You cannot make it up can you, on a day when one item of tragic news is dominating conventional and social media alike I came across the following gem on the BBC News website.

“A man who had to be rescued after getting his head stuck inside a bin in Aberdeen has said he was trying to recover his hat. William Middleton said he had been nicknamed “bucket heid” after a photograph of his ordeal were shared on social media sites by tens of thousands of people worldwide.

He was cut free by firefighters after the alarm was raised on Sunday. He said: “I was looking for my hat. I was stuck for about 20 minutes.” Mr Middleton, 53, explained: “I couldn’t get my head out. It was shocking. It was stinking. I’m now known as bucket heid.”

One witness, who did not want to be named, said: “I walked around the corner and saw his walking stick on the ground and his bum sticking out and said ‘that’s Willie’. “Me and my pals tried to pull him out but his ears were stuck.” The incident happened in Aberdeen’s Justice Street.”

He is lucky nobody had the whit to put a sign on his bum saying ‘kick me please’.  I know I should not have really but I am afraid I had to laugh and what size are his ears exactly. Well these things happen and I guess our Willie, now known as auld bucket heid forever, may never live it down. It reminded me of this clip of a slightly more famous flag waving plonker:


For the latter there is no shame, only publicity, he is a professional attractor of attention, politicians are, I really wish I had been there, equipped with some eggs maybe or just a couple of rocks, ah well never mind.

This morning was nose to the grindstone as I had a lot of data to transcribe from my Dictaphone, it was the recorded interviews I did weeks ago with Rob Poyton and Ed Phillips down in Leicester on another wet summer’s day. I had to set off early so that I could detour through Leicester via Loughborough to avoid virtually standing traffic on the M1 due to accidents in the roadworks, oh joy. However, I got there early enough to enjoy a full English in Roy’s Cafe a couple of minutes away from the agreed rendezvous point, this came with a mug of strong tea and two slices of toast, chipper.  The sports centre we met at was closed in the mornings so we went to the cafe in the adjoining park, that was closed too so we settled down in a shed, a pretty large shelter for park users really and spent almost two hours with a fairly loosely structured interview as our reason for being there but inevitably sharing experiences and stories.

So spookily on blog writing day I get a poke from Ed asking me when he was going to be in one of my blogs, well the answer mate is today. Ed bristles with energy and when I played back the interview it was as if I was back in that shelter instead of my dining room. What got me interested in these two guys and their Systema training was a video I came across on YouTube called Outdoor Training, I have shared it before and here it is again.


That is Ed in the green jacket, see what I mean about energy, the guy is a force field. My interview was to gather materials to support a chapter in a book I am currently writing, this morning I typed out 4,000 words of quality material provided by Rob and Ed, yes these guys talk the talk but let me tell you they also walk the walk with great effect. I am not going to share anything but a few snippets here but Rob and Ed counterbalance one another tremendously, it was like an interviewing dream, two guys who are good at what they do and good about talking about what they are good at doing. I almost enjoyed transcribing their comments as much as I enjoyed listening to them during the interview. I will share one bit only, it made me smile so much then and again this morning, it comes from Rob when he had described some of the ‘crazy’ stuff they did in training, particularly Ed I think, Rob said;

“To some people it sounds silly and some people are going to look at the videos and think what a bunch of idiots but that’s ok. For instance people may look at the video of us running across roads and things and say that has got nothing to do with martial arts and I will say, you’re right, it hasn’t, I will take that as a compliment.”

This made me chuckle because we all see posters on Facebook, TOO MANY POSTERS, so many that often my eyes glaze over as I try to scroll through them but occasionally one catches the eye and it varies in form but is rooted in a quote from my old pal Albert Einstein who said, amongst many other profound things,

“The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find themselves in places no one else has been”.

Right pick the bones out of that Garry. For myself it resonates with my training that has sprung from my martial arts experiences and love of the outdoors, it is that exciting journey out of the dojo and taking your imagination out to play in the great outdoors. The crowd head to the gym, they stare at mindless TV whilst listening to muzak as the pace the treadmill or spin on an imaginary bike ride, why not take the bike out, churn up some mud, get dirty, sweat and get a little excited possibly just missing the odd tree or cycling down that flight of steps? You do not do it because it is safer to seek anonymity in the crowd. Rediscovering our training means reinvigorating it, it can be like rediscovering lost skills and attitudes, for Ed this is like when:

“you get a guy who comes along, he may be 30, 40 or 50, he may not have done any playing about since he was a young child, so what we do is we take him back to a place he was when he was young and he was not afraid to try things so then he learns to trust his body again.”

To do this we must learn to take risks again, to challenge fears we have allowed to creep into our lives, to embrace the fact that we may look silly, to take it as a compliment and to walk away from the crowd and turn our back on convention and perceived wisdoms and train with the innocence of children but with the added value of all our experiences acting as a map, a map that makes our journey one of great interest because it is full of holes, Only by experimenting can we fill those holes in, to some we will look like auld bucket heid, let them laugh, I am too busy rediscovering the child in me to care.

So to relax take a listen to a beautiful tune, Mike Oldfield’s Inner Child and think about yours.