Sunday 20th May 2102 was the All-Styles Martial Arts Association (ASMAA) Spring Seminar in Doncaster. That’s a 2-hour drive from here, down a strangely empty motorway. The vast expanse of roadworks at Leeming Bar has finally gone, so we ended up being early. That in turn let to us (me and Nate Zettle) standing around wearing fencing jackets and fingering sabres while everyone checked in. There were a few puzzled looks – this was a martial arts seminar about striking and grappling, so what were these two guys doing with the ironmongery?
What we were doing was demonstrating European Sabre technique as formulated by Captain Alfred Hutton in the 1880s. That, and trying to carve bits off one another with steel swords. The, err, ‘demo’ got a bit competitive and we both came away with a few lumps, but it went down well. There was a point to all this – we’re an all-styles organization and that really does mean all-styles. Traditional martial arts, combat sports, cage fighting, even Western fencing… we’re supporting all the fighting arts.
The seminar proper was taught by ASMAA head Dave Turton, who’s a 9th Dan in self-defence and various other forms of mayhem, assisted by various senior members of ASMAA. ‘Assisted’ in this case means that Dave brutalized us for the amusement and edification of everyone else.
The morning was all about grappling methods and their applications. A lot of martial arts are very stylized, but underneath the differences there’s a common body of technique. Not surprising really; there’s only so many ways to drop someone on his head. The afternoon moved on to striking and kicking techniques; how to deliver maximum impact and demolish an opponent efficiently.
Overall it was a good day with an excellent turnout from various different styles – we had Kickboxers, a couple of Mixed Martial Artists, Aikido and Ju-Jutsu guys and some multi-styles people. It’s good to see how violence and mayhem can bring people together like that…
Highlights of the day for me included a Lancashire Catch Wrestling technique called a Grovit (European wrestling techniques have some truly fascinating names, don’t they?), which is a combination of a face bar and neck crank. Basically you get your head crushed while your neck feels like it’s about to break. Which it will, if you don’t tap out. Catch wrestling isn’t about being nice to people.
I also took a shot in the head that left me semi-conscious for several seconds. The four steps sideways that I travelled wasn’t a record, but it was the longest I’ve been ‘out’ from that particular shot. Not that we were trying for a record or anything! This was sort of counterbalanced by being awarded my 3rd Dan in Combat Ju-Jutsu. So I guess I’m now a 3rd Dan in being hit in the head.
Well, that’s all right then.