From our peers involved in the martial arts and self protection:
Though I totally understand why Jim keeps to Melbourne in the comfort of his garage working at grass root level; Jim, in my most humble of opinions is world class and should be on the road internationally sharing his wealth of knowledge as he is truly unique and in a league of his own.
I have learned much and am continuously learning but I haven't, especially in the last decade if not more, learned something new that would literally change both my training and life from another self defense instructor.
With the industry being flooded by "NEW" self defense systems and supposed innovators, Jim isn't simply regurgitating other people's materials in a nonsensical salad for the sake of creating a new self defense system, he brings something new and truly his own to the overflowing table of cookie cutter self defense systems out there.
FOUNDER OF SENSHIDO
Jimmy Armstrong is one of the most innovative rbsd guys I've met. Like most of us he came from a martial arts background but applied a thinking head to everything he has been taught, with a focus on personal development in all senses of the term.
In regards to physical ability, rather than simply regurgitating the skill set pellet from others Jimmy has looked at his physical skill set with an analytical mind, streamlined and adapted to suit his needs.
One example is the economy of motion he employs when striking or punching, staying square and using his body mechanics like a cylinder, the power he generates has to be felt to be truly understood.
He applies the same idea when striking with a stick or using a weapon. Jimmy is a little crazy, very funny and contagiously makes you feel good to be around him.
I am happy he is associated to UC as one of two Australasian instructors within Urban Combatives but his take on rbsd as a whole is uniquely his own. I highly recommend him.
FOUNDER OF URBAN COMBATIVES
Jim's martial arts pedigree and combative capabilities are immediately evident but what's more obvious is his enthusiasm for teaching and dedication to his students, all of whom mirror that passion Jim also possesses this infectious energy, an unparalleled sense of humour and wit to match, making him an absolute hoot to be around.
After 16 years of training coupled with my 13 years experience in the Security Industry - I know what works, and I would highly recommend Jim Armstrong and Raw Combatives to anyone in VIC wishing to learn "Real" Self Protection. For those who are not in VIC - make the trip, I guarantee it will be worth it.
FOUNDER OF HARDNOX COMBATIVES
Having taught self defense for the last 20 years I have always looked to keep advancing my knowledge on the topic. My own course has gone through many changes in an effort to help my clients to "Get home safely to their family". Some of the most significant changes came after meeting Richard Dimitri, founder of Senshido. Recently I had the chance to meet with the founder of Raw Combatives, Jim Armstrong who also incorporates many of those Senshido principles.
can say without hesitation that Jim brings the most important issues of violence to his teachings, whether through the realistic emotional and psychological drills he incorporates, the actual dialog of violence one might experience, or just through his explanation on how real violence takes place. But within a few minutes of training with Jim, not only did I expand my knowledge, but immediately felt what he was explaining through some basic drills that he showed me. I can say within just 30 minutes I learned things I can use with my clients from this day forward. If you are ever in the Melbourne area, please take the time to train with Jim.
I was introduced to Jim in late 2007/ early 2008 through a mutual friend. Jim had invited me over to his place one Sunday morning after he had finished teaching to give a brief demo of Arnis for his guys and a chat. Within the first 10 minutes of talking to him I realised I had found a kindred spirit who shared the same viewpoints about the martial arts and the same irreverent sense of humour – though I’d have to say that Jims has developed to a much higher level than my own!
Even though he’s been training for over 25 years and I’ve only known him for a little over 3, I’ve watched in amazement at how much and how fast this man has grown and changed as a teacher and practitioner of the martial arts in that time. His thirst for knowledge is surpassed only by his desire to improve the lives of those around him and make the world a better place. It’s been a pleasure to watch. After 30 years in the martial arts it’s becoming harder and harder to be impressed by people but with my hand on my heart I have to say that Jim is amongst a very select group of individuals whom I find truly inspirational. Asides from his undoubted abilities as a teacher and his unique way of being able to connect with his students so that they might assimilate his approach and methods more easily, he is one of the most honest, passionate and civil minded people I have ever met – and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. His students are a great bunch who are not only capable but respectful and friendly too who admirably reflect their teacher.
It’s been my great privilege to have crossed paths with this man and call him a good friend and brother in the arts.
FOUNDER OF NASUBUKANG ARNIS
After 25 years of training in martial arts, self defence, and other related activities, I have had the opportunity to meet, train with and experience dozens of instructors and teachers from many different countries. With so much exposure to who and what is available out there it is always immediately obvious when I encounter a person who is far and away above the rest. Recently I met one such person, Jim Armstrong of RAW Combatives in Melbourne.
I found Jim to be highly skilled in multiple aspects of self defence and martial arts, analytical and inspiring in his approach, and with a huge heart and willingness to share his knowledge. The other members of RAW made me feel instantly welcome, and Jim’s leadership is obvious from the positive, friendly and ego-free environment that he and the team at RAW have created. It was a pleasure to train with his team and anyone who chooses to train with them will gain great benefits and have a good time doing it. My only regret from my time spent training with Jim is that it was too short, as I would have loved the opportunity to learn more from him and will be arranging for Jim to teach our team in the coming months. Jim has a passion, humour, and energy which is infectious, and one thing is certain; training with him is never dull!
FOUNDER OF PROTECT SELF DEFENCE NEW ZEALAND
Every now and again we are fortunate enough to meet people in our lives that leave lasting impressions, and I have no hesitation in saying that Jim has and will continue to influence me in many aspects for a long time.I have trained with many well respected martial arts instructors, and it is easy to see that Jim is on another level. His knowledge, intelligence, and ability as a martial artist and self defence instructor is nothing short of awesome, but as a person Jim clearly stands out from others. Jim openly and honestly represents self development through self defence, and it is quite apparent that he considers his students to be like family.
As a self protection instructor I know it's important to continue to learn and bring my own students quality training and fresh ideas to improve, I can say without any hesitation that Jim and Raw Combatives will become a regular destination for me, and I can not recommend them enough. If you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner in your own field, a visit to Raw will prove to be invaluable and well worth your time.
I can't wait to return to Melbourne and train at Raw, I know each time I will return home a better person and the knowledge and skills learned will serve me for a lifetime.
ADVANCED SELF DEFENCE NEWCASTLE
I've been training in martial arts and other combative art forms since the age of six and I can honestly say that Jim is probably the most knowledgeable reality based self defence instructor that I have come across. His understanding, comprehension and application of the body and the way it functions and moves is second to none. He has a unique ability to observe a person performing a particular technique or function and immediately see and address what that person is doing wrong and most importantly how to fix it. Once Jim explains something to you it always amazes me how his way is simpler, more direct and more devastating in its effect.
If you want to learn how to become a better person, how to avoid conflict and if it does actually come to it, how to defend yourself in REAL world situations. Then Jim is the best person in Australia to go and see!!! Oh and you will piss yourself laughing the whole time!!!
KRAV MAGA EVOLUTION
Training with Jim Armstrong is not only a delight, but a journey to the pursuit of excellence. He embodies the belief that anyone can study martial arts, but not everyone can teach it. I am amazed by his ability to see things from new points of view despite the fact that he has been teaching for a long time. This is a true testament to harnessing the power of mental acuity, and Raw Combatives cannot get any "more raw" than that.
Daily endurance, emphasis on key principles, kindness, strength, optimism and the will to power. This is Jim Armstrong at his finest.
AIKIDO YUISHINKAI WAGGA
I've been lucky enough to walk through the doors of many a gym, many a training studio. And with that, I've encountered countless individual personalities and have been exposed to many training philosophies. And I'll tell you, I've had very few experiences like the training day at Raw Combatives in Glen Waverley, Victoria.
From the first conversation, which was conceptual in nature, I was impressed and interested in learning from this group (though I was there to be the instructor for the day). And from the first touch, playing "hands", I knew that there was a lot of depth to the martial way that pervaded this training centre.
I was not met with the usual questions I'm accustomed to, increasingly from the mouths of athletes - not true martial artists. Instead, there really was a depth and a different perspective from which the students spoke. How refreshing!
I was pleased to stand amongst a captivated, and at the same time captivating, audience. And not having planned an entire day's training, I can say it was a pleasure to mould the training session along with the group. I firmly believe that I could have kept the training session based around one position and a very select few techniques, and there would have been newfound knowledge brought forth by the students' actions, perceptions, and questions. Not every group has that ability.... I'll say it again, the depth to which one trains ultimately determines the skill-set. It's awareness, not just athleticism, that should be the true goal of a martial artist.
I'm looking forward to a return trip to Raw Combatives. If anything, just to work toward evening my record at "hands". I was thoroughly beaten by everyone I'd partnered with, and I'm very much wanting to show improvement.
Huge thanks to all of you.
SUBMISSION WRESTLER AND UFC FIGHTER
From the guys and girls who train with us:
I started with RAW Combatives about 3 years ago. I had originally got into Kickboxing to learn some sort of self defence following a bad altercation with a housemate. After training in Kickboxing for a while, feeling fit, skilful and tough, Jim Armstrong came to give a seminar or two at the club, changing my whole perspective on Kickboxing and its application in self defence. I started training with RAW Combatives and felt immediately at home, and learning something that truly may protect me, friends and family in the future. The thing is, training at RAW is much more than just Self Defence or self protection, I have grown more as a person in the last 3 years than I have my whole life so far. Despite Jim’s nasty looks, he is one of the most warm, helpful, humbling people you will meet. He opens his garage and support to anyone who needs it and is truly in it to help you get the best out of you. It is truly a privilege to be able to tap into a training resource such as Jim Armstrong as his training techniques are truly progressive, learning new techniques, refining old ones and more importantly understanding the true fundaments of how, why of what of what does and doesn’t work in a self protection applications.
The people we train with are all equally committed to training and have an open respect for each other that things never get out of hand, there are a lot of laughs and we get the most of out of the training with each other. We are all from different backgrounds, ethnicity, age, gender none of it matters and through that diversity I can draw from many years of experience and perspectives that I would not otherwise have in my life. Thank you RAW Combatives.
Working with Jim has given me confidence in my ability to look after myself if I am ever confronted with the threat of violence. He teaches how to identify and avoid dangerous situations, how to talk your way out, and what to do if things get physical. I now know effective, tested and easy to remember techniques that will allow me to escape relatively unscathed.
The funny thing is that this confidence flows into other areas of my life as well.
Being a young woman who takes an interest in combative and grappling arts, I have grown used to feeling like the odd one out. I generally find myself outnumbered in class and outweighed by somewhere between 20 and 50 kilos by any given opponent. I've never felt odd at RAW though. While the guys there make an effort to look after me, they also take me and my martial arts ambitions 100% seriously. Instructor Jim Armstrong has developed a club with an incredibly open and honest culture where barriers which can be created by gender, age, ethnicity and even martial arts experience are broken down, and all that matters is a person's willingness to believe in themselves and give 100%.
Thanks Jim, and all of the other Rawsters :)
I began training with RAW to enhance my ability to defend myself in a physical confrontation, and for the fitness benefits this type of training brings. I've now been training with the RAW team for about 5 years and haven't thought about trying any other form of self defence.
The techniques and methods used in the training are easy to understand and implement, but more importantly effective in a physical encounter. Most of what we are taught is basic body mechanics and doesn't rely too heavily on mastering specific techniques, more the techniques that will work for you.
The over arching lesson applied in the training at RAW is the mental component which I have learnt is the most important part of any confrontation, physical or otherwise. As the saying goes "it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog" so if you're mentally tuff and prepared then you're a step ahead of most would be attackers. This type of mental training also has a flow-on effect into other aspects of your life. As well as giving me confidence in my ability to defend myself it also provides you with the confidence to under take other challenges in your personal life that you may have considered insurmountable in the past.
Lastly training with the RAW guys is a hoot. Although what we are training for can be very serious the sessions are relaxed (well not the physical parts) and everyone in the group is friendly and approachable. A by-product of training with the RAW team is you get a great bunch of friends whether you like it or not.
I drive 154 km round trip from Drouin, to train at Raw Combatives, at a club with a great group of guys and girls, in a relaxed friendly training environment,because there is not another club around, like it.My background has been based, in more traditional fighting systems. I love the reality based, street orientated training we do. In the first few lessons Jim Armstrong increased my punching and kicking power four fold and taught me how to use my mind, as the first and foremost weapon in a confrontation.
All in all, great teacher, great people, great club
I am currently probably the newest member. My reason for joining was basically because I come from a weight training background and lacked cardio fitness. In meeting Jim, I was very impressed in the way he professionally conducts himself, but also the willingness to tell you exactly how it is. All of the others in the group also always offer to help. Within the group of guys and girls, I think everyone would agree that if you are doing something wrong someone will pick it up for you and will spend as much time as takes for you to understand it. To me yes I do enjoy the cardio workouts which is why I first wanted join, but in all honesty I want improve technique, read more about the history of Raw Combat ( I think this has come from the passion I see that Jim has). To me it is not just about cardio or self defense anymore it is more personal improvement. As probably most people have already commented on although being the newest to me it feels like I have known the group for years. Fantastic Club, Instructor and people.
Seriously how many clubs can you be a part of were everyone gets along??? I wouldn't of believed it until getting involved myself.
I have been interested in self protection for over 20 years. Over that period I trained in several martial arts, including ninjutsu, boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian Jujitsu and Krav Maga. Although I got a lot out of that training, I was always looking for a more holistic approach to self protection. I finally found what I was looking for at Raw Combatives – a group of people who are passionate and knowledgeable about self protection, who train hard, but train sensibly. What's more, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they don't take themselves too seriously – they know how to have a laugh and enjoy themselves while training. The only thing I regret is that it took me so long to find out about Raw – I reckon it's one of the best kept secrets in Melbourne.
I have been going to the garage for the last 9 months and personally can not think of a more beneficial group to be a part of. I often try to explain to people where I spend my Wednesday evenings and have to say it is a mix of martial arts, self defence, personal growth and inner strength. Before starting at the garage I was a mess. Small things at work would upset me and people would often walk all over me. In a short time I have noticed a difference in myself I am growing from the inside out. I still have a way to go but I owe a lot to Jim for saving me.
The first rule is I'm not supposed to talk about it. And if anyone asks, all I generally say is "I'm off to Fight Club."
To be fair though, Raw Combatives is so much more than that. I've had several years of training in a more traditional form of martial arts, with a fair amount "street" style self defence training thrown in. Just a few weeks of RC took all of that training and started compressing it into useful, no-fuss, real-world techniques that may genuinely save my life one day. But hopefully will never have to.
Jim's inimitable teaching style is a gift, backed by years of experience and smoothed over with a dose of brash Geordie humour. In his class I laugh as much as I sweat. I learn something about myself in every session. And I really enjoy the mateship that comes with the group.
From people who have attended one of our various seminars:
World class... Jim is intelligent, mental, compassionate and has an innate understanding on solutions of personal violence.
I have been doing this since I was a kid and I find it hard not to be critical as seminars sometimes.
That said I honestly could not fault Jim, in fact I know I am a better person for having been there!
Many thanks Jim! I count you a friend and I look forward to learning more from you in the future.
In short people; GET YOUR RAW ON!!!!
I had the opportunity to participate Jim Armstrong’s seminar in Oulu, Finland, 23rd-24th January 2016. The first day of the seminar focused on stick fighting, while the second day was all about striking hard with structure and kinetic energy while being relaxed.
I am not very familiar with south east Asian stick fighting methods so the first day was pretty much new frontier for me. Jim did a great job explaining the drills and emphasizing the principles behind the method. Keeping the weapon in center and fiercely attacking the opponent centerline with continuous striking reminded me the drills done in the Japanese sword school Jigen-ryu.
The second day focused on striking and we did many different drills from hard slapping and raking to heavy blows which felt like they drilled into my spine. It was quite amazing to feel the difference between using muscle power versus structure, kinetic energy and relaxed movement. I was happy to get the first hand experience, pun(ch) intended, from Jim, as well as many pointers and corrections on how to do better.
The small breaks during the seminar were also valuable lessons, as Jim would often demonstrate tips and tricks on how to improve our shredding for example. Emphasis on taking away the opponent’s structure was very good and the “human lollipop” idea is easy to comprehend - especially with the cock-in-the-pocket approach.
All in all it was a great seminar and Jim is an excellent teacher in fighting arts. As I read my notes from the seminar, there are many good things worth mentioning but I think that at the end the most important was that you should be smiling when you are training. There is a great wisdom in this in many levels.
Thank you for the great seminar Jim - and cheers for the nice slap tattoo too. The training and the drills were great and we have added them to our training curriculum here in Senshido Tampere.
If you have an opportunity to participate in Jim’s seminar, I can highly recommend doing so if you are interested in practical fighting arts!
Two days of learning...
I attended Jims seminar this January at Oulun Kamppailuklubi. Jim has an astounding amount of knowledge to him and he's really passionate about passing it forward to his students. No holding back.
With years of experience in the field, Jim showed us that there is still much to learn about combatives... and life in general. Never ready, always a student.
I highly recommend to attend Jims class or seminar if you have a chance. It will be well worth your time, money and effort.
Just watch out for the low kick... it hurts like hell
I attended Jim`s seminar on power production for striking in Oulu Finland and it was just awesome! I have been fiddling with power production stuff for striking from bits and pieces from different arts and trying to find out how to punch hard and... Jim´s stuff blew me away in it`s simplicity and the simple drills how to gain some serious juice on your strikes. His way of teaching is very well thougth out how to really TEACH the student and give him the tools to improve. I highly recommend attending his seminar or classes if you are interested in self defense or just how to strike hard.
I had the honor of training with Jim first time in my life last weekend (23.-24.1.2016) at Oulun Kamppailuklubi, Finland. I have been training over 21 years and seen lots of different trainers and teachers. There are lot of very good and great people training in martial arts and there are lot of good teachers. But there are not so many who have the real skills. But Jim has. He did give a lot of new things and angles to me and my very experienced co-trainers. Jims personality was great at the training and especially outside of training. I had a great weekend and I hope that I have a possibility to go to Jims seminar again!
I had the privilege of attending Jim's two day seminar in Oulu, Finland last month. I was expecting to get maybe a few good tips about stick fighting and hitting hard, but I was amazed by the amount of stuff that I got to take home with me. A lot of things fell into place in just a few hours of training.
Jim is an excellent teacher and he has a skill of getting his point across effectively. The experience and knowledge really shows.
It was a great weekend of training and laughing. Well worth the seven hour drive to get there.
Thanks Jim for an outstanding seminar here at the Southern Cross Martial Arts Centre on the Gold Coast. It was truly outstanding and your depth of knowledge and ability to transmit information puts you up there with the great instructors. Well done and thanks again.
SOUTHERN CROSS MARTIAL ARTS
Jim Armstrong is one of the most knowledgeable personal protection instructors around. He has a knack for being able to bring the best out in students and communicating his knowledge and concepts so it’s easily understood & achievable. Jim’s seminars are engaging and his light-hearted approach makes it enjoyable & it’s all done without the macho nonsense characteristic of this industry. I would highly recommend training with Jim or hosting him to anyone!
SAFE INTERNATIONAL SYDNEY
Had a great training seminar with Jim and Raw Combatives at Southern Cross Martial Arts on Saturday This seminar was awesome. Lots a laughs, lots of fun and a heap of really practical techniques that are easy to learn and use. Jim does a great job of presenting his material and everyone there had a really great day. If you get a chance to train with this guy, do it. You wont be sorry.
Having been to my fair share of seminars/workshops over the years, I'm now fussy with which ones I attend & which I don't. I'm always open & keen for learning more of the good stuff,
even if I walk away with only one good thing from a seminar then I'm a winner, imo.
Having known Jimmy for a long time now & consider him a very good friend, its always good to catch up with him & pick his brains in what he's learning & the direction he's heading in regarding self protection/martial arts.
The Seminar was 3hrs long, which went fast.
He calls a spade a spade which I find refreshing - some days you don't what to hear the truth, other days you do, but that's life.
Our Jim's a passionate & engaging instructor, and was doing this workshop for a brilliant cause so it was a win-win situation.
He covered about a dozen or so drills,
Basic drills, stuff you can use straight away after the seminar.
I found them easily broken down & explained in great detail both the physical as well as the over looked psychological part which some people don't address & I never felt any information overload, then we drilled it with real energy.
The drills were broken down into the right amount of time for each drill & then pressure tested at the end, giving it proper energy from both parties.
Right at the end we then had to do a load of functional fitness/Tabata type drills, these were demanding yet achievable. Horrible drills yet brilliant - all about over coming the discomfort & killing that inner voice, the one that wants you to give up & quit.
On behalf of all of the Protect team in NZ, a HUGE thank you to Jim for his time, energy, enthusiasm, and skill at the Auckland seminar on Saturday. Jim is easily one of the best martial artists, teachers, and human beings I know. His knowledge and skill is off the charts and he is genuinely humble with it. He thinks about things in a way that very few others do and that makes his skill and ability to teach those skills to anyone, very rare and very important. The RAW team in Aussie are so lucky to have Jim there, if I lived in Melbourne I would be there to learn from him as often as I could. ANYONE looking to really learn from a true expert (although he would not call himself that), and have a damn good time doing it, need to look Jim up. Thanks again mate, you sir, rock.
PROTECT SELF DEFENCE NEW ZEALAND
Very enjoyable seminar today. I really liked the balance between the history, the modern day application and the mindset (without running the risk of turning into too much of a psycho). I expect feeling it in the arms over the next couple of days, too.
What I liked
- Adding layers to what we had looked at previously (eg: looking a bit more closely at the way we move and how not to move, how we react when someone’s in our space, etc)
- Liked that we looked at the reason for posture, footwork etc (rather than just being told)
- Liked the fact that the responses were simple and effective rather than ‘tricky’. Felt like what you teach is very effective.
- Liked the sequence of the training (looking at posture, hand grabs, then a throw, then groundwork, then striking.) It was interesting.
- Liked practicing what it feels like when someone’s in your space and speaking aggressively.
- Liked the atmosphere of the training. Felt like I learnt heaps but with lots of laughs.
- I think what we did was really necessary as a foundation. It would then be good to build on that with a little bit more confrontation to get a bit ‘desensitised’ and build up confidence.
It was a great pleasure having you. The feedback has been tremendous - everyone has gone away with several things from you to add to their own version of aikido and they are keen to do it again.
Personally I have nicked quite a lot and I intend to make them a permanent part of my teaching, e.g. getting up from the ground, the slaps, the awareness material, a couple of locks and the come-along version, moving the hand via the base of the thumb, variations on the flinch drills etc etc.
I really appreciate your approach and that of Vinh and Jeremy. The less said about Colin the better...the guys were a great asset and the comments show how sincerely their expert and kind assistance was valued.
The Canberra, Wagga, Sydney and Karate guys there have told me how much they valued both the material and the way it was presented, and also how much they enjoyed you as people and teachers.
Look forward to doing it again!