Thompson - In His Own Words.
(again, gratitude to Chris Kaye's The DenshoW Podcast for previously publishing this piece to the website at: http://www.thedenshow.com/louis-thompson-interview.html)
Thompson comes to the teaching arena with an impressive background
and personal track record. His experience, range of skills, faultless
work ethic, and uncompromising desire for excellence are all
underpinned by great communications and his accessible personality. I
always enjoy spending time with him, and was delighted when the
opportunity came up to ask him some questions.
The self-defence/ martial arts arena has a lot of really big names in
it already, Louis, what do you bring to the table that is truly
unique - and how much room is there for more teachers, particularly
in the Midlands which is such a martial arts hotbed?
First of all I think the only thing that anybody can claim to bring
to the table is their own experience. Ultimately, when someone comes
to learn from me, what they want is my experience. I cannot claim to
have been in hundreds of fights or worked the doors for a decade, but
what I do have is a lifetime surrounded by people who I perceive to
be some of the most experienced in the world in their field. From
pretty much as soon as I could walk I have been hitting pads and
wrestling and learning from industry giants like Peter Consterdine,
Matty Evans, Tony Somers, Al Peasland and of course my father Geoff
I bring to the table is a lifetime watching theories like the Fence,
Restriction Training and Animal Day develop and spread around the
world. My advantage is that I have a truly unique understanding of
the thought process behind all of these things as I am the son of
their inventor. I teach all of these things exactly as my dad has and
continues to do. I can count on one hand the people who teach this
stuff as it was intended, and I see myself as one of them.
you talk about the Midlands being a hotbed, the area, I feel, is
actually much smaller. Coventry is a hotbed for real self-defence and
it doesn't really seem to have spread much further. I try not to
restrict myself to any one area. My plan is to take things like the
fence back to the global arena. So when you ask if there is room for
more teachers I have no doubt that there is. For me it is about
taking my own unique experiences and sharing them with people. If I
do that then no one can compete, because no one can claim to have my
Fittingly, you have pre-empted my next question, at least in part,
Louis, as I was going to mention that one of the first things I
always like to find out from someone I want to work with is 'Who do
YOU train with?', as it seems a lot of experts don't want to do too
much learning themselves, once they have a teaching qualification,
whatever their field. What other kinds of advice might you offer
anyone considering training in a physical art – especially someone
considering it for the first time?
For me it is always about stretching myself and training with the
best possible people. Obviously I am in a very fortunate position as
I am surrounded by world class people and have been for many years.
What I like to do is look at my weak areas and then go and find
someone who can help me strengthen those areas. Most instructors
believe that their system is best and so don't move outside of that.
On the other hand the people at the top end of any system always
venture out and train in multiple arts. Personally my interest lies
in a very limited number of core arts that I believe are functional
and workable in real situations. If I was going to start training in
an art for the first time it would probably be boxing or judo. If you
are good with your hands then you are in a great position in a real
situation. I think the untapped potential in Judo is massive. It
deals with a range that is ignored on the most part by other arts.
Again it all depends what you want to gain. If somebody wanted to be
able to defend them-self then I would say: become more aware, learn
to use the Fence, and have the confidence to use pre-emption. Outside
of that everything is support system which, don't get me wrong, is
massively important - but still only a support.
One of the great strengths of the scene is the accessibility of world
class instructors. As an aspiring practitioner you just don't get
that in, say, football, or the music industry, and here you usually
get a tried and tested, strong personal philosophy as well, which has
been forged alongside the physical elements.
talked briefly in the past about the importance of visualisation as a
tool in and of itself, Louis. Would you outline what your own
practices are? And do you meditate in any traditional sense? Again,
are there any practical suggestions you can make that go beyond the
allusions typically found in 'How To' guides?
Again, I can only talk about my own experiences. I have created both
amazing and awful realities just by the way I think. Lots of people
will call it coincidence but there are only so many times a
coincidence can occur before you have to accept something more is
happening. At the moment I am setting up my own self defence studio
on a tight budget and everything that I needed has appeared from thin
air. For me it is having about strong intent and seeing as clearly as
you can exactly what you want. You don't always know how the end
result will appear but ultimately it will. I think what a lot of
people miss is that 'visualisation' isn't enough. Wanting isn't
enough. You have to take action. Your horoscope may say you will meet
the love of your life in a coffee shop but unless you go into a
coffee shop that can never happen. For a long time before I got my
new venue I was looking at every workshop, unit and office space I
could see to let. I wasn't in a position to get anything yet and
everything I looked at was far too expensive, but sure enough when I
was ready the perfect place appeared.
regards to meditation, it is something I am working up to doing
consistently. I do a little every now and then. In many ways it is
much harder than any martial arts I have done. I try to sit
comfortably with my eyes closed and concentrate on my breathing. My
mind is always wandering, so I need to bring myself back to
concentrating on the breathing.
far as practical solutions go, for me it is quite simple:
a good diet - so many of our imbalances are down to the food we eat.
- this will help you to get rid of any excess energy which will cause
- I once watched a video with the actor Will Smith. He said there is
no problem that you can have that someone else, at some point, hasn't
had and written about; everything we could ever need to know is now
readable, and much of it for free, online.
As teachers/instructors, regardless of our specialised areas, we get
asked questions constantly by those who want to learn from, and
hopefully improve upon what we have already achieved. It could be
argued that if the student isn't asking the question they aren't
ready for the answer, but, is there a particular question no one ever
asks you that you'd like to give some space to here?
Louis: It's a difficult question to answer to be honest. There is no
specific question that I wish people would ask me, purely because
even if I wanted people to ask me a question it might not be the
right questions for them and then the answer would be useless. Why do
we ask questions? The majority of the time it is not to get answer
but to get reassurance. The difficulty comes when we don't get the
answer we want. When I ask a question I am looking for reassurance
about my own doubts. When I answer other people’s questions my
answers always reflect things that I need to hear or need to do in my
own life. I love the line in The Matrix when Morpheus says to Neo 'I
can only show you the door, you have to walk through it'. It's the
same with this. You may get answers to your questions and the answers
may be wise but until you take action and walk through the door you
can't really know the reality of the question you are asking.
It was an intentionally challenging question, thanks for your
do you have times and space available for teaching new students,
Louis? And if anyone reading this wants to get in touch with you, how
do they do that?
problem. I teach new people all the time and am always happy to take
on new students. I just ask that they have an open mind to new ideas
and are keen to learn. There are several ways I teach people. I have
a weekly class, I teach 1-2-1 sessions, and, for people who really
want to dedicate themselves, I run an immersion training programme.
can find all the details on my website:
or drop me an email on:
Author: Stuart Williams
Copyright © 2011 www.stuart-williams.com - all rights reserved.
Happy to share, though, just ask.