Pathwalker Guild

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Saturnine138, Jan 4, 2006.

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  1. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member

    Hmmm.... Well there is nothing unique about Marbo really, or it is only unique in as much as jeet kune do is unique or white crane kung fu or any martial arts system for that matter.

    The physical side of the training (when done properly) I have to say is really pretty good - but it's no magic. Any martial artist who has done wing chun for example will be familiar with the centreline principle, and indeed a lot of the kicks and punches when practised are done so from a front on position like wing chun (bent knees, centre balanced, but without the toes pointing inwards) - this is then carried on to essentially a tight centreline based right and left stance (and rear for the back kicks).

    Of the actual techniques, to get the 'Green' grade there are something like (and I may be one or two out here as it was some time ago) 7 punches, 12 kicks, 8 takedowns, 1 throw, defensive positioning on the floor and 2 takedowns from the floor, lunging and retreating and 5 or 6 punch parrying exercises - I think when it is totalled up it is something like 125 different techniques when tested for the grade. After that there is a 'testing' thing where you spar against 2 (or more depending on the feedback) people consecutively who already have their green grade and they judge whether or not you have been able to maintain good form under pressure, and indeed when you return that pressure, that you do it without anger in a controlled manner. That's it really:- get over 90% on the fixed techniques and be voted 'safe' by all the people watching you spar and you get your green grade.

    Green to the beginning of the black grades is essentially building on those initial skills and focusses (in a very general way without having to go through all of it in detail) in developing coordination, inbuilt reflexes through repetition, leg flexibilty, covering distance on attack, attacking while retreating, multiple opponents, utilising open hand as opposed to closed hand techniques, understanding in better details the physiology of the human body and how it relates to weak points, and quite a bit more. Took me about 4 years of 1-2 sessions a week to get to the top of the Green levels (of which there were 3 when I did it) - the first of the black grades is to demonstrate each technique from Red to Green 3 to perfection (in the eye of the instructor anyway) - usually takes a year or so to do that, the next black grade focusses more on the mental aspects of the art - concepts of speed versus power for example and encourages you to explore these concepts while sparring to better understand how they affect the way you can deal with an attack.

    After that? No idea - couldn't stand it any longer and I left.

    One thing that you need to understand is that as a physical martial art, it is really very good. There is loads to learn, there is loads to get back from it and purely and simply because of the volume of sparring that you do (from light and slow to heavy and fast) after 3 or 4 years of it you do get a really good understanding of strike distances, how to quickly engage and disengage and a huge understanding of human physiology - what it can do, what it can't and how to hurt it.

    On top of that there were day training courses and survival courses (which were amazing - grim and nasty, hungry, tired and sore, but amazing), staff and knife training and lots of other fun stuff.

    When we trained, we trained hard and it was with a great bunch of guys - most of us worked on a door now and again, so got a fair amount of 'practical' application (although dealing with someone in your face after they've have about ten pints is more about good humour than martial arts!)

    When I left I did make a point of going to lots of different clubs and sparring with the dan grades there (or equivalent black grades) as even then Marbo was a bit on the insular side - although I have to say that being banned from training because you went somewhere else to do some different training was UNHEARD of. Obviously, everywhere I went, no-one had heard of Marbo at all - it was quite odd actually as I was an unknown quantity to them, and to myself - I had no idea what to expect. I am pleased to say that everything I had learned up to that point stood up to the challenge - I got quite a few surprises, but by and large the marbo training was efficient in defense, and effective in attack.

    So there you go - bit of a ramble for which I apologise - its not magic, it is a bona fide martial art - recognised as such not necessarily by me (although I would and am a champion of it as such), but by the people I sparred against and trained with in those other clubs.

    My caveat on this of course is that this is 15 or 20 years ago. I doubt very much that the techniques have changed, but I can certainly not vouch for the current quality or intensity of the training.

    You'll probably note that I have not mentioned anything about druids, arabs, celtic specialness or secret weapons, the use of which is only known to certain people. Thats because it isn't true.

    In my considered opinion - as a martial art its brilliant, and to some extents a code to live by, its not bad. As for the rest of it? No.
  2. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member


    Haha - OK now I feel like I am being asked to justify myself!!

    Well, in no particular order

    5 years Judo, 1 year karate, 10 years Marbo, 2 years White Crane Kung Fu, probably about 2 years of boxing on and off, 'not a lot' for 3 years, and I am currently an assistant instructor at a Krav Maga school (which I am loving, I have to say) - I also did some Stav for a while, which was interesting - check it out .

    Looking back on that list, I think 'Dojo hopping' is probably a good description!

    Ah well, I'm not proud....
  3. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    You were banned because you went somewhere else? What was it you couldn't stand any longer?
  4. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Well that'll be because you are. :D

    You've stated 25 years experience which in all honesty means very little without you giving more details.

    It's very easy to say you've been involved in MA for however many years and make it look like you've got a vast amount of experience. However if that time was spent bouncing around from club to club or had significant breaks during that time then it's a great deal different to 25 years consistent training.

    Not a matter of pride to be honest just clarity.

    Thank you for your response, much appreciated.
  5. Ex Pathwalker

    Ex Pathwalker Valued Member

    Ex MARBO man

    Hey there MARBO-man!!!,

    so what year did you leave then? who was your main instructor?

    Ex Pathwalker
  6. Ex Pathwalker

    Ex Pathwalker Valued Member

    Ex MARBO man

    So why did you leave then?...
  7. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member

    Well I left at around 1998, main instructor I'd rather not name names, but started off as JD and then became the 'main man'. (if you knew 'em, you'll know 'em!)

    As to why I left? I'm not going into it in any great detail as it was some time ago, but basically it was due to a breakdown in trust & reliability, loss of confidence in that I was expending a huge amount of energy trying to maintain and grow something that other parties were almost actively destroying at the same time, and finally the realisation that my personal development was being held back for no good reason. (well I'm sure one person had a reason, but heaven only knows what that might have been)

    That's a personal subjective viewpoint, and I'm sure other people who were around at the time will have a different view, but I was very dedicated at that point and had spent many years training others, developing structured self defence courses out of existing ad-hoc sessions, building a good club and generally sacrificing quite a large chunk of my life. To finally come to the realisation that actually I was getting nowhere fast, and that actually, the longer I stayed, the worse it was going to get, was a stunner to be honest.

    About 6 months after I came to that realisation, I got the opportunity to leave, and did.

    I continued to train people as a completely separate concern, having nothing to do with the originator, and focussing on the martial art only, none of the dodgy quasi historical cant. I restricted myself to what could actually be verified. As I said in an earlier post, before I started training people again I spent about 6 months sparring and training at other clubs, just to be sure that what I had learned was viable as a martial art. Once I have reconfirmed to myself that that was the case, I continued to train people, but when asked about the history, just said that it was a type of kung fu that i'd learned in North Wales, which I think was about as close to the truth as you can get!

    Hope that answer your questions - send me a personal email if you want to chat more please - don't want to fill the forum with lists of complaints!

    Hopefully things have changed, but to be honest, as far as the history is concerned, they are all deluding themselves that there is a secret history as only one person has the answer to that and it is extremely unlikely that he will EVER now turn around and say he dreamed it up, or if he didn't, give any evidence whatsoever. If anyone who is currently training reads this - get together with a group of all of you, go and see the man (you all know who he is) and tell him that without evidence of the history (which only he can provide) - you will all walk away and stop paying money. It'll never happen, but I'd like to be a fly on the wall if it did!!!
  8. Ex Pathwalker

    Ex Pathwalker Valued Member

    Ex MARBO man

    Hi there,

    at first i thought you might be another pathwalker wolf in sheeps clothing (the pathwalker advocates on here are in my opinion at the very least talking to the same 'main man' who is feeding the content of their posts), but having read your story you seem to have had the same experience as a lot of people.

    Don't understand your reference to JD - can you clarify?

    I left for a number of reasons, but largely lost respect because some of the instructors smoke and drank, turned up late to sessions or not at all leaving the younger instructors to carry the can. I felt i was being ripped off and getting a poor service.

    Your reasons for leaving don't surprise me, and i do understand your reason for not directly naming the main instructor - he'd probably tell his minions to come on here and issue a curse to start with, and then god knows what, probably bring a legion of celtic warriors or such like to wipe us from the face of the planet lol.
  9. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member

    dirty laundry

    Baaaa ! Sheep in Sheeps clothing I'm afraid.....

    What years did you train? If it was before or around 1990 then you would have trained in Oswestry, after 1994 it would have been Bangor. In between could have been either! Looking back on it, probably the best time was around 92/93 as there was a fairly large group training in both places - after 94/95 there was little going on in Oswestry as the main man had moved to Bangor.

    If I know what years you trained, I will know who you trained with, most likely.

    Curses, threats and the like? I've been tweaking THAT particular beard for a number of years now and waiting for someone to turn up to challenge me or 'test my right to walk my own path'. Genuinely within the first few years when I was being told that after a meeting of the 'black circle' I was judged to be illegally engaging students and spreading lies and falsehoods, I was expecting a visit from an indoctrinated individual - now I don't expect it at all. Most of the people that I trained with left within a few years of me leaving and after speaking to them, the same experiences repeated themselves. I would almost love to meet a current high level marbo practitioner, as I would imagine that the same stuff is STILL going on - but as they say, "there's none so blind as those that wont see" !!

    Shame really, but there you go.

    Sorry - wont do names on the open web, like I said you can email me directly from the site and I'll reply with all the info.
  10. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    So it really is like Scientology then? Damn, I was only using that as an analogy.
  11. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member

    Well not knowing a lot about L Ron Hubbards amazingly successful religion, I can't comment (would love to know more though!) - however fairly intelligent people turning against you and cutting lines of communication because you have made a decision to improve yourself and your own life is somewhat counterproductive to maintaining a good impression for the club or organisation in question.
  12. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Well specifically I'm referring to the fact they're known for threatening those who leave their organisation.
  13. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member

    Hmmm, well in that case I would say that there is a bit of similarity! Do the Scientologists actively throw people out of their organisation who go to other churches though?
  14. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Not entirely sure. But they're not big on outside interference. Families of those who are members of Scientology regularly and routinely report "disconnects". A disconnect is when the member informs their family and friends they no longer wish to have anything to do with them and then close off all communications.

    Scientology is also known for getting it's employees, all of whom are members, to sign contracts of perpetuity it claims they cannot escape.

    I doubt Marbo is that bad. But it sounds a lot like a cult or at least as though it's using similar tactics.
  15. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Actually several other people make use of such threats in there membership (Masons etc). Scientology uses very specific actions and follow through in many cases. PWG and others use an inferred and unspecified reference to "consequences" by the looks of things

    Ashida Kim actually employs Occult Mandamus in his books-make of that what you will

    From Phil Elmores site
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  16. Ex Pathwalker

    Ex Pathwalker Valued Member

    Debunking the Marbo Mystery Machine

    Not a problem that you don't want to share names, i think i've worked out what i need too from what you've shared on here.

    The curses and threats i skitted at were part jovial, part real - some of the members had obviously read too much occult and sci-fi literature and were far to disconnected from sober society to realise that the fantasy power structures they put in place via the administration of the organisation didn't work in real life, or off the training ground.

    There is so much in what you write that confirms what i have been putting forward, i don't know where to start really to be honest, you've said what i think the forum needed to hear, what i wanted someone from the past to come and confirm, and a lot more, so thankyou for that.

    Well what i can say, not wanting to name myself like you, is that history did repeat itself well after you left and way into the 'noughties' as they are collectively known, i.e. between 2000 and onward, events did repeat themelves. As i said above, I had contact with a member year before last and they gave me an update of events going back to at least 2003, around the time the mythical Transylvanian Sanctuary project was kicked off.

    Personally, I'd love to know what one of the old instructors takes is on all of this, as i know he isn't involved anymore either (he posted way up in this thread) for similar reasons, i.e. a repeat of events. I may give him a call and let him know a healthy debate is under way on here.

    Do you agree about the lack of ground work in the syllabuses they taught?
  17. MARBO-man!!!

    MARBO-man!!! Valued Member

    Well that would be interesting - no smoke without fire! Perhaps if enough of us get together we could reboot Marbo as a proper martial art as it should be rather than trying to make it into an all inclusive religion. I have nothing against making people feel good about being a member of a great club - in fact I admit to many evenings in the pub after a good training session meeting new people and making friends - but it should stop there I think. Anyway, I think if we keep shaking the tree some more interesting things are going to fall out of it soon.....

    Lack of groundwork? Yes, definitely - however Marbo has never been advertised as a groundwork system. Defence from being on the floor with your attacker standing, yes, grappling and submissions on the floor, no. The marbo style of fighting application works best from standing - there are no 'holds' or joint locks as such in the system (there are a few, but they are more like addendums to the system and not really explored). In fact I was surprised after I did a bit of jujitsu, when they did a basic throw which resulted in a similar position to a basic takedown (roughly where you are crouched over your opponent holding one of their arms), that they then spent about half an hour going through 3 or four different things that you could do from there - wristlocks, goose-necks, arm bars and shoulder locks as basics - really opened my eyes. So in answer to your question, no its not great for groundwork, and to be honest its not great for close in work either as the quite strict leads can lead to problems to bring much to bear on your opponent. Where it does excel though is middle distance and multi-opponent situations - the specific training for that particularly I haven't found to be equalled so far. Again - no magic, just good techniques well taught.

    Anyway, yes - bring some more in! I'm sure the forum might be interested. Still nothing from the celtic lot - I am surprised actually, I thought they would have got straight back on this!
  18. Ex Pathwalker

    Ex Pathwalker Valued Member

    Monkeys fall out of trees

    All hail the return of Marbo Member and MemberSec on this forum, the diatribe coming from them was class a exhibit of the pub talk i experienced, so you are right, only a matter of time before they are back telling us we are all non-members, don't have a say within their portal to the centre of the universe yada yada yada.

    Thanks for confirming your thoughts on groundwork - in my first couple of lessons with other systems i learned a hell of a lot more about that aspect of combat than I'd had done in years with marbo.

    Back to what you were saying about getting together and re-booting the system, well in theory i think quite a lot of people would do that, if they could be bothered that is!

    A lot of the people in the clubs i was a part of and know of were young, and influenced all too easily by the main man and his secret story, and it's unlikely that that would happen in my opinion, years have gone by and people have grown up. I'm sure most people have families and lives to be getting on with.

    But having said that while pausing for thought...with the technical experience that people gained from other systems after they left the pathwalker guild, marbo etc, a re-formed group could actually be very good! I say this as when i learned there were no mobile phones, internet etc so people learned what they were told and thinking and acting and practicing out of the box was a lot harder than it is today.

    I am glad i explored systems outside of marbo after leaving marbo (numerous groundwork based systems, Krav, JKD), as I wanted to explore techniques and systems with an open mind and no restrictions, get real value for money and more importantly make my own mind up about what suited me.

    The history lesson that was forced onto me (which was full of gaping holes!) was secondary to my aim, it didn't help me one bit when I had some drunk idiot trying to hit my friend who needed help.

    Right, that's all for today. Will be interesting to see who enters left and right, top and bottom of stage. If that old named instructor comes back on here, I'm sure you'll know him, and I am sure accounts will get more interesting.
  19. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I stumbled upon this thread while googling for Pathwalker/Marbo, and as a Marbo instructor I felt compelled to give a different viewpoint for anyone considering joining.

    I teach a small group in Bristol, I have been training since 2000. The branch I run is a tight-knit and enthusiastic bunch and as of yet have experienced no cliques/political in-fighting/member banning/brain-washing of any kind whatsoever.

    Before studying Marbo, I had very little experience in the Martial arts, beyond a few beginner's classes. Since then, like MARBO-man!!! (who I actually think has given a fair and balanced account of his experience), I have tested my craft with numerous other practitioners from other systems. As well as studying literature and videos from other arts. But I'll say more on that later.

    What seems to have been completely overlooked is MARBO-man's positive comments on the system, so I think they are worth repeating:

    For me, the sentence in bold is an important point.

    As for the other concerns about groundwork and close-in techniques; I am in no way contradicting your experience, but it is not my own, and it is not reflective of the way I train my students.

    You cannot become good at anything by doing it for 2 hours a week. Whatever the practice is, you must explore the concepts and internalize them to the point of reflex initially, and response eventually. When going through my Green Path training, my training partner and I would take what we learnt from the sessions and explore the techniques in any way we could imagine, and we did this almost every day over a period of several years.

    Getting tangled-up with an opponent is not a priority in our training, this is true. The reason for that is our awareness of multiple opponents from the very first session. However, this does not mean that grappling and groundwork should not be explored, and in my experience whenever I have had the chance to spar with someone who is experienced in grappling arts and they have got me to the ground, they lack the awareness of protecting vital points on their body. They go for the tap-out or pin, but seem oblivious to the fact that I can get my hand to their throat, rip their balls off or whatever. I am not saying this would be true of all grapplers, but this is my experience, they do seem blinkered by the rules in which they practice.

    As for close-in technique, I would asses that MARBO-man!!! did not balance his sparring with enough scenario training. Overdosing on sparring can lead people to get too into "hand/foot fencing" rather than more realistic applications. Also, if MARBO-man!!! did get to the grade he states (and I have no reason to doubt he did), then he would have practiced extensive nose-to-nose and back-to-back techniques, so I am a little confused as to his "strict lead" comment.

    I have sparred with practitioners of many martial arts (though I apologise for not remembering the specific schools), including Wing Chun, Chin Na, Karate black-belts (traditional types and more freestyle combat-orientated ones), a Kick-Boxer with a regional title, a few different forms of Kung-Fu and probably more that I forget. Using only basic techniques from the Marbo repertoire was sufficient to stand my ground against them and in many cases be complimented on my technique, especially its freedom of movement, flow and adaptability.

    But that is sparring, not fighting, which I will get onto.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
  20. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    My life certainly is not as dangerous as your's sounds. But your comments are an insult to the members of the armed forces, police and security personnel that I have trained with, and who have used our techniques in real life-and-death situations. Not to mention our civilian members, including myself and more importantly my students, who have found no fault with our technique when faced with aggressive and violent behaviour.

    You call for evidence and then make blanket statements without any way of knowing what you are talking about.
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