Steve scores top marks to land black belt

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A MEMBER of the Directional Fighting Method club has gained his black belt, writes Darren Currah.

Steve Mclaughlan passed his shodan in the street combat system after a grueling three month grading.

The examination was conducted under the eye of senior DFM co-chief instructors Donald Robinson and Phil Doherty.

It was held both at the Willowburn Sports Centre, Alnwick, and at Newcastle College, Newcastle.

Phil said: “Steve did very well during his grading period and it’s a credit to him that his grading got top marks.

“It’s not an easy task gaining a black in the system as it’s a very comprehensive system that covers all the elements of self-protection, including conflict resolution training, ground fighting, locks, takedowns and stand up fighting, as well as weapons.

“Because of the breadth of principles and techniques within Directional Fighting Method, it usually takes at least six years to gain first Dan.

“And the grading itself is not held just on one day but over a three-month period where the candidate is continuously assessed on the many different aspects that make up this self-protection modern system.

“Steve not only had to demonstrate a thorough understanding of his own grading section but also all the grades he had previously done.

“And he also had to show that he can instruct others in the style.”

Steve, who is also a brown belt in shotokan karate, was put through his paces over and over again throughout the three-month period.

Not only has he passed his first Dan, he has also gained instructor’s certification and can run his own classes.

He is also a qualified conflict resolution trainer.

As well as open-hand self-defence techniques and principles, DFM teaches the basics of double-stick fighting, walking sticks and staff, as well as swords and knives and how to defend yourself against them, as well as guns, garrotes and other types of weapons.

Phil added: “It’s a total system that does not just teach self-defence techniques but rather a more holistic approach that includes CRT and other practical approaches to self-protection.

“For example, because it has no sporting element to it, there are no standing head kicks within DFM because, though that may work on the mats or cage, to try to kick someone in the head while on the street can put you at severe risk.

“You can slip because of uneven surfaces or because it’s raining and you are attempting a high kick while standing on cobbles.

“So, in DFM kicks are done to the body or legs meaning there is less risk of falling over as the last place you should go in a real fight is the ground.

“But because many real fights go from punching to stand-up grappling there is always a risk that you could end up on the ground in a real no-holds-barred grapple. And because of this all students are taught ground fighting as well.”

The Directional Fighting Method club runs classes at Willowburn Sports Centre every Wednesday from 7.30pm.

Anyone interested in learning the system should turn up at a session wearing loose sportswear. The first lesson is free.

For further information on Directional Fighting Method, phone Phil on 0191 4146375.