Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The origins of Judo

About 25 years ago I wrote an article about how Judo was started I have been asked to reproduce the article, sorry to say I have lost the original so I will start again.

My main concern was the age of  Jigaro Kano when he started this new concept of Judo. According to The Life of Jigoro Kano Kano never started any form of Martial Art till he was 18 years of age; at the age of 22 years he started his new School and style called Judo. Now this is where I have a problem. I have taught young people for over 40 years some of them extremely intelligent but for them to come up with a completely unique idea takes some believing. So am I calling the followers of Kano Judo liars? NO I just question was it a completely new concept?

Once again the above web site states that at the age of 14 years he started to pursue Western Studies. Geoff Gleeson in his pamphlet
“The Life, Times & Ideology of Jigaro Kano, Founder of Judo 1860-1938”
Asked, what is a code of behaviour?

Kano, in his capacity as a professional educationalist was much involved with these questions. He invented Judo in an attempt to answer them.

During the Meiji period which Kano was born into, the whole structure of Government and civil society was based around Western ideals and philosophy; according to Gleeson, Kano would have been very influenced by English Philosophers like John Stuart Mill and Samuel Smiles.

Could a young Kano who was into Morality and codes of behaviour not try to develop a practical system of instilling this into the Japanese people or maybe it was a university project, which directed him this way? Once again by going back to the web site you will see how Kano benefited by studying Martial Arts and other sports also his full time job was in physical education. So he already knew the benefits of sport and as Gleeson suggested he invented Judo because of this.

Up until now I do not have a problem with history or rather the legend of Jigaro Kano; what I do question is how he supposedly invented Judo?
The established belief is that he studied Jiu Jitsu and took all the really dangerous techniques out of the art to invent his Judo. This I cannot accept for we already have seen he was into English philosophy, which was diametrically opposed to that of the more traditional Japanese martial arts like Jiu Jitsu, which was seen more as a self defence or attacking war like system.

I would suggest he wanted to develop a new moral and ethical system on the lines of the philosophers and Western ideas he studied; he must have realised that to get this to be accepted by the Japanese people he had to produce a system which the Japanese could understand, hence a combat form as opposed to a Western form like baseball, football, rugby etc. which, though accepted in modern Japan, may not have been acceptable to a feudal Japanese population; plus did they understand the English idea of “Playing the Game” or “Taking Part being important”, I doubt it.

This is where I suggest that the basic idea of Judo could have come from CORNISH WRESTLING. Japan was in a state of flux during the period when Kano was born, the influence of the Europeans was predominant and there was massive trade with the European Countries. So could a young Jigaro Kano have been watching the foreign ships come into port?
Could he not have seen a British ship coming in from Plymouth and then watched the sailors fighting on the beach? Fighting, yet not fighting? Maybe he was watching two Cornish sailors having a bout of Cornish wrestling, two men with cloth jackets grappling, each trying to defeat the other, yet when the fight finished they shook hands, maybe put their arms around each other and laughed; two combatants who were not injured and remained friends.

Maybe he thought this is something I can work on for my new concepts I want to put to the Japanese people.

So what of Cornish wrestling? It is claimed they have evidence that it was played in the 4th Century, what is certain is that Cornish wrestlers were depicted on banners at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 AD. Watch this video  to get some idea what Cornish Wrestling is, some say it is the oldest form of wrestling in the World.

This type of wrestling is not unusual, throughout the world; there are many countries that have similar styles, for example, Mongolian Bokh,
Georgian Chidoba, Uzbekistani Kurash, Celtic Wrestling, Canaries Lucha plus many others. Nearly all only allow holding above the waist and no ground work when competing; notice the use of the word competing.

When Judo first started ground fighting was not used and legend has it that Kano took his Judo Players to a Jiu Jitsu School where they were all beaten by ground fighting; he then decided to include ground work (Ne Waza) in his Judo; a nice story. Yet it was more probable that it was a natural progression of the way Judo developed; Kano obviously an intelligent man could see that on many occasions when doing a throw they would fall to the floor so why stop the match? Plus remember he still had to convince people that this was a fighting art.

I really love Sambo, a Russian Jacket Sport, very similar to Judo. In fact its founder, Oshchepkov, studied Judo under Kano. The reason I love competition Sambo is that it allows many more techniques then Judo Competition; in fact I would suggest it is more like what Kano expected of his Judo.

Yet Judo is superior to all the other grappling martial arts in that it has kata. This is a predetermined set of movements which are performed by two people with the ultimate goal of gaining perfection of technique, harmonising with another person and respecting them, with the ultimate aim of becoming a form of moving meditation. Some will argue that it has no relationship to competitive Judo; that may be true but does that matter?  What makes Judo so different? It is not just a jacket grappling sport, it is the SUPPLE WAY developed by a great thinker: Jigaro Kano.

It is reported that Kano quoted the following: “Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment”

Not a bad way to live your life

Martin Clarke 8th Dan Judo 6th Dan Jiu
Jitsu FIAS Sambo Grand Master

For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/ Contact Martin Clarke at sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk

Saturday, 17 November 2012

FILA regulations for Grappling

Grappling is a non-striking hybrid sport formed from wrestling, jiu jitsu, sambo, and many other submission fighting styles which consists in applying submission holds and choking techniques in order to make the opponent abandon the fight. Grappling plays an important role in the practice of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and is considered an effective form of self-defence.

When including grappling into its field of activities, FILA had the vision to unite the grappling community under standard international rules and offer a generic discipline that would go beyond the specificities of each submission fighting discipline. Straight forward and easy to understand rules were thus created to facilitate the participation of athletes coming from different fighting backgrounds in international competitions.

The FILA grappling regulations are based on a progressive point system that encourages submissions over technical points. Points are awarded for takedowns and dominant control positions according to the following progression: side mount > full mount > back mount. Once having reached a position and secured it for 3 seconds, additional points can only be scored if a higher position is achieved. The progression is reset if the opponent manages to bring the fight back to neutral (be it standing or on the ground) or to score a dominant control position in his/her turn.

Since submission fighting is traditionally practiced with and without kimono (Gi), FILA have decided to implement both trends in order to cover the full spectrum of techniques associated to each particular style. If some athletes prefer one style over the other, most of them enjoy practicing and competing in both. Therefore, the FILA tournaments generally take place in Gi and No-Gi divisions to enable all submission fighters to compete to their highest ability no matter what their fighting background might be.

In order to unify the rules and participation in Grappling, Pankration and Combat Grappling competitions, FILA has adopted common weight categories for all three styles. The lighter categories have a smaller increase in weight due to the bigger effect weight differences have on lighter athletes' performances. An absolute category open to competitors of all weight classes has also been added to allow heavier athletes to compete and to demonstrate that grappling techniques can sometimes overcome weight and strength, creating an exciting and spectator-friendly addition to the sport.

·       Men: 60-65-70-75-80-90-110kg and Absolute 
·       Women: 50-55-60-65-75kg and Absolute

Licence and insurance: The FILA licence is mandatory for all international grappling competitions with more than two participating countries. Every international competition shall be announced to FILA and added to its official calendar. The FILA insurance will only apply to competitions which appear in its calendar. The FILA licence allows its holder to take part in all wrestling styles ruled by FILA.

For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/ 
Contact Martin Clarke at sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Shia Jutsu

In the early 1980’s I became very interested in creating the Ultimate Martial Arts Competition system. My reasoning was that if I put together a lot of Martial Arts I would create something unique and the name I came up with for this was Shiai Jutsu meaning the Competitive Art.

Obviously I had to develop a system which would suit Strikers and Grapplers and at that time nobody was doing a system like this. My first attempt was to have Semi Contact Striking; every time a point was scored the match was stopped the point awarded and then the match continued. One point for a strike 3 points for a throw and an outright win for submission. This did not work as Semi Contact fighters would just flick a strike and get a score. So it was back to the drawing board.

Next was to have a grappling competition and then a striking competition and put the points together; this was a failure. The only way forward was to have continual fighting, awarding points as they fought; if there was an outright winner at the end from a submission or knockout points would total up like in a boxing match. Points were allocated for strikes and throws. This was a success and we held several small competitions at my club in Sittingbourne. We also organised the first British competition at the Pier Pavilion Herne Bay.

While I was starting this all up I came across Jiu Jitsu Master Trevor Roberts 8th Dan. He had approached me in 1983 about becoming part of the IBF team for the 1984 World Jiu Jitsu Championships in Canada. Trevor was the ideal candidate for this tournament and since then we have been good friends so he was the obvious candidate to help get this system going. Both of us agreed that we needed a grading syllabus and we based this on the belt system. Once we had done all this and demonstrated all the techniques we presened it to the IBF; in those days my father, John Nobby Clarke, was the President of IBF UK. After seeing Trevor’s performance not only in the demonstration but in competition as well he awarded him his 6th Dan in the style. His grade and style was later ratified by the International Body. I did not receive any grade but took the title of Founder.

Sadly it did not prove the Ultimate Style as I had hoped. What happened at the British competition was carnage: broken limbs and players losing control. Both Trevor and I decided that we would not run any more competitions until we had modified the rules. That did not happened because Trevor become much more involved with his Jiu Jitsu and my obsession with Sombo took over as I tried to put together a practical self defence system. This I achieved with COMBATSOMBO which I registered as a Trade Mark in 1988.

Yet both Trevor and myself regret not taking the system further; if we had we would be millionaires now because Shiai Jutsu was the forerunner of MMA, Cage Fighting and Combat Sambo. At around about the same time the Gracie family were developing their own style in Brazil; many have asked were we not aware of what they were doing and of course the answer is no. They were yet to be recognised by the World of Martial Arts but they have developed a style which is now seen throughout the world; they also proved that grapplers could take on anyone in Mixed Martial Arts matches.

So what of the future? Well, Trevor and I have got together and I am now President of IBF UK and I have given him the authority to regenerate Shiai Jutsu under the auspices of the IBF. So what? I hear you say, yet another Strike and Grapple System; well NO we want it to be more than just that, we want to become a true Martial Art which concentrates on the perfection of techniques. We believe that through Shia Jutsu you become proficient at Karate, Judo, Aikido, Kung Fu etc. Notice that I use the word proficient not expert. An expert is someone who spends his or her life in the perfection of one art. Yet many can complement each other, for example, I am a World Master’s Judo Champion and 8th Dan but I am also the only Sambo GrandMaster in GB who has won 3 World Silvers, as the two are both jacket wrestling disciplines. I have grades and experience in many martial arts and combat disciplines but I would be a very vain man if I claimed I was an expert in all them; in many I am proficient, in some just basic.

So SHIA JUTSU is to be reborn. If you want more information why not contact the Bolton Iron Man, Trevor Roberts, at: trevor@appliedjujitsu.com

For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/
Contact Martin Clarke at sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk

Sunday, 30 September 2012

FILA and the future of MMA

Three of the most popular Combat Sports throughout GB are Sombo,  Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), yet out of the three only one of them has a governing body that is recognised by UKSport and has an International Body recognised by Sport Accord and that is the British Sombo Federation. This I believe will be changing in the very near future as the very well respected F.I.L.A has included the other two on their list of Wrestling Sports which they call Amateur MMA and Grappling.

F.I.L.A has been responsible for Free Style and Greco Roman since the Olympics began so they are the obvious choice for running these sports. It is important that we put some legitimisation into MMA as there are so many unqualified, inexperience clubs teaching these Combat Skills. I recently heard of a karate Club whose numbers had been dwindling changing their name to an MMA club and their membership quadrupled. When they were questioned they said they had mixed several Karate Styles together, hence MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Although those in the know realise that is not what MMA is, the public do not.

I have strong doubts that you would be able to register MMA Mixed Martial Arts as a “Service Mark” because of the nature of the name Mixed Martial Arts which can mean anything and is not specific. Maybe MMA could have been registered but now because it has been widely used I doubt it. When I registered “CombatSombo” a Grappling Self Defence System in 1988 as a service mark no one had used a combination of the name in any other form. Since then the International body has come up with a very successful Full Contact Jacket Strike and Grapple called Combat Sambo. In some countries many use the same words for a self-defence system. The main advantage of registering COMBATSOMBO is I have total control of the name in this country and only grading certificates with my signature or my authorisation can justify you saying you do COMBATSOMBO. Sadly at the time I did not get it registered worldwide, however, because everyone knows that CombatSombo is my style, they can still check to see if the Coach is registered with me.

A Couple of years ago I was invited along with others to a meeting with the British Wrestling Association at the Wrestling Academy in Salford to discuss MMA and they came up with two very useful and unique names. For MMA Grappling and Submission Wrestling with or without Jackets they would use the name FILA Grappling, for MMA strike and grapple they would use the words FILA Combat. These two names are easily defined and can be easily regulated and I believe this is the way forward. I for one have no objections affiliating to the BWA, in fact our Warriors Grappling Academy is a member.
Those who enjoy true MMA need to break away from the name because the name is slowly become ridiculed.

Amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that incorporates striking (both standing and on the ground) and wrestling/grappling techniques. As governed by FILA, it is practiced within a safe and regulated environment, which relies on a fair and objective scoring system and competition procedures similar to those in force in Olympic wrestling.

Despite its tremendous popularity, MMA is facing various legitimacy issues due to the lack of sanctioning by the national sports authorities and the lack of universal rules that would protect the athletes' physical and psychological integrity. FILA considers that the implementation of an amateur variant that could guarantee a safe training environment and a competition systems complying with the Olympic standards has become an urgent necessity for all athletes wishing to engage in a professional career. Through the mandatory use of protection gear and limited impact rules (especially regarding ground and pound), FILA intends to offer a safe and educational sport that can satisfy athletes with both recreational and professional goals. 

With its combination of stand up and ground techniques, amateur MMA represents a great form of self-defines, which is particularly recommended for the training of police, security, and military forces. Amateur MMA is practiced with board shorts and an optional rashguard along with approved protection gear that includes head gear, shin protectors, and gloves that allow grabbing and holding the opponent for a comfortable application of grappling techniques.

Amateur MMA counts 7 weight categories for men and 5 weight categories for women. No absolute category is considered in order to avoid potentially harmful situations.  

·       Men: 60-65-70-75-80-90-110kg 
·       Women: 50-55-60-65-75kg  

Licence and insurance: The FILA licence is mandatory for all international amateur MMA competitions with more than two participating countries. Every international competition shall be announced to FILA and added to its official calendar. The FILA insurance will only apply to competitions which appear in its calendar. The FILA licence allows its holder to take part in all wrestling styles ruled by FILA.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

International Budo Federation, British Combat Sombo Association 46th Annual Summer Camp

All participants

For 45 years the annual Summer Camp has been running. It was first held at St Mary’s Bay but for the last few years it has been at the Army Cadet Camp Dibgate Folkestone. This year we could not get the Camp because of the Olympic Games, it seems foreign teams had been allocated some ACF Accommodation and we were left out. So we altered the course to a 3-day event and the venue was the Swale Martial Arts Club, Sittingbourne. Those who did not mind roughing it slept in the Dojo on Mats but this added to camaraderie.

The Instructors for the Camp were John Clarke 5th Dan Judo, Master of Sombo; Colin Carrott 4th Dan Judo, Master of Sombo; Ian Parker 3rd Dan Judo.  The main theme of the Course was Judo with a little bit of Sombo; many had attended the course to improve on their Judo and Sombo Grades.

Every year we have an Annual Bash; this is where Jacket Grapplers (Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sombo, Kurash) turn up to fight each other. The session is about 2 hours, starts with Ground Work and then finishes with Up Standing, all accompanied on by the pumping music of Status Quo. This was started by Martin Clarke some 30 years ago and has always been a popular part of the Camp with people from far and wide attending, not just fighters but Coaches and players too old to fight and who want to be reminded of their past glories.

John Clarke is now the Senior Coach on the Camp, taking over from his father, Martin Clarke, as Martin did in the late 1970’s from his father John (Nobby) Clarke. The 3rd generation of Clarkes! And waiting in the wings is John’s son Lewis who only 12 years old and is training with the Adults -could he be the 4th generation? Let’s hope so.

Everyone was successful in their grading with the exam done over the whole 3 days but the grading everyone was waiting for was the Black belt grading late Saturday afternoon.

Vinney Drogoff, Bedford Grappling Academy, was attempting his 1st Dan /Degree Black Belt. Vinney comes from Lithuania and is a top class Sombo Player and his fighting ability was well worthy of a Black Belt in Judo; in fact if he joined an organisation that did not believe in the tradition of Judo, believing Judo is just a sport; he would have obtained the coveted Black Belt some time ago.

The IBF believes that the theory, moral and philosophical parts of traditional Judo are as important as the competitive side if not more important. So those who are going for a competitive grade have to show: 
  1.   Competition Record
  2.   Theoretical Knowledge
  3.   Kata (Sequence of pre-set movements)

    For Competitive 1st Dan the Kata required is Nage No Kata. For competitive 4th Dan it’s Goshen Jutsu Kata. Non Competitive Grades would be expected to do Kata to a higher standard and each Dan Grade level would be expected to perform all Kata’s done in previous gradings.

All Kyu Grades (student Grades) are also expected to perform certain sections of the Nage No Kata (Formal Display of 15 throws done left and right) including juniors.

The Grading panel for the Dan Grading were Martin Clarke 8th Dan, Trevor Davies 6th Dan, John Clarke 5th Dan, Colin Carrott 4th Dan and Ian Parker 3rd Dan. A candidate only passes if there is 100% agreement by all panel members.

Vinney performed some extremely good techniques which we expected of an International standard Sombo player.  His hard part was the theory and Kata but with hard work he passes to 1st Dan successfully.

Ashley with his dad Keith
Ashley, at 31 years of age has a wealth of experience in Sombo, Judo and Kurash, starting his Judo at the age of 5. His father Keith Costa is also a 3rd Dan Judo and is one of the IBF’s leading Junior Coaches. His training at the Young Judo Club/Warriors Grappling Academy, Sittingbourne has been invaluable; coached by Martin Clarke and in later years by his son John. Ashley is proof that learning Kata, theory etc. doesn’t hinder your competitive ability, in fact it enhances it. As mentioned before Ashley had to do just the Goshin Jutsu Kata, which he did perfectly but Martin Clarke insisted that he do Nage No Kata as well, he selected 26 year old Danny Carrott as his UKE (Throwing Partner) who also is an International Judo, Kurash, Sombo Player. They had never worked together on the Nage No Kata and neither had done it for some time. Yet they presented a very passable Kata, once again proof that if you understand Kata you do not forget it.

Kata teaches you the discipline of correct perfection of technique and the realisation that some things in life can never be perfect; this in itself can enhance your skill level.

Results of Grading:

Ashley Costa 4th Dan
Andy Smith Brown Belt
George Watt Brown belt
Keith Brown Blue Belt
Mike Rudkin Green Belt
Keith Hadkin and Ollie Bruton Orange Belt
Richard Seaman Blue Belt 4 tabs
Lewis Clarke Blue Belt 1 tab.
Vinnie Dragan 1st Dan
Adam Dodds Brown

Anyone Interested in Judo/Sombo contact John Clarke on 07825224940

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Olympics is over

So the Olympics have finished I have to admit it was a great success not just in medals but in organisation as well. Still think it was not worth the money but it has put a bounce into the country and we have seen a big increase in interest in the Martial Arts at our Club so there may be some future legacy, The Opening ceremony was spectacular but as I have said before the idea that we got our wealth from the Industrial revolution is somewhat suspect, becoming the Biggest and Great Empire the World has ever seen would have been the main contribution to our wealth and influence. As for the CND tribute well if we had listened to them the Soviet Union would be still in existence, it was the arms race that made them collapse. Did not see the closing ceremony soon as I heard it was about 60 years of pop music and 60 years of pop culture I thought NO but I saw in the paper the following day the Band of the Coldstream Guards did their bit and Churchill appeared so maybe they did honour part of our very long heritage.

Cameron has said the athletes will continue to be helped in their funding which in some cases is good but is was quoted in the paper some of the Medal winners can expect to earn up to £3 million next year so I would be little bit peeved if they got tax payers money. Another point is I trained for nearly 4 years to make the Moscow Olympics, sadly I only made reserve yet if I carried on for another 4 years I am sure I would have gone in 1984 but having a wife and 3 children the sacrifice would have too great, especially as the wife went out to work to support my 4 year bid. Not complaining, as there was not a load of money floating about for what was supposed to be amateur Olympics, well it was for the British. Yet today some athletes are complaining about resources, if this is true who has been paying for some of them to attend four or more Olympics?

Team UK medal haul will inspire youngster and get them away from thinking they can become famous by going to rubbish like X Factor. Our Athletes have shown by hard work you can achieve not by winning a sub standard talent show.

Cameron has said he wants to encourage more sport in school so we can have more Olympic Champions; what concerns me will all government subsidised sport be just the Olympic Sports? There are 34 Olympic Sports according to I.O.C. web site yet SportEngland has 148 recognised sports and there are many other sports which are not recognised or yet to be invented. So by all means get people doing Sport but throw the net wide and do not restricted it just the Olympics.

Many have suggested certain Athletes get Knighthoods and every medal winner an MBE but what about the others, who never got medals or never made the team, surely they trained as hard? My impression of the honours awards is that it is for people who give up their time and energy selflessly. If you want to be an International Athlete the person you should think about is yourself. What we need is a Queens Award for Sport for those that Coach, Officiate, Participate and for our World Class athletes.

To finish can I congratulate all those who were involved in the Greatest Olympics ever (LONDON 2012)

For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/ Contact Martin Clarke at sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sombo/Sambo Grading system

Some people involved in Sombo/Sambo criticise the British Sombo Federation for recognising our affiliated association having gradings similar to Martial Arts. They maintain true Sambo does not have such schemes.

Well they are wrong. When the International Amateur Sambo Federation was formed in 1985 they had a grading system recorded in their License book but they named the grades after animals such as the Jaguar. I still have my original FIAS license book and I am the only person in Great Britain who has been active in Sombo/Sambo since its formation.

This scheme was dropped after just a few years and a modified version was that if you won a National Title you could wear a Black with National Colours i.e. Black Belt with a Union Flag if you won the British, the BSF never adopted this system because to equate someone who won a British with someone who won the Soviet Union Championship was ridiculous.

So it was agreed that those associations who wished to adopt a grading system could do so as long as it was vetted by the BSF. Most Sombo Players have not bothered because we still believe it is a competitive sport and your prowess is shown on the Mat but it useful to encourage new students and to keep people involved who are passed their prime or cannot compete because of injury.

There was also a Belt system for World Championship competitors: Gold Belt was presented to the World Senior Champion, Silver Belt for Silver medallist and Bronze Belt for Bronze medallist. A World Masters Champion was entitled to wear a Bronze Belt and a Grand Master was allowed a Gold belt.
Grand Master is a FIAS appointment.

I am proud to say that I am entitled to wear a Silver Belt for World Championship Silver 1986 and a Gold Belt, as I am the only FIAS Grand master in the UK. Sadly the system is no longer in operation and the only time I actually saw a presentation of Belts was in a banquet at the World Championships in 1985 San Sebastian Spain where at the banquet each World Medallist was presented with their relative Belt, something I would like restored.

CombatSombo, this style, was developed by me, Martin Clarke, and is a registered Service Mark and has been for over 20 years and I do organise gradings in CombatSombo, SportCombatSombo, CombatSombo Wrestling and Sombo all of which are very successful.  Not only do players in Great Britain grade but Countries as far and wide as USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa have used my system and because the system is mine I can check the authenticity of every CombatSombo Black Belt and so can you - if they do not have my signature and stamp on their license or certificate they do not hold any CombatSombo Grade.

Combat Sambo is a totally different Sport involving grappling and full contact striking, it is mainly practised in Eastern European Countries. Russian Martial Arts is administered in Great Britain by Matthew Clempner President of FORMA.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sombo News

Russell Dodds senior Coach at the Bedford Academy is certainly doing a good job of promoting Sombo and the British Sombo Federation. He has already organised a Sombo Competition early this year and has another planned for July. This course was attended by 25 of his students; a lot of them were juniors. British National Coach, John Clarke, and English National Coach, Colin Carrott, both gave the instruction. Well done Russell keep up the good work.

You cannot keep a good man down and that is certainly the case with 60-year-old British national Full Contact Sombo Coach Allen Clarkin. He has run one very successful Level 1 Full Contact Sombo Course and now has another planned for Sunday July 8th. Allen has been involved with
Martial Arts for over 40 years and has a lot of contacts which hopes to bring into Combat Sombo; he tells me he has several clubs in Wales which want to get involved, plus he wants run a Championship Belt Competition for Full Contact Sombo. Now that would be something.

Robin tells me the entries are better than expected for the British on May 5th. We were expecting an extremely low turnout of about 25 because of the cost of travelling and accommodation but the numbers have already reached 60 and the closing date is not until May 3rd so things are looking up. Robin also tells me that CLOSING Date means closing date, none of this “I am a top class Judo player and do not need to book on time.”

Commonwealth Sombo/Full Contact Sombo is on May 17th at Dumfries, this will be a good competition. It will be open to all affiliated country; with regard to UK: if you belong to a BSF recognised Sombo Association you can compete for Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, England or the Channel Islands so starting booking your accommodation now.

The proposed Commonwealth Sambo Association led by a Russian
Judo player (What’s Russia got to do with the Commonwealth?) has caused a lot of controversy on the International Scene as this new group sort to usurp the power of FIAS Commonwealth countries by placing Judo men in charge of Commonwealth Sombo. Within GB the BSF is recognised by all 5 sports Councils and is run by Sombo people for Sombo people. Most importantly it is not run for profit!

Yet out of something that had a dubious beginning some good has come -
The formation of the Commonwealth Sombo Championships, this will decide whether there is a demand for Commonwealth Sombo. It is a shame the BSF has to fund it rather than the Russian who wanted it; also Northern Ireland Sombo federation Chairman, Chris St John, has made contact with Terry Watt, an extremely good Judo man and someone who is genuinely interested in Sombo.

More and More people are approaching the BSF for courses and competitions - this year Britain will see a good contingent of Sombo Players from the Liverpool area; Sue King from Mushin Academy has been pushing Sombo in the area and her members have joined a BSF Association. Well done Sue!

Look out for our advert in Combat and some of our features.

Martin Clarke

BSF President

For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/ Contact Martin Clarke at sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Letters from the past...

When my Mother died in June 2004 we sold them her house to Pete Wise a 2nd Dan in the YJC it seemed somewhat appropriate. Pete was recently clearing out the loft and found some old paper work.

The first piece which I have attached was a lesson plan from Nobby Clarke dated about 1963, although there is no date my father had not become a Professional Judo Coach at that time and it looks as though he scribbled a lesson plan on some works paper. The interesting point is that you could still use the lesson plan today but the most fascinating was that he used part of the lesson as a self defence session using throws as the basis of his techniques.

I cannot remember him doing this but in those days there was very little Jiu Jitsu about so it made sense that he utilised his knowledge of Judo to make inroads into Self Defence. My father was strange in a lot of ways, he would bring new ideas into Judo, once everybody was doing it he just forgot the idea - like self-defence Judo, another was kata. He was the first to introduce kata into Kent, who would have believed that.

He was very inventive in his outlook on Judo as was my mother; she was doing Judo to music back in the 1960’s and laughed at. I learnt a lot from the two of them and when I found pieces of paper like this and look at what I teach and believe in I realise as a youngster I must have absorbed a lot of their knowledge.

Another piece was the programme on Terror Kampf dated 1968; this was a self defence system from Germany and what I remember of it my mother gained her 1st Dan in this art. From what I remember it was just another form of Jiu Jitsu with one difference: they would wear black gloves. Valerie remembered learning some of this art which she said was mainly using your hands to grab and twist ears, fingers, hair and other body parts to inflict pain. I have looked on YouTube; it is still going but seems to have another name - Anti-Terror Kampf.

The Young Judo club Philosophy when it started was:
“This Young Judo Club is open to all, free from strife, animosity or petty jealousy and functions in the true spirit of Judo.”

Members are told:

To Brag Little to Lose Well
To Crow Gently if in Luck
To Pay Up To Own Up
To Shut Up If Beaten
Are the Virtues of a Sporting Man?

Author: Arthur Wendell Holmes.

Also found was a letter from a school in Edenbridge asking for details of felt from Bowater’s? Dry felt was used in the making of paper and my father realised that this heavy felt would make the ideal covering for his old feathered mattresses he had when he started the Young Judo Club in 1957. 

When schools started doing judo they would use their old gym mats but these would slide all over the place and covering them with felt would keep then together. In those days the old straw filled tatami came from Japan and was expensive. I believe it was Milom who made the first reasonably priced Form Judo Mat with canvas and frame.

Mother Margret Clarke started teaching Judo in Schools about 1961 Father Nobby started in 1965.

For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk
Contact Martin Clarke at sombogb@blueyonder.co.uk