2022

Hi. It’s nice to catch up once again. I’m currently one of the many people who has caught the truly horrible cold that’s doing the rounds which successfully managed to sabotage training this weekend. I’m flying to Spain to spend Christmas with my mum tomorrow so I can only hope the worst has passed by the morning.

Moan over I thought I’d take the opportunity to round up 2022 for me in a nutshell. When it comes to community activism and public speaking it’s been one hell of a year. I finished the year off speaking at the truly awesome Children of Tomorrow event for the family of Chris Kaba at Trinity Bristol on Friday for Bristol Copwatch.

The past few weeks have been a very intense push with events seeing us in Oxford and London delivering know your rights workshops and of course doing a good bit of networking too. As a grassroots police monitoring organisation that only started in 2020, we’ve developed in leaps and bounds and have helped a lot of people.

There’s still a lot of work to be done but there’s more than enough time to continue to build. To be honest it’s going to be nice to have some time off from tomorrow. My own legal battles against the police are ongoing but it’s getting put right and ever since I first started volunteering with Copwatch I’ve always loved helping others do the same.

Art on display at Children of Tomorrow on the 16th. The artist is Oshii. The pieces were auctioned off and profits were donated to the family of Chris Kaba.

Of course, just like with Muay Thai and competing independent grassroots police monitoring is about teamwork and moving towards common goals and objectives. It was nice to be called an inspiration on Friday evening and it was great to hear such positive feedback about my speech and contribution to the speaker panel I participated in. The conversations as a whole were important and I thought some valid points were made around community, education, and supporting youth that get drawn into cycles. Having been there myself I know when the police are in your life it can be very difficult to get them out of your life again.

“We want to see an end to disproportionate and racist policing and believe in community solutions that solve problems and prevent cycles of police harassment and those journeys none of us ever want to make through the criminal justice system”

I’ve always said and always will say that martial arts and Muay Thai helped me turn my life around because it did, but even then it took time for me to heal (being honest I think I still am) and move onto a new and brighter future.

“Once a criminal always a criminal is a label we’re given for life.”

But it is a label I’ve shown myself and others that holds no relevance to me anymore. There’s nothing more satisfying than proving the cops wrong. In 2023 I intend to show them what time it is. Navigating bereavement throughout this year has also been assisted by martial arts, although I think about my dad every day and he’s with me all the time training is something that has often helped me go back to my inner maintain my focus, and get stronger. Grief has forged resilience and strength in me that just like the light that is my father will never go out.

Although I have good days and bad days the memories of dad have become increasingly beautiful and everything that I do is in celebration of his life. He was a sportsman and athlete like me. He was a writer like me. A political and community activist like me and he only led by example. On my best day, I wish I could be more like him.

As well as supporting myself I’ve also of course been at points supporting my awesome mum. Seriously, she’s brilliant and I can’t wait to see her tomorrow afternoon. I guess I’m fortunate to have parents who both have always had their moral compasses pointed in the right direction. I may not be perfect but I have good role models in my life. Putting others before myself has been something I’ve inherited from both of my parents.

There were a few things I wanted to achieve training-wise this year that hasn’t taken shape. Next year I’d like to see if I can commit to training enough again to fight toward the summer but I’m open-minded about it. I’ve still got it, it’s never left but it’s also a big commitment and with other positive outlets to focus on I can at the very least ensure I train just as hard as I always have. I’ll be training when I’m 60. I’d love to go to Thailand again next year too.

Although it’s a shame I’ve missed the gym this weekend due to illness I’ll be back on the horse 5 times a week again like it or not as of January, and whilst I’m away for Christmas running, shadow boxing and maybe hitting the bag at the local gym will fill the gap until I’m back in the mix for 2023. Next year should see several positive things happening. I don’t want to go into too much right now but as the saying goes when facing the right direction all you have to do is keep walking. It’s been great catching up with you again. Thanks as always for reading my blog. Have a good Christmas, train hard, and win all your fights in the ring or otherwise. I’ll see you on that road.

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