When to Spar in a Class?

Everyone wants to spar …. but when is the best time to do it?

Traditional in Martial Arts the format of a session is usually the same …

  1. Warm up
  2. Lean a new Technique/Drill
  3. Spar or Roll

John Kavanagh

There are wide variations on each of these sections of a class are delivered and the practicality depending on the Instructor, how they coach and the  level of the students you are teaching. In the “Learn a new Technique/Drill” section you can also have Progressive Resistance or positional sparring which sit on the blurry line of “What is drilling and What is Sparring” argument… but that is for another time.

I attended a seminar with John Kavanagh at the old Cage Steel gym many years ago and one of the things John did in his seminar which I found very interesting … Everyone sparred straight after warming up!

His explanation why he did this was as a coach very through provoking, John explained that some students are just waiting to spar, so if you get that out of the way early then students can focus on the techniques.

What made me remember this seminar was an article I came across by Ollie Geddes a BJJ Black Belt and world champion, where the structure of his class was very different to the “Traditional” class format.

Timeline for a 90 minute class

Warm-up and mobilisation – 15 minutes
First rolling period – 10 minutes
Technique – 25 minutes
Technique sparring – 10 minutes
Sparring – 30 minutes

Click on the below link for the article:-


Does this method work for MMA or other martial arts?

I think this is a really interesting idea, but I would like to hear from Instructors and Students who are currently running or attending a class which is structured this way, so please leave a comment.


X-Guard Movement Drill

The last week in the BJJ classes at Fulinkazan we have been working some X-Guard sweeps, but we have been doing this drill which I came a across on the Grapplearts Youtube channel

This is a great drill for both the bottom and top BJJ player, the bottom player has to move around and the top player has to keep their balance.

Bem Brasil – Leeds

To celebrate the delivery of some large projects, my work offered to pay for a meal for my team, we tried to book into Fazenda but unfortunately it was full, which is why we ended up at Bem Brazil.

The restaurant serves meat on a massive sword so you can sit back and feast like a medieval King or Queen, this is a Brazilian style of BBQ called Rodizio. We started with a visit to the salad bar, I had the Black beans, cheese balls bread and they were nice but not as good as Fazenda, the worse part of the salad bar was the Brazilian farofa, a manioc flour with bacon flavour which really wasn’t good.

Then came the meat !!! all the meat was seasoned well for my taste but some of the meat was a little over done … again for my taste I do prefer meat to be a little pink/red, the skirt was very nice but I was a little disappointed not to try the Chicken hearts and Lamb. One thing that I found very strange with the menu was if you want Seafood, there was an additional charge of £10 on top of the regular fee, which seems a little steep.



The service was ok the Passadors (chaps carrying around the swords of meat) seemed a little rushed and some time lead to people in our party missing some of the meat. Our waitress was very good with our party, we had 17 chaps all drinking and she was very patient when waiting for drinks orders.


Overall the meal and experience was good, the only problem Bem Brasil will have is if customers have visited Fazanda first. Fazanda sets the bar quite high for Rodizio in the Leeds area and with the prices been quite similar my preference would be towards Fazanda.

TBT – Weight Loss guide from 2012

Disclaimer –

This is not advice or a suggested program, it is just my findings through experimenting with training and diet. You should always seek professional advice before taking part in any physical fitness program or changes to your diet.
Background –
After getting injured in March, not being able to train and starting “proper” work again I found I had quickly gained weight (fat) due to in-activity. Although I was coaching Martial Arts my participation in physical exercise had reduced significantly and my diet had been pretty poor.
 This is how I lost over 10kg (1.5 Stone) over a 6 week period.
Yes I work in IT, a Baseline is our starting point. Here is mine
Starting weight – 95.6KG
Date – 23/07/2012
This is the heaviest I have been in a 3 years.
Diet Changes
We all know what foods are good and bad, it is amazing how we can convince ourselves that bad food is ok to eat and still expect to meet our weight loss goals.
We all know on the most basic level what foods are going to help our weight loss needs, people sometimes get confused because of fad diets. Here is what I ate and worked for me:-
What tends to work best for me is cutting out processed carbs (Pasta, Rice, Breads etc) and eat more Fibrous Vegetables example:-
Green Beans
The Carbohydrates in fibrous veggies take longer to digest than most process Carbs, which can help you feel fuller for longer because they are high in fibre. I boiled the veggies until they were soft and in most case used Frozen veg as it is quick and easier to prepare.
I didn’t really use any protein drinks in this 6 week period, I got most of my protein from:-
Chicken – Breast (I used this for about 75% of all my meals)
Beef – Extra Lean Mince and steak
Ham – Gammon
Fish – Salmon and Cobbler
For some more meal ideas visit my youtube page http://www.youtube.com/spenfu25
The only fats I used were Extra Virgin Olive oil for cooking, sauces (try and stick with tomato based) and udo choice tablets. Up until the last 2 weeks I would add little bits of chorizo with the veg just to give it a little flavour.
This is the important bit, if you enjoy eating it is important that you try and make things taste nice and this is where seasoning comes in. After boiling my veg I would let is drain and then cover with “Spen’s Special Sprinkle” to give the veggies a little bit of flavour.
Experiment! Chilli flakes, Tabasco, Turmeric, Mixed herbs….
I tried to drink at least 4 litres of water a day, I also had coffee without sugar (most of the time) and Green tea.
Training Changes
As I mentioned before my activity levels had reduced significantly, I had gone from training 2 to 3 times a day to coaching 3 times a week and not really participating in a full hour session…. This had to change.
I change my training to include the following each day Monday to Friday:-
20 mins HIT on a cross trainer or a 30 min run
2 hours of TRAINING (not coaching) in Martial arts (MMA, Kickboxing etc)
At least twice a week I would do a Kettlebell work out also, but what really seems to make the weight fly’s off is the morning training session. I did the HIT/run before eating, this seems to have an excellent effect for me. I didn’t do every day, sometimes I had to work so I may have missed the odd session, don’t beat yourself up that’s life.
MAKE YOUR TRAINING COUNT!!!! Just being in the gym does not burn calories! You need to lift stuff and break a sweat (Sauna does not count) RUN, ROW, BIKE!!!!
It’s everywhere you look cookies, pies, pizza …………. But what do you want? If you want to lose weight (and you have to want it) then you have to train and eat to lose weight.
Did I have any naughty meals? Yes … loads in the 6 week period. Fry ups, Pizza, Chinese food and beer …. And so on but 2 things:-
  1. I only had these meals at a weekend
  2. I had to earn these meals
These 2 rules helped motivate me to get to training and hit the gym!
The other thing is recording your progress, weight, measurements and pictures are really good for this. I have read people would also use pictures, holidays and fights as motivation.
Finished Result
Finishing weight – 83.4kg
Date – 07/09/2012
I lost over 10kg in 6/7 weeks, I had a bunch “Earned Meals” and Beer as well.
This is what worked for me if you are interested in personal training or a personalised training plan email us for more details:-
Suggested Reading
Some very good ideas in here, I have tried a couple of things Tim suggests and have seen a difference. There are some other things I am wanting to experiment with, which I will update you on.
Feed Back
Did this help you lose weight? Let me know it would be great to here from you.

Bradford Food – Pizza Pieces

Some people grow up with memories of happy meals or sitting in burger king with a crown resting on their head as a small child on Saturday afternoon. Although I did from time to time go to McDonalds my Saturday afternoon treat if I went shopping with my mum was “Pizza Pieces”.

A family run business which can be found on Market Street in the City Centre of Bradford has been in operation for over 20 years, the owner Antonio Bariero did have some difficulty in 2012 due to the Westfield development (T&A Article), but I am happy to say they are still open and making great Pizza.

They server different variations of pizza, you can buy a quarter slice of a 16” Pizza, fries and a drink for the same price as a McDonalds meal, The pizza is freshly made on premises but there are Pasta’s, Salads and deserts available as well. When I visit I usually go with a peperoni slice and a tomato garlic slice, but the pasta is well worth a try also.

I don’t remember ever having a bad Pizza from Pizza Pieces and I have been a customer for over 25 years, I love that I have grown up eating in here,  I have organised meals with my teams at work and Pizza Pieces actual featured in my wedding speech.

You can can check out other peoples opinions on Trip advisor-  Trip Advisor – Pizza Pieces

I love the direction Bradford is going supporting local businesses at the top end of town in the independent but you really must check out Pizza Pieces at the bottom end of the city centre and tell them … “Spenfu sent me” Winking smile


Les Kellett – Bradford’s Clown Prince of Wrestling

Up until my early 20’s I loved professional wrestling, I think it came from my Granddad telling me stories when wrestlers would preforming in Bradford and then go out for drinks with my Granddad. This lead me to look into Bradford wrestlers and it wasn’t long until I came across Les Kellett.

Les was born in Laisterdyke to Bill Kellett who was an Engineer, Les left School at 14 and although there was an expectation we would follow in his foot steps, Les became a professional wrestler in 1938.

The second World war did delay Les professional career as he joined the merchant navy as an engineer. After the War he settled in Manchester where he trained with fellow Wrestler Jim Hill who mentored Kellett in a small gym on swaine house road.

It wasn’t long after Les move back to Bradford to wrestle full time and had a “shoot” (Shoot means to have a real fight) trial match with Arthur Belshaw. Belshaw locked up Kellett’s Arm and told Kellett to Submit … “Break it!” was his response. It wasn’t long after this Les Toured the UK gaining fans in every town he visited.

Les wrestling style was often referred to as “clownish” but was one of the most popular British wrestlers before his retirement in 1975 at 53, although he would occasionally wrestle in to his 60’s.

Youtube Video – Les Kellett – British Wrestling’s Comedic King

Outside of the wrestling ring Les had a pig farm, there is a storey I remember reading where before wrestling bout, Les had been bite by a Pig and his hand had swelled up with an infection.

Les arrived at the venue and decide he could not wrestling with his hand blown up, grab won of the younger wrestlers, placed his hand on the floor and told the young lad to stamp on his hand.

The young lad, hesitated (as most of us would) … Les gave him and option “Stamp on my hand … or I’ll Stamp you”. The young wrestler stamped on Les hand and puss from the infection oozed out. In the changing room was a Cala Gas heater, Les put his hand against it to cauterise the wound and went out and wrestled.

When I mentioned Les at my gym it turns out that one of the guys Dad was friends with Les and he would go around and visit Les for a cup of tea and Chat. I would have loved to have met the man but Les passed away in 2002, I still see him as an inspiration as I am another Bradford Grappler.

There is a Twitter account for Les Kellett and a potential film … follow them @KellettFilm

Windows 10 – Potential Security Issue?

With all the excitement of windows 10, I have been reading through a bunch of web articles, looking at the new features but I one thing I came across which has caused a little bit of concern was around the “Wifi Sense” feature which is also on the Window’s 8.1 phone.

There is a bit of discussion around Wifi Sense enabled automatically as part of the Windows 10 OS on the usual IT forums, but what’s the problem with “WiFi Sense”?

Depending on your policy at work, these 2 may not be of concern:-

Automatically connecting you to crowdsourced open WiFi networks it knows about.

Accepting a WiFi network’s terms of use on your behalf and providing additional info for you to networks that require it.

This last one makes me very nervous :-

Letting you exchange password-protected WiFi network access with your contacts to give and get Internet access without seeing each other’s WiFi network passwords.

Sounds scary … What does that mean? …

Your WiFi password will be shared with your contacts including Outlook.com, Skype and there is an opt in for Facebook!

The password is encrypted so contact will not see the password, but if you have a user who is connected to the corporate Wifi network, potentially contacts will be able to jump on your work network.

So where and how are all these passwords stored? …. “in an encrypted file on a Microsoft server” sounds sturdy right.

So what are you plans with Windows 10 and Windows Phone 8.1 using “WiFi Sense”?

Bradford Food – Shimlas


Worlds best Chicken Doner?

Bradford is know as the Curry capital of the UK and with good reason as people through out the country travel to Bradford to sample our amazing spicy cuisine. There is a Curry Festival held in Bradford every years and it is the home of Mumtaz curries which are now available in CO-OPS across the UK.

There is a a hidden gem in Bradford and although they do server some lovely looking curries there is only one thing I order when I visit and that is the Chicken Doner Kebab … “A Kebab!” I here you cry …

Yum ... Yum ... Yum
The Mixed Donner

Shimlas which can be found near the University Sports centre servers the most amazing chicken donnar kebab, it is served with cooling yogurt and spice chili suace, a salad (with a pickled chill … YUM) and a large nan bread.

It is severed in a DIY style when you eat in the restaurant with the contents on a plate and the nan in a basket and then you choose what you do next. Most seam to tear of some bread and pick up.

The price is also very reasonable at only £5.50 for a chicken Donner which will fill most, it is a real bargain.

Web – http://www.shimlas.co

Address – 123-125 Great Horton Rd, Bradford BD7 1PS

Windows 10 – My 5 favorite web links

Did you know Windows 10 is now available for free? …. or have you been living in a box? … Here are my 5 favorite Windows 10 related articles:-

Everyone at working asking you …  “Can I upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

What do you get? “Ten things you need to know about Windows 10

Still need more information? “Windows 10 Review

My system does not give me the option to upgrade? “WIndows 10 download”

Ninja Cat Riding a T-Rex !?!?!?! – “Yeap … A Ninja Cat Riding a T-Rex”

I have 2 Windows  devices I am really looking forward to loading Windows 10 on to.

Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC

My TV is currently not very smart and I am still under discussion (/thumb) with my lovely wife around upgrading our current TV. But in the mean time I managed to save enough to buy a Mini PC which we can use a media centre.


Asus T100 is a great little device which has a debatable keyboard, so you can use it as either a netbook or a tablet. As well as using this when travelling. One of the great things about this is I can use this as a BYOD (Bring your own device) to work, as I have one profile for work and the other for personal use.

I am really interested to see how Windows 10 will effect using these devices.

Let me know what your thoughts are? Have you upgraded?

Bradford’s Most Interesting Man

I am throwing my gauntlet down …. I am Bradford’s Most Interesting Man!

This is something that occurred to me in the last week and as Bradford’s Most Interesting Man (BMIM) I promise to do good with my new found powers, but I know there are people who may doubt my claim to this prestigious title…. But I am Bradford’s Most Interesting Man and this is why:-

1. I run a very successful Mixed Martial Arts Academy (BradfordMMA.com)


We teach and compete in a wide range of Martial arts including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Combat Submission Wrestling, MMA (also called as Cage Fighting), JKD, Kickboxing and much more. We have multiple British champions in different disciplines and on 6th December Team Fulinkazan we celebrated our 10th year anniversary at the Glyde House (http://gumptioncentres.co.uk/glyde-house/)

2. By day I am a mild mannered IT Manager

As well as running a MMA Gym and having 3 blackbelts, I am also a IT Manager by day who specializes in Infrastructure. Servers, Networking, desktops, clients, VIOP, security at some point I have had to do it all …. Geektresting !

3. I am a movie star

I am sorry kid …. I don’t do autographs. That is right BMIM has been in such blockbuster hits as “Bloodline” and “We don’t Fight Cages”, but I also like to keep it real and product and start in my own youtube videos:-


4. I have started a Zombie Protection Group

If you are worried about the Zombie Apocalypse like any sensible person should you will be happy to know the BMIM has got your back! You can join the ZFS and prepare yourself for walkers by making sure you learn the Zombie fighting System


5, I head the C.A.M.P activist group 

Have you ever been short changed? or under chickened ? I feel your pain, The campaign Chicken Appreciation for Man Sized Portions (CAMP) is fighting for you rights as we speak. Nandos can not get away with service small portions … as your prices increase your chicken shrinks.

Tweet now! @nandos #CAMP @Spenfu

6, I am … TheFightCoach.com 

Are you looking for online training? need some help preparing for a Martial Arts competition? Head over to ThefightCoach.com now! We offer online training, fight camps as well as general health and fitness advice


Still doubt my title? Well the fact you have read to this point only proves you are interested in what I have to say which proves I am …. Bradford’s Most Interesting Man ….. BMIM