Integrated Martial Arts Club

The University of Sussex Integrated Martial Arts (IMA) Club teaches a thorough self defence and physical conditioning system.

Everyone is welcome to train with us and you don't need to be a member of the University to take part. Our training sessions will help you to develop self-defence skills whilst getting a good work-out in a cooperative and fun atmosphere.

Most people start training with the club as beginners but many others arrive already proficient in one or more martial arts, with an interest in increasing their all-round skill level.

Our training includes the following components, all of which are important for effective self-defence training:

  • Striking (a 'first line of attack' critical to any self defence system)
  • Stand-up grappling (how to clinch and control an opponent in close proximity)
  • Locks, throws and takedowns
  • Ground fighting (including pins, escapes and submissions)
  • Pressure points (attacking the weak points of the human body, important to cancel out size-difference)
  • Weapons defence (especially knives)
  • Pre-fight negotiation & defence readiness (anticipating violence, overcoming shock and reflex-techniques to get off the 'back-foot')
  • Fitness & conditioning

We train first and foremost for self defence, using methods that will give you effectiveness and confidence as quickly as possible – and that means hard work and sweat! The stiffness you will feel after the first session just shows how you are transforming your body, by two weeks you will be feeling great. But amongst the hard work we still have a lot of fun! We are a diverse and inclusive club and all are welcome!

Some members of the club like to use the highly effective training methods for competitions. In recent years, IMA trainees have competed (sometimes while cross-training in other martial arts) in Judo, Boxing, Submission grappling/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

IMA combines grappling and striking in a unified system, where stance and movement allow effective defence and offence in all ranges. You can't simply train in a grappling art and then train in a separate striking art to be functional in both; often drills for one might create bad habits for the other. IMA is different. By using striking and grappling together in tactical ways, the techniques you learn will be useful in all scenarios. Your striking will allow entry to grappling and your grappling will set up striking because IMA uses the same fundamental skills in both.

The task of exploring the fundamental skills needed to deal with the full range of self defence situations is an open-ended, evolutionary one. As Bruce Lee said:

"Study everything, discard what is useless, keep what is useful, and add what is uniquely your own."

Our training reflects this philosophy and the aim of IMA is not to create students who simply copy the coaches. We want you to be effective in a full range of self defence scenarios, able to shape and combine techniques in ways that work best for you so that you can find your own way.

For further information, contact the club via our Facebook group.