11. August 2017

Paul Bennett and the SAMI Combat Systems

I have to admit my initial reason for seeking Peter and the SAMI Combat System out was completely selfish.
My best friend and long-term training partner and I had been trying to work out how to bring the Tomahawk into our training suite, and after some months of trying we decided that our knowledge of FMA and South Eastern Martial Arts alone wasn’t going to be enough to answer some of the questions we had, so we decided we would get some help.
We did some research to try and identify groups that were training this weapon – who had ‘cracked the code’ beyond what we could already work-out for ourselves.
It didn’t take long, because apart from the odd historic HMA type stuff – there really wasn’t anything at all..!!
Then by chance we came across a YouTube clip of a guy from Austria (plus point one – not a long flight from the UK), who was doing lots of cool things with a Tomahawk, and from the clip, was using it in ways far beyond our limited capability.

A quick email exchange proceeded (plus point two – he actually responded to emails personally – he’s a human), and before I knew it I was booked on a flight to meet him and train in his method of Tomahawk & Axe Fighting, this was Oct 2014.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I set out, maybe this guy looked good in clips through lots of practice takes, or special camera tricks.
What I found was probably best summarised in my phone call to my training partner from Vienna after the first day of training – it went something like, “he has a whole hawk system all worked out, it builds logically using concepts and principles (instead of a gazillion techniques) so you can develop your skills and attributes, that means we can actually fight with this stuff”, and there’s more.
“He has used the same approach with Knife, sticks, firearms, unarmed..!!”
It was like ‘burst-traffic’ as I tried to convey all of my excitement in 20 seconds..!!

But quite honestly that’s not the only reason I go back and forth and train month over month, year after year.
Don’t get me wrong the system stands up against the best of them – you can see that reflected in the capability of the students and junior instructors – who test each other constantly, and are the most non-compliant, unforgiving trainer partners ever .

Nope – I choose to go back and forth, because from the first moment I met Peter, his wife and the SAMI team, they have been totally open and giving – concepts, principles, ideas, plans, help, guidance, you name it and they are there.
I know, I know – that’s sounds like mushy shit – something I am definitely not known for…!!
But they have something special here – and they could have been complete tossers (English term) about it, knowing that people would have to put up with it because the product was so good.

But they have a ‘code’ (remember that..!!), and ‘like attracts like’, so before long you find yourself working with others who want to develop with similar no-bullshit attitudes.

So with the greatest respect – if I can give any reader advice – it would be this:
The bar is set high – its physically and mentally demanding, and for good reason – after all this is a combat system designed to safeguard you and your loved ones should something unthinkable occur. It’s supposed to be rough, ugly, and hard.
This system will test you, but you will train alongside others who are trying to help you succeed not keep you down operating under some subservient hierarchy.
So find a local class, or join one of the online communities that will tune you into the training, or get on a plane, train, bus….do whatever you need to, just find a way – I can promise you won’t be disappointed!
Stay safe!

Paul Bennett,
has been training in Martial Arts for over 40 years and has had the privilege of training with first class instructors all over the world.
He is a 2nd generation pesilat in the bela diri, Harimau Pencak Silat system of Maha Guru Richard de-Bordes in which he holds a 4th Degree black belt, and was awarded Guru status in 2013. Over the years Paul has studied various Martial Art systems – those in which he holds instructor rank include – Pencak Silat, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Kick-Boxing & SAMI Combat Systems. Additionally he holds student ranks in – Kyokushin Karate & Arnis. He fought in various full contact formats – Kick/Thai Boxing in his younger years, and more laterally at the WEKAF Full Contact Stick Fighting – Championships – winning Silver & Bronze medals. He is currently studying SAMI Combat Systems under Peter & Irmi Weckauf, where he holds Instructor rank grades in Tomahawk & Axe Fighting, Knife Fighting, Panantukan & Krav Maga – Concepts.
Alongside the SAMI training he also works with his Reapers4 Co-Founder Master Martin Sillitoe in Bulldog Nickelstick Eskrima.
Paul was inducted into the MAI Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2016.