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 Fifth International Combatives Seminar, 2007

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PostSubject: Fifth International Combatives Seminar, 2007   Thu 22 Nov 2007, 10:55

FIFTH INTERNATIONAL COMBATIVES SEMINAR

The seminar was held in the Prescot Leisure centre in Prescot Merseyside on 1, 2 and 3 September 2007. I had travelled to Liverpool the day before. On the way from Manchester to Liverpool I met fellow combative-practitioners Stephan and his lovely wife Tu Ly from Germany. After checking in at the hotel, I went to the pub to see who else from our group was in. There I met Den together with the internationals. I was happy to see a lot of familiar faces and also saw some new people. People joked about my late arrival and thought I had been trying to hook some pretty stewardesses at the airport. Unfortunately I didn’t find the time for that.

Next morning after breakfast we travelled to the Prescot Leisure centre. On every seminar it’s nice to see how people take care of each other like organising transport and sharing rooms which fellow combatives people.

Inside the venue there was an air of excitement. There were a lot of people, most were Brits but others were from Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Irish republic and I was from Belgium. While everybody was saying hello to old friends and introducing each other to new people, the Gutterfighters were working like ants to get everything set ready. Kit was unloaded, a table was set up, posters were hung onto the wall, the schedule was discussed etc…
After everything was set-up and everyone had paid, the course started.

The course kicked off with an intro by Den.

This year it was already the 5th international and Den explained how hard it is to make it every year better than the last one. Many people trained on past internationals tough there were few that did all five of them. Me being one of those few made me feeling a bit old.

FAIRBAIRN METHOD
The intro was followed up with a presentation about The Development of the Fairbairn System 1942-45 by Mika our guest instructor from Sweden. Mika has researched this period in which Fairbairn went to the United States to train the OSS in what’s known today as Camp David. There was a lot of interesting information told like the life of three people of Fairbairn’s instructors’ cadre.


Mika also showed us some cartoons of those instructors including Fairbairn which were made by one of the recruits in the camp. Although nice to look at I guess the recruit never showed his work to the instructors as next training could be very painful….

However this inspired me to do the same and as there is almost a year between now and the next seminar I included them here:

As the course was mainly hands-on we had a light warm-up under Den’s guidance. We did lots of different exercises to get the heart rate up and the blood pumping.

Thereafter every instructor got a small group of students to teach them the various open hand strikes as shown in the manuals of WW2.



[Phil demonstrates Chinjab on Si Young]
I liked this way of doing things as we nearly got private instruction and our instructor Phil made sure everyone got the strikes right.

INSTALLING AGGRESSION
Den explained there were two themes for the coming weekend; the first was aggression and the second awareness/scanning. As aggression is a necessary tool for confrontations it’s vital we learn to access an aggressive state.


[Steve and Brian from The Liverpool Gutterfighters, working an aggression drill]
With guided visualisation Den helped us to find our aggression control switch where after we did some drills on controlling the amount of aggression while hitting the pads. Various drills were used to access and install this vital mental “switch”

Simon Squires module followed neatly from Den’s. Si taught us how to switch this aggression on and off.



This is very useful as aggression is a good tool for certain situations but as we might have to complete an entirely different task after the confrontation we need to be able to switch it of to think clearly e.g. to apply first aid or give a statement to the police.

COMBAT THROWING
The next module was about RAPID TAKEDOWNS; and was superbly presented by our Norwegian instructors Ola and Mr Steel.


[Ola on left and Mr Steel. Note, Mr Steel taught with a recently broken arm]
The module started with a specific warm-up, this warm-up was fun but also hard. One drill was called walking like a gecko and was working on the core muscles. It looked easy but doing was very hard…


After this warm-up we were shown various ways to take a person to the floor which is a useful technique as having the bad guy landing upon his arse usually gives and more time to escape and will alter his attitude.


[Mr Steel emphasises "fingers in eyes" on Steve, as Paul, Si and Dave watch]
As an Aikidoka I felt like a fish in the water during this module which I enjoyed very much.

AMPING UP THE AGGRESSION
Another top module was presented by Phil W. He explained that when doing drills like fireman rescuing people from a burning building or armed police-officers in a hostage rescue situation it’s very important to train as real as possible and to use your mind and imagination. Phil showed us a video clip of an old lady being robbed and battered which made many of us boiling inside. We carried this feeling into the drills that followed the presentation.



These drills were designed to invoke those ‘dark feelings’ and after the job is finished to return to normal state again. It reminded me a bit of Star Wars where they talk of the dark side of the force, it’s this bad dark side that gets Luke through the fight with his dad and it’s his ability of ‘state management’ that helps him to gain back his control and so helps his dad fulfil the prophecy.

FINISHING EXERCISE
After debriefing the last module Den gave us an explanation about the Tabata Protocol. The first time I heard about Tabata I believed it was some kind of food! Tabata was a Japanese doctor who researched fitness and developed the Tabata-protocol. The drill consists of 20 seconds doing any kind of exercise 10 seconds rest and repeating this for eight times.

I remembered the Tabata drill I did it after the EPIC course earlier in the year and how I couldn’t walk properly during the following days. This made me selective about which exercise to choose.

After this Tabata protocol we formed a big circle with all the instructors in the middle for a positive self-talk.

At the end of the day we posed as a group for a couple of pictures taken by Gutterfighter Richie who enjoyed practising his second big hobby; photography.

POST TRAINING SCOFF
We went back to the hotel to clean ourselves up a bit for a Chinese meal in the Chung Ku restaurant and had some great conversations about various subjects.





[Den, Mika, Lynx]

This concluded the first fantastic day of this great event.


Review by Nick Engelen, photos by Den.
Continues....
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PostSubject: Re: Fifth International Combatives Seminar, 2007   Thu 22 Nov 2007, 10:58

Nick's review continues...

SUNDAY PROGRAM



Day two started for me with a nice tasting English breakfast that hopefully would keep my energy levels up during the intensive day.

DRUG WARS
The day kicked off with a superbly presented and very informative module on Chemical Combat by Slackbladder. It wasn’t about teargas, mustard gas or worse but about the influence of stimulants like PCP, heroin, etc…



As a lot of crimes these days are about drugs and are committed by people under influence it’s vital to know what we are dealing with. To quote Sun Tsu: “Know your enemy and know yourself.”


INTERVENTION
After this presentation the physical part of the day started with a module by James Fatwing and Phil W. on third party intervention. This is for situations when for example the girlfriend is harassed or when a friend is attacked in a pub.


[James intervenes to protect "girlfriend" Si from the unwanted advances of Phil]

As we didn’t have a real warm-up we started of lightly, intervening and protecting the third party with our body where after we hit the pads. We practised various scenarios like when the third party suddenly regains his/her courage and wants his share of the cake by attacking the assailant.

The intensity went up when we were shown how to carry an unconscious person by Mr. Steel from Norway and James and Phil.


The drill following this involved as you might guess carrying someone towards safety.

SCANNING
This was followed by a module on VISUAL SCANNING DRILLS; by Al Beckett.


[Al demonstrates a drill]

As confrontations are unpredictable we need to keep control of our surroundings in case we are blindsided by an accomplice of the opponent or during a bar fight some drunk thinks it’s cool to join the dance.

[Al introduces his vision-impairment goggles]
We were guided through various drills to learn to use eyes and ears to detect the danger and react to it.


[Nicks shows good aggression during this phase, as Al coaches and Jamie holds the pads]

Unfortunately our good friend Slackbladder accidentally dislocated his elbow, and needed medical assistance.


THE STRONG SHALL PREVAIL
While two nice looking nurses were looking after Slacky we ate our lunch during HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING by Ian Davies & Tony Da Costa. They presented the results of a very specific intensive but short weight training regimen, which has produced measurable results. The module was very informative and I admired their practice what you preach approach.


Ian presses the weights as Tony explains the principles]
After this presentation we had the opportunity to sweat again during the hands-on phase with another Liverpool Gutterfighter Larry Blundell.

[Larry here shows an exercise with the heavy Sandbag]

Larry, a big fan of kettlebell training gave a short explanation about history and use of the kettlebell where after which we could have a try. Many of the class had never picked up a kettlebell before, and several expressed interest in adding this device to their training.
At the Liverpool Gutterfighters they use many items of strength equipment which are easy to obtain, such as Sandbags.
Den also showed the Ch’ishi, an Okinawa n weight to strengthen wrists, grip and arms. Keeping the stress scenario in mind I tried to conserve my energy.



[Den demonstrates the Ch'ishi "strength stone"]
KEEPING TRACK
Another great module about SENSORY OVERLOAD & MEMORY DRILLS; was presented by Patrick Ryan.


The drill consisted out of a physical stressor where after we received some information to memorize. After taking the information in we were subjected to pain followed with a session against the pads where after we had to answer some questions about the given information. The drill was concluded by one more round against the pads after which we had to smile to the safetyman. For this drill we needed everything we learned in the past two days, aggression, switching on/off and scanning.

In between two modules a little ceremony was held in which the Gutterfighters presented Den with a SOG Bowie knife for the 10th anniversary of the Liverpool Gutterfighters Combatives Group.

HIGH STRESS
Last but not least for today was the stress-scenario. This involved everything we had learned throughout the day against either Si Squires, or John Pardue, in the latest generation of their padded suit.


[Mark drives in with a Tiger's Claw against the punches from the suited aggressor. Photo by Richie]
While waiting in the corridor for my turn I tried to comfort some first-timers.
When it was my turn to go I gave 100%. Before the drill we were told that the new suit was tougher to defeat and we would only get 10 seconds before the whistle would be blown. It’s hard to believe for myself that I managed to get the black smurf on his knees in time. After regaining my breath I was congratulated and enjoyed the fights of the other people having their go. All performed very well. Well done.


[Nick after confronting John Pardoe in the suit.]
Especially watching the women perform was a joy for the eye. The Amazon warriors and the Valkyries would be proud of them.

After saying goodbye to the people who had to go back to work next day I got a ride back to the hotel. To my surprise our friend Slacky was sitting in the pub telling jokes while enjoying a big pint of Guinness. After a couple of drinks we decided to head into town for a Chinese meal. The ride was very interesting as we did lots of sight- seeing as we got lost.

The ride back went smoother thanks to Richie’s Tom-Tom-Go.

The day was concluded over a cup of tea by master brewer Alan.

This ended the second day of this great seminar.

BONUS SESSION

Day 3 [Monday morning] started again with a nice British breakfast. All the guys who were still in town limped down to the centre for the last lap.. When training started that day I realized I really needed the energy. Den handled all the training on this final extra session. The warm-up consisted out of Den’s “Reactive Training, a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

After the warm-up Den showed us the 360 degrees reactive training drill which involves no-go targets resembling innocent bystanders.

Next came a module on ground situations which involved restricted striking.

[Big Dave Mac during the grounfighting module]
Following this there was a module on knife to hone our accessing a knife in various scenarios.

We also discussed some kit like knives and torches as well as a police-medic’s vest and its kit.

[Richie shows specialised medic kit]

The training was concluded with a state modulation scenario. It involved a confrontation in which we had to intervene for a third party where after we had to change state to call in help or apply first aid. It was hard and confusing but a great learning experience.

This concluded the last day of this great seminar. Everybody said each other goodbye where after we went on our ways home. Ground transport to the airport was arranged thanks to Peter from Manchester. Without his help I would probably still be in Prescot Liverpool.

During the ride to the airport we discussed the last days and the fact that the attendees and organisers of this event are such a great bunch of quality people to share a weekend with.

Hereby I want to say a big ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ to the organisers.

It was a great weekend with superb presentations, great people to train with, to eat with, to talk to and to have as a travel companions. Thank you all very much.

-----------
Review by Nick Engelen.
Photos by Den
--------------
The full AAR, with more photos and comments can be read here
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