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