May 2010 - 5 Day Camp
This years camp in May was more of a success than I had thought it was going to be. There were folk who attended that I had forgot about, so when everybody arrived I was more than shocked. The thing I had planned to do was to get everybody together before the camp so that everybody could meet guys who knew each other and guys who haven't met yet. So, I told all who were coming to come to my school at 21,00 on Sunday night. I thought I would have been better to give the guys a drink when they met but I wasn't thinking about making the tea for them I think a decent bottle of beer is a better way to break the ice with folk. So, once everybody arrived I gave a small talk then suggested they all mingle with one another. Some guys liked to look around at my school others talked then had a look, I tried to make sure I got to see everybody; new students and old students. So, after that it was time to get back home and let the guys get back to their accommodations.
Monday we started at 10.am, we started slow with the structure and how to move. I think every time you start training it's good to always start this way as it gets everybody to start on the same line, but like all other things footwork is the most neglected. It does matter how long you have been doing Bruce's art the thing that you should always concentrate on is the ability to move your feet with fluidity grace and balance. We spent a full day on movement, but it's not till you start you realise how damn important it really is and if your not in motion and at the wrong distance you can get hit. So, shifting weight and keeping the engine running is the order of the day. You know if you keep shifting weight and in motion there is no need to make the choice of should I slip or duck or weave because your already doing this anyway. The choice has been put on your opponent because he is thinking, "I wish this bloody thing would stand still so that I could hit the bugger", but that's not going to happen. Also, if your in motion and get hit it's not the same because the energy actually decreases as your moving away from the impact and then it's a case of taking the energy and returning it to the point of origin. Again, there's some things I will tell you there's things I won't because to get the stuff right in depth you need to come to my school or a seminar or the camp. I don't believe in handing this stuff out in a plate for folk to take then try and pass of as it was their's. So, day one completed; footwork and evasion at the end of the day one side was throwing punches and trying to hit the other side while they were always moving, rather than the usual JKD crowd where the guy throws the punch and they tries to evade. I am afraid this doesn't work that well, that's how they get hit 90% of the time; because they have to make the choice should I slip, duck, or roll. WRONG, the progression at the end of the day was full speed punches were being thrown and the other side made sure to keep alive and move.
Day two was hitting the pads. I wanted to cover the things they would need for countering the stuff that was thrown at them on day one. The idea was to put day one, day two, then day three together. This seminar is on counter fighting rather than attacking, but there is a very fine line that separates the two of them and even sometimes you couldn't draw a line to say it's this or that; when does the contraction expand. So, the lead hand has to be covered and drilled that any direction your travelling in you can apply it. Also, different ways the elbow can twist to be aligned to the target. We then covered the left hand how it can cross the different types of crosses and the different ways that it can corkscrew. My favourite is the left to the groin looping up wards it's a devastating punch that would take your opponent off their feet just because of the point of impact under the groin. It's great against any hook going under it and against straight rights or lefts, even used against kicks. After this, hooks were next on the list. Again, all possibilities covered here as well as the back fist. The punches were taught, then I taught the guys my own personal focus mitt drills that covers everything from punching, to faking, to disengages all done on the mitts I call it turning on and off and switching. Remember, if you see anybody doing this it came from me because I invented it. After, we did this for the best part of 4 and a half hours. We drilled it full speed and power till their arms were feeling like they were going to fall off and if I am right this could be one of the days they finished off the day doing sets of press ups till they dropped or couldn't move or do another press. The training wasn't just physical; my plan was to include some mental application so that their minds were training not to give up. Training the mind to be focused and strong is a thing most folk don't have or don't do in any capacity. So, well done to everybody because this was a very difficult day.
On day three we put the other days into practise by combining them all together. Starting off, I like to start slow then finish fast and strong. So, day three; now before we get into day three I would like to introduce you to my friend, he's Sebastian Foucan. For the folk who don't know him he's the guy who was chased by Daniel Craig in the Bond movie Casino Royale. Sebastian was the guy who was jumping across the cranes and inside the lift shaft. He did the free running; he's the inventor of free running. How I got to know him was through his request to a film director who he was making a trailer for a movie called TALION. So, aside from this he's also been on tour with Madonna and did all the stuff in the background as she sang. So, Sebastian took the troops every morning for there warm up which was a great chance for the guys to do some of his stuff and for him to get to meet the guys and work with them. In the future Sebastian will be coming to other events and working with us and at next years camp he will possibly be doing a half days stuff with everybody, but we will talk about this later. So, day three; countering punches with punches. As I said we started of slow and then gathered pace as the day progressed. It was light then got to the heavy and as fast as you can go part. When you arrive at this point then you certainly know how to deal with punches being thrown from all distances and angles or possible angles I can add. Then, the finish, everybody was dying on their feet. Then I said, "OK PRESS UP POSITION", I COULD SEE THEY WERE ALL DYING SO I SAID, "OK I WILL DO THIS WITH YOU TO GIVE YOU A HAND". I SAID, "OK LET'S GO", WE DID ONE THEN I SAID, "OK THAT'S US DONE". HA HA, I COULD SEE A GREAT RELEIF FROM THERE FACES, again a very hard day.
Now, for day four. Day four was defending against all possible types of grabs using pressure and again following Bruce's principles of simplicity, efficiency, directness, and economy of motion. You know Bruce's stuff has to work standing up or down; and by down I don't mean being caught in the grappling thing by using grappling as a defence. I mean using the same principals as you would use standing upright; so, your maiming or escaping. Also, I train my guys to use sensitivity and feel pressure in every position you could possibly think about. Think about your whole down is like a radio or TV aerial where it picks up signals. The signals you pick up through your whole body you learn to use standing, lying, or sitting; you pick these up with your eyes and every part of your body even your brain, but again I am only telling you a rough idea about what I have discovered. I am not giving too much till you come see me or you become my student then the whole thing will be open for you to learn. I don't believe in giving this away freely to anybody out there who will attempt to teach my ideas just through reading this article. So, day 4 complete.
Day 5 was kicking. The idea was to show the guys how you can move off centre and defend against kicks. You can move off from say 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock using different types of footwork from shifting to stepping and pivoting and even side stepping. The progression is slow; then attack with kicks full speed and only evade, but naturally I taught the guys how to parry just incase there caught out. Also, how to take the impact if there not quick enough or don't see it so after 2 and a half hours we looked at possible ways to counter kicks with hands and feet that all have to do with distance to close punch far out kick that's got to be felt and discovered. To learn how to make it work for real the next half of the day was devoted to this using protective gear and learing how to make it work. So, day 5 done and by this time I saw many battered and bruised bodies, arms and even faces and we still went.
Finishing Friday night was our very first seminar teaching CQB (close quarter battle) which involved taking a building and rescuing a hostage. This part was given to my son because this is his thing; my friend who is serving with the royal marines and has fought in Afghanistan and also in the gulf war taught my son many military tactics which involved taking house, i.e. house Clarence, patrolling in jungle, and through woodland, how to capture entrenched positions and hundreds more. So, he taught one thing; house clearance to rescue a hostage. I taught my own version of military unarmed combat, defend against guns, knives, punches and kicks. To be honest with you, three weeks before then camp I put this together I was going to teach what my father had taught me; stuff he was taught in the British army during WW2, but I decided that I would love to use Bruce's principals and develop my own way which I did. I called it the CRASH SYSTEM. Why? Because, it involves crashing into him to destroy him, to kill or restrain to capture or restrain or if need be, break things. It's based on one thing, one move that has variation that you fall into without trying. Anyway I taught this assisted by Lee and Paul, my son and my other student Ally did the gun stuff using m4 carbines and H&k variation. At the end of the Friday, some 4 hrs later all teams had a try at breaching into the room securing the different rooms, firing the weapons and securing the hostage, eliminating the terrorists and making there way out or escape which we did and we returned fire. I myself was shot 4 times; I can personally tell you the pain you don't forget sore. Well, my words are fucking very sore to the point of bloody sore, for the guys who don't know what their using there using upgrades soft air guns that are firing approx 400 to 500 fps (feet per second) which in close proximity are very painful. Again, an amazing night and what I have written is only a very small part of what was done on Friday or what was done in the five days.
Saturday was a charity seminar, the subject was trapping. By the time we got to this part myself as well as all the other guys, we were so done in. This day was the hardest due to exhaustion. The money taken in was approximately 300 pounds; I am saying approximately because some folk who didn't make it gave me money yesterday and I haven't yet counted it to see how much it was, but on the day we took in 254 pounds. So, hopefully next week I can get it to the charity so they can make use of it and also I will add more money too. The money is going to Erskine Hospital for ex-service men and women who have helped to fight for this country so that today we can be free and the life we all take for grated so much.
So, in closing I am not going to name everybody who attended just in case I forget somebody and I don't want to do that. So all I will say is thanks to all who came, saw, and did, who gave there all and helped us keep Bruce's art alive and help to promote it in a way that helps future generations see what this beautiful art REALLY IS. So thanks again for making this a great 5 days. Next year we will do our best to make it even better, till next year. Tommy