Sunday, August 14, 2011

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

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