Sunday, 5 April 2009

Martial Arts Festival, Leicester

as I pulled up at the Parklands leisure centre, Leicester, I realised the MAF-UK was going to be quite a big festival! There was a shuttle bus laid from the car park (which I had to pay another fiver for!) but it was well organised and ran smoothly so we were at the door soon after. Not sure what to expect I scanned the programme which seemed crammed! Two outdoor demo areas and one inside as well as two indoor seminar rooms meant there was plenty to see (although the indoor demo area was extremely impractical and you didn't get to see much!). 

It seemed a fairly nice atmosphere but there were plenty of guys strutting around looking like they'd had a ramrod inserted up their backs and that they were incapable of walking without swinging their shoulders forward outrageously. Strut, strut, strut. But this was, I'm glad to say, in the minority.

I made my way straight to the main hall and had only had made 5 steps in when I got chatting to a guy who was promoting his sensei and club: Wayne Swietoslawski of Waskido Ryu Ju Jitsu who was eager to tell me about his art. I took to Wayne and we got chatting about canes so he led me off to a seminar by canemasters: a self-defence programme based on walking canes. 

Following this I went straight to a Krav Maga seminar which focused on effective self-defence tools. this system struck me (unsurprisingly) similar to Systema but I guess experienced practitioners of either may disagree. Fundamentally it's quite a flexible and 'free' system with key principles underpinning different scenarios. We worked on stopping the attack early and ground work. As well as scanning for other opponents-very useful I thought.

Back in the main hall I bought my pair of Feivue's which I've been after for some time and saw Iain Abernethy on a stand! After I heard from his accent that he was a Northerner I had to stop and chat. What a friendly guy and although I didn't buy anything from him he still had time to chat with me about what he's up to, his dojo, Harry Cooke and the meaning of life. Great interlude to the day's seminars...

I strolled out into the sun to the outdoor arenas and watched capoeira, iai demo with some tameshigiri and finished the day by watching the krav maga demo.

A full day but I managed to have a cuppa in the sun and take lots of cool photos and meet some good folk. I'll document some of these things in more detail soon once I've downloaded photos and sorted them:

- Iai


Sue C said...

I wish I'd known about this festival. Leicester's my home town - I could have stayed with my mum! Never mind - I'm thinking of going to the Marfest09 in Seaburn in May, sounds like it will be similar to one in Leicester.

Littlefair said...

Ah sorry Sue! I did a post some time ago but I should've done a reminder... you have details of the Seaburn one?

Dan said...

Have you done Systema? I'm having a hard time reconciling this ( and this (, I've never been sure if these are just extreme examples but Systema seems very Aikido like while Krav Maga seems more JKD like.

I've always wondered about Systema, but thinking I was always getting a poor perspective.

Sue C said...

The MarFest09 is on Sat. 9th May. You can find details of it from Martial News website:

Littlefair said...

Thanks Sue!

That's probably a good comparison Dan. I did study Systema for a couple of years and it does place a lot of emphasis on yielding and rolling out of conflict whereas Krav Mga seems 'harder' (external). I do know that some people said Systema seemed very like Kung fu in it's base movements but I couldn't say. In the video you showed I'd say that the sort of training we did was more like the free moving and evasive techniques seen at about 46 seconds to 1 minute 10.

Littlefair said...

...and I've just checked out your article and it's true that Systema did attract quite a few combat 'nerds' with a fetish for army gear.