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Registration date : 2007-06-27

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PostSubject: Camp Get Tough   Camp Get Tough Icon_minitimeWed 11 Jul 2007, 14:54

From Den

This was a training event held in Ostersund, Sweden, in July 2005. Organised by Mika, it was attended by a group of dedicated combatives enthusiasts from several countries.
My review and some follo-up comments are below.

It was a brilliant training experience. Hats off to Mika and his admin crew for all their hard work. I know just how much prior planning and behind the scenes prep is required, and the boys did a superb job.
I never heard one complain or moan from anyone during the whole course. It was the best value for money training I've encountered.
The central core of the training was the Fairbairn OSS syllabus, as developed during the course of the war. Mika has done extensive research, including debriefing OSS personnel who spent a long time on the training staff and who had worked with both Fairbain and Sykes. It was interesting to see how the techniques evolved later in the war. Most of the punblished lesson plans refer to early in the war, and we were treated to a unique insight into how the program developed in 1943-45.
Mika also devoted a significant chunk to the use of the Fairbain-Sykes dagger, with an array of very nasty and aggressive attack sequences.
Although we'll be discussing the Camp Get Tough program here in more detail we won't be going into the specifics of the wartime research and training. This is only fair to Mika, and to the guys who took the time and effort to attend the program for themselves.
The Brit contingent consisted of Al Beckett, James, Robin, the Slackster and myself. A great group of guys, who impressed the other nationalities with our ability to drink tea!
There was a group of guys from Norway, who were full of energy, they just never stopped going. Really good attitude.
Rickard and Mika brought a collection of hard to find manuals and books which were available for us to read during breaks from the training.
There were two local lads recruited as gofers, who took photos of all events, and then put over 600 pics on disc for each of us. {Some of these will be posted in the near future]
As promised, a brief overview of the course events...
Day one: Mika first gave an overview of the development of the F-S system from Shanghai until the end of WW-2. He described his latest research into training methods, drills and modifications, and how he had obtained first-hand input from OSS veteran instructors.
Then it was to the training field to actually train in these methods. This syllabus was intensive rather than extensive. We went deeply into the primary attack methods, rather than just sample numerous techniques.
It was a delight to be able to spend so much time on these essential skills. Impact was built up on pads.
In the late afternoon we returned to the hall for Mika’s presentation on Edged Weapons. He has been training with knives for many years and has amassed an impressive collection.
Following dinner [a braai for many of us] we then drilled the syllabus again. During WW-2 use was made of the training dummies, so we substituted the Spar-Pros for this. We kept going for an hour in a strenuous workout of Chinjabs, Axehands, Kneestrikes and Tiger’s Claws, combined in various attack sequences.
Day Two down on the training field we spent the bulk of the morning on the use of the famed Fairbairn-Sykes dagger. This was a real highlight. The syllabus was, in effect, a complete knife system, in a very condensed, but terribly aggressive, package.

Camp Get Tough Mikaknifetrg-1
In the afternoon another weapon, the stick, was covered. Again, very simple but, in my opinion, much more effective for self-protection than many of the methods currently taught widely.
Back in the hall I presented a PowerPoint lecture on “NLP for Combatives” This finished with a practical exercise back on the field.
The Brits and Mika went into Lits village for a Pizza. A couple of elderly local drunks engaged James and Slacky in conversation, and they decided that Al was their father!
Back in the house we again trained on the dummies, this time for almost two hours. Again, a sweaty, breathless time.
Day three started with my hands-on module. After the customary warm up, we first did the “All-in fighting drill” This was actually a group presentation by the Brits, as I asked Slacky, James and Alan to help by presenting various sections of it.
Next we went over some “PowerPush” training drills. Then we worked on “Captures” The session finished with our resurrection of the WW-2 “Crowd Drill”
After lunch it was back to the field for “Ground fighting” by Mika. Those who attended our International in 2004, or the recent ACE Program will remember this training. Here we went further into this vital aspect.
We then had a request session, were we covered various topics as requested by course members. These included some knife work from Mika, and I was also asked to teach two specialised drills, the “Digger Offensive Slash” and the “Yakuza Defensive Rip”
Following dinner James gave a PowerPoint presentation on “The Training Partner” which also had an interesting overview of equipment training.

Camp Get Tough BritswithMikabook
[The Brits with Mika, and one of Marcus' books]
Day four was the range day. This consisted of three main modules. Firstly, there was an array of handguns, rifles, subguns and shotguns, for the lads to try out. These included some rare, or, specialised weapons.
Mika took us through the Fairbairn point-shooting program.
Finally, I took the group of experienced shooters through some tactical drills, mainly involving working with a partner, or, within a team.
The course concluded with the trip into Ostersund for dinner. Several of us sampled Reindeer, which was delicious.
Following a walk around the lake and town, most of us returned to the house for tea and talking until the small hours.
Altogether a unique training event.


From Al Beckett.....

I would just like to say a big thank you to Mika for organising what turned out to be a top notch training experience.

It was great to be part of a truly international event with some really good lads, everyone of them a pleasure to train with.

Camp Get Tough Bild1673lo
It is not very often that we get the time to study with such depth of perspective, the information imparted on this course could fill a book on it's own.

The techniques and drills were first class, nothing was superfluous, everything was relative and applicable to the situation it was devised for.

The apres-training was also first class, it is amazing what you can learn when you have the opportunity to sit around the table with instructors of this calibre.

Camp Get Tough would have been value for money at twice the price, for those who could not attend this year start making plans for 2006, you wont regret it.

Ahmet [Al]


From Robin G

I thought it might be an interesting aside to look at how well someone not trained in combatives coped with, and what was retained from the late WW2 syllabus, since it was designed for just such a person. That someone was of course myself, and as slacky has noted I have no prior training in combatives and only a smattering of jujitsu, therefore I imagine that I was very close to the would be commandos who trained this very syllabus sixty or so years ago.

Firstly we looked a bit at the history of what was taught, what was left out and why, and the reasons behind the teachings. Basically what was needed was not fancy katas but simple, brutal techniques, delivered with agression, forward drive and the intent to destroy the enemy. To kill or be killed. Now, when I came to Sweden, I would not of classed myself as an aggressive person, however over the course of the three days of instruction a change did come over me and I found that whereas at the start of the week I would stick a strike on the pads and spar-pro then pause, towards the end it was hard to stop. An example of this was a drill Den had us doing where we would do a squat thrust, charge the pad man, deliver some blows and repeat until told to stop. Slack had to tell me to stop because I didn't realise it was over!

As for the techniques, these were the usual combatives strikes - EOHB, tiger's claw, Cheen-ja (ala Gregor), cradle stike, knee, stomp kick and of course the swift kick to the voonerables.
I have retained all of these and can carry them out quite well (form not perfect but it doesn't have to be). I also know how to combine these moves effectively.

I will not go into the knife or stick work here, as I don't beleive an open forum is the best place to speak about it, however, it was simple, brutal and nasty. Technically I can still do all of what was shown, mentally I'm not so sure!

Finally we looked at some combat judo, fighting off the ground and some restraints. Looking back, I can see why a lot was left out. Possibly after a month of continuous practice I might be able to apply a fairburn thumb-lock (with a good dose of luck) but I definately couldn't do it now. The fighting off the floor was in the same vein as the striking - simple and easily retained.

So, the WW2 training works. After three days of solid instruction, nearly all of what I have been taught has been retained, I can strike harder and faster than before and will always drive forward agressively, and not stop before the fight is done. I will let you know how it works in a real situation when I meet my next Fallschurmjaeger!! (Or the guy who modelled the Spar Pro)

Camp Get Tough Sushi4ph
It has been said before, but I will say it again, if you get a chance to train with any of these guys, take it. They are brilliant, no egos, great depth of talent and you'll get some great chat to boot.

PS, Den presented a lecture and demonstration on NLP for the combatives practitioner, in which everyone improved. If you get a chance to learn this I would take it.

All in all a great week and i'll definately be back next year for more.


From Den

As I travel around I've long formed the conclusion that no country has a monopoly on combatives. There are outstanding performers all over.
Camp Get Tough was a great chance to meet our combatives colleagues from other countries, and it was a privilege to train alongside such guys as RoZa, Rickard, Carlo and all the friends I met at the First Camp Geat Tough......looking forward to the next one.
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