Thursday, 26 June 2008

Combat Base UK National Junior Gi Grappling Championships

The event……Combat Base UK National Junior Gi Grappling Championships
The venue…..Carnegie Sports Facility, Headingley, Leeds
The date……..22nd June 2008

It’s been a while since we last held a grappling competition for the juniors and did it show! The standard across the board has raised tremendously with the competitors showing a complete range of skills, the stand up, the sweeps, the passing game, everything seems to have been moved up at least a couple of notches.

The atmosphere was the best of any competition I have ever been to and that is full credit to the organization and support of the event, the competitors, spectators and coaches from opposing teams happily mingled and offered support to everyone regardless. The whole day was about the kids, providing a positive atmosphere in which they could have a positive experience of competition which is so important for the newbies, not some of the stupidity that I’m sure we have all seen when coaches/parents are screaming at some 5 year old kid to not let the other kid beat him as if it is an offence to his manhood if any of his kids lose. We know the sort don’t we.

It is best summed up though by Ben, who refereed throughout the day “the best bit is seeing the kids with huge grins competing, they are just doing it for the love of doing it, they just try to win by going for it”

I would definitely echo this sentiment as the kids do what they do and don’t back chat or question everything. The kids are way more gracious than a lot of the seniors. This is one of the reasons why we award EVERY competitor with a medal.

If these guys keep training the way they have been then the UK will have more Jiu Jitsu champions than they ever have before.

Girls 4 - 6 years
1. Courtney Puckering - Hull Sport
2. Ellie Amies-King - MFF Fighters

Boys 4 - 6 years
1. Danny Puckering - Hull Sport
2. Isaac Roberts - Combat Base
3. Levi Swindell - MFF Fighters

Girls 7 - 8 years
1. Shauna Jones - Hull Sport
2. Tea Lewis - Bradford Judo/XLMA
3. Hannah Day - MFF Fighters

Boys 7 - 8 years light
1. Samuel Thomas - MFF Fighters
2. Kieran Farnell - MFF Fighters

Boys 7 - 8 years heavy
1. Ethan Taylor - Hull Sport
2. Jake Richards - Combat Base
3. Hussain Basyurt - Hull Sport

Girls 9 - 10 years
1. Katie Cooper - Nagare En Derby
2. Emily Young - Hull Sport

Boys 9 – 10 years light
1. Liam Martin - Gracie Barra Derby
2. Tristan Fishwick - Combat Base
3. Joshua Thomas - MFF Fighters

Boys 9 – 10 years heavy
1. Jack Bethell - Gracie Barra Derby
2. Lewis Reed - Gracie Barra Derby
3. Jay Millard - Hull Sport

Girls 11 - 12 years
1. Stella Doyle - MFF Fighters
2. Kate Standley - MFF Fighters

Boys 11 – 12 years light
1. Salim Alam - True Spirit MMA
2. Ben Schofield - Combat Base
3. Connor Wright - Combat Base

Boys 11 – 12 years heavy
1. Kailum Smith - Combat Base
2. Ben Cooper - Nagare En Derby
3. Louis West - Hull Sport

Girls 13 - 14 years
1. Inka Doyle - MFF Fighters
2. Beau Maclean - Combat Base
3. Shani Testro - Gracie Barra Derby

Boys 13 - 14 years light
1. Sean McDonagh - Gracie Barra Derby
2. James Beardsmore - Gracie Barra Derby
3. Jonah Osborn - Gracie Barra Derby

Boys 13 - 14 years heavy
1. Ryan Holdham - Tai Jutsu Kai
2. Bradley Swindell - MFF Fighters
3. Craig Sunman - Hull Sport

Girls 15 - 16 years
1. Christine McDonagh - Gracie Barra Derby
2. Lauren Reed - Gracie Barra Derby
3. Rebecca Linsley - Tai Jutsu Kai

Boys 15 - 16 years light
1. Chris Dolman - Hull Sport
2. Ben Docherty - Gracie Barra Derby
3. Daniel Portman - Kodakan

Boys 15 - 16 years heavy
1. Joshua Camm - Gracie Barra Nottingham
2. Kane Davis - Gracie Barra Derby
3= Liam Swindell - MFF Fighters
3= Jack Plachcinsly - Kodakan

Not wanting to undermine the efforts of any of the competitors who all performed very well, but we also award trophies for fighters of the day for those that have just stood out a little, techniques of the day for the best execution of a clean technique and team champions for the team that have performed most consistently on the day.

Fighters Of The Day sponsored by PopArt
Girls under 10 - Tea Lewis - Bradford Judo/XLMA
Girls over 10 – Beau Maclean – Combat Base
Boys under 10 – Liam Martin – Gracie Barra Derby
Boys over 10 – Salim Alam – True Spirit MMA

Techniques Of The Day sponsored by Allsports International Limited
In the under 10’s Danny Puckering from Hull Sport got the award for a beautiful seionage.
In the over 10’s the award went to James Beardsmore from Gracie Barra Derby for his crisp sweep to mount technique.

Team Champions sponsored by Caged Steel Gym
To determine the true team champions, the medal positions are assigned a value and worked out against how many people from that team placed. This total is then divided by the number of competitors in the team so an average is calculated therefore it is not just the largest team that enters that wins. Therefore:

Team Champions – Combat Base
2nd Gracie Barra Derby
3rd Hull Sport

I would like to thank everyone who turned up and supported the event. The teams:
Bradford Judo
Bulldogs & CNO Judo & Mixed Martial Arts
Combat Base
Gracie Barra Derby
Gracie Barra Nottingham
Hull Sport
MFF Fighters
Nagare En Derby
Tai Jutsu Kai
True Spirit MMA

To the officials, the Combat Base team, Ben and Rob for refereeing, Andy, Jase, Mark, Becks, Jonny, Karl, Helen, Tony and to anyone I may have forgot ;0/

Thanks to Pop Art for sponsoring the trophies and the T-shirts, to Allsports International Limited for sponsoring Technique Of The Day trophies and to Caged Steel Gym for sponsoring the Team Trophy and to St Johns Ambulance for covering the event, glad you weren’t busy.

Big thanks too to Photo Solutions who spent the day walking around taking photos which were then available for purchase on the day. Great idea. You can still go onto their web site, have a look at the photos and buy them if you missed the opportunity on the day.

Combat Base
MFF Fighters
Pop Art email for T shirt printing, banners, signs
Photo Solutions
Caged Steel Gym
Allsports International Limited

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Private Lessons

Looks like I will be available on a Wednesday afternoon for a while for privates, if any of the guys that were asking for privates see this and are still interested, get in touch.

Need to hurry though I have a few guys in already.

URGENT!! Kids comp news

Directions to Combat Base National Junior Gi Grappling Championships Leeds Metropolitan University Leeds Carnegie Campus, Headingley.

Due to the Leeds 10k fun run it is best to avoid approaching Leeds from the M1 or M621 as there will be many City Centre and Inner Ring Road restrictions. (The race starts at 9.00am and should be all over by noon)

Best to approach Leeds on the A1 from either North or South ( From East or West on M62 to A1 North)

Leave A1M at junction 45 (Leeds/York A64) head towards Leeds and take a right turn at the roundabout on to the Leeds Outer Ring Road (A6120T). Carry on around the ring road for approx 5 miles until the roundabout A660 (Otley Road). Turn left towards Leeds Centre(Headingley) Leeds Metropolitan University Carnegie Campus is about half a mile on the Right. Turn right onto street drive to the top and proceed through the gates and straight forward to the car park. The sports facility is on the right with access through the sports reception building.

PLEASE NOTE also that no outdoor shoes will be allowed in the sports hall, trainers etc are ok. If you insist on wearing outdoor shoes then you will have to spectate from the balcony. This is University policy, not ours so we can make no exceptions.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Blasts From The Past

Having to prepare a timeline so was rooting through some old disks and found a couple of photos.

Man, I haven't changed a bit............


Self Defence Champion March 1998

Total Fight Forum Amateur Vale Tudo Trials circa mid 1999

North of England Grappling Championships 2008 (No Gi)May 31, 2008

Taken directly form Danny's blog

Last Sunday, me and James Parker went up to Sunderland to compete in the North of England Grappling Championships. I went last year and it was a good comp, so was looking forward to this years.

The tournament had over 100 competitors and was very well organised. The standard was much higher this year.

I was in the welterweight division and there were 32 competitors in my catagory. In my first match I was up against a lad from Gracie Barra. I pulled guard and went to work from rubber guard, I caught him with a triangle early on but he managed to escape. I also caught him with an arm bar from underneath but again he was very strong and managed to hold on. In the end I swept him with an oma plata and won the match on points.

My second match was against BJJ black belt Marcos Nardini. I pulled guard immediately before he did (haha) and started to work from there. He passed to half guard then he stood up and I started to use a 'de la riva guard' which is a type of open guard. I controlled him from there for a while but he managed to eventually pass my guard and caught me with a tight arm lock from a knee ride. I enjoyed the fight (even though I lost!) as its the first time ive competed against someone of such a high standard.

Parker was in the heavyweight division and in his first fight he went for submission after submission. He threw everything at his opponent, triangles, arm bars, oma platas. At one point his opponent passed the guard and got to the mount, giving him seven points ahead, Parker managed to finish the fight in the mount, but lost 7-4. It was a good fight though and his opponent ended up getting the bronze.

Parker also fought Paul Whyman from Lagarto Redcar BJJ and started with a good single leg landing passed the guard. Again Parker didnt stall and was looking constantly for the submission. After some good submission attempts, Parker swept Paul and took the mount, gaining 4 points for the position and 30 seconds later time ran out and Parker won on points.

Well done on some good fights.

Can wait till next years comp, hopefully we will have some more lads to take up with us next time.




Neil & Spenna are looking for first time fighters to compete in the first MMA competition at Caged Steel Gym.






3 x 3 minute rounds, 1 minute rest between rounds.

No headshots at all whatsoever either standing or on the ground.

No elbows whatsoever allowed

Strikes allowed standing are:

Punches, kicks and knees below the shoulders including arms and legs.

Usual recognised safe takedowns and throws not spiking / throwing opponent on their head or throwing from joint lock or choke/strangle.

On ground usual recognised safe submissions allowed and also punching only to body arms and legs.



Strikes whilst standing:

  • Punching: Target areas on body are specified as from top of shoulders down to hips, and arms and legs, no direct hits to the spine and or neck/throat or groin.
  • Kicking and Kneeing: Target areas are specified as front and sides of body and inner and outer thigh only. No direct stamping/thrusting kicking attacks to the joints.

Strikes whilst grounded:

  • Punching only to body, and arms and legs as specified above.

Takedowns and throws:

  • Any recognised throw or takedown that does NOT land the opponent on the head or neck.
  • No throw utilising a joint locking method or utilising a choke, strangle, crank or spinal torsion of any sort.

Chokes and strangles: are to be only applied by use of the arms or legs.

  • NOT with the hands, i.e. grabbing the trachea, squeezing throat with either or both hands, fingers etc. or digging in the knuckles or using clothing.


  • Straight armbar, any variation on the application. Figure Four arm lock, any variation.


  • Straight achilles lock or calf crush. Straight kneebar. No joint twisting leg/ankle locks.



Any competitor found guilty of foul tactics in a bout shall be given a warning and points deducted if necessary from the competitors total score as determined by the referee. The use of illegal techniques may result in the competitor being disqualified from the bout.



No headshots whatsoever, no elbows whatsoever, no throwing onto the head, no heelhooks or twisting footlocks,, no neckcranks or twisting head techniques, no wristlocks, no holding the cage, no holding the shorts, gloves or clothing



Headbutts, elbows/forearm strikes, finger strikes, eye gouging, fishhooking, biting, hair pulling, groin attacks, throat/neck strikes gouges or grabs, strikes to the head, strikes to the spine or neck, small joint manipulation i.e. fingers, thumbs or toes, throwing opponent onto head or neck, throwing opponent by their head i.e. spinal torsion or neck throws, no throwing utilising any joint locking method, direct strikes to the joints, wrist locks, neck cranks of any kind, spinelocks, pushing hands/fingers into face/nose/eyes though you can push with the forearm or palm of the hand onto the jaw/chin of opponent. Twisting/rotating joint locks of any kind, spitting, pinching, twisting flesh, holding the cage.



Submission, TKO, stoppage, disqualification, judges decision.

See ways to win section for description.



All bouts will consist of 3 x 3 minute rounds with 1-minute rest between rounds.

No overtime will be allowed for any bout.

Bouts lasting the full duration will be decided by Judges decision.



No other person except the competitors and the referee are allowed in the fighting area during a round

Competitors are allowed a maximum of 2 people in their corner. All must remain seated during the rounds and in their appointed area.

Only the chief corner man may give verbal directions to the competitor during the rounds.

Corner men and seconds are not permitted to move around the arena during the match either during the round or during the interval, with the exception where needed to enter the arena to attend to their fighter, they must remain at their appointed corner/area. Failure to do so will result in the offending party being removed from the fight area and possibly incur a penalty imposed on the fighter.

Corner men and seconds will not enter into any verbal dispute with the referee or the officials during the bout.

Competitors can receive a warning, have a point deducted, or be disqualified due to the inappropriate actions of his / her corner men.

It is the competitors duty to ensure that his / her corner men understand the rules and regulations of the event.

Corner men, seconds must conduct themselves in a professional manner. Preferred dress for corner men would be sportswear, club T-shirt etc.

Equipment for corner men should consist of drinking water, a towel and a spray bottle filled with water.



A minimum of one referee, three judges, timekeeper, first aiders shall be present and conduct each bout. All appointed officials must remain on site of the event until it is officially declared as finished.

In a situation where a competitor requires medical attention only the qualified medical staff that has been provided for the event should carry this out.

Any medical conditions or complaints any prospective competitor has or any need for use of medication etc. must be reported and identified to the organiser before any match can be made.



In the case of a fighter requiring withdrawal from an agreed fight due to injury, medical or other reasons, maximum notice would be required and appreciated as a matter of courtesy to fellow fighters and the organiser of the event. This also allows time hopefully to find a replacement fighter. Everyone concerned would agree that this is only for the benefit of everyone and shows a professional attitude and representation of fighters and their gyms.



Competitors must wear MMA shorts or similar

No baggy or long shorts and no pockets, zips, buttons etc.

Rashguards are allowed for male competitors, topless is preferred and allowed.

A tight vest would also be allowed if required. No baggy T-shirts etc will be permitted.

Rashguards, Crop tops are recommended for female fighters, no baggy t-shirts or sweatshirts.

No Gi's allowed.

No wrestling boots allowed.

Mouthguard / gumshield must be supplied and used by competitors.

Groin guard must also be supplied and worn by competitors.

MMA gloves must be supplied and worn by competitors.

Gloves must be a suitable and recognised standard and must be in good clean condition.

The wrist part of competitors' gloves must be taped securely covering Velcro etc. during the fight.

No protective padding is to be worn at all. This includes knee, elbow or shin and instep pads.

Joint supports such as knee, elbow wrist and ankle may be worn providing they do not consist of padding or stabilising bars

Hand wraps are not permitted under fighters' gloves. However bandages may be applied to protect the hand, but not so much as to give the fighter advantage over their opponent.

No body oils or grease etc. may be applied to any part of a competitor.

No Jewellery or any other piece of body adornment may be worn.

No hard contact lenses should be worn during a bout.

Any loose / removable dental work should be removed for the duration of the fight






















Competitors must be weighed in at the agreed and specified weight, a short period of extra time will be given to make weight if required. Competitors opponent or representative may be present to observe the weigh in. Doctor's checks MAY be carried out on ANY competitor prior to the bout if required by the organisers



Fights will consist of amateur rules as specified by the organisers



Fighting area will be a 20ft MMA Cage



Submission: Physical tapout or verbal tapout, if a fighter taps their opponent or the floor 3 times as a result of a technique applied or if a fighter shouts out, the referee will stop the bout and award the opponent the winner.


Stoppage: If a fighter is in a position where they are taking excessive punishment either from striking or a position of submission and show a willingness not to continue or that they are in a position where they may not be able to defend themselves, or they merely show a refusal to submit in the face of grave injury, or any other reason the referee deems necessary to preserve the safety of the fighter in question, the referee will stop the bout and award the opponent the winner.


TKO: Technical knockout will be called if a fighter cannot continue due to an injury or if a fighter's corner decided that their fighter has taken enough punishment and they throw in the towel.


Disqualification: When a fighter is disqualified by referee's decision.


Judges Decisions: The judges will be situated at a designated area allowing them a clear view of the arena. The judges will work in conjunction with the referee and are responsible for scoring each round of a bout. The event will use the "10 point must" scoring system. In this system 10 points is the maximum score and 8 points the minimum (Unless the referee orders a point deducted). For a fighter to win by points they must win by 2 clear points at the end of the bout. The competitor who controls the bout in the judge's opinion will be awarded 10 points and his opponent will be awarded the lesser points depending on his contribution to the bout. If a judge perceives the round as being even then he will award both fighters 10 points.



The referee will be in charge of the general supervision of the bout. He or she will enforce the relevant rules and ensure the safety of the competitors and ensure fair play.

It is the referee's duty to announce all submissions, technical knockouts, bout stoppages, warnings, point deductions and or disqualifications.

The referee shall have the power to stop the bout at any stage if he or she considers the bout to be too one sided, or if either competitor is in such a condition that to continue might subject them to serious injury, or in any case he/she considers disqualification necessary.

The referee shall have the power to stand the fighters up at any stage from the ground if he or she thinks that either or both competitors are not working enough on the ground. A standing start shall then resume.



The minimum age for entry will be 16 years and above

Spectators will be charged £5 entry cost.



The cost of entry per person is £10 upfront

Spectators will be charged £5





NEIL HALL / MARK SPENCER (Organisers and Promoters of "Sprawl 'n' Brawl") for further details.


This competition is intended for people who have a maximum of 1 previous amateur mma fight experience or no fights at all. Grappling experience or kickboxing experience will not be counted although anyone of a very high standard and experience level will not be considered for this competition, it is designed purely for new amateur fighters. Trophies will be awarded on the day.


Outstanding finalists may be invited to fight for their relevant weight group title on "The Champions" MMA event in Bradford August 16th. Please ask for further information.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Nuggets Of Advice from Aesopian

Reproduced with kind permission from my friend Matt Kirtley
Taken from Aesopian's Journal, check it out.

As is the fashion when one receives a new belt, I felt I should offer a handy list of advice on what helped me get my purple.

The problem with pieces like this is how easy it is to blow off their truisms. I hope I can avoid this a bit by offering less common tips like…

Don’t feel stupid.
As a beginner, especially before you realize how understanding and supportive your school is, it’s easy to suffer from “feeling stupid”. So much is unfamiliar and unknown to you, and you’re being constantly required to do things before you know what to do.

Add to this that you’re having to deal with emotional issues like the discomfort of physical contact with strangers, the pressure of performing in front of others, wanting to fit into the group, not wanting to be embarrassed, trying to make your instructor proud, and so on.

Overcoming these concerns can be a lot to deal with at first, and I think it is psychological issues like these that cause most white belts to quit.

Realize that everyone else went through the same issues and understands what you’re going through. You’re not stupid if you don’t know something yet—-that’s the whole reason you’re at class.

So relax and don’t sweat it.

Be optimistic.
Eduardo had a saying that has stuck with me ever since I was a white belt:
“Jiu-jitsu is for the optimist.”

An optimistic outlook will aide you greatly as you learn and improve at BJJ.

Let’s say you get caught in sparring with a move you didn’t expect at all. You could react to this a few ways.

You could beat yourself up for getting caught, start muscling the guy so he won’t get you again and get a “revenge tap” out of him.

Or, as I’d suggest, you could admire his success and ask him to show you what he did so you can learn it too.

Your mindset, negative or positive, can affect how quickly and smoothly you improve, as well as set the vibe at your gym.

Believe in the techniques.
Your optimism or pessimism can extend specifically to how you learn new techniques.
I’ve seen someone learning a new move and dismiss it, saying “I’ll never get that to work.” This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, since they go on to half-heartedly drill it, and then never attempt it in sparring, so it “never works”.

Drill each technique like it’s you’re favorite move and look forward to using it. Try to get it in sparring the same day. Don’t get discouraged when you can’t get it to work at first. Just keep drilling it and going for it in sparring. It will come to you in the end.

Don’t be a douche bag.
This would be the spot normally reserved for the trite “Leave your ego at the door”, but I don’t really like that cliché. I think “douche bag” explains the problem better than “ego”, which is why I’ve gone with my saying.

Ego can be a good thing, since you should feel an appropriate sense of self-worth and be proud of your accomplishments. What people really don’t want is for you to be self-important and make others feel bad.

In case you still don’t get it, here’s a handy list to get you started:

  • Don’t worry or gossip about who can tap who, who you can tap, who can tap you, and so on.
  • Don’t use needlessly rough moves and especially no illegal or injurious techniques.
  • Don’t get caught up in rank and hierarchy and running after the next belt.


  • Do help less experienced training partners and answer their questions.
  • Do put up a good (and safe) fight when seriously sparring.
  • Do your best to be as technical as possible.
  • It’s just training and you’re all there to learn together.

Find good training partners.
Make friends at class and find someone else who shares your interest in improving. This is easier if you’ve got the last point down.
What should you look for in a training partner?
They’re happy to put in the time to do the extra drilling and sparring with you.
They’re someone you can exchange techniques with who will help with the R&D.
They’ll work on a move and give you details and tips they’ve figured out.
They’ll spot a mistake you’re making and help you fix it.

I feel I owe much of my biggest improvements to my great training partners who are willing to put in the time and energy to stay after class and come in on Sundays to get the extra training.

Use your otherwise idle time (driving, taking a shower, laying in bed, etc.) to do mental exercises like visualization.

Remember each step and detail of a technique. What did the instructor say about the move? What mistakes did you make? What adjustment did you have to make? What happens if you do a step wrong?

Try to vividly recall a round of sparring. What did you do? What did they do? Where was your weight? How was your balance? What should you have done differently? What did you do right?

Keep a training log.
I’ve kept a log for most of the time I’ve been training, and it is what I attribute to my being able to remember each technique in detail. It is the most involved form of visualization I use.
It’s not that I return to what I have written, since I rarely read my old notes, but the act of finding the words to describe the techniques makes me run through the move over and over again in my mind.

Drill drill drill.
Eduardo thought back on what he saw the top Gracie Barra black belts doing that set them apart. What were guys like Nino and Soca doing different? They tirelessly drilled their best moves.

The importance of drilling is one of Eddie Bravo’s messages. He told a story about how it was only once he could put in extra sessions of drilling that his game really took off. His slang was to find the “magic number”, the number of reps where the move suddenly sinks in and becomes automatic.

From personal experience, my best moves are the ones I drill the most. The reverse omoplata was a novelty until I drilled it to a point that I could do it with my eyes closed, and by then it had become my top submission.

Spar spar spar.
You can’t just “think” your way through BJJ. Analysis and gaining a conceptual understanding is important, and putting in reps on a move is valuable, but you need to balance it all against a healthy dose of sparring.

It’s through sparring that you’ll hammer out the techniques you drilled and put all of your thoughts into action. Sparring is also where you develop the attributes associated with experience and skill, like timing, sensitivity and awareness.

Keep training.
You will have ups and downs, peaks and slumps. You’ll have good days and bad weeks. You won’t always feel like getting on the mats. You’ll get bumps, bruises and serious injuries. You’ll be off your game or be caught by surprise and get tapped by lower belts.

Accept all of this as an inevitable part of our sport and the art. Then just keep training.

Belt Promotions

We had a couple of guys promoted recently so huge congrats to:

Luke Young who was awarded his purple belt

Pete Hill who was awarded his blue belt

Shane Cartwright who was also promoted to blue belt

Training Diary?

Why keep a training diary?

Interesting article, kind of in line with why I have been pushing having a competition game plan.

Read and make up your own mind.