FOURTH INTERNATIONAL COMBATIVES SEMINARReview by Nick Engelen
The seminar was held in the Prescot Leisure Centre in Liverpool on 2, 3 and 4 September. Some of us were already in town because of the Neuro-based Instructor course which was held the past two days before the seminar.
[Group photo courtesy of Ola]
There were about 60 attendees that came from all over the world, however, most were from England, some from Wales others were from Sweden, Norway, Italy, South Africa, Holland, Scotland, Ireland and I came from Belgium.
[Si, Nick, Lee]
We were honoured to have the author and training consultant Marcus Wynne as a guest instructor.
Marcus came over to teach at the NBI course where we learned how to learn and how to teach a variety of skills which are useful not only for fighting but for all aspects of daily life. This international was great to apply our new learned skills.
Amongst us were the top guys in the field, to name a few: John Brawn from Ireland who has massive experience in the field of security and in life in general, Lee Morrison a former doorman, teacher and author of several books, Mick Coup from Core Combatives, security consultants and police officers from South Africa, Sweden, etc…
The day started with an air of excitement. Dennis began to explain the origin of what we know today as ‘Combatives’. The syllabus of what we were going to be taught, originated from people like, Fairbairn, Sykes, Applegate and Styers. It was taught to Commandos, SOE, Home Guard and other allied forces during WW2. ‘It’s not a martial art, but it’s the most effective way to end a violent confrontation’ Dennis explained.
After the short intro every instructor introduced himself to the group. As said before they were the crème de la crème.
The first module was a presentation by researcher Phil ‘the Bristolbloke’ Matthews about Hector Grant Taylor and his methods of the use of the handgun. The material was well researched and very informative.
Next came visualisation for combatives by Mr ‘Let your opponent see the stars’ K. Visualisation is something which is very often used by golf players who ‘see’ the ball going in the hole. The mind doesn’t know difference between imagination and reality so everything we think about the mind thinks we are doing. This has as a result that after visualisation we can have a feeling of having it done before. The ancient samurai used visualisation as well, they saw the outcome of the battle in their mind’s eye where after the let go… In Chinese this is called Wu Wei or ‘do nothing’. The Samurai had a saying ‘win first, and then fight’. Former world champion Chuck Norris used this technique before his fights and referred to it as ‘sweat less practise’. Mr K had us lying down on the floor and try it out ourselves, first simple like visualising a lemon, then with a technique called ‘the corkscrew’. I couldn’t help seeing images of one of the waitresses the night before. With a bit more effort I could see the technique where after we had life practise which went as expected very well.
An interesting story goes that a Vietnam War veteran that had been a POW for many years took up a golf stick after his return to the States and had a hole in one. His friends asked him how he did it and he replied ‘I have practised that shot for many years’.
This led us into the hands on phase. After a short warm-up Den handed us over to the instructors for the Fundamentals.
These strikes were: the wheeling elbow by Lee Morisson based upon the work of John Styers. Next the Kneestrike as lowline/offensive and midline/defensive applications by Den, Then Mr K showed how the Thai-kick can be used at both long and closer ranges. Finally Si Squires took the group through several Hammerfist drills.
After these basic blows we were in for a break and had some snacks and water during the next presentations. The module was called: ‘The Strong will Survive’.
First John Brawn showed us how to work out with the kettlebell for strength. The kettlebell is an old weightlifting device which is regaining popularity. John has become a big fan of this type of training, and includes kettlebell routines on his DVDs.
Next came Larry to show us how to work out with the medicine ball. Last came Mick Coup who showed us how to use bricks instead of dumbbells. All this was about developing core strength, the module was very interesting. The thing I got out of this was that the important training is the training you do daily not the three times a week you spend pumping iron.
Now we all had a rest, some food and some hydration, we went back to the physical side of the course.
Under the guidance of James Farthing we did a variety of drills to install the fighting attitude. Thing is that when it kicks of you have to do what a man has to do and keep doing it until you are out of danger.
After this we had the chance to play around with ‘weapons’ under the guidance of Mick Coup. First Mick explained the definition of a weapon and how to use it under stress. The module was called ‘one mind, any weapon’ as the weapons we used were common items like hammers, crowbars, broomsticks, chisels and knives. To adapt a quote by Fred Perrin: ‘there are no tactical weapons, only tactical minds’. Everyone had good fun; I even managed to cut myself.
After applying first aid to my finger Mika did a short module about death locks or chokes.
This ended the first training session of the international.
Most of the attendees drove to Chinatown for an après combatives scoff. I enjoyed listening to the stories of everyone and had a good laugh with their jokes.