On a very dreary foggy morning with the rain pouring down I awoke at 5.15am and nipped downstairs to make some tea and put the coffee on, the tea was for myself, the coffee was to placate the Animal.

The coffee was not for not an actual animal but Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung who was still deep in slumber upstairs. Looking out of the window it was clearly not going to be a pleasant drive to take them to Manchester Airport and I wanted to avoid the disaster area that lies in wait approaching the M67 after Glossop, WHY IS THERE NO BYPASS!!!!!!! Anyway we all got ready and as the sky lightened, marginally on yet another monsoon day in the UK I set off to take Marc and Dianna on my alternative route through the Hope Valley to Castleton then up the steep and windy Winnetts Pass over to Chapel-en-le-Frith, normally a very scenic route to get to Stockport then the airport. We had got as far as Hope Church on Friday on a mini tour so Dianna could take photographs. Unfortunately the battery on Dianna’s camera had failed so we headed back to Sheffield. This was really unfortunate as the church is really interesting in an area that contains the remains of a Roman Fort and roads, the footprint of an ancient hill fort and a Norman Castle amongst thousands of other delights. This is our backyard, take a look.

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So Marc started pulling Dianna’s leg about the little mice carved onto some of the pews as we passed the church on this dreary wet morning. I believe much of the woodwork in the church was carved by the famous wood-carver Robert Thompson. The Parish Church of St Peter itself dates mainly from the 14th century, and has a stumpy, broached spire and is known mainly for the gargoyles adorning the outer walls and also for its many extravagant carvings.

The chancel, with fine stained glass by William Kempe, was rebuilt in 1882, but it incorporates a piscina and sedilia of the early 14th century. The font is all that remains from the original Norman church which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. In the churchyard is a headless Saxon preaching cross with fine interlacing knot-work, thought to date from the 9th century. Taken from their Website.

A photographers dream, next time Dianna. So as we approached Castleton we were all having a bit of a chuckle at the end of a fantastic few days and an incredible seminar over the weekend. I was not speeding and not hanging about either, they had a plane to catch, I did nor want to be late, so we wound through the tight bends in Castleton itself and then out the other side and left onto the very tight little lane rising slightly to Speedwell Cavern and the start of Winnetts Pass proper. Take a drive up the pass now please.

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No 6 lane highway as you can see, add in pouring rain and fog with a visibility of around 100 metres and its drive carefully time but remember, we need to get to the airport. On the narrow approach to Speedwell Cavern, and the cattle grid there that acts as a pinch point, I see a pair of rapidly approaching headlights in my rear view mirror. The driver gets tucked in right behind me in an aggressive manner and then all the way up the pass I get flashing headlights and as we approach the top the occasional angry toot from his horn. I do not like this and explain to my passengers that this dickhead will overtake us once we are out of the Pass and true enough this happens after a few minutes more of angry aggressive driving behind me. He overtook, blind summit ahead, thick fog pouring rain, hooting away. He then braked in front of us twice and put on his left indicator and pulled in partly blocking our route, He jumped out and looked like he meant business and Marc and I stepped out.

I asked him what his problem was, he started off about my driving slowing him down, he was late for work etc, he was very angry and he had walked to the rear of his car and he looked up for it. Marc was stood just to the front of my car on our left and I walked in to get the right range ready to put this fool down, if I had to, but also boxing him in between cars, the ‘threat’ suddenly realised things were not good for him, then a transit van came from behind us and pulled up alongside us completely blocking the road. The guy got out and let loose a string of invective at our new friend, apparently he had received the same rear end bullying tactics, as Marc said later, things got interesting.

Our hard man bully boy had nowhere to go, no escape and his eyes showed defeat and I closed in to make sure he got the message. Let me tell you my monkey was under control but had he flinched the lizard was ready, our shaven headed tough guy was facing something very scary and he knew it, if he knew about Marc I would put money on him messing himself, our van driving pal was still calling him nasty names as I quietly explained how lucky he was, Marc simply moved us apart and the guy went the long way round to his car apologising and the rest is not that important. A potentially nasty incident defused, an obnoxious bullying muppet, having faced a huge can of whoopass, driving away like a spanked monkey.

We discussed it briefly and then got back to our previous conversation. Something happened and nothing happened. Like my strange little encounter that I described in a previous blog, beware subtlety, no violence necessary. Surely this is a huge win, if I was the aforementioned muppet I would buy a lottery ticket this week, a Euromillions ticket in fact, his luck is clearly in. I am not going to over analyse what happened there is no point but once again there are a thousand angles from which we can look at the dynamics of a situation but as Marc keeps saying, there are some distortions despite how calm I felt throughout, did I do everything right, well that depends which text-book you measure your reactions with. Models of behaviour and situations are just that, models, and as such they provide us with a framework to reference our behaviour and reactions.

Once I had dropped of my charges and given each of the a huge hug I drove back to Sheffield this time taking the Snake Pass, the usual route with the usual traffic jam through Glossop, some people never learn. We all make mistakes, I have made many, in fact back at the end of the incident with our friend as he was getting back into his car I told him, not ask, told him to come here, he came to me where I stood at the back of his car and I told him I too had once done this and been a complete idiot and saying exactly that offered to shake hands, we shook, he said sorry again, as we parted I advised him to stay calm and smiled. That was important for me, offering the guy a bit of face back may allow him to learn rather than to simmer and hate and then vent his anger on someone else in order to try to repair his damaged ego. Who knows if it worked, we will never know. Just a final point, who was the biggest danger to this guy, Marc or myself?

Well the answer, I think Marc will agree, was neither of us in the sense that we had the guy boxed and the tools to deal with him if he showed any intent to go for it, the real danger was the van driver. He was raging mad and the monkey was fully in control and ready to get on the escalator and play escalato, Our presence and demeanor, the fact that the aggression had been capped left him with the luxury of verbally venting his spleen at our friend.

I have for a long time now ceased to get excited about incidents like this, when people get out of their car to bully or to fight they have no idea who they are going up against. People die over rubbish like this, it is never worth it. So today’s advice, when out driving stay calm, drive carefully and considerately and always, I mean always take a Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung with you. 😉

Whilst Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung’s are in very short supply I advise you to read his books, visit his website and when he returns to Sheffield next year come to the seminar, and until then please take another look at some of the beauty that is within spitting distance of our home, take a trip along the Snake Pass from Bamford and Ladybower Reservoir, to Marc and Dianna, XX, from Karen and Garry.

Oh yes, the seminar was not bad either, here are a few comments lifted from Facebook and texts.

Fantastic Seminar. Was one of the best I have been to. I would like to thank both Marc and Garry Smith for the opportunity. Thanks guys.
Awesome seminar Marc and Garry. Thanks very much. I have taken a lot from it. Although the wife is wondering why I am waving my arms around in my sleep! Look at meeeeee! : -)
Brilliant seminar, learned load’s, had an excellent time and met some great people, thank you.
Good times mate, would love to drop by again. Never get enough of training and hanging out with good blokes!
Tired, aching, headache (from trying to remember mind you). These are the evidence of a great weekend. Thank you Garry for the weekend and thank you Marc for the unending quotes.
Very informative Marc thank you all.
Great day training with the gang, great company — with Marc MacYoung and Garry Smith
Great seminar Marc. Nice one Garry, keep up the good work!
FANTASTIC SEMINAR! definite one of the best I’ve been too. So much to remember, and so many new avenues to explore. Thanks Marc, hope the Brits made you proud…. although I’m Bolivian : )
Had a great time. Thanks everyone
A great seminar Garry. Thanks for organising and thanks to Marc for giving his knowledge and putting it across in such a unique way. I not only learned a lot but I had a great time and couldn’t stop laughing at times.What a great guy.
I hope the roast beef went down well… I now have a fried brain! Thanks to one and all for great weekend.
Great day great fun thanks Garry and Marc.
What an absolutely 1st class seminar given by one of the very best instructors out there. A man who has fantastic personality and fabulous sense of humour. I found everything totally invaluable, and Dianna is very, very good too and gave me lots of helpful instruction and tips. It was all topped off by the great get together on Saturday night. Garry, truly a weekend seminar to rank amongst the very best. Thanks.
Thanks again for organising a great seminar – I had a fantastic time.
Good to meet you and have a chat over a couple of beers, too. See you at the next one.
Just want to add my two cents’ worth – it was a great seminar and what I loved about it was that there wasn’t any tearing down of anyone’s art, I found it validated, enriched and deepened what I already train. Many a time Marc would say something and I’d think, “Hang on, that’s exactly what Guy (my instructor) says all the time….” In a different context but it was just really good to hear the convergences.
Life and times willing, I’d love to drop by again and have a go at training with everyone once more. You’re a great host, Garry, and if you’re ever in this neck of the woods do look us up.

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