachten conducted the interview at Detlef Zimmermann’s home, in an old half-timbered house. The fields and paddocks start not far behind the house. When Olaf arrives Detlef is just back from jogging. He was as you know him, in a good mood and had a lot of fun with the interview. Again and again the typical humor comes through.

Where did you grow up, Detlef?

In Hannover-Bothfeld.

How did you start with sports in general? Did you do other sports before martial arts?

Yes, I was a mediocre athlete. I once played soccer for a while, but only youth soccer. Then I preferred to do only the athletic things in the normal sports lessons. Equipment gymnastics and such, that is still repugnant to me (laughs). Yes, but otherwise I was averagely athletic.

When did you start with martial arts?

That was in 1976, with this event with the hooligans in the tram.

What kind of event with hooligans?

I was actually a non-violent peace apostle. At that time we were so-called freaks, my childhood was happy, and I never had anything to do with violence. Freaks were such a mixture of rock star and hippie (laughs). Then there were the rockers, the poppers and the hippies and then there were the normal ones, however you should classify them. We were definitely freaks, we weren’t interested in violence. Sex, Drugs and Rock’n Roll were announced for us and peace marches. At that time I drove with two buddies in the tram to Hannover city. The tram wasn’t full and the three of us sat there laughing, as usual, joking. At the end of the tram, on the other side, there was a group of hooligans. There were three guys, ‚real closets‘, a woman who belonged to it, and a little twelve-year-old boy. They talked, were Hanover fans and screamed. And then this twelve-year-old guy came up to me – an unsympath – and asked why we would laugh like that. He approached me! And I was immediately completely humiliated because I was afraid. Then a twelve-year-old comes up to me, whom I could have defeated somehow, although I lived without violence and had nothing to do with brawls. But there were still these cupboards, and one of them, he was already looking. And then I became really small and let myself be humiliated. He didn’t do anything to me, but this feeling. Then I started talking about Hannover 96 and somehow took out the danger. Then, thank God, they got out, too, but the train didn’t go any further for now. And then the boy talked to one of these cupboards, and he just opens the door again and comes in. And then I trembled all over my body, really trembled. And then he stood in front of me like that, but then this woman shouted: „Leave him alone! And then he simply went out again. But I was so at the end, for me this was a traumatic event! I was so afraid that my whole body trembled and I decided that something like that must never happen to you again in life. That’s how I came to martial arts. And the very next day I went to different schools. At that time there wasn’t so much here in Hannover, I watched Taekwondo and Karate and then I went to Martin Höft, where I started. With Karate and Ju-Jutsu, mainly Ju-Jutsu.

Martin Höft was one of the Ju-Jutsu pioneers in Hannover, wasn’t he?

He was one of the serious Ju-Jutsu masters. And he did a lot for Ju-Jutsu. He modified Ju-Jutsu a bit, also through the contact to Manfred. So everything became a bit more relaxed, not so hard anymore. But he never really got away from Ju-Jutsu. From today’s point of view I don’t understand that, because at the latest when he had more contact with Manfred and also with Casey, you could see that there is something there that is simply of higher value, I say.

Why did you stay with him back then? Did Ju-Jutsu inspire you or was it him as a person?

Such a mixture. Ju-Jutsu was more interesting for me than just learning one thing because it included several things: karate, judo and aikido. There were three things in it (laughs). And Martin made a competent impression on me, somehow everything was right. And then I trained like a lunatic Ju-Jutsu.

With Martin Höft you also did Dan exams and have been there for a relatively long time, haven’t you?

I was, I am a bit proud of it, also a model student with Martin Höft. Ralf Behne and I, we were his flagship, I’d like to say. But we also trained like crazy. For me martial arts was suddenly the most important thing in life. I had also started to study at that time, but martial arts was simply my thing. Zack! Suddenly I understood what was good for me. I stopped using drugs etc., I concentrated on martial arts and worked my way up there. I also started teaching relatively early myself. Because Martin was a good teacher, I already had a lot of fun.

Did you already participate in Manfred’s training back then??

No, we still did Ju-Jutsu. But we’ve always had a look, and I’ve also had a look. It was all a bit more relaxed, and the techniques were more direct, and so on. And I already noticed that there was a change taking place. Manfred had trained directly with Casey from the moment Casey showed up in Hanover and had made contact with Martin and Manfred. You could see the change in Manfred’s group. But that must have happened within half a year, because I stopped Ju-Jutsu pretty quickly when I saw: „Man, what are they doing there? I got the decisive kick at a seminar with Wally Jay. Wally Jay comes from Jiu Jitsu and set up his Small Circle Theory there. Not theory – style! Short levers that run over inner mechanics. That’s why Wally Jay had this connection to Casey. Lines and Angle Control and Inner Principles. About Manfred, Martin, Casey and Jiu Jitsu, it came to this Wally Jay course. What Wally Jay did alone was quite impressive. But at the edge of the course I went to Manfred and talked to him about something. Then he showed me one thing and it was as if the fog was going away. I can’t describe it any other way. That convinced me so much that I almost took off my black belt and then really started with Manfred. That’s how it was. That’s how I came to Manfred and you can say that I was obsessed with this thing.

When you started training with Manfred, what did you start with? Did he start with one style, for example Wing Chun, Hsing-I or Bagua, or did it all go wrong??

I won’t say! (laughs long) No, at the beginning you have to say that it was a mixture of external and internal. Because Manfred himself learned from Casey. We actually started relatively early with Wing Chun, but in between we always did these Kai Sai stories and Hsing-I, but mainly Wing Chun. Because Wing Chun was so popular back then. That came just also on the German market and Casey could of course also Wing Chun. He had done it with Lo Man Kam and Taki Kimura. And that’s probably why Manfred was mainly interested in Wing Chun at first.  That’s why we also did a lot of Wing Chun, at the beginning with few approaches to these inner styles. And if I remember it that way, these principles weren’t in the foreground at the beginning. Maybe these ten principles were formulated by Casey later. Even then, it was more about keeping the line. Lines and angle control were important, that you were rooted, that you didn’t just have a fixed position, but that you had the feeling of letting yourself sink. The fact that you relax more was already in the foreground, and in my opinion these were the first approaches from inner boxing. Although, from today’s point of view, a lot of things still happened externally. Especially when we did Armpounding or Ironman. There it was really only about hardening. That was all still – in a positive sense – a bit military. So that one also learned to plug in that one could suppress pain.

How many students were there at the time participating in Manfred’s training?

We were two groups. We were the narrower core, which consisted of only six to seven students and then the big part, the people who wanted to do Wing Chun. There were quite a lot of them. And then the private group, that was a group of four or five. Sometimes I also did training only with Manfred. Manfred had many pupils, but few master pupils. At first I mainly remember Wing Chun and then Hsing-I. Then a slimmed down Wing Chun, which already went in the direction of Jun Fan Gung Fu. We learned all Wing Chun forms and also the wooden doll form, but we also made the Five Hand Blitz. That was actually the slimmed down Jun fan Bruce Lee had made out of the Wing Chun. That’s what we did. There were many different influences, but still it was always one direction. You could think now, they have learned a hundred styles, you get completely confused! And some of them got confused with it. But the people who had already put our principles more into the foreground, they got along well with it.

When did you start with Tai Chi?

When Manfred started Tai Chi, I think.

That must have been quite different from what you did before.

Yes, as I said, in the beginning it was a mixture of external and internal, with 70 percent external. And that changed slowly. It became more and more internal. And when we trained Hsing-I, as the first real inner style, I felt for the first time that I was not learning the technique, but experiencing myself. That you get to know yourself, not the style. So his own mechanics and energy flows. And that was for me again a clear difference between internal and external. In Hsing-I we only made the elements at first. All the animals, I only learned them decades later through Cravens. We really only practiced the elements and element transformations. And that was good, the right introduction to the internal, because you really learned a lot with little. Through the principles of mind hit boxing, through body-mind boxing Hsing-I. And then Manfred must have learned Tai Chi from Casey at some point. He suddenly began to do his Tai Chi exercises and suddenly became very soft and tender. So I asked him about it and he noticed that I was also interested in it. He then gave a course in Little China Town with Klaus Kothe. A mixture of individual fighter lessons, internal and external martial arts. With getting up at night and getting out barefoot and stuff. On the course, during the breaks, I always asked him about Tai Chi, and then he took me out to the yard and showed me the first Tai Chi exercises. I still know that like today. The first movements from Yang Tai Chi. And then I thought again: „I want to learn that too“. I don’t know how far Manfred was in Tai Chi, he was always a step ahead, but I think he just learned that from Casey and then he passed Tai Chi on directly to me – I also gave Manfred Tai Chi lessons in school at that time. I was also the only one who was especially interested in Tai Chi. The others just wanted to kill everyone (laughs for a long time).

It all seems to me like it happened within a month. When I think that I started in 1976. All I know is that I trained like a Manfred obsession and was ambitious until I couldn’t do it anymore. I always wanted to be with the best, I always wanted to be praised. I had subliminal competition with the other championship students. One was better at that, the other was better at something else. But I wanted to know! I had the goal. For me the goal was not the way, but the goal to become an Inner Boxer. I want to be able to prove these principles. And the way there. I have always seen it that way: I have the goal, and on the way I look for what leads to the goal. It’s a path, but I wanted to become an Inner Boxer! Although I was rather different from Manfred, even when I started with martial arts. Nevertheless I was peace-loving and non-violent. I noticed through him that it is necessary to cultivate fighting attributes within oneself. Manfred always somehow built me into his training. I was allowed to take part in his private lessons, we had private lessons, that was a privilege for me. And that culminated in the climax when he wanted to quit and he asked me if I wanted to take over his school. I don’t know if you can imagine what that meant for me. The one who wanted to become the Inner Boxer, the one who trained it like a possessed person, will then be rewarded as a crowning achievement to take over his master’s school. Mannometer, I tell you, mannometer! I still have the call on a cassette, at that time there was no digital answering machine, but you had to put a cassette into it and I still remember how I came home and listen to the cassette and then comes: „Hi Detlef. Manfred’s voice. „Please call me back, I need to talk to you.“ Hanging up! That was the call. And then he asked me to take over the school. Yes, I did that then, as you know.

At that moment it became a real full-time job for you.

That was it already before! I always studied something, started four different things. For example, I studied social sciences and even did my intermediate diploma. But martial arts was the most important thing in my life. Because I already earned money with it. I had given lessons in university sports, even very early on with Ju-Jitsu. And then I had private groups, and that became more and more, and I noticed: „Man, what is going on now, you can only do that! And when Manfred handed over the school to me, it was clear to me, this is my thing now, I don’t do anything else anymore. With the risk of ending up at the social welfare office. At that time the market was still open, I had sometimes one hundred and twenty pupils. There you could still make a good living. Nowadays it is difficult. You have to see how you get along. Because inside boxing has never been suitable for the masses and it still isn’t! When I had the many students at that time, I taught Wing Chun. Everyone wanted to learn that. Wing Chun was the thing! And our Wing Chun was especially good. You have to say (laughs). That’s why I had so many students. I noticed that when I separated from the whole external part – Wing Chun has to be seen as a bridge style, but 70 percent external. The number of students decreased. Because you have to deal with yourself in the inner styles. You can’t just imitate what the master says or shows. And many people can’t cope with that. That’s why Manfred said at the time: „Only a few people will ever do inner boxing“. That’s just the way it is!

Over the years you have become more and more involved in the Tai Chi community. A lot has already changed, from Wing Chun to Internal Martial Arts and on to Tai Chi.

Tai Chi has always fascinated me, because I had become more and more involved with Chinese philosophy, Taoism and so on, and because Tai Chi is of course closely associated with this philosophy. And how to cultivate this physicality in such a way that Yin and Yang actually take place. I came to Tai Chi through fighting and then saw that the health aspect is also forced by fighting Tai Chi.

How did you find access to Tai Chi for yourself?

I learned Tai Chi because I always found it fascinating. From the moment I saw it and felt it myself. But I was also always a representative of holistic Tai Chi, which doesn’t exist anymore today. I would say that almost 90 percent of all Tai Chi practitioners only do this health aspect, this, if you like, healing gymnastic aspect. You can’t say anything against that. But for me real Tai Chi is what it is, namely martial art. And the health aspect is only really forced by the martial arts aspect, because if you stay hard in the fight, the opponent finds hard points and can then transfer his energy, and Tai Chi takes the energy. On the other hand, you can naturally feel your body much better through this relaxation, cultivate your inner mechanics much better, the energy flows, etc., and then feel the opponent’s fixed points more, feel more and attack. If you put that together now, if the main principles in Tai Chi are rootedness, relaxation and centering, which have to be constantly maintained, then of course the health aspect benefits. Wonderful! What could be better than to go through life in a centred and normal posture and relax? And that even under pressure! Not only under real pressure in martial arts, but also under psychological pressure. The preoccupation with yourself, which is unconditional in Tai Chi – you have to preoccupy yourself, otherwise you won’t learn Tai Chi. You will hardly find that in any other discipline. Because you are with yourself while you are training. Really only with you and with the idea of finding and cultivating the principles within you. The mind also relaxes and becomes less vulnerable. I also have a normal life, family, three children, worries, fears, and so on. Just like any normal person. But I can let it go. When someone attacks me, I don’t block, I don’t harden, I let go. The energy and the strength then no longer work against me. And that taught me the most Tai Chi. I tell everyone, student, to at least understand the martial arts aspect so that they understand Tai Chi. If they then see the movements in the application, then they have a better access to what they are doing. I know tai chi people who don’t know what they are doing. They could also go dancing, that would be the same. But if you know what you’re doing and if you pay attention to the ways in your body and the energy flows, then you have a completely different understanding, a completely different self-awareness. You take more care of yourself. And through this „more careful attention“, you really get to know the principles of Tai Chi.

What are the central exercises for you to get a good access to yourself and to these inner energies?

So above all there is relaxation. This is the most important principle of all. Now tell a simple person who comes to you: „Relax“ (laughs). Then of course he doesn’t know how to do it, but there are doors that can be opened. There are points in the body that you can notice, that you can let go of, beyond the rough relaxation. You will notice that in people like that, the shoulders are still hard and after two months they slowly become looser. And after half a year they are relaxed. There are exercises for relaxation, but I think it is much more important to touch people and make them realize: „I’m closing the door, I have to let go consciously“. And THROUGH THROUGH relaxation comes about. In my Tai Chi partner exercises or feeling exercises with the hands and with the whole body are just as important as the form, if not even more important, because one notices through the touch: „Oh man, I am hard there“, which one does not notice otherwise perhaps at all, if one stands alone only around. But through the touch you notice: „Oh man, I have to let go“.

Ultimately, the goal in Tai Chi is to use only holding tension. Functional holding voltage. No additional tension! As with children who are not yet in school. Pre-school children are still free from tension, from blockages. When they grow up healthy. A big goal in Tai Chi is to become like a five-year-old child who is not yet going to school. They are still free of tension. And tensions arise for various reasons. These are bad postures due to work, fears, stress. You tense your shoulders, you have a tense stomach, you pinch your ass, etc. You have to create the counterweight again. And Tai Chi does that because it moves the body. In yoga there are also special exercises or in Pilates etc., which also work similarly.

But again through this understanding: „Somebody attacks me, I am not allowed to work with strength and tension, I have to let go“. This really helps you to relax in depth. And through the deep relaxation one gets to know the inner mechanics and energy flows again rather than with tension in the body. Of course, you always tense up again. Tension is not evil per se. If I drive somewhere with the car I will tense up, but one must have the chance to be able to relax consciously. Especially when you’re under pressure or under stress. And Tai Chi does that, and for that you have to train Tai Chi from the core. You can’t just train one side of tai chi.

Which other teachers have influenced you, besides Manfred Steiner?

Strongly, of course, James Cravens. Manfred was the practitioner. From Manfred I took over the fighting spirit, the first doors were opened to the inner boxing, and he showed me the new world. Which was still relatively new for him at that time. I was very lucky that I was there at the beginning, because he always trained the news with us. So Manfred is my MASTER, it will always stay that way. Without Manfred all this would not have happened at all. But Cravens did the fine tuning again. He was more a technician. He meticulously examined the techniques for their subtleties and further developed them. He did everything exactly. What Manfred could partly only subliminally convey through his mass, strength and fighting spirit, Cravens once again revealed to me through his clarity, through his clarity. I wasn’t the fighting machine, never been. I was more and more the one who has to proceed surgically, who doesn’t just strike, who has to see how he does what.

And Cravens once again contributed a part to that. But who really gave me the inner kick when I really noticed for myself: „So now you are internal, now you can prove internally“, that was through Dr. Tao. I trained internally, I worked internally, but at some point the day came when I realized I could prove what I was doing or what I was teaching. And Dr. Tao didn’t teach me anything directly, I just felt, felt. He told me: „You have to be even more consistent, you have to become even softer. You have to let go of more. From then on things really worked unconditionally.

Where did you meet Dr Tao?

At a seminar by Nils Klug. Dr. Tao is also on the board of directors of the CBII, and of course I wanted to get to know him, of course. Dr. Tao has Nathan Menaged in America, a student of William C.C. Chen, and Nils Klug is a German representative of William C.C. Chen. And through this track William C.C. Chen/Nils Klug/Nathan Menaged invited Nils Klug Dr. Tao to Germany. And of course I didn’t miss it and went there. He has this „Don’t push back, don’t push back principle“, he was always not there! We did push-hands, but it wasn’t really push-hands, because he always went away, but he was still close to you. Bamm!!! That was like a fog suddenly disappearing again. That was what I still needed as the last kick to really work internally. I also got some kicks from other people. I can remember Wilhelm Mertens, who also does Tai Chi, he had a special exercise how to get rid of the shoulders and I did that and: Sponge!!! It was just right for me! And suddenly I could loosen my shoulders even better than before! There are still so small things that you discover and take along on the way, but I got a really big kick from Dr. Tao. Although he didn’t show me anything. Only by this experience to experience him. Then he came again sometime and that confirmed the thing, and then I invested again in really working on the border to being asleep. Really not to use any power at all anymore. And lo and behold, everything became more stable, it became faster. I became even faster. I was always fast, but I became even faster, I became even more agile. That was another big kick for me. Then I have to say that two books also helped me. First the book by Wolfe Lowenthal: „There are no secrets“ and by Hermann Hesse: „Siddharta“. They fit somehow to me personally, helped me to understand Tai Chi or Inner Boxing better. They explained in a different way what you do inside boxing.

What did you find for yourself in the book „Siddharta“ from Hermann Hesse?

The freedom to make personal experiences and not to be told from above: „That’s how you have to do it or that’s how it has to be“. That you have to experience and discover everything personally. This story of Buddha, that you really have to have the freedom to discover everything for yourself. I don’t want to do what someone else tells me, I want to do what I think is right. For me this is also a difference between internal and external, because in the external you do exactly what the style tells you to do, and in the internal you really have to find and cultivate the ideas, the inner ideas, within you.  So that means making your own experiences. And the book, I can recommend that to everyone.

What would you want to give to a student who has decided to do internal martial arts? What do you give him as advice?

Well, I tell the people who ask me how long something like that takes: „Sometimes you learn more in a second than in a whole life, you can’t fix it that way“. The most important thing is really to try to relax – even outside training. Do everything you do in a relaxed way. Relaxation is the magic word. Of course it’s not easy to relax, but it helps if you keep saying to your body: „Let go“. When you realize that you can’t let go, you have to go to a massage and release the deep tensions that may have built up in you over the years. But in the end relaxation is the key. Without relaxation Inner Art does not work. This is what I say most of all in class: „Relax, relax, relax“. Some manage to relax quickly, some need a bit, but in the end something happens. And when you slowly notice: „Aha! I can consciously let go, I can open the pelvis, I don’t pinch my ass anymore when I move“. Then you can make sure that the inner mechanics, i.e. the skeleton, move functionally in this body that is as relaxed as possible, that it is no longer hindered in its function. Actually, we make inner movements every day. For example, when you take a cup out of the cupboard, you don’t think about it. You get the cup out of the cupboard, functionally it doesn’t get any better: You have done exactly what you wanted and it is functionally flawless. You have worked internally. The art now is to get this principle out of its deliberate form. You want to achieve something special with it or you want to fulfil a function with it that is no longer held back or broken by tensions and blockages etc.. Relaxation comes first. The other things simply work better through relaxation. For example rooting. If you can relax, then you can sink and feel how you have more connection to the earth. When you relax, you feel your body more centered. How it really puts you back into a normal posture. Relaxation becomes centring and connection to the earth, so rooting. These are the three most important principles for me. Without the three principles the others only function rudimentarily or not at all. If you have learned or experienced these three principles well, then you can also deal better with lines and angles, with forward pressure and with projection. But this only works if these three main inner principles are there. Relaxation, centring, contact with the earth. And you have to be patient. Some things happen relatively quickly and some things make you feel like you’ll never make it! Recently I had another student who used to say: „Non-Telegraph ! That is not my thing! So and now it has taken a few years, but now he is one who always meets (laughs). Manfred once said: „The touch comes when shitting“, (laughs loudly). And I can only confirm that! Suddenly something happens and you know it’s internal.  You suddenly feel something has happened.

What is your experience with the perception of the transmission of energy, which is often described as Chi?

I think these are mainly natural physical laws that play a role. This is all explainable. And these videos, where people are thrown through the air or defeated contactlessly, they are all either conscious fakes or they are exaggerated. I don’t think much of these non-contact things. I’ve invited people to show me this before. They all didn’t come. If you look at something like that on the Internet, then there are all cooperative people who are thrown around. But there are phenomena you can’t explain. I think so. When I did Ju-Jutsu, for example, I didn’t think at first that I could knock someone over with a very small movement or that I couldn’t just be thrown or pushed away or attacked myself. I would never have believed then that you could do that with little effort at some point.

In this respect, there are phenomena that can be explained physically. Nevertheless, I am now convinced that Chi exists. I hadn’t believed in it for a while and I wouldn’t overestimate it even now. That if you don’t have Chi, you die or something, you understand (laughs)?

It is there, it will probably work somehow, but many things are pure physics in my opinion. For example, what is shown in some non-contact videos: A student approaches the master, he makes a small movement, and the student is immediately thrown back again. I know that in a very small way from my lessons. If you have hurt some students once, or feel attackers, you immediately turn their necks and then come towards them, then they automatically go back anxiously. That’s an example of non-contact, because they were conditioned. It’s about to hurt! But the people who do advertising with such things should show it against uncooperative people. Then that convinces. But I think that’s just fake. But the inner martial art is very high-end-like, concerning the martial arts in general. Because it can always be reduced to a minimum through relaxation and this self-awareness. In application, in function. You often don’t have that with conventional martial arts, but those who either have more aggressiveness, more fighting spirit, or are more unscrupulous will prevail. And in the Inner Arts you actually have a chance to assert yourself as an Apostle of Peace. Because through these principles you can work faster and more flexibly. I always say: „Inner martial art is like shooting with a pistol. You’ve already pulled the trigger and you’re just firing. Or as if you were shooting with a bow and arrow, all you have to do is release the string. That’s what inner boxing is like for me. At some point it will only be one more action. Through the many things you find out in yourself and for yourself, through the different exercises or ideas, you gain access to the essential.

How far has Chinese boxing influenced your life?

Immense! This has become my purpose in life. Not only that I earn my living with it, but because it is my life for me. Of course it goes on and on, but if, for example, my legs fell off now, I would have big problems. It’s not just that I live from it, but that my life is also worth living for me in the truest sense of the word.

So one could say that it is the meaning of your life?

Yes, that is the meaning of my life! But I started learning guitar about 10 years ago. Through the music I got another big kick. Making music myself in a band is a new life impulse for me. Let’s put it this way, turning necks is still the first priority (laughs), but making music now comes right behind it. So, but back to inner boxing: Inner boxing is alive! This is really alive in the truest sense of the word. I always have to speak from my experience. It’s alive and keeps you alive! Above all: really alive! Because maybe you see things more relaxed. You perceive certain things more sensitively, but you still don’t take them so seriously. I just get along better with many moments when some people get really excited. And if there are family quarrels, then you can mediate better. I also attribute that to the teachings of inner boxing. Because Taoism is a very lovable philosophy. All in all very friendly: with a philanthropic, nature-friendly idea and through inner boxing you get to know this idea better. It’s nothing esoteric or a „I-must-set-a-candle-in-front-of-a-tea-drink-philosophy, but it’s a living, tangible philosophy, which you can even prove by yourself. And that’s what Inner Boxing has opened up to me. But I also have to go to the toilet every day, you understand what I mean?! (laughs)

Detlef, thank you for this interview!

Source of pictures: Detlef Zimmermann, Olaf Pachten

To the person:

Detlef Zimmermann, born in 1958, is a martial arts teacher and general representative of the Chinese Boxing Institute International for Europe. He is a founding member of the community of professional Tai Chi teachers and teaches in Hanover. Since 1976 Detlev has been intensively training martial arts, first Ju-Jutsu, until he came to the Inner Chinese Martial Arts through Manfred Steiner, whose school he later took over.


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