Friday, 17 December 2010

CFS Promotion - 20.11.10 - Suleyman Cetin

Congratulations to longstanding CFS student Suleyman Cetin who was promoted to the level of Trainee Instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts after completing Phases 1-3 of the curriculum. Not an easy task as those already on the program will attest to.

He is now looking forward to honing and sharpening his skill by starting a small group in Bradford whilst remaining on the program.

Congrats again to a very humble and dedicated student

CFS Italy - Promotion - Dec 2010

Congratulations to Fabio Pampana who was promoted to apprentice instructor level 1 in the Jun Fan arts as well as the Filipino Martial arts. He had been a trainee for over 3 years and was ready to take on the next challenge. An excellent ambassador for CFS and a dedicated instructor.

Anybody in the Florence area looking to train can check him out. Details are to be found in the instructor section at

CFS BJJ Promotions - 13.12.10

Congratulations are due to both Corey 'Doninho' Donoghue and to Jesus Lopez who after extensive periods of hard training, dedication and skill were awarded their Purple and Blue Belts respectively.

Corey is the first person to be awarded his Purple Belt by me and therefore it was also a great day for me too.

Corey and Jesus look forward to testing their belts out on the competiton circuit!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Promotions at CFS BJJ Bournmouth - 27.11.10

CFS BJJ Bournmouth had its first grading on Saturday. Congrats to all the guys as the standard is high and I was proud to award some belts and stripes as follows:

Gary Baker - Blue Belt & 1 stripe
Luke Arnold - Blue Belt
Stacey Arnold - Bue Belt
Aaron Davies- White belt - 3 stripes
Lee Curtis - White Belt - 3 stripes
Kristian Wanstall - White Belt - 3 stripes
John Beaves - White Belt - 3 stripes
John Snooks - White Belt - 1 stripe

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Tatami Fightwear - Film/Photo shoot - Nov 2010 - Wales

The Crazy Tatami Fightwear Crew..........Can you name them all?
Pippa and I looking mean :)
Yours truly in fine Estilio attire!

Check out some of the filming........

Things you can't easily tell...

1. I was bloody freezing!! - Wales in November and no top!!!
2. They sprayed water on me as sweat.......that was bloody freezing too!
3. I was in pain - nearly broke my right toe 2 weeks ago....bouncing on it = PAIN!
4. How much fun did we all have - IMMEASURABLE!!!

Thanks to Lee & Gareth of Tatami fightwear for their hospitality and a great day out. Also thanks to my fellow sponsored athletes for a great time;

Pedro Bessa
Kevin Cox
Greg Creel
Daniel 'Vaseline' Agard (Don't ask!!)
and the wonderful Pippa Granger

CFS BJJ - Technique of the month - November 2010 - Bonus Technique with Professor Leo Vieira

Hey Guys,

I trained with the Master in June this year but due to technical issues (all mine) I couldn't get to upload the video before now. Now that it's sorted, we get 2 techniques this month.

Please enjoy the techniques shown by Leo, who has an understanding of BJJ that few people can actually comprehend. When I think of some of the things leo taught me and how he broke it down, it reminded me of a phrase I started to use many years ago....."My complexity is my simplicity"

CFS BJJ - Technique of the month - November 2010

Hey Guys,

This month's technique is performed by my good friend Professor Pedro Bessa who kindly gave his time in sharing some of his BJJ technique and variations.

Pedro is of course a World class BJJ player who is one of the UK's leading exponents of the art, as well as being a Tatami Fightwear sponsored athlete.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Congrats to the 'CFS' Fight team - 6th & 7th November 2010

This weekend gone was a good one for CFS.

First of all, Guro Carl Jackson, the defending British Stickfighting Champion fought again in the British championships, but this time in the veterans division which is much harder as the fighters are exactly just that...veterans and seasoned champions.

Carl took Gold in the Double stick division and Silver in the Single stick division, which in fact was a repeat of his success last year. Very well done adding to his earlier success in the Mexico World championships earlier this year.

There was also success at the English BJJ Open which took place at Dartford over both days with fights at all belts. The competition was very well attended and very well run as usual. Congrats to the principal organisers Blackbelts Dickie Martin & Simon Hayes.

White belts Jesus Lopez Lara & Darren Owen took their first steps in competitive BJJ. Darren fought first facing a tough opponent who mangaged to pass his guard which was later replaced and then just missed completing a very close armbar. He then fought in the repercharge where he also lost to a memeber of our sister team at mill hill bjj, but tried hard.

Jesus had a very tough first fight and got kicked in the mouth whilst passing guard. He secure an advantage for an X choke attempt from guard but couldn't do much more thereafter as he popped his already injured rib in the fight. He won the fight but I wihdrew him from fighting further due to injury.

Next up was my old training partner Andrew Nugent who although a Brown Belt, was making his first step into the competitive BJJ arena. He fought veteran BJJ player Austin Gardner also from the Checkmat team. It was sad for me to see 2 people I know well to have to fight but fortunately for them they did not know each other. Big props to Austin who normally fights at under 76kg for taking on Andy who weighed in with the gi as a 'light' Middleweight at 79kg. It was a close fight with Austin locking onto Andy's ankle but Andy managed to tough it out and dominated mostly from the top after an excellent footsweep. Congrats to English Champion, Andy Nugent!!

As always it was good to see so many friends at the tourney with Blackbelts galore how times have changed. I can't count how many were there but even allowing for the 4 that fought in the superfights, in no particular order I saw:

Jude Samuel
Edwardo Azevedo
Marco Canha
Luiz ' Manxhina' Ribeiro
Dickie Martin
Simon Hayes
Nilton Garcia
Jackson Fortunato
Felipe Souza
Arlans Siqueira
Luiz Tosta
Nick Brooks
Marc Walder
Eamon Madden
Ivam Marciel
Marcus Nardini

My apologies if I missed anyone out because I forgot or didn't know them.

What was also good was that whilst there were a number of different gis out there on the mat, Tatami fightwear gis seemed to be everywhere! Clearly the choice of champions :)

I want to send out a big thank you to all the guys who put it on the line this weekend, as whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Intelligent Combat

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

My Teacher - Guro Dan Inosanto - October 2010

Dan Inosanto and the "Harmless" Malong ;) from ricky d on Vimeo.

Improving standards.......

This weekend gone, I was fortunate to travel to Bournmouth and check in on Gary Baker and the CFS BJJ Bournmouth team. They really are developing there and it's great to see people enjoying the martial arts that they study.

I also checked in on Andy Nugent's team in Letchworth where I bumped into some old familiar faces including, my good friend and fellow Guro Dan instructor, Fraser Kyne. Also got to meet Gez, the head instructor of Cambridge freefight. A really nice fellow with solid Purple belt BJJ skills.

Keep up the good work guys :)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

New T-Shirts - Combined Fighting Systems - 21.10.10

Hey Peeps!!
Hope you all good. This morning, Doninho, Longrinho and I had another maaaad S & C session with the Android Andrew Marshall. Was crazy.........presses and windmills with 24kg. Floor presses with a 32kg and double swings with 2 x 24kgs.......aaaaarrrrgggghhh!!
And to finish it all off, he took my brand new CFS t shirt from me........modelled it (as apparently he looks better than all of us ...parp!!) and then took it home. Hehe. I was in no fit state to argue.
Hope you like it and if you are interested in one or a hoodie then give me a shout!!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Kombat Clinic interview (without pics) - Published at on 17.8.10

David Onuma interview
17 August 2010 4 Comments

David Onuma talks to The Fighting Photographer
David Onuma is a complete martial artist, who combines Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the Filipino Martial Arts and runs the Combined Fighting Systems Academy in London. David has trained with the best in the world in martial arts and is constantly striving to improve both himself and his students and has took some time out of his very busy schedule to answer questions about his life as a martial artist.

Carl Fisher: David, huge congrats on receiving your Black Belt earlier this year; how did it feel to receive the belt and where did you get the promotion?

DO: Thanks a lot Carl; it was a great honour to receive it. I had attended the European Championships 2010 to fight at middleweight Brown Belt in my division. I had originally planned to fight in my division as well as the absolute but decided against fighting in the absolute in the end. I was on the podium receiving my medal when Thiago “Monstro” Borges tied the Black Belt around me on behalf of Ricardo Vieira and Rodrigo Cabral. Simply receiving a BJJ Black Belt is a fantastic achievement but getting it on the podium in that way in front of my peers at the European Championship is something that I never would have imagined.

CF: How did you view Jiu Jitsu and your understanding of it as you moved through each of the belt colours?

DO: Well my BJJ journey to Black Belt has been a long one compared to others. I received my Blue Belt from John Machado in 1999, my Purple Belt from Roger Brooking in September 2005, my Brown Belt from Ricardo Vieira in March 2008 and finally my Black Belt on the 31st January 2010. I was never really a White Belt for long because I obtained my Blue Belt after training extensively with John Machado on a tour he did of the UK back then as well as a tour of Italy. Whilst we did complete his basic programme covering all of the Blue Belt material, I think he felt a bit sorry for me at the end of training and decided to give it to me before he returned to the USA. The problem was when I returned to the UK as you will know, there were no BJJ schools around at that time and at that stage I would say that I was one of a handful of people ranked as Blue Belt in the country. Because of this and my other interests, I effectively gave up training with the Gi even though I did do submission grappling and I only started training again with the Gi when I joined Roger Brooking’s Academy some time at the end of 2002. It was in fact like starting as a White Belt again, because I was caned by all the Blue Belts and even the White Belts gave me problems. The most significant period of development I would say was in-between Blue Belt and Purple Belt and that was when I really began to understand what Jiu Jitsu was all about. Whilst I have obviously learnt new techniques between the various belts, it has been more a case of refinement and deeper understanding as time has gone on.

David & Jean Jacques Macahado in Los Angles in 2000

CF: Were there any epiphanies through these belts; when the clouds parted and all of the secrets of Jiu Jitsu came down from the skies? Or was the secret merely, train, “train, train, train”?

DO: It’s funny that you should ask that question. If I was to get a pound for every time that people have said that I was a “natural athlete” I would be very rich. I have always believed in “intelligent combat”. The majority of people in life always tend to think that hard work automatically equals results, and I am afraid that that is simply not true. In business terms if you have to work very hard to earn your money then actually you are probably doing something wrong. The point I am making is that there is nothing wrong with hard work but whatever work you do you must do intelligently in order to maximise the results of that time that you have invested. There have been times when I have been taught a particular technique which has really helped me or changed my game, but the things that helped me the most have been the principles that I have been taught in any particular situation. As a result of this I am able to recall all the different principles taught to me by various teachers I have had over time because of the effects that they had on my game. Fortunately that is still an ongoing process.

CF: What team do you train with now and who is your chief instructor?

DO: Politics is something that I am usually very keen to avoid because as you know it creates so many problems but I am a member of the Checkmat team and the chief instructors are Ricardo and Leo Vieira. The team has been through a series of name changes over the past few years and certainly since I have been training with them, but effectively I have always recognised them as the team heads. The Checkmat team is very well established in the world and the UK now has something like 10 UK based Black Belts with the majority being in London.

CF: Where do you teach now David?

DO: The majority of my training is done with close friends and other practitioners and the majority of my time is taken up with my full-time job as a lawyer and my other personal commitments. However I do find time to share my knowledge with various groups either in classes or at seminars. Details of whatever I am doing can always be found on my blog.

CF: Combined Fighting Systems; when did this come into being?

DO: I would like to begin by actually explaining what CFS is. CFS is just a name that I chose to host the arts that I teach and the people that are associated with. The very first school I ever had in a church hall back in 1986 was the Women’s School of Martial Arts and Self Defence. I later coined the phrase “The Garage” as that is where I was training and finally settled on the term CFS maybe 10 years ago. I do not train or teach ‘my style’. What I do is pass on the knowledge that I have in relation to each of the arts that I am qualified to teach. I teach each art in its pure form therefore enabling individuals to gain certification or qualification in those arts. However in keeping with the principles of Sigung Bruce Lee and Master Teacher Guro Dan Inosanto I have my own personal expression as to how I use these arts in combination and I try to help people develop their own personal expressions. It becomes dangerous in my view when teachers put together a series of techniques or training matters from different styles, create a syllabus and then teach it to a student telling them that that is what they need to do. All that happens in those circumstances is they teach students to be clones of the teacher and it may not even be the right thing. It would be impossible for any of my students to be a clone of me quite simply because they are not me and they have not had my direct training influences but of course they will pick up things which other people will be able to identify as coming from me.

CF: Do you have any people at CFS who have been instrumental in shaping CFS as it stands today?

DO: CFS has particular training methods, which make it in my view unique. I do not say that we are the best Martial Artists out there even though we clearly hold our own, but I think what sets us apart is our ability to structure and organise the training and learning which puts students in the best possible environment to succeed. CFS has become more recognised by the fantastic job that the authorised instructors have done personally and with their students. Within the Filipino Martial Arts we have many high ranked instructors who are skilled in competing and teaching. The best stick fighter that we have ever produced was Guro Roger Barnes. Unfortunately he passed away in March 2008 completely unexpectedly leaving a big hole in all of our lives. He was the World, European and many times British Stick Fighting Champion and his personal students have also gone on to replicate those same titles. More recently we have Carl Jackson who was recently promoted to associate level and just came back from the World Championships in Mexico with a silver medal in the single stick division. As far as BJJ/grappling is concerned we have Blue Belt and current British Open Champion Corey Donoghue who is going from strength to strength. He has taken Gold in SENI, fought at the Europeans, won at Grapplers Showdown and so on and so forth. Steve Payne has only been involved in BJJ for about 19 months and has already won the European Championship two times, one at White Belt and one at Blue Belt (2009 and 2010). I thank all of these guys for putting their trust and faith in me and helping others to learn of our existence.

CF: You have an eye-watering amount of Martial Arts teaching credentials; can you tell the readers when you started your path on the Martial Arts?

DO: This September I am going to be 43 and I started training with my older brother who had a background in Taekwondo and Hapkido when I was 12. I then started training in Kickboxing with Master Kingsley Morgan and at the age of 16 I started Wing Chun. Along my journey I have studied the Filipino Martial Arts, Silat, the Jun Fan Arts and of course boxing and Thai boxing. The teaching credentials that I have obtained simply flowed from remaining consistent in my training of each of these arts.

CF: Who are your influences within the Filipino Arts that you practise?

DO: My four biggest influences in the Filipino Martial Arts have been Guro Bob Breen, Guro Terry Barnett, Guro Dan Inosanto and Guro Desmond Watson. Whilst I have trained with other Filipino Martial Arts teachers, these four are the ones that have really helped me to understand different aspects of those arts both historically and combatitively.

David & Guro Dan Inosanto in 2008

CF: Bob Breen and Dan Inosanto are two of the most well respected teachers in JKD/Filipino circles; do you keep in touch with these guys and others in their field?

DO: Master Bob Breen I would describe as my Martial Arts mentor and father. He was the one that literally opened all the doors for me in terms of Martial Arts training and also knowledge wise. In fact I actually got into grappling because of him and my introduction to Guro Dan Inosanto came as a result of him. He was ever so kind as to share a lot of his time with me over the years on a private level and that really helped to accelerate my understanding of Martial Arts. Not only did he train me privately, he took me with him to a number of seminars all around the world which enabled me to see him in action, learn some more things and also to meet a whole new group of different people.
As much as he is well known and respected throughout the world, I can still honestly say that the majority of people really don’t know how good he is. It has been a privilege for me to teach at his academy and to be a student of his and I first started teaching at his academy in 1998 continuing to this present day. In March 2008 he honoured me by promoting me to a level of Full Instructor, which is the highest rank that he has ever given to any of his students. I think I ought to make it clear at this stage that Guro Bob has produced so many world class students and almost anybody that you can think of in the UK who has become recognised in the Filipino Martial Arts and JKD has had the tutelage of Bob Breen at some point or another. I am fortunate to be one of that very elite group of his top students and I certainly do not claim to be the best. When Guro promoted me to the level of full instructor, he made the point of stating that he felt that of all of his students, I was the one who most closely knows and understands his personal style and approach. So far as Guro Inosanto is concerned I have been on his instructor programme since 1999. He remains as an inspiration to me and to countless of many others just because he is who he is. Even at the age of 74 (July 2010) his work ethic would embarrass students even a quarter of his age. Again a lot of people don’t realise really how skilled and knowledgeable he is. Even within the BJJ world, whilst his is not the first name that would come to your lips for obvious reasons, but I can tell you that he was promoted to Black Belt in I believe November of 1999 and is still training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu three to five times a week even now. Even though he has trained with all of the Machado brothers extensively he has extended his knowledge to train with many, many Black Belts (many of who are his junior) but continues to train in order to improve his knowledge. When you have somebody like that around who still continues to learn and is of that age and experience, it becomes very difficult to start thinking that you know it all because plainly you don’t.

CF: Which art is your number one favourite?

DO: [Laughs] “Now you are just trying to get me in trouble!” I honestly cannot answer that question because they all give me different things. The Filipino Martial Arts, particularly the weapons’ training really helps to develop the eye and brain speed. This is because you are dealing with weapons that travel upwards of up to 80 mph and you can’t afford to let your attention wander or you could be seriously hurt. There is obviously also a very functional aspect to the weapons training given that most confrontations in the street now involve the use of a weapon and more than one person. I obviously love the striking arts because they are essential and necessary in any form of combat and it is necessary to keep those basic skills sharp. As far as BJJ is concerned, it is great because it is an art that helps to keep me in shape and most of the time you can test the skill in sparring in all competition without the risk of any serious injury. BJJ in my opinion is far from a complete martial art on its own, but because of the other martial arts that I study, I have never bothered to concentrate on the “self-defence” aspects of BJJ because on the whole those are not the methods I would use to defend myself. As you can see Carl I used the politician’s tactic and didn’t really answer the question!

CF: How do you keep on top of all your training in the various arts? Do you have any free time?

DO: Do I have any free time: No, that’s the simplest question you’ve asked me so far! Keeping on top of the various arts has been difficult but again in a sense not so difficult. They say once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget and therefore I would say the secret is to learn how to ride the bike properly first. This is what I have done in relation to all the martial arts that I have studied.
I have spent time with them more particularly when I was younger, studying in-depth and prepared to spend as much time as possible with each art to become proficient. It was never really my intention in any art particularly to get the Black Belt, “as the goal”. I am not saying that I never wanted to obtain a Black Belt or instructor level status but more important to me was to be good enough to achieve that level. This is why for example with BJJ it took me 12 years to get my Black Belt because I was not training in it full-time five times a week as my only art even though I have placed a heavy percentage of my time on it over the past few years. I have also tried to see the common links between all of the arts so that when I practise striking, I do so having regard to how I might use it in boxing, kick/Thai boxing, MMA or even on the street.

CF: You have an outstanding BJJ competition career; what have been your most memorable moments on the path to Black Belt?

DO: Thanks Carl but I think you are being a little bit kind with reference to my competition career. If the truth be told I have not really done lots of competitions over the years particularly due to time constraints, living my life generally and having regards to my priorities, but one thing I always wanted to do in relation to BJJ was to improve myself in any way possible and that also included testing myself in competition. There are many, many, many practitioners in this country who certainly compete more than I do and in fact are probably better competitors but then again that’s their journey and this is mine. Having said that there are many BJJ practitioners in this country who hold ranks of Purple Belt and above who have never competed and that is something that they have to deal with themselves. In my view, subject to any physical ailment, every BJJ practitioner should compete at least once or twice at each belt regardless of the outcome because it is a necessary part of the BJJ journey. I also feel it’s a bit difficult to try to explain to a student how she or he should react under the pressure of a competition and what kind of problems they might encounter if that instructor has never had those pressures themselves. I would guess that my most memorable moment on the path to the Black Belt was winning my first European championship when I attended in 2008 and fought as a Purple Belt. I was encouraged to go and fight by my good friend and Roger Gracie Black Belt Nick Brooks who gave me the courage to go out there and put myself on the line and so I did. I am ever so grateful to him for that because I am not sure that I would have actually gone to fight without him pushing me. I was then fortunate enough to win the following year as a Brown Belt and then also in 2010 to take the Brown Belt title for the second time. I have fought and won at every belt prior to achieving my Black Belt save for white belt, as I wasn’t really one for long.

David receiving his black belt on the poduim of the 2010 European Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships

CF: Do you change any part of your training when heading for a competition?

DO: Yes I obviously increase my cardio training and centre my game around the principle things that I plan to do in competition. Obviously I make sure that my diet is what it should be and basically I try to keep myself in prime shape for the competition.

CF: Are you going to compete as a Black Belt this year?

DO: I will of course compete as a Black Belt but at this moment in time I am not sure when that is going to be.
CF: Have you competed in other Martial Arts formats?

DO: I competed in the British Kung Fu Association competitions when I was younger and I have done some amateur inter-club MMA competitions whilst in the States.

CF: BJJ training and competing can take you round the globe; where have you trained and competed abroad and where is your favourite destination?

DO: I have trained in many places around the world. I have been fortunate to travel to most of Europe including Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Germany and I have also trained in Canada, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I really enjoy going to Canada because that is where one of my best friends and Filipino Martial Arts teacher Guro Desmond Watson lives.

CF: You have recently trained with Leo Vieira in June this year; what was this like and who else was there?

DO: Yes Leo was recently over in the UK. He took a couple of seminars for the Checkmat team. One was at their London HQ at Diesel Gym and the other one was at a Checkmat gym in Rochester. There were several Black Belts there including Monstro, Eduardo Azevedo, Claudio and others. He taught Gi and No-Gi. It was a fantastic seminar and then I also managed to train with him in a private lesson the following day. Funnily enough even though he taught me some really useful stuff for my game, it was what he told me more than what he showed me, which stuck. He said that every year he works on a new position and its variable for a period of one year, and then after he has perfected it, he teaches it to all his students. It really made so much sense and I have already started to incorporate his approach into my training already.

CF: What’s your connection with Mill Hill David?

DO: Mill Hill Jiu Jitsu is the academy of my good friend Nick Brooks. We have been friends for a long time and have been training together as friends since we were both Blue Belts even though at different schools. Neither of us can stand politics. Through our friendship, I have taught many times at his academy because it is close to me and very often he shared techniques with my group of guys. I am currently the Head MMA coach at their academy and helping to develop that side of things.

CF: You have a conditioning coach, Andrew Marshall; how long have you been training with him? What benefits have you gained from your time with him? Has the training helped improve your BJJ and other arts?

DO: Strength and conditioning training is very much an under-rated part of Martial Arts. It obviously has become more and more important because competing has become more and more important and more professional and therefore people have had to adapt their training to that kind of level, however it is still far from something everybody does. The first person who really got me into conditioning and training is my very close friend and student Corey Donoghue (Doninho). He is an ex-professional football player and also a football coach. His never give up attitude has really influenced me and even though I was his Martial Arts coach he became my conditioning mentor. That then led me to train with Leon Baillie of Highgate Fitness Studios. I started to train with him on a one-to-one basis and he took my fitness to another level pushing me harder and harder, but I was unable to do as much as I would like to do with him because of the pressure of timetables. For the past six months or so I have been training with “Android” Andrew Marshall. I am not one to sing praises easily but this guy is absolutely fantastic. His knowledge and understanding of fitness, strength and conditioning is far beyond my comprehension. No two sessions are ever the same and being a Kettlebell Champion and Martial Artists himself, he is able to appreciate the sort of things that I need.Training with him has increased my strength, stamina and explosiveness. This has definitely crossed over to all of my Martial Arts training. He is the head S & C coach and joint owner of the Mill Hill Combat and Conditioning Centre and anybody looking to improve their fitness and get a better understanding of their body would do well to contact him.

CF: You have embraced the Internet and have a well-followed blog. How do you find the blog as a way of communicating with the outside world?
Very simply it’s a great way to communicate and keep in touch with people that you obviously wouldn’t see on a daily basis. It’s also great for sharing information with people who have an interest in what you do. Generally any video material I have is posted on my blog because that way if people are interested in me or in what I do they can go there and look for it rather than posting it myself on a YouTube account (not that there is anything wrong with YouTube).

CF: You post on the EFN Forum as ‘Malandro’; any meaning behind the name?

DO: It is the BJJ nickname given to me by 9 times World Champion Ricardo Vieira in 2004. Unfortunately Malandro, which is Portuguese, can have a negative as well as a positive meaning. He told me that he was giving me that name because he felt that my game was well rounded and that I was adaptable to all situations and therefore I took him at face value, unless of course secretly he was trying to tell me that I was dishonest and a scoundrel.

CF: You’ve had some guest instructors on your blog in the Technique of the Month section, can you name a few of your learned colleagues?

DO: For those that have appeared on the blog so far in relation to BJJ as guest instructors include Nick Brooks, Alan “Finfou” Do Nascimentl and Eduardo Azevedo. There will be many, many more as time goes on and I have footage of Leo Vieira to upload.

CF: Are you active on the seminar circuit?

DO: I do as much as I can time willing and also subject to demand. If anybody is interested they are more than free to contact me and will find my details at the foot of this interview.

CF: Moving to BJJ again David; do you feel that the art has a high dropout rate, especially at the White Belt/Blue Belt stage?

DO: Many people get to Blue Belt and then give up, after years of training and dedication, spending a lot of time and money on their training. I know this from my own experience as a coach and from talking to other coaches unseen, which I think is unfortunate to see all that hard work going to waste. What is your opinion on this? Have you had similar experiences yourself?
I am not necessarily sure that there is a higher dropout rate in BJJ then there is to other arts but I suppose it might seem like it mainly because it takes longer in BJJ to progress to the next skill or belt level and therefore if somebody leaves it is usually more noticeable. In other arts where it can be easier to obtain a Black Belt people still drop out but then they tend to stay towards gaining their Black Belt, as they know that there is probably a realistic opportunity for them to get it in the not too distant future whereas this is obviously not the case with BJJ. It is always a waste when anybody invests time and effort into something and then drops out but then if it isn’t for them then so be it.
I would hope that nobody drops out of BJJ simply because they didn’t like it or because they didn’t get on well with their teacher but as I say, it does happen. I tend not to worry too much about those who drop out but rather those that remain.

CF: Have you ever hit a plateau in your training, and, or teaching, and if so, what have you done to overcome them?

DO: Oh yes, in both. It has happened to me many times and sometimes it can seem extremely difficult to overcome them particularly when you yourself don’t know the answer. The secret really is to find the answer and that answer may come from a friend, a training partner or even your teacher. There is always an answer to everything. It is easier to find an answer to a problem when you know that there is an answer as opposed to when you have a problem and you think there is no answer because therefore it will never materialise. In short I have always sought the answer and it has always come.

CF: What advice would you give to other BJJers that hit a plateau or maybe feel like they are losing motivation to keep training?

DO: I would always say don’t give up. Talk to someone as I have suggested above and maybe all that is needed is a change in the way that you train. It is easy to hit a plateau or to lose motivation if you never had a goal or a game plan in the first place. Goals and game plans help you to structure yourself in order to move your journey forward. If you don’t have one it’s easy to feel that you are floundering in the dark and in reality that’s probably what you are doing.
Thanks for taking an interest in what I do and me and I wish all the readers every success in all they do - “Intelligent Combat”.

Contact details for David Onuma
Carl Fisher (AKA The Fighting Photographer) is a BJJ/MMA journalist, photographer and referee; a purple belt with the Combat Base UK network, Carl’s work can be found on the internet and on his Blog:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Corey 'Doninho' Donoghue - Bournmouth BJJ Open - Blue Belt Champion (senior div) - 3.10.10

A big congratulations to Corey who won his division on Sunday despite having a hidden but badly injured rib. He had one fight but was still the victor in very convincing fashion dominating throughout and losing no points. He fought in the mixed absolute division too but couldn't on this occasion manage to get past the 20kg difference between him and his opponent.

CFS BJJ Bournmouth also had a very small presence at this competition. They didn't quite perform as well as they could but watch's early days. Good effort!!

The competition was well run and there was a decent turnout even though I understand it was not quite as busy as last year.

I was refereeing pretty much the whole day and managed to assess the general standard of BJJ. As a whole, It was very impressive at all levels (white to purple). Being as honest as I always am, there was a particular team present with some very very good white belts, who upon further investigation, have perhaps TOO much experience as white belts and really shouldn't have been entering at that level.....not a good trend developing there I suspect.

There was good unity from all the refs and Instructors and the following Blackbelts were in attendnace with their respective teams:

Alex Machado
Ivan Marciel
Eduardo Azevedo
Thiago 'Monstro' Borges
Abel Martinez
Luiz 'Manxhina'
Marco Canha
Luis Tosta

(apologies if I missed anyone out)

I had a great day out particularly travelling there and back with Doninho, Strauss and the Android Andrew Marshall (the kettlebell guy - hehehehe!), who next time won't forget his T shirt!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Tony Ligorio - Second Full Instructor under Master Bob Breen - 26.9.10

This weekend, my teacher Guro Bob Breen held another of his infamous 2 day Instructor camps in London. As usual it was well attended with locals as well as students from Germany and Italy. One of those students was Tony Ligorio, who is the official representative of Guro Bob in Italy and has been his student for nearly 20 years.
On the second day of the camp, he was formally promoted by Guro to the rank of FULL INSTRUCTOR making him only the second person to receive that honour.
It is a fantastic achievement and if Tony felt anything like I did when I was promoted in March 2008, I can say it's a feeling that cannot easily be described.
Tony is a dedicated family man and martial artist. I have trained and sparred with him countless times over the years both here and Italy. He is very humble and unassuming but many people get a real shock when he turns it on as he really knows his stuff in practice as well as in theory. I have been on the recieving end of a few of his right hooks over the years.
Tony is a long standing and very accomplished martial artist. Below is a summary of some of his achievements but certainly not all:
*Full Instructor - Guro Bob Breen
* Black Belt - Took the infamous test and passed - Guro Bob Breen
*Coach Level 1- CSW under Sensie Erik Paulson
*World Stickfighting Champion - 1998
*2 x European shoot boxe champion
*7 x Italian Kung fu champion
*Tai chi Instructor
*Kicboxing & MMA record of 81 fights with 73 wins
*Owner and operator of one of the largest schools in Italy
*has written books on Shoot Fighting
Once again - Congrats my friend

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Martial arts illustrated - October 2010

Apparently, some guy called David Onuma is in the October Issue coming out on 16th September 2010 :)

Monday, 13 September 2010

One Year Anniversary - Mill Hill BJJ - 12.9.10

It was an honour and pleasure to attend the one year anniversary of Mill Hill BJJ on Sunday 12th September. The plan was for Roger Gracie to attend in order to teach a few techniques and officiate the grading that was also due to take place. It was more or less standing room only with what looked like 50 plus people in attendance to show their support.

There was the full range of belts in attendance with all from Black to White. Unfortunately, Roger was unable to attend so the guys had to make do with being taught by Nick Brooks and myself, with young Dan Strauss taking care of the warm up

(see vid below for numbers/warm up)

Nick (despite recovering from recent knee surgery!!) kicked things off by teaching a series of techniques fresh from his recent training with Master De La Riva.

He taught a variation of the lapel/posture break and arm wrap when the person is in your guard leading to a very slick back take and then an even slicker armbar if they manage to avoid the back take. It was niiiiicccce!

.....the set up....

....the armbar

I taught some of the principles and concepts from the half guard position both top and bottom. Rather than concentrating on loads of techniques, I wanted to emphasize the need to understand what each hand and your legs are supposed to be doing from the top and bottom position. I then taught the way that I attack the Kimura from half guard which seems to have a high percentage success rate for me

After this began the formalities of the grading:

Andrew Marshall - Blue Belt

Steve Carr - Purple Belt

Steve Griffiths - Purple Belt

Rob Connor - Brown Belt

There was also a number of stripes given out to various people from white to Purple Belt. Parabens to them all!!

We then had some great rolling followed by the long awaited sushi trip in Edgware where some people ate like there was no tomorrow!!! Hehehe!

A great day

Monday, 30 August 2010


On Bank holiday Sunday, we gathered together for a day of fun, training, meeting new people and finally formally recognising the progress of some individuals personal BJJ journey.

The CFS BJJ family is a combination of different people and groups both here in the UK and abroad. It is a relatively small group but with a big presence. Apart from the group who train with me directly, we have the group based in Barnet at Gary Hoptroff's academy (Herts Martial Arts) taught by Corey Donoghue, Vitaliano Sestito in Italy, Affiliates Andy Nugent also based in Hertford and Gary Baker/Scramble Academy based in Bournmouth.

Congratulations to all who were promoted in one way or another:

(In no particular order)

Corey 'Doninho' Donoghue - Blue belt 4 stripes
Tim Harding - Blue belt 1 stripe
Steve 'Longrinho' Payne - Blue belt - 1 stripe
Savash Mustafa - Blue belt - 1 stripe
Gary Hoptroff - White belt - 3 stripes
Jay Walker - White belt - 2 stripes
Pad Beillard - White belt - 1 stripe
Mark Kelly - White belt - 1 stripe
Darren Owen - White belt - 1 stripe

And last but not least, congrats to 41 year old MMA fighter Alan Dillon who was promoted to Blue Belt with my blessing by his instructor 1 Stripe Brown Belt Andy Nugent - He did get a whipping.

Apologiies if i have missed anyone out but if i have let me know as it's easily rectified.

A big thank you to my good friend Nick Brooks for allowing us to use his excellent gym

Friday, 27 August 2010


Hey Guys,

Just to remind you that we have the seminar this weekend from 11.00 to 3.00pm. Bring your cameras as we will be having great fun

See you there

Monday, 23 August 2010

Daniel Strauss V Raphael Narv - Brighton BJJ Open 2010 - 21.8.10 - Purple Belt Ultra Heavy Division

A great fight at the competition - perhaps a classic example of David and Goliath especially bearing in mind Daniel is NOT ultra heavy!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

MMA Training - MHCCA - 17.8.10

Great training last night guys!!! An hour of sparring with very little breaks and constant changes of partners.

I think almost everyone took home a momento of their training in the form of a bruise, knock, sprain or shin clash including yours truly but it was all in good spirit.

We will formalise the team for the MMA league next week

"Intelligent Combat"

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

New Interview @ - 17.8.10

Hi Guys,

I was interviewed earlier this month by none other than Carl Fisher aka the fighting photographer and that issue can now be found on line in this well known UK based on line magazine.

I hope you enjoy it

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A 'centreline' punch from the past....

I recently got sent this photo by Sifu Segun Johnson (on the right in the pic). The picture was taken sometime in the very late eighties at Sifu Nino Bernardo's famous Basement Kwoon in North London. Segun even then was one of Sifu Nino's top students and (from memory) was one of only 7 students at that time that had completed the whole system under Sifu Nino.

The picture really takes me back and I notice and remember many things:

1. Segun was giving me a pasting :)
2. I had an AFRO..... Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahha!!!!!
3. Geeez my arms were big in that pic!! Wouldn't it be great if I could cut n paste onto my body now

Monday, 9 August 2010

CFS Promotions - Filipino Martial Arts & JKD Concepts - 6.8.10

On Friday 6th August 2010, it was my honour to promote Carl Jackson to the level of Associate Instructor in the Filipino Martial arts and in the Jun Fan arts.

Carl has been studying with me for 11 years and I have seen him transform into the World class martial artist that he is now. He has a Black Belt under Master Bob Breen and is also authorised to teach a family system of FMA direct from the Philipines. I have watched his eagerness to learn and test himself manifest into the realisation of his current being. Approximately 2 years ago he started travelling to Northampton to train with fellow CFS Instructor and World, European and British Stickfighting Champion Guro Roger Barnes to develop his armoured stickfighting skill.

Following that training he became the British Champion and obtained a Silver medal in the European Championships. This year, he trained mentally & physically for the World Championships which just took place in Mexico and he took Silver in the Single stick division. An outstanding achievement.

Becoming an Associate Instuctor (let alone an Apprentice) in my organisation is something that few people achieve mainly because of the high standards I have set in accordance with the standards set by my principal teachers (Masters Inosanto, Breen and Barnett). All of my students are my friends but the standards expected are never compromised by that friendship. Carl is an excellent student, and competitor with a promising future as a communicator of these arts.

He now joins the ranks of the few:

Guro Roger Barnes (Deceased but never forgotten)
Guro Terry Clark
Guro Fabrizio LaRacca
Guro Carl Jackson

I also congratulate Terry Clark who in continuing his studies, has moved to Associate Instructor Level 2 (year 1) and is now in his 3rd year as an Associate.

Congratulations guys and thank you for making me proud

Me, Carl and Terry
Terry and I
The new Guro, Associate Instructor in Filipino MA and Jun Fan, Carl Jackson

Friday, 6 August 2010

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

BJJ Drilling - 26.7.10

The first drill is one I use when I have managed to pass the guard but my opponent is shrimping away and pushing on my head. I react by posting off my head which is on the floor and hopping over to the other side. This can be done continuously for a minute or so or simply by the numbers

The second drill is practicing 'floating' from side to side keeping knee contact. I normally do this on a grappling dummy or heavy bag on the floor. The idea is to be able to react to the movement underneath and then adjust. This can then lead to submission openings etc without losing the control

Intelligent combat

Monday, 26 July 2010

Promotion to Senior Associate Level 2- FMA & Jun Fan/JKD - July 2010

This month saw the completion of 11 years as an Instructor under Magulang Na Guro/Sifu Dan on the following martial arts programs:

  • Jun Fan Gung Fu & Jeet Kune Do
  • Filipino Martial arts
  • Maphilindo Silat

I am currently Guro Level 2 in the Silat program and as of this month I was promoted to Senior Associate Level 2 in the Jun Fan and Filipino arts.

It remains one of my greatest martial arts achievements and honours to be a student of Guro and as always I will do my best to be the best student that I can be.

Thnak you to all who share my Journey :)

BJJ in Bournmouth - 24.7.10

A great session with the group down there which is getting bigger, better and stronger. A great all round gym headed by Gary Baker and well on the way to becoming affiliated to CFS BJJ.
We covered the complete beginners standup program together with maintaining side control.
There was the mandatory rolling for 45 mins or so at the end and the standard was good and improving. Thanks to Corey for his help

World Stickfighting Championships Mexico 2010 - Silver Medal

I would like to offer my congratulations to CFS and Bob Breen academy Blackbelt Carl Jackson for his Silver medal in the single stick section of the WEKAF World Championships in Mexico this weekend gone. We were of course aiming for the Gold but his achievement was nothing short of excellent and we are all proud of him.

Photos when they become available

MMA Training - 20.7.10

In the last session, the focus was on clinch work and striking/defending striking in the clinch.

Warm ups:

  1. wrist pummeling
  2. elbow control
  3. chest pummeling
  4. neck control


  1. person A seeks the takedown whilst person B can only defend with strikes (punches only)
  2. person A strikes with punches only whilst person B can only clinch and seek the takedown
  3. person A has their back against the cage defending the takedown
  4. person A has their back against the wall defending the takedown with strikes only
  5. person A has their back against the wall defending strikes and takedown with clinch defence only
  6. persons A and B try to strike and takedown against each other off the wall and then on the wall trying to reverse their partner when able


In order to develop the use of your legs on the floor, the person in the guard could only use their legs to defend and control whilst the person in their guard could only strike

'Intelligent Combat'

Monday, 19 July 2010

Sunday Training - 18.7.10

What a great way to spend a morning!!!

I had great training with Jesus, Oya and my good friend and old training classmate Miad Najafi of Alliance BJJ in Brighton

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Conditioning training

My conditioning coach Android Andrew Marshall has really made a difference to my training.

This is a vid of some of the stuff he makes me do 2 times a week but NO 2 sessions are ever the same :)

MMA Training - 13.7.10

Another great session and good turnout. This week we covered some of the striking techniques and strategies as found in the Filipino Martial Arts (Panantukan) that are able to be utilised in MMA.

We covered:

  1. Jab catch drill - basic
  2. into the cross
  3. catching the jab
  4. parrying the cross
  5. catching the jab and cross leaving a free hand

We also carried out the continuous jab cross drill with the power emphasis on the first and fourth strike........the sound was...........boom tap tap boom tap tap boom tap tap etc

The vid below is that particular drill being practiced. Enjoy!!

CFS Training - July 2010

A couple of vids showing some of the empty hands and weaponry training - Good Work!

Friday, 2 July 2010

MMA Training - Mill Hill CCA - 29.6.10

Good training session - Worked on some clinch work and striking from the clinch. Also trained some ground work with one person only allowed tot try to submit from guard whilst his opponent could only strike to the body.

Enjoy the vids

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

MMA Training - 22.6.10

This week concentrated on pummeling and body control.

We looked at:

  1. wrist control
  2. elbow control
  3. chest control
  4. head control

We played using the following options:

  1. wrist control only
  2. elbow control only
  3. head control only
  4. wrist and elbow
  5. elbow and head
  6. wrist, elbow and head

These drills give a greater understanding of in fighting and controlling your oppopnent from hand fighting range.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

MMA - 15.6.10 - Techniques

Overview of last night's training:

Floor Bag work

  1. side to side
  2. step over
  3. pop up to knee on belly
  4. knee switch
  5. back switch to mount

4 count basic muay thai striking series

  1. jab, cross, lead round kick (LR), rear round kick (RR)
  2. jab,cross, RR and LR
  3. LR, RR, jab then cross
  4. RR,LR, jab then cross
  5. LR,cross,LR,RR
  6. LR,cross, hook, RR
  7. RR,hook,cross, LR
  8. RR,hook,cross, RR

Lead hook entry (Series 1)

  1. High jab
  2. Low jab
  3. High cross
  4. Low cross
  5. Any kick
  6. Direct
  7. Fake entry

Friday, 11 June 2010

Training With Leo Vieira - 5th and 6th June 2010

I went to the seminar taught by Leo Vieira on Saturday 5th June 2010 at the Combat Sports academy, Rochester, Kent.

He taught half the seminar with the gi and the other half without. He demonstrated why he was rated by Graciemag as one of the top 3 grapplers in the world with his fantastic understanding of BJJ coupled with his world class ability to convey the skill to mere mortals like me!!

The seminar was well attended - 6 Black Belts including yours truly with only one being non-Brazilian, also yours truly hehehehehe!!

We had a private session the next day but i'm keeping that to myself ;)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

MMA Training - Mill Hill CCA - 2.5.10

In this video the guys are training some of the top control drills with a heavy bag on the floor. I learnt these from Erik Paulson and are an essential part of my grappling and MMA game.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

MMA Training - Mill Hill combat & conditioning - 18.4.10

As some of you guys may know, I have a very long association with BJJ Black Belt Nick Brooks and his Academy based in Mill Hill.

I am honoured to be their MMA coach and the journey to success from humble beginnings has begun.

On Sunday 18th we had our first clinic and (as promised) I set out below the things that we covered.

Basic Stance/Posture:

  • For MMA
  • Long range striking
  • Close range striking
  • Wrestling base
  • pros and cons of each
  • Ability to adapt physially and mentally

Basic Footwork:

  • Positioning of the feet - keeping the right distance
  • Directions of movement - left/right/front/back & pad circling
  • single steps/shuffle
  • double steps/shuffle
  • Single complete steps - forward and backwards
  • knee raises/bounces - vertical, outside crush and cross crush

CFS Progression No 1:

  1. jab
  2. double jab
  3. jab, cross
  4. double jab, cross
  5. jab, cross, hook
  6. cross, hook, cross
  7. (slip) hook, cross, hook

Sunday, 4 April 2010

BJJ Techniques of the month - April Madness

Hey guys

Seasons greetings to you all. Unfortunately, I was not able to put up BJJ techniques in February or March, so I am kicking off April with a host of techniques to make up for it. I don't think you will be disappointed. Performing some techniques and helping me with mine is Alliance BJJ Representative Miad Najafi, who is a very well respected Brown Belt (From Ricardo Vieira), living and teaching in Brighton. He recently returned from Atlanta where he trained with the Alliance team and in particular Cobrinha. He is a versatile martial artist with a background in JKD & Kali (Black belt), trained in wrestling, a former amateur boxer and versed in MMA. His website can be accessed via the links section on this blog.

In this series we cover attacks from the back, sweeps from half guard and some techniques from spider guard. Please enjoy and as always feel free to comment

Attack from the back - the detail is what is all important

The same technique shown again one more time

A nice sweep from half guard shown here

A similar sweep from half guard in response to the legs being crushed prior to an attempted guard pass

Here Miad demonstrates an Omoplatta attack from spider guard

Here i demonstrate another way to attack the omoplatta from the spider guard followed by a way to take the back from the same guard

Monday, 29 March 2010

Corey Donoghue - British BJJ Open Champion 2010 - Blue Belt - Masters/seniors - Middleweight

Congratulations to Corey Donoghue - The new British BJJ Open Champion 2010.
Corey did himself, his team and I proud at the tournament on Sunday 28th March 2010.
He fought in a division of 19 fighters where the standard was high. He had 5 fights dominating everyone and never lost a SINGLE POINT or ADVANTAGE.
He swept four out of his 5 opponents and racked up over a total 45 points, beating one opponent 19-0. What is equally as impressive is the fact that he seriously injured his knee and ankle in the second fight and the medics told him not to fight any more.....but they didn't know Corey very well as he had 3 further fights. He wanted to fight the Absolute division too, but as his coach I had to think of his safety and called it a day.
As a team we thank all our friends and supporters who are always there for us :)

CFS Sensitivity Training - 19.3.10

In this video, Corey and Jesus are training sensitivity material for speed and co-ordination. They did it very well plus had a lot of fun so I thought I would share. Enjoy ;)

Roger Barnes Memorial FMA Seminar - 14.3.10

Hi Guys.

On Sunday 14th March, in Honour of Guro Roger Barnes, as FMA seminar was held at the Bob Breen Academy to mark the first year of his passing. It was taught by Master Instructor Guro Bob Breen, Grandmaster John Harvey of Rapid Arnis and myself. There was a good turnout with close to 35 people and all the proceeds went to the Barnes family who also attended.

In the first video clip below, Guro Bob and I play whilst I attack and he defends.

In this second video, Guro has his revenge as we switch roles:)

Here Guro teaches some 'third hand' principles with the stick

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Bob Breen Academy - 16.2.10 - Fighting Intelligently

Hey Guys!!

This week, I covered both the empty hands class as well as the weaponry class. The video material below only covers the empty hands section.

In the first video, I am explaining my theories on striking and what I look out for in an exchange. In essence, I explain that try to concentrate on the holes given to me by my opponent when they attack, rather than becoming pre-occupied with defending their attack

In the second video, I advocate training your striking and countering by staying in range. This means that you cannot run away and thus it helps you to focus on fighting in a realistic fashion.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Bob Breen Academy - 2.2.10

Hey Guys

As you know, I explained that there would be no video this week but I would put a write up of what we covered in class. We are still covering Espada Y Daga. We did a quick summary of last weeks techniques which are recorded on last weeks video blog.

This week, we concentrated on the situation where having dealt with the stick strike from Angle 1, the knife attack comes so quickly that we cannot react quickly enough with the stick. In this position, we have no choice but to use our own knife.

From the high stab, we used our own knife to 'ride' over theirs, directing our thrust towards their body. We then smashed the knife hand with our stick.

From the low stab, we drop down with our right forearm (holding the stick) which gives an automatic strike to the face then disarm.

Hope you enjoy training :)

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Beginning of a new era - January 2010

My promotion to BLACK BELT on the podium by Thiago 'Monstro" Borges, on behalf of Ricardo Vieira and Rodrigo Cabral

3 Time European Brazilian Jiujitsu Champion - 2008, 2009, 2010

On Saturday 30th January 2010, thanks to God's grace and the support and friendship of my Family, friends and numerous training partners, after achieving a milestone and winning the Euros in my division for the 3rd time in a row, 12 years of studying BJJ came to fruition when I was awarded my BLACK BELT out of the blue on the podium in front of my peers.

It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but I want to thank GOD first and everyone who has supported me in all areas over the success, is your success......Thank you