Well it has been quite a week for me, the excitement of Krav Island continued as I edited the videos and answered the huge number of emails and Facebook contacts, special thanks to the many thanks to those of you that have sent me your thoughts for use in my book, I have a huge amount of material but anybody who would still like to contribute that would be superb. I was incredibly pleased to be invited as a guest next year and will be there for sure, bring it on. On Wednesday it poured it down in Sheffield but inspired by the weekend heroics we donned cagoules and trained in a very wet and slippery woods. We experimented with some new exercises and these carried over into a Dojo training session last Thursday as part of the warm-up.

On Thursday I had the great pleasure of meeting Rob Poynton and Ed Phillips from East Midlands Systema Group, we met at a sports centre which was closed, we retired to the cafe in the park that was closed, we ended up in a shelter in the park for nearly 2 hours where I interviewed them on their training outdoors, their upcoming summer camp and was able to ask questions about some of their great videos on YouTube, like this one with Ed and a mate:

I asked Ed about this urban running and he stated the obvious response, if you are escaping in an urban environment you will be faced by obstacles, you either overcome them or they overcome you, alternatively you may be chasing someone, think about it, are you going to let them get away if they have stolen something of yours or hurt one of yours just because they wade the canal, are you that scared of getting wet? I hope I can speak for the three of us and say that we had a great laugh when we met, spending much time reminiscing off record, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these guys and am looking forward to attending a training day with them soon.

Thursday nights training was very good, my 4th Dan Katana work is coming along nicely and we did some great exercises too, Much of my day time, not counting Monday, was spent writing, this keyboard and I are spending a lot of time together lately. I am not complaining, I used to love writing my academic essays and have written a number of dissertations in the past, I love the spoken and written word. This blog came about as a result of a Facebook conversation with Nick Engelen over in Belgium. Having spent some time restructuring my website and upgrading the content, I asked people on there for their opinions, Nick replied and then mentioned that he had been thinking about setting up a blog but thought it would be really difficult, I developed a cunning plan, I typed in WordPress, you know where, and hey presto five minutes later a blog was born, this one. I set it up to see how easy it was, it was very easy.

The rest is history, but what happened next is my point, I have had an interesting life, I still find much of what I do exciting and entertaining. As I now had a blog I might as well write something, just for the fun of it. Some people read it, I received some positive feedback, I wrote some more blogs, I found it very cathartic, I had rediscovered my joy of playing with words, building stories and arguing points. When Rory Miller commented on one of my blogs giving him food for thought and helping him think about something differently I was gobsmacked. Rory is an excellent writer, I love his work and was genuinely surprised, we then spent some time talking about writing and not just the blog but a book, or books.

Later today I am  guest on BBC Radio Sheffield with the host being the lovely Paullette Edwards, I was recently on the Roney Robinson show and one topic was what were we reading at that time and Roney, who has himself encouraged me to write on more than one occasion, asked me about what I was writing as well as reading. It struck me that having aired the fact publicly I had better crack on with it. Hence the recent obsession with the keyboard, the Krav Island and Systema interviews, one small question from Nick, started a little snowball rolling, a big push from Rory put some real momentum behind it and my announcement on BBC Radio Sheffield was the point the Snowball reached the point of no return, where it will end up, who knows, but, who dares?

Today’s visit to Radio Sheffield is to talk about a seminar the Academy of Self Defence is holding on the 1st November at the University of Sheffield. The seminar is a one-off in Sheffield by Michelle Fightingback. Listening to a ‘debate’ on Radio Sheffield about whether Mike Tyson should be allowed to speak, and gain financially from doing so, at a dinner event caused strong opinions to come to the surface, at the centre of the debate was a petition circulating asking the council to ban the event due to his previous conviction for rape and assaults on women. That debate has come and gone but it raised strong feelings to be assure.

On the radio today I will shamelessly plug Michelle’s seminar, I will make not a penny from this, and I expect to sell out the auditorium, I hope so anyway, all the proceeds, it is £5 a ticket to hear an inspirational talk, all proceeds after Michelle’s train fare go to Sheffield Women’s Aid. Michelle was raped at knifepoint aged 14, Michelle is one of the bravest women I have met, I will not tell her story but she is not a victim, she is an inspiration. Have a listen to Michelle herself:

I am really looking forward to this event, as I am looking forward to hosting Marc ‘Animal’ MacYoung in a couple of weeks time. This blog, the seminars, the book I am writing, the Radio slots are all part of a tremendously exciting journey I am on, I have no map. This weekend, he says leaping out on a tangent,  my grandson Billy and I made a scarecrow and put him in our garden, he is called ‘Big Billy’, and here he is:

It was Billy’s idea to make a scarecrow, I do not know why, I am just a soft old granddad, but making Big Billy with little Billy yesterday made me sit and think awhile last night. I thought about the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz and his journey to find a brain, I thought about my journey through life, through the last few years and through the last few weeks and days, then hours and I felt like it was the upwardly accelerating curve we associate with technological advances, it felt that the pieces are beginning to fit together and that I am now driving the rocket, (Billy loves rockets too, he is 2 years old, it is a world of dinosaurs, scarecrows, rockets and anything and everything ), he is an unmitigated joy to be with, his arrival has reinvigorated my middle age for sure.

Life is there to be lived, work is a central part of it too, but so is home and family. Yesterday my wife and I celebrated, quietly, our 20th wedding anniversary, she has been my anchor all these years, she is the reason I have the opportunity to go off on my madcap journeys seemingly like a scarecrow with no brain, but there is a pattern here, there is a vague understanding of where I am going, the focus is becoming clearer the further forward I push, so I better get off to prepare for the Radio, ie drink more strong tea, and then get on with some real work, back to this keypad. Like Ed’s urban running, there will be obstacles, I will get over them, around them or under them, whatever happens the wonderful, wacky, weird express that is me is coming through. For me I hope I stay in this weird world a lot longer, exciting things are happening here, later this week I will be talking to somebody who runs a literacy project about the intersection between martial arts, literacy and technology and engaging hard to reach young people because guess what, I recently had another wonderfully wacky weird idea.

PS, anyone wanting a scarecrow I am available for commission.