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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Geoff Thompson's Masterclass - DVD Review

In the ten years since I began this column (or blog as some people now call it) I’ve had e-mails from rather unexpected sources. Only last week I received an e-mail from a couple of Russian mixed martial art fighters asking me if I could help them find work here in Britain. A few weeks before that I received an e-mail from the people handling PR for Geoff Thompson. The first thing I asked myself was “who?”

Geoff Thompson is a man who wears many hats - motivational speaker, former night club bouncer, BAFTA award winning writer, and martial arts instructor.

The six DVD set of Geoff Thompson’s Masterclass covers his six month course in what he calls “reality martial arts”. Each disc is about an hour long, where Thompson teaches his combined philosophy of physical, psychological, physiological and spiritual training. The course normally costs £1,000, and this particular course was sold out in just forty-eight hours.

Thompson begins each session with a brief talk, telling his students about his life experiences, and what made him the man he is today. He then moves onto the more physical aspects of the training, such as striking, grappling and other forms of self defence, and, more often than not, his sessions end with more words of wisdom.

Thompson himself comes across very well. A well spoken, slightly-built man, you’d never think that he’d once made a living in the hurly burly business of night club bouncing. He speaks a lot of sense about a wide variety of subjects, and it’s easy to see why he’s achieved success as a writer and a trainer around the world.

As a trainer his techniques are sound, and he definitely knows what he’s talking about. Mind you, he’s been training in various martial arts for nearly forty years, so he should do!

Production-wise this release can’t really be faulted, although I do have one gripe - it was often difficult to hear what his students were saying, mainly because Thompson was the only one wearing a microphone. A boom microphone would certainly have come in handy here.

However, while watching this there was one thing that kept nagging me in the back of my mind, and it finally hit me while watching the fourth disc. Thompson missed a great opportunity here by not allowing his students some air time. It would have been nice if there had been a few talking head segments from the students along the way, so we could see how they felt they’ve progressed. But then again maybe I’ve just given him an idea if he decides to pitch the idea of a series based on his training sessions to television companies. Just send the royalty cheque to the usual address!

In conclusion - while Geoff Thompson’s Masterclass is extremely well made, I’m not sure if it’s the thing for me. Maybe it’s because I got the wrong end of the stick as I was expecting it to be more about combat sports training, like the Vitor Belfort and Chuck Lidell sets I’ve reviewed in the past. But as I’ve learned since then, Geoff Thompson is all about combining the physical with the metaphysical, and I have no doubt that his style of training will help countless people around the world.

Geoff Thompson’s Masterclass can be purchased online via http://www.geoffthompson.com.

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