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Martial Arts

John Brawn interview – Punching harder than ever!


John Brawn is not a name many people will have heard of despite having been on the self-protection scene for a good few years. As a result, people won’t know that he’s widely regarded as one of the world’s experts on punching and punching power. Geoff Thompson says of John: John Brawn is one of the most powerful strikers and experienced martial artists I have ever had the pleasure to work with”.

John’s background is a very mixed bag, “I started training by myself when I was ten or eleven as there weren’t many clubs around. I got some of Bruce Lee’s books and rigged up a bag in a shed and started beating that. I then moved into boxing and did it for ten years. I was 25 when I started in Karate after I had my appendix out. I needed something light to get back into training before going back to boxing after the operation but I never went back to boxing. Initially I trained in Shotokan and then moved to Kyokushinkai. I was lucky in that my Shotokan instructor actually encouraged us to do Kyokushinkai.”

John’s career path followed a familiar pattern as he started to move away from traditional martial arts to practical martial arts.

“In the early 90s I started working the doors around the same time that the BCA was setup. I read ‘Watch my back’ and found it was relevant as I worked the doors for money and we [Ed: Geoff Thompson and John] were in the same boat. I needed something to help me cross over from karate to door work so joined the BCA and travelled over to England to train with Geoff Thompson and Peter Consterdine and this made all the difference. The techniques that they were teaching I taught to the guys I was working with and actually brought Geoff over in 1995 and Peter in 1996.”

John worked the doors for sixteen years and said the experience was life-changing.

“As a result of my door work experience I started to teach a number of seminars to other door men, and started to incorporate all the training I’d done with the various sources and gradually merged it into my own concept. We also started to use the RedMan and Bulletman suits and I was in the documentary ‘Truth about killing’ in the Bulletman segment.”

A life-changing experience occurred when he trained with Marcus Wynne, studying Close Quarter Combat techniques. “In one day I learned more than I had in over twenty years of traditional martial arts. He was using NLP to instil the techniques and I came away with a high level of skill. It was fantastic. This was one of the crossroads in my training. I realised that there was a lot more I needed to know. There was a lot of edged weapons training and we were starting to come up against this more and more on the door so the relevancy was very high.”

From 1995 to 2005 John attended about thirty courses in Britain and completed Peter Consterdine’s Body Guarding Course as well as his driving and surveillance courses, using this experience to help train a lot of women who came to him for self-defence and self-awareness training.

It was around 2004 when he started to train with the Kettlebells after reading about them on the internet. The results were amazing “At the time I was only using pads and bags and added the Kettlebells into my training. Without having to go the gym etc, I found that my punching power trebled. I’ve never been hitting as hard as I’m hitting now, not even when I was boxing, and this is all down to the Kettlebells. I used to do weight training, and all I found was that I was getting bigger and bulkier but I wasn’t actually getting my power increased. I also love the fact that I can do the Kettlebells at home, rather than having to get into the car and drive twenty minutes there and back.”

Discovering the benefits of the Kettlebells was another life changing event.

“I decided to make the DVD series myself as I often felt cheated and ripped off when buying training DVDs done by others. I was buying Geoff Thompson’s DVD which were good, but there weren’t many punching ones so I thought that I’d do them myself.”

The response to the DVDs has been excellent, especially in England and America. Sales have been very good so why hasn’t he done this before?

“Geoff has been on to me to do this for a long time, but at the time I just didn’t have the self-confidence. Self-belief is a very important factor as is self-doubt”

Having reviewed the DVDs for my ‘Brutally Honest’ column I can only say I’m glad that John has finally produced them and the public seem to agree, “The feedback I received on the Kettlebell section as well as the isometrics has been amazing. I’ve been looking at the old training methods in boxing back to the nineteenth century and adding it into my training and the results have been fantastic. As a result I’m looking at doing a DVD on these methods and how to build them into a modern training regime.”

Not content with having produced three DVDs we can expect DVDs on Power band training, solo training, and Kettlebell training for martial artists.

Finally, John mentions his pride and joy: “I’m planning on doing twelve or thirteen DVDs and a large portion of this will be a course for Doormen, covering everything from weight training through to bag work. This is going to be my biggest project because there’s nothing out there like it. I’m even going to go into what types of boot they should be wearing! This will be complimented by seminar courses as well.”

To find out more and to purchase the DVDs go to http://www.powerpunches.com.

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

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