I have been very fortunate, especially since joining the British Combat Association, to have had the opportunity to train with many of the best instructors in the World. I thought it worth mentioning some of them and I personally recommend that if you get the opportunity, go and train with these people, they will enhance your skill level and your understanding of the martial arts. One of the main qualities of these individuals is that they are not merely an outstanding practitioner in their respective discipline, they are also very humble, respectful and above all, nice people.
The first instructor that influenced me greatly in the martial arts, and still does to date, is Ray Hackett. Although Ray is not known on a national level, an awesome instructor and one of the strongest people, mentally speaking, that I have ever had the privilege to train under. Ray’s main area of training is Tai Ji Quan – Chinese Boxing. He has over twenty five years experience, as well as several years working security on many of the pubs and nightclubs in the local area. Ray has always held a very open attitude towards cross training effective martial arts. He remains a constant positive influence with regards to both my training and my life in general. I owe much to the development of my determination to this man.
I feel honoured to have trained as often as I have with Geoff Thompson. After having read Geoff’s first edition of the ‘Watch My Back’ I immediately felt that I had a great deal in common with him. In many ways I have had parallel experiences to him, not just regarding his ‘adventures’ on the door, but with his personal encounters and issues. After joining the BCA I had the opportunity to train with this pioneering martial artist on many occasions. Geoff has always been a supporting figure for me, and is someone that I feel lucky to class a good friend. His knowledge and understanding of reality related issues are extra-ordinary and his technical ability is world class, but the thing that sets Geoff apart is his humility.
Geoff can be contacted via his web-site www.geoffthompson.com.
Another pioneering figure that I have had the privilege of studying under has been Peter Consterdine. He is one of the greatest practical martial artists of our era. Peter has an acute understanding of all the technical aspects of his disciplines. He is an excellent instructor, explaining everything in a way that you cannot fail to comprehend the message that he is trying to deliver. As with Geoff, Peter has been there, done it, and got several t-shirts for his endeavours. It was with Peter’s foresight and the assistance of Geoff, that the British Combat Association was born. With their guidance and influence it has become the foremost authority on the topic of self protection, always at the cutting edge of the practical issues. In addition to this it has given the opportunity for many martial artists from varying systems to take their individual concepts to a diverse mixture of practitioners, helping break down many if the imposed barriers that stopped people cross training for many years.
Peter can be contacted on 0113 242 9686 or via www.britishcombat.co.uk
Since 1994 I have trained with Rick Young on numerous occasions. He is considered by many of the top practitioners as the best all-round martial artists in the country, if not the world. This is something that I whole heartedly agree with. Rick was the first person outside of the USA to receive full instructorship under Guro Dan Inosanto. Every area of Rick’s combative skills are world class. The first time I witnessed Rick’s capability I was mesmerised. He has continually trained with the best in their respective arts in order to maintain his high level of ability. As with Geoff, his humility is one of his outstanding and exceptional qualities. Rick now has his own full time Academy in Edinburgh. Rick has continued to give me support on a number of levels and I feel respect and admire him immensely.
Rick can be contacted on 0131 554 4600 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I first began training with Mauricio Gomes when he first came to the United Kingdom in 1998. I was immediately impressed by not only his skill level, but also his teaching ability. Mauricio is a 6th Degree Black Belt at the famed Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (his is one of original Rolls Gracie Black Belts). Mauricio has competed, and won, nearly every major Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament going. His knowledge base is awesome, and is complemented by an easy going open minded attitude. I was shocked, and extremely pleased, when Mauricio presented me with my Blue Belt in 1999. If you are looking for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then Mauricio is the instructor in the UK.
Mauricio occasionally visits Roger Academy in London and can be contacted via there.
I first started training with Jamie Johnson in 1994. Jamie was, up until May 2000, the oldest competing member of the British Judo squad. He had been actively training and competing since the tender age of about seven winning, or being placed, in nearly every major tournament in the Judo calendar. Jamie’s nickname ‘Ragger’ was given to him because of his willingness to get on the mat with anyone, regardless of age, experience and size. His knowledge of his art and Grappling in general is immense. This accompanied by a very positive teaching method make him a superb instructor. He has been a constant source of information for me, always happy to give up his time to help me – a true ambassador for the martial arts. One of Jamie’s accolades was to coach for the British Judo Academy, with the responsibility of producing top flight athletes for the country in international competition.
Steve Gorthorpe is a Judo player of exceptional ability. His skill level is world renowned particularly with respect of his groundwork knowledge. He, like Jamie has won numerous titles at British, European and Olympic levels. I was introduced to Steve by Jamie in 2000, and was fortunate enough to have both him and Jamie conduct regular training workshops for me at the real Approach Academy in Mansfield. Steve, along side Jamie, has coached for the British Judo Academy.
I have been fortunate to have trained with Erik Paulson many times since 1999. Erik is another one of the pioneering and innovative martial artist of our era. His skill and ability in the many arts that he covers is almost unbelievable. To train with Erik is like being immersed in a vat of information – it pours in from all directions. The amount of knowledge that he gives out can sometimes leave you in a state of wonderment. Yet with his humorous and relaxed teaching methods, he is a pleasure to train with. The information that I have gained from Erik has made an immeasurable impact on my skill level.
I have trained under Ben frequently throughout my BJJ training and have found him an excellent instructor with an amazing eye for detail. Ben is rightly credited with being one of the main UK pioneers with regards to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, spending months at a time in Brazil, studying extensively under Gordon (famous for inventing the half guard position). I had the distinct honour of receiving my black belt from Ben.
In addition to the people I have mentioned above, I have had the honour of training with many top calibre practitioners form many different disciplines. People like Neil Adams, MBE, Wayne Lakin, Jim McDonald, Renzo Gracie, Matt Clempner, Lee Hasdell. They have all been responsible, in some way, for influencing my journey through the martial arts. If you ever get the chance to train with any of these great martial artist then take advantage of it, you won’t be disappointed.