Tuesday, May 31, 2011

4 year Old Black belt Disgusting

4 Year Old Black Belt


Yes it was reported in a National Newspaper that Erin Parfoot was graded to Black Belt at 4 after starting Tae Kwon Do at the age of 2 ½ .

Now a Black belt is a level of Competence issued by an organisation and yes different organisations have different criteria, So you can have Black belts of different standards but this Black Belt is taking it a step to far, over the last 20 years we have seen a major increase in children being awarded Black belts much to the dismay of sensible Martial Arts Practitioners. Some organisations offer there junior members offer a Junior Black Belt, this practice was started 40 years ago by an organisation called the Kent Junior Judo Association who could grade a 15 year old to Junior Black belt the recipient wore a Black belt with a green stripe through the middle on reaching 16 they would automatically become a Senior Green this in its self was quite a good idea but note the age. Judo out of all the Martial Arts seem to have a more uniform approach to Dan Grades status even though there several different organisation, most will not grade to Dan Grade below 15 years of age and most combine Competition and Traditional Theoretical knowledge to obtain the grade.

So why grade Baby’s and children to Black belt? Money and Power is the answer. Instructors can make a considerable amount of money from Kids Gradings and Kids Classes, how many more students will this baby’s instructor Gareth Davies get because of this grading and at 24 he is a Black Belt Examiner? But above of all it is about power, a large majority on becoming Black belts suddenly become aware that they stand out from the crowd because they have achieved what the public think is the ultimate Martial Arts accolade, suddenly people look up to them and what is worse most believe their own hype. Now they start to have power either within there own organisation or they create one of there own, if they are with a reputable organisation they will have constraints and control placed upon them. Yet many believe they have the answer to everything and create a new association and a new style. How many times have you read of someone creating the Ultimate Martial Art! Suddenly someone who was a 1st Dan a few years ago suddenly becomes an 8th Dan Master and of course they go on some well known names course have their photo taken with them, some time later they publish the photo saying they have trained with so and so to give kudos to their style. Now if they say they are 8th Dan PingBangdo Karate a style they evented that is what they are but if they say they are graded in a traditional style like Shotokan then they can be checked. My own style of CombatSombo which I introduced nearly 30 years ago was just a different approach to a Martial Arts Self Defence System I wanted a system which suited my Jacket Wrestling background i.e. Judo, Free Style Wrestling and Sambo, although I created a grading system I never gave myself a grade, how could I who would award it so if asked what grade CombatSombo am I the answer would be the FOUNDER

Sometimes these new Styles group together to form a Coop, large numbers again give them KUDOS and they think respectability. Yet the way to respectability is high technical ability and high moral standards.

So back to this 4 year old baby doing Tae Kwon Do, my own feeling taking children this young is a form of child abuse, at the age of 2 ½ the child can barely walk let alone do hard physical exercise and what of the damage the parents and Instructor are doing to the child? The child body is far from developed its bones are still soft as is the rest of the body, so things like excessive stretching can be dangerous and lead to early arthritis (this has been a problem with young gymnasts), striking and kicking pads can be dangerous to hands and joints and competition against other children can be dangerous beyond belief.

To teach any child to Kick and punch someone is morally indefensible when a child is young they do not understand wrong from right, who can say this 4 year old doesn’t start school and in an argument with another child knocks them out and may kills them with a kick and do not say that can not happen! those of us who taught in schools knew the playground can be a dangerous place at the best of time. In law the Criminal Age of Responsibility is 10 so should anyone be teaching children to Kick and Punch? To make some excuse that it is self defence is not realistic, the only way to subdue your attacker by kicking and punching is to inflict a mass of pain and damage to there body that is why grappling is a far better introduction for children who want to learn Combat and how can a child or a baby defend themselves against an adult. I have copied a letter sent to me by the late Great Geof Gleeson some 25 years ago, please read it and tell me the Martial Arts have advanced?

A Lot of Karate, Tae Kwon Do styles etc are far more sensible concentrating on Kata where the student is taught the discipline of self control and perfection of techniques rather then learning how knock someone’s teeth out. The most experienced Striking art in the world is boxing and the Amateur Boxing Association has a minimum age of 11 before they can box so why is this baby being taught Tae Kwon Do?

So you think what we need is Government intervention and we a Governing Body for Martial Arts which will be a legal requirement for all those that teach. NO as these have been tried in the past and just become Dictatorships, the Martial arts needs room to move, invent and adjust, because martial arts continual change just imagine if there had been a Government body 30 years ago with absolute Power there would be no Kickboxing, no Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, no Vale Tudo, no Cage Fighting etc. New Martial Arts will come to the fore that is the nature of the beast what we need is more information. Do not just attack an a rival because they have moved on to your patch and make it personal, tell your local paper, Council, MP, Church Hall, Schools etc and ask does this new club have:
1) Pi, PA, and PL Insurance
2) Who taught them and where can they be checked out
3) How long have they been practising
4) Have they a Coaching Award
5) Have they got a CRB check
6) Have they got the right equipment

Other things to watch out for, grading very young kids to Black belt, is the instructor there all the time or does he get a student to teach, are they trying the hard sell like knocking at doors and wanting people to sign up before they have even seen a class in action, after a few months do they appoint a Student o instructor level and the present instructor moves on.
If you had an established club for years people can check on you my Young Judo Club was started in 1957, new people should be given the chance but there is a lot of Con Men out there all claiming to Martial Arts Masters so beware

Martin Clarke 8th Dan Judo 6th Jiu Jitsu Grandmaster Sambo Founder CombatSombo System
World Masters Judo Champion, World Silver medallist Jiu Jitsu and Sambo

Monday, May 23, 2011

Yuko 2pts

These days my only interest in Judo is with the IBF and my own club YJC Sittingbourne, I leave the coaching to my son John, Colin Carrott, Keith Costa and Paul Soulsby who are doing a fine job, I still serve on the IBF international Body. I enjoy IBF Judo because the IBF is like a family and when we have a Judo competition it is an enjoyable event where on the whole with people you want to be with. My last venture out was a year ago where I watched some IJF/BJA judo and I totally disliked it, the IJF have totally changed the rules and it is no longer the Martial Art I started some 55 years ago and has become just another Jacket Grappling Sport, the only thing I did like was the new mat design.

So why am I so critical?

1) They change the rules yet half the referees do not apply them and the other half do, so on one mat you have two different competitions. The main one is leg pick ups what is and what is not?

2) What has happen to Ippon? It used to be flat on your back with power and impetus not any more roll them over on there back and you have won

3) Never been a keen lover of Ne Waza yet now it seems nearly non existent

These in my eyes are faults but the newer generation may think they are positive moves yet Judo is on the decline some experts say in 5 years there will be more people will be doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu then Judo and that is like Judo with no throwing.

The above is down to the IJF but the BJA must take some of the blame for the decline in member take Clubmark our Judo section tried for 3 years to go through this bureaucratic nightmare, we had 4 changes of BJA personnel during this time, was expected to go to Sheffield for 4 hour courses (we are in Kent) I am even told there is a Judo Club in Kent which is a Centre of Excellence that does not have a Clubmark. Yet our Grappling Academy has applied to Kent County council for club mark and we are on the verge of completion and this has taken about 10 months.

The BJA spend money like it is going out of fashion, take the Schools programme where coaches go in to schools for 6 weeks, the idea being that it will promote Judo in fact it does the opposite as the visiting coach can only recommend Club Mark Judo clubs, so you can be a BJA Club and get no benefit plus those who move from school to club is practically zero. Yet it gives a false impression on Judo participation as these youngsters get an award from the BJA at a very low price which boosts their membership, they maybe members but they are not regular participants.

Junior Grading scheme is expensive, every time a child has a grading the BJA receive £7 but a child can only move up one tab at a time and can grade once a month, so I believe if they start as a beginner and reach maximum grade they will have taken 15 grades (I am assuming there 3 grades between belts) £105 plus they may have to pay the examiner if he is out of pocket. For the sake of harmony we joined the BJA and any club member who wanted a BJA license the club would pay for it and their grading NO MORE we can not afford it. The IBF is far more friendly and helpful to its members all Club Examiners keep all the grading fees and the money for gradings, the IBF get a fee when they go for Dan Grade plus registered Club gets a good discount for every member that joins. This money helps club buy new mats, take kids to competitions, and pay for courses. The IBF get no government funding yet financial our member clubs are a lot better and in these days of financial constraints this could be the difference in club remaining open or closed.

A well known BJA Judo Coach was excused of “inappropriate behaviour with a minor” which allegedly happened several decades ago, the BJA followed the correct procedure and suspended the Coach while enquires were made (Not very British Guilty till proven Innocent) eventually the matter was handed to the Police and 18 months later he was completely exonerated. So you may think this was the end of the matter NO the BJA have continued the persecution of this Coach he is stilled banned from his Club even though he has committed no criminal act. I am told there is an ulterior motive for his suspension this may be the case but the real point is that I am told it has cost the coach thousands of pounds and may cost the BJA tens of thousands of pounds is this good use of members’ money? To put things in perspective an IBF Coach was accused of inappropriate behaviour but was cleared by the Independent Safeguarding Authority, this took months not years and the Coach is now free to continue coaching.

Let move on to some practical issues, I started Judo when I was 5 years old, 56 years ago in those days Judo still had the excitement of being something new and something children did not do it was only my parents who insisted on creating a Junior section that we had children’s Judo in this part of the world. Children could only get three grades 1st Mon, 2nd Mon and 3rd Mon white belt with red tabs. Competitions outside London were a rarity and children’s competition non existent I believe my first tournament was in 1961 at the age of 11 now why am I going down memory lane well it what Judo was. First of all it was considered something mystic which made it different from all other sports and there were no other martial about the time. Our first karate section started in 1962, two of our Judoka read a book about karate and decided to start teaching it, those were the days no knowledge, no qualifications, no proper safety arrangements could not happened today! You must be joking I would suggest 80% of so called MMA club have no insurance cover or proper mats let alone coaching qualification. I digress in those days Judo was more of a Martial Art then a sport but when there was competition they were quite simple:

1) Most mats were about 18ft x 18ft

2) To win you threw your opponent on his back and you got Ippon

3) You could also win by scoring two ½ points Waza-ari which gave you an Ippon

4) Hold Down Oseakomi Ippon 30 seconds A Waza-ari 25 seconds

5) Submission by Strangle, Choke or arm lock

Simple to understand, easy to watch, no penalties as fouling your opponent was considered not the act of a Gentleman.

Obviously as Judo became an Olympic Sport, competition became more important and by definition more competitive and the idea of a gentleman’s conduct was soon abandoned for the need to win. With competitors become more astute to the rules and a lot fitter, the contests were become closer which would lead to a lot of Judges Decision, which proved very unpopular. This led to lower scores being introduced the Koka and Yuko this in itself was not a bad thing what was bad was that Koka and Yuko were not accumulative i.e. no matter how many koka’s you get they never add up. This had the opposite effect by encouraging competitors to go for lower scores which did not need the commitment required for an Ippon plus with more competitors using the rules to their advantage more penalties had to be given. Result contest being won on very low scores and on penalties producing some rather stagnant Judo, of course when you reach Olympic Standard this may not be the case but how many reach Olympic standard and Judo is a participation sport not a spectator sport. The IJF could have reversed this situation when they lost the Koka they should have changed Yuko to 2 points, Waza-ari 5pts and Ippon 10 points with the first to reach 10 points being the winner, with regard to Oseakomi how many kids have spent all day at a competition only to be pushed to the ground held down for 25 seconds end of match.

To enjoy a sport you have to have understanding within 5 minutes, youngsters and there parents do not want be baffled by oriental name and signs. Before anyone says what he is trying is Sambo well it is not, although I do agree that Sambo rules make far more sense then Judo. What judo can do is stick to their upright posture avoid all the leg shoots but alter the rules as I suggested it would be still Judo

Martin Clarke Sittingbourne

Thursday, May 12, 2011

PankrationMMA Grappling

Things seem to be picking up at the Swale Martial Arts Club/Warriors Grappling Academy Sittingbourne, our Junior Judo Club has seen a slight increase in memberships but it is our senior section that has taken a big boost. John Clarke’s Jacket Grappling night on a Tuesday which features Judo, Kurash, Sambo and belt Wrestling is proving popular. Pankration the ancient Greek art of combat continues to be popular with the original instructor Saul White being of with a broken foot Martin Clarke assisted by George Loscombe and Michael Hutchinson have taken over. This type of Combat requires you to wear a jacket and involves a lot of throwing what is more popular is MMA Grappling which involves nearly all ground fighting with little throwing. So on July 6TH we intend running an extra class for MMA Grappling this will be coached by John Clarke, who has been an International Judo, Kurash, Sambo grappler, he also won a British Silver in Free Style Wrestling. This will start at 7pm till 8.15pm followed by Pankration/SportCombatSombo till 10pm, those who wish to can take part in both for the same price “BUY ONE GET ONE FREE”. Sambo on a Thursday coached by Martin Clarke still only get a few dedicated players but this to be expected as it is an advanced class.

Another interesting development is on a Saturday Morning Paul Sargent has be running the Kokusai Karate Club for over 20 years, teaching a small group of enthusiastic Junior karateKa Shotokan Karate. Paul who is a 3rd Dan Karate also holds Black belts in several other Martial Arts, that is why he will be adding Shiai Jutsu to his curriculum on a Saturday morning. Shiai Jutsu is a mixture of Karate and Judo below is a brief summary:

Shiai Jutsu is more suitable for Juniors then MMA as only allows semi contact kicks and punches, it allows limited amount of Gi holding (this stops it becoming a Judo Match)

Points are given as follows:

3pts controlled semi contact kick to head

3pts for a high throw

1 pt for Kick to Body, Punch to head or body

Hold on Floor 5 sec 1pt 10 secs 2pts 15 secs 3pts (Max 3pts on ground)

Submission from Strangle, Armlock or Leglock (Adults and 12 years and above)

3 minutes fights highest score wins or win by submission

Competitors wear a Judogi’s and MMA gloves

The club has several websites for more in depth insight on who we are and what we do: