About The Author

Hi, my name is John Mellon and I’m new to blogging, so I hope the blogging community as a whole will bear with me as I learn all about this new communication channel.  Any  feedback, tips and suggestions from more experienced people in this field would be greatly appreciated by this rank beginner.

My blog is driven by my enthusiasm – okay, obsession – with the martial arts, which I have studied all my life.  Over the years of daily training – 55 at the last count – and almost daily teaching – 44 and counting (Lord, I feel old!) – I hope I’ve amassed some useful knowledge to pass along.  Along the way I’ve acquired teaching ranks in a couple of dozen arts, master ranking in four, I’m the Headmaster of two systems, the founder of two arts, and the co-founder of two others.  I’m a former Close Protection Officer (CPO or ‘Body-guard’) and have trained others in these skills for top agencies.

I tend not to teach most of these arts as discrete systems any more – with the exceptions of Small Circle Ju-jitsu, Kalis Ilustrisimo and Maide Uisce (‘Water Stick’ – a modern systemization of the Irish traditional weapon art of Baittereach – or Stick-fighting – whose signature weapon is the Shillelagh) – having founded Munen Muso Ryu (a conceptual or principle-based art/method of training) in 1980, which I’ve continued to teach and develop ever since.

I’ve been fortunate to train with many wonderful teachers, some of them as famous as they are skilled, such as: the late great Prof. Wally and his successor Prof. Leon Jay of Small Circle Ju-jitsu; Grandmaster Fred Adams – the man who founded and nurtured authentic Hap-Ki-Do in Great Britain, and who has influenced my self-defence syllabus hugely.  I have been the official Technical Advisor to the Profs. Jay since the late 1990s, and I am the Assistant Director for Kalis Ilustrisimo Repeticion Orihinal (KIRO) for the UK and Ireland under Guru Shamim Haque, who himself is a direct student of Grandmaster Tony Diego, the inheritor of the system and senior student of the late, great ‘Tatang’ Ilustrisimo, the most feared fighter and accomplished blade-master of the Philippines in the last century.

My personal concerns are with the understanding and teaching of the martial arts and I hope that my personal experience and writing may make some small useful contribution.  I hope you find the contents sufficiently entertaining (in the true sense of the word) and interesting to return again and again.  A blog is my way of thinking out loud, but I’d rather have a conversation than deliver a monologue.

So if you enjoy this blog or any of the posts, please do subscribe and recommend it to like-minded friends, and do rate and comment – by interacting with myself and other subscribers, you can help to make this a more vital, enjoyable – and hopefully – useful dialogue.

8 Responses to About The Author

  1. Jim Castoldi says:

    Hi John,
    Just read your article on Dave “Don” Castoldi…he is my God Father…lol…not kidding (and my uncle). And yes, there are many, many stories of people that for one reason or another, think it’s a good idea to take on a 6’5″, 300lb guy with cinder blocks for fists. If you have the interest…this is one of my favorites. I was a teenager, playing golf with my cousin. a guy hopped on the back 9 and asked if he could join us for the back 9. Sure, no problem…we introduced ourselves…before he could get his name out of his mouth, he stalled and said wait…did you say Castoldi?…Do you know Dave Castoldi? I’m always hesitant to answer that…hahaha. Yes, he’s my uncle. He went on to tell me that he and 4 of his buddies were in a store 24 and were “under the influence”. his buddy jumped in line in front of an elderly couple…showed them a playboy magazine and said…you don’t mind if i cut…right? the couple was obviously nervous…then the guy said…next thing i see…is this giant hand reach over the couple and grab my buddy by the back of the neck and says…as you accurately described, with a soft grumble…” hey pal…I mind…and have some respect for these people”…the elderly couple walked away quickly…he said his buddy took a swing and that was it…Dave bashed him with a gallon of milk…lol…and did his typical tazmanian devil on all 5 of them. The best part is…the guy said “all i remember was when i woke up there were news papers everywhere and i was laying in a bunch of potato chips and the cops were there…my friends were sprawled out all over the store…he is the baddest dude i’ve ever bumped into”. And that is not Dave or any buddy of Dave’s telling that story…that was a victim…lol. Later, i was telling him that story…he was recalling it and my aunt (dave’s wife) overheard me and added…oh, I remember that. I was outside in the car waiting…i looked in the window and saw legs go flying through the air and immediately said to myself outloud… “dammit David….can we go anywhere?” LOL. good stuff. great article. Thanks again for the read. and fyi…his punches hurt really badly…i had to experience DC’s move of the day…every day when i worked with him!


  2. Lonnie Calhoun says:

    John, it was great seeing you in action at the memorial program honoring the late Grandmaster Wally Jay (Small Circle Jujitsu) in Sacramento, California. I really learned a great deal from your presentation, Let’s stay in touch. Cheers! Lonnie, the Jigoku Dojo, Virginia.

  3. Irene says:

    Was excited to read that you’ve known Nimara Braddell! Some years ago I lost touch with her. Do you still know whwere she is by any chance? Would be grateful for a reply!

    • Hi, Irene – sadly, I too lost touch with Nimara many years ago now; if I remember rightly she and her husband moved out of London down to the West Country somewhere, but I’m afraid that’s all I know. Nimara was a superb exponent, and although I can’t claim to have trained that much with her, she was one of those teachers who had a disproportionate influence on my thinking and technique. I wish you all the best in contacting her and do please give her my best regards should you be successful.

      With all good wishes for your future training and development.


  4. Anna Jones says:

    A very interesting and thought provoking site. I look forward to following what yourself and others have to discuss. Here’s to openminded discussion and training insights!

    • Hi, Anna – thankyou for checking out the site! I’m always interested in the opinions of Judo-ka, as Judo is the oldest of the oriental systems to be taught in the U.K and the perspective of practitioners who are constantly pressure-testing their art and individual skills on the mat are always instructive. Hope to hear more from you in the future.

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