Friday, 22 March 2013

New sponsor - Premier Therapy North West!

I have great pleasure announcing a new sponsor for Combat Base Bolton - Premier Therapy North West; based in Bolton and run by Kirsty Hollinworth and her team of physios, Premier Therapy are a regular sight at many of the MMA events in the North West, providing on site treatment to the fighters.
I met Kirsty at FCC 5 at the weekend and after a chat and some treatment, Kirsty has kindly stepped up to sponsor the club, offering physio and sports massage treatment to myself and the students.
When training, we often spend large amounts of money on gi's, shorts, rash guards, gym membership and supplements, yet neglect one key area of training - looking after your own body.  At the ripe old age of 42, I can no longer train through and ignore injuries, especially in my gym, one of the coldest locations on the planet for most of the year; add to that the many years of standing outdoors in all weathers, during my days as a doorman, it's a recipe for disaster without any intervention from the physios.
With Kirsty Hollinworth
 I've only had two treatments so far, but I have noticed an improvement in general mobility and reduced lower back stiffness in the morning, as most days I can't even bend down to put my socks on ('and you call yourself an athelete?' I hear you cry) so I am looking forward to regular intense treatment which will keep me fighting fit and feeling ten years younger.
Kirsty and her team are located on Higher Bridge St, across from the Holiday Inn Hotel; for more info give the team a ring on 01204 776198 or visit

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Salford MMA!

Had another highly enjoyable no gi session at Darren Sherlock's MMA gym on Monday evening; the lads and ladies are starting to get the hang of the side control drills I've been showing them, which can only be a good thing.  I've added three new drills in the warm up, which I use at my club and went into detail to make sure everyone had them in the bag.
Going through the drills took up most of the session, as well as a thorough warm up at the start, but I managed to throw in a few sweeps to round off the evening.  Thanks to Darren for inviting me back and to all the students for turning up and joining in the fun.
Darren is hard at work organising the UK MMA Expo, which is going to held in Manchester and will be showcasing the British Grappling event, organised by Jim Mc Sherry, more news will follow, so keep your eyes on the Blog for regular updates.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Seminar and new blue belts @ CB Bolton!

Sunday 17th March saw Darren and Helen Currie gracing the mats at the club, delivering what I can only describe as a truly awesome master class on the half guard.  I've attended dozens of seminars by Darren and Helen in the past and the half guard is one of his best; on this occasion Darren promised to show us a totally different way of approaching the half guard position and he wasn't wrong.
Starting off with the basic entries into the half guard and maintaining the half guard, Darren showed a number of really slick sweeps from an arm tie up, something which I'd not seen before.  After these sweeps, another batch of high percentage and super cool sweeps followed, inspired by the legendary Marcelo Garcia, all of which went down really well by all attendees, myself included.
Group photo
In between the techniques, Darren came over to me and showed me some other juicy techniques that Helen and himself had been working on, as well as some interesting concepts on certain positions, all of which I will be applying into my game immediately.
After the technical side of things over, everyone put theory into practice with some rolling and the session went way over time, with Helen rolling with more or less everyone and once the seminar finally ended, Helen promoted five students to blue belt.
Darren, Steve, Liam, Tim, Lee, Brendan & Helen
Huge congrats to Lee 'Bones' Jones, the lightest and youngest blue belt at the club, aged 17; Steve 'Robocop' Holt, Liam Holt, Tim Wilson and Brendan Gallagher on their promotions; all the guys train hard every week, rarely missing a class and are a credit to themselves, the club and Combat Base UK.
Massive thanks to Darren and Helen for the seminar and giving everyone real value for money, as well as giving me some awesome new material to play around with; thanks to Dave Kari from Voodoo Gym, Lee 'Demolition Man' James from KP Centre, Heywood and Mike Ng from NGT Runcorn for coming over and supporting the event.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Three out of three for Fight Factory @ FCC 5!

Team Fight Factory had an awesome result at Adam Teh's brilliant Full Contact Contender 5, held at the Reebok on Saturday March 16th.  Three fighters from the Heywood based MMA gym stepped up to fight and all came away with submission victories.
Ali, Amir, YT, Ken and Jason
Amir Ghasemi was first to fight and after his customary double leg pick up and slam, Amir made short work of his opponent, finishing the fight with a rear naked choke; second up was Jason 'Goldi' Jacques, who was ripped up and ready to rock 'n roll.  After landing a solid leg kick to his opponent, the fight went to the ground, which saw Jacques in his opponent's guard; defending well against a number of arm bar attempts, Jason passed the guard and ended up reversed and against the cage. Jason managed to escape the position and sunk in a tight guillotine for win number two.
Andy Devent warming up Jason Jacques
Last up to fight was Fight Factory owner, Kenneth 'K Force' Richardson; the fight started with Ken trading punches with his opponent, before Ken took him down with a sweet single leg.  From the ground, Ken moved his opponent up to the cage right into our corner, softened him up with some heavy rib shots and took the third win of the night with a Peruvian Neck Tie.
With Jason Tan
Awesome achievements from all fighters, who have all trained hard leading up their fights and showcased everything that's good about MMA - crisp striking, effortless takedowns and jiu jitsu on the ground.  As their BJJ coach, I couldn't be more happier with all fights ending up with submissions, a variety of chokes, showcasing the diversity of the submissions available in jiu jitsu.
The whole event was well ran and it was great to bump into all my MMA buddies and catch up with everyone, as well as watching some top class MMA fights; big shouts out to the following people who I met on the night, hope I've not missed anyone out :-
With Tom Hanlon
Adam Teh, Gary Savage, Ozzy Haluk, Tom Blackledge, Matt Thorpe, Aaron Wilkinson, Ian and Andy Butlin, Darren and Michelle Sherlock, Andrew and Jo-el DeventTom Hanlon, Michael Stapleton, George Launders, Brad Wilde, Billy Glossop, Neil Hall and family, Jamie Hay, Matt Phillips, Jason Tan and FF boss lady, Carly Richardson.
With Tom Blackledge and Aaron Wilkinson
Special thanks to fellow cornermen Baz White and Ali Arish for doing a sterling job together with my good self; having one guy shout out for striking, one for wrestling and one for the ground made the job really easy and easy for the fighters to listen to one voice at a time.

Also huge shout to Kirsty Hollinworth from Premier Therapy NW, a Bolton based company, specialising in MMA/BJJ injuries; Kirsty gave my poor back some much needed TLC, more about Kirsty and her team in a future post.
Right now it's back to the drawing board at Fight Factory, getting the lads ready for their next fights.  See you cageside real soon!!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

BJJ @ Lancaster University!

Huge thanks to my student Krishnan Chauhan for recommending me to the Uni's BJJ Society; I had the pleasure of taking the first class last night and with it being the first session, it was a no gi affair.
Lancaster University BJJ Society
As always, I started the class with the Galvao  and Mendes drills, seven in all, which took up most of the session, which left a good forty five minutes for rolling and specifics.  All the lads worked very hard and I received some great feedback from the students; one guy even told me it was the best session he'd ever had, which made me feel very pleased and humbled at the same time.

Looking forward to the next class next week!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Comfort zones are made to be broken - Part 1

Back in the days of my traditional martial arts training, before I started my journey with BJJ, Geoff Thompson was prominent in the martial arts magazines; Geoff was also writing books that offered advice on breaking free from your everyday fears and living a better life.
Geoff talked about comfort zones, how we all have them and to increase your self confidence and to lead better lives, he suggested we needed to step out of our respective comfort zones, no matter who unsettling this would be.  Once out of our comfort zone, that zone would in turn become larger; thus, repeatedly stepping out of our comfort zones would increase self confidence and in turn, nothing in one's life would seem impossible.  You could do anything you desired with your life, as your improved self confidence and previous steps out of comfort zones would see you achieving bigger and better things in life ad infintum.
I know Geoff personally and have attended a number of his seminars back in my Traditional JJ days and I had the honour and privilige of teaching at one of his seminars in Coventry, with Geoff and Pete Consterdine.  My coach Trevor Roberts was teaching on the course and they allowed me to show a few techniques and Geoff, Pete and I became good friends; I started to read Geoff's books about his days on the doors, as I was working the doors at the time, as well as his books on fear and I started to apply them to my martial arts training and in life in general.
With Geoff and Pete, 2000
It wasn't until I started to train BJJ that I really learned about comfort zones, breaking them down, extending their size and enjoying all the benefits connected with these actions.

Way back in the mists of time in March 1999, I attended my first ever BJJ seminar at Andy Norman's gym in Hull; John Machado came over from LA and gave a seminar and I was dressed in a blue Sambo jacket and shorts and wrestling boots, no Tatami gear back then.  After chatting to John, he said I was more than welcome to come over to LA and train at his academy, together with John and Rigan.

I was in a dead end job which I hated with a passion and the offer to train in sunny LA was too good to resist, so I worked my arse off both in my day job and on the doors at the weekend and come May 1999, I was stepping off the plane at LAX, walking through the Nothing to Declare section and into bright Californian sun shine, then into a cab heading for Hermosa Beach.
With John Machado in Hull, March 1999; this seminar was to change my life completely beyond measure
After checking in there wasn't much to do as it was Labour Day when I arrived so the academy was closed for a few days, so I had time to kill.  It was the following day that reality hit me; I was sitting alone on a bench on the beach, when I started to think about what I was doing here.  I'd flown across eight time zones at the behest of a dude I'd only met once in Hull, to come and train BJJ; 'I'm from Bolton,' I said to myself, 'People from Bolton don't do shit like this.'  'WHAT THE FUCK am I doing here??!!' 

I started to panic, thinking all these crazy thoughts about being here all alone, no friends or family, thousands of miles away from home.  My friends at the time thought I was mad to come out here on my own in the first place and then I started thinking maybe they were right all along.  All my thoughts were negative ones and I was starting to talk myself round to the fact that what I was doing was wrong and that maybe I should come back home and be normal like the rest of my friends.

I even came up with a crazy idea to tell my family and friends that I'd been mugged and that was why I came back home; I left the beach in really low spirits and moped around for the rest of the day, thinking about my present situation.  Thankfully the gym was open the following day; had there been another day off before I got to train, I'm sure I would have come back home and I wouldn't be writing this piece now.  I'd have ended up back in another shitty job, cursing the whole world about my lot in life and sat at home, uttering the two words I hope never to come out of my mouth.

'If only.'

Saturday, 9 March 2013

New club banner!

Big thanks to Steve 'Robocop' Holt, for fitting the new club banner today; it's on one of the busiest junctions in Bolton, let's hope it brings in more bodies into the club :)

Friday, 8 March 2013

BJJ Globetrotter Seminar @ CB Bolton!

It is with great pleasure and honour to announce that my very good friend, BJJ Globetrotter ,Christian Graugart will be hosting a BJJ seminar at Combat Base Bolton. 

Sunday April 7th, 1-4pm £20pp

The seminar is open to everyone and to all my BJJ buddies. Christian was my first opponent at brown belt where we made Scottish history in having the first ever brown belt Superfight at the Glasgow Open in 2011.

Since then we have become good friends and I'm really looking forward to Christian sharing some of his techniques; as you will be aware Christian recently wrote a book about his Globetrotting travels, as well as having a regular column in Jiu Jitsu Style magazine.  He has also formed the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotters group, that offers an alternative to traditional affiliation with BJJ.

The seminar will be one hour of gi techniques and one hour of no gi techniques, before ending the afternoon with plenty of rolling - a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon :)

I hope to see as many of my BJJ and MMA friends and friends to be as possible and to give Christian a very warm welcome when he visits the UK.  Anyone interested in attending email me at

Monday, 4 March 2013

No Gi session @ Salford MMA!

Enjoyed a great session tonight at Salford MMA, with thanks to my very good friend Darren Sherlock for inviting me back; after a quick warm up, I went over the Galvao side control drills and added a few new drills from the Mendes brothers.
Once fully warmed up, I went over three high percentage guard passes, one from the old school days, when I used to train at Atherton Submission with Jack Mountford and Darren Morris.
Team photo
After this, I showed two guard passes that where shown to me by Gordo black belt Jeremey Arel, in Rio in 2010, when he was a brown belt and I was a purple belt and I have been using them ever since.
The session ended with me showing a few pointers on finishing the keylock submission, which I picked up from my time in Abu Dhabi.  Huge thanks to Darren for inviting me back to the gym to share the knowledge and to all the students for turning up, look forward to coming back real soon :)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Seminar @ Voodoo, Macclesfield

Spent a highly enjoyable afternoon training jiu jitsu, thanks to Darren and Helen Currie, who were at Dave Kari's gym in Macclesfield.  After one of Helen's infamous warm ups, Darren took the z guard position and gave it a thorough dissection.
Darren, Dave, YT and Helen
Darren started off by showing ways of getting into the position and getting the position back, when your opponent starts to defend.  From an attempted knee over thigh guard pass postion, Darren showed one foolproof way of killing the pass attempt and from this position, a number of high percentage sweeps ended off the technical session.
To prove that the senior coaches are still in their prime, Helen, Darren and my good self engaged in a spot of Iron Man training; I was lucky enough to roll with all the heavy guys and boy were they strong and tough.  Never an easy ride, we rolled with all the guys for around thirty minutes before finally calling it a day and after a quick chat with Darren and Helen, Helen went onto to promote two students to blue belt.

Congrats to Andy Shield and Aggie 'Semtex' Drozdzik on their new blue belts!
Darren, Andy, Aggie and Helen
Thanks to Dave Kari for inviting me over and to Darren and Helen for a great day of jiu jitsu and to Aggie, who cooked a mean chilli and rice, as well as a huge bowl of jelly babies, food of the Gods :)