CSP – The Arts – A Time For Change

Everything evolves. It has to, or it will die or worst still, get trodden on by everything else that’s rushing forwards at pace.
This applies to us as individuals and as martial artists.
Nothing stands still – it’s either going forwards and getting better, or it’s slipping backwards. As they say “What you don’t use you lose”

Never has this been truer than when I stop, turn around and take a look back at how Complete Self Protection has changed and morphed since its conception over 4 years ago.

Back then, I quickly decided that, to make what I had to offer a structured journey for those wishing to join me, and something where targets of ability and skill could be defined, and progress could be measured – I realised I needed a syllabus.

Having trained in many arts with Geoff Thompson and shorter periods with amazing experts in various fields such as Vladim Kolganov (Sambo Wrestling), Kris Welan (Greco and Freestyle Wrestling), Jim Burns (Boxing) – to name a few. I knew I had something to offer as well as recognising that I was still on the beginnings of a journey of my own.

Having had this syllabus approved by Peter Consterdine at the BCA, I set out, with my good buddy and fellow instructor Mick Tully, to share this with anyone who would listen under the banner of CSP-Real Combat System.

Since then, with Mick’s support and guidance, I have been blessed to have been welcomed into a whole new world of learning.
Gaining new direction, and having new doors presented to me for me to open at my leisure, by the incredibly generous and patient Terry Barnett and Rick Faye, and the rest of the JKD family that have been so supportive.

Just as anybody’s would, my art changed direction – bringing new options and alternatives, and definitely new skills.
How could any instructor then, not pass and share this knowledge with their own students – after all, this is what Geoff did for me and the rest of our group in Coventry way back then. He continued to venture off to train in new systems and new arts, and bring what he had discovered back to the group for us to devour.

I think it’s witnessing this kind of openness from an instructor at an early stage of my career that has stuck with me and has enabled me to forge this new path.

With Mick being the resident expert in the JKD field within CSP, we realised we were now teaching far more than I had originally encompassed with the RCS syllabus (Muay Thai, Kali, Weaponry, BJJ) – and as a way of offering our students choice and variety, and with the gracious blessing of Guro Rick Faye, we launched a second grading structure and syllabus comprising of our JKD arts as CSP-MKG (Minesota Kali Group).


Time for Change

Time for Change

Now, it’s time for change again.

CSP is who we are and whilst we will continue to have two syllabuses, it’s very difficult for me to teach and train only the Real Combat System without it containing my new skills and attitude to martial arts. I’ve realised that my definition of RCS may not be the same as others who are also certified to teach the syllabus.

My long time friends Matty Evans and Tony Somers are also 5th Dan Senior instructors with the British Combat Association and permitted to teach Geoff’s Real Combat System. These guys are the best authority to teach what was started in Coventry so many years ago.
In fact, we mutually agreed a long time ago that they should have the RealCombatSystem website and branding, whilst I continued with my own CSP.
These guys are fantastic martial artists and wonderful human beings in their own right, but I’m sure they would agree, are now also venturing off on different paths to mine and defining what they teach as a result of their growing experiences.

As more instructors are certified in RCS, it has become difficult for me to maintain a synergy and consistency with how RCS may be taught elsewhere – we are very much different camps now teaching something that happens to have the same name – born from the same beginnings but growing into different shapes. We have different grading structures, different numbers of belts, different instructor grades (not better or worse – Different!)

So – to cut my long waffle short…

Complete Self Protection Ltd now teaches Complete Self Protection – simple as that!

The arts, the training methodologies, the instruction, the etiquette, the martial “way”, at CSP, is all to deliver tools that offer every student tools to Protect themselves in as Complete a way as possible (no guesses for how I came up with the name)
To honour my own roots and lineage, we will still teach and grade our flavour of the CSP-Real Combat System, but we fully accept that a grade with CSP in this style may not be recognised by fellow instructors teaching their own RCS arts.

CSP will also maintain and forge ahead with CSP-MKG, continually evolving our arts in the JKD family and expanding and adding to what we already have as a system. I am very much at the start of this journey myself.
Again, grades will be awarded in CSP-MKG

What this means for those who already train and grade with us is…… nothing really changes.
Except that we are independent and continuing to teach what we know and love.

In the coming weeks I will be re-posting pages from our old site that fully outline our grading structure in both systems and also our Instructor Programs – but in the mean time – here’s a snippet

CSP-Real Combat System
Grade from White Belt (7th Kyu) to Black Belt (1st Dan) and beyond

CSP-Minesota Kali Group
Grade from White Belt (8th Kyu) to Black Belt (1st Dan) and beyond

Instructor Program
There are two routes to becoming an instructor with CSP

Affiliate Instructor – this is specifically for fellow martial arts instructors, who already teach their own classes, to forge a relationship with us and teach elements of our systems and who have the same philosophy and approach to the arts
This does not require a grade in either systems with us – but a continued relationship with CSP and a common ethos to martial arts – to demonstrate this – our affiliates currently are:-

Jim Burns – 2nd Dan with CSP-RCS – amongst many other grades and one of my own teachers in the arts for over 15 years
Mark Fry – 1st Dan with RCS directly under Geoff Thompson, and fellow instructor on many workshops with CSP over the past 4 years – a friend of ours for many more than that
Steve Male – 1st Dan with CSP-RCS – and student of CSP for 4 years, with over 15 years prior experience

Apprentice – Graduate – Full – Senior – Chief Instructors are the progressions in our Instructor Program
To enter onto this program requires continued training in our classes and Dan grades in both of our systems.

So far, only one man has achieved the first rank of Apprentice Instructor and that is Jon Scott.


I hope this has given you some insight into the direction of CSP.
I also hope this clarifies any of the questions relating to our grades, our systems and how they translate to others teaching and grading in the Real Combat System.

Why Try to Re-Invent The Wheel?

Why Try to Re-Invent The Wheel?

As an instructor and a student of the martial arts, I feel I am continually being placed in a position of responsibility to protect the gift that my own instructors have given and are giving to me – that is the image of the arts and their value and worth to all those who study them.

For me, Martial Arts was never about collecting grades, wanting to be an instructor, or creating my own system. Some of this has just happened along the way – but I hasten to add – CSP is merely a brand that defines a collection of arts and styles that already existed – nothing here has really been created or invented by me.

I thank you for reading – assuming you made it this far

I wish you the very best in your martial arts endeavours – enjoy the ride and avoid the politics

Stay Safe and Have Fun
Al x

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