This hasn’t been an easy decision, but it’s one I have made. It’s been an amazing 20 plus years in the self-defence arena, it actually saved my life which is why I began coaching, but it’s just not for me anymore. So many great memories but you can’t put your arm around them can you.
I’ve been considering the transition from self-defence to sport BJJ/Grappling/Wrestling/Striking for some years now and the pandemic and lockdown has given me time and the opportunity to shake things up a little.
There’s a purely selfish element to my decision, in that I don’t feel challenged anymore in this area. I’ve travelled the world coaching to the highest levels and I’ve studied and trained an obscene amount of hours specifically in this area, I’ve been far down this rabbit hole. I no longer get excited about training self-defence and you want your coach excited about what they teach, trust me. I’ve seen coaches going through the motions and it’s sad and tragic to see.
You want the best of me, this is a win-win situation, most of you cross-train at Function First and most of the self-defence crew are training in BJJ and Kickboxing so it’s not going to change for you really.
Those who train with me know I cover a wide area of possibilities if I’m teaching a takedown for example. I nearly always give a Gi option, a NO-GI variation and a self-defence application. This is where I find inspiration and enthusiasm, in the history and the lineage and the various applications.
The way I teach
The way our programs are designed at FF, you will be learning self-defence skills as part of our BJJ & Striking programs cover combat basics, which is all self-defence should ever be. The problem I have with self-defence is, after many years of teaching it, most coaches end up creating complex patterns and applications. It’s a kind of filler to keep students interested but doesn’t really have any real-world application.
I know many of you will be disappointed that I will no longer be teaching self-defence classes, but I will be teaching self-defence in the BJJ and striking classes as part of a deeper education for all.
As many of you know we have been getting serious about BJJ this last few years, Juliet bringing home the gold more than once, things were really gaining momentum before the pandemic. I truly truly believe that BJJ and grappling is one of the healthiest fun, exciting, challenging arts you can enjoy. You can literally have a full-blown intense competitive grapple, shake hands, and walk home without crutches and a lowered IQ. The close contact and human interaction part alone, is super important and missing from modern life, especially recently.
Me Me Me
On a personal note, week in week out for the last few years I have been humbled and beaten over and over and over again, mainly by my wrestling coach and a truly wonderful human Lyubomir kumbarov. He has pushed me to the point of complete mental submission and physical exhaustion, way out of my comfort zone and I truly love it there. This is something that fascinates me, my mind gave out and I’m still in a fight. Nothing on earth is so humbling and exciting to me, there is no escaping self, there is no room for delusion or bravado. I feel like a beginner again and I find that very exciting, learning learning learning.
Hey I’ve had 22,000 views look and 99% positive feedback,
Of course, Dom & Stu are taking their striking classes to new levels, this is their area now, It’s their torch to carry. Again, an area many coaches talk about that I rarely see happen, you want your students to be better than you, in this area I succeeded in, and I’m very happy about this. It frees up my time to build Function First and our ever-growing well-being and health facilities and I feel like I’ve only just started.
So when things start to return to contact classes again, we will send out the new timetable which includes lots of striking and grappling classes for all ages. It also includes regular workshops with our wrestling coach Lyubo, BJJ workshops with high-level Gracie Black Belts, and Muay Thai/ K1 workshops with some very high-level competitors and coaches in the striking arts. Not to forget the amazing John Will yearly seminar, John has now become a good friend and inspiration, 6th Dan BJJ with stories and lineage that put him in the BJJ Royalty club.
We will be investing more into your learning and development over the next few years. Our thanks as you got us through this and we are eternally grateful.