The Playfight Story


The Playfight training system was created in response to Tom’s passion for fight forms, and as a way to fulfil his desire to teach people about the aspects of martial arts he loves the most.  Core to Tom’s approach, is the belief that mixed ability classes create the richest learning environment for all participants no matter what their level of experience or starting point.  

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Whether sparring, roughhousing or tussling – Tom strongly believes that moving with people of differing abilities has the potential to teach us about our selves. For Tom, placing collaboration and cooperation rather than competition at the heart of the practice is key, as it forces participants to confront and manage their ego, either through working with those more experienced than themselves, or through a process of helping and teaching those who are not yet as fluid in the movements and skills as we are.

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Tom suggests, “if you work with someone better than you, you have to work harder to keep up and ultimately learn faster. Conversely, if you work with someone less experienced than you, it requires you to be humble and return to the basics of the practice to help your learning partner make progress without feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the learning required. Ultimately if you are prepared to get out of your own comfort zone, you can put your body in a position in which it has to adapt quickly or fail, either through teaching others or through receiving instruction – and it’s this wealth of stimulation that allows you to make greater levels of progression through discovering the limitations of your physicality via a collaborative learning process with others.”