Sli beatha

Sli Beatha ('Way of Life' in Irish Gaelic, also literally translated as "occupation") is a hybrid martial art and life development system based on Celtic principles and philosophyFact|date=December 2007 developed by former Special Operations police officer, Craig Smith.Fact|date=June 2007 The system is designed to integrate the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual through training and study of personal defence, fitness, and survival.

It should be noted that the system is not based on techniques or tactics used by Iron Age Celts (as the term "Celtic", used in common language, has a rather generic meaning), but is, instead, based on the philosophy of Celtic individuality and integrated physical/mental/spiritual aspects of the individual [] . A formal study of Celtic and Irish history is required for certain rank requirements.

Tactics and Techniques

Sli Beatha was developed as a modern eclectic system of personal defence and life development. The martial aspect is based on modern hand to hand combat techniques with a focus on striking, though grappling techniques are included.

The tactical and strategic aspects of Sli Beatha focus on personal combatives. The techniques are similar to those found in Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, Jujutsu, Judo, and Aikijutsu and include a wide array of defensive and offensive hand/elbow/knee strikes, kicks, blocks, parries, traps, take-downs, locks/chokes, and finishing techniques. The weapons training focuses on defence against firearm, blade, and baton threats and attacks and includes training in firearms, blades, batons, and modern weapons use.

The martial foundation is based on the five principles of personal combat:

* Attack Avoidance
* Target Recognition
* Target Acquisition
* Weapons Selection
* Weapons Delivery


The first Sli Beatha classes were taught in Warrensburg, Missouri in October 1996. The classes would spread to nearby Central Missouri State University where a student organization, the Central Martial Arts Club, was formed to provide classes in Sli Beatha.

Sli Beatha student Duane Hamacher later attended the University of Missouri in Columbia and founded the Mizzou Martial Arts Club (2000-2006) to provided classes in Sli Beatha. The application of Sli Beatha to Mixed Martial Arts allowed the club to sponsor tournaments and events in Pankration which attracted a wide range of students [ [ Mufields pankration team] ] . The Mizzou Pankration Team was formed in 2001 as part of the club to compete in and host Pankration/MMA tournaments, seminars, and events. [ [ Mizzou Martial Arts Club ] ]

In 2001, a Sli Beatha student, Lee Whitaker, won the women's division of the World Pankration Championships in Chicago [ [ 2001worldchampionships ] ] In 2002, the Mizzou Pankration Team was designated as a Champion Team by the World Pankration Federation after placing first or second in overall team winnings at all tournaments in which they competed. [ [ mufieldspankrationteam ] ]

Craig Smith (Ceim 26) and Duane Hamacher (Ceim 20) are the only official instructors of Sli Beatha.

From 1996-2003, Smith published Grandmaster Magazine, a magazine dedicated to realistic martial arts, fitness, and combat sports, based in Kansas City. [ CraigSmithcolumns ] ]

Ranking System

Comprised of 33 levels (called "ceims" in Gaeilge), the system is divided into three main sections:

1. Student - Physical Training (Traenail Fisiceach):Ceims 1-4 are focused on technique, tactics, general knowledge :Ceims 5-9 are focused on application with advanced techniques:Ceim 10 is a "capstone" rank, includes fitness, technique, character, and research paper requirements.:Average Time to attain Ceim 10: 2-3 years of regular study.

2. Practitioner - Mental Development (Forbairt Intinne):Ceims 11-13 are focused on ground fighting, multiple attackers, offensive tactics:Ceims 14-16 are focused on weapons threats/attacks defence, offensive tactics, and modern weapons:Ceims 17-19 are focused on First Aid/CPR, Fitness training, and wilderness survival:Ceim 20 is another "capstone" rank with strict and high standards.:Average Time to attain Ceim 20: 5-8 years of regular study.

3. Instructor - Spiritual Discovery (Fionnachtain Spioradaita):Ceims 21-29: Instructor levels:Ceims 30-32: Master Levels:Ceim 33: Grandmaster Level (for a single individual only):Average Time to attain Ceim 30: 30+ years of regular study.

Official requirements for the black level (Ceim 20) include:

*Successful competition experience (MMA/Muay Thai/Kickboxing)
*Firearms/Weapons Qualifications
*First Aid/CPR or EMT/Paramedic Certification
*Technique Qualification
*Wilderness Survival Training
*Fitness Qualification
*Teaching Experience
*Community Service
*Development of a new skill/craft/talent
*Written Exams
*Book Reviews
*Research Papers

Within the system, each ceim corresponds to a specific colour, corresponding to the advancement of the student through the system. Rank colours may be worn or displayed by patches, banners, or other insignia.

*Ceim 1: White
*Ceims 2-3: Natural (tan)
*Ceims 4-5: Yellow
*Ceims 6-7: Orange
*Ceims 8-10: Green
*Ceims 11-13: Olive
*Ceims 14-16: Forest (dark) Green
*Ceims 17-19: Red
*Ceims 20-32: Black
*Ceim 33: Red and Gold

The Sli Beatha uniform consists of a black t-shirt (with rank colour insignia on the left breast), black BDU (military) pants, and tactical boots. When a student has reached Ceim 10, they wear a black BDU top.

Sli Beatha Founder

Sli Beatha founder and Ard Taoiseach (Chief Instructor) Craig Smith was a former police and special operations officer, was publisher and editor-in-chief of Grandmaster Magazine (1996-2002), Director of SAFELIFE, and president of the World Pankration Federation.

Smith has trained members of military and police Special Operations units, and has worked with the FBI, DEA, ATF and other government agencies.Fact|date=July 2007

Outside Credit

Sli Beatha also credits training, support, and guidance from Jim 'Ronin' Harrison, a Triple Crown martial arts champion (Karate, Judo, and Kickboxing) during the 1960s. Harrison was also a Special Violence Squad police officer in St Louis and served in a Thai Army Search-and-Destroy unit that undertook missions in SE Asia during the 1970s. He has taught Special Forces, Army Ranger, SEAL, and commando units for the US government/. [ [ ] ] Harrison founded the Bushidokan and Ronin Justu martial art systems.


* [ Greek Show, Pitch Weekly (Kansas City), By Casey Logan, April 18, 2002]
* [ University of Missouri Fields Pankration Team March 2002]
* [ WPF tests new competition tunic, March 2002]
* [ United States MidWest Championships - Chicago (October 27,2002)]
* [ WPF Heart of America Open Pankration Tournament (February 24, 2002)]
* [ Kansas City Classic Pankration Tournament (April 21, 2002)]
* [ 2001 World Pankration Championships (November 10, 2001)]
* [ Mizzou Martial Arts Club]
* [ Craig Smith]

See also

Jim 'Ronin' Harrison

External links

* [ Sli Beatha]
* [ Mizzou Martial Arts Club]
* [ Craig Smith]

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