Here's a small selection of the messages we were delighted to receive in July 2009 when we celebrated the 20th birthday of the Academy:
Rick Faye, Chief Instructor, Minnesota Kali Group:
As far as Ollie Batts goes...that horrible man - He has only been one of the truly solid pillars of martial arts in the UK for as long as I have known him. His knowledge is vast and his ability to communicate and inspire students has helped thousands.
I have grown a deep respect for Ollie (and Julie as well) over our years of association. His attention to detail and ability to use new information has kept CAMA on the forefront of this field for many years. I have always looked forward to my trips to Cambridge and I hope this year's is as good as always.
Deepest Respects and best wishes
Alain Jean-Baptiste, Birmingham Instructor, Great Britain Savate Federation
Thanks Ollie on behalf of all GBSF member especially the Birmingham members. For all the hard work, dedication and commitment you and Julie bring the GBSF to the standard of where we are today. No doubt your expertise together with your good personality has earned you the respect of martial artists in general. As we celebrate 37 years in martial arts and 20 years running the academy, I think we should take into consideration of how many time during the course of the 37 years where you had obstacles, setback, disappointment - Somehow you find the strength and courage within your heart to picked yourself up and carry on. When most of us would have just call it a day. It down to your passed positives action that we can today say that we got a successful federation which continue to grows. We are privilaged and grateful to have you around. On behalf of every single member GBSF thanks for all those years and I hope that you will have a wonderful time cause you deserve it.
Master Anton St'James, Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima UK/Europe, San Miguel Eskrima UK/Europe:
I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Ollie Batts on his 37th year teaching martial arts and the 20th Year of his successful Academy of Martial Arts.
Running a successful school is a difficult journey, the fact that you have kept to your path all this time stands as testimony to your hard work, dedication and commitment to the martial arts, your students and your own personal growth. I wish you all the very best for the future and to your continued success for many years to come.Warmest wishes
Peter Smielewski, Instrcutor, Cambridge University Taekwondo Club:
Ollie, I am truly grateful for providing me with fantastic opportunities for studying modern (and traditional :-)) aspects of martial arts. You are a great teacher and I wish could make it for the celebration.'
Dan Coley, Core Cambridge:
Many congratulations on making this significant milestone. That you've both worked tirelessly and given yourselves endlessly for all these years to help all these people deserves serious recognition. That you continue to do it in such a selfless, humble and enthusiastic way deserves even more. I'm just one of the many people that have been, and continue to be, grateful for your support and encouragement.
Paul Massey, IAKSA Kickboxing, Scotland:
I'd just like to send my good wishes to Ollie, Julie and the Academy on its 20th birthday. I have enjoyed several classes there over the years while attending with my brother, Trevor Massey, and have always found their classes welcoming, interesting and enjoyable. Cambridge is very lucky to have such an active martial arts body and I hope it continues for many years to come.
Congratulations on an amazing achievement and for making the Academy what it is today! Thanks so much for all the time and effort that you have put in to teaching and helping us!! I'm looking forward to the next 20 years of training! :)
What I will certainly also remember fondly is Ollie’s way of being so pragmatic about things. Once he explained that if you deflect a kick to the mid-section in training, you use your open hand. “However,” he said, “in a contest, use your fist.” Innocent me, I was wondering why and asked him – he looked at me for a moment with surprise in his eyes and then just said “Cause it f*ckin’ hurts!” Lesson learnt for life.