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: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/
Contact Martin Clarke at email@example.com