I'm not sure what the protocol is with forums like these (I've never joined one before) so I hope this is okay.
My name is Jeff Sawyer, I am Buddhist, a former police officer in London's Metropolitan police (medically retired in 2003 after sustaining serious injury) and I now run a residential martial arts training camp and retreat centre in Le Marche, Italy.
This is my 28th year in Ju-Jitsu and I was graded to 5th Dan Renshi in 2002. I Three years ago I branched out with my own system (Master Sawyer's Goshin-Ryu Ju-Jitsu), which is pretty eclectic, incorporating aspects of various arts I have cross-trained in, such as Muay-Thai, Kali and western Boxing. I am soon (hopefully) to qualify as an instructor in Commando Krav Maga.
I had been thinking about cross-training for a lot of years (I started out in 1979 in the old BJJA syllabus's which were very good, but there was a kind of climate where you were taught to hit and told that damage would be caused, but the striking skills just weren't drilled enough, and no pad/bag work was done to make the strikes truthful. "Punch him here" they'd say "and his ribs will break" which was at best mistaken.
The upshot was that I went out and looked for effective striking skills a long time before most other Ju-Jitsuka of my generation did.
I have trained substantially in Kali and Muay-Thai with Mr. Gordon McAdam - one of the nicest men and one of the finest martial arts teachers in the world. He now concentrates almost entirely on his training in Silat with Master Steven Benitez. It was Mr. McAdam who first taught me to strike effectively - he loved my Ju-Jitsu, but was disapointed at some of the strikes I'd use. That was my first encounter with humility.... the second was when we sparred.....
Suffice it to say that I was inspired to work harder at the striking aspect of my martial arts. Mr. McAdam put me on the right road. I love the striking, cushes and disarms of Kali, and I love the efficiency and sleekness of the Thai techniques.
I still have never seen a better hand system though, than western boxing. I qualified as an A.B.A. Asst. Boxing coach in 2004, and I intend to continue gaining qualifications in that areana. I had always dabbled in Boxing - I am the youngest of seven and I grew up with Boxing in the household (my Dad boxed for the U.S. Navy during world war two).
I for one am really happy that the martial arts nowdays are infinitely more truthful and transparent; there was much too much mystique and nonsense projected by various masters in all sorts of arts and associations, thankfully, that seems to be on the wane, because reality-based training is on the rise, and the need for effectiveness does seem to appear on almost all prospective students radar now. I think people are far less likely as a result of the way the arts have evolved in the last few years to be drawn in to untruthful arts that sell themselves as self-defence or combat arts which in truth are no such thing.
Please don't misunderstand, I love the arts, I have as great a respect for anyone who has mastered the less combative systems as I do those who have mastered "fighting" arts, but I think it's refreshing that prospective students can see with clearer eyes what's out there, and make a clear choice about WHAT it is they're studying and WHY they're studying it.
The Metta Centre (my training camp in Italy) is fantastically equipped (we have a beautiful, fully-equipped, private and on-site Dojo) and if any instructors are interested in bringing students out for gradings (or grading preparation), intensive training or just for a team-building and relaxing break, please feel free to get in touch. Likewise, if anyone is interested in training with me in Master Sawyer's Goshin-Ryu Ju-Jitsu, please feel free to contact me, you will be made welcome at The Metta Centre - please see www.mettacentre.com for details.
Train well, train safe and train clever!
Love and respect,