15 Amazing “Hidden Treasure” UK Martial Arts Coaches I Want To Help You Learn All About!
Having the absolute pleasure that I have in visiting a whole assortment of the best UK Martial Arts coaches on a regular basis, I know that there are more than a few that fly well under the radar. They often take a back seat when it comes to promoting themselves on social media and can often be missed by those searching for top end instruction/training near to where they live.
Here I go through 15 such “Hidden Treasure” individuals. You may not have heard of them, know much about them or even realise their worth as an instructor but trust me when I say that they are all equally brilliant and each offers truly exceptional coaching!
Lyubo Kumbarov makes this list with such ease it is genuinely frightening. The former multiple times Bulgarian National Wrestling champion is a phenomenally gifted instructor. I personally have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time in his company, both when filming for the Warrior Collective and when watching him coach seminars.
His details and level of knowledge in the grappling arena are second to none. Currently based out of a number of different gyms in the South, Roger Gracie Academy HQ in London being one of them, he is actively sought out nationally by all those in the know.
Offering game changing details for all involved in any grappling based system (including BJJ, MMA, Wrestling and Judo), he is an instructor I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending! Get in touch with him today through Facebook for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
I first met Matt at SBG Manchester a long time ago, way before the Warrior Collective was even a thought. I had the pleasure of training with him and remember going over some of his favourite MMA striking concepts from close range. Skills that I gladly stole from him and still use to this day.
Not one to mince words, he has been a key component of the success of SBG in the UK since it’s early days. With the unfortunate passing of SBG Mainline/UK head coach Karl Tanswell recently, the reins of leading have been handed over to him to a great extent (with the keen support of the rest of the SBG UK lead coaches). They are incredibly big shoes to fill and I am sure that Matt himself would never want any comparisons to his much missed mentor.
However, I have complete confidence in Matt. He is a truly brilliant coach and has unparalleled experience in every aspect of MMA, from training through to competition. I look forward to seeing how the future progresses with him at the helm! Go visit him at some point for training and experience first hand what I already know! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Now I realise you may already be thinking, “Andy Howson”, I know exactly who he is! A lot of people in the UK Muay Thai community and beyond will be well acquainted with the competitive exploits of the “Punisher”. Where it may well not be as well known though is with regards to the levels of his coaching.
Andy is a truly exceptional Muay Thai instructor, pad holder and corner man. There is an ongoing joke at Bad Company that he has literally cornered more fighters than anyone else in the world (as he often also helps in the corner of friends/fighters not from his gym who know just how amazing he is).
His vast experience coupled with the amount of time he spent in his formative years training alongside some of the best fighters to have come out of the UK (his cousin Liam Harrison, Jordan Watson, Rich Cadden and Andy Thrasher to name but a few) have given him a exceptional tool kit for bringing out the best in others.
Fighters who he has developed from scratch have gone on to great consistent success. I have witnessed first hand his coaching and he is nothing short of brilliant! Amazing instruction always, make sure you get on to him today for training, you will not be disappointed!! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Mick Mullaney is the founder and head coach of one of the longest serving (not to mention most renowned) Muay Thai gyms in the UK, Wicker Camp in Sheffield. Although Mick is not one to promote himself personally on social media, his reputation and standing within both the UK Muay Thai community and local area are second to none.
Not for no reason. His exceptional coaching and brilliant personality have allowed Wicker Camp to remain successful at every level for decades. What I really love about Mick though (apart from his great instruction) is how inclusive he has managed to make the gym without losing either it’s traditional approach to teaching Muay Thai or it’s ability to produce high level fighters. It is a gym where everyone can train and be made to feel not only welcome but a much respected member of it’s community.
The fighters he produces tend to stay with him past competitive retirement and move into different coaching roles within the camp. A sure sign that he is doing all the right things. I have a lot of time for Ajarn Mullaney and Wicker Camp. I advise you make the journey over at some point to find out for yourself exactly why! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
By far the most currently active on this list in competitive terms, I am absolutely sure Paul ‘Semtex” Daley needs no introduction to you. The UK MMA standout has been at the top of his game for many years with lengthy stints across all the major promotions in the world (including UFC, Bellator MMA and more) in multiple disciplines.
So, you know him, I get it! But, you probably only know him as Paul Daley the fighter, the KO artist, the phenomenal striking machine! What you may not realise though (given that he is still so active in the world of fighting) is just how brilliant a coach he is. I first met Paul around the 2010/2011 mark when I was running a UK Amateur MMA promotion under the banner of Takedown MMA.
He was in the UFC at the time and I asked him up to Manchester to deliver a seminar for me on striking for MMA. He then proceeded to blow me away by both his exceptional striking ability and his amazing coaching prowess. Some of his details on low kicks I took away and now find myself referring to when personally instructing others.
Ever since then I have asked him each year to do a seminar for me at my gym in East Manchester. Every time he continues to amaze me in all respects (I am greatly looking forward at present to his next return visit later on in the year). He has his own gym in Nottingham and I am 1000% sure that his students/fighters are extremely lucky to have him. A talent like no other! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! One of these days I will get him on the Warrior Collective ha ha, until then, you can check him out in action in the video below!
Guy Ramsay as head coach of the renowned Griphouse gym in Glasgow is obviously very well known by people in the know. However, not being one to promote himself endlessly on social media, a lot of people could be forgiven for not knowing exactly who he is or how good he is.
Even though I had known of Guy for a long time, I had not really got a sense of great a coach he was until I actually went up to the Grip and spent time with him filming for the Warrior Collective. People had obviously told me of his brilliance but as with a lot of people on this list, actual consistent footage of him coaching was not in huge supply.
Although an obviously exceptionally talented Muay Thai coach, he is also an instructor with many other strings to his bow. A keen enthusiast for all things Martial Arts/Combat Sports related, his thirst for self development have allowed him to gain serious skills in grappling, wrestling, MMA and even weaponry (the current launching of the new program at the gym Griphouse Medieval is testimony to this).
An instructor with such an avid attention to detail and consistent delivery of knowledge, it is hard not to be blown away. A truly amazing individual, I suggest you start booking your weekend in Glasgow today in order to pop by!! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check him out in action with fellow coach Mark Coyle in the tutorial below!
Maybe I am biased seeing as how David Breed was my first Martial Arts instructor from being a youngster (yes, he really is that old ha ha) but I doubt it. Dave is one of those rare individuals whose ferocious talent on the mat makes everyone’s jaw drop. An exceptionally brilliant striker, his background in Taekwondo, Muay Thai and Freestyle Karate have gifted him with a kicking ability second to none.
His crazy technical ability is equally matched though by his fantastic coaching. He truly does embody the Martial Arts ethos of self development and is just as much a role model off the mats as he is on. A trail blazer in many ways, he always seems to be leading the way with change (both in training and with regards to his lifestyle).
An early exponent of cross training (he competed extensively in Kick Jitsu which was one of the early precursors to MMA), veganism (he has been advocate of the vegan lifestyle way before it was in fashion), NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) and much more.
He is the person I have known longest on this list and would recommend him in a heartbeat to anyone wanting a hugely positive influence in their life (both in training and outside of it). Exceptional coaching always! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Darren Currie / Helen Currie
Okay, I admit it, I am cheating a tad in this instance. But you are in luck, as you are getting two phenomenal coaching talents for the price of one here. Although I am guessing most UK BJJ guys/gals in the know will have come across these two grappling wizards at some point.
As co-founders of the hugely respected group Combat Base, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts (Helen was the UK’s first female black belt) and internationally respected instructors, you would be forgiven for thinking you would seem them plastered all over the internet. You would be wrong though. Shying away from excessive social media usage, they get by on doing what they do best, training, coaching and travelling.
I am fortunate to have spent a number of occasions with the two of them in the past (filming for the Warrior Collective, attending seminars, interviews etc) and found them both to be very genuine, down to earth, extraordinary individuals (both on and off the mats).
Darren is a literal encyclopaedia on BJJ and all things grappling. You get a sense of this from the moment you visit their website at www.combatbase.co.uk. You also get a real feel for their no-nonsense approach to training. Based over in West Yorkshire, I would suggest that the tea is not the only brilliant thing to come from here! Get in touch with them today through Facebook or their Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of their amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Carl is one of those people that is pretty much integral to everything that he is a part of. Whether that be with his coaching (he is the MMA coach at the excellent All Powers Gym in Stockport), his cornering (he travels all over the world working with fighters such as Panicos Yusuf and Frank Mir) or his match-making (he is the match maker for ACB and has been involved in organising events for promotions such as Tanko and many more).
Yet he is often in the rear of photos or putting himself in the background of video, allowing others to have the light cast on them instead. Those in the know understand just how much of a key player he is though. An exceptional coach, he understands intuitively what his fighters need to work on in order to progress and is often a major part in getting them the best fights at any given point.
As a former fighter he knows the game inside and out from pretty much every angle so is a huge asset for anyone lucky enough to train (or even work) with him. If you based in the north and want a killer training session, you will not go wrong heading over to spend time with him today! Get in touch with them today through Facebook or their Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! One of these days I will get him on the Warrior Collective ha ha, until then, you can check him out in action in the video below!
This feels like a bit of cheeky addition seeing as how I already have one Bad Company coach on here in the form of Andy Howson. But, I could not live with myself if I did not include Lisa on this list. She is the genuine heart of Bad Company and although Richard, Liam, Jordan et al are all phenomenal talents in their own rights, she is more than their equal in every respect.
Apart from the odd photo of her post fight with one of the many amazing fighters who compete out of there or snippets of her coaching in the gym from videos posted on social media, there is not a whole lot of Lisa to be found online. I know this is a personal choice for her and that she is more than happy to be in the background.
However, I think the former British, European and World Champion needs someone outside of the gym blowing her trumpet ha ha. I have had the pleasure of watching her coach, corner fighters and have even interviewed her. Awesome coaching mixed with as brilliant a personality as you are likely to find, I have a lot of time for Lisa! I suggest you do to. Get over to Bad Company today and see exactly why!! Get in touch with her today through Facebook or her Website for further information on her coaching or availability for seminars! One of these days I will get her on the Warrior Collective ha ha, until then, you can check her out in action coaching in the video below!
I first met Gary, albeit briefly, when he was at an event cornering his son, über Muay Talent and world champion Reece McAllister for a fight. I watched the fight and was blown away by how technically brilliant Reece was. Knowing how difficult it is to be that great, my first thoughts were, I bet Gary must be an awesome coach (as well as goddamn, that Reece is a monster ha ha).
Fast forward to present day and I have now had the pleasure of spending time with Gary (and Reece) whilst filming for the Warrior Collective. It actually took me a while to get in touch at first as Gary goes through periods of going off the social media radar so to speak as he goes off travelling.
I am glad I persevered though. I can categorically state that Reece was definitely no fluke. Gary is a truly exceptional coach. His hand can be seen in all the fighters that train out of his gym and their consistently high standard speaks for itself. His level of details and whole approach to Muay Thai is something to behold.
His gym is in Shildon. A place you have never heard of I am sure. He and his gym though have put it on the map, go there!! Get in touch with him today through Facebook for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Steve Campbell is the head coach of the truly brilliant Stealth BJJ. A gym that is literally wall to wall talent. I have known Steve personally now for a good number of years. We first met a long time back when he brought some of his students to compete on a grappling event I used to run under the banner of Takedown MMA.
Currently though, I have the great pleasure of training with him on a weekly basis so I know first hand just how excellent an instructor he is. Steve has a rich history in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu having spent a good number of years based out in Rio de Janeiro training and competing. He won the Rio state Championship at Brown belt prior to being awarded his black belt in 2007 by none other than Carlos Gracie Jr.
Although Steve would no doubt say the strength of Stealth BJJ is within the students who train there, I would have to add that a gym is only as strong as it’s foundations and underlying ethos. Both of which came from him. A truly exceptional individual and coach, I advise you to get a session in with him at some point so you can fully appreciate my point of view! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Pete Irving is well known within both the UK MMA and BJJ community for good reason. The BJJ black belt has been a mainstay on a multitude of top national and international MMA promotions for a long time. Since turning his attentions from professional fighting to coaching though, I think a lot of people need to see just how fantastic he is in this area as well.
His gym Itaipava Jiu Jitsu is based in Newcastle and this is where he now spends most of his time on the mats with the fighters/students he trains. Those who go there are lucky to have him. His coaching is exceptional in every area. Great striking, wrestling and grappling combine to ensure he is a hugely respected voice across the full spectrum of mixed martial arts skill sets.
Not only that but he is a fantastic person to spend time with. He always has time for everyone and often shies away from the spotlight in order to help others bask in it’s glow. You really would be hard pushed to find anyone better to have in your corner at a fight! Get yourself up to Newcastle soon to visit his brilliant gym! You can thank me later!! Get in touch with him today through Facebook for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Simon McGovern is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and head instructor at his excellent gym, McGovern Academy in Stoke-on-Trent. Simon has been training in Martial Arts for a very long time. Not only an exceptional grappler, he is also very experienced in a wide assortment of other styles/disciplines such as JKD, Muay Thai and many more. His “old school” approach to training is what pushes him to continue working every range and system instead of just focusing primarily on the one.
I first met Simon a number of years back when filming some tutorials for the Warrior Collective. He, alongside one of his talented brown belts, showcased his truly brilliant coaching when instructing on a whole range of different positions and scenarios. I remember being blown away by both the level of the details he went into and the clear/concise way in which he put them across.
Obviously as to why I wrote this list, it always surprises me when more people don’t realise what fantastic coaching/gyms can be found not a million miles away from where they live. Excellence like Simon needs signposting! I am personally an avid follower of Simon on social media as I am a huge fan of his whole approach to life, coaching and training. An amazing talent I advise you to check out today!! You won’t be disappointed! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing instruction in the tutorial below!
Craig is one of only a number of UK coaches/athletes that is both a BJJ and Judo black belt. This exclusive club have obvious advantages over a lot of their contemporaries because of this mix of high level experience. Craig is no exception. Having medalled at a huge amount of high level competitions in both sports (Commonwealth Games and European Championships to name but a few) he is a still very active athlete on the mats.
This hugely successful background in competition alongside his phenomenal talent has enabled Craig to blossom into the truly brilliant coach he is today. Having recently opened up his own full time gym in Wales I am 100% sure that his influence is going to be seen on an increasing number of podium placing athletes who have had the opportunity to train regularly with him.
His coaching is nothing short of exceptional. The high level of coaching details he goes into (from both the Judo and BJJ) perspective has to be experienced first hand to be fully appreciated. Down to earth and always a pleasure to spend time with, I am always keen to catch up with him whenever I get the opportunity to. I have no hesitation in recommending him to anyone. Go train with him or book him for a seminar today, always awesome stuff from this Welsh standout!! Get in touch with him today through Facebook or his Website for further information on his coaching or availability for seminars! You can check out some of his amazing coaching in the tutorial below!
It was actually pretty hard not to make this list containing 15 ‘Hidden Treasure’ UK Martial Arts Coaches to learn about bigger as there were a good few others that could have easily been on it! I have no doubt that I will have to make a part two at some point in the future! What do you think of those on the list? Are there any others that you think I or anyone else should know about in the UK???
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