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STUART RIDER Keeping it Real!

FROM BEGINNER TO BLACK BELT & BEYOND Back to Basics... Putting it All Together With Movement & Breathing


Hwang Kee His Early Life & Martial Art Challenges

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Stuart Rider Keeping it Real! Stuart is a regular guy that has for many years studied various martial arts in an attempt to discover what really works when personal safety is threatened. This interview details some of the many systems he has studied in order to be ready for the day he finds himself put to the test. It also details some of the SDF’s leading lights and the part they have played in the self defence boom. After all it’s better to be prepared than to be found wanting when or should that day arrive, isn’t it? How did you get started? What first interested you in Martial Arts? STUART RIDER: Like many people I enjoyed watching martial arts films, Bruce Lee and also the Ninja films, although not many would probably admit to that, and fancied giving it a try. I was also looking for something to do in order to get fit. I thought I would give the martial arts a try and so looked at what was being taught in the local area. This must have been when I was about 17.

What training / styles have you covered? STUART RIDER: The Styles I have grades in are as follows; I am the Chief Instructor & Founder of the Rider Combat System with the rank of 4th Dan in this. I also hold a 4th Dan in Freestyle Martial Arts from Jack Watson. Other grades are Master of Self Defence and 3rd Dan Street Defence Combat under Dave Turton and The Self Defence Federation. In Choi Kwang Do I held a

2nd Dan and was certified as a Chief Instructor, I also have grades in Jun Fan / Jeet Kune Do and Kali but these are not that high. Finally I am also a certified Master / Teacher in Usui Reiki. The first club I trained at was a Tai Chi club, this was a real pain to get to from work though so I did not stay long. Next I tried Tae Kwon Do, I enjoyed the TKD that I did and got pretty flexible at the time but the club was very competition orientated and expected you to compete. This was not something I was bothered about and so moved on. Next I tried Wado Ryu Karate, which again I enjoyed but just could not get along with the instructor. So again I moved on from there, I was looking for somewhere to train when I saw an advert for a beginners class in Choi Kwang Do, I really enjoyed the class and felt it offered everything I was looking for at the time. I am a big believer in trying to gain as much exposure to a wide variety of arts and instructors as possible and so used to attend seminars galore. Through these I gained access to a number of different JKD / Kali instructors and systems including Krav Maga, Muay Thai, Kick Boxing, Karate, Kempo, Combat Ju Jitsu, Brazilian Ju Jitsu to name a few.

What trainers have inspired you and why? I’m lucky in that the instructors I have trained with for any length of time have all been top class within their respective art. There are four main people who have influenced me and what I teach today. These are, in no specific order; Dave Turton, He has such a deep understanding of real combat and related subjects. If one man has taken my understanding of the martial arts further than anybody it is Dave. He encouraged me to investigate everything as deeply as possible and to look out of the box. I owe much to Dave. 110 COMBAT WWW.COMBATMAG.CO.UK


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Richard Dimitri, he is a great guy, humble and unassuming. Rich again is someone who is really highly skilled, a great kick boxer and grappler with such a deep knowledge of personal protection. But what I like about Rich is he just wants to help people. Jack Watson, he epitomizes what a martial artist should be. Jack was my Choi Kwang Do instructor but he really instilled into me the importance of looking at other arts. He is so open minded when it comes to the martial arts and is kind enough to invite me to teach at his classes or attends my seminars when ever I am in London. This for me is a total honour, the fact that one of my instructors is prepared to come and learn from a former student shows a total lack of ego. Ralph Jones was my JKD / Kali instructor and someone who really upped my skill level and ability to flow from one range to another. A very down to earth instructor but one I really respect. On top of these four, there is also Karl Blackwell. Karl is second in charge of the SDF and a really dedicated trainer, a very skilful martial artist and humble with it. Geoff Thompson - Along with Richard Dimitri, Geoff is probably one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I have met him a couple of times on book signings and attended a couple of his courses and I always left feeling inspired. His books on self protection, punching, grappling are some of my favourites and I find myself always referring back to them. Dan Millman, the author of books such as “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” and “Journey of Socrates”. I really

like the philosophy found within his books, very deep and meaningful. Journey of Socrates is one of the top three books I have read. There are many other people who have inspired me over the years in one way or another, Dan Inosanto, Kenshiro Abbe, John Warfield, Paul Finn, Dave Johnson, Alan Charlton, Kevin O’Hagan, Jamie O’Keefe, and so many others. Some I have had the pleasure of meeting and training with, others I have only heard about but all have made me want to up my game and make me realise how much there is to actually learn.

You’ve mentioned Dave Turton, how did you get to meet him? STUART RIDER: I have known Dave since 2000 and met him when he first started up The Self Defence Federation. There is a bit of a background story to meeting Dave, back in 1999 I was teaching Choi Kwang Do but due to a number of reasons left and stopped teaching CKD. I started teaching what I called at the time, Musado Self Defence and we were members of a multi style organisation, this was basically for insurance purposes. Anyway, in order to ensure I was developing my own knowledge I was attending all different seminars and was talking to my students about joining the British Combat Association run by Geoff Thompson and Peter Consterdine. As already mentioned, Geoff’s methods and books on self-protection have been a big influence to me. So, I thought joining them would be the best way to go. Then I received an information pack from Dave Turton about the newly formed Self Defence Federation. After reading the information pack I knew this would be the federation for me. Also I thought it would be a great way to get to train with one of the best reality combat men in



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What style/discipline do you most admire?

the UK. Over time a number of top self protection instructors have sought out Dave to help fill the gaps in their knowledge, Geoff Thompson is probably one of Dave’s most famous students, but others include Jamie O’Keefe, Kevin O’ Hagan and Alan Charlton. So I thought it would be a great way of going to the source so to speak. Anyway, I got in contact with Dave and joined the SDF. Within a couple of weeks a few students and I were up in Yorkshire spending the day training with Dave and Karl Blackwell. It really opened our eyes and we went through a lot of stuff, he really blew us away and we knew this was the direction we wanted to go. We were also made so very welcome, at the time I was only a 2nd Dan and the students who came with me had only been training for about a year and there we were heading off to train with a 7th Dan that we had never met. But there was no need to worry, Dave was really down to earth and we have gone onto become good friends. I have spent many a happy hour staying up to all hours chatting about martial arts, combat, wrestling and much more with Dave.

STUART RIDER: To be honest, and this is going to sound a little clichéd but I admire all disciplines for what they are, as long as the instructor is honest about what they teach. One of the principles I use for the development and progression of Taishindo is to investigate as many different arts as possible, both modern and traditional to improve my knowledge of the fighting arts. But if you want to get down to specifics then naturally I have to say Dave Turton’s Street Defence / Combat Ju Jitsu methods and Richard Dimitri’s Senshido. Goshinkwai, which is John Warfields system, this is the system that is the main influence on Dave Turton’s Combat Ju Jitsu. I also really enjoy the Filipino Martial arts and the diversity within them. Aikido is great for Tai Sabaki. There is so much out there not to admire. I mean how you can you not admire arts such as Judo and Boxing. These are good hard systems where there are no hiding places for those who train in them but at the end of the day it really depends on what you are after.

What weapon or technique have you found hardest to master? STUART RIDER: I am not a natural martial artist, you meet some people who just pick up what ever they are doing straight away but for me it takes lots and lots of practise of the basics. This has been ingrained into me by all my instructors and is something I really do try to impress upon my students. I know this is something that should be obvious to everyone but I’ve seen it too many times, people think they have it off pat after just a couple of lessons and then want to be taught the next technique but they don’t want to put in the repetitions. How does that saying go, “Repetition is the mother of all skill”. So true and it is why I feel drilling is just as important as sparring and learning to apply your skills. Something I have come across time and time again, is people who only want to train full on sparring at every session. In my opinion this just is not possible, firstly from an injury point of view, secondly in order to be able to develop the ability to go “full on”, then you need the skills to go with this.

What are you personally training in at the moment? STUART RIDER: I am always trying to improve on the skills that I already have but I am also looking more at the internal arts as well as working my stick and knife stuff a lot at the moment.

What inspires/drives you to succeed in the Martial Arts? I am inspired by my peers and students alike. I strive to be able to reach the standard of those I look up to or at least attempt to get close their standard. What drives me is knowing that there is so much more to be learned and also understood about what I already know.

What’s been your worst injury? STUART RIDER: Nothing too serious, the usual bumps and bruises, dislocated fingers etc. 112 COMBAT WWW.COMBATMAG.CO.UK


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My Worse injury was probably after a SDF course when I took so many kicks and falls that one of my legs was so swollen it was the same size from the top of my thigh right down to the ankle and was a lovely shade of blue/green.

When you worked a normal job was it like to go in to work with black eyes/skint knuckles etc... STUART RIDER: Haa Haa. That was fun in the early days as my manager had never had to deal with anything like that before. Luckily very little of my job required face to face meetings with clients but most knew what I did anyway. Still there were a few days when I would go in and I would get some funny looks.

We’ve talked a fair bit about your influences and what drives you, can you tell us about what you teach now? STUART RIDER: The system I teach these days is called the Rider Combat System of which I am the Chief Instructor and Founder. I am certified 4th Dan although I don’t use Dan grades as part of the ranking system. The Rider Combat System is basically my interpretation of what I have learned over the years. It is a pretty comprehensive system with the main emphasis being on self protection and street defence combat. It is not just a collection of tools and techniques from various systems chucked together. As already mentioned in 1999 I stopped teaching Choi Kwang Do and started teaching under the banner of Musado Self Defence, this was basically CKD but included more grappling, sparring etc. Gradually over time the curriculum changed and in

2001 was pretty unrecognisable to what we were doing before. This was mainly down to the influence of Dave Turton, so in 2001 I changed the name to the Eclectic Combat System and this was very much a combat Ju Jitsu orientated system using the SDF street defence combat system as a base. The SDF methods are still the base to the system but I have also been looking to add more from my training background which is what I have done with the Rider Combat System. The four main systems that have influenced the Rider Combat System are The SDF methods, Senshido, Kali and Choi Kwang Do. The areas of training we cover include; Self Protection, Striking, Kicks Close Quarter Combat, Trapping, Locks, Take Downs and Throws, Ground Fighting, Stick, Knife, Yawara Bo and Healing Arts.

Why don’t you use Dan grades as part of the ranking system and what do you use? STUART RIDER: A Number of different reasons really, RCS is not a Japanese system. It is a modern, eclectic system that draws from a number of different disciplines, both eastern and western and so I decided not to use a traditional ranking method. Don’t get me wrong I’m immensely proud of all the grades I hold but are grades like 8th Dan etc necessary, again I am not disrespecting anybody with these high grades it is just I don’t feel them to be necessary. Instead I use the following levels; Foundation Level Student, Advanced Level Student, Then we move onto the Instructor levels, which are Apprentice Instructor, Instructor and finally Full Instructor.



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How long would it take someone to become an Apprentice Instructor? A minimum of 450 hours training before one would be able to test for promotion to AI. Then it’s a further minimum of 150 hours as an Apprentice Instructor before you can test for the rank of Instructor. Promotion to Full Instructor is based on my discretion. As well as the minimum time period spent at each level there are requirements that must be met at each level.

the RCS and will be running Instructor Training Courses as part of this as well as an affiliation programme.

How can people contact you. STUART RIDER: Either through my website, or I am also on facebook and there is a Rider Combat System facebook page.

You mentioned earlier that you are certified in Reiki. Can you explain a little about Reiki and how you got into that? STUART RIDER: Reiki is an oriental method of working with energy that you can use for your own benefit and for the benefit of other people. In its original Japanese form in the 1900s Reiki was very much about working on yourself: it was a system that you could use for self-healing, self-development and spiritual development. But when Reiki was first taught in the West in the 1970s, and since that time, Reiki teaching has focused much more on Reiki as a treatment technique, something that you do to other people. Today the system appears to many people to be a sort of oriental spiritual healing, a handson treatment method that involves channelling energy. Reiki is now being classed as a sort of complementary therapy, so people might practise Reflexology, or Aromatherapy, or they might practise Reiki.

In your opinion, what makes a good or bad instructor? STUART RIDER: A good instructor should be honest about what they teach and to what level they can teach. Be honest about what you know and don’t know. Don’t be afraid to learn from your students or other instructors, even if they are a lower grade than you. I also hate egotistical instructors. I have come across high grade instructors that you are not allowed to talk to without getting permission from one of their assistants, or charge for having a photograph taken with them on seminars. Total BS! There is no need for an attitude like that.

Have you ever competed? STUART RIDER: No, it’s just not an area that has interested me. My main reason for getting into the martial arts was to learn how to defend myself and my main focus has pretty much been that and what people these days would label RBSD.

How do you juggle home and work life? STUART RIDER: Having a very understanding wife helps and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for putting up with me and my weekends away on courses etc.

What plans do you have for the future? STUART RIDER: I intend to start writing regular articles for Combat. For a while now I have talked about doing some dvds as well. Naturally I am also looking to expand WWW.COMBATMAG.CO.UK COMBAT 115


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TANG SOO DO By Master David Allerton (5th Dan)

Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee (9th Nov, 1914 14th June, 2002)

This month I am honoured to write a short biography of Grand Master Hwang Kee. Of course, I can not do it justice, however, for the benefit of students new to the art, I shall attempt to begin this two part history with a factual account of his early life and martial art challenges. Hwang Kee was born on 9th November, 1914. His first contact with martial arts was at the age of 7 when at a village celebration he witnessed a man defeat several attackers with hand and foot movements. He followed the man home and from a distance attempted to copy the strange movements . One day he plucked up courage and asked the man to teach him but was refused on account of his young age. Nevertheless, he could not forget this experience and continued to practise what he


had seen. Later, in May 1936 he was working for the railroad company in Manchuria and met a Chinese Master Yang, Kuk Jin. After several requests he was accepted as a student with his friend, Mr Park. The training consisted of basics and conditioning together with Tae Geuk Kwon and Dam Toi form and application. He returned to Seoul in August 1937 and began work for the Chosun Railway in 1939. When the 2nd World War ended in 1945 GrandMaster Hwang Kee founded the Moo Duk Kwan school meaning “ Institute of Martial Virtue “. It was his aim to better peoples lives through martial art. He had a philosophy which brought together the Taoist view of nature; the virtue of Buddhism and the conduct of Confuscian ethics. Central to this theme were the 5 basic principles used by an elite warrior corp and created by a Buddhist monk many centuries before. He too believed that the martial artist should also be a scholar. KJN Hwang Kee first used the name “Hwa Soo Do” to describe his art, unfortunately this was unsuccessful. At the beginning of

1947 he started to teach Tang Soo Do (Moo Duk Kwan) adding the knowledge gained from Okinawan books he had studied in the Railway library from 1939. At last he was successful and the number of students increased every day. The future looked decidedly bright, however, on 25th June, 1950 the Korean war began. Everyone moved to the south of the country for safety . He continued to teach Tang Soo (Hwa Soo) Do at the Cho Ryang Station in Pu San City during 1951. When the war ended there was much unrest and in September 1953 KJN returned to Seoul and carried on teaching Tang Soo Do in a building destroyed by the ravages of war. In May 1955 he was able to lease a building in front of the Central Station which became the legendary “Joong Ang Do Jang”. He was by now developing the art scientifically incorporating the application of hip power to perform techniques more effectively. The number of dojangs grew nationally as schools, military and police forces all sought instruction. The Moo Duk Kwan system was also taught at the Naval and Air

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The system became very popular and in 1957 was first introduced to the U.S. 8th Army in Seoul



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Force Academy of Korea. Around this time the art was in constant demand by American servicemen some of whom still train today including Dale Drouillard (Dan Bon 757) who was the first to achieve cho dan. In 1957 KJN discovered the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji . It is the oldest and most valuable historical documentation of the ancient Korean art known as “Soo Bahk”. Realising it’s importance he spent many years studying and interpreting the text. On 30th June, 1960 he incorporated his organisation with the government under the name Korean Soo Bahk Do Association as the traditional martial art of Korea. Once again the future seemed assured but disaster was just around the corner. On May 16th , 1961 Korea experienced a military revolution. KJN Hwang Kee was released from duty as instructor at the ROK Air Force Academy and National Police Academy with no reason given. During this time discussions were being held regarding the unification of all the Kwans. The Moo Duk Kwan were by far

the most successful accounting for around 70% of the total students in Korea. It was proposed that the Moo Duk Kwan should have just 3 seats out of 21 on the Board of Directors and the new name for the Korean martial art would be Taekwondo. Tang Soo Do was not considered as it had Chinese connotations. To KJN Hwang Kee “Soo Bahk Do” was the traditional martial art of Korea and he strongly felt it was his responsibility to maintain it’s heritage to pass down to future generations. He therefore refused to take part in unification. As a result political pressures were exerted on the Moo Duk Kwan and over time many members crossed over to the new Taekwondo. Remaining Tang Soo/Soo Bahk members were subjected to employment and travel restrictions. These were extremely difficult circumstances and if ever there was a time which required his wealth of Moo Do discipline and spirit then this was it. Furthermore, an attempt was made to destroy the Kwan Jeok Bu which was the unique register of Dan

seniority. To cap it all orders were given to close the Soo Bahk Do Association itself. KJN Hwang Kee had no alternative but to commence legal proceedings in the High Court of Justice against the Korean Government. In November 1965 he won his lawsuit and was jubilant that Soo Bahk Do had been saved , however, the Korean Government continued the fight in the Supreme Court in January 1966. It was not until June of 1966 that the final decision was made in his favour and KJN Hwang Kee was once again the victor. I shall continue with GrandMaster Hwang Kee’s achievements next month and also consider how Tang Soo (Soo Bahk) Do first arrived in the UK and the progression of the art since that date to the present. Yours in Tang Soo ! Email: Website:



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For beginner to black belt and beyond.........

Back to basics... Putting it all together with movement & breathing By Grand Master Tony Vohra 8th Dan. Photographs by Master Jeff Scott-Smith 5th Dan.

In reference to the articles of the past 3 months, we have covered the fundamentals of the ready position; basic blocking and stances which help build an excellent foundation for perfecting techniques. We must now bring all these components together and understand how to progress from one technique to the next with good form and precision. Beginning from the ready stance we must practice movements, such as execution of defensive and attacking techniques in the long, walking and back stances. When performing defensive techniques we must pay special attention to covering the vital organs i.e. covering the centre line of the body with one limb, whilst the other limb travels from a starting position to an end blocking point (details of which can be seen in previous articles).

When considering defensive and attacking strategies remember that a defensive technique begins from the outside of the body line and is usually a circular and/or angular motion. This is in contrast to an attacking motion which travels as if firing a bullet which moves in a straight line from point of origin to target. When performing techniques, pay attention to breathing, balance, timing and focus of force and power, through moving from a relaxed posi-

Ready stance, feet together

Open hands at side

Inhale whilst raising hands level with solar plexus

Lower hands exhaling whilst clenching the fist.

Start position for high block (Inhale)

Execute long stance whilst blocking (Exhale)

Ready position for continuation of movement (Inhale)

High block (Exhale)


tion, and exploding into a tense position at the point of impact. Impact occurs in both attack and defense, it is therefore important to only tense the muscles of the limb during impact and to remain relaxed during and following execution. The body moves quickest when the muscles are relaxed, so we must endeavor to maintain a relaxed posture during the delivery of techniques. When moving from one stance to another, we must be light on our feet ensuring power is delivered through the upper limb and not lost into the floor by unnecessary heavy footwork. When practicing basic movements it is important to relieve tension through correct breathing. This can be achieved by inhaling whilst moving to the start position and exhaling near to termination of the technique. Grand Master Tony Vohra is always pleased to advise individual students, instructors and clubs and can arrange demonstrations, courses & seminars to suit any individual or groups both at home and abroad. For further details please contact: President Grandmaster S. S. Vohra (8th Dan), International School of Martial Arts UK HQ, Nottingham School of Tae Kwon Do, Ilkeston Rd., Nottingham NG7 3FX, England. Tel: 00 44 (0)115 9780439; Fax: 00 44 (0)115 9785567 Website: Emails: Photography: Master Jeff Scott-Smith 5th Dan (


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Main picture Ready position for continuation of movement (Inhale)

High block (Exhale)

Ready to move (Inhale)

Block center of body line (Exhale)

Start position (Inhale)

Block center of body line (Exhale)

Lower block position from shoulder (Inhale)

Block low (Exhale)

Start position for next low block (Inhale)

Low Block (Exhale)

Prepare for punching (Inhale)

Punch to solar plexus level center (Exhale)

Punch with other arm to same level (Exhale)



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