Mean Streets – Jarmesty Martial Arts

Mean Streets Mean Streets   Jarmesty Martial Arts

 

Mean Streets – Jarmesty Martial Arts

So last week Russell Jarmesty of JMA Academy in Atherton, Manchester released his much anticipated self defence app, `Mean Streets`. As soon as it was released I logged into my Android account and downloaded it, eager to check it out and see what it had to offer. Honestly, I was impressed!

Anyone who is on Facebook knows the Russell is pretty active on social media, being one of the four `Martial Arts Guardians` who produce a free magazine dedicated to highlighting the best in martial arts and self defence. Russell regularly posts videos from his academy in Atherton (which looks amazing by the way) along with videos demonstrating real world self defence that he has acquired through many years working as a doorman. Techniques such as snatches and barring are a big hit for him and so I was eager to see what the app involved and how it was laid out.

The home page is broken down into 6 main sections: Introduction, Tutorials, Techniques, The Street, Qik View and More. The introduction lays out basically what the app is about saying there will be more in the series, and that the app is meant to bring a bit of thought to training, something to go and try in your own time. Simplicity is key with Russ and as he explains, a lot of what he does is based on `Third Party Martial Arts` or stopping someone from getting to someone else, due to the world of work he was in.

The tutorials consist of explanations of techniques and principles varying from grabs to strikes to intensity drills, all well explained by Russ, looking at multiple scenarios and multiple camera angles for easy to follow drills. The techniques themselves look at functional warm ups (no running involved), tips for practicing the techniques, threats, third party techniques as alluded to earlier and grabs, again all explained well with multiple angles so it’s easy to follow.

`The Street` section is probably my favorite in the app and shows a range of scenarios from one opponent to multiple. 9 defences in total are shown and explained well, giving multiple scenarios and possibilities as anyone who has ever had an altercation in real life knows, things don’t always go according to plan. Plan A is looked at, but also plan B, C and D focused on simplicity and what is most likely to work! It’s no holds barred and intensity is key with hard strikes, eye gouges and groin strikes to get you out of the situation fast.

The Qik View is exactly that. Short clips showing warm-ups, third party techniques, and grabs. Easy to digest and easy to refer to, again with multiple angles showing full speed applications. The more section is a summary of the information in the app, along with links to JMA Academy, Facebook links and links to The Martial Arts Guardian along with a disclaimer.

So my overall thoughts? The app is easy to navigate, digest and get to grips with showing simple techniques for self defence that both beginners and seasoned martial artists could learn from. Russ’ explanations are clear simple and articulated well, and it’s not hard to see why he is considered one of the best in the country in terms of real world self defence. He draws on his extensive experience but simplifies it down to easily digestible bites that are great for those experience in self defence/martial arts, as well as complete beginners barely able to throw a punch. For only £4.99 there is a ton of information and you can see that Russ and the app team have put the effort in to making it a professional product. I highly recommend this product for anyone interested in broadening their knowledge of self defence. The app is available on Android and Apple devices and here’s also a link to the Martial Arts Guardian Website! Enjoy!

 

RDX Curved Focus Mitts and Boxing Gloves Review

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RDX Curved Mitts and Gloves Review

So I thought this week that it was about time I treated myself to a new set of gloves and focus mitts. My last ones are looking slightly worse for wear after years of MMA, KFM and recently Defence Lab and some MittMaster. So I got myself on Amazon and had a browse! The RDX Curved Focus Mitts and Gloves stood out to me. RDX are a well known brand, well respected and I’ve previously bought RDX gloves so knew the quality would be good. I wasn’t disappointed!

The gloves and mitts came packaged well, having that new pad smell that anyone involved in combat sport knows and loves! The pads are slightly smaller than my previous ones which to me is a good aspect, leading to greater accuracy in punches, kicks and strikes in general. The pads also have that perfect level of padding where there’s enough to absorb any hits you may receive during training, but not so much that your punches are lost in the padding. There’s still a pretty satisfying thump when you give them a whack! The pads are also pretty to swap with no straps or velcro. They simple slip on like a glove, giving great impact absorption while sticking to your hand due to the curvature of the pad.

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The gloves are the same, good quality, easy to slip on and off and you can tell they are high quality and will last a while. They’re pretty thin so not great for hard sparring but for pad work and light contact these are perfect! The price was also great with both of these available for under £25 which for the quality and durability I think is pretty good value. I’ve bought expensive pads in the past, over £35 and had them fall apart on me after a couple of training sessions, slipping off my hands and generally disintegrating in no time at all. These pads as said stick to the hands making pad feeding easy and comfortable and even after hard hits show no signs of taking any impact!

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Basically I’m sold and looking forward to giving these pads a really good go at Defence Lab this week where I can give them a real smashing. RDX are a quality brand and for the price, the RDX Curved Mitts and Boxing Gloves are a safe buy for anyone involved in martial arts or self defence!

The changing face of experts….

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The changing face of experts…

Be honest with yourself, are you an expert in self defence or martial arts? In the age of digital media and knowledge at our fingertips, more and more so called experts are coming out of the woodwork, giving “expert” advice on martial arts, self defence and combat sports in general. There is a whole host of information out there on fighting styles, legality of self defence and mixed martial arts take-downs and submissions and with one google search you can find out what you can legally do to defend yourself, how to choke someone out, and how to throw a half decent left hook. The problem comes when they then think they can argue and advise people who have been out pioneering and testing this stuff in real life for decades!

Anyone can say and post anything on the internet, and this is especially the case in martial arts. A YouTube search of `Martial Arts` will bring up millions of results, some great, some fricking awful but all with someone’s own interpretation of self defence, martial arts or combat sports. When this interpretation is based on experience, knowledge, blood, sweat and tears, fantastic, we need people to push the boundaries and evolve with the times. When this interpretation is based on a few books bought on eBay, and a few hours spent watching some MMA highlights, the interpretation lacks some credibility. What seems funny is that it is often the ones with the least real life experience of training or fighting, that seem most vocal in their interpretation of it, probably due to the fact they overestimate their own ability and the genuine skill and depth of knowledge from others.

Martial arts and self defence require years of study. You learn the basics, you explore the techniques, you make the techniques your own, keeping the principles from the basics. You then interpret the techniques, expand or narrow them down and then teach to others. It seems sometimes people tend to go step 1 to teaching others straight away, posting videos, advertising events and claiming expert level knowledge. Anyone can write a book on a subject. Anyone can teach a class on a subject. All it takes is a bit of research. What makes the difference is the interaction with the students and the way it is presented however. The individual knowing only the basics will be narrow in their approach, teaching a few techniques or principles and that’s it. There will be no individual feedback, no scenario training, no allowances for different sizes or strengths, no question and answer session. The knowledge will be one dimensional and lack substance. The only people who will learn from this is those who know less than you. Put up against someone with some knowledge and you’re in a proverbial creek without a paddle.

Too much information is available today especially in the case of martial arts, many of which have long traditions, cultures and principles that can’t be learnt in a matter of weeks. Looking at the source of the information is crucial. What’s their background? Do they claim to hold a 12th degree black belt in 72 different styles of killer Kung Fu and once kicked Chuck Norris in the face? If so, call bullshit. This type of filtering down of the arts dilutes the whole process and lowers the bar for all involved to the point where you get 4th degree black belts who couldn’t punch their way out of a paper bag. Loads of people know wayyyy more about martial arts and self defence than I do and when they speak, I shut up and pay attention. They are the ones who keep quiet and wait to be asked their opinion on a topic, not jump at the first opportunity to prove their knowledge and skill. They are the ones who offer a range of answers for a particular question, never black and white answers.

They are the ones worth learning from and dedicating your time and efforts to.

MAUnity will be launching soon. It will showcase these people. These people who are experts in their field and have tried and tested their methods. It will be a webshow with a different style of the week each week showcasing a style of martial art of self defence, along with background and clips. It will include reviews, expert tutorials, interviews and anything else we can think of along the way! It’s taking a lot of work to get PERFECT so bear with us but it will be here. The Martial View will become MAUnity in the hope of being a place of genuine knowledge for sport, self defence and traditional martial arts. I’ll be the host, which I apologize for as I have a face made for radio, but the content will be great with some top quality martial artists and self defence instructors already on board. It’s coming!

Want to be involved? Get in touch!

What motivates you?

What motivates you

Martial arts are a lifelong pursuit as I’ve said over and over again, so what keeps you motivated when you train? Do you go for the social aspect? Do you go to learn and develop yourself more? Do you go out a sense of obligation – you’ve started may as well keep going? As people progress through the martial arts, motivations change and evolve as you yourself also change and evolve, going from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced. Do you aim to teach, always aim to learn, or a bit of both. The most effective schools and instructors are always the ones who continue to learn. Learn from those above them, learn from different styles and learn from their students in order to progress both themselves and their students.

Martial arts are an individual pursuit and a certain level of selfishness is probably required. We want to do the best for ourselves, especially in the early days, we want to progress and get good at whatever art we have chosen. As we progress however, our focus may turn to those less experienced, getting their skill level up and therefore improving your skills as an instructor. Martial arts are often quoted as saying we develop self discipline, respect and selflessness, yet do many of us actually practice these in real life? Fellow blogger Andrea Harkins who runs The Martial Arts Woman recently posted about the criticism she received at the start of her blogging, and I have to say I had the same from those involved in the martial arts. High ranking instructors saying I was too inexperienced/young to be writing about martial arts which I think is ridiculous, as well as some bloggers who were willing to help in the beginning, yet quick to criticise and publicly slate The Martial View once it started building a bit of momentum. These same people who advertise teaching respect, self-discipline and selflessness on their school advertising. It’s a shame there are not more who actually practice this in real life, not just using empty words. Recently Martial Arts Guardian Russell Jarmesty who runs Jarmesty Martial Arts Academy in Atherton Manchester posted a facebook post offering 1 year membership to his academy, fully sponsored, only conditions being you must be committed and must be out of work or in education. It’s selfless acts like this that actually improve the community as a whole which is what martial arts should be about. My motivation is to one day have my own full time school and be in a position to earn a living from the martial arts, while also giving back to the community as often as I can. How realistic this is we shall see but we can all dream and passion=success in my book.

What is your motivation for training? How far along are you in your training? Do you instruct? Simply learn? Or want to make martial arts your life? Motivation is important and previous posts have focused on setting goals both in fitness and in life in general. What are your goals?

Review! Matt Chapman’s Mittmaster!

banner logo1 Review! Matt Chapmans Mittmaster!

Review! Matt Chapman’s Mittmaster!

So I’ve just finished watching and training in some of Matt Chapman’s Mittmaster series, looking at MMA, Trapping and Kickboxing and honestly… I’m well impressed! Matt has nearly 30 years of martial arts experience in a variety of styles including Kickboxing, Ninjitsu and Keysi Fighting Method and won a British MMA Welterweight Title in 2006. All this shows in the way he de-constructs and explains some pretty complicated pad work and the reasons behind it so that both pad feeder and the one hitting the pads is getting some great technical knowledge and progression!

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Matt’s idea with Mittmaster is to raise the standard of pad feeders around the world as pad feeding can be just as difficult a job as the guy hitting the pads. Good pad feeding takes coordination, memory, timing and great technique yourself and through these series of videos, Matt takes you right from beginner level pad feeding, all the way up to bad-ass pad feeding!

The MMA and Kickboxing level 1 videos are great, going in to enough detail to explain why the drills worked and how they look in a real MMA/Kickboxing scenario, without Matt just rambling on talking for the sake of talking! Fitness and instruction was also looked into such as games where the leg is caught on a leg kick, therefore drop down and give me a burpee! Matt explains a number of different ways of doing a technique and different options available such as the whizzer where a short range whizzer allows follow up strikes, a longer range one allows for the head kick and the whizzer driving the head down allows for takedowns and submissions, meaning the full range of options is outlined.

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The trapping video is equally as good with Matt breaking down relatively complex moves so they are easy to understand and develop, drawing on his real life experience on why he does things the way he does. Different angles are looked at and again, the technical knowledge is great, with Matt’s instructors including the JKD legend that is Bob Breen so you know he comes from a great pedigree of martial artists.

Basically guys! I recommend this product pretty highly. Matt really knows what he is talking about from a technical point of view, but he also has a great style of teaching that I know from experience and it’s translated through these videos. If you want to improve your fighting game as well as your pad feeding and technical knowledge I would definitely recommend these videos as well as the other stuff Matt has done such as his books on how to win your first MMA fight, or how to get more students at your dojo!

See more of MittMaster at http://mittmaster.com/

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What does self defence mean to you?

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What does self defence mean to you?!

Self defence is a minefield. The Martial View website could easily be dedicated just to self defence as there is just so much to discuss, talk about and ponder! People have different ideas of self defence, some are based on their own personal experience, and some are based on what they’ve been told/taught. I think all self defence viewpoints are valid but there is often a misconception that martial arts = self defence, and in my opinion this simply isn’t the case. The frankly redundant argument about which style is best in a real life situation is prevalent in the martial arts world, with some arguing, for example, Karate is the best form of self defence, others Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, some Jeet Kune Do. For me martial arts are exactly that, martial arts, not self defence. They can overlap sometimes and knowing some form of combat art definitely isn’t going to hurt in a real life altercation, but isn’t the be all and end all of self defence. So I ask, what is self defence to you?

I’ve luckily had few experiences where I’ve had to use physical violence to end a confrontation, but it has happened, yet I still prefer to avoid a potential situation wherever possible and this to me is true self defence. If you’ve been in situations which could clearly have ended in a punch up, but managed to either spot the danger before it arose, or managed to talk your way out of it, to me, this is the best example of self defence. It shouldn’t be flashy or clever, it should be direct, straightforward and easy to grasp. I’ve heard arguments that the best form of self defence to learn is MMA and although I see where people are coming from in this argument I disagree. To be proficient in MMA, as with any contact sport, takes years. Self defence should be effective in a matter of hours. Sure you can learn to strike, kick, takedown etc, but do you have to learn MMA to do that? A few hours learning simple avoidance/awareness, de-escalation techniques and some simple physical skills that rely on gross motor skills such as palm strikes, elbows and slaps are way more effective in my opinion and aren’t particularly technical or difficult to grasp. Self defence should be as efficient and effective as possible.

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Flashy wrist locks, shoulder throws and arm bars simply won’t work in a real confrontation unless you are either very lucky or very skilled as adrenaline and an un-cooperative opponent will make even the simpliest of wrist locks very difficult to adminster in a situation where you are really likely to get hurt. Do they work on a drunk guy who’s a bit annoying and simply needs to be told to get lost. Yes, I’ve used them before and they’ve worked a treat. Will they work against someone barreling in really meaning to cause you some harm? Probably not. In this case, nasty as it sounds you have to meet violence with violence and do everything you can to get out the situation and so elbow strikes, palm strikes, biting, shredding and kicking are far more realistic.

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I love learning about self defence and want to learn all I can on it from as many people as I can, as so many people have different ideas of what it entails. To me personally it should be as simple and easy to retain as possible. You should know your legal rights in relation to self defence, and understand the physiological and psychological changes that will takes place during confrontation. Finally avoidance and awareness is of paramount importance and the foundation for self defence, above the physical techniques and strategies. So what are your thoughts?

NFPS LTD – Chat with Mark Dawes

nfps NFPS LTD   Chat with Mark Dawes

Chat with Mark Dawes

So in preparation for my review of the BTEC Level 3 Self Defence course I attended which will be published next week, we spoke to Mark Dawes of NFPS Ltd about how his company began, what it aims to accomplish and why there’s a need for it! Enjoy!

How it All Began!

I started teaching self-defence back in 1988 on the back of running a martial arts school.  This was at the request of the local police and local crime prevention panel, who wanted self-defence courses for local people and local businesses.

The concept was to provide a two-hour session after work one evening a week for six weeks, culminating in twelve hours training in self-defence.  This was the amount of time people could realistically commit to, when having to balance their work, family life and other everyday commitments.

Now this was a different concept to teaching a martial art, where someone would attend a class twice or three times a week for three to five years to get a black belt.

So the first question planted a seed in my mind. Do people need to train for three to five years to be competent to defend yourself?

The next ’light-bulb’ moment for me came when I was asked by a woman on one of these self-defence evenings, if I could teach her something that she could teach to her son. He wanted to learn self-defence but who was too scared to attend a class because he was being bullied and had very low self-esteem and self-confidence, and I thought, yes, why not?

If self-defence is a ‘common law right’ of every person, why do we have to elevate someone to the dizzy heights of  ‘instructor’ to be ‘allowed’ to teach? Why can’t a mum simply show her son what to do? Now of course in today’s health and safety conscious world we need to apply good health and safety practices to what we teach, but that shouldn’t take three to five years! It could be done in a day or two.

It also made me realise something else (my mind was now similar to an illuminated fairground as one light-bulb moment sparked off another). A lot of people who probably need to or want to learn to know how to defend themselves, do not attend courses because:

  1.  They are probably not very confident and have low self-esteem, and
  2.  They are probably at the low end of the fitness spectrum, and are not very technically (in a physical skills sense) proficient.

This means that the people who really need the help are possibly not the people who actually attend courses.  So wouldn’t it be great if we could teach those that do attend to go back and teach these very people?

The next ‘wake-up’ call came when I was asked what reasonable force meant. My co-tutor (a police officer who was running these two hour sessions) and I had been telling the people we were training that as long as the force they used was ‘reasonable’ they would be okay. Then, at the end of one of the sessions a woman on the course asked us to explain what ’reasonable force’ meant.Then apart from giving a few weak examples (basically ones that we made up on the spur of the moment, to avoid any embarrassment) neither my police colleague nor I could legitimately define what ‘reasonable force’ actually meant.

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This ‘wake-up call’ was a realisation that people didn’t just want techniques; they really wanted to know what they were legally allowed to do. In short, they wanted to know that if they used what we were showing them, they would be acting legally. In essence what we were doing by majoring on teaching techniques, was akin to teaching someone to drive but not teaching them the Highway Code. This was confirmed much later when I carried out a large survey at a north London hospital, when we asked nurses on personal safety courses what they wanted to know. They all said they wanted to know how far they could actually go in defending themselves, and others and to do that they had to know what ‘reasonable force’ actually meant.

The realisation that was dawning on me was that techniques alone aren’t enough. This was because the evidence shows that people will not use something that is too complicated simply because they will not be able to recall what to do when under pressure. Also, if people do not understand the law in relation to ‘reasonable force’ then how will they be able to know what they are legally allowed to do and that can create hesitation and fear. They also wanted to be taught simple and effective techniques that were easy to learn, easy to remember and which would work if required.

At that moment, I had what I can only describe as one of those ‘epiphany’ moments.

I suddenly realised that the reason that we were all teaching a progressive course, that taught more and more complex techniques as people progressed through it, was because we (the instructors) wanted to look good / make a good impression in front of our ‘audience’ by being able to do what they couldn’t. Another motivator for some other trainers too (which one guy told me about) was that if someone actually used something in self-defence and hurt someone, he would have a ‘get-out’ clause by being able to say that they didn’t use the technique the way we had taught them. In short, the training was about the trainer/s, not the students and it didn’t make trainers accountable or responsible for what they were teaching.

So the challenge was set.

If I really wanted to help people I had to give them the information they needed to answer their questions, which, in summary were:

  1.  Can you teach me something that I can use that is quick and easy to learn as well as being effective?
  2.  Can you teach me what to do within a legally correct framework, so I know exactly what I am legally allowed and not allowed to do and how far I am allowed to go?
  3.  Can you teach me something that is so easy to remember and is so effective but which would be easy for me to teach to someone else, without having to train for three-five years to do so?

From then on the ‘Bash & Dash’ course was conceived and the first one was a huge success.

Over the years the course has developed based around a simple mantra that I keep at the forefront of my mind which helps keep me on point. That mantra is:

“If a forty-eight year old woman came up to me and asked me to teach her something so that she could either: a) defend herself and her family, or b) enable her to teach someone else in her family, because she or someone in her family was scared that they were going to be attacked later on that same day, could I do it?”

If the answer is no, I am not teaching self-defence, I am teaching something else.

Today in 2015, twenty-seven years on, our BTEC Level 3 Advanced Self-Defence Instructor Award Course follows those same steadfast principles, which hold as true today as they did all those years ago.

The reason we eventually developed it into a BTEC Course was because of another ‘light-bulb’ moment.

There are many courses taught by many different people. Some are good, some are bad and some are indifferent, so it is difficult for someone to know what to look for when they are looking for training. However, all of these courses have one thing in common which is that the instructors, in the main, actually want to help people and are motivated by a desire to keep people safe.

However, all of these courses have one other thing in common too. None of them teach to a recognised national vocational standard that involves a structured process of learning and assessment with audit trails and internal and external verification processes, and this is what makes our BTEC Level 3 Advanced Self-Defence Instructor Award Course different.

What our course does is provide an instructor with an approach to teaching, based on a structured process of learning and assessment that is legally correct and health and safety compliant.

This provides any prospective student with the safeguard of knowing that their instructor has gone though a formally recognised process and has attained a qualification written to an Awarding Body standard.

It also provides the instructor with the freedom to teach what they like as long as it meets the three principles listed above.

In summary our BTEC Level 3 Advanced Self-Defence Instructor Award Course is not about us and it’s not about the instructor. It is about the people the instructors will teach.

What I learned twenty-seven years ago, which still holds true today, is that people need more than just physical techniques. They need information and they need answers to questions, that are stopping them reaching their full potential. Provide that and you liberate them and set them free to live a safe life.

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Mark Dawes.

25 March 2015.

5 Steps to improved Jiyu Waza fitness

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5 steps to improved Jiyu Waza fitness

I’m sure everyone who does Aikido can relate to the fact that Jiyu Waza takes a special kind of fitness! I like to consider myself a fairly fit guy but after a few rounds of Jiyu Waza I’m pretty tired! I’ve known long distance runners, gymnasts and athletes be tired after one or two rounds! So what makes Jiyu Waza so tiring and how can we improve our endurance?

Firstly there’s the fact that it takes a certain kind of cardio-vascular endurance! You attack, get thrown, spring up and attack again. It’s dynamic, its athletic, and its tiring! Secondly there’s impact. Impact takes it out of you. You get thrown hard and the body tenses in order to prepare for the impact. You don’t breath correctly, you tense up in anticipation of the fall. You hold your breath as you meet the floor. You get tired! Thirdly, its not just tiring for the one receiving the fall, its tiring for the one applying the techniques! A difficult, stiff and inexperienced partner can make you tense and it can feel like throwing a sack of potatoes if the partner can’t yet fall correctly. Again this leads to fatigue! So what can we do about it?!

5 – Overall Fitness

This is pretty much a given, if you’re in reasonably good shape and have good muscular endurance as well as cardiovascular endurance, this is obviously going to help your jiyu waza! High intensity training where sprints are followed by periods of low intensity exercise are shown to be extremely effective in increasing cardio relatively quickly and is more effective than just running for miles and miles in terms of jiyu waza and martial arts in general. Jiyu waza is fast, dynamic and high intensity. Self defence situations are fast, dynamic and high intensity.

4 – Ukemi

Get comfortable falling. Simple as that, get comfortable falling for back falls, front falls, side falls, weird and wonderful angled falls. Just get comfortable falling. The more comfortable you are falling, the more your body will relax on the impact and the less fatigued you will become in both cardio and muscular.

3 – Know your techniques

Get comfortable practicing different techniques to use during jiyu waza and just repeatedly practice until you have a good “set list” of techniques at your disposal. The more comfortable with techniques, again the more relaxed you will be and the more you can focus on things like breathing, not trying to think of a technique to do!

2 – Breath!!

We’re all guilty of it. We tense up and we forget to breath! As Robert Mustard Shihan is fond of saying, its a well known secret of the martial arts that if you don’t breath, you die! Establish a pattern of breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and you will notice an improvement in your endurance almost immediately in comparison to erratic breathing when you are panicking and tense.

1 – PRACTICE

So how do we get comfortable doing all these things?! Practice! Do rounds of jiyu waza, building up slowly as both the receiver and the thrower! Think about your breathing, the techniques you will use and the correct way to fall properly. Get a good training partner who wants to improve their jiyu waza too and get practicing. Enjoy!!

Bob Breen Interview Part 3!

Bob Breen Interview Part 3!

Here it is folks! The final part of the awesomely fantastical Bob Breen’s interview. Here he talks about plans for the future and 4D as well as his branding partners in Andy Norman, Phil Norman and Eddie Quinn. Enjoy!

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Lets talk about the collaboration with Andy Norman, Phil Norman and Eddie Quinn then.

I used to teach Andy back in the 80’s. He was an amazing determined guy that would come to see me in London from Hull once or twice a week and so when people say to me they can’t come to training for whatever reason, I always say there are no excuses! I taught Andy for a few years and we got on great, he was one of the best students I’ve had. I’d beat him up then he’d go back on the train thinking how he would beat me up next time in a tit for tat kind of way! We always kept in touch and then I met him in Italy last year and started talking about projects. I talked about 4D and he said why don’t you come and join me with the Defence Lab as we all have the same aim. Then with Phil as well who was an old JKD guy too. They’re all super brains! Phil was gladiators champion twice, Andy’s taught the Hollywood stars etc so why don’t we all work together. Andy has been the inspiration for it and he’s been a huge kick up the arse for us. It will be great fun and since we’ve been doing it I’ve had a great time. Then Eddie is on board too and he’s a great guy, fabulous communicator. We’re all pushing each other, it’s like a new wave happening and a new evolution that will take everything by storm!

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So leading on from that what are your plans for the future?

Well we start the online university in the New Year, some of which will link up with Taken 3 as Liam Neeson is a student of Andy’s. We’re all filming crazily as I have 50 years of experience I want to show, lots of techniques too, but also showing how to get them to work practically. We’re all different heights, Phil’s tall and athletic; I’m about medium height but had a double hip replacement in the past so that taught me how to find space within space. Andy is shorter than all of us so his is all inside game. So when we look at everything together it’s like a jigsaw and if you learn all three, you would be an incredibly well rounded guy! Everyone there is so much fun as well. It’s almost like the old days of JKD, everyone has high energy and everything is new and exciting! Who else has done anything like the Defence Lab World Conference last month? There were 300 people there all learning together and everyone was just so revved! That was just the start we’ve got huge plans.

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So finally what are your developments? How do you progress in the martial arts?

I’m collaborating with Matt Chapman at the moment with the 4D ground stuff. The 4D has a code, and a map which in essence can be seen as a timeline saying I’m here; I do this, etc so we want to do that with the ground too. I’m just training the 4D stuff hard now, we have a team we train at 7am in the morning with, all the high grade guys just bashing each other and testing the concepts and learning. We want to make sure it’s perfect for the guys we’re going to teach out there. We have discovered link points where you can go into Ghost or DL so my people can go into that so its cross branded, and also cross training. The big thing with 4D is a 4D fighter is never in front of you. We did a GoPro test where European BJJ champion David Onuma and I put a GoPro on our chest and we put it on every half second and attacked each other with blades. There are only 2 pictures with us in front of each other. All you catch is a bit of a shoulder, or a finger in the eye. It’s a great test as it shows, look; this is where you’re at. It’s not just you hit me, I hit you. A core concept is across all our systems is we don’t like or want to get hit. Myself, Andy and Phil and all the guys never want to get hit and that’s what we’re all about! We’re trying to do the martial arts we all dream of, we’re aiming at excellence.

Bob Breen Interview Part 1!

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Bob Breen Interview Part 1

Here it is guys and girls! The Bob Breen interview part 1! A legend in the martial arts, and go to guy for self defence, here Bob talks about his early days in martial arts, his own philosophy of self defence, and his cross branding with Andy Norman and Defence Lab, Phil Norman and Ghost, and Eddie Quinn with The Approach. Enjoy and as ever please feel free to comment, subscribe, share and like 🙂

How did you begin your training in the martial arts?

I started Karate at the end of 1966, getting my black belt in 1970. Roundabout then I opened my own school one of the first schools in the  UK to be run by a non-Japanese. I fought for England and captained the England team and things like that. Then in 1971-72 we started doing a bit of grappling, so we were cross training even then really, predominantly Judo stuff. I was always interested in the cross-training approach, it resonated with my personal experience. There was a comic strip in the Evening Standard  called `Modesty Blaise`, books too, and that had the idea of cross training and fighting in it. It was JKD before JKD had even happened! So I was enthralled by this idea of combat as I’d had quite a few fights on the street growing up so knew it didn’t quite go as it did in the dojo! In many ways I was primed up for JKD and Kali. I got into Eskrima in 1978 and met Dan Inosanto when I invited him over the UK in 1979! I became a huge advocate of JKD and Kali after that, and have followed Guru Dan from that time onwards.

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Would you say that your previous experience having fights on the street etc led you into the martial arts?

Not especially, I was just intrigued by it. I’d had fights and I remember having a fight with a guy called Andy who was an amateur boxer. I had loads of spirit but no technique, I was just scrappy! So for me it was just a journey of enquiry, it looked beautiful and it wasn’t just about the fighting it was the discipline and speed. I remember my first teacher Tatsuo Suzuki, just being unbelievably fast! It was of the age as well, there was `Odd Job` around and things were opening up changing, people were getting interested in the martial arts. Nowadays I don’t think people understand how closed everything was then, but times were changing.

In terms of the JKD, what was it that originally drew you to it and made you think this is for me?

Initially I don’t think it was the art of JKD specifically,  I was into Bruce Lee before that had been publicised , I used to go to China Town and watch the films in Chinese and be the only English person in the audience! I was intrigued by the idea of Bruce, Definitely the best and most realistic on the screen. When JKD articles came out showing pictures of his approach I thought ‘Well we do that anyway’ but what set Lee apart was the level of his integration and thinking. He was on a much higher level. What intrigued me about Dan Inosanto was the Filipino arts and what he did with that. His visit with Jeff Imada was amazing. It showed how they could go from empty hand, to knife, to stick, to battle axe, to grappling, back to empty hand. They wouldn’t have a plan; they would just flow and could handle everything. It was amazing and in truth I still think that evening in 79 was one of the best demos of the art I’ve ever seen.

What do you think JKD can offer today?

JKD was the original cross training or MMA as Bruce was into everything. Done well I think it’s what many of the top fighters are using today, at least conceptually. Lee’s influence has been immense. However I think a lot of it has been lost as people are caught up in technique, they know everything but can they do everything? This for me is why I developed 4D. It’s a sort of reference back to the original principles of JKD. 4D is functional, you have to be able to use it practically and apply it. 4D is nearly 50 years of sparring and fighting in every format and thinking how do you take all that knowledge and make it really easy to learn. prioritise it, adding a strategic structure to it, so that whatever happens you’re in charge. All the guys doing 4D now say they feel less fear, are more confident, and get more things to happen due to the simplicity of it. The choices are small, but because of that you get everything. If I’m punching you in the head you can’t have 20 thoughts in your head, its fight or flight. All the decision making is binary like this and natural so it’s quick.

Then we work on the what would be traditional JKD concepts like non telegraphic striking so when we hit you can’t stop it! However in 4D it’s not acceptable just to know it, you have to be able to make it work. It’s almost like a computer game; if you want the next level you need a certain score. If I want to progress I need to land 8 out of10 jabs against a defended target, then I understand and really know the jab and can move on. We do this on everything; everything is tested. It’s an evolution of the JKD idea, Bruce’s ideas were fabulous but it’s been evolved. You’ve interviewed Phil Norman, and I think you’re interviewing Andy Norman too, and all these guys have done the same thing, they’ve evolved and simplified. 4D have taken practicality first and built from there. People seem to like it, I’ve been hitting world champions in the head and they all say it’s like WOW! Mind blown!

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