Sunday, December 28, 2008



Classical Martial Arts Society

I started Judo when I was just 5 years old in 1955 and in all that time I was taught that Judo was a Martial Way which included a sporting element, SHIAI. For most of my life it has been Shiai that has dominated my Judo career yet I was brought up in a generation where you could not grade without understanding the Martial Way, which in my younger days meant learning and performing Judo theory and Kata it would be many years before I understood the Philosophy of Judo or should I say the Philosophy of Jigaro Kano. So now because of injures my competition days are finished and I look back on the past sometimes with misty eyes wishing I was what I was then, another time it is with a smile realising having to learn all those terrible Kata’s, which I would argue fervently were a waste of time and having to be taught and examined by people who could not beat me, were part of my road to understanding Jigaro Kano’s Judo. My parents both sadly no longer with us must look down on me and think it has taken him 53 years to learn.

Does that mean I have gone soft on the contrary I still feel that young people should experience Shiai, yet I feel there are people in the World of Judo who are being neglected? Many years ago I started Camcorder gradings for Jiu Jitsu and CombatSombo which have been very successful, 80% of enquires I get for Camcorder Gradings never go past the first enquire. Most believe that if they pay enough I will give them some grade, when they realise they have to work for their grade and a pass an exam with the outcome not a forgone conclusion they soon give up the idea. On a lot of occasions I have been asked to do Camcorder Gradings for Judo and I have resisted this but the majority of these enquire were not from people who did not want to go to their local Judo Club. They were from people who 1) lived literally hundreds of miles from the nearest Judo Club, where 3 or 4 men or women who have got together to practise Judo learning from books and magazines or Judoka who have learnt Judo practised but never graded or maybe got to 1st Kyu or 1st Dan after 20 years want to go further but their organisation would not let them jump grades, something IBFUK doe not allow. I feel I want help these people.

The Classical Martial Arts Society will be able to help them by offering grading in all the Classical Martial Arts, CMAS will not be an association it will be purely an examination board and will be for the assessment of an Individual ability to perform theoretical tasks in a Traditional manner. It will not be an award that tests their ability to teach others, this can be achieved by joining an Organisation. CMAS will present the candidate with a Syllabus which they will then have perform via DVD, the production of the DVD doe not have to be professional but it does need to be of a high amateur standard in content and production. All candidates will be vetted, as it not my intention to by pass the various Martial Arts Organisations, for example if some one applies to be graded to 1st Dan Judo and there are clubs in a 40 mile radius they will be expected to support their local club. My own expertise is in Judo, CombatSombo, Sambo and Jiu Jitsu, if a candidate wants to be examined in an Art I am not familiar with I will appoint an examiner who is, with over 50 years in the Martial arts this will not be hard to do.

Any one interested in CMAS contact Martin Clarke 8th Dan, go to .org and check my various web sites

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I have been involved in Judo for 53 years and I am always bemused by those Judoka who believe that Judo is the only form of jacket Wrestling, these Judoka are convinced that they are purists and believe practising any other style of grappling will ruin there Judo! RUBBISH.

As the years went by I thought this attitude had changed the BJA are now employing Russian Coaches who have Sambo Champions as well as Judo champions, they have realised that to win International Competitions you have to be versatile and innovative, if Judo do not win medals they do not get a grant and that will effect all Judoka whether you believe Judo is a sport or a Martial Art.

The other day I came across a group of Judoka all Dan Grades bemoaning how Judo had changed, how standards had dropped because Sambo Players had become involved in Judo and turned it into a bad form of wrestling with no big throws. Well this is where I stepped in, my first question have you seen any World Class Sambo Tournaments? The answer was NO; I then asked how you can make such a sweeping statement without any knowledge is not just wrong but is unintelligent, I explained that Sambo has very high throws as does Kurash and Belt Wrestling and can only benefit Judoka. Obviously this remark created a heated discussion, I then asked the question when was Judo at its best in the late 60’s and 70’s they all replied before any of this wrestling rubbish got involved a further question was apart from the Japanese who was the leading Judoka. Of course the answer was the Soviet Union and all of their Judo players were Sambo Players, I remember meeting Soviet Judoka and them telling me that they never had a grading system, let alone done Kata, to them Judo was just another form of Olympic Grappling. Yet after saying that they had to abide by the Rules of Judo and even after abiding by rules alien to them they could still win Olympic and World Titles. So if Judo Competition is being ruined it is by the people who invent the Rules i.e. International Judo Federation.
Of course the discussion then moves on to personal insults things like “You do not like Judo because you did no go the Olympic Games in 1980” “as a non BJA member you have issues”, as some one who has been involved in politics you know when some one is losing an argument they start becoming personal yet reply I must. Firstly I said the only issue I have had with the BJA was that I was not allowed to belong to any other Judo organisation, I felt this to be deeply offensive and undemocratic, that has now changed, not only do I have a BJA license my IBF members have actively got involved in getting graded and getting BJA coaching awards, 4 of my students have won Kent International medals, my son John had his 4th recognised as well as being selected to fight for the South. Of I love Judo as an 8th Dan how couldn’t I but I am addicted to Sambo I feel the fighting is far superior to modern day Judo it is explosive, exciting innovative, the scoring is simpler and the scores easy to understand, yet Judo is much more then just fighting it is a philosophy for life as I get older I can see that I can see how valuable Kata is and why Jigaro Kano put so much emphasis on the subject but as some one who was a competitor of a reasonable standard I can understand why the young prefer to contest and I still get a buzz out of some one doing the perfect throw.
We then moved on to Club practise all of them thought that a Club practise is ideal for training for competition, I again disagreed I said at Club level you two types of Judo Recreational and Competitive and listening to these people all they done was recreational. Recreational is fun Judo which I expect 85% of Judoka want to do, most do not want be over stretched they have get up for work in the morning, they love things like Uchi Komi, a little bit of Kata s long as not much throwing and of course the Ne Waza here they can roll around the ground without any injury, you not over excerpted and you can have a good time. Would a Competitive Players spend hours in Ne Waza training of Course not, they would know that in Judo you would be lucky to have 45 seconds on the floor trying holds or submissions, so their training would be a maximum 1 minute in Ne Waza start again, Uchi Komi a good warm but you need to throw your Uki to get the feeling of the full throw and contest would be full bloodied. I am always bemused when some one says so and so is good on the ground that normally means they do not like standing work but who cares if they are not a competitor they enjoy that part of Judo. The Judoka who annoys me most is the one who will only do bits of the class, I do not do any standing contest, I only do ground work, no I do not believe in the fitness training and finally the talkative one when you trying to contest they will say you can not do that its not in the rules, that technique is banned, You are not allowed to grip like that, this is not true Judo. Thank God we only get the odd one turn up occasionally that is normally only the once.

My only form of Jacket Wrestling from 1955 till 1974 was Judo since 1974 I practised Free Style Wrestling, Sambo Wrestling, Kurash, Belt Wrestling, Canaria Lucha, Greco Roman Wrestling, Sport Jiu Jitsu, CombatSombo Wrestling and I have won medals in Judo, Sambo, Free Style and Jiu Jitsu. They have all have enhanced my knowledge and I have never got the rules mixed up when I entered different tournaments more importantly if I lost I never made the excuse I did not know the rules.

So to all those who believe that Judo is the only true way to enlightenment I am sorry to say you are wrong.

Martin Clarke 8th Dan judo Grandmaster Sambo

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Former IBF/YJC member become Olympic hopeful

Congratulations to 18 year old Francesca Steggall who just made the British Judo Associations British Women's Squad at 52 Kilo. Francesca started her Judo career with the IBF and Young Judo Club and was taught by Greg Garside 4th Dan IBF/BJA. She now trains with another former YJC member Alan Roberts 6th Dan at Dartford Judo Club, Alan is one of GB's most successful International Coaches, so Francesca has an excellent chance of making the 2012 Olympics. Well done Francesca

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is Government Killing British Sport


I recently wrote an article about my concerns with regard to how Bureaucracy is killing amateur sport or shall I say how it is trying to prevent people starting sport. The main thrust of my article is one the cost and the amount of paper work you have to collect to start a club, lets have a look at cost:
1) To start any club it will soon be necessary for a newcomer to hold a United Kingdom Coaching Certificate, this will involved attends a weekend course including a Friday night, then there will be an exam and this is for you to be an assistant Coach the cost anything from £200 upwards. Now an assistant can only assist a full Coach, so you will have to move on the next step a Full Coach this involves several weekends and a lot more costs I am told anything from £600 upwards.
2) To start your Club you will need to aim for a Club Mark what does that involve (I am quoting the Judo Club Mark but I expect it will be the same for all Sports)

Coaches and volunteers
There is a minimum of two BJA Club Coaches working within the club programme - all
coaches hold a current valid BJA coaches’ certificate
At least two volunteers (one is a coach) have attended a sports coach UK child
protection course
One coach has attended a sports coach UK Equity in your Coaching course
One volunteer has attended the Running Sport Club for All course in the last 12 months
Duty of care and child protection
The club has adopted the BJA Child Protection Policy and is working towards the
procedures laid down
The club has adopted codes of conduct for all coaches, referees and volunteers working
with children and young people
The club has a code of conduct for parents/carers
The club has written procedures for dealing with injuries/accidents
The club has access to a telephone at all club sessions, gradings and competitions
Coaches and volunteers have access to first aid equipment at all club coaching and
competition sessions
The club has the contact details of parents/carers and emergency/alternative contacts
The club records all junior players taking part in coaching activity on attendance sheets
with access to important medical information
Club management
The club is affiliated to the British Judo Association, and has public liability insurance
The club has an open/non-discriminatory constitution that is reviewed annually and
comparable to the current BJA Model
The club has a specific membership category and pricing policy for children and young
The club has contact with its local authority sports development officer or Sports
The club has a junior co-ordinator to act as a liaison with Sport England, Sports
Partnerships and the BJA
The club ensure that all coaching and competition takes place within a safe facility
The club has a set of rules for children and young people
The club communicates regularly with players/parents/carers via regular mailings of
newsletter or information bulletin
The Club has established one Club - School link
The club has a current written 12 month action plan
Playing programme – coaching and competition
The coaches and volunteers responsible for the programme have job descriptions with
clear roles and responsibilities assigned
The club has separate junior and senior training sessions
The Club provides opportunities for juniors to gain grades in the BJA Mon grading
scheme (including Novice to 6th Mon)
The club provides opportunities for juniors to attend BJA county/area competitions
The club operates with a recommended player/coach ratio no greater than 20:1

I expect some will say I am a Luddite on the contrary I have been advocating proper coaching syllabus for nearly 30 years, I along with Geof Gleeson formulated the IBF Coaching Effective Programme, I founded the Academy of Coaching with Geof and was a founder member of the Guild of Sports Internationalists details can be found on . In all honesty the UKCC must have looked at the IBF Coaching Effective Programme because the similarities are obvious as with the Club Mark most of what is included all my clubs have practised for over a decade with one or two accept ions.
The one thing both Geof and myself agreed on all those years was educating people to become Coaches should be voluntary and inexpensive if it was to cater for all people. The idea of Government getting involved was horrific to the pair of us as we could see if they were involved the actual Coaches would be pushed to one side and the bureaucrats would take over eventually dumbing down everything to the lowest common dominator.

So before long Sports Coaching and Sport in general will become just another Government Quango i.e. State Run Sport.
Sometimes it pays for people who know their subject to be allowed to run their own organisation with out government interference and without government money. When you are self funding you become much more appreciative of where money goes and most goes on the subject you are interested in, as soon as Government money funds a project all of sudden you see the cost administration go sky high, soon there are more administrators then participants.

Coaching and Sport needs to be innovative, inventive, Government involvement will HARMONISE Coaching and Sport, this means it will standardise and innovation will be treated as interference in the well running of sport, with a compulsory system how would you get new sports or new ideas. How many new sports have been invented over the last few hundreds years if sport was run by the state would they be there now I doubt it.

Let me explain how I and many other sportsmen have worked in the past with great success I will use Judo as my sport as that is my expertise but this scenario can apply to any sport.
One of your adult students shows an interest in getting involved in the Club lesson; he or she is of reasonable ability (Judo Blue Belt). You start by allowing them to shadow you or a qualified coach as you see them progress you give them more responsibility till they are ready to take a lesson under your guidance. Once they have reached this stage you encourage them to take a qualification, the IBF has a Practical Proficiency Award Scheme for Instructors. This scheme allows the qualified Coach to examine the candidate on his Practical ability, there is no written work involved in this scheme and all work is done with in the club at a minimum cost of £10 this can be seen on .

What is also important about this PPA is that it get people who are not academically aware i.e. have a problem with reading and writing, involved. These people can be very gifted Coaches who a natural ability to pass on their knowledge to others yet if we continue down the line of Compulsory qualifications which have a high academic and high cost input these people will be marginalised in fact “Academic & Financial apartheid”

Coaching should always be a two way ride the Coach teaches their pupils and by doing this they increases their own knowledge. For example many years ago a good friend of mine a Female Coach had two very good Female Judo Competitors both were Travellers after a period of time both wanted to be come Coaches yet neither could read or write to any level but they were excellent Coaches. Both passed their PPA but they were not contented with this they wanted the Full Coach Award, to do this both went to classes to learn to read and write properly, So becoming a Coach helped them redress the failure of the State to educate them and the State was not involved with their progress. Yet another plus was that the Female Coach who introduced them to Judo also taught them to read and write, she gained by the experience because it was an area she had never visited before, I could go on but by now you should have the idea.

The Compensation Culture is also causing a great deal of problems in the Sports World with more and more Coaches moving out of Coaching because of the fear of being sued. Recently there was a Court case regarding the injure to a Junior Judo Player whilst doing a Grading (Belt Promotion Test) his claim was that the boy he had to demonstrate on was bigger and older. He weighed 5 lbs more and was 6 month older; thankfully this was not accepted by the Judge, if it was Judo would be finished along with all other grappling sport. How can you have a child age for age, weight for weight it is impossible. Yet this case has brought up the scenario about age and weight, for years a junior was 5 years to 15 years divided into weights, with little or no injury. As we Judoka became more educated we realise that the age difference was to great so my organisation IBF UK made the following changes 5,6 and 7 years, 8 years to 12 years, 13, 14 and 15 years all divided into weights. Recently the Governing Body for Judo the British Judo Association introduce weight categories in two years age band, an excellent idea it was hoped it would encourage more youngsters to compete and would certainly be a lot fairer and safe (safe to me it not the right word as infers any other way is unsafe and that is not true). Sadly it has not encouraged more players what it has done it has made winning a medal easier, this in my opinion leads to a drop in standard but that is another matter. The problem is with Judo in decline over the few years and all associations membership has decreased create a problem when running tournaments. The governing body will have sufficient members to run these two year age band competitions but smaller organisations and clubs will not get enough players to have such varied amount of categories. They have relied on something similar to what the IBF UK organise, these smaller events have been the feeders for the major tournament, the ones that encourage the new player to have go. So if the Insurance companies decide insure only two year age band tournaments these will be finished another nail in the coffin.

This has been a long winded letter but I think it is important that something is done other wise we will sleep walk into State Run Sport which will there for the few who can win international medals just like the old Soviet Union who used Sports as a show piece for their political system.

If I can raise enough interested in my concerns I will try to organise a meeting it is hoped a leading politician will chair the meeting, please circulate this letter to anyone who you think may be interested in preserving British Sport

Martin Clarke 118 East Street Sittingbourne 01795 437124 sombogb @

Monday, November 03, 2008

Death of Sport

Are we seeing the death of Amateur Sport?

This may seem strange questions after one of our most successful Olympics ever and with the UK hosting the 2012 Olympics. Yet the British Olympic committee have said there has been a drop of 20% participating in Sport and remember the Olympics is now open to Professionals. So the word amateur sportsman is now a defunct name for Sports people? Yes in top sporting events to reach the top of the main sports you have to be professional but there are still people who are participating in Sport whether as a coach, competitor, participants who are at a level where they receive no financial gain in fact doing there sport costs money.
My feeling are that unless things change rapidly Sport participation is to sink to even lower levels especially with the under 16 years. Let give an example:

Ask yourself the question how many local Football teams started with a couple Dads kicking the Ball around a park other lads join in, some weeks down the line some one comes up with the idea let’s form a Team and join a league. A new team is formed which give the youngster discipline, sense of belonging, pride and all the other things sport can give.
Could that happened today? If it can what would they needed
1) Kit
2) Professional Indemnity Insurance to protect the coach
3) Accident Insurance for all the players
4) Public Liability Insurance
5) Coach Qualification
6) Club Mark
7) Join a league
Club Mark what is that I hear you say? Surely that is not a legal requirement No not yet but without a Club Mark you will most probably get no grant aid, it will be difficult to get insurance cover and the local schools will not recommend your club. Recently a member of my Judo Club the Young Judo Club asked the Person in charge of all the local SSCo (School Sports coordinator) why we were not on the recommended list she informed him that the Government has told them not to recommend any Club without a Club Mark! Yet our Club is over 50 years Old and is World Famous and never had a visit from this person, someone I might add who is paid by the local Tax Payer so much for Democracy in the UK. Our Club is lucky it has sufficient funds and expertise to get a Club Mark from both the British Judo Association and Kent County Council.
What is a Club Mark this basically a Kite Mark so people can recognise a Club has some basic standards, this in itself is not a bad idea but why do we need the HEAVY HAND of a dictatorial state
Here are some of the things require for a Club Mark Must have two qualified coaches , Two Volunteers must attend a course on running a club and how to be a volunteer, CRB Check, attend Child protection Course, has an open/non-discriminatory constitution and equity policy , The coaches and volunteers responsible for the programme have job descriptions with
Clear roles and responsibilities assigned. I could go on and this all for a group of people who want to help kids get involved in Sport and doesn’t finish there by 2012 all Coaches will be expected to have United Kingdom Coaching Certificate with prices up to a £1000 I wonder how many people will take up the offer.

All my facts can be checked by going to on the internet, after readings this am I right in saying amateur Sport will soon be dead? Or am I just a cynic but don’t say you have not been warned

Well Dads do you still want start that Football Team?
Martin Clarke Sittingbourne

Friday, October 17, 2008

Calling all Females

Calling all Ladies and Girls

Over the 51 years since the Young Judo club was established it has always attracted as many Females as it did Males in fact it is most probably the most successful club in the country in producing Female Judoka. Sadly over the last couple of years the numbers have fallen but Keith Costa and Miles Brown are trying regenerate female interest in the Martial Art/Sport. Keith teaches Self Defence for the Girls Grammar School and some of the pupils have joined the Club, Miles is catering for the mature women he has several ladies in their thirties and early Forties now training with him on a Wednesday night.
So why should a Female join the Young Judo Club apart from the obvious qualified Coaches, Good Facilities and tradition, Judo is an ideal way to get fit and keep you healthy it also teaches you self defence plus gives you confidence. A misconception is that they will become very manly and travel the country competing, this is far from the truth female Judoka have a wide range of things away from Contest, they practise the perfection of technique, they learn the art of Kata (Demonstration of Classical Moves), they learn how to use Judo as a self defence system, they learn how to teach others.
Well Ladies and Girls do you want to be a bit different from the rest of the herd YES well become a Judoka.

Further information sombgb @ 01795 437124 or turn up at the Swale Martial Arts Club East Street Sittingbourne on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. The Club is situated by the East Street Roundabout.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My 5th Grandchild

Today my youngest daughter Susan gave birth to a bouncing boy 6lb something. His name is to be George. Georges sister Poppy and Dad Anthony (Husband to Susan) are both very happy as are we grandparents


My Knee again

At long last a surgeon has agreed to replace my knee this is after 6 years and two cancelled operations but even now I have been told there is a 4 months wait. So all well and good but before I was accepted I had to sign a form confirming that I understood:
1) I could die on the operating theatre
2) I could get blood clots and die
3) I could get MRSA
4) I may be in more pain after the operation
5) I may get an infection
6) The knee will not last very long because of my weight

The rather dower surgeon then asked if I was happy with this? He seemed surprise when I said NO I AM BLOODY NOT but I will have it done any way. It seems that they can transplant new arms to a patient, send a man to the moon but can not develop a knee for someone over 12 stone. The NHS is a disgrace.
Before I left he said your Hip is very bad that will need replacing “OOO Christmas all over again can not wait”

For those who interested I damaged my knee at the age of 24 demonstrating Kaeshi Kata (Kata of Counters) Uki attacks with Ippon Seoi Nage Tori responds by jumping in front to throw with Uki Waza. To do this your right foot goes ground first at this point I twisted my knee out of joint.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More About Injury

This was sent to me by Geof Gleeson approx 1988 still relevant today

"Watching the National Championships (Judo), all the injuries were caused by very badly performed skills. Competitors locking legs,round another and just falling over. Such badly trained people are bound to cause injuries. No one who was thrown skillfully injured themselves falling whether they used UKEMI or not!

this was a PS to a letter he wrote to me about my article on Ukemi

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Geof Gleeson 9th Dan

Geof Gleeson 9th Dan
By Martin Clarke
I am now 58 years old (2008) and been involved with Judo since the age of 5 and the people with the most influence on my Judo career have been my mother and father Margret Clarke 4th Dan and John Nobby Clarke 6th Dan but there was also one other who would be come my mentor and that was Geof Gleeson. To read more about Geof click

Theory only Judo Grades NO

The British Judo Association has now decide that there is no need for contest for all Kyu Grades and although I understand their logic in the fact that British people are softer now then they were 10 years ago and they no longer wish to compete or contest in the Club but it is still wrong.
With our dismal performance at the Olympic Games I expect the BJA are under a lot of pressure to get their act together and start producing champions this can only be achieved by having a much wider base i.e. more members. Yet should we sacrifice the heart and soul of Judo for the Olympics, twenty years ago they brought in a grading system that required no theory what so ever, this was wrong and led to the drop in standard and popularity of Judo. The reintroduction on a Theory based syllabus is excellent but it needs to link to Shiai. You will never understand the mechanics of a technique until it is tested in contest, for in contest you learn to expect the unexpected, you become adaptable and respond to different actions and attacks this is what makes Judo great and is a great character builder.
It is a common for coaches to say that Judo Theory and judo Contest is two different things sorry but that is rubbish. Yes if you have a syllabus and it has been decided a certain throw is given a certain name and done in a certain way this must be done when being examined, it is the perfect way to do that technique. Judoka should be taught how to do the perfect technique and this perfect technique will work in contest if the right scenario happens in contest, all of us have clapped and cheered when we see the perfect throw in contest. Yet the joy of contest is that the right scenario is rare and you adapt to the current circumstances this improves the Judoka’s knowledge and understanding of the Art. I am in agreement that techniques in grading should be done as near perfect as possible but it should not be annexed from Contest, the two should work in harmony.

If we fore go contest for just a theory based teaching regime I am certain that it will weaken our International Success and is certainly will not be the Martial Art I started in way back in 1955, Judo used to be translated as the “Gentle Way” rather the “Supple Way” but it will soon be known as the “Softies Way”

Martin Clarke 8th Dan

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

CombatSombo Revived


As the Founder of the CombatSombo system I have always found it difficult trying to get my idea’s over to the public. My first idea 22 years ago was to Fast Track people from other styles, my logic was get them to 1st Degree Black Belt and they would form clubs, once this happened we could improve on standards. Sadly very few done this all they wanted to do is go home and brag they had a CombatSombo Black Belt, so back to the drawing board and this is when I came up with the idea of Camcorder Gradings in both CombatSombo and Jiu Jitsu. This has proved successful in as much I have had people from all over the World grading in this rather unique method, interestingly when I first started this some 15 years ago I came under a lot of criticism from the Martial Arts fraternity suggesting that the standard would be low. If any of you have tried creating a Video of yourself performing Martial Arts to a standard where you could sell it as an instructional DVD, you will know how difficult that is. To produce a 1hour tape can take as long as 20 hours to produce and that is just the practical. Many have tried the system but most have not achieved what they thought they were worth, some thought it was just a way to buy grade oh how wrong they were. As I said the Martial Arts Fraternity condemned me but look around now to see how many have copied me.
So I returned to my original way of teaching and raised the standards up to the level of my Judoka and Somboist, out of this I did create a result in as much Alan Cain from London started CombatSombo Club with The London Scottish a Territorial Army Regiment, they loved the style and they were just the type of people I wanted tough, hard and dedicated but this would not last long as International events would get in the way I refer to Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes even our Territorial army had to do there stints fighting for Queen and Country, after their last stint the lads never had the enthusiasm to get back to CombatSombo and who could blame them.
Again another restart and with myself still awaiting a replacement Knee and Hip I was becoming as useful as Chocolate Teapot so I invested the help of two top Grapplers my son John and Colin Carrott both very experienced in Sombo Wrestling, Judo, Kurash and Belt Wrestling, they could teach the throws, ground pins, arm locks, leg locks, strangles etc. I would continue teaching the more aggressive self defence techniques I would be helped by Miles Brown a Judo Black Belt who has had 15 years experience on the door but I also needed someone who could teach a bit of finesse. For this I went Greg Garside 4th Judo, Greg over the last few years has specialised in Judo Kata becoming a real expert. Several of the Judo Kata’s like Goshin Jutsu, Kime no Kata are really Jiu Jitsu Kata’s teaching defence against unarmed and armed attack, even the Ju No Kata if speeded up and taken to its logical conclusion can add to the repertoire of CombatSombo Players list of techniques. Has this worked well we will see but at a recent grading at Summer Camp two CombatSombo Players both passed their 6th Grade Brown Belt they were Russell Dodds and Leon Stewart, after they had graded many senior figures in the IBF commented how impressed they were.
So I return to high standard and hard work I will not worry about getting thousands of members all I want is quality and the big advantage I have over many other styles is that the name “COMBATSOMBO” is registered in my name and I am prepared to sue anyone who misuses it, so if you are CombatSombo member who wants to renew his or her vows why not contacted me at EastLeigh House, 118 East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 4RX or email: Sombogb @


For years now we have Martial Arts players telling us that they have invented the Ultimate Style of Martial Art? I have always been very dubious of these claims especially when the exponent goes from 1st Dan in a traditional style to an 8th Dan in there new style especially as some of their claims are rather spurious can I give you two examples:

1) Sombo Wrestling in GB has been continual active for 24 years now in that period we have had our ups and downs in the last 10 years we have had a very high standard at the British Open but this was not always the case pre 1998 some of the British Championships were very poorly attended. This led to somewhat inferior Champions who may have had just one fight to claim a title. Some years ago a Young Man in his very early twenties had an article printed in a magazine as tolling his art, the editor finished by saying how could body argue with him as he was a British Sombo Champion. What he forgot to mention that the gentleman only entered this one event and has never done Sombo since, he won the title by beating another novice and had WO against an experienced Sombo Wrestler who broke his toe and had to retire.

2) With so many styles being invented the whole fiasco caused some hilarity in our Judo/Sombo club, so after a training session we decided to invent our own which we called VORTIGAN. This was after a Saxon chief who lived in Kent claiming it was a true Martial Art from Kent where exponents would use sharpened trowels as throwing weapons and that the commando’s used it during WW11. I wrote an article on this fictionist Martial Art and sent it to various Martial Arts Magazines who printed the article (sorry to say I have lost the original) some months later I did tell them it was a spoof. Yet a few years later up pops another guy who has created his own style and would you believe it he trained in VORTIGAN for several years!!!

So the thing to do is always check out an Instructors History, before you get swallowed into becoming a money trap

Martin Clarke Sittingbourne

Friday, August 29, 2008

Judo Olympics

Four Year budget: £6.947m
Medal Target: 2
Medals: 0
An other disastrous Games. Needs to find players who can throw or coaches who can teach them

Mark: 4/10

Daily Mail August 25th
So what has happened to Judo? I was lucky enough to be competing in the late 60’s 70’s and early 80’s when there were British stars like Brian Jacks, Dave Starbrook, Keith Remfry, Arthur Mapp, Neil Adams, Chris Bowles, Billy Ward, Paul Radburn I could go on, this was the hey day of British Judo so what has happened since then to make the Daily Mail make such terrible comment. The first question come to mind these guys received little or no money in their quest for Olympic fame most like myself had to work and feed a family, some had very generous parents but they could win Olympic medals. All the regulation that surrounds Judo today seems to be suffocating the art, some regulations make sense but the things like Club Mark and UKCC may be good on paper but in practise they restrict the introduction of new clubs, how many people are on the payroll of the BJA? Some I know are doing a good job especially those working with schools but what about the rest?
Yet after saying that is it really the BJA who are to blame for our failure I am not so sure I believe it is the rules of Judo and the referees who interpreted those rules for instance:
1) With hardly any groundwork would Neil Adams have time to apply his famous Sanku Techniques?
2) With grip changing become like a fair ground Kangaroo Boxing match would Dave Starbrook be able to do his legendary Tia Otoshi
3) With competitors scrabbling about on their knees would Paul Radburn get that big O Goshi which he was a famed for
Judo Competition has changed beyond recognition from my day and I would suggest that the IJF look closely at what was happening 20 years ago:
1) Upright Judo should return, as the restrictions where you can hold makes bent over Judo very negative. A lot of people complained that the Judo in the Olympics was like Sombo. All I can say these people have never seen World Class Sombo Wrestling it has devasting throw and is much more audience friendly.
2) More groundwork should be allowed this will stop players stalling by just dropping to their knees
3) Stop players attacking from their knees
4) Allow a minimum grip fighting and then penalise for passivity
By all means bring some modern things in, allow coloured Gi’s, change the antiquated Japanese Scoring and Hand signals, bring in signals which the audience can understand, take referees out of blazers, which make them look to officious and put them in Track bottoms and Polo shirts with different coloured sleeves like they do in Olympic Wrestling.
The Olympics should have been a show case for World Judo, this it certainly was not especially with its appalling referee’s decisions; maybe the time has come to add Kata to the Judo Olympics to allow the World wide audience to see the artistic side of the Sport, lots of other sports allow this type of competition. Some how Judo has to be rescued from the Bureaucrats in the IJF who are ruining the Art
Martin Clarke

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What is Ippon

20. Ippon
I have taken an extract from the IJF rules please read. I have watched several competitions over the last year and Ippon’s are either given away far to easily or extremely hard, please read or am I the only one who still remembers what a correct Ippon is?
The Referee shall announce Ippon when in his opinion the applied technique corresponds to the following criteria:

When a contestant with control throws the other contestant largely on his back with considerable force and speed.
My Comment: therefore throws such as O Uchi Gari can score Ippon as does Sumi Geashi, someone who attempts a sacrificial throw and fails does not necessarily have Ippon scored against them.

When a contestant holds with Osaekomi-waza the other contestant, who is unable to get away for 25 seconds after the announcement of Osaekomi.

When a contestant gives up by tapping twice or more with his hand or foot or says Maitta (I give up!) generally as a result of Osaekomi-waza, Shime-waza or Kansetsu-waza.

When a contestant is incapacitated by the effect of a Shime-waza or Kansetsu-waza.
Equivalence: Should one contestant be penalised with Hansoku-make, the other contestant shall immediately be declared the winner
Simultaneous Ippons - See Article 19 (f) (4).
Simultaneous techniques: when both contestants fall to the Tatami after what appears to be simultaneous attacks, and the Referee and Judges cannot decide which technique dominated there should be no score awarded.
Should the Referee announce Ippon during Newaza in error and the contestants therefore separate, the Referee and Judges shall, if possible, and in accordance with the "majority of three" rule, replace the contestants into as close to their original positions as possible and restart the contest, if so doing will rectify an injustice to one of the contestants.
If one of the contestants deliberately makes a "bridge" (head and one foot or both feet in contact with the Tatami) after having been thrown - although he may have avoided the necessary criteria for Ippon, the Referee shall nonetheless award Ippon or any other score he considers the technique warrants, in order to discourage this action.
Using Kansetsu-waza in order to throw the opponent will not be considered for point scoring purposes

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ippon a New Book

A very good friend of mine Lurch (Ian Durie) from Scotland, is a prolific reader of Martial Arts Books and is extremely knowledgeable, he regular sends me down books to read. Most Martial Books are about : How to do i.e. explaining how to do techniques etc after 53 years training in Judo etc these become very tiresome, most authors are trying to convince the readers they have reinvented the wheel, next are auto biographies or biographies on how great they author is or how great the authors subject is. So when Lurch sent me the book entitled IPPON! “The fight for Judo’s soul” by David Hammond, I thought GOD have I really got to read this? Am I glad I did for this book is a little gem it relates the History of Judo from when Kano started and ends up explaining the history of British Judo, the author relates some of his own opinions which I found extremely interesting , although I thought he was bit hard on one of my mentors Geoff Gleeson. I have not me the author but he obviously understands what Judo is and you get a feeling reading the book that it was written by some who is passionate for the WAY of Judo to continue rather then slip into obis.
Ippon “The Fight for Judo” by Dave Hammond London League Publications Ltd PO Box 10441 London E14 8WR and all of you must read “The Pyjama Game”

One Final point although I have great respect for Jigaro Kano especially his Philosophies on Judo and its relationship with producing better Human Beings, I find it very hard to get my head round the fact that he did not start Jiu Jitsu until he was 17 years old and was a Master of 2 styles by the time he was 20 years old, some one who accordingly to legend was a “Physically weak boy”. I have taught Judo etc since I was 20 years old I am now 58 in 38 years I have never met or seen a Master at such a young age (I use the term Master in a Martial Arts context meaning ultimate practitioner) in fact I have met many Budoka from all over the World and would only suggest that a very few of them I would consider worthy of the title Master. By his early twenties he had invented Judo a completely new concept? Many years ago I wrote an article suggesting that Kano could have seen Cornishman practising Cornish Wrestling and suggested that this young man would have seen a concept unknown in Japan Fighting (Wrestling) without the intention of injuring your opponent and remaining friends after the bout, plus remember Jacket Wrestling is not unique to Japan. The Judo purist will pour scorn on me as some sort of anti Christ but it is not my intention to ridicule Kano you only have to read his life story to realise he was a remarkable man. What I am interested in is separating fact from fiction by questioning the myth, I would be very interested in a proper historian looking into greater depth into the early years of Jigaro Kano but he will need a n open mind.

Martin Clarke

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crawling Judo

Take a look at this video from the World Games Judo, this is an event that should be a showcase for Judo. Once you have watched it you can understand why TV does not want to broadcast Judo, you will see diving at the legs hanging on to the trousers, crawling across the mat on hands and knees, total Jigotai stance. All these things you tell a junior beginner not to do and all of this could be corrected by the referee giving out penalties for passive Judo. If the International Judo Federation call this Top Grade refereeing they should hang their heads in shame.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

3 Bronzes at Kent International

3 Bronzes in BJA Kent International

Members of the Young Judo Club participated in the British Judo Associations Kent International Judo Championships which was held at Corydon Leisure Centre over two weekends. This was only the 2nd year that members of the YJC have entered this prestigious event, last year John Clarke won a Bronze medal. This year it was the turn of the Carrott Brothers Lee and Danny to come back with a very hard fought Bronze, the following weekend Jamie Marzetti made it a further Bronze in the under 16 year class. The club entered the 2 seniors and 3 Juniors Ben Franks and Ashley Jordan both had two fights and lost both of them in what was a very hard competition. The YJC has now got its own Video site at present it has matches from the recent International in Enschede Holland, 1991 Nobby Clarke Memorial Championships and the BJA Kent International apart from a general interest for members and the public others can make a detailed examination. All contributors to newspapers and magazines are inclined guild the Lilly slightly when reporting on club members these videos help to relay exactly what happened. Martin Clarke was not at the competition but because of this latest technology could analyse the matches, the one thing that he commented on that he thought that both the Carrott Brothers should have won Gold Lee fitness was a little suspect and this put his timing out and considering this was his first International with BJA (he entered as a Novice as he is yet to be graded with this organisation) he could have great future with the Governing Body but he must train regular instead of relying on natural ability. Brother Danny goes from strength to strength he performed some spectacular Ippon throws and only lost on a rather dubious Ippon by a throw which was initiated by him; Danny and his girlfriend Debbie Jackson have been selected for the World Sombo Championships in St Petersburg Russia in November. Martin commented that the Ippon throw (the equivalent to a knockout in Boxing) has changed radically in the last 15 years if you look at the 1991 championships and the 2008 you can see, to make a boxing analogy in 1991 the 10 count would be 20 seconds and in 2008 it takes 5 seconds both are wrong because it should take 10 seconds. Members of the public can also see different videos clips of the Club, some going back as far as the early 70’s on You Tube sadly the quality is not that high as some have been transferred from standard 8 films, log on to YouTube then type in either IBFUK or IBFBCSA or Britishsombo .
Any one interested in learning all forms of Judo should log on email telephone 01795 437124

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Judo Rules need to change So do Referees


Over the last 20 years my interest in Judo has been through the International Budo Federation but I have been very active on World Wide Basis with Sombo/Sambo the latter being very important to what about to say.

The last couple of years IBF members have been allowed to become members of the UK Governing body for Judo the British Judo Association, I have encouraged IBF members to join the BJA as long as they still join the IBF. Many of those who opposed allowing the IBF members to hold membership would ague that what is the point of holding two licenses the simple answer is in the name the IBF is a multi style Martial Arts and Combat Discipline association. For one license you can do all the Martial Arts plus many grappling styles including plus through the IBF you become members of the UK Governing Body for Sombo/Sambo the British Sombo Federation. Even our IBF members suggested that we could lose out by affiliating to the BJA my response was that if the IBF was any good it would survive if not it would collapse two years on we are still here and stronger.

Before we joined the BJA we would continually be accused of being out of touch with modern day competition Judo until IBF members started to use the BJA I saw no need to change what has been a reasonably good system. With members also holding BJA membership and with our own IBF INTERNATIONAL body moving to pure IJF rules time had come for me to move with the times, so I have read through the IJF rules (that was something of an achievement) watched BJA/IJF tournaments, listened to BJA officials and competitors, I am sorry to say I barely recognised the Sport I was involved with in as a potential Olympian in the mid 1970’s to the early 1980’s.

I watched several video from World, European, World Cup Championships and all I could see was 6 minutes of Judoka fighting for grips and never committing themselves 100% to a throw, heaven help us if one of the competitors scored a minor score to create a lead because then it would become an endurance test for both competitor and spectator. Yet you could not blame the competitors they fight according to the rules and it is the rules or shall I say the interpretation of the rules that are bad for Judo. The refereeing I have seen has been quite frank appalling back in the 70’s and 80’s there was a lot of rivalry between the different Judo Associations but the one thing most agreed the BJA had the best referees, this can not be said of today. Some will say here goes Clarkee insulting the BJA on the contrary, I would not have suggested that my members join the BJA if I was not impressed with their innovative approach to Judo but if I and others must be allowed to make some constructive criticism. BJA referees have the same problem we have in the IBF NO ONE wants to be a referee so inexperienced referees are getting to centre referee before they are ready.

Here are a few suggestions that may help:
In the IBF we always try and put our most experience referees on first this normally sets the standard for the whole competition, if during the day the refereeing standard start dropping the Senior Refereeing then reinstates the more experience referee to centre stage. Lets all of us stop insulting referees all that does is alienate them and entrenches them into bad habits, when they are finished congratulate them and thank them for giving up their day, when they feel appreciated they may listen to constructive criticism and why not give a Referee of the day award.

Years ago I wrote an article and suggested to be a referee you need not be a Judoka! For if the rules simple and straight forward any one should be able to understand them and referee. My point was if you want spectators to watch Judo to make it more popular, you have to make it is more visual and its scoring must be apparent in 10 minutes. Have a look at Sombo Wrestling another Jacket Wrestling sport, Total Victory Throw on back remain standing submission by arm lock or leg lock, you can also throw for 4pts, 2pts, 1pt, hold on the ground 2pts and 4pts. To win Total Victory, 12pt margin or end of time highest score. One player in Red one in Blue, referee wear Red and Blue sleeves, any score for the relevant colour indicated with relevant arm all scores given with fingers, start and stop on a whistle. Obviously there is more to it that what I have written but to someone who never seen Sombo it is a very easy start. Try and explain Judo in 5 lines? Because Judo rules are far more complicated all referees must have reasonable standard of Judo knowledge especially in what constitutes a throw. The one glaring example is sacrificial throws it seems that referees over the past few years have been told to be more generous with Ippon’s, I expect the idea was to encourage bigger throws. Yet what has happened as soon as someone back touches the ground they give Ippon even if you have made a failed attempt at a sacrifice throw i.e. Tome Nage.

Radical changes need to be made if Judo is to survive as Olympic Sport a complete overall of the scoring, eliminating boxing for grips, there is a need to watch and learn from other Jacket Wrestling forms i.e. Sombo, Kurash, Mongolian Style, Georgian even our own Cornish but then again if Judo was taken out of the Olympics for a while it may refresh it?

The only organisation who can do this is the International Judo Federation and the group who have influence with them is the BJA, so if we want Judo to survive we all need to get behind them and support them. They realised they need the smaller associations and we must realise we need them.

Martin Clarke IBF 8th Dan

Monday, June 16, 2008

John retires

My Son John Clarke 4th Dan Judo has decided to retire from Senior Judo, Sombo, and Kurash Tournaments at 34 years of age it is about the right time and something I recommended especially as he has trouble with a Knee injury which he got from Football. I unfortunately continued competing ignoring injuries now I have to have a new knee and new hip due to not listening to others and my body, this I do not want to happen to John. His last event was on Sunday where he was selected for the BJA Southern Area Team to compete in the National Team Championships in Kendal Cumbria, his team won a Bronze. John new the event would be hard one with all the competitors being a lot younger then him and in the peak of fitness especially as it was Olympic year but what he was not prepared for was the interpretation of the rules used by the referees, John uses a lot of techniques which rely on him sacrificing his own body weight to throw his opponent this is called Ma Sutemi Waza, this can be high risk as you have to rely on the referees understanding something about Judo. The referees at this event thought if you placed your back on the floor to throw your opponent your opponent should be given a score, this happened once before when John was 18 years old in the World Youths Sombo Champions where he was fighting an American he threw the American for a perfect sacrificial throw only to have the score put against him losing him a place in the finals. John telephoned and was quite philosophical about the event, he said “ I should have done my homework checking on these new rule changes plus I have been enough tournaments to realise you should check out the referees on the day and how they are performing” after all that he enjoyed the weekend felt proud to be a member of the Southern Area Team plus there was some good Judo in spite of the refereeing

I have been lucky in being a successful competitor and also being a successful coach and over the years have got a great deal of pleasure in watching my students succeeding in all aspects of Judo, Sombo, Free Style Wrestling, Kurash and Belt Wrestling yet the ultimate joy is to see you own Son/Pupil excel. John has given many people a lot of pleasure over his competition career and he has given me the most, well done Son you have been a great competitor and I am very proud of you.

Some of John’s successes
4th Dan Black Belt
Many Times IBF National Judo Champion Junior and Senior
IBF Great Britain Team member
Medal winner BJA International Event
World u16 years Silver
World u21 years 5th
World Senior 7th
Many Times British Champion

2 x International Tournament Champion

Free Style Wrestling
Silver u18 years British Championship

Belt Wrestling:
British Champion x 2

John may have finished competing in Senior events but he still will be coaching the Senior Club and will be taking a competitive Junior Section and entering a few Masters events, these are competitions for the older players and divided into age groups as well as weight groups. The Masters Events are much more laid back with not quite so much testosterone flying about, more a meeting of like minded individual.

Martin Clarke 8th Dan GrandMaster Sombo

More info 01795 437124

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You Tube

I always thought You Tube was for nerds and happy slappers, how wrong I have been. Since the British Open Sombo in April I have been hooked not for the stupid stuff but the Combat. I have created several sites for the IBF/BCSA they are "BritishSombo" "IBFBCSA" "IBFUK" so have a look and if you have your own site let me know and I will pass it on. For those into Judo I have just found the perfect Kata for young competitve Judoka have a look at

email me and let me know what you think

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Since the BJA have opened their doors to other associations, members of the Young Judo Club (Sittingbourne Judo School) have taken out BJA membership taking gradings, coaching awards and entering competitions with some success. Although I am not involved personally with the BJA administration, I do hold a BJA license and as my students are part of the organisation I do take an interest in what the BJA are doing, this brings me to the BJA Syllabus for Grade Promotion.
The first thing I noticed they have returned to the 6 Kyu grades rather then having upper and lower grades, I preferred the latter and some years ago the IBF accepted this system something we will not change. I also noticed that they have copied the system we have used for 20 years where they can examine at Club level up to 1st Kyu, this better for the students and puts revenue into the club.
What I do not agree with is that there is not a competitive element i.e. contest to the grading syllabus to 1st Kyu, I strongly believe to understand Judo technically and philosophically you need a contest section. Contest helps to develop your mind and body plus you get a better grasp of the techniques you are learning. If Judoka do not enter Competitions where will our future Olympians come from, with the restrictive of how you can grade you can only go up one grade at a time and have to wait 3 months between successful gradings the earliest you can obtain 1st is 14 months, there seem to be no allowance for exceptional athletes or players crossing over from similar sports i.e. Sombo or Kurash. A couple of well known names of the 1970’s were Dave Starbrook Olympic Silver I believe he gained his 1st in less the a year and Vass Morrison was the same ( I hope I got that right). The B JA seems to go from one extreme to another one moment there is no theory for gradings only contest now it has changed completely the other way. I understand why they are doing it because society has become soft and weak and with Judo in decline they have rightly so tried another direction they may be right and we have to water down Judo and I am most probably wrong as I see no deed to drop to the lowest common denominator, maybe it time that we all tried to climb up the pit rather then slide further in?

On the Syllabus itself it seems quite reasonable with the exception of the throws in the 6th Kyu syllabus, the one thing you learn when teaching beginners is that they are afraid to be thrown, so teaching Tia Otoshi in my opinion should be first throw taught, This throw teaches the student to turn their body, it is an easily controlled throw which can be done slowly and is what Geoff Gleeson called a Roller throw your opponent rolls around the leg and does not fall heavy. I have never taught De Ashi Baria to beginners but can see that it can teach the basics of Judo if you must teach a Hip throw surely it must be O Goshi but I would prefer O Soto Gari an easily controlled throw with out heavy landing or should I say can be. The three Tia Otoshi, O Soto Gari and De Ashi Baria can easily linked to form combinations and even counters.

I will admit syllabuses like these are common but learning by ROTE which this is ,does not encourage spontaneity. Improvisation and individual talent all the credential that make a champion.,my grid system (Discovery Method)I developed years ago where every Judoka was treated as an individual was better but it was highly complex for the low coach to master and sadly my on IBF Membership rejected it.

My article is not meant to offend but just a method of throwing a couple ideas about hopefully some one will come back with constructive criticism

Martin Clarke 8th Dan

CRB Checks more expense for the Volunteer Coach

CRB Checks more expense for the Volunteer Coach.

When the Criminal Record Bureau was first formed my organisation the International Budo Federation applied to become a Registered Body at a fee of a few Hundred pounds. Recently our registration has been withdrawn because we have insufficient numbers last year we registered just under 100 people. I have complained stating the following , “I do not see what numbers have to do with matters it is no more expensive dealing with a small organisation like ourselves then it is dealing with a larger one or is just about putting money into larger organisation pockets so they can create more bureaucratic places for their staff”

My main complaint is that when the IBF organised CRB registration there was no charge for Volunteers this is the reply I received “ With regards to your coaches having to pay for a CRB check through an Umbrella Body, I can advise you that as long as the position applied for meets our definition of a ‘volunteer’, then the resultant Disclosure will be processed free of charge. However, I am aware that there would more than likely be an administrative charge levied by an Umbrella Body. Therefore, it would be advisable to contact a number of Umbrella Bodies to find the one that is more suitable for your requirements.” That admin charge can vary from £15 up to treble figures per Volunteer.

Being a Volunteer Coach in NU Labour Britain is becoming a very expensive hobby, gone are the days when you can be a well meaning person who wants to help out coaching a few kids to give them something to do. Before you can you can coach today you have to do the following:

1) Attend a Coaching Course in your sport cost vary from a few pounds to hundred of pounds. The recently formed United Kingdom Coaching Certificate want everyone by 2012 to have a UKCC award. To obtain an Assistant Coach award, where you literally assist a coach, is expected to cost in the region of £250 a Level 1 Coach could cost a £1000 . At the moment this will not be a legal requirement but with Gordon Brown signing up to the EU Constitution there is nothing stopping the EU making it a legal requirement.
2) Once qualifying you have to attend Annual refresher courses
3) You will need a CRB check cost is mentioned above
4) You will need to attend a Child Protection Course annually
5) You will need a First Aid certificate
6) You will need to up to date on the rules of the sport
7) You will need Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance

All of this because a person wants to help young people, everything listed above are good ideas my main problem is the cost, under Nu Labour we have seen a steady erosion of discipline and respect from young people, drugs and alcohol abuse is running out of control, our young people are being brought up with no ethic or morals. Sport has ben proven to help combat all these problems, so the government should be paying all those Coaches and helpers or at least pay for these various courses, anyone who gives up their time to help young people should be helped and encouraged. Before some politician say it is not cost effective I would disagree producing better young people with high morals and ethics will pay us back many fold.

My organisation the IBF/BCSA has now decide because of the extra cost and complaints from our Volunteers ( who have threatened to resign on mass because of the CRB’s decision) that a CRB check is recommended not compulsory. It took a lot of persuasion in the first place to get our Volunteers to apply for a CRB check as most considered insulting that you are considered a threat to children until you receive a CRB check GUILTY till proven INNOCENT.

To finalise our friends at the CRB tell us that it not a legal requirement to have a CRB check but:

Quote from a letter from the CRB

“Turning to your comments that you will now not insist on your coaches to undertake a CRB check unless the funds are available, I should explain that neither Part V of the Police Act 1997 nor the Exceptions Order 1975 to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 makes checks compulsory. However, there are other pieces of legislation which make checks mandatory, for example it is compulsory for childcare organisations (as defined in the Act) to undertake checks of the Protection of Children’s Act (P0CA) list and List 99 for those working in regulated positions. Furthermore, there is a statutory requirement on care providers who are planning to employ a care worker in a care home or through a domiciliary care agency to check whether that person is included in the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (P0VA) list.”

Does the Children’s Act affect Sports Organisations?

Martin Clarke
President IBF/BCSA UK

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ten girls from the Bedford High Hellcats attended the British Schools Individual Championships in Cardiff on April 29th. This was a very well attended competition with about 350 entries further ionfo can be found on

The BSJA is a very strange organisation it offers really good Tournaments but keeps them a secret or can this just be the Kent section. I have yet to be sent information on any Kent Schools event even though I have asked on many occasions, one would have thought they would have welcomed more competitors. When I taught in Schools and was Chairman of the Kent Schools Judo Association and founder of the Swale Schools Judo Association I had several British Champions and I also remember Craig Scott and Marcella O'Hare being Internationals with them both of these are now in their 40's. If any of you young Judoka get a chance to compete in these Schools Event I am sure you will enjoy the experience.
Martin Clarke 8th Dan IBF UK President

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Warriors at British Sombo Open

Sittingbourne Warriors Grappling Academy once again dominated British Sombo Wrestling by winning a total of 6 Gold’s, 5 Silver and 5 Bronzes, that is 6 out of the 15 titles went to a warrior member an unbelievable achievement. It was the junior section of the warriors that kept the club as the No 1 club in the country with their magnificent achievement. In two categories they took all three places.
14 year old Ashley Jordan won the lightweight cat u30 kilo having some stiff competition from the Germans, Liam Allen has improved a great deal in the last few months and looks to become another regular medal winner he won Gold u35 kilo, Ben Franks Gold u40 kilo he along with Jamie Marzetti Gold u74 kilo are both very successful medal winners and are prepared to travel any where in GB and Europe to compete both are participating in the IBF Multi Nation Judo Championships Holland in May. Jamie now training with the adults has shown a great improvement. All the boys are members of the Young Judo Club as well and are very lucky for they have the chance to compete in many different style of grappling such as Judo, Kurash, Sombo, Belt wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling no other club in GB offers all these styles. With youngsters today more interested in Computers, music, cloths and booze you have to admire these boys for keeping up a very hard competitive sport.
Our seniors did not fare so well this year mainly because of the exceptional high standard of the foreign contingent, the club also fielded several new fighters who although unplaced did exceptional well. Danny Carrott won Gold in the u90 kilo class this what the local people wanted to see men’s u90 kilo class . Last July Warriors Coach travelled the Scottish Open and in the final of the u90k was soundly beaten by local Scotsman Johannes Alder, John’s pride was very dented but this defeat did him good as he trained extra hard to put up one of his best ever performance in the Worlds. John wanted revenge but a knee injury prevented him from entering. So it was decided to put 21 year old Danny Carrott up a weight to take on Johannes who I might add has been 6 times British Champion. At 35 Johannes has loads of experience but although only 21 Danny is no slouch he has had several International caps as well as represent GB in the 2007 World Championships. The fight would very tactical as both players knew one little mistake would be their defeat, the match was set for 5 minutes and as expected both players were very cagey but no one would have thought that with only 5 seconds on the board there would no score. Then it happened a momentary loss of concentration on the behalf of Johannes and Danny was in catching his opponent with 2 pt side drop throw to take the title as you can imagine there was a great deal of celebration in the crowd but Johannes was gracious in defeat and congratulated Danny. Johannes has been a great champion but the old must make way for the young. Karl Swindle a Brown Belt Judo player had his first outing in Sombo he won Bronze in Men’s o 100 kilo plus and then Gold in the Veterans on each occasion he two beat 2 x World Masters bronze medallist Darren Richardson in his last match it was with a 12 point victory.

Our next big event is at the Swallows Sittingbourne on April 20th Young Judo Club Open then of to Holland in May. The highest placed player can also take part in the EU Sambo Wrestling Championships in Bulgaria in September; Danny Carrott has secured his place for the World Championships in Russian during November 2008 but will most probably be asked to drop to u82 kilo.

John Clarke Warriors Coach has had a great honour bestowed upon him the World federation for Kurash has asked each Country to select athletes to go on an all expenses trip to Uzbekistan to participate in there bi-annual World Prize money Kurash Tournament only athletes who are World class can participate and John was the first choice of the British Kurash federation. Sadly John who is a PE Teacher at Sittingbourne Community College can not go for two reasons 1) niggled knee injure 2) it during school term and he feels his first duty is to his pupils and his school

Anyone interested in Judo Sombo etc can contact us on or visit Swale martial arts club East Street Sittingbourne

results British open Sombo 23 rd march 2008
men u62

Friday, March 07, 2008


CRB Reference 23490200003
Friday, 07 March 2008
To; David Shannon
CRB Registration Unit

Dear Mr Shannon

I have just received your letter stating that our organisation doesn't meet the condition of registration i.e. has less then 100 disclosures per year, can I first point out that when we paid our registration fee some years ago nothing was mentioned about numbers so therefore I suggest we have not broken any condition. Also I do not see what numbers have to do with matters it is no more expensive dealing with a small organisation like ourselves then it is dealing with a larger one or is just about putting money into larger organisation pockets.
At present my coaches etc pay nothing for their CRB check to go through another organisation would cost anything fro £30 to £100 why should these people give up their time and energy helping Young People for nothing have to pay. Most feel insulted that they even have to be subjected to a CRB Check; they feel they are assumed to be perverts because they dare to want to work with children and only a CRB check can prove they are decent people or Guilty till proven innocent.
From now on our organisation will not insist on a CRB check for our coaches we will only recommend that they get one and if they do not have the funds so be it. One wonders how many other organisations will do the same making the CRB somewhat of an irrelevance. The CRB has become a vehicle for people to make money and a way create more jobs for the bureaucrats .

Yours a very disappointed and disillusioned

Martin Clarke

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sombo Wrestling Course 2008

Sombo Wrestling Introduction Course
Warriors Grappling Academy
Swale Martial Arts Club

February 17th 2008
It has been many years since we have had a Sombo wrestling Course at the club due to the fact that Grandmaster Martin Clarke who took all the courses has been forced into retirement with bad hip and knee injury. His son John British Team Captain and Colin Carrott World Masters bronze medallist have taken over his mantle and organise plus taught at this course. The course drew people from all over the country and with one of the Countries Martial Arts Magazine taking an interest in Sombo by publishing articles on the sport we are seeing an upsurge in interest. From this course we had enquiries to organise the same in Bedford, London and Nottingham in all a very successful weekend. The next big event on the Sombo calendar is the British Open held on Easter Sunday at the swallows leisure centre Sittingbourne
For further information on Sombo go or

More Photo’s of the course got

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Blue and white found equal in judo

A good friend of mine from Bredgar YJC USA sent me the following article. Judo is crash diving to oblivion and this was what a researcher thought important??

Blue and white found equal in judo

Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:55 AM GMT
By Michael Kahn
LONDON (Reuters) - The color of a judoka's suit plays no part in the outcome of a match, British researchers say.
Previous studies showing blue judo uniforms provided a competitive edge over white ones were flawed, the researchers said on Wednesday.
An examination of 501 gold-medal finals in international competitions between 1996 and 2005 showed that the color of the uniform worn by the winner was split evenly between blue and white, the study found.
"We focused on judo but the finding may have wider implications for sports in general," said Peter Dijkstra, an behavioral biologist at the University of Glasgow, who led the study. "We show there is no color association for a winning bias."
Past studies had suggested that contestants in blue had an advantage because the color was more intimidating, or that the white competitor might be more visible, allowing an opponent to better anticipate his movements.
However, Dijkstra said those studies did not take into account that higher seeded -- and therefore more skilled -- competitors wore the blue uniforms. So it made sense that they would win more often, he said.
Previous research also looked at the loser's bracket, which could have skewed the results because competitors who lost early were likely to have less confidence and be more prone to another defeat, Dijkstra said.
In the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences, Dijkstra and colleagues adjusted for these factors by factoring in only gold-medal matches.
"Seeded athletes are top ranked and have a very high chance of winning," he said in a telephone interview. "They are more likely to wear blue so this automatically creates a winning bias. Athletes in blue are simply better."
The researchers looked only at judo but said the findings would likely be the same in other individual combat sports such as wrestling, boxing and taekwondo.
The same might hold true for team sports, though factors such as the number of players on a field or court could affect visibility and make color less important, Dijkstra said.
The findings could also help to ensure a more level playing field in other combat sports in which a competitor wore red -- a color associated with dominance, fear and aggression that actually might confer an advantage, the researchers added.
"Our findings have implications for sports policy makers: they suggest that white-blue outfit pairing ensures an equal level of play," the researchers wrote.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

EJU want to change rules of Judo

UchiKomi Doug recently sent me some details of some proposed EJU rule changes, he has listed below his opinion, what do you think?

The EJU is considering the following changes to the current contest rules:
Ippon for osae-komi after 20 seconds, contrary to the current 25
Abolishment of koka
Abolishment of any hand sign for the referee to indicate shido
Abolishment of the 1 referee and 2 judges, reduction to a sole referee per mat
Abolishment of the equation that 2 waza-ari equal 1 ippon, with now the number of waza-ari during a contest becoming unlimited just like it is now for koka and yuko
It is time we got rid of all those ridiculous Japanese terms, Judo is now an international sport not some sort of ancient Japanese ritual. Score like they do in Sambo/Sombo 1pt indicated thumb, 2pts two fingers, 4pts 4 fingers, Total Victory like Ippon. No verbal commands referee wears blue and red armband, Bout startrs and stops on a whistle.The reason Judo Competition is on the decline is that the rules have made it boring to watch and compete in. Sombo/Sambo is on the increase because it is exciting to watch and compete in, something Judo was 20 years ago.I suggest that all Judoka keep to the philosophy and Kata of Judo but take up Sombo/Sambo competition

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nuala has her say on Mixed Sex Judo

As I have said I will always welcome comments from readers so long as they are constructive and they following is from Fionnula Brenchley-Sayer 1st Dan

Hi Martin I know I am out of touch but I assume that junior coaching is stillmixed? If as Richard says there could be a liability issue over this, why would it be different for training. Personally I don't think it would be a good idea to mix the sexes for competition But I assume this is down to lack of numbers and stopping the joke of getting a medal without a fight.
I fail to see how this could be achieved in training. Most clubs would struggleto separate the sexes. But there is more contact in training, lesssupervision (look at how many people are looking as 2 players in competition) and surely more likelihood of injury. Hope this is not the thin end of the wedge as far as juniors are concerned. I believe that as the female players get older they benefit from being coached as women. I tried to fight like the men in competition and train like you all, it doesn't work. Some people do not like it but there are physiological and physiological differences between the sexes andcoaching should (in my opinion) reflect this. I have watched many girls/youngwomen in competition trying to use upper body strength like the men andfailing. Like in schooling I believe girls/women would benefit, if not flourish,from tailored coaching possible even separating them. Unfortunatelythere are not enough women in judo to do this. But maybe this is the cause? Women and young women may not feel confident or comfortable fighting with men. I think this may discourage them. Just a thought, hope you don't mind an "outsider" commenting.

Friday, January 18, 2008


As I mentioned in a previous Blog I was unhappy about mixed sex Judo tournaments, since then I have contacted Prof Richard Bailey one of the countries leading experts in children and sport and has sent me a reply which is can be seen below, also I contacted the British judo Association which is the governing body for the sport and they do not condone mixed sex competitions, because of this the IBF insurers will not insure any mixed sex event.

Dear MartinI would be very cautious about organising mixed competitive sport with any children older than 8 years old of age.The key biological event in human growth is puberty, and this results in what is known as a growth spurt which means a rapid and often unpredictable increase in physical growth. At the same time, there are the well-known psychological issues associated with unexpected growth, and these can be made more severe when boys and girls are close together.Before puberty there is very little physical difference between boys and girls. If anything, girls have a slight advantage. However puberty changes everything. Girls enter puberty between 9-13 years of age, boys a little later. Although in the real world there probably will not be serious health risk of putting together boys and girls, some of whom are experiencing rapid growth, there is always the chance. I suspect a sports organisation would be very vulnerable if an accident occurred, and it was suggested that one of the players was biologically a child, and the other was on the way to adulthood.Personally, I can see nothing wrong with mixed sports before puberty, and this would mean 8 and under. After that time, it becomes unwise to assume that a 9 or 10 year old is not experiencing a growth spurt and therefore is not significantly bigger and stronger than his or her peers.I hope this helps.Best Wishes,Richard BaileyDirectorRoehampton University Child Wellbeing Institute (CWI)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Academy of Coaching

It seems the Academy of Coaching has been mentioned on some Forum of other and I have several email asking for details so I have put a piece on the IBF web site for those who are interested. For those interested in contributing to this Blog you can contact me on, this is to prevent libelous and inaccurate information appearing as has happened in the past

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Radburn was visibly scared by CK

I received an email of an article that appeared on Judo Forum, It seems CK is besotted by me as he has posted yet another article on me and how wicked I am, as I have said before I know longer subscribe to this Forum as it allows anonymous people to write anything with out allowing us to quantify who they are and what they have done. Once again a true Budoka would not hide behind an alias, on the whole I receive little comments but just recently a couple have appeared with out Names, Grades etc, if you want to make a comment join my Blog but you have to give your full name etc.

There was one piece in CK’s diatribe that I have copied below please read and I quote from his article

“In the Blog, further tendentious information is claimed to attract support. For example, it is said that I ridiculed Paul Radburn. I originally wrote specifically about a fight and used the terms that he would have received "free flying lessons" or something similar. The terminology was used to express the huge difference in control over a fight and the fact that in this case, Radburn hardly was a moment on his feet. If what i wrote was untrue, one could accuse me of maliciousness, but it wasn't. I will provide the specific details, so that those who were present can verify it for themselves. It happened on the European Championships in the -95 kg in his bout against Vande Walle. Vande Walle played with him, and I still have various pictures from that bout which would underpin my my report. In fact, Radburn was visibly scared during that fight, and for good reason. I cannot imagine that Radburn himself would deny that he flew more through the air than that he was on his feets. The fact that you once lose a fight and lose it big time, is no rejection of a person's career or skills. We all have had opponents where we had a hard time establishing control against. Moreover, losing from Van de Walle is not a dishonour, I would think. At the end of the day, what I wrote, was nothing but the truth, and I wrote in response to nothing else than what the person falsely claimed himself, and I only referred to information available in the public domain, with the exception of my own first-hand experiences, which did not further reveal any private details about the person.”

Now I know both players mentioned and have trained with both and will now say at the time they were two of the best in the World, with regard to the fight mentioned I was not present but any body who has met PAUL RADBURN will know he is not scared of anything and one thing he would not do would be show his fear, so why did CK even mention this if were not to discredit Radburn. If he were so frightened why did he beat him in other tournaments. I have lost contact with Paul if anyone knows where he is send him this article