I'd like to thank everyone whos helped make 2010 a great year for training! The groups have come on leaps and bounds and we've covered a lot of interesting work this year.
In terms of workshops we've covered form and structure, knife defence, groundfighting, body language and awareness and stretching. The regular classes have covered all the usual work which in itself is as varied and interesting as ever!
We've had some new faces through the door this year and I'd like to welcome you all! We have had people move away too - Steve "Bulldog" Williams, our very own shin-kicking backsword-wielding granite- jawed man of steel - is now in Somerset, home of cider! For those who are overseas at the moment I hope you are keeping safe and will soon be back with your families.
It is disappointing though to see that even with the huge amount of information now available (not like when I was a boy!) people coming into martial arts still seem to search for one of three types:
"Qualified Guy" with a string of black belts, hall of fame inductee, 15 times world champion, list of certificates that no normal wall could display and face on every magazine cover
"The Guru" - a zen-like Monk figure with mysterious powers, wrapped in a blend of Eastern philosophies and Western consumerism
"The Tough Guy" - either some kind of street hard-man bouncer or a heavily-muscled steely-eyed ex Spec Forces type, who can teach you to end a fight in 6 seconds or kill a man with a mobile phone
There are plenty who's marketing strategy revolves around playing up to such stereotypes and why not - it's a free world (well actually it can work out quite expensive if you don't read the small print). Of course the media - even the mainstream martial arts media - does nothing to dispel the myths.
The reality is that teachers can come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes when you least expect them. There are of course 100s of good instructors out there who are honest about their abilities, don't inflate or invent their CVs and want only the best for their students. Overall I don't feel they are very well served by the "industry" who are more interested in mutual back-slapping and self-promotion than anything else (there goes my invite to next years "big event!)
So what does 2011 hold in store? On the DVD front the first release will be a (probably) two disk set on close quarter work. Part 1 is being edited now and will hopefully be ready at the start of January.
In closing I'd like to again thank everyone who's attended the classes and workshops this year, my teachers, friends and colleagues and everyone who has helped make this such an enjoyable year - most of all my wife who let's me out every Saturday morning to play for a couple of hours!
Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year to you all