Category Archives: Personal Development

Am writing

Hi. I thought now would be a good time as ever to check in with you all once again. I’m going to spend more time getting virtual pen to paper as I don’t write nearly as much as I’d like to at present and as I’ve been writing this blog for many years it would really be a shame to see if fall to one side.

When it comes to training I’m as always enjoying my time at the gym, heading down there around four times a week at present but hoping to up the ante this week onwards. The more you put in the more you get out right? I guess really is the same when it comes to me and my writing. It’s a natural bias I’ve inherited from both my Auntie Blossom and my dad. and so of course, I’d rather not let it sit on hiatus.

I was asked not so long ago if I would like to write a 500-word piece on my journey through political policing for Netpol the Network For Police Monitoring and I think I still may well do so. I’m becoming increasingly well known as a public speaker and cop watcher and of course, a member of Bristol Copwatch who is very much all about police accountability and these days accountability, or rather lack of it from the police is something we should all be paying attention to.

My own journey through stop and search and the criminal justice system through to fighting for my rights and an unshakeable determination to hold not just one but three police forces to account for a complete abuse of power isn’t really going to be done justice in 500 words or so, which is why I’m going to get my story into a couple of releases. It’s going to be called “John’s story” and something I intend to resonate as with all things written from the heart.

Training is currently helping me navigate trauma from a series of data protection breaches that looks increasingly like a malicious attempt to position me as someone I’m not and, having an understanding of how the police operate when they are trying to protect themselves I want to be able to share my experiences as guidance and inspiration for others who are fighting for their rights and may sometimes feel alone in the wilderness.

Of course, having never done any form of activism alone and having never lived a sheltered life I understand how desperately police can attempt to cut you off from your friends when push comes to shove, and how damaging that can be. At the points when I’ve felt at my lowest like many years ago I’ve always had Muay Thai as well as family and friends to keep my head up and of course relentless community activism. There’s nothing more rewarding than holding the police to account and I love helping others do the same.

Part of my journey or “John’s story” is going to be a small snippet of a writing project called “The Last of the good guys” a project that needs life breathed into it again and is about how martial arts helped me change my life and take my power back. Little by little and day by day despite the cops and trauma, despite bereavement and heavy periods of grief, I’m finding that it’s once again helping me walk taller than I ever thought I could.

This year I hope to go with my mum to South Africa for a second time to lay my dad to rest. Part of me just like before will no doubt feel like I’ve come home and you know something? I’ll probably write about that too. Have a good week and train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

The more you put in

Hi. It’s good to catch up as always. Just as I was reminding myself that I really need to start writing again more regularly I’ve found myself sitting down to share what’s new in my world whilst of course, hoping that all is well in yours.

Training despite being thin on the ground the week before last is starting to head back in the right direction. Last week I trained 4 times and this should be 5. I get it’s not always about volume but I’ve always been a firm believer like many others in this game the more you put in the more you get out.

I commented to one of my trainers last week that I’m improving right now because I’m training with people that have a very good standard of Muay Thai and I was pleased to see him agree with me. Although there’s a lot I need to work on and improve it’s all there and not only is it all there it just gets better with time. After over 16 years of training, it’s good to know that Mr never gives up and still never gives up, and not only that he’s improving.

My current training goal is to shed the holiday kg I put on out in Spain and probably over the past couple of months. I’m currently about 67kg which is heavy for me, and having done some situps the other day and having aching ribs the next day, it’s clear that I absolutely need to get myself in shape for that inevitable beach moment this year. I even went running before the gym today. Go me.

My fitness has always been good and I think my toughness both physical and mental is a natural bias however, I know what time it is and get that fighting after over 4 years out at 44 may be possible but isn’t essential. I said to one of my coaches that just being at my camp and training is great, but ok I’d love to fight again. As my head coach said to me a while ago now never say never. I’ll be training when I’m 60.

I spend a fair amount of time on the bags practicing combinations and felt tonight that I don’t spend enough time hitting pads out of classes, however, bag work is sharpening me up. I put it together well you know, I think I always have and it’s always nice to come up with new stuff that I can maybe try in sparring. I’m really enjoying the classes as a whole plus the open mat sessions at present. It’s lots of fun and it’s good to be learning and improving.

Although Muay Thai has never come easy to me it’s my art and my passion. To be honest I don’t think my life would be the same if I was without it. I said to a couple of new guys the other day it gives a lot back to you and they agreed. It’s about the aura you project and how you carry yourself. It’s about being kind and being as fierce as a lion when you have to be. In the ring, it’s about being a warrior. In my life, it’s about walking like one.

When I first started training way back in 2007 I had come out of a very intense relationship. I felt lost and then I found martial arts. After 6 months of learning a bit of this and a bit of that, I felt I knew everything. I walked into a Muay Thai gym and realised I knew nothing. I never looked back. Once a week became, twice a week, three times, and so on. When I started training the police left me alone and the bullies left me alone. A close friend of mine said to me “Look how tall you walk.” And she was right. I always have done. I always take it home with me. Have a great week, train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

Kill the bill again.

Hi. It’s good to catch up as always and wow. It’s been nearly a month since I picked up this blog of mine. I need to start writing a lot more than I am at present that’s for sure. But you know something? I and procrastination are old friends. Today, it’s nice to shake off the writing excuses. At the moment I’m dealing with another wave of trauma from police contact and grief of losing my dad. It is a wave it crashes on the shore. It started last night, and I’ll tell you how because I trust you and know it’ll go no further than you and me.

I’ve been playing an early-access game on my PC called Sons of the Forest. My fellow special forces survivor Kalvin became expandable and I killed him brutally for yet again cowering in fear following an attack by a giant cannibal. I hope by this point you are laughing because I am. What triggered me was what happened next. We had made friends with a woman who had made friends with both of us. With no spoilers attached, she’s far from normal but had visited our mini home regularly. I even saw her whispering to him and she gave us food.

When I killed Kalvin in the game she was watching at distance she walked over slowly and brought some aloe vera leaves that she placed gently by his body. She then broke down and sobbed by his body. I actually paused and just went “Wow” I felt bad. I had murdered her friend.

And then of course I navigated my own grief. Dad arrived sudden and out the blue but always beautiful. At this point I should say I do have a therapist and she’s lovely I haven’t seen her for a few weeks now but I’m about to send her an email. In the meantime, as therapy goes this will have to do.

Grief and trauma are powerful emotions that we all go through and learn to navigate. I spent a long time believing I could lock them away. These days I love and respect myself and know that they need a voice. Police in particular are rarely accountable for the trauma they create.

I wanted to share some of my speech with you today that I read at the Last Kill The Bill 2 march and demonstration outside Bridewell Police Station in Bristol. I’m writing a book about my misspent youth (not all of it was bad and I have very beautiful memories and loving parents)and my journey into martial arts and how it helped me turn my life around. It’s called “The Last of the good guys”. My drama teacher smiling at the time called me that in my last ever lesson in secondary school in the 5th year. Anyway here’s that speech, it’s quite long so is abridged. After this, I’m hitting the gym to take it out on the bags and not the cops.

We’ve never got on – KTB Bridewell Anniversary speech.

“From my teens to my late 20s I was stopped and searched routinely by Hampshire Police. Before I broke any law, I was racially profiled. At one point being stopped and searched was nearly a daily occurrence. Nearly every day. Over 15 years on that still resonates.  Over 15 years on I still struggle to forgive myself for ruining my life all those years ago.  I used to have a drug problem. I used to be a drug dealer. In the end, I broke the cycle and healed my life. I changed myself. Not the police, state, or punitive punishment.

 Not disproportionate stop and search. Not incarceration. But me. Because I got tired of hurting those I cared about the most. I got tired of being angry and hurting and never healing. Of saying “I’m fine” when I was in pieces inside and no one understood, and everyone lectured me and the police judged me. They put me in a box that said, “wants to be bad” and for a while I did. In the end, I learned the hard way. So many of us do. I was never any good at breaking the law.

If I’ve taken away one thing from those years, it’s that even “bloody criminals” especially the black and brown boys have rights. We have journeys that we never wanted to make. We have labels the police give us that stay with us for life. When the police were in my life it was never ending and when they weren’t it felt like liberation…

Towards the end

“As the founding member of an independent grassroots police monitoring group, it’s fair to say that over the past few years of our existence, we have seen numerous cases of abuse of power. We have witnessed the machinery of the state in action! We understand the damage the criminal justice system and the police can do to people’s lives. I know the pain of being labeled a criminal. Someone who will never change. But you know something? I did change. And I changed for me and never the police!

Far too many of us are lost in the system without the help and support we need. Far too many of us lose faith that we will ever see justice and so many of us have lost all faith in the police themselves. The brutality of 2021 showed us the nature of revenge policing. It showed us that our communities are nothing more than a containment operation to a force that continues to militarise itself with ARV patrols, that risk scores and assesses us as numbers,  and fails to respond to community needs!

If the past few years have shown us one thing it’s that when we stand together we are a force to be reckoned with and with the outright damning Casey report on the Metropolitan Police it is clear that when all is said and done, all we really have is each other. This year, make sure you leave no one behind! Check in with that person being stopped and searched, and challenge police violence if you see it in action! Film the police, and help your community take action against misconduct. Bristol Copwatch is all of us. This year let’s show the police what time it is! Fight for your rights and as I always say, always stand up to your bullies!”

Thanks for hearing my strong voice. Remember to kill the bill. I’ll see you on that road. #amwriting

Never say never

Hi. It’s good to catch up once again after what feels like a long period of writing hiatus. I’ve been asking myself of late when it is exactly I’m going to pick this blog up again so it’s good to find the time amongst the “busy” of my life. To be honest, I think I’ve been missing writing a lot, and seeing as it’s a gift my dad gave me it’s good to connect with a natural bias once again.

Training has been good of late and although I haven’t been getting to the gym as much as I’d like at points I’m valuing my time there. It’s not always about volume but what you learn and take away however I’m still a firm believer that the more you put in, the more you will always get out.

I’ve found that being busy has a tendency to have a knock-on effect on one of my favourite ways to spend my time and from next week onwards I’m upping the ante with my fitness regime outside of Muay Thai training and getting back into my running. Like one of the fighters from my camp said to me earlier you need to be fit and you need to be fast. It’s hard training let alone sparring with a Sunday hangover but I did great today.

There’s a lot I want to improve and get better and it’s good to know that I have some real goals to focus on in the gym and outside of it too. Muay Thai is a great outlet for me and it always has been. If energy flows where attention goes then it’s good to know that with Muay Thai it’s absolutely flowing in the right direction.

This week and last week have seen that energy going into improving a couple of things and being honest, despite a left bruised shin from kicking the heavy bag little bits could potentially be getting better. Before I start putting myself down I accept the fact to progress and improve not only do I need to remain consistent with my training but that I need to start changing who I am as a fighter. Because I am a fighter. Did you know that? sometimes I don’t see myself as one.

Sometimes I doubt myself and give myself a hard time for getting things wrong, for not using what I know, and for falling into the same patterns and traps when sparring, for being too predictable, for chambering my kicks for forgetting that people I train with tell me they think I’m a good boxer. That I’m a good fighter. I know how to fight and once they even told me that my record doesn’t do me justice. It’s just that now I’ve got to a point where I accept that I can just train for training’s sake and still set goals. I still want to be better than who I am and prove myself wrong and just get better and better with time.

My head coach said to me a while ago “never say never” so I’ll remember that and if you see a glint in my eye and a trademark smirk on my face when I look at the ring you’ll know that the guy who won an area title way back in 2013 is still very much in the room. He just needs your help again to show him he’s more than he ever thought he could be. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time..I’ll see you on that road.

Shoes I can never fill

Hi, it’s nice to check in as always. I don’t do enough writing these days and being honest I’d like to see that change. It’s a natural bias of mine. A gift from my father and one of his sisters my auntie Blossom. Earlier this evening I had to republish a blog post I wrote way back in August 2022 following the sudden and tragic death of my dear friend and fellow cop watcher Ahmed Fofanah. You can read what I said at the time about that brother Ahmed here.

Ahmed was one of the Bristol Copwatch core team and writing about him as I have written about my dad in the past tense is something I’m still navigating. He sat on the Co-PoWER project community engagement panel not just as a Bristol Copwatch representative but most importantly as himself. When it came to his own journey and fight for justice I can still hear his strong voice as if it were yesterday.

When I think about our lived experience of the police at their very worst it’s fair to say that we had a lot in common. I guess it’s one of the reasons we made friends. We connected and we got on well even though that friendship developed primarily through supporting Ahmed and his family it was heartwarming to see it grow after that point and to hear his voice when he said how he wanted to help others navigate journeys that they never wanted to make.

I guess that’s why when Co-POWeR asked us if we could recommend anyone for the community engagement panel we just had to suggest Ahmed as the most suitable person we knew. I mean who else could it of been? I feel honoured to be heading to Leeds tomorrow for the Co-POWeR final conference. This is something Ahmed would have done. These are shoes I can never fill. I miss my fam just like I miss my dad.

Ahmed at his home in July 2022 with Co-POWeR photo courtesy of Co-POWeR

It’s going to be an important couple of days at the conference in Leeds and I just would like to say thank you to Co-POWeR not only for their vital work examining the impact of COVID-19 and racial discrimination on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities in the UK during the lockdown and the pandemic but for hearing our dear friends voice when it needed to be heard the most.

To me, this event is about celebrating the resilience of our communities and exploring how we can overcome such conditions in the future of course to myself, his family, and to Co-POWeR it is also about remembering our dear friend Ahmed Fofanah taken so suddenly from us when he had so much to give. If anything I take a great deal of solace in knowing that he told me to keep doing what I’m doing and to keep fighting for justice just like my dad always did, and because of this I rejoice and raise my fist. Thank you my brother for your contributions and vital work. These are shoes I can never ever fill.

That Brother Ahmed

Due to a publishing error on my blog, I have had to re-release this piece of writing. It was written at the time during a heavy period of grief and of course with a lot of love for Ahmed and his family. This piece was originally written in late August 2022.

Sitting down and writing this blog on the tail end of a fantastic August bank holiday somehow doesn’t feel right. Actually being at a point where I feel ready to write has taken weeks but here we are you and me and it feels like the right time.

Bristol Copwatch is due to release a statement about Ahmed Fofanah’s passing and how it has impacted all of us but I wanted to take the opportunity to do the same. I can still remember when we first began supporting Ahmed Fofanah and his family well over a year ago now due to his ongoing fight for justice. Even at his lowest Ahmed had a strength that is rarely seen and a fierce determination to fight for his rights.

We connected due to our shared heritage. Ahmed came from Sierra Leone in Africa and was immediately interested in my family history, in particular, my beautiful father Owen Pegram who sadly left me and my mum in December of 2021 due to a long battle with cancer. Dad was a black South African and Ahmed loved me telling him about our family history.

He told me a lot about Sierra Leone and was deeply interested in the history of South Africa. To say he was Afrocentric was an understatement. His children like myself are mixed-race black people, and his incredibly strong wife Martina is white just like my mum, if you’re a mixed-race kid yourself you’ll know how important our identity is.

My dear friend taught me to embrace the African side of me further just as my dad always has done. I remember Ahmed as a kind and gentle man who was devoted to doing the right thing and helping others, in fact when my dad passed away he was the first person to call me to check-in. He never stopped saying thanks for the help and support we gave him and when we lost him at the beginning of August my heart broke into a thousand pieces.

Ahmed was also a sportsman and I remember watching videos of him and his son boxing sparring at their home in Weston Super mare. He told me he had many fights and I could see from watching the way he moved he was a fighter. To see a strong man like him suddenly up and leave is heartbreaking.

It’s hard to navigate even now but I’ve learned in this life we have to be strong. We have to keep fighting and most importantly we have to be there for one another. When he spoke in public he lit up the room and captivated hearts and minds. I can still hear his strong voice.

Everything we do now as a monitoring group honors his memory and he will always have a place in my heart. I’m sure he and my dad have shaken hands wherever they are. Two of Africa’s children have come home. Rejoice and raise your fist.

Ahmed and his beloved dog Shadow, photo courtesy of Co-POWeR

Mine to keep

Hi. It´s good to catch up with you a couple of days before 2023 lands. I hope you have had a good Christmas and like me your gearing up for new years eve! 2022 has most certainly been eventful but it´s also been a very strong year for me as a community activist, martial artist and of course public speaker.

As the current year draws to a close it´s as always a time for reflection however I´m not sitting in the new year new me camp. I don´t do that as a rule of thumb but I do set my intention and think about my goals. Just before I headed out to Spain to spend quality time in the sun with my mum (today is my last day before travelling home to Bristol tomorrow) for the holidays I was on the sharp end of a serious violence incident on my estate in St Anne´s Bristol.

The youth I ran into on my usual cycle route back to my flat were armed with machetes. They stole my mountain bike (now replaced with the same model, thanks to my lovely mum) and mobile phone (also replaced with the same one thanks 02) having been in my fair share of altercations over the course of my life it was the first time anyone has ever been cowardly enough to pull a blade or blades on me. It caught me off guard. My on switch was off. Your world changes when a machete is against your throat. When a handle is rammed into your eye.

My world became unreal. The punch that came before the handle just like in the ring was a thud with no pain. If it had not been for my friend walking her dog who saw what was happening and ran over when I yelled for help I´m reasonably sure it would of been the end of me. I thought my life was going to be cut short over a four hundred pound mountain bike behind a Coop less than fifteen minutes from my home.

When faced with my own mortality for the second time in my life just like before I have said thanks to whatever watches my back. I have been round a few corners. They were journeys I never wanted to make. I will be fine. Trauma is something I soak up like a sponge and these days I know how to navigate it. Besides, I have my people. Friends old and new have been amazing.

I have never been alone to assume I am is a falsehood. It´s something cowards and bullies tell each other to feel safer about guys like me. Kindness is not a weakness. It is a sign of emotional intelligence. Gentle as a lamb fierce as a lion is the order of the day. That´s the Muay Thai way.

Right now I´m happy that my eye is healing so well. I´m still that handsome boy from modelling school. I´m happy to have received so many lovely messages and wishes of fast healing and good health from friends and family. I´m happy I´m here. I´m happy I´m alive. Although I have very little trust in the police it is good to see how seriously the incident was taken. The community was and is amazing. Bristol is like that. My gym of course showed the same amount of solidarity and kindness. Thank you Dave for reminding me to stay sharp.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post about a fair share of altercations over the years. This is a truth but so is the fact I was bullied before I took up martial arts. I was beaten up before I learned how to really give it back and at points did. I was that kid people thought they could shove around. When I started training the bullies crossed the road when they saw me coming.

It is about the aura we project and the confidence and awareness is self evident when you train but the fear I encountered recently and have always run into is very real. Over time I have learned to make it my friend. It took me a long time to learn how to fight in the ring. I still have a lot to learn but I´m a tough kid. If that frightens you or make you angry I´ll let you navigate that shit on your own. Fear is a mind killer and when those blades appeared I froze. Then I tried to run. “Lads just take the bike” is mine to keep forever.

I´d like to say I´m not vulnerable but I am. I´d like to say a much younger John is not present but he is. He needs me right now so I´ll take him down the gym next week and show him something. I´ll show him something good and that is beautiful and is my art. Always there when I need it the most. It saved me once and it never leaves. It´s mine to keep forever. Have a great new year and train hard and just like the last time… I´ll see you on that road.


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.

My favourite thing

Hi. It´s nice to catch up with you all once again, I´m currently nearing the end of a well deserved holiday in the sun spending quality time with family. It´s been a great break and I am already looking forward to a nice Christmas with my mum. Its her 81st Birthday today and she has had a nice day which of course, means I have too. We went out for lunch with family friends and whilst I´m writing she´s reading her book.

Both of us miss my dad more than words can say but he´s always here and with us both of us forever. He had an amazing life and was a giant of a human being- I have been thinking recently of gifts he left me other than my fighting spirit, strength and dedication to always doing the right thing. I´m just like that Spike Lee joint. It´s why I believe firmly in helping others fight for their rights especially when they feel that they can´t go it alone.

My auntie Blossom was a public speaker and a teacher like dad as well as a writer too. Both fled apartheid and South Africa´s children became political exiles due to fighting back against white supremacy.

Our roots are from the tribes of South Africa and our surname is a slave name. In fact, just recently my cousin Melanie who is African American and my auntie´s daughter said she met a long lost relative of our family. We are black people and mixed race black people on dad´s side. I´m very proud of my roots, which has some outstanding black activists and some would say freedom fighters who stood up to hate way back when.

Of course, mum has told me a lot about dad´s fight for his rights when he came to the UK as he did himself. She campaigned actively with my auntie Blossom to get the Metropolitan Police to leave him alone- When he came to the UK- He was stateless and without a passport and the cops put him in a hotel with a guard on the door. They called him a bad citizen for fighting back via stage plays in South Africa against the apartheid regime. He always was a superb stage actor.

He was also a teacher and after he got his passport issues resolved and made his new home here he ended up teaching white kids English, and of course he started dating mum and the rest is history. It´s nice to see that like my father I have ended up becoming a sportsman and athlete. Dad used to play cricket for Cambridge.

I think my journey into Muay Thai caught both him and mum off guard when I first started competing. His quiet little boy who made some mistakes but in the end came right went from learning to fight to actually fighting. Mum has always encouraged me as did my father even when I lost and lost.

Mum asked me just recently how long I have been training for now “Over 15 years” I said casually. “that´s good” she replied. Both her and dad would agree I have always had a big heart. Winning two titles has shown me I can do anything I put my mind too. I guess that´s how Bristol Copwatch came about. I guess that´s why I have been running my own business for a while now. I see something I feel I should do and put my time, creativity and energy into and I just go for it. I absolutely get that from my father.

Today is mum´s day. She comes from a working class family and her dad was a soldier. He fought in both world wars he also did a tour of Northern Ireland. When he left the army he wanted to be a cop. The whole family objected. “We have always had a low opinion of the police.” She told me recently. She worked as a teacher for many years running both R.S and sociology departments. She has always been passionately anti-racist and a feminist and at 81 will never change. She where my never give up comes from.

I thought I´d write about my parents because today is special. It would of been dad´s 92nd birthday on the 21st of this month. Everyone tells me I look just like him. I act like him always inspired to do the right thing and holding the police to account is one of my favourite things. Just like public speaking and writing it´s a natural bias of mine. Muay Thai is of course my hobby and passion. I´m getting better at that too. Training for years does that I guess. I can still give you a dead leg.

I´m back home in Bristol on Monday, and later in the week what feels like my speaker and workshop tour begins with Bristol Copwatch. Like that brother Afu Ra I whirlwind through cities. I´m a firm believer in sharing knowledge of our rights and helping communities build resilience. My own fight for justice is ongoing, in the end as dad would say to me it´ll come right. Have a great weekend, train hard and just like the last time…I´ll see you on that road.

My place on Earth.

Hi. It’s nice to catch up with you once again. I’ve actually been meaning to sit down and get some writing done for well over a week now and although procrastination and I are still really good mates, it’s nice as always to check-in.

Training this week has been pretty good and it’s nice that I’m finding the time more so than the week before to get down to the gym. Despite my bike needing some repair work next week I’ve already got the week ahead planned out and it’s not only going to be busy martial arts wise it’s no doubt going to be awesome.

Staying in it for as long as I have it’s still plain as day that I’m going to be training when I’m 60. Muay Thai has not only shown me that I can do anything I put my mind body and soul into but that it is over 15 years on just as much fun as it was on day one. It not only gets you in good shape fast but it teaches you about yourself.

It’s a journey that’s why I’m always on the road. I discovered this week that even on my just-about-getting-by days I’m still pretty good when I put my mind to it. Just recently I’ve come away from sparring sessions and training smiling and really that’s what it’s about. I don’t mind having a tough time as long as I’m learning something and most of the time I am.

I’ve looked at fighting as an “if it happens again great” situation and I’ll just go with the flow. I’m confident I’d do a lot better than the last time around. I remember what winning feels like and I love the combat so as they say never say never. At 43 years old my heart is just as big as it always was.

At present, I feel a lot better about myself and am focused on volunteering work, my day job, and living a good life and a happy one. My fight for justice is moving forward and the police monitoring group I founded is moving from strength to strength. Later this month I’m out to Spain to see my mum for her birthday and to celebrate and remember my amazing dad. It’s good to work from a place of strength inside.

Training has really helped me navigate loss and my gym has been very kind over the course of this year, but being honest they always have been. It’s one of the reasons I’ve trained there for many years. Of course, my previous gym Bristol Thai was just as welcoming and I achieved a lot there, but it’s good to have found my place on earth.

I intend to have another strong week of training from Tuesday onwards and it’s great to invest myself as much as I do. I know dad was always proud to see the man I’ve become. Have a good week, train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.