Stephen G. Thomas
MA Counselling and Psychotherapy, Accredited BACP Member
Founder and Workshop Presenter
I am a passionate believer in the therapeutic and reconnective power of martial arts training. As a psychotherapist, addictions specialist and corporate trainer with over a decade of experience in criminal justice, residential rehabilitation and private therapy, I hear many of my clients echoing a sense of disconnection; from their thoughts, their feelings, their identity, their sexuality, their loved ones, the list goes on and on. As such, I passionately believe that therapy is all about reconnection; reconnecting people with themselves and others, and thereby reigniting their lost spark.
In this respect, fight training and therapy are similar because this sense of reconnection is built on a real sense of trust. When people train and spar together, they also trust each other implicitly. They let someone in, offer up their vulnerabilities and trust in their training buddy to help them improve. Combining both psychotherapy and fight training can therefore offer that truly magical sense of reconnection, and fightingandspirit offers participants the opportunity to share this transformative experience.
Senior Lecturer in Systemic Psychotherapy, Accredited UKCP Member
Workshop Presenter and Training Coach
Jeff is an SIA frontline licensed Close Protection Operative, UK Registered Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist. Operating in Brazil, he was Close Protection Team Leader and Security Consultant for the BBC1 Feature Documentary 'David Beckham into the Unknown' in 2014. Jeff regularly teaches survival skills to Humanitarian Aid workers and NGO personnel who operate in hostile environments. He has taught Security Operational Planning on the BSc Hons Risk Management, Security Operations and Investigation at the International Policing and Security Department at the University of South Wales, and has worked closely on Brecon Beacons leadership exercises with Police trainers.
With many years of experience in teaching close quarter, hand-to-hand and hand-to-weapon combatives, he is also an accredited trainer in violence reduction, personal protection and breakaway skills. He has consulted to NGOs and Humanitarian Aid organizations on security of personnel, managing conflict, and anti human trafficking operations in refugee contexts in Piraeus, Idomeni and camps surrounding Thessaloniki in Greece. This has included security operational planning, extrication planning in the event of riot and civil disorder, crowd management, conflict de-escalation and conflict response alongside personal safety of personnel and refugees from violence and human trafficking activity. He has also consulted to organizations in the former camps in the Jungle in Calais on personal safety and operational security. Jeff has also provided training and consultation on hand-to-hand combat to an MoD unit as well as instruction on OTC military exercises.
Dr George Jennings
Lecturer in Sports Sociology and Physical Culture
Workshop Presenter and Training Coach
Dr George Jennings is a lecturer and martial arts researcher based at the School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University. Over the last decade, his social scientific research has examined the cultures, pedagogies and philosophies underpinning martial arts such as Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Savate and Mexican Xilam, and he is currently interested in the relationships between martial arts and health - specifically through martial arts therapies. Some of these recent insights are shared in his work with DojoTV, a martial arts media platform. George has been practising martial arts for twenty years, with experience in a variety of styles from Asia, Europe and Latin America. George is a black sash instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu, and has taught Wing Chun in England, Scotland, Mexico and also offers classes in Cardiff as well as coaching in the basic principles of the art here at fightingandspirit.