Those of you who have been with us for a while will remember that a couple of years ago I was working to set up a Society of Applied Traditional Martial Arts (SATMA). I put in a lot of work on it, but I was never quite able to free up the extra time that would be needed for the day to day administration. The project, despite huge support, therefore stalled somewhat. The good news is that progress on such a group is now being made!
I recently had a meeting with Peter Consterdine 9th dan; who as most of you know is the joint chief instructor of the British Combat Association along with Geoff Thompson 7th dan. Peter and I are now in the process of setting up an association akin to the STAMA concept, but under another name (to be announced). I will lead things when it comes to all the guidance, advice, materials, newsletters, syllabus creation and recognition, etc and the BCA team will provide all the day to day administration (existing BCA members will know how efficient they are!). Work is underway and please watch this space for news as things develop!
Why I think such a worldwide association is needed and what its role will be:
The expediential growth in those returning to practicing the traditional martial arts in a practical way means that there is now a pressing need for a dedicated world wide association so practitioners of applied traditional martial arts can band together for the benefit of both the arts and themselves.
The bodies set up to promote sporting offshoots or a particular style or methodology – as useful as they can be for their members – do little to promote and enhance what many of us see as the most important aspect of the traditional martial arts.
I’ve felt for sometime that an open and inclusive international assocation is needed for pragmatic traditionalists such as ourselves and Peter Consterdine and myself are getting ready to launch such a body!
Many martial arts associations have a recurring bad habit of trying to limit the freedom of their members and hence I want this new association to promote and enhance the wide variety of pragmatic approaches without imposing unnecessary limits upon people.
This new group will be totally dedicated to, and focused on, the promotion and study of the practical aspects of the traditional arts. We therefore will not be engaged in activities such as selling on insurance etc. Those who therefore have insurance through the other groups to which they belong, or who have it independently, do not therefore need to pay for a service they do not need.
We will be totally happy with all members being members of as many or as few other bodies as they wish. As I say, it is not our job to impose restrictions on members; just the opposite in fact!
The new association will promote all practical approaches to all the traditional martial arts and will have no “chief instructor” and no dictatorial hierarchy. The aim is to provide the following services:
To provide a dedicated body for practically minded traditionalists that is open to all and does not restrict individual approaches.
To promote the practise of applied traditional martial arts.
To promote those individuals, groups and instructors who are contributing to the furtherance of applied traditional martial arts and to help get them the recognition they deserve.
To ensure instructors of applied traditional martial arts from all over the globe can network, learn from each other, and help each other to advance.
To promote the groups, materials and seminars of instructors of applied traditional martial arts to as wide an audience as possible.
To recognise gradings in the applied and practical aspects of applied traditional martial arts so people do not have to test against a sporting or “aesthetic” criteria in order to advance in rank.
To help provide grading opportunities for senior people and to recognise existing grades (proof of existing grade will be required).
To give instructors the freedom and support (if needed) to develop their own syllabuses, to independently test against those syllabuses, and to have the grades awarded by member instructors recorded, registered and certificated.
Instructors will also have the option of having their syllabuses approved. This is in no way mandatory and individual instructors are free to decide if it is for them or not. However, there are benefits to syllabus approval. Gradings conducted by member instructors against an approved syllabus will also be certificated as “approved” (as opposed to simply “registered”).
For a syllabus to be approved it obviously needs to be screened by us. It is not our intention to dictate details and this will be a broad criteria – not specific detail – to ensure approved syllabuses include what I’m sure you’ll agree are “must-haves” such as a holistic methodology (i.e. include striking and grappling), the use of impact equipment, include live non-compliant practise, awareness training, escape skills, bunkai / application of forms (for those groups who practice forms), etc. Help can be provided in designing such a syllabus. Groups who have approved syllabuses may make use of that approval in the promotion of their group.
We are now very close to launch! Please hold all questions and watch this space as further details will be forthcoming shortly!
All the best,