Day time availability for 1-2-1 and small group sessions

We have some spaces during the days between mid October and December for private sessions on a 1-2-1 basis or in small groups for Martial Arts and Self-Defence Sessions. We can arrange a venue if needed in the Devon/Cornwall Area.

Sessions can include;




Modern Aikido

Spirit Combat

Fight Prep for ring bouts

If you feel that a smaller group session would be best for you then please feel free to email us on or call us on 07773863518 and we will book you in for your session/s.

Why you don’t need to get fit to start Martial Arts this January!

People often say to Martial Arts instructors, that I will start Martial Arts once I have got fit enough. Then we never see them, ever turn up to a class, partially because they don’t fully know what’s involved and how fit the need to be. But why do people feel they need to get fit first? When Martial Arts training can get you fit.

Martial Arts is widely accepted to have many benefits, one of them is to get fitter, as Martial Arts training involves lots of aerobic and anaerobic fitness and due to the repetitive nature of some of the drills it help tone the body up as well. As most Martial Arts sessions involve lots of short bursts of activity which help improve the fitness of the participant. It’s very easy to feel hotter and to sweat in a Martial Arts class for more than 20 minutes which is all that is needed to improve your fitness level.

As most Martial Art classes last 45-1.5 hours and sometimes longer it isn’t hard to see how it can rapidly change an individual’s fitness level. So next time you’re thinking about getting fit, why not join your local Martial Arts club and give it a try.

Why not attend one of the South West Kickboxing Academy and Martial Arts (SWKA). We have a class in Tavistock at the Community Sports Centre and we have more classes launching soon. For more details please visit or contact Steve on 07773863518 or email


What makes a Black Belt or great Black Belt in Martial Arts

A Black belt in Martial Arts is seen by most people as a pinnacle of their time in Martial Arts and a High achievement. For some it is the top level you can achieve but also the time when you stop learning. However, meet any real black belt and they will tell you they have only just started to learn, just because you have learnt all the moves and show some real skill, and now must learn how to adapt your skills, how best to utilise them but also learning when they will and won’t work.

Patience is something it takes not just too get to get your black belt. It takes many years to get your black belt, but also patient is required to learn and start to master a number of kicks and combinations which you will learn. However, the patient is not just in yourself but also that of having patience with others. For example your training partners holding the pads for you, and with others who struggle to pick up skills when learning or to carry out activities.

Attitude of a black belt is very important, a black belt needs to have patients, but also be willing to help others when they are struggling and offer to help when they see newer students struggling. It’s also about following instructions from their instructor, sensei or master, in classes, rather than doing their own thing, therefore, setting a positive example to others in the club. The attitude is also about how they commit to training, by training regularly but also helping other, by putting them before themselves.

Commitment to the cause is also a key aspect, black belts will train regularly when they can, when you run a club it can be difficult to do train, but when your training for your black belt you should be looking for every opportunity to learn from your instructor, Sensei or master to ensure you will be ready for your black belt grading. Whether this is in class or in private sessions this is important to ensure you get all the input you need and ensure you are properly prepared.

Dedication to the art, which is about making sure you master the basics and not taking on to many arts in one go. When your start learning to many arts in one go without mastering anything, everything gets diluted, and they your performance drops.

Putting others before yourself is important, because by the time you are about to reach your black belt or reached it you should know you’re only as good as your training partner. If you don’t help them improve you will stagnate and head backwards. But also if you don’t look after your partner you won’t have anyone wanting or willing to work with you in class. Theirs’s no point in complaining about the standard of others if you’re not willing to help improve those around you and challenge them to become better.

Seeking perfection is about always analysing what you’re learning and working out when it would be practical and when it would not be. Therefore, being able to work out how to tweak things to improve it and what you could do instead. It’s also about constantly setting yourself little challenges to improve yourself, whether it’s kicking a bit higher, jumping higher or not getting hit as much during sparring or a fight.

Self-learning is about trying to identify for yourself were your weaknesses are, is it fitness, if so do you spend time away from your club working on this? Do you identify where you feel your weak, or ask your instructor, sensei or master how can I be better and then follow up on it.

As you can see there are many things to consider when you want to achieve your black belt or get through of as a great black belt by others. Why not find one or 2 black belts whom you look up to and watch the little things they do, and the way they are with others, which may improve yourself as a martial artist.

The real difference between Martial Arts and Self-defence

We often watch Martial Arts films and they always talk about using their Martial Arts skills for defence and never attack, if you go to a Martial Arts club the instructor will tell you the same thing. However, there are differences between self-defence and Martial Arts, for example most of us would have some ideas on how to try and hit someone if they attacked us, but might not always have the same impact as a Martial Artist. There will be some Martial Artists who would freeze if they were ever attacked outside a class.

The art of using your voice

When you take part in Martial Arts you are not encouraged or usually taught to use your voice when someone is attempting to attack, rob or mug you. By using a forceful tone you can sometime put an attacker of. You could use your vice to attack nearby attention by speaking loud or shouting which might scare of your attacker.

The other way to use your voice is to say things which will confuse your attacker. By saying something that will confuse your attacker it, affect their concentration and take their mind of you which might give you a few vital seconds to strike your attacker or start your get away.

You need to be able to strike an attacker

In Martial arts we teach you strikes and locks to put on an opponent, usually in the style or way you will compete in. However, when you’re on the street there are not rules and in theory anything goes, their maybe guns or knives involved depending on where you live.

The way you approach someone it class in a drill or sparring session is often very different to the way it is out on the streets. Therefore, you need to be adaptable to the situation and this is where you have the sort of anything goes. You can’t go to your attacker please come at me like this.

You need to be able to take being hit

A number of Martial Arts classes work on semi-contact or light training, some do work on full contact training. Yes getting hit can hurt a lot and repetitive hits can also hurt.

Your probably better conditioned being a Martial Artist to taking a hit, but you rarely in Martial arts get his by weapons which can hurt and cause more damage. The other issue is you won’t always be able to avoid getting hit even if you are a Martial Artist.

You need to be aware of your surroundings

When in Martial Arts training you’re not taught to be aware of your surroundings, such as choosing where to walk when, not to walk down dark allies. You don’t always learn to be aware of those around you and it’s common to bump into other class members when in a smaller space during sparring.

So as you can see there are some big differences between self-defence and Martial Arts training. On key issue I didn’t mention was that a Martial Artist could scare an attacker of with a hard fast strike which is pulled just short of contact. The strike would say to an attacker either you want to risk taking a beating or you want to get out of here. Physical Violence isn’t always needed.


Reasons why you should enrol your children into a Martial Arts Class

People are often advised to let or get their kids get involved with Martial Arts, and there are many of them and there isn’t a better one. Some people are afraid to let their child get involved because they may go round hitting people but it’s often found not to be the case. But there are many benefits not just those written about below.

Learn self-respect and respect for others
Learning respect for one’s self and for others is very high up on the list. We bow in Martial Arts as a mark of respect, but also to lose the negativity that is currently within us to empty it out so we can learn and become more positive.

The holding of pads for others is also a mark of learning respect, as the kid learn if they don’t hold pads for their partners, who will hold it for them properly. We also teach students to look after each other, as they will only achieve their goals and look good if their partner allows them to by following the rules, holding pads the way they should, and many more.

Motor patterns and co-ordination
Through Martial Arts we develop key motor skills, such as running, jumping, catching. These are often key to Martial Arts drills, balance improves due to kicking, as they have to stand on one leg a lot. Their co-ordination improves as they learn to target and control their kicks and punches to hit specific targets.

Learn how to overcome difficult situations
When a child struggles with a drill they begin to learn in Martial Arts that practice is the thing that makes it happen. Repetition helps kids improve, by doing activities again and again they begin to see improvements, and learn that they will improve and they will see others improve around themselves. With things like jumping higher, kicking higher, not always getting thrown over, or by making an escape when they usually get court.

Improved flexibility
Flexibility and stretching is a key aspect of any Martial Art, but it is something that is often neglected in other sports. So by encouraging your child to participate in Martial Arts you can help them remain flexible and supple. This can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries and growing pains in children in adolescence often brought on my bones growing quicker than muscle lengthen resulting it tightness and pain in areas of the body. However, being very flexible you can help reduce the tightness in muscles that can occur.

As Martial Arts coaches/instructors, we always look to praise students; from noting how much higher they are jumping or kicking to awarding a new grade and then setting a new goal. Kids love the achievement of passing their grading’s, and seeing new belts, trying to catch up to their friends levels and that of their instructors.

Often those who take part in Martial Arts are less likely to be bullied. You develop an ora around you which no one’s see’s but for some reason people stay out of your way when they want to pick on someone. Maybe it’s because their afraid of what the Martial Artist could do to them.

Those who learn Martial Arts learn to look after themselves, sometimes their taught the ways how not to get into a situation where they are attacked, but if someone tried to take your child, would you rather they knew some skills on how to escape better, than not knowing what to do at all?

Making friends
The kids and any person who starts Martial Arts, makes friends, most clubs are like a big family, and everyone looks after each other. If you don’t know one will hold pads for you, no one will want to spar with you. In Martial Arts you meet new people outside your club or school or in competitions and you build lifelong friendships.

In order to perform tasks in Martial Arts, to kick high, compete in the ring, pass a grading, allow someone to hit pads you need to concentrate. If you’re not concentrating there is a great chance you might fall over, hurt your partner. When you don’t concentrate you miss instructions and could look silly, so gradually the concentration improves because they understand the task you setting has a goal or rewards and if they don’t achieve they don’t achieve their goal or reward, such as passing a grading, or being able to try a new move or play a particular game.

When kids or any adult to be fair comes to take part in Martial Arts balance is always something that is about poor. However, when you consider performing any non-jumping kick, to spar well you need to and end up spending lots of time on one leg. Also the higher you want to be able to kick; a key aspect is being able to transfer your body weight without falling over.

Some of the biggest challenges a child will find in Martial Arts is coming through the door and joining in the first few times. Also before grading’s can also get a bit stressful, but through training, seeing improvements and having fun this all disappears very quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Martial Arts student no matte their level who wasn’t nervous walking through the door and joining in not matter whether they are a beginner or a black belt, it’s always that step into the unknown,  but as we all know it I usually no that bad.

Leadership is something which develops do to kids bringing their friends and looking after them in class. It comes naturally as they will want to look after their friends or family members and ensure they perform well. So they naturally start teaching and ensuring their friend/family member gets all the help, support and advice they need and ensure they fit in well.

These are not all the benefits but just a few which your child could benefit from if you enrol them into a Martial Arts programme. Your probably thinking now why have we not done it sooner? Also the other question is which are is best for my child, to that there is no answer just one that they enjoy is the only answer anyone can give you.

Steve Lilley’s BKBU Progress

Head coach 4th Dan Steve Lilley continues his progress towards becoming the BKBU heavy weight Semi-Contact champion. The SWKA are also in talks with Plymouth Judo club about running a Martial Arts day at Tavistock college, as a chance for people to come and try different arts and show case their skills.

Linked this we are also considering having some exhibition bouts based around one art or different arts showing their weaknesses and strengths which will be great fun. If you’d like to be a part of this let me know. There’s also talk of it being a charity event and we may have some well know National Martial Artists attend if we’re lucky.

MAAS Fight day, MAAS gathering

On Saturday 29th November Steve and Cameron both travelled to the MAAS championships at the Guildford Spectrum, as usual Steve helped with refereeing and judging at this national day event. Cameron entered the hollow square for the first time against another novice from White lotus Martial Arts in Gloucester. Cameron put on a fantastic performance looking like a natural with years of ring experience, with the way he controlled his opponent, resulting in a very comfortable and unanimous win. Head coach Steve Lilley said” Cameron’s fright was one of the best bouts on the day and one of the very best performances I’ve seen from a complete novice. The way he took contact only when he wanted it and got his opponent to place his hand where Cameron wanted his opponent to be so he could score easy points. I’m very much looking forward to see what Cameron can achieve in the ring in 2015.”


Steve also stayed for the evening show and instead of judging on the card at short notice he found himself competing on the Satellite promotions evening card. Steve hasn’t been involved in a amateur fight night event as a fighter before. 4th Dan Steve teamed up with Master Jim Cockram to take on 10th Dan Grandmaster Soke Brain Dossett, in a charity boxing match. Brian Dossett took to the ring for charity still recovering from 2 lots of major surgery in the last 8 weeks. Brain Dossett was also inducted into the International Ju Jitus Hall of Fame straight after the bout becoming one of only 9 people in the world to ever have achieved this feat.