Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Camp is finished and I am back home

Back home from Summer Camp, pleased to be in my own bed, once again over indulged put on 6 lbs and my diabetes was up to 12, will soon have them down take me about a week. Feel totally whacked out and did not do a lot, some say it is an age thing but I believe its because you are on a high all the week.
Summer Camp is like being in a Bubble away from reality, you are with people you want to be with doing something you all enjoy and want to do, where else i life can you say that? You meet old friends and make new ones. For the first couple of days after camp you feel deflated and in a period of Anti Climax but then reality kicks in and of we go again.

Many have said you have never real experience the Martial Arts until you have spent a week at Camp quite agree and this is my 45th year

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weather in USA

It is the end of Summer Camp maybe not successful in numbers but in spirit and quality of players a good week. All week we have moaned about the bad weather but sometimes I feel lucky to live in England when you consider the weather conditions in the USA. I hope all my Friends in the USA are safe and I send out my prayers to them.

Want to read the report on the Summer Camp go to and open the IBF web site

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Camp 2011


Well August is here again and once again it is time for the Annual IBF Summer Camp in fact this is our 45th year it was first started by Nobby Clarke 6th Dan Deceased using the old St Mary’s Bay Schools Journey Centre, then the ACF camp St Mary’s bay Romney Marsh which was to be our home till 2006 when that was demolished to the newly built ACF Camp Dibgate St Martins Plain Folkestone. Nobby ran the camp till 1988 when illness prevented him carrying on his son Martin took over, the camp is still known as Nobby’s camp event though Martin has run it for more years, but then that is what a legend is all about.

As the years moved on we saw massive improvements in the facilities and the equipment used, plus the camp expanded from a Judo programme to Martial Arts and Combat Disciplines. Sadly the interest in these courses has slowly died, at the height of Summer Camp in the late 1970’s Nobby would run for 4 weeks with two junior weeks and two Senior weeks over that period he would have 600 players not just from GB but from all over the world, this year we were down to one week and 18 course members. Some say it is time to throw in the towel but my answer to that is NO what we need to do is change the way we run the run the course and what we do.

Those involved in Combat Disciplines today are not the hardy breed of yesteryear, they no longer want be thrown around the mat. There are two distinct types who want to do Combat disciplines

1)      Is the traditionalist who still want carry the tradition of hundred of years, enjoys the discipline, courtesy, realises that what they do is a Martial Art  and always appreciate the need for such things as Kata and realise that competition is just a part of what they do.

2)      Then there is the Modern concept made popular by Cage Fighting and Shoot Wrestling this has led to various off shoots involving different forms of Submission Wrestling some with stinking some without, this has been widely called MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) a very discredit name which has nothing to with Martial Arts. The correct term for grappling without strikes is FILA Grappling and with strikes FILA Combat, both are about grappling and beating your opponent nothing more, unlike Traditional Combat there is very little throwing involved and this is one of the reasons it has become very popular. There are no standard clothing just Beach style shorts and a T shirts. FILA Styles are recognised by the the government body the British Wrestling Association. MMA has no governing body has no government recognition or will have.

So if Camp is to survive we need to cater for both and that is what we plan, next years camp will be divided into three, 5 day residential course August 20 til 24th, will be Martial Arts, same venue but different area Summer Sambo Camp and another area Summer Grappling Week featuring FILA Grappling Styles (also known as MMA). If we have sufficient interest we will run a Judo Instructors, Sambo Instructors and BCSA Submission Wrestling instructors’ courses.

The Martial Arts weekend will be for 11 years and above and Adults in fact we want to actively encourage juniors to attend, the grappling weekend will be more intense so the minimum age will be 15. The price will be kept low just £200 this will include all tuition fees, dormitory accommodation and breakfast and evening meal plus will give discount for block bookings.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10th Dan at 98

98-year-old woman earns top judo black belt rank

A 98-year-old woman standing just 4'11" has achieved one of the highest honours in the world of martial arts after being promoted to tenth dan black belt in judo.
Sensei Keiko Fukuda, a Japanese-born American, is just the fourth person on the planet who currently holds the distinction, and only the 15th person in history to be awarded the honours. The other three people who are currently tenth dan 'judoka' are all men living in Japan.
Fukuda, who took up the sport in 1935 and still teaches judo three times a week at a women's dojo in San Francisco, was thrilled with her promotion.
"All my life this has been my dream," said the woman who is the last surviving student of judo's founder, Kano Jiguro.
Fukuda is not exaggerating. She eschewed traditional Japanese arts such as calligraphy and tea ceremonies - not to mention her marriage - when she took up the sport in her 20s, she then spent 30 years stuck as a fifth dan black belt due to a regulation prohibiting women from being promoted beyond that level.
She managed to break down that rule in 1972 and was the first woman to become a sixth dan black belt and has since continued to climb the ranks and inspire her students with her personal motto: "Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BJA sent me a letter

The BJA recently sent me and their BJA members a letter  stating  “Some changes in direction and personnel to address some specific issues and promote a clearer focus on the delivery of our objectives” this sound like there is some under lying problem within the BJA Administration, I do not know what maybe someone can enlighten me.

What did strike me they continue you to say that their membership is steadily increasing? Why is that clubs are closing, Competitions are being cancelled and most clubs have seen in a drop in membership is the membership coming from the School Kids who just pay £5 and do Judo for 6 weeks?

The Hey Day of Judo was the 1970’s and 1980’s I believe they had a couple of paid staff now they have 80. They say their turnover is up to £7m a year most of it coming from government funding presumably this being paid on staff and Olympic Squad members.

With the amount of money being spent on the Olympic Team we should expect at least 8 medals but will this lead to more people doing Judo I doubt it. One would have thought with the Olympics being so close all sports would be on the increase yet figures show there is a 20% decline in Sport participation.

I have said for years Judo needs to re brand itself for example

1)      Coloured Gi’s with advertisement

2)      Judo Boots like Sambo Boots

3)      Change the rules so a complete Novice can understand them with 10 minutes

4)      Introduce rounds

5)      Give Kata a bigger presence because this makes Judo different to all other grappling styles

6)      Introduce more all association championships

7)      Get referees out of Blazers they look to officious

8)      Have more Judo shows like Boxing shows where you have  say 6 matches with people watching from tables where they are being served a meal, this will create Judo celebrities

9)      How much would it cost to have a Judo TV channel maybe the £7 million would be better spent there

I have said before some are saying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will be more popular then Judo in a few years, if they were properly organised in GB they would be bigger now. My main love is Sambo but sadly this has not had the impact in the UK I had hoped but the throughout the rest of the world participation has been astronomical

I am already organising Jacket Wrestling Competitions to attract all Jacket Wrestlers, why doesn’t the BJA do the same maybe have an All Style Judo Competition change the rules slightly i.e. allow more then hold, award points how your opponent lands and extra for technical skill just an idea, some one steal it if they like

Martin Clarke 8th Dan

Did I invent CombatSombo

Very often people asked did you invent the CombatSombo system and the answer would be yes but sometime I am asked did you invent a new Martial Art and the answer would be NO

Let me enlarge on this for example someone invented the Wheel this in all probability was a solid wooden disc and then someone came along and invent Spokes he may invented a spokes wheel but he did not invent the wheel, then came the Metal Rim that went round the wheel which was most probably called a tyre, then came a rubber tyre and so on all were improvements to the Wheel but they did not re-invent the Wheel.

This is what I done with my CombatSombo I had studied Judo, Sambo Jiu Jitsu and played with various Japanese weapons, Aikido, Karate and Kickboxing and felt there was a better way of teaching a Combat System. Maybe Teaching is not the right word maybe performing and using a better Combat System is better way to explain it, a system designed for me.

I started Judo when I was five up until I was 23 that was my only interest mainly because in those early days that’s all there was occasionally, when I was young, I was taken to Acton Town Hall to watch demonstrations given by various foreign guys who done different stuff in Judogi’s. These were of course Japanese masters, when you were 11 years old that did not mean a lot to me only that we fought them in some war. These were of course experts in Karate, Aikido, Kendo, Jodo, Bo, Sai and Iaido etc. So from about 1961 onwards after Judo a few of the members would go on to practise these other arts and some went on form clubs.

You will notice I never mentioned Jiu Jitsu well it seemed in those days Jiu Jitsu had a bit of a bad reputation and Japanese masters would stick to the more Classical Martial Arts and you will notice all were Japanese Systems. My introduction to Jiu Jitsu was when the Founder of the International Budo Federation Peter Schonewille 9th Dan also known as the Flying Dutchman attended the famous St Mary’s bay Summer Camp organised by my father Nobby. Peter held Black belts not just Japanese arts but in Korean and Chinese style, he was actually taught by the founder of Tae Kwon, Do Choi Hong Hi plus he also had trained in Japan. His style of Jiu Jitsu relied a lot on wrist locks etc a rough version of Aikido I gained a few grades in this and then stopped, in later years I trained in other styles and eventually moved up the grades to 6th Dan.

During the very early 1970’s I decide to try Olympic free Style Wrestling found this extremely hard and totally different to grappling with a Jacket, I won a few medals in this and also found it helped my Judo, although the Judo snobs thought I was committing  a sacrilege doing it. They were to be even more upset when the British Wrestling Association started running Sambo events (it was called Cambo in those days go to my web to read why). This was to change my whole concept of Jacket Grappling and in a lot of ways change my life.

You may think I am rambling but I forgot to say in my younger days I done Door Work and most of the time I worked with Judoka, Wrestlers and Boxers, occasionally KarateKa, (Kickboxing had not been invented then or had Cage Fighting) when there was a fight those who done striking were great at knocking people out and in those days nobody really cared but they had difficulty removing people or restraining people. As time went by Dance Promoters were become worried about being shut down because the Doorman were to violent, when I supplied Doorman they were practically 100% Grapplers and with todays laws it is near impossible to hit someone and to be honest why should you.

So I relooked at what I was doing and tried Jiu Jitsu but in those days Jiu Jitsuka was only taught in a Rote Fashion i.e. your opponent does this attack and you defend with this technique, like one step sparring. Then it occurred to me the reason Grapplers with or without jacket were better on the door they actually fought each other every time they trained, they knew how to reacted in fight situation OK so there’s was competitive not fighting but they knew how to react.

So now I knew where to go my new system would teach very much like grappling i.e. learn a throw and perfect it. Then I would look how many ways I could use this technique as a self defense it worked, the only drawback it would not suit everyone as part of the system would be you had to grapple. You could not rely just on a pre determined set of scenarios very much what Jiu Jitsu was teaching, although I notice a lot of Jiu Jitsu styles have realised that as well.

So how else could I change my style?

1)      No  fancy moves, as you moved up the grades in some styles I had learnt you would have perform many different moves to get to one end

2)      I could never get on with the complicated Wrist Locks, so these would be at a minimum use of these techniques

3)      Would teach strikes only so that one could learn how to defend against them

4)      Would only teach weapon techniques as a means to learn how to defend against them

5)      No Kata. Nothing against Kata but as I wanted this as a grappling self defence system, I could not see the logic of it

6)      My system would have to have a Philosophy

7)      My system would have to be educational, not just something that teaches you to be barbaric to another human being

Finally what name should I give to it? MartinClarkeCombat would be some what pretentious, Combat must be included and with the Americans changing the name of Sambo to Sombo and with the fact that Sambo loosely translated meant self defence without weapons why not put the two together COMBATSOMBO. The name I would register and the rest as they say is History.

It would be a mistake to say CombatSombo is for everyone it is not but that is the joy of Martial Arts it is finding that suits your own needs and enjoyment. You can learn more by going to

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gary Kirkham

With participation in Judo and Sport in decline generally it is nice to sometimes reminisce about the past and the good times and occasionally something jogs your memory. Sadly this memory Jog was not a pleasant one as I have just heard of the death of a former pupil of mine Gary Kirkham who was only in his Mid Forties. Gary was one of a large family all of whom were doing Judo back in the 1970’s when the Young Judo Club Sittingbourne boasted 600 members. The breed of youngsters then was totally different then today’s youth (the majority but not all) they were prepare to travel, train several times a week and most importantly compete throughout GB and Europe. Competitions were not 50 0r 60 competitors they were in there hundreds, my Father Nobby organised a Junior Judo Tournament at the Stour Centre Ashford in the 1970’s which attracted 1200 competitors those were the days. Gary would often be in a weight group of 50 plus, his Mum must have boxes of medals her kids have won. I have not seen Gary for some years but I have very fond memories of him an excellent fighter but sadly he lost the ultimate fight. Gary rest in peace and when you get chance to talk to God ask him to help us get more kids to do Judo. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mum Nadine and the rest of the family

Martin Clarke

Thursday, August 11, 2011

World Judo Federation a New World Body
This is a new World Body which seems to be in opposition to the International Judo Federation. I am not surprised that another organisation has been formed consdiering the balls up the IJF has made to the rules of Judo and other aspects of the Way. Maybe this new body will rejuvinate Judo in GB who knows what I do know I watching from the sidelines and not getting involved

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Economy-Riots-Bar B Q

"The Economy of the World are in down turn Stock Market rices drop fear of Crash"
This is what you hearing from the Press Panic stations but in reality stock and share are only paper, the only intrinsic value is when they sold or purchased. So if you do neither you are no worse of. It is like buying a House for say £200,000 and its value drops to £150,000 If you do not intend to move or sell you are no worse of and no better off. So what hits ordinary Joe Bloggs is when the Bank Rate goes up, Wages come down and prices go up, the latter two is normally about greed. Well that's my take on it.

Riots in Tottenham these are gangsters most being being black it has nothing to do with it, there are enough white gangsters scum in other cities who would do the same. Now I hope the Police look through all the TV coverage and pick out those involved and lets hope the Judges send out a message buy giving them heavy sentences. Already the Lefty Liberals are starting to make excuses and blame the Police and lets be honest they are the one who decide what British Justice is.

Any way had a few old friend round for Bar B Q Saturday night had a great time well away from it all Cheers Trevor and Kendall, Keith and Wendy, Norman and Maggies special thanks to wife Val Oh must not forget Granddaughter Connie who popped round on her 13th Birthday

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Frankfurt Judo IBF 1977

This was IBF Multi Nation Frankfurt 1977 Below British Team this was of the best Tournament the IBF had run. Sorry to say I had just won a place in the BJA National Squad and was banned from attending the event Some excellent players in the team doubt if many are still practising some are now dead. Details sent by Chris Dawson 6th Dan who still runs a club up North I believe he won Gold in this event

Thanks for the memories

Monday, August 01, 2011

Child Abuse and Martial Arts

Ihave wrote several articles showing my concern about children under 5 doing kicking and puncing arts but nobody would listen accept SportEngland SO WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT CHILD ABUSE

Dear Martin

Thank you for your recent email about ‘Kiddie Cage Fighting’.

We have shared your concerns with the Child Protection in Sport Unit (part of the NSPCC) who are one of our National Partners who support National Governing Bodies of Sport we fund and recognised sports with matters relating to safeguarding and child protection.

The NSPCC have expressed their concerns about this type of activity happening (they refer to is as ‘mixed martial arts’) and following a documentary which was shown on Channel 4 a couple of years ago entitled ‘Strictly Baby Fighting’ issued the below statement to all press and media / LAs which is still relevant and one which we in Sport England endorse:

Mixed martial arts is not recognised as a sport by any of the UK Sports Councils or the Department of Culture Media and Sport. It has no single governing body that the Sports Councils can intervene with or that the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) can engage in dialogue with to raise the serious issues highlighted by this programme.

There are a number of sports and recreation activities that children and young people are involved in that fall outside of the regulated Governing Body structure. This can often mean that standards fall short of that which we would expect to see in place, and may encourage practice that can compromise the welfare and safety of young people. In the absence of regulation by a Governing Body local interventions are the only means of raising the standards of operation of these activities. All Sport England County Sports Partnerships and many Governing Bodies of sport operate club accreditation programmes that promote and recognise best practice in providing sport for children and young people. Information on this can be found at and on the CPSU’s website at .

Specific concerns in relation to safeguarding should be referred to local Children's Social Care services. There may also be the opportunity for local interventions by Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

Local Education Welfare Services have a responsibility under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and 1963 and the Children (Performances) Regulations 1968, to investigate and monitor employment undertaken by young people of compulsory school age. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that it is safe and legal, and that it does not damage or interrupt their education. This would apply to children taking part in a “professional” fight (i.e. where spectators have paid to watch).

The Licensing Act 2003 requires authorisation for regulated entertainment or of entertainment facilities to be obtained, and this would include an indoor sporting event or boxing or wrestling entertainment. Before granting the license the applicant will be required to demonstrate how they are promoting the four objectives of the Act, which includes the protection of children from harm.

Local letting policies have been established in a small number of local authority leisure services to promote best practice in the provision of sporting activities for children and young people. Within the safeguarding policies of these leisure services departments provision can be made for clubs and associations seeking to use facilities to demonstrate minimum standards in relation to safeguarding. Where non-affiliated or unregulated sports clubs seek to hire facilities this approach to letting can be an effective means of introducing minimum operating standards, raising standards of practice, and addressing some of the worst aspects of youth sport highlighted in the programme.

Should you have any further questions / concerns about this please contact Jayne Molyneux, our Strategic Lead Children at or Young People or the CPSU (via the website address above).

We are still looking into your previous email regarding children in martial arts and will respond as soon as possible.

Best wishes


Richard Clarkson

Senior Grants Manager

Creating sporting opportunities in every community

Sport England, 3rd Floor Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London WC1B 4SE

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 to 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