November 2010

Phew! What a week-end, one thousand seven hundred competitors from around 20 countries and 30 different organisations and a sell out audience. All this taking place over 28 competition areas at the Telford International Centre on September 11th & 12th.
    Its hard to highlight individuals performances but Warren Vice wrote himself into tae kwon do folklore by winning his 5th world title at his 5th different weights, making him tae kwon do greatest ever champion. He also won the deciding fight for the England TAGB team against Scotland TAGB in the world team final, and it must be said that the Scottish team did fantastic to get to the final beating Switzerland, Canada and Argentina to fight out a magnificent final against England who beat Ireland, Holland and Poland to get there at the end of the five matches.
    It was a draw so a coin was tossed to see which weight the deciding bout was fought at, Kenny Walton England team coach won the toss and sent out Warren Vice and in thrilling 2 round fight Vice over came James Reed to retain the title for England and just to put the icing on the cake the England ladies team also won and we saw a truly astonishing performance by England ladies captain Tamsin Clark, which saw her win the semi contact lightweight title, the WTF Olympic style lightweight, so she took home three gold's...

Read more in the FREE Combat November 2010 Digital Edition
SHINOBI SOLDIERS - An Interview with Otake Sensei
November 2010
Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto-Ryu to give it its full name is the oldest sword school in Japan. Originating in the late 15th centaury and founded by Lord Iizasa Choisai who was awarded a divine scroll from a god in the shape of a boy. The school derives its name from the Katori Jinju shrine in Narita, where the founder is now buried. As this is the oldest sword school (with all of its internal sub-schools) to be registered and recognized in Japan it is elementary to declare that this school can also claim to be the oldest form of Ninjutsu still to be taught today, as no other body has evidence to predate Katori Shint-Ryu's origin. Otake sensei was born in Chiba in 1926, in 1942 he entered the sword school to understand courage and to find a path to valour and the strength to fight in the war if called upon.
    On the 12th day of august 2009 the author drove down the dusty country roads to the home of Otake Sensei, the headmaster of the Katori Shinto Ryo, the oldest sword school in all Japan. After an erratic and somewhat roundabout taxi trip the author and his translator arrived at the door of the house to be greeted by a pleasant and warm 81 year old man in a blue Jimbai, a form of old casual wear. Otake Sensei and the two visitors sat in his main room and awaited tea and cake, brought by an aging and very polite wife. Most people visit Otake sensei to gain knowledge of his old and profound sword school, this visit was for a mater much different. As the headmaster of the school Otake sensei was privilege to many things, but the most interesting part of his schools curriculum is the way of Ninjutsu. This is one of the best kept secrets of the 'Ninja world', this swordsman is legacy to a 500 year old oral tradition of Ninjutsu. What adds an extra flare of excitement is the fact that the reason that this school teaches Ninjutsu is to teach its swordsman a very skilful art and that is the art of 'defence against a Ninja'.
    "In our school there is nothing about learning Ninjutsu itself and nothing that is recorded within in our ancient scrolls.  All the knowledge that I have obtained comes from our founder and has been passed down by word of moth for over 500 years. This is the true way of defending yourself from a Ninja."
    Otake sensei states that this information has never been recorded down before, whist the interview took place Otake sensei was writing this down for the first time for a magazine in Japan The school passes many things by written scroll, but it says it passes its Ninjutsu teachings by word of mouth alone.
    "Those who tame dogs as a skill would ask how urgent the job was when they got an offer or contract. If the job wasn't urgent they could then use their time to tame the said animal by methods such as feeding or befriending the animal. Or if the need was urgent, they could give a female dog to male or a male dog to female. Also a Shinobi would lure a dog out of its area by food and then proceed to beat the animal badly. They did this whilst applying a selected sent such as whale oil. This was done so that the dog would remember the sent at night and fear would then grip the dog as it would recall the near death beating it had received at the hands of the Ninja. As a result the dog would run away or cower after giving forth a short bark and investigation into a disturbance.
    Only those who know this skill could know that a Shinobi might be there and upon hearing such a reaction from a guard dog a Samurai from our school would take up a bow and shoot into the darkness with the hope of hitting the Shinobi..."

Read more in the FREE Combat November 2010 Digital Edition
JACKIE CHAN - The Karate Kid and A Very Wrong Film Writer...
November 2010
Oh dear. It sounded about the worse idea ever.  Jackie Chan starring in a remake of 80's classic Karate Kid along side the son of Will Smith (who also serves as a producer). To put this into context the original Karate Kid wasn't exactly a five star classic.  It was poorly acted, star Ralph Macchio was about as convincing a martial artist as I am a catwalk model and it screamed 80's (which contrary to popular belief is NEVER a good thing) .But alongside films like The Lost Boys, Stand By Me, Police Academy and pretty much everything Arnie did around the time (Red Heat, Raw Deal, Predator, Commando et all) it was just one of those films that struck a cord with me growing up. 
    The Karate Kid was inspirational to a generation.  Okay stop laughing.  It really was! Trust me when I saw Karate schools saw their business go through the roof.  I was one of those kids.  Okay so I gave up a few months later when I realised that I just wasn't that good  at it (and no doubt Back To The Future came out and skateboards became the 'in thing' that month) but the thought was there. 
    Three sequels followed, two with original star Macchio, and one without (step in future academy award winner Hilary Swank)  but all with the late, great Pat Morita.  And yes the law of diminishing returns struck the series and by the time the final film rolled around (The Next Karate Kid) even Michael Ironside couldn't save it.  But oddly I didn't hate any of them.   Oh alright maybe the Next Karate Kid a little bit...
    So when early last year it was announced that The Karate Kid was next to be put in the remake blender I wasn't the most receptive of film fans.  Or writers.   In fact even in the pages of Combat I've been nothing short of scathing of the idea. 
    Jackie Chan starring along side Will Smith's son Jaden Smith? China rather than Calafornia? 12 year old kids instead of college age adults?  Directed by the famed director Harald Zwart... yes Harald Zwart, he behind the classic 'Pink Panther 2' and 'Agent Cody Banks'?  It was fair to say pretty much every element of the film sounded terrible. 
    Many months passed and much more scorn was laid down upon the film.  It could never be good - after all remakes of Friday 13th, Get Carter, Hills Have Eyes and pretty much every other since this barking trend started (save for Clooney's Ocean's 11) have been bargin basement bad. 
    Then I saw the trailer. And something odd happened... I kind of liked it.  The setting, the action, the cast, it actually for the first time looked like it could work...

Read more in the FREE Combat November 2010 Digital Edition
GRANDMASTER KIM YONG HO - Taekwondo A lifetime's work
November 2010
Grand Master Kim Yong Ho was Born in 1944. His family moved to Seoul in the 50's where he began his martial arts training t the age of 11 in a school which was affiliated to Chung Do Kwan. Training daily he soon gained his black belt and later had it confirmed in front of Grand Master Uhm Woon Kyu becoming the 61st black belt.
    He went on to study at Jyung Hee University (1962 - 1966) it was here that he began to teach martial arts and in 1967 was awarded his 5th Dan, an exceptionally high rank at the time. The following year he went to Vietnam as an advisor to a Vietnamese general and later trained body guards responsible for the safety of the Vietnamese prime minister.
    On his return from Vietnam he went as an instructor; first to Iran then Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong before finally settling in Paris in 1978. It was from his base in Paris he helped spread Taekwondo across much of Europe. It was one of these visits that brought him to the UK where he was invited to become the president of the British Taekwondo Federation (BTF), a position he would hold until it disbanded. During this time he taught and graded many of today's Masters.
    In 1998 he was made chairman of the World Taekwondo Federation technical committee, a position he would hold for 3 years. Master Kim has dedicated his life to teaching Taekwondo and has travelled the world meeting fellow instructors and introducing new students into the art.
    Over time he realised that the sporting aspect was taking over, pushing the martial arts aspect out, so he opened his own school which he named 'Kim Chung Do Kwan'. He gained support from other high ranking masters who like he wanted instructors and students to gain more from Taekwondo.
    In 1997 he formed the World Taekwon - Mudo Academy which was inaugurated in Darlington, England. The following year the first championships were held in Mexico which would see 17 delegations from 10 countries attending. In July 2000 the World Taekwon - Mudo Festival was held at the University of Chung Cheong in Cheonju Korea...

Read more in the FREE Combat November 2010 Digital Edition
KARATE - An outdated and pointless belt system?
November 2010
Some people join a karate club for no other reason than for just something to do, a way of meeting people, a pastime. 'There's nothing wrong with that!' I hear you say, and I totally agree. A karate club is an exciting place to be and a great place to make new friends. All clubs contain students who you would recognise as lacking serious commitment. Therefore, they could never advance past a certain grade, right? Unfortunately we all know that is not necessarily true.
    Standards are regulated pretty much by clubs these days and the recreational, part time karateka is just as likely to be wearing a black belt as the serious committed athlete. This very fact makes a complete mockery of the belt system and for this reason, I believe the grading and belt system is one of the main stumbling blocks as we work to rebuild British karate's image. The current grading examination is both outdated and pointless; its only real use nowadays is to generate income. I am not suggesting that British karate should abandon standardized testing, what I am saying is how that standard is measured definitely needs to be reviewed.
    There were only ever two reasons why the current grading system worked anyway; 1- The Black belt was an indication of elitism, something that a student strived for as they pushed themselves though rigorous, brutal training sessions, perfecting techniques while at the same time building a character though adversity. Failure and humility was and is a very important part of this process. 2- The Kyu grade tests were intended to be miles stones, small obstacles to overcome on the way to the Dan grade. When you failed to navigate each obstacle you learnt so much about yourself; you then began to re-build your resolve. A student wouldn't consider attempting a grading examination without complete and absolute preparation and even then, most would never measure up. Those who did were the elite and were recognized by becoming black belts. This, as we all know is not the case now
    Ask yourself this question. What if British karate decided to operate a neutral, non-denomination belt system meaning that everyone wore the same belt and all clubs abolished the grading system as we now know it? How would a karate club operate without any sort of grading structure whatsoever? Actually, does this sound so awful and un-workable? Consider this hypothetically... A potential new student walks into your dojo and inquires about how your club operates; here is what he/she is told. "We are associated with British karate, therefore we are bound by a standard that promotes the image of British karate. British karate does not operate a belt system as recognition of that standard. Our club runs classes every evening and you are welcome to attend every session, your first few months will focus on your fitness and conditioning, remember you are a potential athlete and karate training is tough. This is very important as without correct conditioning you will not be able to perform to the standard that we require. You will then go on to learn the basic fundamentals of Shotokan karate, followed by basic sparring drills with a partner..."

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ISKA Freestyle Open 2010
November 2010
The ISKA sanctioned London International Freestyle Open took place recently in London and caught the crowd's attention as soon as the kids took to the mat all padded up and ready to do battle.
    In the boys -25kg category, M. Ainsbury fought J. Russell from Cardiff in a great final. Both fighters wanted desperately to win this great battle but in the end there could be only one winner and that was Mr. Ainsbury.  He also went one better by taking first place in the -30kg section to take the double, a worthy champion.
    S. Derby secured 1st place in the boys -35kg then stepped up, into the -40kg where the Bolton blockbuster met E. Buck from Nottingham School of Black belts.  After a tense fight with both fighters exchanging techniques S. Derby took his second gold medal of the day.
    Over in the girls section M. Mingle from Solihull Kickboxing Academy faced T. Price from Cardiff Freestyle, Mingle took this fight after a very hard fought battle. A .Jones won the -45kg while C. Buck took the +45kg.  Over in the light contact, J. Tawse from Cardiff met J. Price, his club mate in the finals. With the club shouting for both fighters, it was a noisy bout that saw  J. Tawse edge to victory in the end.  However, J. Price moved up in the -40kg and beat W. Jenkins to win a gold medal.  R. McClusky took his second gold in the +45kg beating N. Pugsley in the final. Junior boy light contact -55kg S. Brewer beat J. Mason while D. Emsley took third place. C. Hawthorne beat S. Barrett in the -67kg.  The girls light contact section was also very competitive. J. Madden beating M. Price in the -35kg in the junior girls.  A. Price overcame F. Jones in the -59kg in a tight final. 
    In the men's point fighting section, in the -67kg T. Kelly from S.A.M.A fought and beat J. Wright from Yeovil.  M. Watton beat J. Beech in the -71kg while over in the -86kg C. Lowe faced a hungry M. Watton, however, this time C. Lowe took gold.  Men's light contact in the -75kg D. Edens defeated E. Gohari while M. Tracey from Solihull Kickboxing Academy won against J. Chester of Essex in the -91kg. Women points G. Morgan from Hick's Karate faced a fierce R. Nelson from Phoenix, point for point, this fight went all the way but it was Morgan who edged to victory.
    Women's light contact Z. Malewicz of the F.S.K beat S. Whittlock also of the F.S.K in the women' veterans points fighting In the +63kg veterans light contact ladies, Meely Lo who has not fought for 5 years returned to action and showed she has not lost anything by defeating N. Gupta in the finals. A.Watton won the veteran -63kg points and then stepped up into the +63kg and took a second gold for the day...

Read more in the FREE Combat November 2010 Digital Edition
JAKE OGDEN - I'm Here To Help!
August 2010
Jake Ogden has become one of the fore most figures in the martial arts world and martial arts delivery. He heads one of the most prolific organizations in the country in terms of participation, retention, achievement and growth. Jake is one of a kind and his excellence and pedigree is second to none as he has represented his country at multiple different sports including golf and holds black belts in 4 different systems. He graduated from university in sports science and management and is a certified lecturer in sport. What makes Jake more than just a martial arts expert is his passion for good practice, indomitable spirit and his dedication to his students. In just 4 years of opening up his own art form to the public, Jake has accumulated more than 4,000 students nation wide, all of whom practice Jake's personal fighting system Jado Kuin Do. Martial arts have helped Jake immensely throughout his life, as he was a victim of bullying as a small child. Through martial arts Jake turned his life around and is now a mentor, lecturer and role model to many young and older people across sports education establishments and martial arts institutes around the UK, Europe and the United States of America.
    Jake Ogden was born in Northampton, England. At the age of eight Jake took up Martial Arts in the form of traditional Kung Fu (Lee Chuan Fa) under Sifu Paul Carter after being bullied at school and being inspired by Bruce Lee's famous 'Enter the Dragon' film. Jake also began to learn Judo under Steph Carter along side playing rugby. By the age of sixteen, Jake was studying martial arts 7 days a week along side playing rugby for Northampton Saints U19s, where he was selected for the England U16s rugby Union team (4 x caps). He then signed a professional rugby contract with Super League high flyers Salford Reds, at this point Jake moved to Manchester as a professional rugby league player. Jake kept up his martial arts training which helped him stay flexible, coordinated, disciplined and fit which complimented his rugby immensely. Whilst in Manchester Jake trained at the famous Phoenix Boxing Gym which has produced boxers such as Ricky Hatton, Carl Thompson and Ainsley Bingham.
    After 4 yrs of living in Manchester Jake's rugby bought him back to Northampton where he signed a contract for Northampton Saints RUFC in '96. In '97 Jake retired from playing rugby through injury and concentrated on his martial arts full-time. He turned to Kickboxing this time and was coached by Morris Young. He also went to train under Mic Fowles and Jim Bacon for a short while and was then coached by the Legendary Master Ronnie Green in kick/thai boxing. Jake also holds Black Belts in Kickboxing, Karate, Thai boxing and Taekwondo Do. Jake has studied Lau Gar Kung Fu, Shotokan Karate, Jujitsu, Wado-Ryu Karate, Aikido, Taekwondo, Wing Chun Kung Fu and Tang Soo Do. From Jake's extensive martial arts background he has formulated his very own unique self-defence and fighting system, based on his own scientific concepts. This was the birth of the JADO KUIN DO art form...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
STAY SAFE - An Englishman's Home is his Castle... Or Is It???
August 2010
There has always been a lot of controversy about what homeowners are allowed and not allowed to do when it comes to defending their home. I regularly talk to people who are under the impression that if you use force against a burglar for example, the police are likely to charge you.
    These simmering ambers of fear have been fanned into full-blown fires by cases like the Tony Martin case. You may remember that Tony Martin was the Norfolk farmer who in1999 shot and killed Fred Barras and wounded Brendan Fearon whilst defending his property. The general public's perception and response to that case was that he shouldn't have been convicted as he should have every right to defend his property and burglars, such as Barras and Fearon deserved what they got.
    Now that is all good and well on one level, but if we allowed people to use whatever force they wished the State would soon devolve into a state of anarchy with vigilantes operating without remorse or recourse to the law, and that should never be allowed. However, the Tony Martin case did highlight one thing and raised the question about what homeowner's rights are, and, more importantly a better understanding of what reasonable force is.

    In the Tony Martin case I think any reasonable person would agree that it would become necessary for any homeowner to have the right to use force. However, force cannot just be justified by merely becoming necessary. The amount of force used must be proportionate to the harm or wrongdoing that which you are defending against or trying to put right. What the Tony Martin case illustrates for us however, it that although an intrusion may be regarded as something that may be necessary for someone to address, the response or the use of force option, has to be proportionate and discharging a gun to kill someone who is running away was proved in Court to be a disproportionate response to defending his property.
    Further to that, it was proved in Court that Mr. Martin was motivated by revenge and if any force is used for revenge or retribution, or for teaching people a lesson then you have no defence to any charges brought against you...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
MIKE FINN'S BUNBU SERIES - Real Life Encounters - Part 10
August 2010
In this series I will be writing about the use of martial arts technique and strategy in some of the many violent encounters I had as a young police officer in the 1960s and 1970s. Pictures have been created to capture the feeling of the situations, but they should not be relied on to represent the actual events. Looking back at my youth I can say that police arrest is considerably harder to accomplish than the violence used by thugs. The aggressor can use any means they like, but the officer has to effect an arrest using reasonable force.
    Martial Arts training is very different to the unpredictability of actual encounters, although I have said this before, it can not be overemphasised. When I first went to Japan in the 1960s, it was not uncommon for students to be seriously injured or die during training. Attending a dojo in Japan during that period took on a very different meaning, it changed your perception, intent, self preservations instincts and resolve. I am sure this fact will be agreed by those who were there during that era. Today the fear of litigation, politically correct attitudes, and our environmental genre, do not allow for that condition to exist. However, in actual encounters, if you decide to adopt a positive role in a confrontation, that is exactly the risk you take.
    As a police officer, plain clothes added a new dimension to some of my encounters. For example, a police uniform in those days had a controlling effect on situations, but in plain clothes you looked the same as everyone else. Well that's not quite true, I remember one occasion when I was disguised as a vagrant. To be convincing in plain clothes, you not only have to look the part, but also believe in the role you are playing.
    There was a noted underground line that had a particularly bad reputation for late night violence. When uniformed officers went down to the platform the violence ceased as long as they were there, then began as soon as they left. The cry of "watch out, old bill" echoed like an early warning system and there were few arrests. To answer this problem, the group I was with were sent in under cover. I drew the short straw and was disguised as a vagrant.
    A little dust in my hair, dirty hands and face, tatty unkempt clothing, and a cigarette butt hanging from my mouth made a convincing case. When I sat on the platform seats, people got up and moved away quickly, and when I asked for a light with slightly slurred speech, I knew my role was persuasive. In just a few weeks of constant arrests, the thugs on the platforms did not know who was who, they would point to nuns and pensioners, whispering, "watch it, I recon their coppers". The uncertainty of who were police kept those platforms violence free for quite a long time after out unit left...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
August 2010
The Truth, The Whole Truth & Nothing but... The Truth!

Since I started writing for Combat magazine my intention was to try and help budding martial artists avoid the many pitfalls associated with training with weights. I make no claims about being an expert, I'm not a martial artist and I'm not particularly well conditioned. The thing I have done is change from a very skinny, very weak kid to a much larger, stronger and older man! It took ages to get to this (slightly above average) level and there are many things I can and would change if I had my time again. I started training my friend Gavin for judo and he has made huge leaps in strength and size in a reasonably short period of time. Gavin has told me that his ability to perform his martial art has improved due to this improvement in strength - his options as a fighter have increased. He can now add another string to his metaphoric bow of skill and speed - that string is strength. If you are a rank novice then some strength improvements would be useful and if you are a seasoned veteran then a strength increase might be a welcome boost to your endeavours.
    The reason I've missed an issue or two is that I considered that anyone who has read my articles has all of the information needed to progress for a significant period of time. There is no short cut, no secrets, no formula that will benefit you in the quest to get bigger. Organised routines sold and promoted in various media may well be of great benefit to you, that benefit would largely be due to a structure and organisation of training that stresses continual progress in a progressive manner. Sticking with a routine and constantly striving to improve are the 'secrets' everyone seeks. It is a sad reflection on society that we all seek out the short route to success - a popular author has estimated that in order to be World Class in virtually every field of achievement needs at least 10,000 hours of effort - ten thousand!
     That seems like an awful lot of work - especially if you're only a teenager - that's a long way to go. Let's think about this though - do you need to be an Elite powerlifter to be a good martial artist, it might be fun to be both but is it necessary? Somewhere along the way on this hypothetical 10,000 hour journey you're going to be strong, and very, very early on this journey you will be stronger than you are now.
     I think that a degree of perspective is useful in this field - it takes a long time to reach your full potential in any field, some are lucky and get there faster, think about this - if you were one of these lucky people you would know this by now. If you were someone that instinctively knew what to do in your training then you probably wouldn't be reading this article - you'd be doing it.
     Dont feel bad about this - you are likely to make up 99.9% of the weight training population. Another (hopefully) small percentage might decide to use steroids and make gains that way. Steroids are a great way to make a hopeless routine look useful and they're a shortcut and you're not so weak willed and weak minded to need a short cut are you ? You want to look at your gains and feel proud - you want to laugh when people ask you if you are taking steroids - it's a good feeling, much better than lying and hiding your illegal and illicit habit...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
THE POWER TO WIN - It's All in The Mind!
August 2010
Developing Proper Mindset for Self Protection

You can't succeed at anything unless you first have a mindset that is conducive to success. The world's top athletes do not win competitions purely through their physical prowess. In the world of sport, very little separates the winners and the losers in terms of physical fitness and skill levels. What really separates the winners and the losers is mindset. Winners spend a great deal of time working on getting the right mindset that will lead them towards success.
    Similarly, the military spends a lot of time in making sure their personnel have the right mindset in place before they are sent out into the field. The military understand that it is not just a matter of showing a person how to fire a gun; you also have to get that person psychologically ready to fire that gun under extreme pressure, otherwise you don't have a soldier, you just have a guy with a gun in his hand.
    The same thing applies to self defence. You can teach a person all the physical techniques in the world but unless that person has the right mindset that will allow them to use those techniques when it truly matters (when they are under extreme pressure) then what you end up with is another person walking about with a proverbial loaded gun who doesn't have a clue how to use it when it counts. There are loads of people out there who, to stay with the same analogy, are over-confidently waving guns around, firing shots of into the air in an effort to impress themselves and others. It is only when they find themselves in a situation where they have to use that gun for real do they find themselves badly lacking in the mental attributes necessary for success. The thing that they put so much misplaced faith in to protect themselves is swiftly taken of them like it was nothing and shoved where the sun doesn't shine. They are left feeling shattered, physically, mentally and emotionally and wondering what went wrong.
    The field of self defence has come a long way in recent years, thanks to the teachings of people who have spent many years immersing themselves in the reality of brutal violence, testing to see what worked and what didn't work and then coming up with workable systems to teach others what they have experienced firsthand. Thanks to these trailblazers, most people now understand that successful self defence demands a whole different approach to that of the approach expounded for many years by traditional martial arts. Proper reality training has very little to do with martial arts, or at least traditional martial arts. To meet the demands of the street you have to train for the street and that doesn't involve doing complicated and unworkable techniques, nor does it involve doing techniques which haven't been thoroughly pressure tested, either through firsthand experience or through properly formulated pressure drills in the dojo...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
August 2010
Held at its regular venue, the Harvey Hadden Centre in Nottingham, this years Championships clearly showed their importance in the karate calendar by attracting over 500 entries. Event organiser, Jim Reece, ran the day's events, organising the four tatamis and over forty categories. He was accompanied at the by FEKOs Chairman, Alan Carruthers and FEKO Executive Members Noel Mantock and Dr Josh Johnson.  In charge of the tatamis was FEKO Chief Referee Robert Phillips.
    Throughout the day the competitors, coaches and officials demonstrated an exemplary level of professionalism with both wins and defeats being accepted gracefully. At the end of what was a very successful day, Mandie Read's Dudley Shukokai Karate Association took home a substantial number of trophies winning 16 Gold, 13 Silver and 17 bronze, once again topping the results table.
    Kyojo- Kai having recently rejoined Karate Sport England saw their squad win 8 medals, much to the delight of coaches John Anderson, Glen Middleton and Trevor Justin. Another face from EKGB days was Fred Rose (BUKA) and it was real pleasure to welcome him and his members back in FEKO again.
    FEKO's Children and Cadets together with FEKO's Cadets and Senior Open National Karate Championships are now firmly established and much anticipated events in the National karate calendar.
    Another successful National Championships once again proved that an 'open to all' National Championships without restraint to political affiliation is the best way to bring all karateka together as one family and move forward. Immediate feedback from the Championships has been extremely positive...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
THE MARTIAL ARTS SHOW - The Greatest Show on Earth?
July 2010
So, did The Martial Arts Show live up to its expectations, did the event that everyone wanted to see happen in the Midlands go off without a hitch and was it really... The greatest show on earth? Well, and whilst I would simply love to say yes to all of the above, I would rather tell you the truth...  So, here goes...
    Yes, it not only lived up to our expectations, it was better than we could have planned in many ways. Whilst it did have a few teething problems, they were more about the smaller issues of the production values, and unless you were a part of the production team on the day, you would never have noticed. So from that perspective, yes it did live up to its expectations!
    Did it go off without a hitch? Well, no it didn't, we had a few problems and to be fair when you consider the size of the event (two and a half halls) and that it was our first, I think that with all the support we received, we staged a fantastic (first of many) event. To be blunt, the problems we incurred were born from service providers and not the martial arts fraternity.
    The one thing that we wanted to create or gain from the show was for it to be an enjoyable, interesting and 'must revisit' experience and I believe that we managed to do that, judging by the amount of compliments and "See you next year" quotes that we had both at the event and after it.
    As for the content of the show itself it was truly fantastic! Everyone that played their part did so with consummate professionalism and every demonstration, guest appearance and seminar, in fact every facet of the show was better than anyone could have hoped for! Having created and staged many large events I can honestly say that with regards to the martial artists who were involved in the show, they simply couldn't have done a better job than they did, so well done to you ALL!
    One of the highlights of the show was the Dragon and Lion Dance troupes that opened the event who attracted a great deal of attention and rightly so. The audience were spell bound and the feedback was fantastic, something that we will have to repeat next year. Another feat of skill was the sight of Peter Love washing his hands, arms and face in a bowl of broken bottle glass!!! I think that this along with his successful attempt at setting a new World Record for breaking chopsticks on his throat captured the imagination of the massive audience in attendance.
    For anyone 'into' Britain's Got Talent (the TV show) The Martial Arts Show provided a superb surprise in the form of the TV shows semi final achievers Shaolin TEAM, who gave several highly charged and fantastic demonstrations throughout the weekend. Shaolin TEAM, (which stands for Together Everyone Achieves More) gave 100% every time they took to the stage and Mathew (together with the entire Shaolin TEAM crew) quickly became very firm favourites with all that attended and were followed around the event from the moment they arrived.
    There were many very senior martial arts practitioners that graced The Martial Arts Show with their presence, which for me, placed the event on the must see list of every 'real' martial arts practitioner and fan alike. Amongst the many very supportive seniors were; Terry O'Neill, Ronnie Colwell, Yap Leong, Ed Parker Jnr, Alfie Lewis, Ronnie Green, Reny Latosa, Peter Consterdine, Braulio Estima, Pat O'Malley, Scott Adkins, Shaun Boland, Dragan Radovic and his son Rajko, Alan Gibson, Brian Dossett, Kevin Pell, Charles Longdon Hughes, Kevin Mills, Chris Denwood, Peter Love, Eddie Quinn, Frank Massar, Jamie Clubb, Jim Uglow, Paul Whitrod, Joe Hallett, Rick Hinchcliffe, Tony Vohra, Zara Phythian, Robert Devanne, Robbie Brookside, Robert Higgs, John Burke, Shaun Rawcliffe, John Ives, John Skillen, Julian Dale, Mandy Johnson, Mark Kirton, Mak Yuree, Matthew Ahmet, Matt Tucker, Mick Gooch, Mike Selby, Paul Drury, Paul Smith, Peter Brown and not to mention the fabulous Gok Wan!- Thank you to you all, you helped make a great event that much more special!!!

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
July 2010
If asked which fundamental kettlebell exercise packs the biggest and best punch in the shortest amount of time then I'd have no qualms in recommending the Turkish Get Up or 'TGU' for short.
    This functional full body blaster will not only train all of the major muscle groups, but also for karate-ka (and in fact all martial artists), it successfully challenges a number of key aspects that are all important for developing deep power from the core, joint stability, balance, co-ordination and efficient muscle firing sequences. Plus it can easily be combined with other exercises and performed in many different ways depending on what attributes you wish to focus on most. Finally, if you don't own a KB or there's not one around, then you can easily substitute with a dumbbell or as a last resort, pretty much anything with sufficient weight that you can safely hold in your hands.
    The TGU is really nothing more than a specifically designed way of getting up from a lying position on your back. The weight is raised with your arm straight above your body and then using your core, legs and free hand, the idea is to manoeuvre underneath the resistance while sequentially rising up until fully standing, before identically reversing the whole sequence back to the ground again in preparation for the next repetition.
    As the weight is always above the body during the exercise, you'll quickly learn about lines of force and how to use your joints effectively in order to pass the resistance of the weight through the body and into the ground. A good example of this would be the correct 'packing' of the shoulder down into the girdle by employing the latissimus dorsi muscle. This provides a level of stability and strength to what is normally a very movable joint, ultimately ensuring a reduced risk of injury when under an increased load.
    For karate-ka, packing the shoulder is directly relevant to punching where being conscious of this on impact significantly increases the stability of the strike and helps to ensure that the resultant force generated from the shot can dissipate down through the body and back into the ground, rather than causing a sharp backwards jerk commonly seen when inexperienced punchers hit the makiwara or heavy bag with full force.
    The TGU also teaches another very important skill for self-protection and that is being able to pop up quickly from the ground using minimum points of contact. The main objective for ground work in karate and self-protection is to regain your feet as quickly as possible, thus minimising risk. If you can effectively do this under the demands of an increased load, balance and stability challenges of a kettlebell then the TGU becomes an excellent adjunct to your ground work training...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
'12' - British fight film takes on the UK!
July 2010
'12' (aka Underground) follows the fortunes of twelve fighters competing in an underground tournament for a winner take all prize of £500,000. The no holds barred 'entertainment' is staged at various secretly selected venues and broadcast live to an elite clientele who bet on the fights for their personal gain and amusement. What elevates the plot of '12' above similar tournament films is the fact that between the impressive fights each of the twelve fighters has a different reason for fighting and is given a well-defined back story, ensuring that different viewers will root for different characters for different reasons.
    Writer/Director Chee Keong Cheung, through his own 'Intense Productions' and actor and producer Mark Strange, a former National Chinese Full Contact Champion and National Chinese Forms Champion, have together crafted an independent film that looks far bigger budgeted than it is, packing in the fight scenes and retaining a strong sense of Britishness whilst still appealing to a wider audience as proven by the fact that it has already sold healthily Worldwide, including the USA, Germany, Poland, Australia, Latin America and Japan as well as picking up an Accolade Award in the US for the action and screening in numerous festivals around the world. '12' is a great advert for British independent film-making and both Chee and Mark have been able to bring a fresh new style and quality to the independent scene. The dramatic scenes in '12' feature solid acting talent in the form of Danny John-Jules ('Blade II', 'Red Dwarf'), Sophie Linfield ('Football Factory') and Leonard Fenton ('Eastenders').
    It is the high-octane and gritty fights, however, that will be many fans major point of interest and on this front '12' delivers strongly as it seamlessly mixes balletics with brutality to give us the most consistent, kinetic and enjoyable fight action in a British movie to date; action that not only sets the benchmark for future filmmakers but guarantees the film cult status. Martial-arts aficionados will find this no surprise as Chee and Mark brought top stunt-performer and fight choreographer Dave Forman on board to oversee the numerous and complex fight scenes. Dave's career in front of the camera saw him play Leonardo in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' and perform stunts in the Bond movies, 'Tomb Raider' and 'The Mummy Returns', whilst behind the camera he has worked on such projects as 'Clash of the Titans', 'Batman Begins' and 'The Last Samurai'.
    To convincingly 'sell' the diverse and physically demanding fight sequences, the Director integrated genuine top martial artists into his cast, many of whom are well known to 'Combat' readers. Alongside the aforementioned Mark Strange, these include the irrepressible Nathan, 'Megatron' Lewis (former Combat Hall of Famer), Zara Phythian, Joey Ansah, Glenn Salvage and Shane Steyn. The results are some exceptional match-ups, which are both inventive and varied with the mix of fighters providing a diverse range of techniques, fighting ranges and styles within the tournament framework. Add a moody colour palette, a range of atmospheric locations and fluid cinematography and you have a feast for fight fans that moves with lightning speed to its brutal conclusion...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
July 2010
Martial arts for people with a disability took a major step forward recently when Spinal Injuries Ireland (who run a Jeet Kune Do self defence program) were privileged to host a seminar in Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, with Sibak Andy Kimura as the guest instructor.
    Andy Kimura, Senior instructor at the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute of Seattle is the son of Sigung Taky Kimura, Bruce Lee's close friend and highest ranked student. The Jun Jan Gung Fu Institute of Seattle was founded in 1960 by the late Bruce Lee the founder of the Martial Art OF Jeet Kune Do.
    Spinal Injuries Ireland have being pursuing their goal to create a self defense program that 'Really works' for wheelchair users since 2003. Spinal Injuries Ireland's JDK instructors Declan Breen and Colm Whooley met Andy Kimura and Alain De Preter of Antwerp JKD at a seminar in Belfast held by Martin O'Neill of JKD Ireland.
    It was while attending this seminar that the seed of an idea was planted. Would it be possible to get Andy and Tacky Kimura to agree to hold a seminar for Spinal Injuries Ireland? The first step in this journey was last October when six members of Spinal Injuries Ireland JKD self defense program traveled to Antwerp in Belgium to train with Alain De Preter of the Antwerp School of Martial Arts .
    It is fair to say that Alain De Preter and his colleague's were impressed with the technical ability and passion of the group. At the end of the weekend Alain agreed to ask Taky and Andy Kimura when he was next in Seattle if they would consider putting a seminar for Spinal Injuries Ireland together.
    Alain De Preter outlined how committed and passionate Spinal Injuries Ireland JKD self defence group where about developing a real and practical self defence program. Taky and Andy agreed to travel from Seattle to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin where Spinal Injuries Ireland run their JDK self defense program for both inpatients and individuals from around the country. Unfortunately a couple of weeks before Tacky and Andy where due to travel to Dublin, to quote Taky "I had a small heart attack" Thankfully Sigung Taky has made a good recovery but under the advice of his doctors he was unable to travel.
    While Spinal Injuries Ireland's JKD group where very disappointed that Taky could not travel, they were of course relieved that Taky had made a good recovery. We were delighted that Andy agreed to still travel to Dublin and were pleased to hear that Alain said he would travel from Belgium to assist Andy. As the date of the seminar drew close the group was anxious that they would be able to demonstrate to Andy what they where capable of...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
July 2010
One of the most special training skills to develop the footwork, balance, coordination and timing in the Chow Gar Praying Mantis system is the practise of the art of Moi Fa Chong (plum blossom training poles).
    Many different Chinese Martial Arts schools have such a training method, I was first taught the steps of the Moi Fa Chong back in Hong Kong over 11 years ago, but because of the limited space available, makeshift bricks or spots were laid out. To move freely on the Moi Fa Chong is not easy one needs balance, co-ordination and perfect placement of the feet on the poles themselves. However nobody starts training on the poles in the very beginning, one has to go through the different steps and stepping procedures first. Long ago Kung Fu masters often pitted their skills against one another on the moi fa chong and in between each of the poles were bamboo poles that were sharpened up, so if one of the masters fell off the Moi Fa Chong, he then would suffer injury from the sharpened bamboo.
    The Moi Fa Chong is set up in a certain pattern (a 5 pole pattern), the 5 poles are placed in a square with one in the centre. This pattern arrangement is also found in the Chow Gar Praying Mantis First from (Sarm Bo Jin), when one turns around he follows the 5 pole pattern, This pattern is as on a dice (No5). This arrangement is continuous and goes up to 41 poles or more, but again this is very unpractical if you have no space. The moi Fa Chong in my school are laid out on the large board that can be put away when you have finished practising. The next level of practise is different types of steps and ways of stepping. This level is practising with a partner and making contact with the arms and the legs. Practising on the Moi Fa Chong, one cannot be stiff, you must relax the muscles, if you stiffen up your body the result would be the loss of balance and all control. The height of the Moi Fa Chong also increases, the higher the poles the more difficult it is, but again this is unpractical because of the floor space and the room one needs.
    But overall the development and sensitivity one can achieve with the foot work can become quite extraordinary. Concentration is most needed, and the control over the body must be total, you cannot move in, back or to the side without knowing the correct placement of the foot or feet. This is very important because even on the ground when you are fighting your opponent, footwork is the most essential part of combat, if your footwork is poor then your hands are not going to be used to their fullest, and your kicks are going to be slower, so one can see the advantage of practising on the Moi Fa Chong. Fluidity is accomplished through the Moi Fa Chong, because you cannot tense up or try to assert to much unnatural power, you will lose all sense of control. This is where the relaxed inner power comes into play instead of using brute force. Besides, brute force cannot sustain too long on the Moi Fa Chong...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
TAE-ROBICS - Could This Be The Answer To Empty Dojo's?
July 2010

Every so often something new and exciting comes onto the scene, before you know it, it's taken over the landscape leaving everyone not involved, scratching their heads and wondering "Why didn't I think of that?"  Here's an opportunity for all those in the martial arts world to sit up, take note and become involved in an incredibly exciting martial arts based workout, which is brand new to the UK. It's called Tae-Robics UK.
    Ian McCranor is a former Traditional Karate Magazine columnist and long time friend of Combat who has been living in the United States for the past ten years and has created and run incredibly successful group fitness classes there. Combat caught up with Ian on his recent visit to the UK and spoke to him about Tae-Robics UK 'The Fighters Workout' and about the Instructors courses he is now holding here.

Hi Ian, for anyone who isn't familiar with Tae-Robics UK, what exactly is it?
    Tae-Robics UK is a group fitness workout that is inspired by martial arts techniques and exercises.  Its format is very different to what you would typically expect though. Group fitness workouts have been around for a long time and you would expect such a class to be taught exclusively by an aerobics instructor. This workout was created with the martial arts instructor in mind, although aerobics instructors can learn to teach Tae-Robics UK also.

Tae-Robics UK is known as 'The Fighters Workout'. Is there any fighting involved, sparring or competition?
    No, this is a group fitness class. It's called 'The Fighters Workout' because it encompasses many of the physical elements required to become a good competitor; it is packaged for the general public and is geared towards fitness and weight loss, a perfect addition to anyone's dojo!

So, could Tae-Robics sit alongside a martial artists existing training programme?
    Absolutely! Fighters from all martial art disciplines will find this is one of the toughest workouts that they will ever do. It compliments a competitors training regime perfectly, through intense body conditioning and cardiovascular training. Whether an instructor wants to add the 'edge' to their competing karateka or they're looking to attract a new type of client, this workout can potentially fill everyone's classes...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
SHAUN BOLAND - Fighting Fit at 50 and Beyond!
June 2010
When Paul Clifton asked me to write an article about myself and how I had achieved a 6 pack at the age of 50 I was a bit reluctant at first, but then my narcistic egotistical side got the better of me! To be honest the whole purpose of this achievement was done purely for me and no other reason than to set myself a personal goal.
    You see, I have kept myself in shape ever since I began Martial arts in 1973 and entered the local Judo hall in Wolverhampton. I was heavily influenced by Bruce Lee and his amazing physique, especially for such a small guy. So my grounding was through the Martial arts with thousands of push ups and sit ups and other 'Spanish inquisition-esq' callisthenics! As a young man I developed a high level of stamina and flexibility but it wasn't until I started weight training that I began the rudiments of a 'physique'. Over the years I studied nutrition and eventually became a fitness instructor as a result of my passion for training.
    At the age of 40 I had my final fight, which was for the British title in San Shaou full contact. I managed to win the bronze medal that year and then retired from fighting to concentrate on teaching and coaching Muay Thai. However, training for my British title helped me to develop the six-pack and physique I had always strived for, I was 76kg and felt in the best shape of my life and I was 40!
    As the years went on and I approached 50 I continued to train but I was centring too much on power and as a result increased my weight training & nutrition to compensate for this. It certainly helped me as a pad holder because it was very rare that any of my fighters could shift me. However the downside was I began to 'smooth' around my abs and gain weight on my waist. Even so, for my age my physique was looking reasonably good, I hadn't lost any of my speed and my flexibility, although not what it was, was good.
    It was during sparring that I found the problems. The extra weight (muscle and fat), was hindering my stamina, it was like running up a hill with someone on my back, I could spar well for 2-3 rounds but then the lactic acid would set in and my guard would drop. My fighters would suss this out and attack in and out so that I would not get the chance to fire off. Only the very brave stood toe to toe with me as I started to sit back on the ropes to draw them in so that I could fire off single power shots.
    Running was out because I got back-ache or joint aches, I put this down to age when in fact it was because I was carrying too much weight. Most of us put weight on as we get older; we start to thicken around our waists and bellies. There really is no need for this; it is because we changed our lifestyle habits. We may eat the same amount but chances are we are less active or we are still active but we eat more. The worst of cases is we eat more and are inactive! So we put on weight, we become less fit, less healthy...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
JKD FOR ALL... - Making JKD Work?
June 2010
After years of training and research, my teacher the Legendary Tim Tackett developed some basic drills to see if you have the understanding, foundation and ability  (under pressure) to make JEET KUNE DO work.
    Since Tim started his own group (The Wednesday Night Group) back in the mid 70's his whole approach to teaching is based on the key principles of a strong foundation and attribute training. I hear all the time people asking "Does Trapping Work?", "Which stance works best in JKD?" and "Does Jeet Kune Do differ to MMA?" I hope the following pages answer some of these questions.
    I guess the first place to start is STRUCTURE or FOUNDATION of Jeet Kune Do, for you to label your style/art as JKD there are some basic rules;
1. Power Side Forwards
2. Well-balanced, relaxed and functional structure.
3. Primary focus on intercepting and non-telegraphic attacks.
4. Efficient Control of Distance
    So where do we go once we have a JKD structure? We have the basic tools, Straight Lead, Rear Straight, Shin/Knee Side Kick, Step & Slide, Pendulum etc... but "How do we make them work?"
    We need to look at attribute training, attribute training is taking the key principals of our martial art and ensuring it does the job right. Let's take agility and the boxer's right cross, in the hands of Mike Tyson, the right cross is a devastating weapon, but let's take away his ability to move smoothly or efficiently and be coordinated. Tyson would never get close enough to use this awesome weapon.
    Attribute training will help you take your basic foundation of tools and footwork and help you build them to become part of you...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
AMAZONS - Real Warrior Women or Ancient Myth?
June 2010
Stories of beautiful and bloodthirsty female warrior women thundering across arid battlefields have been told, re-told and speculated over for thousands of years and by many cultures. Greek myths are filled with tales of the Amazons and their exploits, love affairs and battles with Olympian gods like Zeus, Ares and Hera. But what about the modern day female can she uphold the principles and believes of such a strong and feared female race? Here is one lady that believes she can cultivate a warrior mentally and physical toughness through her unique fitness and conditioning class but still be feminine.
    I was fortunate to meet Soeli some years back and give her a helping hand in her martial arts and fitness journey. She was going through a very tough period of her life and needed some focus to give her back her confidence and belief. Since these early days I have seen her grow as a person, women and martial artist. She has bloomed into a very strong and beautiful human being. She can be sensitive and caring but also fiercely tough and driven. She is a woman who can bang out 20 long arm chin ups, countless picture perfect push ups. Has cardio conditioning like a machine and a right cross like an exploding grenade. She is special to me and I was glad to catch up with her amongst her busy schedule to have a chat about the past, present and future....

What is your Fitness Background?
    I have been into fitness for a long time but my real fitness training started in early 2007 when I was fortunate to meet reality based martial arts legend Kevin O'Hagan.
    Before enrolling into his fierce training methods I dipped in and out of the gyms like most people. I played around with weights and tried hard to find cardio machines to work me properly! In one particular gym I met another amazing sports person. She was a female bodybuilder and a UK champion. As soon as I saw her train I thought to myself I need to know what she is doing and why. I guess I have always been drawn to wanting to train with true legends with raw talent. Standard Classes and gym sessions with pointless chit chat to strangers never really floated my boat!

How did the Amazon Workout Originate?
    I had been training for a while in MMA and became very strong and fit. My body had made huge changes from when I first started due to the hard work I had put in week after week. One morning after dropping of my little boy in the gym crèche I really wanted to do some hard training in the day times again no disrespect but aerobics and step just weren't for me.  All the classes on offer just didn't have what I wanted they all seemed  the same. None interested me apart from the boxing classes. By then I had been attending the Gladiator class for nearly a year and had started using a lot of bodyweight exercises and explosive weight routines in the gym. Lots of ladies had noticed this and began to ask me about my training. As their interest increased I had the idea of starting a female's only class along the lines of the Gladiator training.
    So I approached the manager of the gym about the type of training and qualifications I would need to teach such a class. I also started researching into the growing idea of developing my own class. A week later I was enrolled on a Personal Trainer/gym instructor course and started coming up with crazy training structures using bodyweight only for my new class. I wanted my students to have access to the training methods and unique style of fitness from the background I had learnt from.  I passed my qualifications and made my dream happen. The Amazon Workout was born!

Why is the Amazon Workout Different?
    My workout is different because the content changes constantly. I change music (hard rock!) speed, quantity, variety, games, and challenges so you never really know what to expect when you arrive. I am not a typical instructor who will let you get away with chatting and taking breaks every 30 seconds I change into a machine like mode (I have been called this) for the hard work and I expect the same or as good as their body will allow from my students. My style is fierce and aggressive for the main core and then I turn into a bohemian princess again for the stretch!...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
June 2010
My article in March's Combat covered various aspects of teaching children, and in particular the importance of warming them up with a game. This month, I wanted to share with you probably the first game that I used and remains a firm favourite today. 'Magic Mitt' is based on the old playground game 'Tag', but can be altered to suit the size and age of your class.
    Firstly, when I introduced the game to the children, I told them that the game was called 'Magic Mitt' because the focus mitts that we were to use, held mystical powers that turned people to stone when touched (ie - they are stuck to the floor and cannot move). This may sound like something out of 'Dungeons and Dragons', but children have such vivid imaginations and lap up all the fictitious details, (even some of the Seniors' eyes lit up with excitement!).
    At the start of the game, I usually start with 2 students who wear a 'Magic Mitt' each, who work as a team and whose aim it is to turn every other student 'to stone'.
    The next rule to the game to explain was that the only way the spell of the Magic Mitt could be broken was by receiving a 'High Five' from someone who hadn't been touched by the Magic Mitt.
    It's a simple concept, but there are numerous points that need to be made in order to make the game successful and enjoyable for the children:
1) It must be made clear before the game starts, that it is only a game and that as an instructor, you are looking out for good sportsmanship and HONESTY.
2) The mitt holder must not aim to the head. (The children could be told that the spell only works from the shoulders downwards.)
3) The mitt holders must not start hitting the other students with the mitts hard - just a simple tap is sufficient. If I see any child going in too hard, I stop the game and give the mitt to someone else.
4) To release the 'spell' a proper High Five is needed, and not just a slap on the back or across the body.
    As with all of the games that I use, I ensure that there are Martial Arts elements involved, and highlight them to the children. With 'Magic Mitt', I use the game to promote footwork and avoidance. It's important to encourage the children to look where the mitt holders are and avoid them wherever possible. To me, this is unintentionally the first lesson in Self Defence. The children soon learn that if their attention is solely focussed on one mitt holder, the second can surprise them from behind or to the side...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
June 2010
There are known to be 72 classical weapons in the Chinese Martial Arts. The long pole is probably the most famous weapon of the 72. The Southern Chow Gar Prayng Mantis Kung Fu has 8 different classical weapons, namely The Curved sword (Lau Yuen Dow) The Kwun Dow (Yim Yuet Kwun Dow) The straight sword (Gim) Butterfly knives (Woo Dip Dow) 3 pronged trident (Pa) The spear (Ying Cheung) The iron ruler (Dit Jek) and the long pole (kwun). There are also other weapons, such as the walking stick and the chair.
    Of all the weapons in the system the most important weapon to me the pole (Kwun) It is the weapon that i mostly use and practise. There are 5 traditional pole forms in the Chow Gar Praying Mantis system - The first pole form is called Ng Hung Kwun, (5 Element pole from) the 2nd pole form is called Dook Sair Kwun (Poison Snake pole) the 3rd is called Bo Sim Kwun (catching, finding the insect pole) the 4th is called Lau Soei Kwun (Lau Soei pole) and the 5th is called Wong Ngau Jin Choy Kwun. (Yellow Cow twisting pole form).
    The long pole of the Chow Gar Praying Mantis is approximately 7ft long. It tapers off from about 3+ cm at one end to about 1+ cm at the other. All the pole forms are known by a particular way the pole is held, which is known as Dan Tow Kwun or single holding pole. This refers that the pole is mostly held at the thick end of the tapered weapon. This does not mean the thick end of the weapon is never used, but serves reference to the way it is held and is used for its length. The way to hold the pole must be proper. Your left hand should hold the thick end and does not change around, it is this hand that is used for thrusting the pole back and forth. Your right hand should control the pole and should slide up and down, depending on how far you thrust the pole out, It is also important to have your right hand only 'half on' when blocking across your body. This is because that your right hand is near to the opponent and if he has a blade he could easily slice off your fingers. This also counts when you square off with your opponent. Sometime I may test my students reaction with the pole with some pole sparring, to discover how good their reaction is, sometimes I may hit their fingers or strike their foot, although this is painful for them, it is to make them aware of how quick they have to be.
    Through continued practise of the Chow Gar Praying Mantis pole and the forms, one sends all the power to the thin end of the pole, this makes the pole vibrate like a Rattle Snakes tail...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
7 WORLD CHAMPIONS! - At the WAKO World Kick Boxing Championships
June 2010
After arriving at Gatwick airport at 6.30am, it wasn't long before the British squads were on their way to Italy to stake their claim for Gold at the World Kickboxing Championships. The flight arrived on time and after a short coach journey to their accommodation, the sun was out to greet them.
    The squad duly checked in and then made their way to the weighing in area, where everyone made all of their respective weight categories. This showed the professionalism of the entire team as everyone had arrived well prepared and focused on doing well during the week. The 36 competitors in attendance made up Team GB, covering semi contact, full contact and forms competitors.  In total there were 562 competitors in attendance at the World Champs.
    The coaches that were there to support the squad were Peter Edwards, Neville Wray, Sean Viera and Cris Janson Piers.

    Everyone had an early breakfast and then a team meeting was scheduled for later in the day to brief the squad on what was expected from him or her, during the course of the week. Team GB had a light training session later in the day to shake off the cobwebs. The official draw was conducted and the referee's seminar took place, as did the coaches meeting to cover all the relevant changes to the rules.
    The opening ceremony was conducted and the flag bearers for Team GB were Drew Neal and Lydia Durkin.

    An early start to the day and everyone met up at the hotel reception for 9am. The squad quickly assembled at the sports centre and got ready for the days' qualifications...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
SCOTT ADKINS - The Ninja Is Back!
April 2010
From Jean Claude Van Damme to Matt Damon and Hugh Jackman to Michael Jai White UK action star Scott Adkins has been seen fighting against some of the best in the business.  Born in Sutton Coldfield, England, on June 17th, 1976, Adkins began his acting career with award winning short films (such as 'Pure Vengeance') and walk on parts in shows like the BBC's EastEnders.  Eventually, via Sky One's popular Mile High, he would end up a recurring role in BBC's prime time medical drama Holby City. 
    Making the jump into features, Scott starred as Talbot in Isaac Florentine directed Special Forces and then Yuri Boyka Undisputed II: Last Man Standing.  It was this film that broke him into the mainstream with his villainous portrayal of a Russian MMA underground fighter Boyka in what has been hailed as one of the best American made Martial Arts films of recent times.  Combat Film caught up with Scott on the eve of the UK release of his latest film, NINJA to talk about his career to date and his ever growing working relationship with director Isaac Florentine.

'Ninja' is directed by Isaac Florentine, whom you've worked with a number of times now...
    Actually, this is the fourth film I've worked with Isaac. I did 'Special Forces' first, then 'Undisputed 2', 'The Shephard', 'Ninja' and we've recently completed 'Undisputed 3'.

Your character in Ninja, Casey, is quite different to the usual 'Caucasian learns martial arts', in that he's actually been studying Ninjitsu since early childhood - in past productions he'd have learnt it all in the space of a training montage...
    Oh god yeah - we can't do those montages any more! Its just silly, you're not going to pick up a whole martial art in the space of a few weeks and be a master.

How much say did you have in developing the character?
    Well, Isaac comes onto it as the director and there's already a script... and he's hired by the producers to do what he can with it... there's a lot of people, a lot of money involved in these films and everybody wants to have a say. My only approach to it was as an actor, and my job was to portray that character as it is in the script, rather than try to inject what I think the character should be like, just because I'm Scott Adkins: I'm going to portray it as 'Casey'. For me he's kind of a bit naive, more of a normal guy rather than a macho tough guy. He's more out of his depth, rather than the kind of tough guy I'm used to playing...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
April 2010
to Profile the Inaugural Martial Combat Championship in Singapore.

29 March 2010, Singapore: Asia's top sports content provider, ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) announced today that Resorts World(tm) Sentosa Martial Combat - Asia's Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Fight Championship - is officially supported by the world's leading MMA magazines 'Fighters' & 'Combat'.
    M A Publications are one of the world's leading martial arts publishing houses and from their six title strong titles stable, two their globally distributed flagship magazines 'Fighters' and 'Combat' have long been recognised as covering some of the greatest moments in the sport.  This partnership with ESPN STAR Sports for pre and post-event coverage of Resorts World(tm) Sentosa Martial Combat will play an integral role in the growth, education, and awareness of mixed martial arts in Asia.
Publisher Paul S Clifton said: "Joining forces with ESPN STAR SPORTS and MARTIAL COMBAT to capture what will be a truly spectacular series of events is a question of being in the right place at the right time. Asia's launch into this 'new market' couldn't be better timed and I'm so pleased to be a part of this very exciting and ultimately prestigious bright new era of sport martial arts."
    Combat magazine began it's 37 year history (to date) as THE magazine for ALL martial artists, regardless of style or affiliation, something it has maintained to present day and always will. First published in 1974, today Combat is commonly known as 'The Bible of Martial Arts' and the magazine of choice for all those with an interest in martial arts. either as student, instructor or those with a passive interest.
    Fighter's magazine was launched in 1977 and its content reflects the explosion of mixed martial arts and all the full contact arts such as K1, Muay Thai, Boxing and kickboxing. 
    Both magazines will be providing in depth interviews of fighters participating in Resorts World(tm) Sentosa Martial Combat, pre-event analysis of match-ups, post-fight recaps, results and feature stories. 
    Resorts World(tm) Sentosa Martial Combat will feature a grand total of twelve events comprising 60 action-packed fights featuring some of the most popular and celebrated Asian fighters and many ranked fighters from around the world. It will receive an unprecedented amount of television coverage from ESS in excess of 60 hours, making it the largest MMA broadcast in Asia.  The first leg of events, scheduled on 14th-15th of May 2010, promises to be a star-studded event showcasing non-stop action, inside a ring, from some of the biggest fighters in the region and from around the world. This will be the first-ever MMA event to date to receive television coverage in 24 different countries in Asia, extensive online support through www.espnstar.com and mobile initiatives through mobileESPN. 
    Resorts World(tm) Sentosa Martial Combat will be held twice a month from May through October at the Compass Ballroom of Resorts World Sentosa.  Tickets are currently on sale and available through all Sistic ticket outlets.  Visit www.RWmartialcombat.com for more information...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
April 2010
It doesn't matter whether you are a White Belt or a senior Black Belt, failing a grading is an extremely painful experience. If you are an instructor, seeing your own students fail a grading can be even worse, knowing that you have to inform the parents, (if the candidate is under 18), and then help to pick themselves up emotionally, whilst secretly questioning your own teaching methods and ability.
    Trying to turn such a big negative into a positive is immensely difficult at the best of times. But any words of wisdom or comfort can fall on the deaf ears of a child who believes it to be the end of the world, too young to understand that it's a hard way to learn about the setbacks and knocks that we can encounter in everyday life.
    I've had a small handful of students who have failed a grading over the past two years. All of them were under 12 years old and obviously, all of them were very upset. The first thing that I try to explain is that there are only two ways of failing a grading:
1) You have experienced 'a bad day at the office'. This is something that can happen to anyone, and needs to be put down to experience. Some people (including myself) find any type of examination or test an ordeal, and it's natural for the brain to shut down, despite endless training, hard work and even a successful mock grading.

2) You may simply not be ready for promotion. In this scenario, I would tell the unsuccessful candidate that this does not reflect the hard work that they had recently put in, or highlight that they are not a bad martial artist, or even that they are not worthy of the belt that they have already earned. It just means that they require a little bit of extra work before they will be ready for the next step.
    For most instructors, the first reason is by far the most common, as it is rare for students to be let into the grading without the necessary preparation and experience, and VERY common for nerves to get the better of someone who's under so much pressure...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
CANCER - You Can Beat It!
April 2010
Pauline Walmsley has been involved in karate since the age of 18 and has been in a few fights, but none was tougher than her recent battle against breast cancer. Pauline, a mother-of-four is now back instructing her students at Kaizen Shotobudo karate club. However, no-one was more shocked than Pauline when her doctor made a worrying discovery during a routine screening. Like thousands of women over the age of 50 who are invited to attend a mammogram under the NHS Breast Screening programme, black belt Pauline was a little nervous. Some of her older relatives had been diagnosed previously so she thought that although she didn't fancy going for it she was determined to make the effort and thank goodness she did. "Nobody likes going for a screening, it's slightly uncomfortable, but it's all over in seconds and it could be a life-saving detection." She said. Biopsy results confirmed Pauline did have breast cancer and the following week she was due to be admitted to Stobhill Hospital for a lumpectomy.
    However, that coincided with another major event in Pauline's life - the 5th Dan black belt had been nominated by the senior instructors of the Shotobudo organisation to be awarded a prestigious 'meijin' - or master grade. "However, I wanted to go to pick up the award before surgery because I didn't know how successful surgery would be. It was so important to me and I'd invested so much of my life in it." Just days after being awarded the first meijin, Pauline had surgery to remove the small cancerous tumour in her breast and also had a procedure called a sentinel node biopsy. Fortunately, her cancer had not spread and she escaped chemotherapy. Instead, Pauline had four weeks of intensive radiotherapy. She was off work for four months - and soon back at her Shotobudo karate class, albeit teaching from the bench. She surprised everyone when she joined a team of 35 friends and family members in this month's Great Scottish Run. Collectively the team - who wore 'Punching for Pauline' T-shirts - smashed their £1000 target and raised a staggering £4000 for Cancer Research UK...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
MARTIAL ARTS - A Parents Perspective
April 2010
When my 8 year old daughter Leah asked if she could take martial art classes I thought well, we have had singing, dancing, swimming and horse riding lessons so why not try another event. I made some enquires and found out that Taekwondo classes were being held at a local school. We attended a Monday evening class and was given a warm and friendly welcome by Lisa Winteridge 3rd Dan who runs the Strike Taekwondo club in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Initially Leah chose to watch instead of taking part but eventually accepted Lisa's invitation to join in some snap kicking practise. Leah is a very lively, energetic child with natural balance and great flexibility, she executed the kicks very well and obviously enjoyed the positive praise from Lisa, 2 years later with several successful competitions entered, Leah has just achieved her red belt.
    My own sporting background is in Rugby League as a professional player and coach, my only encounter with martial arts was in the 1970's watching the Bruce Lee films, I remember being very impressed with the speed of the action but that was as close as it came for myself. Throughout my coaching career I was always willing to look and learn from other sports, the speed and agility demonstrated by tennis players, the mental toughness of the top golfers and the dogged determination and strength of the elite boxers, all of these factors are vital ingredients in sport, particularly if you aim to get to the top. I never actually considered looking to martial arts, I suppose I didn't have any immediate connection to any clubs and therefore looked at the sports that were in the 'shop window'. I  certainly now know that martial arts can offer other sports a great deal, all the afore mentioned ingredients are there in Taekwondo and yet the people who practise these skills are mainly not professional sports people but dedicated amateurs who love their sport with a genuine passion. I like the fact that Taekwondo caters for various client groups, I have been impressed with the way that whatever your age, size or ability the sport can offer you something, from raising self esteem in someone with low confidence or less ability, to building on the confidence of a more skilled student, or a good keep fit regime for the older student...

Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
April 2010
The world of the grappling arts is a fascinating one. It is so diverse and offers you a multitude of techniques. From arm locks, strangles, chokes and cranks to leg locks, tendon poppers, stretchers and joint breakers. Whatever you're grappling needs, you will find something out there. One problem facing novice grapplers is the question. "What system do I choose to train in?"  This can cause problems. In this day and age there are so many grappling systems and classes out there.
    When I started training way back in 1975, you had Judo, Wrestling and Japanese Jujutsu. That was about it. Now we are spoiled for choice. Although in my opinion the previous mentioned arts are still hard to beat. To the mix these days we can add Brazilian jujutsu. Russian sambo. Japanese shooto and MMA Style grappling amongst many others.
The question you really need to ask yourself is. "What do I want my grappling skills for?"
  • Do you want to compete on the mats wearing a gi?
  • Do you want to fight in the cage?
  • Do you want it for self-defence?
  • Or do you want to enjoy grappling for its many different techniques and gain an understanding of how they function, to make you a more complete martial Artist?
  •     Once you know the answer you can then find the right class to train in. I have found over the years it is hard to pursue all the above mentioned. In my time I have done so. But it has taken a lot of years and incredible amounts of training and time on the mats...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    SAM DYSON - Kung Fu, Karate, Ninjas and Me!
    March 2010
    My earliest memories of martial arts were from growing up in Japan.  I was too young to practice martial arts but I was inspired by the myths and the manga, where ninjas ran across rooftops and bamboo forests and the samurais have unwavering honour and mystical blades.
        I was a fairly late starter to the martial arts, first starting at the age of 18. I went to Bristol University and at Freshers fair, joined every MA club available, hoping to find the one that would turn me into a flying ninja or Bruce Lee. I tried every class and was left with the feeling that the classes were lacking a certain magic. When would I be taught haduken?
        If I'm honest the only reason I began Karate was to get into University Security work. This was run by Dan Lewis, a 5th Dan GoJu Ryu Karateka. I worked out fairly early on, that unless you knew the boss you wouldn't be working on the doors any time soon. So I began training with him. GoJu Ryu, (meaning Hard Soft School), is a traditional Okinawan Karate System more focused on circular as opposed to linear movements unlike other karate systems of Japan. This is based on Okinawan Te, this particular system originates from the SE of China.
        I absolutely loved my early karate years but have always been a nonconformist never do quite what I was supposed to and approached training with a slightly unorthadox attitude.
        For example, I avoided buying a gi for around four months whereas everyone else got theirs in the first week or two of training.  Another example was that I generally refused to turn up to gradings, this meant that I was still a white belt after a year or so training when everyone else I started with had their orange belts.
        Most instructors wouldn't have appreciated this approach but Dan didn't have major issues with it because we got on well, however Dan was a lot younger then and anyone reading from Bristol Combat Karate Club - I imagine that this attitude would not be appreciated nowadays...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    TRAIN 2 GAIN - No Excuses!
    March 2010
    Last month I spoke about balance and how you should adjust your physical training to fit in with your lifestyle. I spoke about how pre-planned routines often have very little consideration to, what can be, very influential aspects of your life, stresses that we all have. The second part of this message is "no excuses".
         Once you attain the vast amount of years I have managed to dodge the grim reaper then you will realise that things like the birth of children, house moves, divorces, family deaths, new jobs and a hundred other things will make your physical training all seem a little pointless at times. It's at times like this that it should be more relevant, as the ultimate stress relief. I've spoken before about it being a great opponent, never flinching or failing always faithful but it has other qualities - life improving qualities. This is one of the reasons why I constantly promote the use of basic equipment - there is little reason not to move a weighted barbell, you might not be able to get to the gym, or to find your favourite exercise machine but you can certainly lift a dumbbell or a barbell - you could do some dips between chairs or chin ups through your loft hatch.
         When stresses and strains start to mount up then my recommendations to stick to basic movements are even more relevant - get the most out of your training in whatever spare time you have - then leave the weights and get back to the real world. As practising martial artists you might have a demonstration, a fight or a grading looming - this is not the time to test your maximum deadlift poundage. It is also not the time to decide to ignore weights (or stretching, or conditioning for that matter) and loose a good chunk of what you have worked hard to attain...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    SPIRIT WARRIORS - CBBC's New Action-Packed Show
    March 2010
    Prepare to step into a mystical realm where dragons talk, shadows come to life and the fate of the world lies in the hands of a teenager and her friends, when the new action-packed, martial arts, fantasy drama series Spirit Warriors hits CBBC from mid January.  Inspired by ancient Chinese myths and legends the show follows Bo (Jessica Henwick), her sister Jen (Alicia Lai) and fellow school kids, Vicky (Lil' Simz), Trix (Gilles Geary) and Martin (Karl Rogers) who, during a trip to a museum, are transported to a parallel Spirit World.
        Once there, they find themselves transformed into Spirit Warriors, each with their own special spirit power. With the help of their mentor Shen, a Chinese dragon, they have to use their new found skills to navigate the realms of Wood, Water, Earth and Fire and find twelve legendary spirit pieces before the evil warlord Li (Benedict Wong) and his henchman Hwang (Tom Wu) can get their hands on them. If our heroes succeed they'll save the universe - and Bo's mum. If they fail both the Spirit World and our own will fall under Li's power. There's just one problem: they're 21st century British kids who don't have much experience of making polite conversation with an ancient dragon!
        In this high-action series the new Spirit Warriors face the biggest challenges of their lives as they have to battle Monkey people, come face to face with giant snakes, deal with devious fortune-tellers and even confront their own worst nightmares in the Temple Of The Four Winds.
        Mixing live-action martial arts fantasy with CGI characters and the latest digital technology, Spirit Warriors promises to deliver a visual spectacle the whole family can enjoy...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    March 2010
    Teaching and Learning Methods in the Martial Arts

    Teaching anyone anything is a tremendous responsibility. As martial arts instructors what we do and the way we do it can have a very profound impact upon our students. Added to this is the fact that many of the arts we practice are centuries old, being literally pieces of living history. It is obvious that we need to not only be good at what we do, but also strive to become better at what we do, in order to preserve these fascinating arts for future generations.
        There are quite a few different teaching and learning methods. However, and for the purpose of this article we shall concentrate upon those that are most often utilised by instructors in the Dojo; Lecture, Demonstration, Participation, Discussion, Problem Solving, Group Work and Questions & Answers
        The above will, if implemented correctly, greatly enhance the teaching ability of the martial arts instructor, by encouraging and reinforcing the learning process.
        A good lesson is interesting, enjoyable and informative. If a students interest and enthusiasm can be maintained, then their desire to learn more about the martial arts will, in turn, help facilitate learning.
        Two of the most important keys to effective learning are 'motivation' and 'memory', so our lessons need to be both stimulating and memorable. We shall now take a look at each of the methods mentioned...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    MAS OYAMA - Taking the Bull by the Horns
    March 2010
    On July 27, 1923, one of Martial Arts greatest legends was born in South Korea.  Masutatsu Oyama began his training in Chinese Kempo at the age of nine.  It was clear from his youth that Mas Oyama was intrigued by athletics and sought to participate in whatever was available.  When he was 13 he studied an art called Chabee in the city of Seoul and in 1938, at 15, he decided to emigrate to Japan to pursue his childhood dream of becoming an aviator.  At about the time young Oyama started to wane in his pursuit of his pilot's certification, he noticed students practicing Okinawan Karate.  It was not long until he devoted himself to relentless training under Giko Funakoshi, son of Shotokan legend, Gichin Funakoshi.  Eventually, Sosai Oyama moved to Tokyo to train directly with Sensei Funakoshi, and at 20 years of age he received his 4th Dan.  Sosai Oyama also studied Judo as well as Goju Ryu Karate.
        Japan's unconditional surrender caused a great unrest and understandable level of shame throughout the nation.  Mas Oyama, in particular, was stressed by this turn of events as an end to the war meant an end to his military career and a chance to prove his military skill in defending his adopted homeland.  It was about this time that he happened upon one of the top students of Gochin Yamaguchi ('the Cat'), So Nei Chu who was also a Korean reputed to be a man of great strength and power.  Sosai Oyama was immediately drawn to him. It was So who first tried to convince the 23 year old Oyama to dedicate his life to Karate in order to gain control; he also advised him to retreat to the mountains for three years in solitude to train his body, mind, and soul.  Mas Oyama at that point was introduced to the code of Bushido and went to Mt. Minobu, where legendary Samurai Miyamoto Musashi developed his famous 'Two-Sword' method.  His training was intense, as was the isolation and loneliness.  Unfortunately Sosa Oyama's sponsor could not continue to support him and his mountain retreat was ended prematurely after about 14 months.  Shortly after returning, Mas Oyama entered and won the Japanese National Martial Arts championships.  That win acted as a catalyst and provided the motivation he needed to dedicate his life to the study and instruction of Karate-do...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    March 2010
    The WKA held their 2009 World Kickboxing Championships in beautiful Andalusia, Spain in the Barceló Beach Resort, Punta Umbria, Huelva which is located along the Gulf of Cadiz. Expecting a turn down in numbers due to the world recession they were pleasantly surprised with the turn out of 29 countries and over 1000 competitors.
        The opening ceremony was spectacular with the mayor of the city present to welcome the athletes, trainer's coaches and officials that filed past with their flags flying, into the giant auditorium.
        WKA president, Klaus Nonnemacher welcomed everyone and invited the staff, country presidents, referees and officials to the podium for an ovation.
        This year more disciplines were welcomed into the WKA world championships, including Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Junior Ring Sports. The other disciplines were Points Fighting, Light Contact, Traditional Karate, Knock-Down Karate, Forms and Extreme & Team Forms. For the first time (but not the last) the WKA hosted a Points Fighting prize competition with a purse of €4000 for the winner, €3000 for the Men and €1000 for the Women.
        34 competitors were whittled down to the finals, Ben Stewart (9 times world champion) from Canada and Michael Page from England. This truly epic fight has to be ranked the finest contest seen, with both competitors impressing the roaring crowd with jump spinning kicks and turns that a Bolshoi ballet choreographer would have been proud to have created, which seemed so natural to these protagonists...

    Read more in Combat magazine available from WH Smith and all good newsagents and don't forget to look out for the Digital Edition
    Get Set To Have A Fantastic Time Once Again @ The NEC, Birmingham, at...
    December 2009

    • In 1993 the martial arts world saw the staging of International talent based event, The Martial Arts Extravaganza!
    • In 1995 Combat '95 hit the UK and created a wave of interest that took the martial arts world by storm as well as launching many martial arts careers!
    • 1999 gave birth to Seni, the showcase that ran un-interrupted for several years and without a shadow of a doubt, put the world of UK martial arts on the map!
        All of the above events have several things in common and for very good reasons, they were all very successful!

        The main reason behind the successes of the above events was that they were all staged for the right reasons and attracted ALL the right people! Born from a desire to support the growing army of martial arts practitioners and followers and to bring a greater awareness as to the benefits that martial arts has to offer. And to nurture a greater understanding and appreciation for what martial arts practice is all about. Most of all they were all governed by the wish to educate display and showcase the phenomenal talent that the world of martial arts has to offer from amongst its ranks!
        After and against my personal wishes, Seni went to London; I toyed with the idea of staging another martial arts event in Birmingham. But each time that I talked myself into going ahead, I felt that my motives would be misconstrued or would appear to be born from bitterness. I also had just bought FIGHTERS magazine to add to the portfolio and was extremely busy, so I decided to let fate play its part and wait to see what would happen. Now, after a few years, I believe the time, the circumstances and most definitely, the people around me are absolutely RIGHT!
        So on May the 22nd & 23rd 2010 we (notice I said we) will stage THE MARTIAL ARTS SHOW at the NEC (Birmingham) in Pavilion halls 1 and 2, and, you are all invited!!!...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    On The Record with... JKDs TIM TACKETT
    December 2009
    Imagine travelling to the Far East to learn martial arts for three years, only to return home to meet and train under the most famous martial artist ever. Sounds like a dream, but it is the story of how Tim Tackett began his journey along the Jeet Kune Do path.
        In the mid 1960s Tim was stationed in Taiwan with the US Air Force. He worked in the evenings and spent his days training in several different styles of Kung Fu. On his return to the USA he opened a martial arts school and taught traditional Chinese martial arts for a couple of years, before closing down his classes to return to full-time education. It was during this time that he became a part of Dan Inosanto's legendary backyard class alongside the likes of: Bob Bremer, Dan Lee, Richard Bustillo, Jerry Poteet, Pete Jacobs, Chris Kent, Ted Lucay Lucay, and Jeff Imada.
        In 1973, Tim became one of the first full instructors in JKD and was honoured with the rank of Senior First from Inosanto; this rank carried with it, permission to teach a small Jeet Kune Do group.
        After Bruce's untimely passing, Dan and Tim began to teach martial arts camps and seminars. As Dan had promised Bruce that he would not teach JKD openly he began to focus on Filipino Kali, leaving Tim to teach JKD.
        Founder of 'The Wednesday Night Group' in Redlands, California, and co-author of several Jeet Kune Do books including Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do the Text Book with Chris Kent & Jeet Kune Do Entering to Trapping to Grappling with Larry Hartsell to name but two. Tim has gone on to become a Leading authority in the martial arts world.
        I caught up with Tim to ask him some of the questions that I have had asked of me, about Tim and his history... Read on...

    When did you first start to train in the Martial Arts?
        I first took up judo when I was about 13 years old, but that only lasted for about 9 months. My main martial art training started when I was 21 years old and was stationed in Taiwan in (circa 1962).

    What Styles did you learn in Taiwan?
        Martial arts in Taiwan were called Kuo Shu, which means national sport. I trained with 3 teachers and studied - Northern and Southern Shaolin, Tai Chi, Two forms of Hsing-I, White Crane, Some monkey boxing, and Chin na.

    Where did you first see Bruce Lee and did you ever get the chance to train under him?
        I first saw Bruce at Ed Parker's Long Beach Karate tournament in 1967 California. I wanted to start studying with him right on the spot, but I soon realised that I would not have enough time until after I finished college...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    LESSONS FOR THE CAGE - Elbow from the Clinch
    December 2009
    Elbow strikes, used correctly, can be one of the most devastating techniques to be found in Karate/Thai/MMA and for this reason alone, it is worth spending some time on them.  With such a short lever, backed by a high proportion of bodyweight, and an extremely hard striking surface, a clean elbow strike has a very high probability of inflicting significant damage on your opponent.
        The first thing to be very clear about is that they are a close-range weapon.  I know that every now and then you will see a flying elbow strike but these are rare for a reason, and the first place you need to work them is up close and personal, and that is exactly where we are going to start - in the clinch.
        In this version we are going to start from an over/under clinch were my left hand is trapped under his right arm, and my right arm is over the top of his left.
        Keeping him pressed against the cage, place your head to the left of his head and lean in to put pressure on his neck.  Don't press too hard as I don't want it so uncomfortable that he tries to escape - yet. Now take hold of his left arm at the elbow.  Raising your hips slightly, start to apply downwards pressure to his arm. This will make him push back against you while simultaneously pulling his own arm closer in to his body.  This whole action will serve to put tension throughout his body and reduce his ability to react quickly when you strike...

    Read more in the December 2009 issue of Combat magazine
    December 2009
    There are many reasons why a person might decide to turn up at your dojo and have a go at the martial arts, and it is important that we try and identify these in order to establish exactly what the potential student is looking for, and whether or not your art is going to give it to them.


        So, why has that particular person just come into the Dojo? What is it that makes them come to you? What is their particular motivation? These are all very good questions to be ask, but it is even more important to actually ask the students themselves rather than allowing yourself to make any 'knee-jerk' judgments or decisions for them and jumping to any false conclusions.
        Indeed, having preconceptions about beginners can be extremely misleading and can cause no end of problems later on. I remember one particular instructor boasting proudly that one of his students happened to be an officer in the Royal Marines Reserve. "That's good" I said, "Why is he here?" I asked. At this question, my colleague looked both shocked and amused "He's here to learn how to fight, off course!" he said, rather indignantly.
        Now, without wanting to 'burst any ones bubble', I think it's fair to say that an officer in the Royal Marines might already know something about fighting and certainly wouldn't need any advice from the local martial arts club down the road! ("I'm off to a war zone next month, and was wondering if you could help me out..." Not Going to Happen!!!) On closer examination, it turned out that this individual was researching certain aspects of Japanese culture as part of his Masters degree! He had come to the class in order to learn something about classical martial arts, and the instructor (thanks to him jumping to conclusions) had him in a corner doing pistol disarming! (Good differentiation, but completely inappropriate)...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    ACTION LADY! - TV's Charlie Webster
    December 2009
    It is a bit of a cliché to say that brains & beauty are a rare find (though most people sadly tend to believe this to be true), likewise it is boringly stereotypical to assume that all leggy blondes are a tad vacant (yet this too has become a comedic staple).
        Similarly a person's Curriculum Vitae is often treated with a measure of scorn; as it is not that unusual to find that their self penned paper tome rarely reflects the actual reality of the person you are then presented with.
        So when my good friend, Paul Clifton called me up out of the blue to say that he would appreciate my taking a phone interview with a rising starlet of the entertainment industry, my first questions were "Why me? & what have I done to offend you this week mate?"
        What I mean by this is that Paul is well aware that one of my biggest reasons for pulling back from the TV game in recent years was largely because of all those 'legends in their own lunchtimes' with infuriatingly huge egos, the intellect of a common garden amoeba & a lack of etiquette or good grace that matches the said.
        Paul went on that Charlie Webster is a mere 26 years old & yet has already gained a Shotokan Black Belt in her native Sheffield (at the tender age of 15), earned a University degree in Linguistics & conducted TV interviews with the likes of footballing icon David Beckham & F1 legend Louis Hamilton.
        My interest gained, my trust in Paul invested, I made the call...

    Hi Charlie, thanks for so promptly returning my call, now tell me a little about yourself please, for instance what was your introduction into martial arts?
         Well, I originally began training at around 7 or 8 years of age I think, it seems so long ago now, but after I got my Black Belt I remember that I had to choose between carrying on or putting my energies into my other love, which is running. Because I felt having tight hamstrings from doing the 400 meters was just so incompatible with martial kicking techniques, & therefore also left me prone to injury, I chose at that time to concentrate on my running; though I am back training in the combat sports now!

    Can you tell our readers what other styles of martial arts have you touched on to date then?
        Well, alongside doing some Kickboxing in Singapore with my World Champion trainer Kadir & then some Muay Thai under my tutor Steve Fox in Thailand, whilst out working in Asia. I also was privileged to be allowed to workout with the Singaporean Special Forces martial arts team too!...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    UFC 104 - Machida vs Shogun
    December 2009
    UFC 104 saw a return to the Staples Centre in Las Vegas for the first time since Matt Hughes destroyed Royce Gracie back in May 2006. Once again the biggest organisation in the world was able to provide another stacked card with 10 fights and an intriguing main event. The MMA world was unanimous as to the fate of Shogun. The betting line at one point had Shogun as a 6/1 underdog, which is hard to believe when you look at just how dangerous a fighter he is. The UFC, however, had by no means seen the best of what Rua had to offer and a main event fight against the karate master and current light heavyweight title holder Lyoto Machida was the perfect opportunity for Shogun to showcase his skills.

    Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida vs Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua

        The first title defence of Lyoto Machida's reign saw him take on an extremely underrated challenger in Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. Those MMA fans that didn't see Shogun on his path of destruction in Pride were largely unimpressed by what they had seen in the Octagon. A tough loss to Forrest Griffin and a lacklustre win over Mark Coleman had drawn Shogun his fair share of criticism. It took a first round KO of Chuck Liddell to truly display what Shogun's intentions were in the UFC and to show the fans his explosive striking.  Machida had looked so untouchable in his previous outings in the octagon that he was a huge favourite going into the contest. Shogun's cardio had been called into question in his previous fights but he looked in phenomenal condition and had the lowest resting heartbeat of any of the fighters at the weigh-ins. This was to be the modern day example of what mixed martial arts set to accomplish back at UFC 1. It was the icy cool precision of Machida Karate against the burning ferocity of Shogun's Chute Boxe Muay Thai.
        Round 1 started much as everyone thought it would with Machida circling in his karate stance while Shogun looked to pick him apart with powerful strikes. Shogun initiated an early clinch and worked the knees diligently. Lyoto went on to land powerful knee to the body but Shogun rode the storm out and used it to take down his opponent. Machida didn't stay down for long though and after a brief scramble the exchange continued with Shogun landing some heavy kicks to the body and legs. Shogun was landing hard strikes and this was clearly rattling the usually unflappable champion. Lyoto looked to counter and move as he is famous for but he was clearly shaken by Shogun's aggression...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    November 2009
    Taekwondo has been given a mission: to maximise every opportunity for Great Britain to win gold medals at the home Olympic Games in 2012. Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd, along with talent identification experts from the UK Talent Team firmly believe that there are athletes out there, not currently involved in taekwondo's Olympic discipline, who could transfer in and achieve greatness in London in just three years time. This could vastly increase the likelihood of gold-medal winning opportunities in London being fulfilled by British athletes.
        A nationwide talent identification programme, Talent2012 Fighting Chance, is now live and is offering combat athletes from all Martial Arts, including taekwondo, the opportunity to trial for the elite squad. It's open to anyone with the talent, determination and desire to become a full time athlete and compete for medals at the Olympics. So, if you are a practising martial artist that has fighting skills and experience (karate, kickboxing, MMA, kung-fu of any martial combat style) this is your chance to represent your country at the Olympics.
        This is the first time that Britain has made such an open invitation for talented male and female athletes to apply their skills to taekwondo and have the chance to be part of an Olympic programme.  The UK Talent Team and Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd are hoping that there is strong support from the Martial Arts community in the UK.
        The chance to become an Olympic Champion through Talent2012 Fighting Chance starts with an open recruitment process which allows athletes to submit their personal details online via the UK Sport Talent website, www.uksport.gov.uk/talent .
        Talent2012 Fighting Chance is looking for athletes aged 16 and above with a high skill and achievement level in their current combat sport.  Athletes from all weight categories are welcome and a kicking background is essential.
        From the initial online applications successful athletes will be asked to attend an assessment day in February 2010. During these days athletes will be judged on a range of performance criteria including speed, physical attributes, decision-making ability and the desire to win. From this stage the Talent Team will determine which athletes are then invited to attend a residential boot camp to in the UK before final selections are made for a residential boot camp in Korea and the final squad is selected to train full time within the National Taekwondo Performance Centre in Manchester...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    STREET SAVVY - With Steven Dileo - NEW!!!
    November 2009
    Do takedowns work in the street?

         How many times have you heard this one:  "Yea, but will it work in the street?"  If you watch MMA, the answer is plenty of times!  With the explosion of this sport, martial artists and arm-chair fighters alike are constantly critiquing techniques to determine whether or not they are street worthy.  It is a fair question that has been asked ever since the first heavyweight boxing match aired in 1939 between Max Baer and Lou Nova.
         Let's face it!  The truth is that some techniques are strictly for the ring and some are strictly for the street; however, most have application in both.  It just depends upon the choice of technique, the situation, and the timing, not to mention about 100 other factors.
         Takedowns seem to generate the greatest amount of debate.  They exist in almost every martial art, varying slightly from system to system.  Judo and Jujitsu are probably the most complete styles, using everything from simple reaps to traditional throws.   Stand-up arts, like Tae Kwon-Do and Shotokan, primarily employ sweeps and a few tripping techniques.  Of course, wrestlers have their own unique strategies of getting an opponent on the ground with single and double-leg takedowns.  All in all, depending on the circumstances, some takedowns may be better than others when it comes to real self-defense, where the street is an unforgiving arena filled with many more hazards than the ring...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    MMA ROUND-UP - With Ben Cartlidge - NEW!!!
    November 2009
    The past month or so has proven to be a fairly hectic time in the world of MMA. The UFC were even busier than usual in giving us a new season of The Ultimate Fighter, a very entertaining Ultimate Fight Night and of course the return of Vitor Belfort at UFC 103. The UFC also went on to announce the complete line up for their next trip to our fair shores. UFC 105: Couture vs Vera is an incredibly stacked card with a very strong main event.
        Looking to bounce back from his devastating knock-out loss at the hands of Dan Henderson, England's MMA poster boy Mike Bisping looks to get himself back in the hunt at 185 as he takes on the very dangerous Denis Kang. Also announced were the matches for the two winners of the last season of The Ultimate Fighter. James 'Lightning' Wilkes has a very tough fight on his hands with fellow TUF veteran Matt 'The Immortal' Brown and Ross Pearson looks to keep his winning momentum going as he faces off against 40-11 Aaron Riley from Greg Jackson's camp. Dan Hardy will now face top welterweight prospect Mike 'Quick' Swick while Andre Winner looks to test the chin of Roli Delgado. The card is also bolstered by appearances of UK favourites Paul Taylor, John Hathaway and Nick Osipczak.
        The most noticeable thing about this card is none of the English fighters have been given easy fights. The days of Bisping vs Sinosic seem a long time ago and it will be interesting to see how the UK fighters do against very tough competition. They should have called it UFC 105: Boston Tea Party 2.
        Another former contestant on the Ultimate Fighter Team UK vs Team USA was in action this month as he looked to continue his post TUF winning streak. Martin Stapleton had a disappointing showing against Cameron Dollar but since returning to England scored a quick win over Andrew Fisher at Submit and Strike 11. Stapleton continued his momentum with a hard fought unanimous decision win over Ashley Smith at Clash of the Warriors. The event also saw wins for unbeaten Manchester prospect Lee Cohoon and a spectacular 10 second knock-out for Dave Latus in his professional debut...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    KNIFE DEFENCE TACTICS - What's The Point?
    November 2009
    Are Your Knife Defences Putting Your Life In Danger?

        Knives, it seems, are everywhere. One can hardly pick up a newspaper or switch on the television these days without coming across another example of knives being used on the streets, often with deadly consequences.
        It's a good job then, that we have our Martial Arts training to protect us. All those hours spent in the Dojo will undoubtedly prove worthwhile and save us should we be faced by some knife-wielding feral hoodie....won't they? To be honest, in most cases, I doubt it.
        It is my contention that in the vast number of cases, the knife defences taught in traditional Budo will not only fail to make you safer, they will actually increase your chances of getting killed or maimed. But why is this? What is wrong with the way in which so many Martial Artists practice this serious and important aspect of our chosen subject? Well, there are a number of problems. Some of the major ones are:

        I have often heard instructors say things like: "Using a live blade gets you used to the feeling of facing an opponent with a real knife." BULLS**T! What it actually gets you used to is facing an opponent who is being very careful not to hurt you if you make a mistake. They will pull their blows to such an extent that if you don't block or deflect them, they will not land, or they will leave the weapon arm extended so that you have time to grab it and perform your technique, rather than trying to wrestle free and strike. This is so far from reality as to be suicidal as a method of preparation for the real thing. In a real life incident, your attacker will give you no such second chances.

        In some styles at least, there is a tendency to put more emphasis on the quantity of knife defences than the quality. It is not uncommon to see a grading syllabus with requirements such as '14 knife defences' as one of the entries. Whatever the original purpose of such entries, it is very often counter-productive. It leads to students coming up with all sorts of scenarios in order to make each defence look identifiably different for the grading panel...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    November 2009
    Physical Intervention for the martial artist

    Imagine a scenario: you have been grabbed without warning and are being shaken violently by someone.  What is the first thing you think of doing?  A straw poll in the office gave the ideas "poke them in the eye", "knee them where it hurts", "shake them back", and "headbutt them". If you can think of many more then feel free to add them to the list.
        Now let me paint in some of the fine detail.  Your mother has been suffering with mental illness and is living with you. She has been put onto new medication, which fails to work and has a number of unpleasant side effects.  Without warning, you are being shaken next to the sink and battered with pots and pans.  Poking her in the eye no longer seems to be the best option.
        Unfortunately, this isn't a made-up example, and there are in a number of disturbing stories told by people who work in the care industry.  I grew up in a situation not an enormous distance from the one above, and you don't always think of the risk.  Moreover, if something does happen, you know that the person you love is still inside - they just temporarily can't control their actions.
        This article gives an overview of the dangers, problems, and practices that are important in this area.  Most importantly, I would like to get people thinking about their training, and how it might enable them to cope with the situations we are covering...

    Read more in the November 2009 issue of Combat magazine
    November 2009
    WAKO have done it once again! It appears that the decision of such bodies as the IOC, GAISF, WADA and Sportaccord have now been totally confirmed in supporting WAKO as the World Governing Body to Kickboxing. A massive turn out in Croatia by all the national squads has shown the pace WAKO is still continuing to grow.
        Next years World Martial Arts Games in Beijing will highlight WAKO's professionalism and will be the showcase for the organisation when only fighters representing WAKO (who still may be selected from any group within Great Britain) will be selected to fight at the games. Just another small step nearer to possible Olympic recognition or involvement!
        Pula, in Croatia was the hub of martial arts activity for the WAKO Junior and Cadet European Championships in the last week of September. The venue was the main sports arena in Pula and all competitors were placed within three hotels within a massive self contained complex with every imaginable activity on hand and the beach literally in the back garden.
        This report is based around the main activity of GB ring sports as an independent report relating to all the other styles will be submitted shortly by the Tatami section of WAKO.
        It was clear from the start that opinions and letters directed to the World President of WAKO from last year had been listened to and many simple and basic improvements were in place. Competitions of such a great size take a long time to organise and clear messages have to be passed on to the next host country. The Croatians were found to be very polite and hospitable which made the busy week much easier to handle.
        The food was excellent and the transport to and from the venue was very well organised, always a main concern of the travellers and fighters. The hotel also had many other bars, restaurants and entertainment centres.
        The referee and judges seminars were very informative and this year saw the introduction of the electronic (Olympic type) scoring system to the ring sport section. WAKO has successfully introduced the electronic 'Easy-Scoring' system into light continuous sparring over the last few years and took the decision to cover the full contact disciplines in this manner also, from this year on...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    IP MAN - The Legend Comes to Life!
    October 2009
    Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip stumbled a tad with their third collaboration, Flash Point, but make a triumphant return to form with this period bio-pic.
        In the tradition of Once Upon a Time in China and Fearless, Ip Man mythologises a legendary martial artist, the events of his life filtered through the imagination of the director, his prowess enhanced by over the top choreography and wirework.
        Unlike Wong Fei Hung or even Bruce Lee, Ip Man has never been the subject of a film until now. But this fictionalised debut is a lavish one that will doubtless bring international recognition to this much underappreciated icon from an era that saw incredible martial arts masters rise.
        Wing Chun grandmaster, Ip Man is introduced as man who is quiet, wealthy, much beloved and undefeatable. It's the 1930s and Man is living a peaceful life with his wife and son in Foshan, a district renowned for its martial arts schools, regularly seeing off challenges with devastating skill and grace.
        After this vibrantly styled opening act, things take a dark turn. Some time has passed and it's the time of the second Sino-Japanese War. Foshan has become a grey, ruined location, occupied by the Japanese. The mighty have fallen and Ip Man and his family have been made homeless. But Man is not proud, going to work with those who revere him, in a coal mine to put food on the table...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
    UNLOCK THE SECRET OF... Shaolin Defensive Fighting
    October 2009
    As a young boy at the Shaolin Temple, I was taught a lot of acrobatics and forms, for performance and demonstration. They looked beautiful and impressive but my main motivation for being at the temple was to learn how to fight. I think this may be one of the reasons why my master - The Shaolin Abbot Shi Ying Xin - gave me the disciple name of Lei, which means thunder.
        Of course as I've grown older (I'm thirty-six now) and my motivation has changed, but I still believe that there is no better way to teach us about our strengths and weaknesses than through fighting. It is exactly as Sun Tzu said: "If you know your enemy but not yourself then you will always be defeated". The aim of any martial arts is for us to know and understand ourselves.
        When I was a young student, as well as training in traditional Shaolin and Qi Gong, I also trained in sanshou fighting. Sanshou literally means free-style fighting. We use kick, punch and throwing techniques against our opponent. We catch our opponent's punch or kick and throw them onto the floor. The throw has to be very quick and over in a second. In China, if we use traditional skills then we get more points.
        Using traditional techniques in a modern fight is a lot harder, modern fighting is focused on power and speed. It also takes much longer to master a traditional skill. You need to practice it over and over again until it becomes as natural as breathing. It needs to become a part of you so you no longer need to think about it. But it is worth the time spent mastering it because once you have mastered your skill, it becomes much harder for your opponent to beat you. In China we say that if you take 3 years to master a skill then your opponent will take another 3 years to beat the skill you have mastered...

    Read more in the Digital Edition
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