Peter's Introduction to The History of the World Combat Association (WCA)

2023 sees the 30th anniversary of the founding of the UK’s British Combat Association (BCA) by Peter Consterdine and Geoff Thompson; an organisation that changed the face of martial arts, not only domestically but in a wider international context.

Whilst there is now little argument against the view that traditional martial arts don’t work in real life, street situations, back then, it was irreligious to the mainstream martial arts community. However, the views of Geoff and myself were based on many years of door security work for both of us and, in my case, many years of operating in the Close Protection (Bodyguarding) environment on an international stage.

What we evinced was that a martial arts system should be the foundation for a ‘practical’ system of defensive tactics, but not without modification. Issues not factored into traditional teachings, such as fear control, surprise assaults, combat stress, pre-emption, decision-making difficulties, use of force and the law, performance under stress, environment, context, presence of weapons, emergency hormone responses, multiple opponents, all conspire to make a traditional martial art often very flawed when faced with an unexpected violent attack.

The strength of our argument lay however in our background as long-term, committed martial arts practitioners and whilst we espouse certain strong beliefs, principles, concepts and tactics for real violent engagements, we both still practice very high level, quality martial arts and therefore speak from within, not outside that community.


Whilst we started the BCA as a ‘home’ for instructors who felt they had reached a ceiling within their existing organisation, particularly from wanting to research practical issues, we had other key principles that we started and have maintained consistently for 29 years.

The first of these principles was NO POLITICS. Having seen, first hand, the destructive effects on the UK Karate scene of ‘power politics’, Geoff and I were committed to providing a home for instructors and students where an apolitical atmosphere would pervade and where freedom existed for, say, a karateka to train in Judo, or a grappler in punching and kicking systems. We actively encourage our instructors to look outside the BCA, if necessary, to other groups who may be practising a system that will fit with the individual’s needs.

The WCA is run on exactly the same non-political lines. My personal view has always been that if you build walls around people, they will only ever look for ways to get over them. The other guiding principle we wanted to establish was to create a ‘family feel’ to the Association. This we have achieved and I know of no other organisation that has such a friendly, helpful atmosphere, particularly given the awesome ability of our senior instructor cadre.

                                               “It is these principles that we have brought to the WCA"

The raison d’etre for the WCA was quite simply – DEMAND. Over many years, we had been regularly asked by overseas instructors and groups for details about the BCA and how to join. I never felt, however, that the BCA, as a domestic UK organisation was the right fit for international groups, however internationally recognised the organisation had become – hence the formation of the WCA in 2011.

The WCA now provides that ‘home’ for all those like-minded martial arts instructors, for whom domestic, traditional organisations may not be the answer. I know that in many countries, it is still the main, ‘style’ organisations that predominate and that the practical martial arts instructor is often a voice crying in the wilderness. Membership to the WCA will provide both a home of international recognition, as well as strengthening their standing on their own domestic stage.

The WCA is an international forum and network for martial arts Instructors who, at the present time, may often feel they are on the outside, looking in to very general and poorly managed forums, whereas now you can be a voice working from the inside. As we progress, it is the intention to have international training camps and as we do with the BCA, the WCA website will promote the international member groups.


                                                                  Peter and Iain teaching in Stuttgart 2015

Many of our senior BCA instructors, who joined us some years ago, are now with our support and BCA exposure, internationally recognised as being the very best at what they do. We will bring this same support to the WCA and give a platform for the development of our instructors worldwide.

Both Geoff Thompson and Peter, over many years, became the archetypal ‘agony aunts’ for our Instructors, and we certainly continue this service with all our people in the World Combat Association – we are only ever a phone call, or   e-mail away and will try and help, not only with your development, but also with any problems, or ‘road blocks’ that may be put in your way as you progress. Your student membership can only be strengthened by having them in membership to a prestigious, international organisation, whatever style you promote. It is a misconception that the BCA is only geared towards practical, combat issues.

We have pretty much the complete range of martial arts in membership with us and whilst the following is in no way comprehensive, it is a snapshot of some of the arts practised in a traditional way by our instructors:- Karate, Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Tae Kwon-Do, Kickboxing, Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Capoeira, Krav Maga, Western Boxing, Olympic Wrestling as well as many freestyle variations and mixed martial arts. Don’t think you need to be solely involved in practical systems, as the WCA is also a home for martial arts groups who are seeking freedom from restrictive practises, encouragement to grow and a network of some of the best martial arts practitioners on the planet.

Peter Consterdine 10th Dan Karate

Chief Instructor

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