Description Management Purposes of the club Style Open Mind
Open Doors Discipline and Form Fair Practice Self-defence History


CARISMA is a club of individuals that enjoy training and practicing martial arts in a relaxed and disciplined environment. We like to point out that our status of being a club involves an implicit joining and we like to know that our members have the feeling of belonging to the club. People looking for a random class to join when they dont have anything better to do for that evening, will immediately realise that CARISMA is not the right place for that. Being a non-profit making organization we are not as concerned about money as commercially oriented clubs might be; one of our aims is to keep and develop a controlled number of members that share our point of view about martial arts.


The club is managed by two groups of people:

  • A democratically elected commitee, headed by a president, takes all decision about day to day business, including managing all financial aspects of running the club.
  • The instructors, nominated and headed by the master, take care of all technical aspects of running the classes and teaching.

Please refer to our contact details page for more information.

Purposes of the club

  1. To promote the practice of Kickboxing, Multicombat and related martial arts in Cambridge (UK).
  2. To promote codes of safety in the sport and practice of the martial arts.
  3. To promote the moral, mental, physical and social well-being of all members.
  4. To co-operate with other bodies having similar aims.
  5. To be amateur. i.e. to be governed by an amateur committee whose voting members shall not receive any pecuniary advantage by reason of controlling interest.
  6. To obtain, collect, receive and administer money and funds for these purposes on a not-for-profit basis.

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We teach and practice Kickboxing and Multicombat: the former includes a broad range of techniques using punches similar to Boxing, sweeping techniques and kicks taken from traditional martial arts like Tae Kwon Do or Karate. The latter style adds to the above techniques Thai Boxing strikes (low kicks, elbow and knee techniques) and blocks, some Judo and Ju-Jitsu blocks and throws, choking techniques and others.

During our classes we are always trying to encourage students be aware about their posture, stance and distribution of weight as an active part of the training. Simple rules to bear in mind when considering a technique or a position are the following:

  • Some techniques or position are more suitable for certain body shapes: try to learn them all. At the same time make sure you know which one suits you better and in what situations.
  • Feel stable on your feet: it shouldn’t an easy task to push you out of position.
  • Feel mobile on your feet: moving from one position to the other should be easy and natural.
  • Never over commit on a strike or a block. If the attack is unsuccessful you’ll be in trouble
  • Keep a suitable guard that best protects your head and your torso (in that order): immediately after a punch the striking hand should go back to guard position, ready to strike again. If you are kicking, your guard should stay in a suitable position to minimize the conseguances of a block and courter attack from your opponent.

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Open Mind

Although our classes revolve around a syllabus and specific training routines we often remind to ourselves the differences between what applies and works in a sport bout, compared to what would be necessary in a street confrontation. Sport has a set of very restrictive rules that somehow limit the free expression of martial arts: for this reason we run from time to time classes where we apply Thai Boxing techniques, or Tae Kwon Do kicks or Ju Jitsu joint locks. This is our way to avoid being too specialized in a style and totally unaware of the remaining ones.

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Open Doors

Our club has always been open and welcoming toward anybody who is interested in watching and/or joining our classes, wherever we train. This obviously imply that the spectators must respectful toward us and our training. We also encourage other clubs to contact us for joint training session and seminars. We are interested in trying out any martial and any style as long as it is considered a sharing of information between willing martial artists, in a friendly, non competitive way.

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Discipline & Form

Compared to some traditional martial art club, CARISMA might seem pretty relaxed. For example we don’t bow at each other like most Japanese and Korean martial arts clubs do. At the same time if compared to many Kickboxing club we look much more formal. From our point of view discipline is essential to guarantee a smooth and enjoyable lesson, free from disturbance and interruptions. The lesson is always run by an instructor or by the master and everybody follows the lesson according to the his/her instructions. If you are already a member please pay attention to the following simple rules:

  1. Lessons start and stop at a particular time: it’s very important to make sure to be there before the lesson starts and to leave after it is finished.
  2. People arriving late will have to wait to be admitted to the class.
  3. People that for any reason have to leave early should notify the master before hand.
  4. People that have to temporarily leave the training hall during the class should seek the master’s consent.

The above rules, apart from being part of good manners and common sense, have a strong importance from a safety point of view and should be strictly observed.
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Fair Practice

We firmly discourage our members from being too aggressive or unfair against their training partners. People looking for trouble either within or outside the club are not welcome among us. A martial artist is a modest person: he/she doesn’t show off his/her skills in order to threaten people around him/herself. He/she is self conscious of his/her superiority and he/she is always trying to avoid troubles instead of creating some him/herself.

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From our point of view self-defense comes as result and consequence of training and it is not the first goal of the martial art. During classes we occasionally practice and learn specific self-defense techniques, applied to real life situations.

From time to time we organise self-defence seminars open to CARISMA’s students and to the general public. These seminars aim to increase students’ awareness instead of giving silly illusions like: “defend yourself against anybody in three lessons”.

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CARISMA, the Cambridge Riverside Martial Arts club, was started by Massimo Gaetani in early 1997 as an informal group of friends, meeting on a regular basis and training in a Cambridge (UK) park. Once reached a critical mass of a core group of very keen people, in May 1999 it became a martial arts club and has been active in that capacity since then.
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