4th of May saw the latest instalment of the always popular team training day. This is a ‘gathering of the clans’ where all members of Combat Base are invited to a large training session aimed to integrate the ever increasing number of members and to expose everyone’s students to teaching methods employed by various other coaches in the group.
This is also a great opportunity for the instructors to cast an eye over everyone to make sure that our principles and standard are adhered to. It hasn’t happened yet but if for example, if the students of a particular club were all making the same mistake it becomes evident very quickly when they are integrated into a large group setting.
The format is basically always the same; workshops, competitive matches and free time. This again allows everyone to learn new skills, to roll with different people in a competitive yet friendly environment and to catch up with old friends.
On top of this we always donate any money raised to charity, having donated thousands of pounds to charities over the years. Everyone is always so generous with their time and money, it’s overwhelming at times.
We were once again hosted by Team Fulinkazan head coach Mark ‘Spenna’ Spencer who took time out from his busy schedule and fight prep to organise his premises, services and even to secure a sponsor to provide some goods to be sold/raffled. He deserves many thanks for going above and beyond in his help.
The day started with the first workshop, this was courtesy of Factory BJJ’s Scott Smith. He was to deliver a clinic of the single leg takedown which he had used successfully the previous week to win gold at the Manchester Open, his attention to detail, the set-up, the angles were superb but considering he had wrestled at Oklahoma State for a good few years, I guess he knows his subject.
As soon as he spoke and we all completed our racial profiling we knew he would be able to wrestle :0)
On a side note, it was fitting to have a Factory guy as the first coach as it was also the anniversary of our first meeting with Adam and the guys at Factory. We went over to teach a seminar for them, I hit them with the ‘Star Wars Day’ joke, a few laughed so I knew we would get along. In those few short years I have known them, the improvement across the board has been immense, they are out there on the big stage representing us with style, I couldn’t be happier with their contribution to the group.
Next up was the first round of Absolute Blue – an 8 man tournament that pits club against club for bragging rights, who’s going to be group champion?
Because it is a very serious affair, I determined the competitors, took into consideration their weight, time spent at grade and competitive experience then had their names wrote on pieces of paper, put into a hat and drawn at random, the absolute fairest way to see who goes against who. Luck of the draw they say, the only thing is the playing field was level, there was to be no easy matches.
First match was Ryan “Old Dirty” Broomhall or ODB to his friends representing Factory BJJ against Jamie Lester from Evade, although carrying a groin strain refused to pull out and let anyone down. It was a very close match and even went to overtime where ODB took the match by the only advantage scored putting him through to the semis.
Next match saw Serge Pawlowski from Voodoo against Ad Russ from AVT, another back and forth battle that Ad took 5-3 taking him to the semis too.
3rd match saw Will Cleary from Pete Guest’s Evolution MMA against Rich Cadden from Chokdee. It was starting to become apparent because all of our clubs are of a high standard that every match was really going to be a battle, Will took the match 6-2.
Final match of the 1st round was between Mick Smith from Pete Guest’s Evolution MMA against Mike Ng from NGT. Mick stepped up to compete about a week ago after a pull-out from someone who was injured. The guy that was going to represent NGT also got injured a couple of days before this tourney so on the day Mike offered to take his place. Respect to both guys for stepping up. Another close contest that Mick took 8-6 but Mike got a round of applause for accepting to compete with a few minutes notice.
After some free time for people to drill some more, roll some more, take advantage of the refreshments and baking kindly supplied by Cat and Hannah, the next workshop was ready to kick off.
This was to be a nasty, dirty, painful catch wrestling workshop with Ian Jones, the winner – by submission – of the only real catch match held in this country in the last 50 years and regular attendee at the world renowned Snake Pit in Wigan. Ian took us through neck manipulations to turnovers, horrible neck cranks and a submission from back that hurt so much I don’t know what I tapped from, everything hurt at the same time.
Even though someone said they couldn’t understand him because he was the most Yorkshireman she had ever met and needed subtitles, the workshop was very well received.
At the end of his workshop, Helen came over to promote Ian to black belt; he has studied and competed in just about everything, gi, no gi, freestyle wrestling, pro mma, catch wrestling, the guy can do everything. So after 20 years of grappling in general and after well above 10 years of gi BJJ, he was promoted becoming Combat Base UK black belt #8.
Onto the semis of the 8-man Absolute Blue tourney ODB faced Will to determine the first finalist, a close match again that was finally decided by a single back take giving Will the win 6-2.
Ad then took on Mick for the 2nd final spot. I had asked Will and Mick, who are from the same club, what happens if you meet in the final or meet in the 3rd place playoff match, without hesitation they said “we fight”, no close outs here.
As it happened that wasn’t necessary as Ad put in a great performance catching the first sub of the tourney to put him into the final.
After more free time for everyone to try and take in some of the information passed on so far, the final workshop was to be Danny Mitchell.
I asked Danny to do some crazy shit, he obliged by doing some twister scenarios which by a lot of people’s standards would be crazy shit but this is Danny’s domain, his go to moves and he can break things down and teach them so well that suddenly something like a twister seems high percentage. I really like a lot of the 10th Planet stuff but I love Danny’s style, I swear the guy could teach anything and make it work. Even Eddie Bravo is a Danny fan…………seriously.
After that really enjoyable final workshop the absolute tourney was to be completed, Ryan ODB put in a redeeming performance to take the bronze medal by submission and in a fight of 2 halves, Will took the gold 8-5 in an excellent match against Ad.
The final results were:
1st – Will Cleary - Pete Guest’s Evolution MMA
2nd – Adam Russell - AVT
3rd – Ryan Broomhall - Factory BJJ
I have already started planning Absolute Purple for later in the year.
Throughout the day, Stu Tomlinson from Warrior Collective was filming and is currently producing a Combat Base mini-docu so thanks to everyone who did an interview too. Subscribe to his YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss the documentary plus there is a bunch of other stuff there already. Stu's YouTube channel
Finally a big thank you to everyone who supported us, gave your time and money generously, even people that weren’t able to attend still sent money to help out our cause and for this I am truly thankful.
Even though a lot of the franchises say they are a family (which they clearly aren’t unless you charge your family to use the family name) I really feel like we are, we are much more than just a group of people doing the same thing and every training day proves this more and more. I see the younger guys up and coming so I know for sure that even when I’m not around the future of Combat Base is very bright.
Stay tuned for the next instalment, planning already.