Interviews: traditional martial artists coach MMA

Xingyi, Bagua, Taiji: Tim Cartmell  

Most days, Tim Cartmell can be found at Ace Jiu Jitsu in Fountain Valley, California, teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu alongside the likes of Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida, one of the most heavily decorated BJJ competitors in the world. A second degree black belt, Tim has himself won the IFBJJ Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships twice, and the Copa Pacifica Jiu Jitsu Tournament seven times. Yet Tim’s knowledge and experience goes far beyond BJJ. He is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable practitioners of Chinese internal martial arts teaching in the West. Read interview here


Hung Gar: Pavel Macek 

Pavel Macek’s definition of tradition is wider than most. While he argues the system of Hung Gar is rooted in the battlefield,  he believes it  has the breadth to prepare its practitioners not only for the modern urban environment, but also for MMA and for health and fitness. Having trained in the art since the early 90s in his native Czechoslovakia as well as in San Francisco, Hong Kong and mainland China, Pavel now runs a thriving club of dedicated students, Practical Hung Kyun. But this is no ordinary martial arts club:  Pavel has applied the principles he learned becoming a sought-after strength and conditioning coach to truly bring old school martial arts training up-to-date….Read interview here  


Wing Chun: Alan Orr  

There are few martial artists who can emulate Alan’s achievements and breadthof experience. Alan spent years training several traditional martial arts including Tomiki Aikido, Escrima and various branches of Yip Man Wing Chun, but it was not until he met his main teacher Robert Chu and began training in Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun that  he felt he had found an art that provided the skills and training methods needed to create a truly competent fighter, whether on the street or in the ring. Read interview here….


Shaolin, Sanda: Matt Polly

Back in 1992, Matthew Polly was among the first Americans to train at the

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Shaolin Temple. He turned his two years in China into a bestselling memoir, American Shaolin. For his next book, Tapped Out, Matt accepted a challenge from his publisher  to train for an MMA fight…first with John Danaher and Phil Nurse in New York and then at Randy Couture’s gym in Vegas. Now he’s published what may be the most authoritative biography of Bruce Lee yet, emphasising the Dragon’s identity as a film star who was obsessed with martial arts, rather than a martial arts guru who happened to make films. Read interview here



Hap Gar: David Rogers 

Steeped in authentic Cantonese fighting arts, David Rogers’  martial journey has led him to make regular trips to southern China to train Hap Gar, as well as to Hawaii to train MMA with Burton Richardson. Now David ((pictured, centre) coaches both arts at his school, Rising Crane, in Bedford, combining his extensive traditional experience with  clear eyed reasoning to create both a thriving school and a strong team of amateur fighters . Read interview here




JKD, Silat, Wing Chun: Burton Richardson

Burton Richardson hardly needs any introduction.  As a full instructor in JKD and Filipino martial arts under Guro Dan Inosanto, and a long time practitioner of Bukti Negara, Paul De Thouars’ form of Pencak Silat, Burton has a unique perspective on the martial arts.  After fighting in Escrima challenge matches, Burton became aware of the gulf between skill in forms and drills and competence in actual fighting.  This awareness made Burton take up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the 90s. He is now a third degree black belt under Egan Inoue. Burton’s knowledge and experience has been widely recognised: a Black Belt Magazine hall of famer, he has also coached MMA at the highest level (including UFC fighters Chris Leben and Nate Quarry). He currently lives in Hawaii and teaches seminars all over the world….Read interview here