This is a 6 month journey, consisting of one seminar per month, with each month focusing on a specific theme or range of martial arts.
The Masterclass is a closed-door affair, one which I am making sure we enforce in order that the students, who have sacrificed money and a lot of their time to attend, gain the full benefit.
However, I felt compelled to write a short blog on last weekend’s event and share them with you as it was a fantastic session and one which I know has left the 20 or so attendees of the Masterclass, buzzing, enthused and feeling like winners.
Each month we invite a special guest instructor to come along and join the instructor team to share their own area of expertise with the group. This month we were privileged to have our friends Simon Squires and Peter Wilson travel all the way down from Liverpool and Manchester.
Simon, not one to court publicity or celebrity instructor status, has been quietly studying a wide variety of arts for many many years, and amassing a wealth of knowledge in various areas, the most impressive of which is Combatives.
Simon, an instructor under the legendary Dennis Martin, has been teaching Combatives to some of the most impressive professional groups in the world for many years.
This month’s theme was “Reality” and so we wanted to cover a host of arts with the main focus being on the “reality” elements and what works for the street. Simon brought with him his trusted paddy assailant suit, heavily modified to take the beatings of seriously determined defendants.
Whilst I cannot go into the process or the finite details of what we covered during the day’s session, the culmination was each of our students who were fit and healthy to do so, entered into a violent confrontation with Simon in his padded suit. The students were all put under pressure, exposed to real adrenalin and fear, and then allowed to do whatever they needed to in order to survive and overcome the assailant.
Simon, with years of experience and mastery of this type of training, carefully brought the best out of each and every student.
As we later discussed, it’s a very fine line, putting your students through stressful and high pressure training scenarios in order to expose them to the feelings and realities of violent encounters, whilst not going too far and breaking them, physically or mentally. It takes great care, compassion and skill to push a student farther than they think they can go, and yet not too far as to damage them or set them back on their journey of self discovery and self belief.
What I like about Simon more than anything else, is his honesty towards Martial Arts and Self Defence – the two being linked but separate at the same time. From my own Animal Day experiences, this training was a great reminder of what we all need to include in our Martial Arts if we dare to promote what we teach as a form of Self Defence.
There needs to be pressure, there needs to be a threat of danger or injury or pain. There needs to be physical adversity and there needs to be consequence for not performing to your best. However, at the same time, there needs to be an underlying safety, a caring and controlling instructor who can encourage and facilitate growth, and a feeling of success and self-belief at the end.
This is what we did many years ago with our Animal Day Sessions, the only difference being both sides of the encounter were undergoing the same pressure and fear as we didn’t have the benefit of the passes suits. It was basically a fight with little protection, without rounds, and only stopping when one party was unconscious, unable to continue due to injury or submitting. It was brutal, honest and exposed our weaknesses in technique, fighting strategy and mental toughness.
Once you expose weakness, then you can repair it, and strengthen it, and this is exactly what Animal Days did.
As I cannot show you any of the fight footage from the Masterclass, I thought I’d share a few snippets of some very old Animal Day footage. It’s quite primitive, quite basic, lacks a lot of technique…….. and is Honest and Real and very commensurate with the reality of a fight on the street that has gone on past the first couple of punches.
It also shows self control, cognitive thinking under extreme pressure, and a respect for a partner who you are still trying to beat.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Simon and Peter, once again, for their support and contribution to the Masterclass series and also their time and support of everything we are doing at CSP.
I would also like to congratulate everyone who attended both the Masterclass and the CSP Sunday Morning class in Coventry. We were all extremely impressed with every single person’s efforts and abilities. The determination, the courage and the heart of everyone who entered the arena was outstanding – you should all be very proud of yourselves – Well Done
And to quote Mr Tully…. “Now tell me Martial Arts doesn’t change lives for the better!”
Stay Safe and Have Fun
Al Peasland Personal Safety Expert