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Mike Sadler of Bristol Shorinji Kempo

Posted by Doug on 5th November 2018

MIKE: This week I’ve come down to meet Mike Sadler at Bristol Shorinji Kempo, and he’s going to explain what that is. So Mike, how did you get into Martial Arts, how did you get here?

SADLER: Well, when I started university, I went to Southampton University, I had the intention to start a martial art because I wanted, primarily, to learn how to use my body, rather than anything specific like self-defence.

M: So you were quite keen to start something martial?

S: Yes. Looking back it could’ve been dancing, but martial arts it just seemed to fit.

M: Is that a regret?

S: Haha. No, I’m happy the way things worked out. But it did occur to me at that age to consider it.

M: Is this the first style you stepped in to, or was there something else in Southampton you started with?

S: Well Southampton University has a surprising number of martial arts, so I think by the time I left there were twelve or thirteen and when I arrived there, there were eight or nine, but they used to have demonstrations of each martial art, one after another. So I went to more demonstrations. They had Taekwondo, didn’t have Aikido in those days, two forms of Kung Fu, several karate’s and no Judo, but they covered quite a lot bases.

M: Big place then!

S: Exactly! And they had a beautiful Judo room for kids, with mats all over the floor.

M: But no Judo?

! !

S: But no Judo. It might have appeared later, but I’m struggling to remember. Basically, I looked at them all and decided which I liked the look of, and the two, to my untutored eye, which looked the most interesting were one of the Karates and Kempo, which I’d never heard of and I’m sure most of your audience haven’t.

M: Probably very true.

S: But the main difference were the instructors. So the Kung Fu instructor was very good, I’ve no doubt of that, but the first lesson I went to had things like eye gauges, and I thought, undoubtedly effective, but…

M: Not what you were looking for.

S: Yes, it’s just too strict. So the other one was taught by, well he was actually a student at the time, and he was very young, tirelessly shy, and everything he said about Kempo and the philosophy behind it just fitted much better with my moral views. So it’s all do not act to harm the aggressor, it’s trying to do the minimum you need to in any given situation to keep you or whoever you were trying to defend safe.

M: Is that against any level of attack that’s coming in and you try to block it nicely?

S: Yes. To be honest, everything’s down scaled as much as it can be while being effective. So for example there are some techniques which are variations of Jiu-jutsu techniques, which would’ve been like arm breaks, and there’s a different version which is just as effective but without breaking bones. So the general philosophy behind it comes from a Chinese saying: “To avoid rather than fight, to fight rather than hurt, to hurt rather than injure, to injure rather than maim, to maim rather than kill. For all life is precious and can’t be replaced”.

M: Great words to live by.
S: Yes. So eye gauges don’t come in.
M: And everyone gets to walk away.
S: Yes, everyone gets to walk away and it’s a better way to live.
M: Yeah. So you went straight into this, and have you done it ever since?

S: Yes. Technically there was a ten-month break when I was in Germany, but I still trained when I came back and turned up for seminars. But you had to be pretty much uninterrupted to learn more advanced skills.

M: And is that what took you into the art or was it the rules to live by, or the fitness element, or did you find something once you started training in the art that captured your interest?

S: The philosophy is probably the broader structure that kept me here, without that… If it were full contact competitions and so fourth…

M: You’d have probably moved on?

S: I’d probably have moved on. But the martial art itself is so broad that there’s always something else to learn, so even the first technique you learn as you walk through the door is relatively complicated; a joint reversal which is common enough in many martial arts, it’s on the white to yellow belt syllabus and I’m still learning stuff about it now, twenty-five years later.

M: So like any good martial artist, always learning and always reassessing?

S: Yeah, and the syllabus is extremely broad and there’s always something more to learn. You could regard that as a downside if you’re a finisher, or you can regard it as having infinite opportunities, no matter how old you get.

M: It’s always good to have something else to learn.

S: Yes. And I tend to take the natural approach.

M: Fantastic.

M: So, you started in Southampton as a student. When was it you decided you wanted to be an instructor and go down that path?

S: Earlier than I’d anticipated.
M: Oh really?
S: I’d just completed my black belt in 1997.
M: How long you had you been doing it by that point? S: Four years.
M: Ok, that’s pretty good.

S: I look back and think I’d barely even begun. I ended back in Bristol for work, and another black belt who was a couple of years ahead of me, also ended up back in Bristol at the same time. At the time, as first dans we weren’t qualified as teachers, but because two of us ended up in the same place, we decided to teach half the class each, which from my point of view taught me a lot and undoubtedly worked out better, for the first time I started teaching on my own, even though it was a few years later.

M: From each other as well.

S: Well exactly, you have to learn to work around each other. And just by analysing your own feelings of how that’s going on is… more turns up than you imagine. But to never undermine, or contradict, or talk over each other, you just end up learning to work together, which is part of the philosophy of Shorinji Kempo anyway; work in pairs. This is one of the aspects where competition can be very much controlled. Because all of us in the class are here to learn from each other and that doesn’t particularly matter about the grade difference. And if there’s anything that I know which could help them, even if it’s to do something to me, then I would teach it without hesitation, and like wise with each other.

M: So everyone gets some input.

S: Yeah, you can learn from anybody. Different people have different joints, they work differently, so if I’m trying to do it on someone completely new, their joints might be slightly different.

M: Stiff?

S: Yeah, stiff. I once worked with somebody who was, I’d say, triple jointed and had no nerve points at all.

M: Were they hyper-mobile?
S: Yeah, they just had none of the normal nerve points. M: That’s quite useful.

S: Basically impossible to do. But most people have some variation of that, possibly having the disadvantage of a high level of nerve points, so every joint hurts. I’m slightly larger and heavier to move, so when working with somebody else, I’d say move more, move slower to let me fall and that sort of thing.

If you always hold a few secrets back because you think you might need them in the next competition, then maybe you don’t…

M: Don’t fight to your full ability?

S: Yeah, you don’t explain all your weaknesses, because as far as I’m concerned, with my lot, I’d tell them all my weaknesses then expect them to tell each other, to help each other.

M: And explore those as mutual ways of teaching.

S: Yeah. And in the class you get into the habit of working in pairs, to try to get these things to work. They’re painful, you can’t just slam them on each other.

M: They need to have some understanding of how it works.

S: Yes. But also, part of the philosophy of the habit of working in pairs, is it becomes habit, so that you take a similar approach outside the dojo as well as inside.

M: Ok.

S: Something I have found is that my own thinking seems to be different, even from these guys. I went on management courses at work, and found my general approach was different. They did all these contrived games and you found that a lot of them seemed to take a hard line; ‘let’s win’ talk! Nonsense. I found that, because I chose Kempo, that my approach was not going in that direction, along with a small minority of people.

M: So you said you started in 97, is that how long this class has been going?

S: Yes and no. I started training in 93 and we started the university dojo in either 97 or the beginning of 98. It took a while for the university to let us in, they were never too keen on martial arts because we didn’t bring back trophies. I had to go for an interview in front of the committee. Broadly speaking, all the students there were very happy and welcoming, but the permanent member of the committee, you know, the traditional grizzled old man, gave and impassioned speech about how they don’t want martial arts.

M: Why?


S: Just about trophies really. So I don’t think we were ever going to be on the same wavelength. But it did eventually get to the point where some people were getting too old for the university dojo. It was down in All Saints Road. And we’ve been training in Fitness For Less ever since.

M: I’d like to ask a bit about the style, as I don’t know much about it and I’m sure our viewers don’t either.

S: The name Shorinji Kempo. The second part is similar to Kung Fu; it’s referring to fighting style. The first part, is the Japanese translation of Shaolin. The origins of Shorinji Kempo are very much shrouded in mythology, but most of the Japanese martial arts have a link to China. Shorinji Kempo’s is much more recent. The founder of Shorinji Kempo studied in China between the wars, so he not only studied Japanese martial arts, he also studied Chinese martial arts, so the style is usually lighter than Okinawan styles, but that also depends on the instructor. But generally, the kicks and punches style is much lighter. It’s half way between some of the lighter Chinese styles and the heavier Japanese, but the modern styles have moved quite a lot.

M: Is it fairly balanced? From an outsider’s point of view it looks much more Japanese than Chinese.

S: The formalities are Japanese, and this is where my knowledge of Chinese martial arts is going to cost me. The Japanese have a certain way of categorising things, and I’m sure the Chinese do something similar, but the Japanese tend to rigidly analyse things and break them down, then categorise them, and in that aspect, in terms of the syllabus, you’ll see that.And obviously the language is Japanese. As we know the two countries don’t work that closely, but there still a connection between Sorinji Kempo in Japan and the Shaolin Temple, although the Shaolin Temple is no longer what it used to be.

M: Yes. On your website it talks about “the hard way”, “the soft way”, healing, philosophy and meditation. Is that your curriculum?

S: Yes, this is where Shorinji Kempo is quite different to a lot of martial arts. Shorinji Kempo has three physical sides and they translate to Juho, Goho and Seiho. Goho translates to hard side and Juho the soft side. The distinctions we use are that the hard side consists of kicks, punches, blocks anything with contact, whereas Juho, the soft side, is anything with persistent contact; throws, chokes, pressure and nerve point attacks.

Seiho is the third side; acupressure massage. That’s a long the same route as Shiatsu, so it’s using the same nerve points around the body, but for things like resuscitation, healing and resetting the muscles.

M: And you teach that in class?

S: Yes, but not every session. It’s one of those things that takes a sufficient amount of time, and two hours is too short, so we tend to do it most Fridays.

M: You’re also the secretary of the International Kempo Association.

S: Yes, so we’ve got an international grouping that we’re in, seven countries at the moment. Once a year we have a big seminar, this year it was in Bristol, next year it’s in Japan, last year was Spain.

M: Is most of that in Europe?

S: It is. There are six European countries: Ireland, Britain, Cheque Republic, Switzerland, Sicily, Spain and Japan.

M: So you have a set syllabus? Someone here could go out to Japan and train the same way?

S: Not quite, we’re working on a single set one. At the moment they’re all similar, they’ve all come from the same source, so to speak. Usually at international seminars there’s enough commonality not to worry about it.

M: Fantastic. So if I were a new student, just coming down to give this a go, is there anything I’d need to bring, and what could I expect in my first lesson?

S: Anything you can move in, is the criteria for wear. It doesn’t matter the level or the fitness. Train to your own level. If you have one arm, one leg you are more than welcome to come along. The whole point of Shorinji Kempo is that you’re developing as a person, so it doesn’t exactly matter where you start and where you finish.

M: So everyone gets something out of it? S: Yes.

M: Right, well I think that’s it. Thank you very much, it was an absolute pleasure.

S: Thank you for coming down.

Bristol Kempo Clubs Recommended by us

Posted by Doug on 5th November 2018

Bristol Shorinji Kempo (as discussed in this months interview)

Fitness4Less, 15-29 Union St, Bristol BS1 2DF

Mike Sadler 07972 815064



Kenpo UK

14 Victoria Avenue.
Chard, Somerset, TA20 1HE


Old Red Cross Hut

Warf Lane, Ilminster , TA19 0DS

Tel: 07717576018



Budo Warrior School

TEL: 07776 202011


Web: www.budowarrior.ninja




Cold Steel Katana

Posted by Doug on 5th November 2018

The samurai sword is arguably the most recognized bladed weapon in the world. Swords have always been a symbol of strength and status, but the katana, to me, epitomises this statement. For the majority of us, the Samurai were solomon, honourable warriors, with rigid routines and ceremonies, which they were bound to follow, through strict disciplining of their minds, bodies and spirits.

Though their level of honour was much more subjective than we would like to believe, the importance of their status in society was not. Being the toughest and the strongest was of the up most, and losing face, could result in death for anyone who dared to insult them.

The craftsmanship of their weapons could say more than their actual skills. If a Samurai had a well made katana, it would suggest that their fighting ability matched the high level of which it had been made. Anyone with an interest in Kenjutsu (the art of Japanese swordsmanship) will have likely seen Quentin Tarantino’s glorious ‘Kill Bill’ films, and will know of Hatori Hanzo; considered (in the films universe) to be the worlds greatest Katana black smith. When his name is mentioned, people automatically believe that the wielder of one of his works, is a master “in the exquisite art of the Samurai sword”.

Known for their durability and attention to detail in all their products, ‘Cold steel’, is a brand with over thirty years of experience in hand made weapons, ranging from modern ‘peacekeeper’ training knives to histories most iconic weaponry. Their Katanas are hand crafted carbon steel, using traditional techniques on the sword, handle and saya (scabbard). They may not have been forged in sixteenth century feudal Japan, but these are some the best made Katanas in the world today.

At Enso, we have a range of Cold Steel Katanas. Pricing can be from £160 (the Asano Katana) to £700 (the Emperor Katana). This price range is due to the amount of material and time that has gone into each sword.

As incredible as they are to hold and use, these are serious weapons, and as so should always be handled with respect.

For more details and video examples of a Cold Steel katanas capability, please go to our website: https://shop.ensomartialarts.com/coldsteel-cold-steel-emperor-katana.html

Martial Arts Events November 2018

Posted by Doug on 5th November 2018

1) Bristol/Weston-Super-Mare Tai Chi Association Seminars

Master Chen YingJun

Bristol – Thursday 15th November 2018 – 7:00pm – 9:30pm

Cotham School Dance Studio (BS6 6DT)


2) Ultra White Collar Boxing

Ultra White Collar Boxing

Bristol – Saturday 24th November 2018 – 4:00pm – close

UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre (BS34 8QZ)


3) World Martial Arts Championships 38th Year

London – Sunday 18th November 2018 – 9:30am – 7:00pm

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London (SE19 2BB)


4) Ultra MMA

Ultra MMA

Gloucester – Sunday 18th 2018 – 4pm – close

Hatherley Manor (GL2 9QA)

Johnny Munden Interview

Posted by Doug on 3rd October 2018

The Muay Thai Talk

Shelley: Johnny Munden, Muay Thai trainer and lovely, lovely person.

Johnny: Thank you.

S: So just a few questions about your wonderful club, if that’s ok?

J: Absolutely, no worries.

S: Firstly, I can’t believe you have so many girls in your club, is that just your club, or has there been general increase?

J: No, there’s been a definite increase. One of the joys of Sweat Box is that you get to see the Jujitsu, MMA, the Thai boxing and even the Boxing classes, you can see it going across the board, and because everyone is so open to it, you see it on every level, so from the fitness side to people doing every single class, and also the lovely thing is that it’s all equal and that’s the thing I’ve seen change over the years. A few years ago, it would be one woman in a class of thirty blokes…

S: Haha, that’s normally me.

J: Exactly! And it’s so good to see the difference now and how it’s evolved and moved on, and it’ll keep doing that. Definitely.

S: That is quite impressive! But you were just saying about MMA and you’ve got loads of different things at SweatBox, so from a Muay Thai perspective, what’s your feeling in terms of people training in different martial arts? Say if someone did Boxing, Kickboxing and Muay Thai for example?

J: Normally, I would say once someone’s got a core in one thing they’ve got something to evolve from. The worst thing I tend to find is someone who says ‘I do MMA and I’m going to do this, this and this’ and they’ve done nothing, so then they become crap boxers and not the best kickers, so it doesn’t flow together, like tonight we’ve had boxers, Taekwondo etc all working from the same background, but again evolving towards becoming a Thai boxer, so once you’ve got to that level, then I’d say yeah, try other things, or go to the appropriate MMA classes, not just try this here, this there. So, with something like SweatBox it’s all joined up, like if I tried a different gym, and a different and a different gym, the instructors would be different, some would say ‘keep your hands up’, others, ‘put your hands down’, then you get that conflict and you don’t get the full experience.

S: You get that with fighters though, surely?

J: Oh yeah, absolutely! But the thing is that most fighters have been training long enough to have their own style and styles make fights, so at the moment if you’re dropping your hands like Connor Macgregor and knocking people out, who am I to tell you to put your hands up, but if you’ve just started and you’re doing that, most people that start switching stances don’t have a clue what they’re doing, they think they’re faking out the other person, but they generally don’t know what they’re doing, so then they get hit, and they think ‘oh, this is rubbish’ then go off and do something else.

S: So what about you, have you always done Muay Thai?

J: I started off being a very fat…sort of like a drunk man. Haha.

S: Haha, so nothing’s changed then. Just not fat.

J: Haha, yeah, I’ve not come up quite so fat. But Mike Tamsin who runs Barton Hill Muay Thai, we were friends. I never liked martial Arts, hated it, didn’t want to do it, and he tricked me into going to a class. I promptly quit the first session, but then I had to go to the next one, and that’s when Martin heard and sort of took me under his wing and it just evolved from there with a first class up in Whit church with a guy called Fara Melly who came down a couple of times a week from Manchester, training under Master Quin and Master Woody, who were the ones who graded me as an instructor, all those years a go, but yeah, it’s mainly been the Thai Boxing and then it evolved into Boxing, then into Jiujutsu, then into the MMA when it first came on the scene with Kevin O’Hagan, and at that time there’s was only one place to train in JiuJutsu, one place to do stand up, we did our first stand up seminar at Whitchurch years ago, Kev did a mat, we did a mat, and it was at the beginning of UFC and before people knew what MMA was and now you’ve got choices to train every day of the week, some people are seven days a week, it’s just so different to training in church halls, like moving chairs out the way and slipping on slippery floors and having one bag in the corner, if you were lucky, I think the first boxing ring was down L.A. gym and that would’ve been at least ten, twelve years ago, so means that there would’ve been at least thirteen years of not having anything like that. So when you went off to fight clubs that had their rings and were full time gyms and you beat em…that always felt good!

S: I see that Craig Manar, he trains as well, doesn’t he?

J: Yeah, he does!

S: He has quite a lot of respect for you, on facebook. What’s all that love for?

J: Well, Craig was kickboxing, originally.

S: Who with?

J: Dave Clapworthy. And again, it was one of those things; we had a fight coming up, he came to my class and I…beat him up…

S: Haha

J: and we’ve loved each other ever since, but I didn’t think I’d see him again, but he turned round and said ‘that’s it, I wanna do this!’ so then he went off, trained in Thailand as well. I absolutely adore the bloke. He was instrumental in getting us more fights and moving the club forward. And now, the club’s evolved from being a few clubs and now it’s come back as one family whether it’s Barton Hill, Knowle, it never mattered, because you do your thing, but we’re all together.

S: And do you feel part of a family?

J: Oh yeah, totally, it’s always been a family. The thing I love is that everyone’s equal, doesn’t matter if it’s your first session or whether you’ve been training for years and you’re a champion, the bottom line is that everyone’s the same and it should be welcoming with that little edge of ‘I’m gonna test myself tonight’ but there’s no egos, it’s just get in, train, enjoy yourself and leave.

S: What about when people train, what do you see, as an instructor, as the main barriers, do you think it’s more mental or physical?

J: Generally, the hardest thing is coming through the door. I try to get people to at least step into the ring really early, not to fight but just to feel it, otherwise people put things on a pedestal, and they go I cant do this I cant do that or they look at someone and don’t realise that that person’s been through the exact same walk as they have, and that they were the smallest person. I remember the first year of my training, I just became very good at running backwards, really good at running backwards, and then people say ‘you hurt me with that’, and you’re like, ‘oh, did i?’ and it evolves from there. And everyone’s had that, and because I never knew anything, I’ve always preferred people with no confidence coming in, then getting the confidence and seeing that progression, that’s my pleasure, but I do find that once you get over that then there’s these triggers in their own heads saying ‘ ok I do want to move it up’ then they go from training once a week, twice a week then to five times a week to seeking out people to test you, instead of going through the easy route. That’s the thing. Kevin O’Hagen’s just done a brilliant blog, and again it’s not always about winning; you lose to people who are better than you, and you learn from it to move yourself forwards, not to be a horrible person, it’s about testing yourself, and the thing is it’s only when you’ve been beaten up loads of times, but in a nice way, that you have the confidence to turn around and start trying what YOU want to do. So it’s always mental, but once you get past that, then it goes in tandem. Even now the training regimes are different to when we used to just batter our bodies, the point was until you broke things, you didn’t know what didn’t work, however now, people are much more aware of recovery and to train smarter instead.

S: What do you think about those wooden things that cut across the shins?

J: Ah, that’s old-school crap. Haha. You should condition yourself by kicking heavy bags, kicking each other, kicking shin against shin to a degree, but there are people who substitute that and think ‘oh, I’ve got hard shins, so that’s ok’ I went through the stage of kicking lampposts…the day a car door slammed on my shin, I went ‘Ah…oh it don’t hurt’ and I was really pleased, but the bottom line is, it aint good for you kids, it’s not good for you. But you’ve got to have that conditioning, if you only focus on giving a punch, or a knee or elbow or whatever, when you’re scared of it, you react like that (flinches) and what happens is you get hurt with the second or third part of the combination, whereas when you know you can take it, and you’ve got that confidence, confidence builds and the only way to do it is repetitively over the time.

S: So what do you reckon then, practice makes perfect or practice makes habit, or bad habit?

J: Practice makes permanent is the way it tends to be worded. But you can’t get perfect without practicing, but the thing is if you have has a bad technique and drill it thousand times… it’s what you do under pressure, and what you drill all the time is what happens under pressure, and we’ve got to work with that because your mind gets into fight or flight, I’ve seen people shadow-box the best beautifully and then they get in the ring and all they do is jab, jab, kick because their heads not right or they haven’t conditioned their breathing properly, again that’s another thing; the breathing, when people are training, they don’t think about it, they think about the muscles, but the breathing makes such a difference to being relaxed enough to be able to what you need to do at the time. Practice makes permanent, but it also makes perfect because if you haven’t got that targeting, that speed… it all come from practice and if you haven’t got, then you aint got nothing.

S: You trained in Thailand, didn’t you?

J: A few times I trained in Thailand, generally around Koh Samui, Phuket over the years. Not massively, because I do like Thai food and I do like drinking and those beaches are really lovely, so I’ve got to be honest with you, I could’ve done a lot more, but I’ve got some bloody good photographs from there.

S: You’ve got a Thai tattoo on your back, right?

J: Yeah.

S: Where did you get that done?

J: I had it done in Koh Samui just next to WMC gym, there’s a place called Tattoo metal, I think. It’s a Thai pray for protection and for health, and family. But the thing you find is that people who think the fighting is where you are, it’s not, the bottom line is that you get a calmness from it, you don’t need to go looking for fights because you get your face busted up all the time anyway, so the reality I find is that it does calm you down. I’ve done a lot of stuff in the past, where I’ve had guys who have who have had troubled pasts; dug rehabs, violence etc, and it calms them down. I’ve lost track of the number of people that come up to me and say thank you, over the years.

S: So it gave them some sort of purpose?

J: Totally. Again, it’s because they feel like part of a family. They don’t feel that aggression, which people who are backed into a corner tend to have and lash out with. And then again, there’s always someone who can turn around and do you on the day. There’s nothing like so grand as not being able to move your leg, because it’s been kicked to shit.

S: So, last question then.

J: Go for it.

S: Best moment or memory of Muay Thai.

J: I got the English title back in my early thirties, so that was great, as I worked for it and beat the current champion. And that was luck, having the people come up from Bristol to support you and that was superb. It sounds stupid, but most of the time, the guys who have done nothing, that gets out again. But the standard of these guys and commitment the guys are putting in now, it sounds stupid but we all look back at the old days, and I remember going up to Manchester to train with Chuck Adele in Birmingham and things like that. But the thing is I love it! And all these things make you who you are. And I don’t think I would have the life I have if it weren’t for Thai boxing and not in an horrible way, it’s just been infused into my family life, my work life, it’s infused into the person I am today, most of it’s because of the confidence that came and the people through that as well. And I think that’s more for me than anything else. It’s the people around you that evolve off of it and see how they move on a progress is a beautiful thing. Like one of my students, you don’t wanna know what he was like when he walked through the door and now he’s turned round the last fight he did was absolutely superb, but again, as I said, he’s evolved and now he’s a great instructor, had fights in Thailand, when in with K.O.s to the face, where as before he couldn’t

Thanks Johnny for a wonderful session and a great chat, see you again soon! You Can train with Johnny at SB Fitness in Bedminster.

Muay Thai Clubs in Bristol Recommended by Us

Posted by Doug on 3rd October 2018

Name: Sweatbox Gym (Muay Thai Featured in this months interview J Munden)
Address: 2-3 Princess St, Bristol BS3 4AG, UK

Description: “We offer classes in Martial arts and fitness. We have a dedicated team of staff who offer personal training and small group training. ”

Email: admin@sweatboxgym.com Tel: 0800 852 7538

Head Trainer: Jess Wheatley (Co founder)


Name: PCT – Personal Combat Training

Address: Bristol Fitness Gym
Methodist Church, Clouds Hill Road, Bristol BS5 7LH

Description: “Paul is a brilliant trainer and an even better motivator, bringing his unique brand of energy and accredited knowledge of sports fitness and martial arts to get the best out of you.

Email: personalcombattraining@gmail.com
Head Trainer: PAUL ‘SKYBWOY’ STUDHOLME (BSc) Tel: 07583024292


Name: Combat Warriors

Address: Easton Road/Lawrence Hill, Bristol, BS5 0BY

Description: So if you want to achieve the best shape of your life, improve flexibility almost overnight, get motivated and achieve your goals, come and test drive one of our training centres for yourself.”

Tel: 07970 518 121
Head Trainer: Kru Lee Badman


Name: BAM Muay Thai
Address: Greystoke Ave, Bristol BS10 6AS Description:
Tel: 07788 262397

Head Trainer: Gary Rowley


New Range of Sandee Thai Boxing Shorts, Review

Posted by Doug on 3rd October 2018

Sandee, have been manufacturing some of the worlds best Muay Thai equipment since 1977, and their latest Thai Boxing shorts live up to their world renowned reputation.

As always, Sandee has combined comfort, practicality and style to create their newest design. The result: The Warrior shorts and the Inca shorts. Both designs are 100% polyester satin, giving the wearer a confidence to be fast and light on their feet, a feature that any fighter will agree, is an advantage. Sandee have added a raised hip cut, that, as well as the elasticated waist-band give the titular Thai fighter all the freedom and range of movement they could ask for, ensuring that they are comfortable, can push themselves to their physical limits and look great while doing it! Have the confidence to get into the ring, and you’re half way there. And honestly, who needs more than that, when one is sporting a pair of the Warrior shorts in purple and pink. That combo tells anyone that you’re serious. But, just in case… DO THE TRAINING ASWELL

Martial Arts Events in October 2018

Posted by Doug on 3rd October 2018


Newton Abbot Martial Arts – NAMA,

Location: Newton Abbot Leisure centre

Newton Abbot,

United Kingdom,

TQ12 2SH,

Filipino Martial Arts Festival 2018


Mulberry Sports & Leisure Centre

Richard Street


E1 2JP

Date and Time:

Sat, 6 Oct 2018, 11:00 –

Sun, 7 Oct 2018, 16:00 BST


This year Europe’s leading festival of Filipino martial arts returns to London.

This is your opportunity to train with some of Europe’s leading instructors of:

Doce Pares Eskrima – Cabales – Serrada Escrima – Lapunti Arnis de Abanico – Escrima Concepts – Integrated Kuntao – Kalis Illustrisimo – Balintawak Eskrima – Lightning Scientific Eskrima – Rapid Arnis – Modern Arnis – CSSD – Estilo Libre – Kapatiran Arnis – Tabak 1900 – Pekiti Tirsia Kali – Kombat Kali – Warriors Eskrima – Sayoc Kali

Central England – 6th International Open

Date: Sunday 14th October 2018-09-27

Location: University of Worcester, Arena Hylton Road, Worcester WR2 5JN

Details: £250 prize money for most successful club – Total prize money £1,400

 MTK Mixed Martial Arts

Date: Saturday 13th 2018

Time: 3:30pm

Location: London O2

Details: MTK Global MMA returns to indigo at The O2 on 13 October for a night of explosive combative action.

Follow www.mtkmma.com for more details.

Interview with Lloyd Allen of PowerSports Gym & The Bristol Death Squad

Posted by Doug on 1st August 2018

Mrs Enso has been training around the city in her time back in the UK and has caught up with some old friends and training partners getting the low down on what they are up to these days. This week she was at PowerSports Gym chatting with a well known face around these parts Lloyd Allen.

Shelley: (Sitting down at the end of a hard session) Hey, how you doing, Its really great to be back here in this gym I’ve always found it really friendly. So, Lloyd how long have you been training?

Lloyd: I’ve been training for 45 years now.

Shelley: FORTY FIVE YEARS WOW!!! That is crazy!

Yes, I started training many years before you were even born (sniggers)

It really was! So how do you keep yourself SO fit?

Well I do a lot of outside training and I do a lot of other sports too…..

Like what?

Badminton, Cricket.

How do you find time for it all? I can sometimes only squeeze in a couple of sessions a week!

Well, I’ve always really loved Kickboxing and Kung Fu and I always try and keep myself fit even if I am not doing kickboxing.

Is that Lau Gar Kung Fu?

Lau Gar Yup.

So, when I train here it feels a bit like a party actually with the music and the moves ….

….Well, that is what we try to create, let people feel confident and relaxed and I always think, when they start feeling relaxed, that is when you get the best out of them. We like to get the feeling its like a party, if people are tense and stiff its no good, you can’t get what you want out of them. Once they feel relaxed you can get more across, it’s hard work but they enjoy doing it. The music really helps, the beat of the music gets everyone going and they don’t realise how much hard work they are doing.

That is very true! You feel it afterwards though. (laughs) What about the footwork?

Yeah, the foot work it is like dancing, we try and be quick on the feet, we do lots of running and sprinting and everything else because in semi contact we need the speed and the timing, you’ve got to be able to have that sudden burst to explode when you need it.

Is there much difference in terms of training from points sparring to semi contact to full contact?

In the points sparring we tend to emphasize speed and timing, that’s where the sprinting comes in, being able to explode from one part to the next. For Full Contact its not so much the speed and more about the stamina, to make it through the rounds, you have to be able to give and take in full contact, in the points spar you don’t have time to give and take its got to be get in quick BAM first one in gets it.

Full contact is usually the last resort, we start with Semi, the points sparring, then work up to light continuous, then full contact. For the full contact you have to condition your body of course, because you have to be able to take it, its not a case of the first one to score in full contact, where as points it’s the first one to connect. People get to train all three sides of course so if your speed goes you can move on to the next thing, where you might be slower but you can go further.

There seems to be very much a team spirit so how do you train that team spirit?

Well, the music helps it gets that good vibe, it keeps you going, keeps you happy, until it stops then you want to stop (laughs). We train together like a team and that is important especially if at competition you have a team fight, the first fight is as important as the last. So you have got to be able to encourage all the fighters that come up, not just one or two. So if he gets hit, we feel it on the side line, so we will be behind them at all times, we get behind them shouting instructions and giving them confidence when they are fighting.

Have you had any absolute plonkers ever come into the club over the years?

I’ve had some people come in who think they are tough, and you can usually test them out in the first few rounds. They think they can do this or that and they brag about what they can do. Then we do the workout, then they realise we are going to do the workout THEN fight, you say come on put the gloves on and they are thinking WHAT how can we fight after we’ve just trained! (Laughs). If you brag about what you can do, then I already know what you can do and what you are going to do, which helps me, so you don’t go shouting off about it all. People bragging about what they can do is just talk, Action is better than words. (knowing smiles and giggles all round).

When did you get into competition, The Death Squad, how did it come about?

It started off when I first took over the club, there was a chap who was teaching, Winston Greenwood, and he turned to professional boxing, I was the next senior. The fighters we had in the club at that time, because we were training so hard, they were keen to go into competition and get some medals or something. So it became my job to find some competitions to enter, at first we started fighting in karate tournaments because they were open so anyone could enter. However because we were kickboxers and it was for karate they didn’t really want us to win or it looks bad on karate….

So the judges were biased?

….Yeah, the judges wanted Karate to win so we realise we need to be twice as good as them to beat them. The judges were not giving us points, they would pretend they had not seen it or whatever. It got to the point though where the crowd were seeing it and backing us, so if we weren’t getting points they were booing the judges, so they had to change it. It got to the point where we were beating all the karate guys but the Tournament was good for them because they got to promote with our name The DEATH SQUAD is inviting any other club to come and fight them.

Where did the name come from?

It comes from a guy in Cardiff called Una Wellington, he use to promotes the tournaments over there. Because of the way we fought in the tournaments, we use to go there to win, if there was six of us in a line then six of us would win. I use to fight number one, and it all went along in order, we had one female fighter Sharon Gill….

….She looks exactly the same as she did then!

…she was our last fighter in the line and we would have five wins and she was the last to fight and she’d make the six, and we would support each other. That’s how we done it and then people would be like “I don’t wanna fight that lot” . Then people outside who hadn’t seen us wanted to bring their club down and challenge us to a fight, so in a sense it was making it good for the tournament and we had people from Liverpool and Manchester coming down to take us on. So that is how we got called the Bristol Death Squad!

Who were the original six?

Me, my brother Phil Allen, Keith, Nathan Lewis, Sean Veira, Sharon Gill and Stan Moore. We had an A B and C team as well not just the one team. Because of the way we was fighting they created the England Squad and they took all our A team and then the B team was so good they took all of them for the England B team, so when they were all fighting internationally on the BKFA they were all the Bristol Death Squad.

Where were you fighting abroad?

We were fighting in the European Championships, so we travelled all around Europe for years then we went to places like the States, if it weren’t for kickboxing I wouldn’t know so many countries.

How did you get into refereeing?

After I stopped fighting on the international team I thought I want to put something back into it as I knew so much. There was already a lot of England Coaches so I thought being a Referee, we were supposed to supply 2 Refs each time we took a team abroad. They said that a good Referee was always from a good fighting background. So from that I went on to being head of the Great Britain Referees. I had to go to seminars and get the information if they had changed the rules or anything and come back and brief the Squad.

What did you find most challenging in that role?

Well, to be honest, what I found in Refereeing is, you have got to be positive got to be sure of your technique, give what you see, the minute you change your decision or if you are unsure you become a bad referee. You have to give what you see, not what the fighter tells you, if they say they did this or that but you didn’t see it, if you didn’t see it you can’t give it.

Out of all the fights you have seen over the years, do any stick in your mind, positively or negatively?

There are two top fighters we had Alfie Lewis and Kevin Brueton and they were brilliant!

What made them Brilliant?

Their technique and the way they trained, They trained like we do in Bristol, give 100% all of the time. Because he was doing it longer than I had I always look at him like a role model, same as Neville Grey my senior instructor he was another one that introduced axe kicks and things like that, so it was good for us to see that and take that back, bring it to the club and work on that. Every fight is always different so you can always take something from their and you are learning all the time.

It’s amazing what the Death Squad has achieved and done.

Well I found that what made our fighting better is because we just kept competing. We started in competitions where we weren’t winning nothing at all, so we had to train that much harder to win. Then once we started winning they started to respect us and then they didn’t want to fight us! They would see our row and they’d be thinking, I don’t want to fight him, or him, so, they would be switching their teams around all the time, we all use to fight in the same order all the time no matter what. At the start you have a list and that is what order you should be in. We use to find the opposite team would have switched around to try and balance the fighters. You shouldn’t look at the fighter and think I’ll put 3 with 5 or whatever. Because I was the number 1 fighter I had to set an example and win my first fight. Then the second fighter would come up and do the same and then they are thinking there is no weak link here, no matter what order they are going to win!

Did you never feel the pressure?

No not really, I never felt the pressure. We were on a buzz, we didn’t want to lose, we didn’t want to let the team down. So as I was the number one so I had to go out and win and then the pressure is on number 2 and so on. So when it gets to 4 and 5 they don’t want to let the team down we all feed off of each other.

When you see so many people come and go, you see some people have success and some not what is that difference?

The ones that do well are the ones that listen, ones that listen to you, you coach and they listen and you can see the difference in what they do. I’ve been coaching Kung Fu over 40 years and over that time I have had over 30 world champions. If this was boxing and I had 30 world champions I could have retired a Looong time ago. (Both laughing)

What I get out of it is that I get to see my student progress and get better than me, not as good as me but better, I always train people to be better than me. I try to keep my standards high, same on the exercise, if I ask anybody to do anything I make sure I can do it myself first before I ask them. That way the people who want to get somewhere can see how hard we train and what needs to be done so they know what the training is about and why they are world champion. I always say to people its not getting there it is the journey to there that is important. It’s not the black belt that is important it is the journey to the black belt that is important. So much work you got to put in, and you have to be prepared to give and take, you can’t always win every fight. You win you lose, its always good to lose so you can work on why you have lost and improve but if you just keep winning, you are up here and then all of a sudden one day you are gonna lose and drop (motions hand down) then you are thinking I thought I was top but now I’m down here. I always say start at the bottom and work your way to the top, rather than trying to start at the top and just stay there.

How did you come to know Sean Veira?

He was one of my first students, he started off when I first opened the club, he was a close friend with my brother Phil and that’s where it started off they have been with me for a long time and Sean has gone on to be 6 times world champion and the same with Sharon Gill and Nathan they all have 3 or 4 world championships, but at the same time they still remember where they started from. Sean may have a few classes himself but he still sees me as his Instructor and he has a lot of respect for me and I have a lot of respect for him. The same with Nathan, they all know where they started from and they all know whatever they have learnt they all know they started with me. I always think self praise is no praise but people know where they came from and I don’t need to go around telling anybody. Nathan even does stuff in the movies and he always talks about training here this is where he started and he always has good stuff to say about me.

You’ve got a lot to say too, at Stan’s funeral your speech was beautiful and really heartfelt. Everything you said was just perfectly Stan.

You liked that? Well Stan, well he was my cousin and with me the way I train as well, its like Dani I’ve got my daughter trains down there and my brothers whatever, and every one of them I taught martial arts. If its my kids I want them to be the best and if they have their own club I want them to go on and do what I do, so I push them a little bit harder and if they are my cousins or whatever I want their standards to be as good as mine or better.

What was Stan like in the kickboxing world?

He was very good Stan, he wasn’t the type of person who wanted to take gradings, but I said to him in order to fight the higher levels you have to do the gradings or you will only be fighting at the lower levels. He wasn’t interested in the syllabus side of things he just wanted to fight.

Did he fight with a big smile on his face?

Yeah, we use to beat people up and just laugh in their face, but that would make them more mad. He had a long reach on him Stan and he was well known for the back fist, he would just stand back and just smack ‘em like that (motions a back fist). He was well known for that (ponders thoughtfully with a smile).

So, how much longer do you think you will be running this club for?

How much longer, people said to me when I was in my 30’s how much longer and I would say “How long is a piece of string?” I always think if I can still walk I will carry on, that’s what keeps me going. If I was to stop doing what I was doing now I’d probably just be at home sat around eating and drinking. If I am the instructor it gives me the incentive to keep training, they look up to you and they think if I am 40 and he is 20 years older and he is still going that gives them the incentive to keep going too, and then age becomes just a number. At the end of the day you are as young as you feel. What I find is if you stop, say you stop for 10 years and then you come back again its not the same. You start thinking I use to do this, I use to do that, and I can’t, you get injuries and then as you get older the injuries last longer, but if you are training on a regular basis then you get use to it. Its like an elastic band if you use it all the time it stays supple and soft if you put it down for too long and pick it up it snaps. The same with chewing gum, you chew it its soft, if you leave it goes all hard and it snaps. So exercise everyday and keep yourself fit and your mind active.

Great analogy and thank you so much for the chat and the training tonight its been amazing!

Martial Arts Events August 2018

Posted by Doug on 1st August 2018

Dance & Martial Arts Workshop for boys (ages 7-12)

13th August 2018

10:00 – 15:00 BST

Address: New Park Community Centre, New Park Road, Chichester, PO19 7XY

Cost: 20.00




Shaolin UK Summer Camp 2018

21st Aug – 27th Aug

Phone: 023 8063 4722

Email: ukstmail@gmail.com

Website: www.ukshaolintemple.com




KSI V Logan Paul

Manchester Arena

25th  August 2018



Extreme Cage Wars

4th August 2018

Energise Sports Centre, York

Cost: £30


Top Ten Sparring Equipment

Posted by Doug on 1st August 2018

You can cover yourself from head to toe in Top Ten Sparring kit and it is approved by most fight associations too, which is a quick indicator of how good this stuff is. The international boxing association, the International Karate Federation, the International Taekwondo Federation, the World Kickboxing Organizations, to name a few. This is well made kit, which offers good protection using absorbent PPS foam covered in Nubuk (artificial leather) for most of the limb elements and a unique hard rubber for the head and shin guards that absorbs a considerable amount of impact.

This kit is not just good to reduce injuries its all got really simple and effect strapping to get in and out of it fast, but keep it solidly in place too, Mostly using Velcro straps. It’s also fairly stylish and modern looking, super light with good mobility, which is great for competitions.

Head: A rubber helmet that is one piece and is like an extension of your skull, there is no padding between you and the protection its all in one and does a good job of protecting the most important part of your body. They come in a couple of colours and in Sml, Med and Lrg with an adjustment at the back on each to get a nice fit on any size or shape head.

Hands: These gloves look like a stripped down boxing glove. From the outside it looks like a boxing glove but on the inside there is a more open palm area, making it useful for those styles with a few locks and grabs as well as just punch protection. Your hand slips in under an elastic wrist strap and you thumb and fingers slip into a pocket like section in order to cover the extremities and allow you to curl the glove in as you make a fist. You can then tighten a velcro wrist strap for a good fit. They are well padded but not overly bulky either. There is not much else out there on the market like this.

Shins: Like the head guard this is a solid rubber item that you place direct onto your leg, it has a good number of straps to ensure it stays in place during the most vicious attack and defense moves. These are fairly lightweight and pretty thin which is good for comfort and mobility.

Boots: These over foot boots are great, really nice and comfy, under foot strap to keep them on and another strap goes over the foot and around the ankle to keep them in place, they really absorb a great deal of impact. You can wear them with or without shoes although trainers may be a bit bulky under them.

Check out all these items on our website https://shop.ensomartialarts.com/search/top+ten+sparring/


Some Recommended Kickboxing Classes in Bristol by us

Posted by Doug on 1st August 2018

Powersports Martial Arts Fitness (See our Interview with Lloyd Allen)

Where: 15 Hampton Ln, Bristol BS6 6JZ

Tel:  07850 715961

Web: powersportsgym.co.uk/


Broad Plain Kickboxing

Where: Broad Plain Riverside Leisure Centre, Clement Street, Bristol BS2 9ES

Tel:  07752 164604

Web: broadplainkickboxing.webs.com/


Bristol Martial Arts Acadamy

Where: 252 Central Park, Bristol BS14 9BZ

Tel:  07757 990420

Web: www.bristolmartialartsacademy.com/


Bristol Kickboxing Association

Where: Newton St, Newton Hall Street, Bristol BS5 0QZ

Tel:  07767 636711

Web: bristolkickboxingassociation.co.uk/

Interview with the Inspirational Adrienne Gardiner Till

Posted by Doug on 6th July 2018

This month I am talking to the wonderful Adrienne Till who runs a different kind of martial arts class, Stretch & Roll exercise sessions. They are for women only, and are designed to help vulnerable women as well as those with maybe some self confidence issues or anxiety. Someone who can explain this better would be Adrienne herself….

So, Adrienne, what brought you to Martial Arts?           

PTSD, post traumatic stress and trying to find a way to help my recovery after I had something very bad happen.

Who was your teacher?

I train BJJ, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I was awarded my purple belt by Chico of Checkmat Bristol BJJ. That was a very proud moment for me. Currently though, I am not part of any one club, there are some local clubs, Artemis, Sweatbox, that I’ve joined in on the open mat rolling sessions with and I do this as much and when I can…, and I am teaching as an independent instructor at Impact Gym on a Saturday morning teaching children’s Jiu Jitsu…7-14 year olds, and 2-6 year olds, there are two classes that I teach there.

Do you feel Martial Arts has helped you to overcome your difficulties? And is it solely through martial arts or I imagine some other factors as well?

Training BJJ has definitely helped. Because of what I had happen, it will never go away completely, because the trauma from the attack affected everything in my life. It’s taken me a long time, a lot of recovery, a lot of coping mechanisms put in place, a lot of work for me to get to where I am today, in this moment. What BJJ did for me was to eventually stabilize and get my weight back up to what it should be. BJJ is good for fitness for people losing weight, but it is also really good like for in my case where I was anorexic because of the PTSD. In order to train as often as I did in the BJJ, I needed energy which meant I needed to eat. The Jiu Jitsu and returning to work is what helped to stabilize that.

The other thing Jiu Jitsu has done is that it has allowed me to work on my panic, I knew that the best way for me to recover, to start my recovery was to work from the positions I found the worse, and to face my fears (which were more than fears because of what I had already had happen). BJJ works and starts pretty much on the ground and that was my worst ‘fear’ place. Some people say you should learn how to protect yourself stood up first and this is fair enough, but for me, and maybe it is because of the trauma, but I felt like I needed to work backwards. I needed to sort the ground out first and then work my way back up to standing. That’s not an easy thing for people to understand but for me and maybe for some other women too, working backwards is key.

Other factors that helped… counselling, lots, going back to work, scuba diving… if you suffer from panic attacks, have trust issues, can’t do eye contact.. please give scuba diving a try, it doesn’t have to be outside, it can just be inside in a swimming pool for one hour once a month… that’s what I did… that would make for a really cool interview!

How did you find the training at first? What did you get from it and when did it start to help?

The training was very hard at first. BJJ takes a lot of your energy anyway, especially when you are trying to get to grips with it (no pun intended!). I found it even harder. I chose, I made the decision to go into a class that was mainly filled with men. My reasoning was that my trauma, my attack, was done by a man, so for me it felt important to face that especially in a class environment where I would need to learn to train and roll with them on the ground in certain positions that I knew would trigger a lot of panic in me. It took me a long time before I could relax enough to roll and to see the techniques and positions and it also meant I had to learn to trust the men I was training with, and vice versa, it would mean the men/guys I was training with, realizing that I did have some issues, problems, because I couldn’t always hide it, the panic would take over, but for them, to show me by being my training partner and by interacting with me, making me feel welcome in the sessions, in the club, that they were people I could trust enough to be on the ground with and that I really wanted to learn what I was training.

What did I get from it? Learning to manage my panic, learning that even if I was stuck on the bottom, with someone mounted on top of me, and I couldn’t get out or get the person on top off, that I could still breathe… and that by doing that, I could give myself a few vital seconds, a minute to work out what I was going to do next to deal with the situation. Self Defence, self protection for women when it comes to BJJ should not be all about being able to make every technique work and definitely absolutely being able to get someone off of you.. because in real life, when you are being attacked it won’t. Not if the other person makes sure you can’t, and other factors are involved, where you are, what you are wearing, how scared you are….

It also helped me gain in confidence, in myself, in what I was doing.

Are there or were there any downsides?

To me there is a very thin line, with regards the jiu jitsu. BJJ is used quite a lot as a means of self Defence, protection on the ground, especially for women. And I would say that is true.. to a certain extent. You still have to know your own limitations, and what the other person is capable of doing. Jiu jitsu is good because it helps to condition us, gets us used to being bruised, and pinned, and thrown about, and we learn how to cope with that and how to get up and out from those situations, but it can also make us less likely to react at the earliest time when we might need to… because we get used to being able to go longer, for example, before we need to tap out and reset. You don’t get to do that in an assault situation. There is no tap out, no resetting.

Did you compete at all, any medals on the wall?

I chose not to. That’s not why I wanted to train the BJJ.

Have you ever had to use your art?

No, my attack was before the large amount of BJJ I have now trained. Would I be able to use it if I were attacked again? Maybe, maybe not, maybe a little bit, maybe a lot, maybe not so much. A real life assault situation is always going to be an ‘it depends’ question and answer, because there are just too many variables, too many other factors involved.

My stretch and roll exercise however, yes, I pretty much use that every day for my own strength and conditioning. As well as the PTSD, I have trauma based fibromyalgia and basically my body doesn’t work as well as what it used to before I was attacked. I devised every movement in my Stretch & roll exercise so that it could be completely adaptable, so that it could be a physical workout, but also for mental time out, relaxation, mindfulness, focusing on your own body awareness, learning to work with your own body rather than against it, building up resilience, being able to keep going when it does get tough, not so easy.

Were there any classes like yours for you? At what point did you realize or decide you could expand this into something for others too?

After I started training the BJJ and as my confidence began to grow and being able to find certain ways of coping to help with my own PTSD, it started me thinking about what I had found helpful when I was training, what I didn’t find helpful, how could I encourage other women who had had similar or other experiences or who maybe just didn’t have the confidence to do the jiu jitsu on the ground. There are women only jiu jitsu classes around, I am the co-founder of a women’s only open mat rolling session group who meet up every few months to roll and socialise with women from Jiu jitsu clubs all over Bristol and outside of Bristol, but I wanted to find something that would bridge the gap between a normal workout exercise, that I could keep for the women who just wanted to do that, but allowing for the sessions to be expanded so that if any of the women were interested, then over time, if they wanted to, I could begin to show them the basic positions in Jiu jitsu on the ground, and from there, if they wanted to learn more, I could signpost them to a local BJJ club and/or they could join our ladies open mat rolling group. But the emphasis is on the beginning, the main Stretch & roll exercise workout… learning this can help a lot. I have seen it with the women I have been working with in the sessions and I have also seen how it has helped me. I had the idea for what I wanted to create for a long while, and my website www.womensclasses.co.uk I hope reflects that. I wanted to create something that was a little bit different, that could be accessed easily, I do classes and home sessions, the prices are as low as I can make them, and I wanted the sessions to be sessions where the ladies, women who come in, take my movements that I’ve designed and adapt them to working with their own bodies, because that builds confidence and awareness and strength.

How old is the club now?     

I’ve been teaching the Saturday Jiu jitsu children’s classes at Impact Gym 10-11am for 7-14 year olds and 11-12o’clock for 2-6 year olds) for over a year now and all of the children are amazing. For the past six months just over, every first Sunday of the month I run a children’s version of the Stretch & roll exercise class in South Bristol (9-10am at The Park Community Centre, Knowle, dance studio 2).. my Thursday evening ladies stretch & roll exercise class in South Bristol I have been doing for over a year now (7.30-8.30pm in the dance studio room at The Healthy Living Centre, Knowle West Health Park, Knowle), and I have some ladies who do their sessions in their own homes. If there are any ladies who live and work in other areas of Bristol, who would be interested in a session, please let me know as I do sometimes have access to other locations, eg. Treatment rooms, halls/venues, that I could look at using. I’d like to make the sessions as accessible as possible.

Who is your Stretch & roll class for?

It is for any women who have panic, anxiety, depression, mental health, trauma issues. For any women who would like to build body confidence, who would like to become more resilient with things generally, for any women who would like to do relaxation and mindfulness, for any women who would like an exercise workout to music where they can go at their own pace and build up their pace, for any women who would like to look at learning some basic jiu jitsu on the ground, and it’s for any women who already train martial arts and or do yoga, as it builds on timing and focus and concentration and is good for conditioning. So basically, yes, my classes are for all women. Any ladies who would like to come along.

How long did it take from that light bulb moment to the excellent website and taking your first class?

I had the idea for quite some time but I wanted to create it in the right way. I wanted to create something that was special, that could remain personalised to every woman who uses the class/session.

It took me a while to set up my website. I am not the most computer savvy person and I tried a few different website builder sites before finding the site I am on now. But the platform it uses, it made it so easy for me to create the colours, and the look and feel that I wanted for my website. I’m proud of what I have been able to create.

After that, it was important for me to find the right room for my main class. I believe in keeping things local and working with the local community, and the Health Park on a Thursday night was perfect. The room I use is bright and airy, we have a ceiling fan in the room which is perfect for the hot summer Thursday evenings (!), and it is heated for in the winter. There is good parking nearby, toilet access and for changing right by the room, if needed, and the room is a lovely private room. It creates a lovely space and atmosphere.

I started the home sessions because I was finding that some women had problems with childcare and panic issues where they found it difficult to go out of the house (something I went through myself for a while after my attack)… and it’s nice because I have a mix of the classes and home sessions. All you need for a home session is space for a yoga mat!

Do you award stripes or belts in any of your classes?

In the Saturday morning children’s classes I do, yes, I have my own stripes system. I see and watch and roll with the children who come in every week and so have been able to see their personal development and how they have evolved over the sessions, and I believe that the children who make the effort to come along to class and who listen and develop, should be able to see something for what they have achieved. Every instructor in every class will have their own ideas on how they award stripes and belts. My Stretch & roll exercise classes are not grading classes. They are all about personal development.. being able to see the ladies who complete the first six weeks, being able to see how they have changed, what they have noticed since they started the sessions, to go on and do more sessions. To see how they fit their workout into their lives to help themselves.

So, when we spoke earlier you said that the class isn’t necessarily martial arts right from the off, but preparing the student for that experience if needed, what can a student expect when they come to you, or is it different for everyone?

To a certain extent it will be different for everyone. It will depend on what the woman’s goals are and or what she is wanting to achieve and what brought her to my class in the first place. It’s made up however, the routine, of a series of moves that I have designed in such a way to fit together. On a very basic level, it teaches confidence, focus, relaxation, fitness, mobility, We need to learn the basics of anything before we can look at the more technical things.

Do they need any equipment to start?

A yoga mat if they have one but if not, I usually have some spare ones the women can borrow when they come in. Water, for water breaks, during the session… the session can be tailored so it can be a very gentle session to a session that is fast paced and non-stop.

Do you do private sessions as well as the classes?

Yes. The home sessions are all private sessions. Private sessions can also be booked for at other venues, if any women would like one. The way I run my Thursday classes is that I keep them small in numbers and it can vary each week. One week I might just have the one lady come in so it is a private session, another week I might have two or three or four ladies come in.

I saw MENTFITTZ come up a few times on the website, what is that?

It focuses on mental health issues, and is like a vision board journey workout. The way I run the MENTFITTZ is that women can use the MENTFITTZ as a stand-alone session, I am running the MENTFITTZ as a faster-paced blitzing session, or they can have the Stretch & roll session as a warm up, even though it’s a full body workout in its own right! And then follow it with a blitzing MENTFITTZ session.

Is there anything else that you offer, or that’s on your website?

Yes, I am putting together a collection of Jiu jitsu mugs… they are illustrations that I have designed created, with the help of a wonderful graphic designer. The mug designs can be found on my website, and a small donation from each order will be going to a local women’s charity called Kinergy who help women with rape, domestic abuse, other abuse issues.

I think it’s fantastic what you have on offer, and that you have turned such a negative experience into something so positive not just for you but also to others, you should be super proud and I hope your classes thrive. For any women out there who might want to come along and give your sessions a try, what would you say to them?

I would say, please come along and give my classes, sessions a try, and please try it for at least six weeks if you can, so that you can start to see the change and can see what it can do for you. It can be done totally at your own pace, it’s very beginner friendly but I can also make it more advanced for those ladies who already train in martial arts, do other gym classes. If any ladies do have confidence, trauma, anxiety, panic issues, then these classes have been especially designed. And I can and will be able to appreciate the problems they have with regard to exercise and in general, because I have been there too and sometimes on my bad days, I still have those moments myself. The stretch & roll is something I feel very passionate about. I use it myself and I would love for it to be able to help as many other women as possible.

When and where are the classes and what is your website address again?

Every Thursday 7.30-8.30pm for the Stretch & roll in the dance studio room at the Healthy Living Centre, Knowle West Health Park, Downton Road, Knowledge.

Also available as home sessions or at other venues which can be booked across the city of Bristol.

My website is www.womensclasses.co.uk

Thank you so much for your time and I hope people understand more now about the great work you are doing here, all the best for the future and thanks again. Mike

Some Recommended All Women Classes in Bristol July 2018

Posted by Doug on 6th July 2018

Adrienne Gardiner Till Stretch and Roll (BJJ, as featured in our interview)

Every Thursday 7.30-8.30pm for the Stretch & roll in the dance studio room at the Healthy Living Centre, Knowle West Health Park, Downton Road

Website and contact : www.womensclasses.co.uk


Women Only BJJ with Lisa, Artemis BJJ @ My Gym

Unit B, Dean St, Bristol BS2 8SF

Email: info@artemisbjj.com

Tel: 07740 197 319

Website: www.artemisbjj.com/women/


Women Only Kickboxing Epic Martial Arts (14+)

Women’s Only Kickboxing

Patchway Community School Sat 08:00 – 09:45am

Telephone: 07802 666 239

Email: jane@epicmartialarts.co.uk


Other styles with female Instructors:


Ip Man Wing Chun Bristol

@ Bristol Boxing Gym, The Mill, Lower Ashley Road, Bristol, BS5 OYJ

Tel: 07818507695

Email: sifu.mollyjones@gmail.com

Web: https://www.ipmanwingchunbristol.com/


Clifton and Henleaze Taekwondo – Louise Reeve

A couple of locations

Tel: 07866 723631

Email: info@cliftonandhenleazetkd.co.uk

Web: www.cliftonandhenleazetkd.co.uk/


These are just a few of the women led classes in Bristol and of course you can always show up the boys at a mixed class too!


Pro Box Leather Gloves Review

Posted by Doug on 6th July 2018

Pro Box Leather Gloves

These are one of the newer editions to our range but so far we (and some customers) are super pleased with them.

They are our base level Leather gloves at a bargain of a price, and probably the middle of our range overall. However people really seem to like to the feel and fit of these gloves, they have swayed some that have come in with their heart set on something else, but once they have tried these, decision made.

They are a classic boxing style with no fancy designs, they have high compression IMF padding giving your hands excellent protection. They have a waterproof lining in them but as soon as you put them on they feel like a glove you have worn in for years right away.

They have air holes along the palm area and the thumb, a great grip bar that you barely notice when making a fist. I would prefer to feel like my thumb was tucked in more but that’s personal preference. There is a thumb tie on these gloves. Wide Velcro grip strap, not elasticated but plenty long enough to get it tight and feels like it gives your wrist some support too. The straps have Pro –Box embroidered on to them which looks great, the main logo on the glove looks really plain and almost makes them look cheap, especially considering the quality you feel once putting them on. The logo on their PU gloves seems like they spent more time on the design, so, an odd choice, but it doesn’t really affect anything the glove has to give merely the look.

Obviously the brand new ones feel a little stiff, but as they are leather they will soften and mould to your hand over time, they feel awesome now so must feel amazing after a couple of months. Don’t believe me? Why not come in and try a pair on and see for yourself!!

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