summercamp2011_01Well August is here again and once again it is time for the Annual IBF Summer Camp in fact this is our 45th year it was first started by Nobby Clarke 6th Dan Deceased using the old St Mary’s Bay Schools Journey Centre, then the ACF camp St Mary’s Bay Romney Marsh which was to be our home till 2006 when that was demolished to the newly built ACF Camp Dibgate St Martins Plain Folkestone. Nobby ran the camp till 1988 when illness prevented him carrying on his son Martin took over, the camp is still known as Nobby’s camp event though Martin has run it for more years, but then that is what a legend is all about.


Martin Clarke teaching CombatSombo


Colin Carrott Joe Blanco John Clarke

As the years moved on we saw massive improvements in the facilities and the equipment used, plus the camp expanded from a Judo programme to Martial Arts and Combat Disciplines. Sadly the interest in these courses has slowly died, at the height of Summer Camp in the late 1970’s Nobby would run for 4 weeks with two junior weeks and two Senior weeks over that period he would have 600 players not just from GB but from all over the world, this year we were down to one week and 18 course members. Some say it is time to throw in the towel but my answer to that is NO what we need to do is change the way we run the run the course and what we do.

Those involved in Combat Disciplines today are not the hardy breed of yesteryear, they no longer want be thrown around the mat. There are two distinct types who want to do combat disciplines.


First Is the traditionalist who still want carry the tradition of hundred of years, enjoys the discipline, courtesy, realises that what they do is a Martial Art and always appreciate the need for such things as Kata and know that competition is just a part of what they do.

Then there is the Modern concept made popular by Cage Fighting and Shoot Wrestling this has led to various off shoots involving different forms of Submission Wrestling some with stinking some without, this has been widely called MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) a much discredited name which has nothing to with Martial Arts. The correct term for grappling without strikes is FILA Grappling and with strikes FILA Combat, both are about grappling and beating your opponent nothing more, unlike Traditional Combat there is very little throwing involved and this is one of the reasons it has become very popular. There are no standard clothing just Beach style shorts and T shirts. So if Camp is to survive we need to cater for both and that is what we plan, next years camp will be divided into three, 5 day residential course August 20 till 24th, will be Martial Arts, same venue but different area Summer Sambo Camp and another area Summer Grappling Week featuring FILA Grappling Styles (also known as MMA). If we have sufficient interest we will run Judo Instructors, Sambo Instructors and BCSA Submission Wrestling instructors’ courses.

The Martial Arts weekend will be for 11 years and above and Adults in fact we want to actively encourage juniors to attend, the grappling weekend will be more intense so the minimum age will be 15. The price will be kept low just £200 this will include all tuition fees, dormitory accommodation and breakfast and evening meal plus will give discount for block bookings.


This year’s camp although small in numbers was large in character with all those attending putting in 100%. The activities this year was Judo, CombatSombo, FILA Grappling (MMA), Sambo, SportCombatSambo and use of focus mitts and kick shields. Instructors were Grandmaster Martin Clarke, John Clarke Sambo Master, 5th Dan Judo, Colin Carrott Sambo Master 4th Dan Judo, Ian Parker 3rd Dan Judo and we had a visit from Joe Blanco 3rd Dan Judo. Also on the course was 60 year old Alann Clarkin from Burnley who attended the course and was awarded his 3rd Degree CombatSombo. Allan not only participated in most of the lessons he also instructed the course in pad and bag work as well giving a full hour of fitness training, his 40 years of Martial Arts knowledge and the fact he holds 6th Dan at both Kickboxing and Traditional Jiu Jitsu will be great boon to British CombatSombo. His Dojo in Burnley has been running since 1982 http://www.black-knights-kickboxing.org.uk A comment from John Clarke “Allan was one of the best Coaches outside Sambo and Judo I have met”

There always a few special people at these camps, well the truth is they are all special for having the gumption to attend and realise if something is worth having it is worth working for but there were a couple I would like to mention:


Family Affair

Russell Dodd’s and Son Adam, Danny Carrott with Dad Colin, Vicky Franks with son Ben, George Loscombe with son Miles, Martin Clarke, son John, grandsons Harry and Lewis.

11 year old Lewis Clarke the forth generation of Clarke’s to be involved in Summer camp and 11 year old Ryan Marsden from Burnley both had never done CombatSombo before and worked exceptionally well through the week keeping up with the Adults. Both were awarded their Junior Orange Belt CombatSombo the first Juniors to receive a CombatSombo grade, Lewis was also awarded a Green Belt in Sambo. 39 year old Vicky Franks deserves a mention being the oldest female on the course but not for that reason but for the for the fact she managed all the fighting including FILA Grappling (MMA)

The big finally of the week is always the Black Belt Grading, this year there was no competitive Judo or Sambo grading so we missed out on the punch-up but two students were taking Technical Grades, they were Laurence Sandum and George Loscombe both successfully passing to 1st Dan Black Belt Judo.





The Bash Night was once again held on the Thursday night, this is where Judoka, Kurash Wrestlers and Samboist come along and have a sparring session, and this is always a spectacular event with the Dojo being full of spectators. This event has been going for over 30 years, not so many this year maybe it was because instead of being free they had to pay £5.

As always you will get someone mention the fact it is a hard week, these are normally reminded of the time 30 years ago when two very fit Black Belt s turned up, trained for a day and during the night they packed there bags and left without telling anyone or the time a Belgium Jiu Jitsu club of about 15 booked in only to stay one night, they told us that they never expected to do actually contact and train hard.

Allan Clarkin paid us a very nice compliment when he said that in his 40 years of attending courses he found this the friendliest and best value for money ever, a great indictment of what we are doing.

As usual I would like to thank all the instructors and staff for there help in producing another successful week and yes we will be back next year.


Summer Camp Photos

Martin being attached – Youtube