Darren and Helen began training in Taekwondo in their 20s, earning black belts before transitioning to Ju Jitsu, Judo, and eventually Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). They trained with Chris Haueter, a member of the Dirty Dozen, who promoted them to BJJ blue belts. In 2000, they founded Combat Base, focusing on grappling techniques and incorporating wrestling, Luta Livre, and Sambo. Combat Base has since grown to include 25 homegrown black belts and 15 affiliated gyms. Darren and Helen have conducted global seminars and published a book detailing Combat Base's history.
Both Darren and Helen started off late in martial arts, as it was not until their 20s that they initially began training in Taekwondo. Within which they earned their 3rd degree black belt and 1st degree blackbelts respectively. Both competed successfully at a local
level but then wanted something a little more. With the very first UFC event taking place around that time, they both decided to move into Ju Jitsu and Judo, as there were extremely limited opportunities to train Gi based grappling back. After both earning black belts and brown belts in those arts respectively, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu arrived, signalling the start of what would be their main focus in future.
They were invited to train with Chris Haueter, a member of the Dirty Dozen, one of the first 12 non-Brazilians to achieve a black belt. After a few years they were both promoted to blue belt in BJJ from Chris and given his blessing to teach. From this point they decided to open a gym to try and help spread the good word of BJJ. Wanting something different to what was available though, they decided to create a brand new team from scratch.
17th January 2000 thus saw the birth of Combat Base. They both continued to train, teach and compete trying to gain as much knowledge as possible. Competing in many different formats and both winning tournaments in striking only, striking and grappling and grappling only, as well as having a couple of matches at amateur level MMA.
Combat Base continued to grow, attracting other like-minded people. It became a real think tank with people bringing other elements of grappling in. Trying to get as much grappling knowledge as possible, they trained in wrestling, Luta Livre and Sambo to help compliment their BJJ. From these humble beginnings, Darren and Helen have both progressed to 3rd degree black belts.
Combat Base now has a further 25 home grown black belts with 15 gyms flying the Combat Base banner around the country. They have given seminars all over the world to a wide range of groups and people. For anyone that wants to know more about the history of Combat Base, they published “Never Mind The Politics, Here’s The Combat Base Scrapbook” in December last year cataloguing all their steps along the way.
3rd Degree BJJ Black Belts
3rd Degree Taekwondo Black Belts
Ju Jitsu Black Belts
Judo Brown Belts
Combat Base UK Founders
Helen Currie “first UK female BJJ Black Belt”
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