If I ever wrote a book about my training and research in some silat styles, this would make a good front cover.
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018
Once a year as the main instructor/coach for the group I write an end of year review about our progress over the year and also how happy I am with it and how it seems to function so well. In the past I have taught larger groups but I retired from teaching the general public in 2005. However, I am pleased to write that the current private group format is working far better than I ever thought possible. This is thanks in no small measure to my great teachers and training partners. Details of my individual journey and the history of the group itself can be found on this group blog.
The group came back to life because when I retired as an MMA coach in 2005, I started to look again at the systems I taught. I relooked again at the Combatives and bare knuckle boxing I was taught by my family and began to train it with a couple of long term training partners, this training period led me to look again at the Pukulan Pentjak Silat Serak I had previously studied and follow up my research in Holland. Bare knuckle boxing, Combatives and Pukulan blend very well together because the end goal in combat is the same.
The group currently works on the following arts: Combatives, which includes my Savate boot kicks module; bare knuckle boxing and Pukulan. We include dealing with unknown contacts and we work from a fence position. We study MMA clinch and ground fighting to Vale Tudo rules, and add in knife and impact weapons such as sap/blackjacks and sticks. Coaching wise I no longer teach each art individually but teach the system as one whole, concentrating on fundamentals. I use a number of formats which include traditional training methods such as forms and drills, alive drilling and sparring. Students are encouraged to try their hand at a number of sport competition formats to safely build confidence. The curriculum is not large but it has real depth. We constantly refine our skills and understand more about this amazing art.
None of the above would be possible without my great instructors/teachers and also their teachers. Each training partner contributes to the success of the group and its growth by training and studying hard. The groups size is restricted by the size of the training area but this works well from a coaching prospective and we remain a non-commercial happy group.
We do our best to support other groups and some of us cross train in other arts.
I can not recommend this workshop enough. Great teacher, coaches and training partners. It's a intelligent system that will fit into most styles of martial arts and it's really good fun and healthy training. A positive learning experience.
Thursday, 8 February 2018
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
In the mid-eighties I had a French training partner and in between Muay Thai classes we used to work out privately together in a local French restaurant. We would clear away some tables and we mostly worked on our boxing and Muay Thai fight preparation. Fred was a great training partner, very strong and an excellent boxer.
During one of our training sessions, a family friend of Fred’s, who I had briefly been introduced to was watching nearby. Every now and then between sips of coffee he would shout out advice to Fred in French. To be honest after a while I was hoping he would shut up and go away back to France, where I assumed he came from. Every time he said something, Fred would adjust and I would receive a new counter punch in the face. We moved on to thai rules clinch work and now the stranger was up and coaching hands on. He was basically crushing my double collar tie and throwing me around. Total drag really as that was meant to be my area of expertise.
We finished up training and whilst the family friend was off getting his fifth cup of filter coffee and cigarette for the hour, I asked Fred who the unwanted coach was. Fred said something like, he’s high up in French Judo, that would explain the grappling prowess and he has trained French Boxing, sometimes called Savate. My only view of Savate at that point was seeing magazines with guys in strange gear, playing what looked like kick boxing.
To cut a very long story short, it came down to the stranger discussing my Muay Thai kicks, with Fred as an interpreter. He really liked our kicks but wanted us to consider the shoe as a weapon. He also felt that I should play an outside game more to use my long reach. His advice was peppered with strange looking kicks and movements in the air, that basically looked like flicks. Finally, he said I will show you, and he kicked me in the lead leg with kick that used the heel and which shut down my thigh for a few days.
I became an instant believer, he had kicked me with training shoes on and it felt like being hit with a hammer. Over the next two weeks or so, we got to work out with our new coach, probably no more than twenty hours actual training time and about the same socialising. I was mainly interested in street kicking and picking up some good boxing.
Here’s what I picked up during that limited time:
Muay Thai kicks are like being hit with a sharp baseball bat, the force cuts through the target (generalising a lot but that’s a way of looking at it) Savate kicks are like being hit with a hammer and the force goes in deep and rattles around a bit. The targeting of the kicks split muscle from bone and should leave small dents.
Constant movement in and out of position, set up the opponent for the kicks and some sweet boxing deals with opponents that get close. Lots of evasive straight punches also keep distance.
Boots or strong shoes are a great accessary and you need to train in them or at least some of the time. Training shoes are ok but not the same.
The boot kicks hurt and they cripple.
After the two short weeks, I never got to train with the coach again and it being the pre-internet era (letter writing instead of emails) I lost touch with Fred a few years later when he went traveling.
I placed my little knowledge of art into what I refer as my boot kicking module and over the years I have shown it as a sub section of my combatives art. It’s a good match for Combatives guys as it is so brutal and it blends well.
I did try to seek out similar Savate but whilst being great it had a slightly different flavour. The only art I have seen that is very similar was shown by Daniel Duby, in his SGB series, where he shows how to kick with boots. He is excellent and I hope he show more one day.
My first coach apparently had lived in the Basque region and had picked up his flavour of Savate there hence his slang name for his art: Basque Boot.