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Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009: A Year in Review

CCMA – Clubb Chimera Martial Arts

I began a class diary on the first day back in 2009, which I am happy to say I have kept throughout the year without missing a single entry. CCMA is a constantly evolving approach or method – never a system – and it is often difficult for me to explain to interested parties just how much we do or to even convey this in a single workshop. The journal approach has enabled me to do this more effectively, especially now that we also have accompanying footage and more regular photographs. From time to time I have come back to topics that most interest me and have been able to comment on them in a very casual manner rather than the usual essay/article format.

It has been a good year for workshops. I was booked to teach 68 employees of the Law Society’s Forensic Investigation Unit for the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) over six two day courses. This began late in 2008 and finished in spring 2009. I have received nothing by positive feedback from SRA and a great letter of recommendation. The whole experience gave me the opportunity to tailor my soft and hard skills approach to self defence to a diverse range of people. It was also a challenge to adapt it to a specific work setting. The first day nearly completely soft skills orientated and the second day included pressure tests and confirmation drills.

I also invited to teach two workshops and had a stall at the Martial Arts Festival (MAF) held by Kwoklyn Wan of Urban Martial Arts. The whole experience was great. I got to teach tasters for both my adult and children’s programmes and my students had the opportunity to teach our approach to other martial artists. Kwoklyn Wan, brother of TV personality and fashion consultant Gok Wan, is a force to be reckoned with. I was very impressed with the combination of professionalism and informality of MAF. I now see it as the blueprint for 2010’s “The Martial Arts Show” to be held at Seni’s old haunt NEC, Birmingham on 22nd and 23rd May.

I became one of a select number of instructors (four in total, including the founder) to be chosen to teach Mo Teague’s Hard Target. This is a distilled self defence service that is currently being promoted by RST security, a leading UK security consultancy and training business based in London. So far I have taught at two of the three inaugural courses promoted by RST. This began with a weekend course at Woolwich Army Barracks kindly and professionally organized by their Battery Sergeant Major Dave Aiton. Dave is also the instructor of the army judo club and the founder of Effective Self Protection at the barracks. The next time I taught was at the RST offices in London. By this time Mo Teague had done a brilliantly job at refining this service and I can see we will be bringing some “bleeding edge” self protection in 2010. All courses were pretty much packed and the feedback has been very encouraging.

In addition to the diaries I have written several other articles, including some inspired by my conversations with Mo Teague. Another series, “Martial Arts Scepticism”, can be found in Iain Abernethy’s excellent online PDF magazine, “Jissen!” and also the critical thinking martial arts website “Bad Martial Arts”

I have got back into doing more in-club workshops to raise the standards. I was impressed how fast the attendees of a recent workshop came on in just one day, reinforcing my belief that this is the way forward. These workshops will be held in Kenilworth roughly once a month and are open to everyone.

The Legend of Salt and Sauce

The second edition of my first book continues to sell and has received all positive reviews on If any readers would like to publish their reports on Amazon, Dooyoo or any other consumer websites I would be most grateful.

This year I was kindly invited to deliver a talk for the women’s Probus club in Woodstock. Dad and I did our usual two-man act. Me reading excerpts and Dad telling the story through our PowerPoint display. It was very well received as reflected by the sales. I have started taking some local bookings for 2010 and hope to be in contact with more interested groups and clubs.

Jamie Clubb’s Blog

The blog that was originally created to promote the book has taken on a life of its own. Topics have diverged into a “Forgotten Fame” series, covering people and animals that were famous in their own time. Salt and Sauce were, of course, famous in their own lifetime, but subsequently forgotten as eras changed. So far the series has been posted in four instalments covering Salt and Sauce, Sea Biscuit, Ivar “The Match King” Krueger, the Abernathy Brothers and Captain Herbert Clarke. In addition to this and among other articles, I began exploring a new subject with my father: The Bounce. This unique and exciting wild animal act briefly existed for four decades and then disappeared without trace. What particularly intrigued me was that my grandfather and uncle both apparently performed it and my father almost did. There is controversy over what actually constitutes The Bounce and this was explored in several articles posted on the blog and eventually published in the King Pole magazine.

All the above mentioned articles and much more are on

Beelzebub’s Broker

On 24 March 2009 I launched a second blog (third if you count my martial arts one that masquerades as a website). My written work was diverging so much that I felt it was moving matters too far away from the purpose my main blog, originally set up to promote “The Legend of Salt and Sauce”. Beelzebub’s Broker now contains all my miscellaneous, opinionated and sometimes controversial work. Articles have focused on critical thinking and reviews. However, I have begun a series specifically for the blog entitled “The Icon Series”, where I focus on particular figures in history and fiction that have had an impact on my interests.

All the above articles can be found on

Flight of the Black Swan

I am now a member of the Dooyoo reviewing community under the title Black Swan. Dooyoo is a great site where you can write and earn money for any review written over 150 words. You can get your cheques faster by having them rated highly and crowned by other members. It seems to be a pretty good and honest way for aspiring writers to make a few extra quid on the side. All my reviews will generally be about movies and books. I would highly recommend joining the site


2010 definitely needs to be a year where I get in a more structured training routine for myself. My students are just getting too good! However, in addition to training at the world class Gracie Barra Birmingham (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) for my fourth year under the current best submission grappler (in and out of gi) in the world, Braulio Estima, I have also been able to train at two excellent MMA classes. At last I have made it to Trojan Freefighters in Cheltenham and when possible pop over there for their excellent sessions. On a Saturday before I get stuck into an hour and a half of submission grappling and then an hour an half of traditional Brazilian jiu jitsu, I get in an hour and a half at Chris Rice's excellent new "Sprawl 'n Brawl" clun at the same venue in Birmingham. Unfortunately due to so much going on I have often had to content myself with solo training or roping in anyone I can back at the zoo. Nevertheless, this has made me go back to my roots and develop some great training routines.


I like to keep the personal stuff as low key as possible, but seeing how massive they have been in 2009 it kind of puts the rest of the round-up in perspective. I started 2009 living in Kenilworth - a once nice little historic Warwickshire suburb with its own castle, now sadly going to the dogs in a big way - and my baby not even three months old. I ended 2009 shaking with excitement that all our house plans have been passed and also shaking with cold as we do our best to manage living in a stationary caravan in one of the coldest parts of the Cotswold countryside! The baby, of course, is now a toddler and up to all sorts, making life even more interesting than before. Meanwhile I have ended up taking on more responsibility with my parents' business supplying trained exotic animals to the film industry. This year we worked on the remake of "Clash of the Titans" (behind the scenes picture above featuring Omar, one of our camels) for several weeks as well as a brilliant live show run at the Old Vic in London with Kevin Spacey in "Inherit the Wind". So for those of you have found it hard to get hold of me, please have some sympathy.

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