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 2nd International combatives seminar

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Number of posts : 8961
Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: 2nd International combatives seminar   Fri 29 Jun 2007, 10:01

Liverpool 2004
by SlackBladder
The Gathering of the Gutterfighters.

The word “Gutterfighting” was originally coined as a term of derision. Used to describe the methods of scruffy men who did not adhere to the Queensbury rules, it was applied to ruffians, rogues and soldiers alike. The perceived lower orders of life.
Ironically, the “gathering of the gutterfighters” proved to draw people of the highest calibre from near and far. Instructors from Norway and Sweden were present among native instructors from South Wales, Liverpool, Southampton and London. All the instructors were men of vast knowledge, experience or BOTH. All these men had a “name” in Gutterfighting circles. Given the enormous pool of talent and knowledge, it would be easy to assume that the SEVENTY students who turned up on the first day of the seminar were huddled in a corner, shivering in awe and begging for nuggets of wisdom. Not so. The hall of the Liverpool YMCA (now sadly closed) was awash with smiling faces, shouts of laughter and cheerful greetings. The green t-shirts of the instructor cadre mingled with the whole group, introducing themselves, shaking hands and answering every question with the grace and good manners that befit men who have nothing left to prove.

[The cadre]

What is startling about the seminar is that it works on several levels. To the combatives beginner, who may only have one or two books and a few articles downloaded from the internet, the seminar is a full and rich source of information and training. All the combative strikes are shown in detail, their technique refined and corrected. Drills are introduced and basic tactics are wired into the brain. Information explaining what to expect in a real fight is given so no nasty surprises are around the corner. Finally, the padded assailant is an opportunity to employ those skills in a high-pressure environment and educate the student in a post-performance debrief. If a raw beginner attended this seminar and left without doing a single days training again for the rest of their life, they would have a sound base to draw upon in times of crisis. Naturally, the more you practise these things, the better you get.
The instructor of self-protection attending this seminar is in the unusual position of learning MORE than the beginner. Extensive information on the physiology of fight/flight, history of combative development, the concepts that build a good drill, the vitality of mindset, a minor change to a technique that has big effects on performance, et cetera. These things are DETAILS to a casual student, but PRINCIPLES to an instructor. The notes of a seminar attendee would have a dramatic effect on the content, style and method of a diligent self-protection instructor. This seminar can cause you to raise your standards of instruction by a large margin. Questions are encouraged, the instructors are happy to answer them. If you take advantage of the enormous opportunity to interrogate the staff, you can learn from some of the finest in the world without having to re-mortgage your house first.
The day usually begins with a presentation informative and engaging enough to light the fires of enthusiasm. There’s nothing like an hours talk on improvised weapons to get people revving up to hit something.
Before you can have the pleasure of knocking several bells out of your training partner (only kidding, kids), you must first endure the Dennis Martin “warm up.” By way of explanation, it is given that anaerobic fitness is a vital part of CQB. A FIGHT is an exhausting, breathless, frantic thing. Your training must reflect this and in doing so, condition you to ACT when utterly exhausted instead of curling up on the floor and praying for a quick death. A Dennis Martin-inspired seminar is a physically demanding event. On average, in the international combatives community, the British CQB student has to endure the hardest physical workout during training. Dennis’ influence on this attitude is not insignificant. This training is in keeping with the maxim “KEEP IT REAL.”

In the course of two days (approximately 14 hours training time), we saw no less than 17 different presentations. Titles of these include: “Operator Performance under Intense Psycho-genic Stress”, "Combat Judo", "The Cradle Blow", "The 180° Reaction Drill", "The Evolution of the Fairbairn System" and "The Pivot/Thai kick". That’s a small sample of what was on offer. My notebook runneth over with nuggets of wisdom that serve to refine and develop my method. You NEVER get bored, you never get cold, you never wish you were somewhere else. I cannot stress the sheer atmosphere of enthusiasm that hung over the seminar like a fog.
The seminar continued even when it wasn’t formally running. Trips to Chinese restaurants, late night sessions at the hotel bar, informal lessons in the car park…then fun never stopped. Knowledge isn’t precious to these men, they do not hoard it. Instead, the whole ethos of sharing and inquiring is encouraged and developed. It would be an idea to attend a seminar with a big list of questions already written down as an aide memoir. Nerves and exhaustion have robbed me of many answers in times past, so avoid that pitfall if you can.
Just getting out of bed on the morning of the second day is a trial, but I’d recommend it. Aching, sore and bruised, you will shuffle to the car uncertain that you really want to do this. In the uncertainty lies mindset. Critical to the concept of CQB is accepting the uncomfortable, working through the painful and finishing in a state of bliss. This can range from tasks like getting out of bed, to facing the padded assailant at the end of a long and exhausting weekend. The padded assailant is becoming a regular feature on the Dennis Martin seminar. Even on some of his milder courses, the opportunity to kick some poor padded soul (usually John Pardoe or Simon Squires) all over the room. Of course, they’ll fight back. Hard. But that the whole idea. Make no mistake, this isn’t the Roman Colosseum and we’re not throwing people to the lions. Padded assailant drills are the end result of a days training.

[Brian from the Gutterfighters faces the Bulletman]
Everyone is prepared for this event and equipped with the proper skills. Everyone is nervous, everyone is adrenalised. The achievement of taking on a resistant opponent and putting him down is a massive one, especially for those who have never done it before. Whenever I try to talk people into attending a seminar, I am asked “Will I get punched?” The truthful answer is yes, you will. What makes the answer acceptable is that you will not be expected to stand there like a plank of wood and get biffed by every guy in the room as a “toughening exercise.” You’ll be shown how to absorb the blow and counter attack before your brain cottons onto the fact that you were struck, by which time you don’t care anyway because you’re trying to unscrew the guys head. Swings and roundabouts. (and yes, a single days training can have that effect. I am living proof)

[Liverpool Gutterfighters plus Scandanavians]
For those of you who are getting breathless at the mere idea of doing anything physically punishing, fret not. This isn’t boot camp and we’re not going to beat you with soap in a towel for not doing the requisite 3000 press ups. Everyone is free to abstain from the hard work if they feel they cannot do it. I have sat aside on a few seminars because I was convinced I was going to need CPR in the immediate future. Nobody will disrespect you, nobody will physically eject you from the building. The old adage that you will only get out that which you put in rings true. The harder you work, the more you will learn. What is vital is not performance, but effort; the sheer tenacity that lets a man continue striking a pad when his lungs burn and his shoes are spattered in vomit. Nobody will push you, but those who go there willingly will get the loudest cheer. That is the essence of the International Seminar.
[This review by Slackbladder]
Just to add to Slacky's brilliant piece, this is the syllabus for the Second International:-"The Evolution of the Fairbairn System" by Mark Gittings, assisted by James Farthing.
"Operator Performance under Intense Psycho-genic Stress" by Dennis Martin
"On Special Service; the research by Instructor V from interviewing wartime SOE Operators"
"Hidden Assets" by James Farthing
"Combat Judo" by Mika Soderman
"Charlie Nelson" by Lee Morrison
"180 Reaction Drill" by Tony Da Costa
"Multiple Assailant Training" by Lee Morrison.
We had a "SKILLS & DRILLS" module, where each instructor presented a technique and showed some application training drills. These were:-
"Tiger's Claw" Lee Morrison
"Slap" John Pardoe
"Kneestrike" Mark Gittins
"Elbow Strikes" Dennis Martin
"Chinjab" by Instructor V
"AxeHand" Mika Soderman
"Hammerfist" Si Squires
"Pivot/Thai kick" Kjetil
"Cradle Blow" Lee
The entire program culminated in a Stress scenario, which involved aerobic effort, striking the Spar-Pro, then taking on either Si Squires, or, John Pardoe, suited up in their padded FIST suits.

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