20 May 2023 Training Journal

Sword Class

A small group of us meet early on Saturday, in remembrance of our late teacher, Bancroft, to work on the swordplay he taught us. This week we held a sword class where we covered knife and how it relates to our sword training and blade vs empty hands-training. We wanted to check if we could use the basic Ilustrisimo sword concepts for sparring knife to knife or even knife vs bare hands. We could use the same mindset, footwork, and techniques to achieve our goals. The hour went by too quickly.

KORA Class

I covered using kickboxing, in this case, our Savate with a Basque flavour to kill the boxing hands game. We worked off our opponents’ attacks to first survive and then insert our kicks and footwork on the half beat. I managed to get everyone to use the correct skill set and get the quick kills results to regain the initiative.

We then moved on to a set of Muay Thai sequences for the clinch range, trained on the Thai pads, and were happy with the results as we combined elbows with hooks and knees modified by me for MMA and our Shootboxing module.

Silat Class

We reviewed some basic hand motions and how they fit in with our footwork, firstly on a line and then on the square. We then played with applications using the same ideas. The combination of footwork, flanking and hand motions really enhances progress. We looked at knocking our opponent into the despatch position and following up throws and sweeps.

The same mind set for all three classes hit first or regain the initiative and finish.

6/7 May 2023 Training Journal

Saturday started a little differently as I woke up with a back spasm. Which was probably a result of some grappling. This meant I missed sword sparring. After rehab exercises and some yoga flows, I could train in and teach my class.

KORA Class

We did a quick ten-minute review of some things James, my training partner, had been training and coaching someone else in one of his training groups regarding sword techniques. Basically, the three timings, before, during and after, to counter someone’s cuts and how different ranges, timing and intention change things.

I then covered some kickboxing parries into kicks and with some Sera to finish. I think I have the blend just right, and there are no seams between my Savate and Sera or grappling.

Sera Class

The Sera class covered entries which close the opponent down quickly and how to get people into what I call the dispatch positions to end the fight. Drilling working on timing, deception, and control of your and your opponent’s centre. Also, how to put dents into people.

We then covered what we call pre-Sera training. Motions and footwork that most Pukulan styles have and how this combined to teach you to move correctly. I get real benefits from this exercise, as they tend to leave you relaxed and feeling good.

Sunday was an hour of Sera, mostly jurus and some movement drills, followed by an hour of Ilustrisimo sword solo drills. My back has returned to normal, and feeling strong. I took an online Zoom class Sunday night with my teacher for technical teaching on Sera.

Bancroft Anthony Grant

Sunrise: 31st October 1964. Sunset: 31st December 2022.

I have met many great people over forty years via my involvement in martial arts, and Bancroft was one such person. I heard about him long before I met him in the late 1980s; he had a reputation as a fearsome fighter and a great martial artist.

In 2013, Bancroft joined my small closed-door group to Study Pentjak Silat Pukulan Sera. It was early in our evolution, and we were still trying to decipher what our teacher was showing us and replace our old training methods with the new teachings.

Bancroft quickly became our group’s central core member; his advice and help were invaluable as we moved forward in the art. Not long after that, he became an elder in our group, an encourager to many group members.

Bancroft studied many things; he was a great kickboxer, an excellent full-contact stick fighter with a great understanding of our Silat, and a teacher of the Ilustrisimo sword. Post-pandemic, I helped convince Bancroft to teach people his sword and weapons system, and he took on a few students outside his immediate family and friends as private students. His classes were excellent, challenging, and insightful. He had no slack or wasted movement and a mountain of patience. He was learning and refining how to teach and improving how he presented the art.

Bancroft was fantastic in person; he looked after his friends and encouraged everyone. A keen mind and always willing to debate any subject. In our private lessons, we often stopped to discuss a point or a topic of the day.

Bancroft’s passing has left a big hole in our group, and it is heart-breaking. A few of us did attend his funeral, meet his wonderful family and friends, and give him a good send-off. Bancroft was a martial artist who was very able with empty hands and weapons and a teacher of several systems. In our Silat system, we say the goal is to be normal, Bancroft was, but he was also an extraordinary human being.  

In remembrance of Bancroft and as a tribute to him, each first lesson of the New Year will be named after him, and we will cover a subject he liked from one of the many systems he studied. We also plan to do a gathering in the park at some point in the Summer.

Richard Killick 15th April 2023.

Solo Training

Not so long ago, in 2020 and 2021, a large proportion of our training was solo work due to the pandemic. In my training group, having a mixture of traditional and modern arts, we made significant gains despite not having training partners, which seems almost contradictory to most coaches.

Like most people, we used zoom sessions to stay in touch and to gain new technical and historical information. There was much more emphasis on using home gyms and making the most of what we all had. Some of us had to add rehabbing from a nasty bout of covid into the mix.  

I found that having a home-heavy bag was beneficial and modified it to suit my needs. For example, I added small targets to the bag for my empty hand and weapons strikes. Below you can see me kicking the bag, trying to fix my lungs post covid.

I used the bag for the usual striking and tool training, but I also used it for post-workout resistance training to train my clinch and close-in tools, such as the head butts, which are a must-train for close combat. Some people think using a bag like this is funny, but I have to say I am really pleased with my enhanced clinch strength and especially when I was able to drop one detractor on his head. It was a bit like a knife cutting through butter, getting past his arms to gain control of his body.

I also use my bag during stick, sword and dagger training. I know people who hung some car tires to strike. A tennis ball on a rope can also be a valuable training tool.  

Look around your home gym and think about how you can get in extra training sessions to safely improve your skills.

The world is our playground.

2022 KORA Research Group Review

2022 was supposed to be the year we got out, and about a little more, visiting friends in Ireland, Amsterdam and Spain, but not all our plans came together.


I progressed with my Ilustrisimo sword training over the year but still struggled to get it right 100% of the time; I dropped my stick training over the year to concentrate and retain the bladed element and mindset. Very much still a work in progress, but I am at least learning new tricks and theories. Probably need some event to train for.

Sera Silat Class

This year I took a back seat on the Silat teaching front and attended our group sessions to train and help out. This worked well, and it was great not to teach so much. The training sessions have been a success because we really dialled down on the fundamentals and the crucial subject of how and when to teach them. The result is the group’s skill level and technical knowledge has grown considerably, and people are all moving better.  

A few of us took advantage of weekly zoom classes with our teacher, I would generally visit the Netherlands once a year for face-to-face classes, and we would typically host in the UK once or twice a year. We managed to host a last-minute surprise Sera workshop with our teacher in the Summer, which showed, among other things, the links between Sera and grappling and the correct use of footwork. It was great to get things back on after the disruption due to the pandemic.


The regular class proceeded, with me teaching a mixture of Savate stand-up and clinch; we continued to look at the knife and separately some knife sparring. I probably taught boot kicks and clinch the most this year. Separately I ran the first monthly Instructor training program with two students who can now pass on the knowledge and skills.  

I managed to get a research trip to Spain in May and catch up with some old Flamenco friends.


In my personal training and the two separate group classes, we tend to spiral around the same subjects each year, growing in experiences each time. This is especially true of our teaching skills.

For 2023, we hope to visit more, complete in some full contact events and share a little more. I will pick up stick and knife sparring again and run the KORA Instructor training once a month. If all comes together, I will visit the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal and Spain for a nice mixture of training, research and chill-out time. 

Training opportunities

I plan to teach more workshops for friends’ schools in the coming year. I will post details here on our website as the dates get firmed up. I already have had a few group training enquiries for the coming year; numbers are limited by space. If you are interested in training semi-privately in our small group in either Sera Silat or the disciplines we study in KORA, such as Savate, grappling and bare-knuckle boxing, please get in touch with me via this email: korahit@gmail.com.

The Committee

The story eases you in and quickly then jolts into life and moves at pace, successfully moving between time periods. There is something familiar about this story, in the same way, that reading about serial killers is uncomfortably familiar and triggers something in the back of your mind, such as that matter-of-fact realisation that often life is cheap.

Most aid workers helping during civil war have stories of fully equipped hospitals in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps we now know why.  

The authors have an excellent pedigree that only experience provides, which shows in the details and drives the story forward. I don’t know how much of this story is true, but it feels like it may well be. The story highlights people tracking and its connection to organised crime, civil war and the fact that we often take no notice of things staring us in the face.  

When I start a new book, I like to pick a character early on that I will follow; typically, mine meets an early end. A great read, with lots of insights and details that only people who have been there would know. One of those books that keep you hooked right to the end.

Loved it and thoroughly recommended it.

Daniel Craig’s James Bond

Now that we are at the 60th Anniversary of James Bond and Daniel has completed his portrayal of Bond, I wanted to write down my feelings about Daniel Craig’s tenure playing James Bond.

Like most people, I first saw Daniel had been selected as the new Bond when I saw the introduction PR announcement on the Thames in October 2005. I was sitting in an office with a new Client, and he mentioned a news slot he had on the screen over my left shoulder that he was watching as we waited for other team members to join us.

He said, ” Whoops, look at that, they have him in a life jacket; what a PR mistake. I explained to him that it was likely the military who had insisted; we talked and bonded about our mutual military experiences and made friends by discussing Bond, Spies and cars.  

That was that, and I did not think of the Bond franchise because I tended to steer clear of it. I had worked in the so-called secret world for what was called a Joint Venture and always had to take care not to be broadcasting as some wannabe James Bond.

A while later, in late November 2006, I was on holiday in Ambleside in the Lake District with my wife; we planned to walk the hills and spend time in the friendly local pubs and restaurants. On Saturday, we drove into the holiday home drive, it started raining, and it rained none stop until we drove out a week later. Not a problem, we would switch to a week in the lovely local pubs and restaurants and have a foodie experience, except that Sophia found out she was pregnant. No more booze or even rich food.   

The car park location in Ambleside meant that we had to walk past the local cinema to get into town. We were walking past one evening when the people who had been watching Casino Royale tumbled out. They all looked delighted, despite the torrential train. We made a joint mental note to check out the film to fill the time.

Copyright to MGM

That’s how we came to be sitting in the small cinema with the ever-present rain beating down outside, watching the excellent trade mark MGM lion roar on the screen the next night. The film opened in black and white, suggesting going backwards in time. A fantastic scene in an office of someone being shot for selling secrets intermixed with a great fight in a toilet. Outstanding opening credits and awesome Chris Cornell song “You know my name”, and we were hooked.

Casino Royale is a beautiful, brilliant film with so much to like. The chase scene set in Madagascar, culminating in the embassy shootout, with Bond dressed in a casual “bone” shirt, which is something of a tradition for military nights out, set the tone. A super-talented cast sold the story as we were shown how Bond became the One we all know. Such a great film; we watched it twice that week, and it is one of my favourite films.

Back in London, I had to attend a series of work-related black tie Christmas dinners and made sure to pick up some Bond-like cufflinks and select a nice bow tie to go with the dinner jacket. Not quote Daniel but at least influenced by his look and on the way.

In 2008 Quantum of Solace, the follow-up film, came out, and I was probably the first in the queue to see it. Fantastic film, hampered by a writer’s strike, gives the dialogue in almost brutal short bursts. Probably Daniel at his most Fleming Bond-like, with just a great look. The opening car scene is incredible. Something said at the end of that scene, “time to get out”, and Daniel delivered the way it gave us a good think about my own vocal delivery. I realised I had got very London broker common in my speech patterns, and I needed to reclaim how I used to speak.  

We had the long winter of four years where we had to make do with the Jason Bourne series until the wait was over in 2012, and Skyfall landed. Skyfall, a film that just about the whole world likes, introduced us to Moneypenny, a new Q and one of the most extraordinary villain introduction scenes ever shot. Simply brilliant.  

Spectre followed in 2015, after a lot of will he, won’t he do another speculation, a fascinating film that appeared to seal off Daniel’s time as Bond. We got introduced to the stepbrother and a great cast, a mixture of old friends and newcomers such as Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, and Monica Bellucci. Really love this film; just brilliant.

That was that.

Then Bond 25 was announced, and after getting past a pandemic and waiting until 2021 -2022, we got No Time to Die finely. A super-looking film, with a soundtrack to match. I recommend watching the Sound of Bond documentary to see how the soundtrack came together. Han’s Zimmer is a genius. NTtD is a challenge for obvious reasons, but the more I watch it, the more I love it. A great way to naturally end a super run.

So now Daniel has finished and can move on to other projects, knives out is excellent; for instance, we can review his tenure. Right from the start in that opening scene set in Prague but really Canary Wharf, Daniel’s acting ability led the way, the interaction with cast members and the way he worked with all the teams was brilliant. He had the look and the often-overlooked movement down, nice touches being the walk and the way he throws things over his shoulder when he discards stuff like car keys at the Ocean Club. He looks like he could kill someone and seems to have been trained to do so. Great fight scenes, chases, cast interaction scenes and great voice. He also has that Connery ability to make bras pop open everywhere. Despite his reservations, Daniel teed up and knocked this role into outer orbit, much like Le Chiffre with a knotted rope.

My favourite Bond and set of films. A shout-out to the Producers, Writers, Directors and all the crews; brilliant work. Also, a shout-out to the team on Layer Cake; they knew!

Layer Cake

16/17 July 2022 Training Journal

The training program for today should have been Ilustrisimo sword training. The plan was to do an hour of Sera and then an hour of clinch work.

What we ended up doing was me training sword work solo followed by two hours of Sera; that’s how it works out sometimes, you pencil in a program and a topic and the situation dictates being agile and doing something else.

Today’s menu was dealing with two punches, such as a boxer’s one/two, using ideas from Sera. In some ways, our Sera resembles our old-style bare-knuckle boxing, so it’s not too much of a jump to insert it in. All my group are cross-training in bare-knuckle boxing and Savate anyway. The session started with me practising basic yoga breathing to set my mind. We then practised basic counters and moved into applying our grips.

I was pleased with my mindset and being “on it” regarding reacting and using good body mechanics. On this occasion, anyone walking past the garage practice space would have seen two Sera players practising. Two humans colliding will produce a certain amount of limb clanging and pain from shots, and I knew post-session where I had made contact with my training partner. Despite forty-plus years of combat sports and my sparring partners noting I have hard bones, I still feel it when I clang forearms and shins, but I heal up rather quickly.

The training exchanges were so fun that we did that for an hour and a half, followed by looking at flowing between our standing guards. The last ten minutes were spent on tree pose.

The next day I managed to slot in a quick thirty-minute weights workout and then about fifty minutes of the clinch. Followed by a bit of yoga breathing, starting to feel very good about it.

Recommended book:

9 July 2022 Training Journal

Third group class back after six weeks off due to holidays and research in Spain. Minimal numbers this week as lots of people are either away or dealing with emergencies. Bancroft came early, and we worked about an hour and a half on the Ilustrisimo sword. We got to train outside instead of my garage practice space for the first time. Space and sunshine make a massive difference to the training comfort, and it was a great learning experience.

Master Romy’s brilliant book, is a must-have.

When performed correctly, Ilustrisimo is so sleek it really is a beautiful thing. I am still at the beginner stage, trying to convert to blades and break bad habits from forty-plus years of hitting people with sticks. The goal is to internalise the correct action with precision targeting under real pressure. Over the last few months, my control of measure and timing has improved; my cutting will always need work. We briefly looked at knife defence at the end.

We spent a little time discussing Sera guards and a lot of time discussing the theory of training, past bad training experiences, personalities in martial arts and how they can have a positive or negative effect on a group. Both of us feel very blessed to be able to train in and share our arts.

I then spent about twenty minutes on tree pose, and am getting real benefits, thanks to Steve Rowe and Adam Chan Adam Chan – YouTube for the heads up. The photo below was taken from https://www.facebook.com/groups/403802410022534/

Tree Pose https://www.facebook.com/groups/403802410022534/

2 July 2022 Training Journal

Second group class back after six weeks off due to holidays and research in Spain. The first hour was me as the student learning sword in medium-range, a range I don’t like playing in. Slight improvement since I changed my grip on my training sword, and I have also been working on relaxing as I perform. Still not happy, and it’s taking years of effort just to get rid of previous bad habits. The plus side is that I am forced to keep working towards my goal. Incremental improvements, not as fast as I would like but improvements. I am starting to understand what the term pickpocket means in Ilustrisimo sword in different ways and the importance of hiding that alive hand. Also starting to notice slight variations in timing on the basic strokes and how this affects my response.

The second class is an hour of me teaching Sera, running over all the basic footwork patterns as requested by my teacher. Most of the students have the technical skill set, so this was easy to cover in the review in an hour, but we all need to work on flowing and getting the movements dialled into our nervous systems.

The third class was me teaching from my Savate boot kick module and was a review of our footwork. Firstly, we drilled hard on footwork and added a kick and a counter. A scorching and intense class. The last ten minutes cover the Muay Thai round kick. When we don’t have our boots on, we use the correct part of our shin to make our opponent’s life miserable. A different base but easy to slip between the two stances.

We took a break, and I then taught the KORA fence system class to the trainee KORA instructors. A perfect interactive course where we looked at handling the interview stage of conflict and how to deal with that. A mixture of fun, intense work and some role play, with some pickpocket magic thrown in.