Time to introduce our MAAS Liaison Officer GM Jim Cockram. MAAS Internationals physical link to the HQ in the UK, formerly the World Co ordinator, a highly travelled and experienced instructor with more than 50 years experience in martial arts.
Jim started his martial arts journey in 1969, aged 8 at Bridge Road Community Centre in Willesden training in Judo with sensei Fred. Over the next 20 or so years he dabbled in many combat arts but never staying too long in any one place. Like most young people he could never find the martial art that scratched the itch.
He joined the Pegasus Martial arts academy under Master Mike Zilles in 1991 predominantly to learn kickboxing but soon gravitating to the mats where students were training in Spirit Combat. He’d found the style that suited him, simple forms, easily adapted and free to utilise the 20 plus years of experience in other dojos.
The Spirit Combat Camber Sands week camp was a turning point. This is where, in the summer of 1993, Jim met the then Kancho, Brian Dossett. Their first meeting was less about martial arts and more about the up and coming Rainbow Camp, an outdoor activity weekend for kids run by SCI. Jim comes from a highly respected Scouting family, his training basically started in the cot so was the ideal candidate to help run the Rainbow Camps. The Camber Sands Camp was also where Jim met Soke Bill Cox, he introduced Jim to SC harmony and enjoyed watching him blundering around the mats something many of you reading this will fully understand.
March 1996 Jim finally passed his driving test, being sober allowed him to take the lessons but upon reaching that goal he didn’t know what was next. That very evening he received a call from Brian Dossett explaining Mike Zilles was closing the Pegasus Martial Arts Academy and would he consider teaching Spirit Combat in the Chiltern district. This was the catalyst to start training in earnest, travelling across London four times a week to train with both Brian and Bill, learning from the best to pass onto his students.
Brian and Jim became good friends and in 2003, under the premise of visiting Brians sister in Australia, a plan was hatched to travel to the International clubs using a round the world ticket. April 2004 the pair set off, Thailand, Australia and the USA, taking in 5 locations all in 3 weeks. Many overseas trips followed and another RTW trip in 2007 saw them go the other way Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia this time.
Jim first met the Scandinavians back in 2004 but it wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that a chance encounter with Jens Hogsander kicked off a relationship that has seen MAAS International explode onto the scene. Jens was set up by Jim to receive a one to one padwork session with Brian, twenty minutes of absolute torture which he survived, bloodied and sweating. As they say the mould was set, Jim and Jens have become the best of friends and share a sense of humour bordering on the psychotic but one which entertains everyone they meet.
Jim doesn’t go in for titles and belts yes he’s considered a grand master but will be the first to dismiss that achievement and get down to the nitty gritty of the art being the most important aspect of what he does. Jim lives and breathes MAAS and Spirit Combat International travelling whenever possible to share his experiences and hopefully make a new friend or two. He believes the mat should be a place of enjoyment, physically uncomfortable maybe but laughter must prevail. This is when true learning happens, this is when memories are forged and tattooed on the soul. To Jim there is nothing better than meeting up with a fellow martial artist, enjoying a little banter, knowing intuitively it’s about to go pear shaped.