It’s good to be back

Evening. Or should I say morning. I have to admit in terms of eventful months I don’t think things could of got more eventful than March. As always, despite it being a little later than anticipated its good as always to sit down and find the time to write. I think this happened this evening after literally an entire month off blogging.

For one reason or another, I just felt a need to put this blog of mine down for a little while and focus on other areas of my life, and of course navigate the monumental events that have occurred in Bristol of late . Briz has of course been all over the news recently, and in the wake of the recent uprising and Kill the bill demonstrations I’ve literally felt pushed from pillar to post.

I handle stress well and I attribute that ability to over 15 years of martial arts training. After a point you learn to switch off outside distractions in your environment and stay focused on the here and now and what you need to achieve. This is something I have learnt to do in and out the ring. In the ring, the noise of the crowd disappears and all that matters is the person in front of me I’m fighting.

In fact at points the people even my friends giving me encouragement sound like they are almost in the next room. All that I can hear with crystal clarity is my corner. All I can see is the person I intend to walk through. Like Masta Ace says in the amazing track ‘fight song’ You might slow me a little bit, but you won’t stop me, You might stand in my pathway, but you won’t block me” it’s a mentality and determination that’s deep in my inner and absolutely will not let me back down or give up. At my weakest moments I always have something left.

And being honest, in March there was plenty of weak moments. I did have moments where I wondered if I was really coping. At 42 years old that’s a scary feeling. I guess it’s one that forces you to put yourself under a microscope and assess what’s working and what isn’t working very quickly. There have been points through the thick of it all, the sheer weight of it all it has really made sense. And at those points I’ve known I’m walking in the right direction. The really beautiful thing during the intense month of March (end of year returns, police monitoring and media appearances, interviews, Open University, work and endless cat memes ) was that despite everything I just kept training. I just kept running.

In short I just kept going, and the best bit was when I was training I was switching off. The chatter at points disappeared all together because I had something positive to focus on. I had techniques to improve. I had strikes to make stronger. Elbows to sharpen. I could imagine my shit day looked like the bag in front of me. As always my art was there for me when I needed it the most.

The energy I’ve learnt to take home with me from a good run or a nice bit of shadow or some bag work when the opportunity emerged I’ve learnt to apply to the rest of my life in everything I do. Everyone at present is going through a lot and many of just keep fighting. We don’t give up or roll over because we’ve never been losers. We are what winners look like and we always have been winners. We fight many battles and we don’t always win but we fight.

Bristol has a spirit, soul and energy I love and I think I’ll stay forever. Seeing a ground swell against government and police repression is an inspiring thing especially when you understand why it needed to happen. It’s fair to say that most people out here feel the same as me, and for those that don’t I forgive you. Just don’t spend your lives living small and afraid to speak out.

When I look at the month ahead it’s already a daunting prospect. It’s an exciting time for many reasons and although I’m loving media attention due to my unexpected new found PR skills (I never saw that coming. Someone told me yesterday to get an agent?!) I also want to be that shy kid again, the one who would stand there open mouthed if I could go back in time and tell him him one day he would be me. I think despite the tough times, I’m walking in the right direction, and that means I’ll just keep walking. I feel less fragmented than yesterday just because I answered a calling and sat down to write. Isn’t that something?

Of course, training is going to be as with all good things a constant in my life in the month ahead. I keep wanting to ramp it up but I need to just ease back into it when classes start again. I train virtually all week anyway when the gyms open as normal so pushing myself will be something I’ll enjoy. Besides, I’m getting better at what I do. It’s giving me confidence and self belief that’s beginning to seep into many areas of my life. And despite everything, I’ll never stop proving me wrong. Have a good week, as always train hard and I wish you the utmost success in all of your fights. It’s not just good to be back it’s fantastic. I’ll see you on that road.

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