Reviews and Testimonials

Street Combat System SCS About SCS Instructors Contact SCS FAQ Street Combat System Thursday nights Special courses SCS Photos Private/ Small group Sessions Private students training photos Testimonials Ninja Therapy


Comments and Testimonials of those trained in SCS or by  Instructor John Black.






Prefect for a complete beginner. Safe calm environment , Instructor John is highly knowledgeable and patient. Puts you at ease and explains things in a way you can understand. Makes it fun to learn and get into . Highly recommend.



Amy Gordon



John is a patient and highly knowledgeable instructor. If you're interested in learning not only mixed martial arts weapons training and having fun while doing it I would highly recommend. Very calm and puts you at ease even if you're a complete beginner. John has studied multiple different disciplines and I have learned a lot from him from a few sessions thus far. Definitely worth checking out.



Freya Richardson


Great start for me. Great coach! Presents theory in an interesting and understandable way and a lot of practice. Helps to feel the body and understand movements. I learned a lot in my first session and tried it out. And psychologically very comfortable. Highly recommend.


Marina Lukina



Really fun and professional training! Really enjoy my time there.


Mikolaj Zdunski




Really good quality training, fun and you can learn whatever you want. Best training for me and definitely 5 stars.


Oliver Csesznak



Play based martial arts class. Would highly recommend it as more realistic and less rigid than the average class, fun humble collective.


Luciana Blaha



A training ailored to everyone and anyone, you learn what you like when you like and you can be certain it's effective and realistic. Not to mention it's a lot of fun! Would recommend 110%





Very good self defence instructor. Goes at your pace and doesn't push the limits too much. Very happy with the service.

Iveta Martuseviciute



Great place to learn some realistic self defence techniques and strategies in a fun, relaxed and safe environment. John really goes the extra mile to tailor his knowledge to your needs. Plenty of opportunity to learn other essential life skills too e.g. climbing, general fitness. Highly rec!


Arizona Mercedes Brodie

Self Defence Project, Grampian Rape Crisis. Unfortunately expelled from SCS after deliberately injuring a training partner, and lying about experiences of abuse and BJJ,to use as a qualification to teach.



John does a fantastic job of creating a friendly and inviting environment to learn effective self defence for realistic situations, from preventative measures and situational awareness to physical intervention. He has a wealth of knowledge in a variety of combat sports, along with competitive experience, making this an ideal place for people looking to start out, or further progress their current skillset.


Max Brodie

Personal Trainer, Doorman



Went to SCS to learn some key MMA skills that later allowed me to win my first MMA fight. John is as experienced as it gets in the realm of martial arts. His approach is very practical and effective.


Gordon McCulloch


John is the very best when it comes to self defence training. He tailors your  training to your own ability and helps you at your own pace. He is very knowledgeable and has so much to teach. Definitely the best person to learn from. Thanks John


Nathan Harbi

Taxi Driver



SCS is a great place for self defence training and sparring. I had limited experience in martial arts and was nervous getting started. I felt very welcomed by John and the other members. Really helped to boost my confidence and feel more savvy in confrontational situations. Thank you!


Spectra Vox

Organiser of "Goth on the Croft" calendar for anti bullying charity



John is a natural teacher with great depth of knowledge and experience. Highly recommend.


Audrey McLean



John is a great instructor. Very passionate and knowledgeable about all aspects of martial arts. His teaching is very clear and easy to follow, he tailors his instruction to each individuals  needs and abilities, and encourages you to develop at your own pace.


Kraig Milne

Doorman Aberdeen



With full responsibility, I can highly recommend SCS. John has a huge knowledge and experience on the highest level I could have imagined. It's worth to mention as well about his listening abilities. I used to train martial arts including krav maga, however must admit that above mentioned instructor has fantastic skills to have a look at everything from totally other perspective. The atmosphere is brilliant, the techniques he presents are very useful and the safety is a first class! I believe everybody would be fully satisfied. Martial arts are not only to help with keeping us fit, but also are extremely fruitful for the way how our brains function. We can easily build self confidence, that is why I also would like to recommend that for people who went through any type of domestic abuse. I'm really glad John has been recommended to me. Dziękuję:) Best wishes. 


Kataryzna Rozmarynowska




I started training with John some 5 months ago and the difference it has made has been incredible! The sessions I've had have not only given me physical exercise and motivation, but have also encouraged me to talk about and deal with things I wouldn't have been able to on my own. John is part trainer and life coach, and also part therapist and advisor, which has been enormously beneficial in helping deal with my work and stress in a way that works for me individually. I'm slowly learning self protection and martial arts, have toned up and improved my overall health and fitness, and have managed to cut out many of the unhealthy habits I used to have with alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Thanks for getting me into yoga and training, for being someone I can talk to and get unbiased advice and support from, and finally for getting me eating properly and cooking sunday dinner! I'm looking forward to continuing training with you and would highly recommend you to anyone looking to get themselves and their fitness and confidence in order.

 Dorota Morawska 

Manager of The City Restaurant and Bar, Aberdeen.



I randomly came across SCS about four months ago when I was surfing the web and was feeling at an all time fitness and motivational low.During our weekly sessions we have covered all aspects of the SCS system combined with fitness training which has manifested in an improvement I could never have envisaged.My weight has reduced considerably, I estimate at least 10 kg since we started, as well as feeling equipped with appropriate tools to defend myself should that unfortunate street scenario ever arise.I’m now continuing to have weekly sessions with John and I feel so motivated by his dedication, knowledge, advice and encouragement that I can only anticipate even greater improvements.My own thought to anyone contemplating ,for whatever reason, participating in the SCS system is to not hesitate. Consider it, as I do, a  multifaceted experience which builds defence skills,confidence , fitness and maybe more significantly the gaining of knowledge for its own sake because I have found that striving to achieve these goals can bring more substance to your life.

 Stuart Forsyth



John has been training with me for a while now and has proved his dedication, motivation and resilience within my club and 
within the ring. To begin with I was unaware that John was an instructor with his own club, he just turned up and trained. And
trained hard at that! He listened and even when the squad training was at its hardest, he stoically carried on. Unlike other
instructors that talk about sparring, but are rarely seen to do it, John went a stage further and with no regard for his reputation
entered the ring in a MMA fight. He was astonishing! Maintaining his composure and that almost Japanese stoic expression,
he quickly dispatched his opponent. At our Honour tournament he dominated a experienced and technical opponent, and was
very unfortunate to be disqualified in the third round when a punch slide from his opponents chest to his chin. Very unlucky.
But John accepted the decision without a protest. You see, I believe it's not about the win or lose for John, it's the experience
and practical knowledge gained. I'm a great believer in a man's character by his deeds, not his words.
Here's the thing; I have been teaching karate for 36 years and MMA since 1994, and I would happily have a club full of lads like John! 
Marc Howes - Head Coach and Founder of Team Jigoku
Daishihan for Scotland, 6th Dan and direct student of Kaicho Jon Bluming 10th Dan (one of the first foreign students
of Masutatsu Oyama and founder of Kyokushin Budokai)
Co-Founder of 'Honour' MMA, Aberdeen's first Mixed Martial Arts tournament



We contacted John at Street Combat System during a period in which a member of our family was being bullied at school.  Neither the School nor the Police could offer us any support and we didn't know where to turn for help.  We found John's website and booked four one to one classes with him. We were apprehensive because we had never needed to do anything like this before, but from the moment we met him and the first class started, we realised that we had done the right thing.  He gave us the confidence and ability to try and sort the problem out for ourselves.  We have also attended the Thursday evening class which is excellent too. All classes teach you how to handle "real" street situations.  We would recommend the classes to anyone and any age group.


Shiela Smith




Hi John
I just thought I'd e-mail to say thanks very much for running a class for us last Thrusday. Everyone who took part had an awesome time and learned some really useful stuff.
A few people were asking about the Thursday classes. Does the 8-week program go in cycles, or can you just turn up and start on any given Thursday?
Once again, thanks very much for a brilliant class.
James Callender

Venture scouts Aberdeen



It’s a sad reflection on the state of the world today when we have to consider our own personal safety from attackers both in and out with the workplace. The self defence course gave us the opportunity not only to develop our self confidence when faced with an attacker, but to learn disarming and disabling techniques that will help us should the need ever arise. I sincerely hope that we never need to use them, but you never know what, or who’s, around the corner.
Given that 75% of course attendees are now pursuing further training with you is testament to your professionalism, your excellent presentation of the course, the effectiveness of the techniques taught and to the encouragement shown to all during the five weeks. Our wrists still hurt, but we loved it.Thanks John,

Laura, Flash and all staff at The Moorings Bar.


As part of my continuing plan for self improvement, I decided to take up martial arts. To be exact, Street Combat System. This is a bit different. Not for me the 'mincing about in white pyjamas pointing the toes at 56 degrees while pondering the ethical implications of catching a fly with chopsticks' type martial arts. This is proper 'break his arm then stick your fingers in his windpipe til he passes out' self defence style martial arts. The training is very hard, but it has to be. The whole point of it is that we can fight hard and fast when required. This means we're not going to have time to remove our shoes, slip on our jammies and centre our chakras or whatever else. So we don't. We literally walk in off the street and get kneed in the groin, choked to unconsciousness then give money to the man doing it. It may seem like more of a voluntary mugging than a lesson, but it works. I've only been at it for a month or so, and I already have the ability to restrain anyone with a wrist or elbow lock so unbelievably painful that they will move exactly how I want them, all with one hand behind my back. And his. Now this is actually quite useful in my particular line of work, not to mention certain social situations, but that's not why I'm doing it. I don't want to use this ability, this is why I took up running first. I just want to know that I could do it. So don't start, cos as soon as this swelling goes down and I can see you, I'll have you. Without hurting a fly.

Quoted from online blog of Keith Grant, a Community Warden in Aberdeen.



After only two weeks i have lost 7Kgs training with John. The great part of training with john is it is fun and works wonders! Before i used to do 300 situps a day and i never had abs like i do now! I only do between 24-30 situps "John style" a day! My strength and tone is so much better and I intend to stick to this work out! I'm looking better than i ever have.


David John Williamson, candidate for armed forces


Being a personal trainer i have a huge interest in all methods of exercise. Martial arts take a lot of dedication and perservearence, both of which i look for to challenge myself both physically and mentally. Master John has been able to present me with all of these through SCS. I have watched my technique in all aspects of sparring and grappling improve. Training with  John both privately and in class has been highly beneficial to my current training and i plan to continue. SCS has introduced me to a new form of cardiovascular exercise which i will highly recommend to anyone.


Joe Astell, personal fitness instructor and sports and Indian head massage therapist of Astell Massage



When I first heard of SCS, I have to admit I was somewhat sceptical. Having previously Thai Boxed and having some exposure to Kung Fu, I thought I knew a fair bit about martial arts and 'handling myself'. However, after spending a little time with John I was surprised  I had a lot to learn, and John had a lot to offer.

 I now realise that while my previous experience was good and helpful, it was also largely sport based and not street based. Through training with John, I now feel even more able to protect myself and my family. I feel constantly challenged and inspired to improve and to become a more consummate martial artist – be that in the dojo, the ring or the street. Through SCS I have been motivated to reach new levels of fitness, strength and skill. 

John is a skilled teacher. John is in tune with the needs of his students and is easily able to cater to their demands through his wealth of knowledge and practical training methods. I do not hesitate to recommend John’s services to my friends and colleagues. If you are reading this as a potential student, I full-heartedly recommend you try John as I did, I am sure you will be just as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Jared Dempsey, Aberdeen