Christopher Lee Matthews is a writer and blogger from the city of Stoke-on-Trent, England. He is a self defence and martial arts enthusiast. He is a former professional wrestler, wrestling coach, and promoter. He also is a former nightclub doorman (or bouncer).
In his blogs Chris writes about a variety of subjects. His twenty five year career as a pro wrestler, spanning from coast to coast, all over the UK. He writes about his unique martial arts background, including his own personal take on the subject of street self defence …and his six plus years working on the doors in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, and the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Chris also has achieved recognition in the mainstream media. He has appeared in martial arts publications including Combat Magazine and Kamppailija Magazine, and the pro wrestling publication WOW (World of Wrestling) magazine.
Please scroll down this page to read Chris’ latest blog, or chose a subject from the menu located at the top of the page.
As I promised a while back, I’ve started uploading more catch wrestling/ submission grappling videos to my YouTube channel. I started uploading tutorials over a week ago, and will try to upload a new video everyday if my schedule permits. Here is one that I uploaded recently. If you want to stay up to date, head on over to my youtube, smash the subscribe and notification buttons. There’s more coming soon!
Hey guy’s and Gal’s I just wanted to let you know that after a very llloooonnngg break from posting martial arts videos to my YouTube channel, I’ve decided it’s time to come back. This time I’ll be focusing on striking arts like boxing and I’ll be revealing some tricks of the trade from my fairground boxing days. Stay tuned. head on over to my channel and subscribe to catch the latest uploads.
In the meantime here’s some footage from a catch wrestling semibnar, for those of you who like their grappling arts.
An old pal from across the water was kind enough to send me this footage this past weekend. It was recorded back in 2011. There’s some nice, very basic – but effective catch wrestling and dirty grappling techniques being demonstrated here. Happy days! Please Enjoy! …and subscribe for updates.
Some people say that the straight bladed ninja sword never existed in feudal Japan. That ALL swords were curved, and that the whole straight blade and square tsuba look was created for the Sho Kosugi ninja movies during the 1980’s. However, there was such a weapon used by the Ashigaru. The Ashigaru were foot-soldiers throughout feudal japan. They were not of Samurai class, but rather the paramilitaries of their day. They specialized in guerrilla warfare. Some became mercenaries. Assassins to the highest bidder. Doe’s this sound familiar?
Asigaru Wielding Straight Bladed Swords.
Asigaru Wielding Straight Bladed Swords.
Samurai Wielding a Naginata.
The Ashigaru had the skills and the intelligence to fashion their own crude sword-like weapons from pole-arms such as the naginata. Crude as they were – they were effective weapons.
If you check out the graphic (below) you may be able to spot the similarities between the naginata (pole-arm) and the chokuto (straight, single edged sword). This supports the theory that the Ashigaru may have produced their own improvised weapons.
Here is the latest addition to my collection. The Hand Forged Ninja Sword that I purchased from the Blades UK Clearance Facebook page. This item was reduced in price to only £26 – due to some small dents on the saya, but you can hardly see them at all. It’s hand forged with carbon steel. It has a real ray skin tsuka, and it’s ultra sharp. The blade itself is unblemished. Immaculate. It is NOT the exact same size as the commercial ninjato that are available over the internet. It’s blade length and handle length is the same as a standard katana. If anything its more Ashigaru than it is ninja! A more appropriate name for this sword would be the chokutō instead of the ninjato.
Hanwei ninja swords can cost anything from £240 – £448. They do have shorter straight blades and a square tsuba – just like the movie ninja sword. It may be made of a higher grade carbon steel than some other brands of ninjato. If you are looking for a bargain I can recommend a visit to the Blades UK Clearance Facebook page and don’t forget to click the like and follow buttons.
I don’t buy cheap swords – I buy swords cheap!
Please practice responsibly, and enjoy your budo.
Sad news for British Wrestling in 2017. It gives me great sadness to announce that Brian Dixon’s All Star Wrestling will not be appearing at the Butlin’s Holiday Camps for the foreseeable future.
The Camps were a great place to work, learn, and refine your craft. It was a great way of gaining further experience. It gave myself and so many other individuals opportunities to work and learn from a successful peer group. Experience is the greatest of teachers, and successes breeds success. That’s a fact of life.
Being around a top notch team of workers to critique and advise you in your early days as a pro was (and still is) crucial to any aspiring wrestler’s development. It chiseled away the rough edges. It refined you in a myriad of different ways.
In the past I’ve worked up to six days a week – all up and down the country on “the camps” for Brian Dixon, and also for the Knight Family’s WAW in the Norfolk area. I will always be thankful to these individuals for the lessons and opportunities that they put my way. The camps could be fun, but at times hard work. You could be wrestling in a different city or county everyday. There were many miles and hours of traveling, but that’s all a part of the job and lifestyle that goes along with it.
At the present time I can not comment further on the situation as I’ve herd many rumours as to what may have happened. One source alleges that another promotion/ promoter may have a deal with Butlin’s but whoever it is will not have the experience to pass on to the next generation and I believe that will compromise many a young inexperienced workers further development. I believe the situation may become a case of the blind leading the blind. It’s bad news for the British wrestling business as a whole.
Personally, I can’t imagine anyone else having the experience, manpower, and finances to make this a success.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Brian for all the opportunities he gave me on the camps, and wish all involved with All Stars luck and success in the future.
Pete Evans had this habit of making grunting sounds and non-existent words during a match. Utsah, cha-ho, cha-ho-ah, gianah. It was a bit like watching a karateka do their “kiai” or something like that. He just went on and on doing it – all the way through a mach, like a broken record. It’s strange how you never forget these little things. At the time nobody seemed to even notice it.
One day, I was on the road with Mike Weaver and Keith Myatt and I started to do impressions of Pete while we were traveling in the car. It was hilarious, and I must have kept this up for at least an hour and a half.
Mike and Keith had trouble keeping their faces straight whenever they worked with Pete after this. They just wanted to bust out laughing during the match. The harder you try not to laugh – the harder it seems to not to do so. At first they couldn’t even make eye contact with him in the dressing room because we would have all been laughing like hyenas on nitrous oxide!
Jason “Kashmir” Singh with Pete Evans.
There was another time when a few of us from Stoke were traveling back home from a show and I decided to play a rib. We noticed a car up ahead towing a trailer with what looked like a wrestling ring. As we got closer, we noticed that it was Dave Reece’s wrestling ring. No points for figuring out who was driving the car… I asked Mike to slow down a minute while I put my wrestling mask on. I asked Mike to overtake them while I proceeded to lean out of the opened window as we passed them by. I grabbed my nunchaku and held it together so it would look like a double barrelled sawn off shotgun. Here I was leaning as far out of the car window as humanly possible. Mask over my head and holding what looks like a firearm. Doing 70MPH on the M6. Dave Reece is driving and Pete Evans was the passenger and they both shite their pants. Nearly crashed their car.
One time when I was working as a professional shooter at the infamous Horseshoe Bar, Blackpool Pleasure Beach – there was myself, Vic Powers, and Shak (Kashmir Kid) standing on the steps at the front of the bar. Simon Charles was on the microphone asking for challengers. He was about to say his little promo speech. It went something like this…
“To my left, the Kashmir Kid… To my right, the masked (whatever he called me on the day) …and centre stage, Task Force 1 – Vic The Body Powers”…
I can’t remember who’s idea it was, but we all kept switching places on the steps …and it really gave him the needle. Pissed him off big time. 🙂
I remember many years ago wrestling on the holiday camps for Brian Dixon. I was travelling with Mike Weaver and Vic Powers. After the show we were getting changed in the dressing room and Vic Powers noticed some award medals. Gold looking finish and a nice, fancy ribbon. Vic took one and handed it to me. He told me to keep it and tell punters that I’d won it in a wrestling tournament. I though to myself why not? I didn’t believe in buying into my own publicity or believing my own hype. I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how many people I could work.
After the show the 3 of us went to a cafe on the A5 near Cannock. It was a very popular meeting place among the pro wrestling community. Vic told me to wear the medal. I felt a bit of a knob walking in there wearing it, but I was up for anything back then.
While we’re ordering some food one of the girls behind the counter asked me about my medal. Both Mike and Vic were nudging me with their elbows. Trying to egg me on.
I told the girl that I had won it in a wrestling tournament. That I’d wrestled four matches and won them all.
…and then Vic Powers just opened his mouth and said something like “No. That’s a lie. He has been wrestling, but he hasn’t won it. He’s stolen it from a holiday camp, and now he’s going around telling lies to everyone, telling them that he’s won it.” I could have crawled up my own arse!
The Shinobigatana / Shinobi Katana is “allegedly” a sword carried by the ninja of Feudal Japan. It is fashioned with the intention to deceive the opponent into thinking that the ninja – or shinobi were caring standard sized katana, or a similar blade. However, the blade length was allegedly much shorter than that of a katana – thus, allowing the swowd-man to execute a faster draw than his opponent. The shorter blade makes the sword much easier to use than the standard katana in tightly confined spaces. Say a small corridor -for example…
My Custom Made Shinobigatana
Mine is NOT the official Bujinkan one. It’s not made to the exact same sizes and specifications, but I consider it a damn good near match. This bad boy was custom made by an EBay seller (Samurai X) – who was selling hand a forged wakizashi. The seller was offering to customize the sword for no extra cost. You could chose your own color of saya, rayskin, type of hand-guard, and so on… So I asked the seller if he could remove the standard sized handle (tsuka) and add a larger nodachi sized handle. Also I asked if they I could change to a katana sized saya. …and I’m more than satisfied with the result.
Below, is a link to the sellers eBay page. I can recommend this service/product 100%.
Top = Nagamaki. Center = Shinobigatana. Bottom = Ninjato.
If you wish to purchase the official “Cheness Oniyuri Katana” from oriental-weaponry.co.uk this item will cost you the pricey sum of £332.30 / €448.61. …and some of them don’t even have the bo-hi (blood groove)! …Anyone who knows their swords – knows that a blade with a blood-groove is far more effective for stabbing applications. I guess the purple haired punk-rocking pensioner Masaaki Hatsumi must have had a “senior moment” or a “brain fart” when he designed the original model.
If you wish to go for something more affordable (and effective) – I recommend that you visit the eBay link and contact the seller. I found the seller would always reply to my messages within 24 hours. He asked me to “please wait patiently while he assembled the sword”, and I received it in the post in just over one week from the date of purchase. It cost me ONLY £83 in total. This sword is excellent value for money. It looks deadly awesome, and feels great to handle and maneuver.
Martial Arts should be affordable in my opinion.
Please practice responsibly, and enjoy your budo.