ADCC and SFUK correspondent Carl Fisher (Left) with Steve Crutchley.
If it works use it!
Carl Fisher interviews Steve Crutchley
Thanks for joining us today Steve for this interview. Could you first tell us about your background and how long you have been involved in the martial arts?
Steve Crutchley: Well I started when I was 14 with wrestling and boxing. At fifteen I started Karate under Steve Powell, and then got involved with Kali Silat and Thai Kickboxing.
What grade did you achieve?
Steve Crutchley: 4th Dan black belt awarded by China town martial arts academy in Kali Silat and Karate
I believe you also studied Kali and JKD under some top instructors
Steve Crutchley: I was fortunate enough to be introduced to some of the top JKD and Kali instructors by Steve Powell such as, Ricky Young, Ricky Faye, Larry Hartsell, Dan Inosanto, Abner Pasa and Daniel Lee and attended seminars with them.
Why did you pick Kali Silat to study for so long and what interested you about it?
Steve Crutchley: Well I had already done Karate, wrestling and boxing and I was interested in the weapons side. I saw Steve Powell training with the weapons and I thought "well I've done some kicking and punching and I've done some grappling, so now I'd like to try some weapons as well" and Kali Silat seemed an extremely good art for weaponry.
Is there a grappling side the Kali?
Steve Crutchley: Yes there is that side to Kali although it's not as sophisticated as Judo or Sambo. It's quite limited in the groundwork. Kali Silat is a battle art and the idea is not to get on the floor with one opponent as several people will be fighting around you. Its a "stay on your feet" thing and get rid of the body after you've got rid of the opponent.
Right so how do they apply the grappling into their situations?
Steve Crutchley: Well, Kalis' philosophy is basically to learn to adapt what works for you. So if you use strikes and kicks to enter and then get into grappling range then thats where your grappling skills come in. Whether you use Judo or Sambo wrestling - any can be blended into the Kali.
I was there last June when you won the silver medal in Sambo at the British championships. How did you feel about the Sambo competition?
Steve Crutchley: It was very good standard. There were some very tough fighters from several styles from Ju Jitsu and Freestyle wrestling to some no rules Vale Tudo fighters. I lost the final to Chris Millward who is a judo international and very tough competitor.
How did you get involved with the Sambo before the tournament?
Steve Crutchley: Through Matthew Clempner and Alan Carisle. I've trained with Matt and Alan for quite a while now and got an instructors level 2 certificate in Russian Martial Arts and as you know Sambo is the grappling side - the sports side - of the Russian martial arts. So it was really under Matthew and Alan that I got involved with Sambo and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Do you think you can use the Sambo to aim for your personal development?
Steve Crutchley: Yes I think that Sambo is very good for all round fitness and great for competition. It blends extremely well with Kali Silat and Jujitsu or any other martial art.
Well you've just recently teamed up with Trevor Roberts and your old friend Alan Carlisle on a Monday night over at the club in Bolton. Tell us a bit more about that from your own personal views on the club and the directions?
Steve Crutchley: I've trained with Alan for about three years. Alan is the National Team Coach for the British Women's Judo Team BJC so he's been giving me lessons and training in grappling. Trevor, I met first of all at the Sambo Championships through Matt and I told him of my interests in the Jujitsu side as well, so I had great pleasure in training with Trevor. I recently got a Dan grade under Trevor in Jujitsu which is another string to my bow and again blends in well with my other martial arts because Trev's philosophy is very similar to mine - "if it works - use it" and "if its applicable to you learn it".
Do you still feel in yourself that you're still learning in the martial arts?
Steve Crutchley: Yes I'll always keep learning something new and something different. When you stop learning thats when you go stale and thats when you basically loose it. I've learnt a lot from Mat and Alan and I am now fortunate to be learning from Trev. They have all been international fighters and the trophies they have won between them would fill Aladdin's cave.
Are you a firm believer in cross training then?
Steve Crutchley: I think its imperative. No one art will give you everything. The Kali is excellent for punching, striking and using weapons. The grappling is a little bit limited. The Sambo gives you excellent grappling skills. Then you have the Jujitsu, which is all round, which blends in with both. You can use the techniques and swap from style to style, its important for self-development more than anything else.
Are you a believer in entering competitions for yourself and your students? Do you think competitions have a good side?
Steve Crutchley: Yes, I think competitions are the only way you can test yourself legally and if you enter competitions in different styles and different arts - again it tests your abilities in different ways.
Right, well Steve you've recently been awarded your level 2 Instructorship in Russian Martial Arts as you mentioned before. How does that differ from being a Kali Silat instructor?
Steve Crutchley: There are a lot of similarities actually. They both work on the same principles, they are both all round arts. They both do striking, kicking and grappling to different extents. The Russian martial arts are more focused towards grappling than Kali is although the actual basic principles of the locks, the take downs and the strikes are very similar and have probably been developed along similar lines, that again is "if it works in this application then therefore it is part of the art".
Great. Can you tell us a bit more about your own club Steve?
Steve Crutchley: Well I teach at the Didsbury Grappling and Kickboxing Club at the Northern Lawn Tennis Club on a Wednesday night in West Didsbury Manchester 9.30 p.m until 10.30 p.m. I teach a mixture of Kali Silat, some Sambo, Russian martial arts and some Jujitsu techniques.
Have you any plans for more seminars this year Steve?
Steve Crutchley: I have been invited to teach at the Grapplemania Seminar this year along with Trevor and Matt. The last one was a huge success, so I'm looking forward to that. Recently I had an invitation to teach at Sedgley Park Police Training School through Matt, which was an afternoon session for the police trainers, which went down quite well.
Thats great. What to date Steve has been your greatest achievement for you in the martial arts?
Steve Crutchley: The one that gave me the most satisfaction was being awarded the Candidate for Master of Sport for Sambo Wrestling through FORMA.
How did that come about?
Steve Crutchley: Well I've done Sambo Wrestling now for a few years under Matt and Allan and with getting the silver medal in the British Championships this year it qualified me for Candidate for Master of Sport.
Final question now Steve. What are your plans for the future?
Steve Crutchley: I'm fighting in the British Team Championships in Sambo the first week in February and apart from that just to keep learning as much as I can about martial arts.
Thank you again Steve for coming here today and doing this interview. Good luck.
Anyone wishing to train with Steve can call 00 44 (0) 161 973 3008 for more details.
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