All posts by The Little fighter still has a big heart.

About The Little fighter still has a big heart.

Determined, tenacious and enjoying the journey, 19 fights behind me so far, training for over 13 years and have just taken my first steps back into the ring after 3 years out. Which has ironically been put on hold yet again due to a global pandemic. I am a former WRSA amateur lightweight area champion and K1 Champion. These days I fight B or C class Muay Thai whilst defeating my inner demons, coping with martial trials and tribulations and making sure I still love every minute of it.

Clear, evident and direct

Hi. It’s nice to catch up once again. I thought I’d take the time to sit down and write before heading to training for an hour or so. It’s open mat today but unfortunately due to a very serious road traffic incident a couple of weeks ago I can’t spar at present. If you follow me on Twitter ( I have 2 accounts one for work and one for the rest of my life ) you may well have seen some photos of a very nasty head injury that occurred after my drink was spiked when I was out a couple of Fridays ago.

I still have absolutely no recollection of events that bothers me because I hate not being in control of myself. All I can remember is leaving my final pub of the evening unlocking my bike and then that was it! I woke up in hospital. I was fairly drunk but not to that kind of level. The doctor noted in the morning that my pupils were dilated and asked me what I had taken. I used to have a drug problem, Muay Thai actually helped me beat it and I no longer do drugs at all so was very surprised to discover this had happened. I also couldn’t stand without stumbling and had to stay in observation for several hours before being discharged.

“I’m in BRI i don’t know what happened. Cops have my bike. I think it was a hit and run in st George. My phone is smashed up and I’m covered in blood”

In the past couple of weeks I’ve gone from the guy above back to this guy below. To be completely honest I’m very lucky to be here. Having had a couple of near misses in my life already (I’m only 43 and still a young man) I’m always greatful for my physical and mental toughness. It’s an inherited characteristic off my beautiful father. He was an athelete and sportsman for many years, and ok I get it from my amazing mum too.

New headphones, and I’ve even dusted off very nice Diesel jacket that makes me feel nice..

I’m disappointed that I can’t spar at present but I’m also incredibly pleased that I train with such caring people who are not only very good at what they do but value me not just as a fighter at the gym and martial artist but as a person too. I don’t know everyone that well and there’s a lot of new faces these days but my trainers and some of the Muay Thai stalwarts I’ve trained with for years have all expressed their concern about what happened and where I’ve been headed of late. As one of my trainers said to me this week “just because its healed outside doesn’t mean it’s healed inside”

That struck a cord with me for a couple of reasons. Not only because I’m recovering from serious concussion and head trauma but because last month saw me travel through some of the most intense periods of grief I’ve experienced since we lost dad. For all intents and purposes all is well. I’m fine. But I’ve not been ok and at points everyone was my enemy. No one understood me, and the young man who was utterly traumatised by the police and criminal justice system was in charge and he was so very very angry with all of you, because none of you ever cared and none of you know what the police did to him and how he could never forgive himself for what happened to his life and how much he hurt people he cared about.

At points I sat and cried. I remembered old girlfriends who used to curl up close to me when I was hurting and tell me it would be ok. I remembered my parents telling me to get councilling and I remembered how the young man just navigated all of it and somehow picked up the pieces and made a new life. I remembered the kid who got stopped and searched for riding on the pavement and realised that he still needs a voice. Most of all I remembered the young man because when he looked in the mirror he didn’t even recognise the person looking back at him.

These days he knows who he is, what he wants and what his life has taught him and who he has become and he looks in the mirror and always smiles because he looks so young and his dad is just looking back at him. He’s proud to be on the path he’s on and I’ve promised not to leave myself behind again. I spend a lot of my spare time helping people fight for justice but as much I fight for them I’m still learning that I’m worth fighting for too. It’s a work in progress and the confident and brave guy I’ve become wants to sit in the driving seat again.

“Take your time” is what I was told about sparring this week. I don’t heal as fast as I used to but I’m still a fast healer. As well as working on my body I’m spending a lot of time working on me too. Alcohol can be my worst enemy and in times of grief it takes no prisoners. I’m learning moderation or abstenance at points is key. I’m really keen to fight again when I’m ready because I will usually stop drinking for around 6 weeks or so. Maybe I should do that anyway.

I’m also coming to terms with the fact that the police have utterly traumatised me through stop and search, surveillance and harassment over the years. Yesterday I asked myself my younger self if he could ever forgive them for what they have done. He looked up at me and said “They used to stop and search me for riding on the pavement.” I cried and said welcome to the Copwatch. These days I make my peace by helping others. I know mum and dad are proud of me. Community activism rocks.

Training has helped me navigate and understand a lot of what has happened in my life of late. There’s a strength Muay Thai has brought out in me that I never knew existed. There’s a focus and sharpness it gives me the more I train. I’m learning once again to respond and not react to situations. I’m checking in with myself more and today I woke up smiling knowing last night I had a nice evening. I even got a lift home that probably avoided round two at BRI. (That was a joke, and thanks for looking after me NHS.)

Although I’m heading back to me I know I’m on the right path. Things are flowing and moving in my favour. The signs that I have seen and that will come are clear. evident and direct. Here’s to the rest of the summer and winning all my fights in and out of the ring. Have a great weekend, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Zooming forward relentlessly.

Hi. It’s great to catch up with everyone once again. It’s been a long time and I shouldn’t have left you. So how are things with you? things are good with me and always I’m zooming forward relentlessly into all my challenges, never really pausing, and doing my best to be a force for good.

I realised yesterday that I need to spend a bit more time giving myself John time and allowing myself time to not only continue to grow but to heal from the loss of my dad. I’ve coped as well as I have by keeping busy and with personal fights for justice as well as supporting others on the sharp end of abuse of power taking up quite a lot of my free time at present spending some quality time at the gym is more welcome than ever.

To be honest, I need to be training more and I’m looking forward to picking things up again properly from Monday onwards. I’ve also decided to have a well-deserved alcohol break. It’s really easy to spend a lot of time at the pub during the summer but I think I’ve forgotten I can do that without drinking alcohol, and besides, there’s more to summer than pubs and nightclubs.

Next month I’m expecting Avon and Somerset Police to do what they should have done last month which is admit liability to a DPA 2018 breach and pay me well-deserved compensation money. They are probably the most corrupt and morally bankrupt police force I know of other than the Met but they aren’t invincible. As I keep reminding myself justice will come and as always I remain utterly unshakeable. When fighting for truth and justice the rule of thumb is never ever give up. The same rule applies to helping others do the same.

I’m not sure at present if I have enough capacity to consider competing again this summer but as my trainer Dave said to me the other week, never say never. He also said I need to improve a lot of things including flexibility (my nickname is bendy McGee so I really don’t know what his problem is) and generally just improve what I do because he won’t put me in the firing line again unless he feels that I’m ready for it and that I’m likely to win.

A couple of years ago I would have taken this sort of conversation very personally but these days I know it’s better to be realistic and set my goals and work towards them than jump into it again all guns blazing having really learned nothing from the time before and besides if he wasn’t a good trainer he wouldn’t have had that sort of conversation with me which being honest wasn’t anywhere near as melodramatic and serious as it seems writing about it.

I’d like to compete again and at least win a couple more fights but also I know that I’ll be training for many years yet and fighting is just a small part of the journey I’m on. For some people, it’s where it begins and ends but if you are a hard-nosed Muay Thai stalwart who at best is like me just above average in ability tough as old boots, and determined to zoom forward relentlessly regardless of the opinion of bullfight critics and most importantly you love what you do and are just utterly determined to get really good at it, you’ll know that what we’re doing out here is learning a very deep and rich martial art system. It’s a lifelong journey. If you have a good background in Thai you’ll go a long way.

I’ve been training out of my current gym for over 5 years now and it’s good to be training at a camp that pushes you to be your best and sets its standards high. Most importantly it’s great to be training with people who really do care about what’s going on in your world and are very supportive when you need them to be. That means a lot to me so as always thanks so much for checking in from time to time.

Despite it being Thursday I already have that Friday afternoon end-of-the-week thing going on but as work, is pleasingly incredibly busy I guess for now that’s all she wrote. Seriously, though I need to get back to it. There’s never enough time in the day, but I promise to remember to make more time for myself. Tonight I’m in Weston Super-mare with the formidable Bristol Copwatch presenting a workshop and talk on the cops and stop and search for the Racial Equality Network at a nice space called The Other Place. If you’ve never caught me getting stuck into the man you truly are missing out so try and get yourself along!

As we were talking about bullfight critics a moment ago I thought I’d leave you with this incredible little poem that inspired me way back when, when I lost all my fights bar a few.

“Bullfight critics ranked in rows Crowd the enormous Plaza full, But he’s the only one who knows— And he’s the man who fights the bull.” Domingo Ortega

I guess it’s for everyone who zooms relentlessly into everything life throws at them. Train hard and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.





What a winner looks like

Hi. It’s nice to catch up with you all once again, I’d normally apologise mainly to myself but I guess also to you for not writing for the past few weeks however, I’ve been busy with public speaking, workshops and last week’s holiday seeing family in Spain. I’ve also been spending time focusing on myself and what I need as well as want in my life.

The training I’m pleased to say has remained consistent as ever, it’s the one constant that’s always there and it gives a lot back to me. I think it always will do. Although this week has been not as busy as the week before last I intend to hit the ground running from Monday onwards. After all this time I still wouldn’t have it any other way.

I got my running up to speed last week too. I actually ran almost every day, near where my mum lives there are just stretches and stretches of road that in over 30 degrees heat can really push you. Running in the heat means you build your stamina and after every run, I finished off with a super refreshing swim in the pool.

Getting back into the swing of things this week has been good and I’m more than aware that training has been part of the healing process helping me navigate loss and the grief of losing my father late last year.

For the first time in many months since returning from Spain to see my mum, I felt like I’m heading back to myself and most importantly I feel stronger. There are a lot of beautiful memories I have of dad and just this morning I found myself sitting in the bath laughing at one of them. I didn’t feel sad I felt happy to hold such a thing close to my heart.

Grief emerges at the strangest of times and manifests in the strangest of ways and martial arts has given me my focus to see it, understand it and give it the space it needs. I woke up just the other morning sitting bolt upright I said “dad” out loud. For a moment it felt like he had popped his head around the door but he filled the whole room. Just for a couple of moments to make sure I was ok.

I didn’t feel the wave of sadness I anticipated instead I felt slightly bemused and almost blessed that whatever stopped by had given me its attention. Maybe it was him. Either way, it feels good that in my own way I’m taking the first steps to move on whatever that looks like anyway. Training is helping me to navigate this as I’ve said as is my work in the community.

When it comes to that I know how proud he was of me for founding a monitoring group and that I’m helping others in my community, just like I remember how proud he was of me for winning an area title way back in 2013/14. I was fighting a lot then and it was the same year I headed over to Thailand for the first time to train.

That old energy and hunger for the ring are returning and I’ve still got my sights set on fighting again this August. We shall see. There’s a lot of work to do between now and then but I’m not resetting and starting again, instead if I can commit to it and I’m offered a shot I’ll be picking up from where I left off. Muay Thai has helped me turn my life around. It’s helped me become a force for good in everything positive I do.

It helped me prove the police wrong in their definition of me and most importantly it helped me prove myself wrong. It showed me that when it comes down to it this is what a winner looks like. It showed me that I can do anything when I put my mind to it and just like my daddy, I can walk tall and stand strong.

I’m planning to hit the gym hard this week coming and make sure I put in the work. The future in many areas of my life looks positive and when it comes to ongoing legal battles I’m confident of success. It’s good to have put everything down for a week last week and it’s even better to be able to do that when I’m back home in Bristol too. I know how to give myself time and space when I need to rest and heal, but for me, part of that process is the Muay Thai grind. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time, I’ll see you on that road.

Courage, dear heart.

Hi. It’s nice to catch up again so soon after the last time we spoke. I hope all is well in your world, things are certainly improving in mine. Despite police attempts to wear me down in the vain hope, I drop my data protection breach claim against Avon and Somerset Police, I’m pleased to say all is well.

The lengths “rogue” police stoop to attempt to protect themselves is not only concerning it’s outright laughable. I guess it is what happens if you are not white and fight for your rights, in fact, it came as little to no surprise for me last week to discover the revelations that the police had waged vendettas against black people in the past. In fact, it’s safe to say that they still do and these are the people that are meant to protect us? You tell me.

However, the biggest revelation for me is yet to come when I receive my NCTPOC SAR on 27/5/22. Finding out what the problem is can be a daunting task but toughing it out and pressing forward is the best recourse, especially when legal remedies are available.

I’m comparing my current journey through community activism and police monitoring more frequently than not to my journey as a martial artist and Thai boxer. Both take a lot of strengthening, resilience, and courage to succeed at and ultimately win through. Mr never gives up still I am pleased to say never gives up in or out of the ring, especially when it comes to the subject of injustice.

The determination and resilience I’ve built as a fighter and martial artist over the years have only ever really built on what has been inside of me and I guess what I inherited from my amazing mother and father. Like with martial arts this current journey is a long one and I am confident this time around I’m going to win.

The growing confidence I have in myself is something I’ve developed not just through Muay Thai but through public speaking which is a new journey that I’m really really enjoying. It runs in the family as one of my dad’s sisters my auntie Blossom often spoke loudly and publically about the apartheid system my family and of course other South Africans vehemently resisted.

I can only imagine what living through those years was like. I’m immensely proud of my father and always will be. He’s where I get the majority of my bravery from and when it comes to being brave and staying in it I’m pleased to say I may if I work hard, improve and listen have another opportunity at fighting again this summer which is pretty exciting if it takes shape because I want to win. It was very casually mentioned to me last month and I put in the work and I’m improving so can only hope for the best. I’d like to see what I can do again.

Speaking of putting in the work and staying brave I better cut this one short as I’ve got a 4000-word assignment to finish for my Open University degree tomorrow. This is the year I get my bachelor’s degree. I’m on my last module. It’s looking like I’m going to pass which is, of course, amazing, however like Geoff Thompson says there is no landrover. When it’s done and I am at the graduation ceremony I’ll know I’ve won and in terms of the rest, have courage dear heart. It’ll work out just fine. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Who is he?

Who is this young man?

Who we’ve broken before

So different

So angry

Who is this young man?

Scars on his knuckles

Carrying pain in his hand

Who is he?

Who is this young man?

So different from those times he ran

From any problem

He couldn’t defeat?

He was often tired and beat

Who is this young man

Lifting others up in the cup of his hands

Who says if you want justice then let’s take a stand!

Who is this man?

Who always take a stand

Thinks fighting is grand

Who is this young man

Who is he?

Stand up

Morning all. It’s good as always to catch up once again, training this week has as always been good and although at points it’s tough I feel that I’m learning and like most things in life it’s not always an easy process. At the moment I keep incredibly busy with volunteering as well as focusing on my working life and as such I’m doing a lot of public speaking, workshops, and events for Bristol Copwatch.

I wrote a while back about taking legal action against Avon and Somerset Police for a 2018 DPA breach. I’m pleased to say the case and claim have taken shape and the police have until the 4th of June to admit liability. I am of course represented by the formidable Bindmans LLP actions against the police team.

The police of course have not taken things at all well. But when it comes to the general public taking a stand over misconduct and malpractice they very rarely do. I’m still pretty much convinced what has happened has been solely vindictive in its nature just like the original wrongful and malicious prosecution of 2018.

In terms of that, I’m pleased to say that the Criminal Cases Review Commission is assessing the case and conviction to see if it can be taken back to the court of appeal. I’ll know more in the next couple of months. It was also good news to see the Information Commissioners Office uphold my complaint against Avon and Somerset Police.

They said “We have considered the issues you have raised with us. Based on this information, it is our view that ASP has not complied with their data protection obligations.” The ICO will by now have written to the police about the breach and their information rights practices.

We have told them they should now take steps to ensure that:

  • rectification requests are appropriately responded to within 1 calendar month; and 
  • subject access requests are responded to within 1 calendar month;

We have also asked that ASP review your request to have your PNC record amended to reflect the findings of the court, and to provide you with a response to this.

Of course, we know that my PNC information in its current state is inaccurate, unfair, and unlawful so it’s going to be very interesting to see what the police’s response is to both the letter of claim and ICO decision in a couple of months. I am of course still funding raising via CrowdJustice.

Police harassment

I’ve been on the sharp end of police harassment for some time due to my ongoing fight to clear my name, something Avon and Somerset Police have consistently denied but from my work, as a volunteer caseworker for Bristol Copwatch I see the same patterns of harassment emerging with other POC who take a stand against police wrongdoing.

Whenever people, in general, take a stand against the police or the state whether it be through community monitoring groups, public speaking, or just doing your bit by going on a march we will always get the police’s attention, but it seems that Avon and Somerset Police are particularly malicious and vindictive in their treatment of black and brown people more so when we decide to fight for our rights.

Yesterday Bristol Copwatch held a small event at the Malcolm X Community Centre in St Pauls with Co-POWeR a University research project that is investigating the impact of emergency power policing on black and brown communities during the lockdown. We also held a stop and search workshop.

Although the event was fairly quiet (we are still getting to know St Pauls and understand the long and volatile relationship the community has had with the police here so kind of expected it) we were generally surprised to see area police turn up to check out what it was exactly we were doing. The police not only walked directly into our space for the afternoon but decided to park up outside the venue keeping a watchful eye on the entrance until finally driving off.

The monitoring group I am a founding member of respects all views on policing but we maintain a healthy distance from direct relationships with the police as it erodes trust in the communities we support. I personally have supported POC who have been through hell and back due to racist cops. It’s really hard for me to want to have any kind of engagement with the police when they consistently treat us so very badly. I know others in our core organising team feel very much the same.

What’s interesting is that after our event we headed to an anti-repression talk not far from the community centre and were monitored through our journey by local area police. Why is it that in white communities in Bristol this sort of attention to any event just does not happen? do the police feel so utterly threatened by a community event in St Pauls happening that they have to attempt to harass the organisers and intimidate the public from even walking through the door?

We had no more than 8 people in the Malcolm X Community Centre yesterday afternoon and yet still the police put pressure on us. When I was in Oxford two weeks ago the workshop myself and a fellow Copwatcher presented was busy and also monitored by the police. We’ve noted in Oxford that the police are keen on shutting down community organising if they can.

From my point of view as an organization, they feel threatened by anything they cannot have control over. This is an autocratic and authoritarian policing strategy and we need to resist it. It’s clear that if grassroots organising happens in areas they deem to be a problem (black and brown communities) we by default become “a person of interest.”

When we headed to the event held by anti-repression groups such as Bristol Defendant Solidarity and ABC we were made to feel very welcome, but then we were made to feel very welcome by the lovely staff at the Malcolm X Community Centre too. Today I’m very angry that the police attempted to create the perception that Bristol Copwatch must of either a) been up to no good. or b) was working with the police yesterday afternoon.

Co-POWeR we know felt very much the same about attempted police engagement and understand how important trust relationships are with communities like St Pauls. I respect the fact that some feel to monitor the police effectively you must build relationships with them (I strongly disagree and feel that this affects a monitoring group’s ability to critically analyze them as an organisation )but I also feel that had the organisers of yesterday’s event at MX all been white we wouldn’t have received the extensive attention we did.

I have been on the sharp end of racist policing a lot of my adult life and know what it looks like in action. I’m hoping that in the next couple of months I see a few things start to be put right. In the meantime, of course, I’ll keep campaigning. Next month I’m on the Bristol Radical History Group’s speaker panel at “Set the people free” talking about mobile fingerprinting and PACE stop and search. Following that, I’m with fellow Copwatchers at the awesome Bristol Transformed festival hosting a workshop on dealing with the police.

I’m a firm believer in taking a stand when it comes to injustice. In the cold light of day, I see the police for what they are and I know that I’m doing the right thing. The last bit of training for the week is going to be a welcome stressbuster this afternoon. I still hope that you can see me. Just remember to stand up and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

Muay Thai is importanter

Hi. I hope you’re enjoying the Easter break and that all is well in your world. Despite planning to head to the gym this afternoon I’ve been defeated by my Saturday hangover which is a shame as I’ve spent literally every day this week bar today training. It has been good and although I still need to step my running game up again I feel that I’m benefiting from the extra push I’ve decided to give myself. More of the same is ahead next week onwards, and of course, I know if you don’t run then you don’t fight so I intend to step things up on that front too.

The past few months have been tough primarily due to navigating bereavement and it’s good to finally feel that I’m ready to start letting life head back to its normal pace. I think I’ve been doing that anyway but there are days when I just don’t want to do anything at all. My mum is pretty much in the same place as me and we talk every day and often video call in the evenings.

I think training has helped me get through what seems to have been the worst bits if that makes sense and volunteering has also helped keep me focused. I’m getting the volunteer and paid work balance right once again and I actually just finished opening letters that have been sitting in a small lonely pile for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Easter break as well as training has been awesome so far, and it’s been nice to get out into town over the weekend as well as have a good couple of nights of decent music and good company. You can’t beat dancing to chase the blues away.

Training wise I’ve got back to a good level of consistency I just want to try and get to open mat sessions a little earlier. And sort my time keeping out. I’ve also broken the bad habit of kicking with my foot instead of my shin. When you get put under a lot of pressure( I get to be put under a lot of pressure in sparring at points but I’m an experienced fighter it’s really to be expected.) )it’s also understandable to want to stay at a safe distance but kicking out of range isn’t really the way. I’m making myself stay close and stay in if I can.

This week I did some good stuff clinch wise and it’s an area of training I really feel I need to focus on. One of my first trainers called it an art within art and I’ve always found that to be true. I’m working on ways to shut down taller fighters so do my best to catch kicks and counter quickly, if there’s a lot of pressure from hands clinching is a good way to stop them, you just need to be brave enough to take the bull by the horns. Besides, when we’re that close we’ve got our elbows as well as knees.

Looking at Muay Thai from a self-defense perspective knees, elbows and clinch are half-decent tools to have in your arsenal, unless of course, you run into a knife in which case as Geoff Thompson once said pick up anything that isn’t nailed down and throw it at them then run. I’ve only ever been in a situation once in my 16 years plus of training where I had to defend myself and my training was there for me when I needed it the most.

I say once, going back a few years I was the victim of a racist attack. Three of them jumped me and one had to hit me with a bike lock to come anywhere close to hurting me. I was drunk at the time and had I been switched on and sober I don’t think firstly I would have ended up in the situation in the first place and secondly, I would have defended myself with vigor. I stayed on my feet, however. My friends the next day all came over to see me from Easton in Bristol and were generally amazing.

But that incident aside, I’ve found that bullies including racist ones got a lot warier of me when I started martial arts, not because I walk around with my chest puffed out but because it’s about how you carry yourself as a person. It’s about the aura you project. As I said towards the beginning of today’s blog I feel stronger in myself as I carry on the long path of healing from loss. I actually feel how I did when I started this martial journey of mine and there’s an inner toughness that’s growing inside of me again. I believe in putting others before myself. It’s a characteristic I’ve inherited from both my parents but in particular my beautiful father. I have a lot to thank him for and I know he was always proud of me and all my achievements.

I’m back at the gym tomorrow afternoon and Monday morning has got first run of the week written all over it. Enjoy the rest of the Easter break. I’ve had the best Easter Sunday of nothing ever and my hangover is now at the time of writing just about gone. Dancing and good times are fun but Muay Thai is importanter. Here’s to the week ahead and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Here comes the sun

Afternoon all, it’s nice as always to catch up and I hope that all is well with you. Despite having last week off from training as I was away in far from sunny Spain (red sand rain, miserable weather but good company) it’s been nice to get back into the swing of things at the gym and of course, I intend to keep things heading in the right direction.

Training has been going really well, and I’m enjoying my time there. Although I was away last week I still managed to get some running time in and it’s the one area I feel that I need to be a little more consistent with here. The last training session of the week is looming and when I get back I’ll have to make sure I finish the week off with some quality stamina building.

The thing is, I’m just lazy about these things and forget a half-decent run is literally on my doorstep. I’m looking forward to it already. Training is however improving my fitness as well as my ability but that’s the way it should be. I train 5 times a week again these days but this month intend to step it up to 6 from time to time. It’s good to push a little harder sometimes just to see where it gets you.

As I’ve got older I’ve noticed injuries take a lot longer to heal, old fighting injuries creep back in from time to time but in general, I keep on trucking. I’ve decided that competing is something I’ll focus on for as long as I’m fit enough and competent enough to do so but I know there’s more to Muay Thai than just stepping in a ring.

Fairtex Bangplee

Right now I’m loving the confidence boost and general sharpness training regularly is giving me again. It’s just procrastination I still have to beat, which is one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to get around to writing my blog. Other areas of my life I want to improve I just put the same energy into as well, but you know something? Life isn’t always about self-improvement. Sometimes life is about just being comfortable in your own skin and being you.

Being emotionally intelligent is really the order of the day and I find that training helps me be less reactive and assess situations and people with a lot more clarity than before. It’s easier to manage my emotions these days than a month or so ago. I guess that’s part of the healing process I’m going through at present. Everything changes.

I feel a lot more confident about stepping back into the ring if the opportunity arises again than I did last year and as another fighter said to me it’s about picking up from where I left off. Not reinventing the wheel. I’d like to fight this year and of course, have told my trainers that too. We shall see. I still enjoy combat even if it is only sparring at present.

Speaking of gyms, sparring, and training the last session of the week is rapidly approaching. I’m maybe going to focus on bag work today as a preference but might have a little spar too. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

Back in the room.

Evening all. As always it’s good to catch up, I very nearly decided to leave writing until tomorrow but seeing as procrastination and I am old friends (or is it enemies) I’ve decided as always that there’s no time like the present. Training as always has remained consistent and I’m back to training 5 times a week again which is only ever a good thing. Little by little I’m heading back to where I want to be when it comes to all things martial and hard work is starting to pay off. As I’ve always said the more you put in, then the more you get out.

Ha. That’s something someone once said in my old gym in Bournemouth and it’s always stuck because it’s true. The hardest part of training is sometimes just turning up but staying focused on what you want is sometimes an incentive in itself. There is never anything that can’t be improved but I realised on my lunchtime bag blast today that everything is perfect the way it is.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should be kind of proud of myself for having trained for as long as I have and for having achieved as much as I have already done. There’s a fighter who is beginning to rise up again inside of me and he still wants to win. Never say never as the saying goes. I’m still young and there’s still some fuel in the tank. I don’t want a lot other than to maybe fight at a slightly higher level than I have before because I think I’d be pretty good at it with enough training and determination.

It’s nice to be back in the room and now that I’m back in the room I intend to stay here for a while. It has taken me a lot of focus and a lot of determination to tough it out throughout lockdown, personal tragedy, and life’s trials and tribulations but hey I’m still here and you know something? I’m winning. Ok so now that I’ve said that maybe I am a little proud of myself. They make us South Africans tough.

There is, of course, a lot I need to do better including not kicking with my currently bruised left foot but of late things have been good. In fact, things have been great, so much so that despite a week off next week seeing family in Spain I intend to step it up a gear when home and start training 6 times a week instead of 5. Just because I want to see what happens and I’m curious to know if I’ll get as sharp as I think I will. Goal setting has always been one of my favourite things.

But that’s just me. As soon as I have something to focus on I have two modes, one is on and the other is off. These days I’m getting used to flicking the ‘on’ switch again when I need to and it’s beginning to pay off. Slowly. Little by little. Consistency and perseverance are kings when it comes to improvements in the gym. No one said this would be easy but I don’t like easy. I just walk through tough like it isn’t a thing because being out of my comfort zone has always been the best place to learn and you know what? over 16 years on I still wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to the rest of the week and training hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

4 years

Hi. It’s been a few weeks since we caught up last but as always it’s great to find the time to sit down and write. I hope your week has been a good one and when it comes to training I hope it’s been a strong one. I’ve been pretty consistent with my training over the past few weeks and as of next week, I’m turning it up a notch further. I feel strong inside and confident that little by little I’m improving when it comes to sparring. The positive energy from training is something I carry into the rest of my life and I’m pleased to say energy is flowing into all the right spaces and places that make up me.

A few weeks ago I wrote about why I’m taking legal action against Avon and Somerset Police. Thanks to a tremendous fundraising campaign on CrowdJustice and some outstanding media coverage from the Canary plus most importantly ongoing support and solidarity from yourselves I’m really pleased to say I’ve raised the initial fundraising goal of £1500.00 to pursue action over a 2018 DPA breach that has resulted in a lot of police targeting and harassment over the course of time. I’d recommend the platform to anyone who needs to raise funds for a legal matter and can’t go via the legal aid route.

I’m catching up with Bindmans LLP early next week. Their reputation in righting wrongs when it comes to us and the police and state is formidable so I feel confident that although the road ahead may be a long one (hey there’s nothing new there) things inevitably will be put right, and the police as they should be will be held to account.

There is a stretch target of £8,000 running on my CrowdJustice in case we need to take the police to court over the matter, but as we’re also looking at article 8 breaches and intelligence sharing malpractice maybe, just maybe I can move my case into a civil claim. Of course, I’ll know more next week!. After 4 years of fighting for justice and to clear my name, I feel the glass should always remain half full. Later this year the CCRC is taking a look at the original wrongful and malicious conviction. Additionally, we are still waiting to hear from the ICO on the breach itself.

I’ve been very pleased to see many people on the martial arts scene being very supportive of my fight to clear my name and my ongoing fight for justice. I think sometimes when you tell people you’ve had a lot of police contact in your life or that the cops are harassing you it’s very easy to assume that like the police themselves, those listening will assume you are perpetually a ‘bloody criminal‘ It has been refreshing to hear people say “I can’t believe what they have done to you.” and the community of Bristol as a whole has shown a lot of empathy and can clearly see it.

But you know something? I’m not alone. It seems that the police here are quite willing to wage malicious, and often racist vendettas against anyone who decides to fight for their rights. The community project and independent police monitoring group Bristol Copwatch I hope is a breath of fresh air for working-class communities across the city and of course for anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of police misconduct and abuse of power. We are 2 years old this month. I think my dad would be very proud of me for being one of the creators of something so positive. I know my mum is.

Later this month I’m in Oxford with Copwatch getting my teeth sunk into the police once again, on a workshop on resilience, stop and search plus of course how to Copwatch. I think we’re even covering a little on SAR (subject access request) and why it matters. It was only by raising a SAR that I found out about the breach. The marker I had been looking for was there all along. When it comes to PNC entries as Bindmans has said the issue is the wording. Between you, me, and the gatepost it seems particularly malicious. We’ll see how things pan out over the next few weeks.

Outside of community work and day-to-day life trials and tribulations, I’m very pleased as always to have Muay Thai as my release valve. Like with everything else it’s a long road but it’s an investment in myself and it has helped me navigate many of the journeys in my life I have never ever wanted to make. An old friend once gave me a postcard of Muhammad Ali, and I wrote: “I am a survivor” on the back. That survivor is also a fighter. I always have been even before I found martial arts. I still walk tall and I’m getting stronger. Thanks to my friends and family for all your support and love. Here’s to winning all our fights in the ring and otherwise, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

Every time I look in the mirror, dad is looking back.