Hello there, firstly thank you Paul Mr-Orange Stephen for making yesterday evening interesting. I had a lovely time teaching a self defence class early evening, ate a tasty Chicken Chasseur cooked in the slow cooker, watched Gran Torino with my wife, I then had 15 minutes (30?) on facebook before settling down to read a couple of chapters of Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke by Peter Benson (great book by the way), a quality evening with a couple of glasses of a nice red, super.

People post all sorts of things on FB and there are too numerous videos to watch them all. However, last night a video posted by Paul really caught my interest, it was great, I loved watching it, the picture was not great, the fight scrappy but it was the nature of the combatants that made me sit up and watch intently, The original billed fighter was a 21 year old MMA Fighter. The other guy was a stand in at the last minute, a guy from the audience, a 53 year old man who put on the gloves and stepped up to the mark. In 5 days time I will be 53, you can see my interest! So now watch the film then please come back to the blog and read on.

There is an often used FB poster with a quote from Mark Twain: “Its not the size of the dog in the fight that matters but the size of the fight in the dog”. I suspect people laughed when the ‘old’ guy got into the ring, they expected him to be beaten, this is evidenced by their response to his victory. I train with a few guys around my age and a couple slightly older, I train quite a lot, I am sure some people think it a bit odd that guys in their fifties are doing this, maybe chasing a lost youth, maybe a bit sad, maybe following some Rocky delusion.

Normally I train on the weights 5 times a week for strength, use the exercise bike at least 3 times a week for cardio and throw in plenty of crunches and some core work,  I train Ju Jitsu twice a week and circuits (lots of pads, multiple opponents, rough sparring, grappling etc) once a week in winter then twice a week in Summer when we have our Wild Wednesday, this is a gym we make in the woods which puts a whole new twist on what we do, this will be a future blog, (we will be videoing this shortly as we have just started filming some of our other training scenarios, will share these later). I am no adonis but I am fit for 52 believe me, I take pride in this, it is hard work and does not get easier.

For me the physical training is achievable by many, the gyms are full of exercise fanatics and good luck to them, but the mindset isnt, at the end of the day a fight for your survival is blood, snot and tears stuff, yes technique is useful but the ability to achieve the mental ability to turn on and use appropriate levels of aggression behind the technique is all important. I know good people with better technique than me who just do not have any real fighting experience and therefore do not posses, or do not know if they posses the ‘ability’ to inflict damage, pain and defeat on the ‘other guy’. The psychology of the fight is underpinned by the pyschology that informs and facilitates the training, you have to want it and want it bad.

The old guy in the video did probably not have the physique or build of his young opponent, but the size of fight in the old dog was huge, he wanted it, his mind was set. This made me think, reflect on why I train so much when I am not into competitions, have no desire or need to go out and ‘test’ myself, been there got the T shirt, so why do I do it?

I do it because I have to, there is an inner drive that makes me put in the hours, that gets me into the dojo, onto the mat, into the woods with people who also want to push themselves hard. Its hard, tiring and repetative at times and fast, teeth gritting exillerating at others. Some people laugh at us I am sure, some think I am obsessed, maybe I am. I do it because I still get the buzz. That is the key its the desire, the need and the want that drives a person forward, its your mastery over your inner self that you use subconsciously to drive yourself on when its tough and others give up. Its the size of the fight in you that keeps you going on the bag, on the pads, at the weights on the mat, in the ring, whichever floats your boat, when others are putting on the slippers and reaching for the remote. Maybe Lady Gaga is right, maybe we are born this way.

So thats why I enjoyed the 53 year old guy getting his win, no disrespect to the young guy, he will learn from that. I am looking forward to being 53, I intend to keep on training and to train harder, I intend to grow old disgracefully if you get what I mean. For me 53 is the new 23, so maybe I should rename this post ‘Beware – Older But Dangerous’. If I am obsessed then so be it, it feels good and it feels right. But what about you folks,  how do you train and why? What motivates you, what drives you on when it would be easier to give it up, find something more ‘relaxing’, more ‘age appropriate’ pastime than martial arts and self defence? Were you born this way? Let me know, share your thoughts with me please.

Go easy, train hard, Garry.