About Us

Who are we?

Dojo GaryDojo Bobbie crThe Activ8Spain team is a carefully selected group of highly trained, dedicated and experienced professionals who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have a broad range of skills and abilities. What we have in common is a love of martial arts, fitness and good health habits.  Every one of the team is focused on achieving balance and happiness in their own lives in spite of the natural ups and downs of life, and here on your Activ8Spain retreat holiday we will help you find that for, and within, yourself too.

Activ8Spain is the brainchild of Gary Standaloft, a martial arts and self defence expert whose experience spans 30 years and includes a myriad of martial arts such as Kung fu, jujitsu, krav maga, kick boxing and more, plus very specific expertise in defending against guns, knives and other weapons. Along the way, Gary has studied and practiced other techniques to create balance for himself in life and work.  He is also a Reiki master, Swedish massage therapist and qualified to teach meditation among other skills.

Gary also runs a large successful martial arts training club in the UK with 10 highly qualified black belt instructors all of whom are CRB cleared and first aid trained, some of whom with be working with you on your Activ8Spain holiday.

activ8team

gradingSenior Instructor Profiles:

Jo Kitchener: Jo has been teaching jujitsu for the last ten years. She has previously managed hotels and businesses, therefore her experience has proven to be invaluable. Jo is also the General Manager at Activ8 Self Defence and keeps the business running smoothly. She has also been an integral part of its growth and continues to help drive the company forward. Jo is passionate that women and children should be able to defend themselves effectively and have the skills needed to de-escalate potential hostile situations. She has developed and run a number of courses for women who have suffered from domestic violence. These courses are designed to empower women and give them back their confidence.

Bobbie Stoddon: Having obtained the level of Black Belt in both Jujitsu and Kickboxing, Bobbie is very passionate about combining the many skills she has acquired studying martial arts along with her life experiences. Formerly the licensee of a busy town centre pub, Bobbie has experienced first-hand the very dangers and violence potentially faced in the pub environment that Activ8 teaches adults to defend against in its self-defence training. Bobbie believes this has given her empathy and understanding to those in that situation. Bobbie also has several teaching qualifications, having worked in a Primary School for a number of years, specialising in the area of Special Educational Needs.  The skills she has acquired enable Bobbie to be passionate about empowering all children and adults alike with confidence and building self esteem. Bobbie is a qualified Reflexology and Indian Head Massage Practitioner and is currently training in Swedish Massage. She is also studying for a Diploma in Crystal Healing Therapy. She believes you should look at the body holistically and work on the mind,spirit and physical to generate health and happiness.

Ryan Standaloft: Ryan has studied Jujitsu for around 8 years obtaining Black Belt level. He is currently studying BA Hons Primary Education Degree with advanced specialisation in Physical Education. His other qualifications include: Diploma in Sports Therapy, Foundation Degree in Sports Development and an NVQ Level 2 Activity Leadership. Ryan has worked in the United States for the past five summers as a Counsellor/Unit Leader for the Camp America Programme. From this he has developed a strong belief in the consultative approach to teaching, in that the student should have as much responsibility for their teaching as the teacher. He is passionate about teaching adults and children to have confidence to defend themselves and to be respectful to others.

Mark Bruffell: Mark is a senior black belt jujitsu instructor who comes from a military background, having served his country in troubled areas across the globe. Mark is a big man with a big heart and has a very approachable demeanour which allows his students to feel they can talk to him and ask advice with regards to their training. He has a personality that students quickly warm to, they always enjoy and respond to the classes he takes. He is a firm believer in discipline and believes respect has to be earned through a lot of hard work and practising what you preach. His life experiences have lead him to believe that a quiet word of encouragement does much to bring a student to the conviction of self-belief. Mark is able to bring this knowledge to bear from his military background and with coaching students of all age groups over a number of years in various sports and martial arts.

immyimmy2Immy, our yoga expert, trained in the Sivananda method of yoga in 2001 at Grass Valley, California. Sivananda is a form of Classical Hatha Yoga which focuses equal importance on breathing, the physical exercises "asanas" and mindful relaxation and meditation - a total mind, body and soul experience.

Immy also completed a training course at Sunyoga UK in 2006, specialising in yoga for children and has had a great deal of experience with her very popular 'teenyoga' classes in London.  The teenage years are a great time to learn how to relax and motivate oneself! In fact, it is always a great time to learn these skills and it is never too early, and more importantly, never too late, to learn this wonderful ancient art.  Imogen encourages everyone to give it a go at least once!  You'll find you'll want to incorporate yoga more and more into your life as you reap the benefits both physically and mentally.

Immy offers classes locally in the 'old schoolhouse' and in her beautiful Zen garden at home.  More classes will be coming to the mountainside as soon as the weather warms up a bit!  Yoga outside in nature is a beautiful experience which she is looking forward to sharing with you.

The Five Points Of Yoga

Breathing:  Yoga teaches you how to use the lungs to their maximum capacity and how to control the breath.  Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical.  This increases vitality and mental clarity.  

Relaxation:  Centuries before the invention of cars, planes, telephones, computers and other modern triggers of stress, yoga devised powerful techniques for deep relaxation.  Many modern stress management and relaxation methods borrow heavily from this tradition.  By deeply relaxing all your muscles you can thoroughly rejuvenate your nervous system and attain a sense of inner peace.  

Exercise:  Your physical body is meant to move and exercise.  If your lifestyle does not provide natural motion of muscles and joints, then disease and great discomfort can ensue with time.  Exercise through yoga improves flexibility, increases energy and maintains physical strength and vitality for longer.  

Attitude:  The most important point of all: you can become what you think.  If you entertain positive and creative thoughts, these will contribute to vibrant health and a peaceful, joyful mind.  The mind can be brought under perfect control by regular practise of meditation.  

Diet:  Besides being responsible for building and maintaining your physical body, the foods we eat profoundly affect our mind.  For maximum body-mind efficiency, yoga advocates a healthy well-balanced diet based on natural, organic wholefoods.  Immy is now studying Ayurvedic Nutrition with the world famous doctor and author, Dr. David Frawley to increase her thirst for knowledge of the healing sister science to yoga, learning how to create health and balance nutritionally, emotionally and physically.

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