Category Archives: Sports

After an extended absence

Evening all. It’s good as always to catch up, and I hope all is good in your world when it comes to all things martial. This end, it’s been consistent and training as always is going well. I’ve got a small break coming up for a couple of weeks from next Wednesday but it’s going to be good to have a pause, spend some quality time with family and remember that there is more to life than just endless rounds on the heavy bag,

We’re training sensibly and obeying social distancing rules at my gym, but it’s good to get pushed within the shorter sessions that fill up the week, and the longer Saturdays and Sundays that are always worth while. I’m pleased to say I’m upping the ante when it comes to technique and everything seems to be on a slow but gradual path of improvement. It’s going to be a challenge keeping things at the right level during a couple of weeks out but I’m confident I will. I know enough these days to take it home with me and focus on what I want to improve.

I’ve always stayed committed to whatever I want to achieve in martial arts and I’m starting to feel confident enough in myself and competent enough technically to consider fighting again next year onwards. I’ve been aware for a long time now that the next time I fight anyone my standard is going to need to be above average to really succeed but hey I put in the work, I think more about what I’m doing and what I need to improve than I did a few months back and I’m pushing myself. That’s really what counts and although progress is slow right now it feels like a constant.

These days the gym often comes as a welcome break and a good way to relax after a long day. It’s nice to set training goals outside of the ring and if my goal is at present is improving I think I’m on the right track. Despite a heavy cold a week or so ago my fitness has sprung back to its old self and I managed to spend a reasonably consistent close to 6 minutes on the bag yesterday with no break. I’ve always been a work horse and I’ll continue to be one for a long time yet.

For once I’m not fearing rust developing after a short break and I’m confident when I’m back beginning of November I’m sure I’ll hit the gym hard. In fact, I’m confident it’ll be like I never left at all. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to a decent Tuesday session and from there spending time with the best people in my life. I’ll check in with you all again next weekend. ‘The Little Fighter with a big heart’ is officially 6 and still has a global following. Go me.

Nearly 14 years on I’m just as in love with Muay Thai as I always was. (I started training in Muay Thai way back in 2007 and have been training in martial arts as a whole for over 15 years.) Thanks for the years of support of my blog and thanks for letting me my share my journey with you. I’ll see you on that road.

Rising.

Hey. Nice to catch up once again and I hope your day has been a good one. I’m sitting here feeling marginally burnt out from the week of training but it’s a good kind of burnt out. My legs feel sore from kicking and not enough stretching, my shoulders and neck ache a little from ending up in the clinch a few times sparring and I swear that my shins feel more prominent and tougher than they did on Monday.

Today was my “I’m tired and I want to go home” day, even though I wasn’t really training on the heavy bag for that long. It’s been one of those weeks, like the second week of fight camp where one day feels lacking and far from perfect but the next day is fire. Hills and valleys, peaks and troughs. “That guy” has popped his head up from time to time to tell me to quit the moaning and to get on with it. And to keep my hands up. And sort my balance out. And to kick quicker. And not to chamber my kicks. I think he’s a fren. At the very least, he’s an ally. It’s been a good week.

I’ve found myself pushing through the ongoing grind because I want to get good. In fact, I don’t just want to get good I want to get really good. It’s a never ending goal that’s forced me to wake up to a few home truths but to remember that at no point did anyone tell me any of this was going to be easy. If you want to be the best you can possibly be you have to put in the work, and remain relentless in everything you do. Like Rocky once said “that’s how winning is done.”

And when you learn how winning is done you come a little closer to understanding the sacrifices you have to make to get the most out of your chosen discipline. Fighting isn’t for everyone. It’s brutal in there. If you don’t give it your all then you shouldn’t be climbing through those ropes at all. When you lose a few fights in a row it’s hard to not fall into the trap of a self fulfilling prophecy, one that means your opponent has won even before your gloves are on and you’ve started your walk.

It’s hard to push through the fear of failure and just focus on the here and now, and the person in front of you without expecting to lose. For a while you can be downtrodden by those feelings and that fear. When you finally decide you want something enough to prove yourself wrong is when it tips. When just another fight becomes you vs you and you have to prove yourself wrong is when it tips, because if your good enough to get in that ring and fight well..even if you lose, then your absolutely good enough to win. You have to remember that and hold onto it even if things get tough. They inevitably do and will. You have to want it more than they do.

There is a fighter in each and every one of us, and they are made in our gyms but live inside of us. If you want to find out who you really are then step in a Thai boxing ring for five rounds. Who you are and who you think you are reveals itself in record breaking time. If you have the heart then you can be a champion. I should know. I would dearly like to know what that sort of achievement feels like again before I retire. I think maybe that’s why I’m so utterly pig headed and head strong about my art right now. There’s a fire in my eyes again, and there’s a dragon rising. My fighters back. It’s like he never left. I’ll see you on that road.

Practice never makes perfect.

Evening all, it’s nice as always to catch up. I hope your week has been a good one and that training along with everything else is heading in the right direction. I’ve managed to spend the best part of the week at the gym and being honest, despite having peaks and trough moments all is well and things I’m pleased to say are moving forward . As I’ve said many times over the course of this blog the more you put into all things martial, the more you get out, and it’s nice to feel like I’m making progress but I guess that’s to be expected. I train hard and if I wasn’t heading anywhere good then what would be the point?

Just like with all things in life with all things good things come to those who don’t wait but quite simply go out and get it. When it comes to martial arts this doesn’t mean trampling on others to get to where you want to be (I’m totally against that type of thing ) but setting goals and working towards what you want to achieve. Let me give you a couple of examples.

I’ve spent the past 5 or 6 weeks working on my left body kick. Some days it’s very good, some days it’s not so great but I do know that ultimately it’s only ever going to get better. I keep chipping away the problems I run into with the kick and have slowly corrected my errors, being honest if I wasn’t able to do that after over 13 years of training there would absolutely be something wrong.

Today I noticed a similar problem occurring with my guard and the kick and I thought I’d beaten. I noticed my arm trailing into my thigh and pushing the kick slightly downwards. It was actually ruining a really nice body kick, that now has got so strong the heavy bag practically runs away from my left shin. Everything else was fine. I was up on the balls of my feet, my hips were rotating well and I was chambering it a hell of a lot less than I did the week before last, but the guard wasn’t happening. My arm seemed to be trying to pull across to help fire the kick off and swing at the same time. Argh.

I spent a good 20 minutes today trying to fix a newly occurring problem with my technique and finally finished off understanding what was happening and acknowledging that despite it’s faults it’s still pretty good. It’s very easy to allow bad habits to develop doing this so I’m pleased I identified the issues and fixed it the best I could. It’s my goal to get this kick to the top of it’s game because my left low kick destroys people and I want my body kick to smash ribs. It’s not Muay Thai unless you kick through your opponent so I’ve started aiming my kick a couple of inches past the heavy bag. The issues with my guard started to right themselves towards the end of the day, but there’s a lot of work to be done.

When I was sparring yesterday in our Saturday open mat session I actually landed good old lefty into my partner’s ribs. “Good kick John!” said my trainer, which lifted my spirits. I’ve spent months really struggling to match taller opponents either kicking my ribs across the gym or trying to kick me in the head so to finally start to come back with a strong body kick is an achievement for me. After this inspirational moment I then managed to nearly kick the other guy in the nuts twice. A little voice said “I hate to be that guy, but you need to come up on your toes more. Don’t be lazy.”

I’m going to spend some time next week working just on body kicking in sparring. It’s great practising it a lot on the bags but bags don’t hit back. It’s one of my main goals at present and although practice will never really make perfect I know that inevitably it’s going to bring about vast improvements. There’s been many other good things happening in training of late that have kept me motivated. Someone commented this week I’m getting a lot stronger, and I know I hit and kick hard. I’ve got a lovely left body shot developing followed by a heavy right low kick that works time and time again in sparring and that I love practising, and I’m getting a lot better at catching body kicks and countering with knees as well as catching teeps to get my opponent off balance!

These are things I have drilled and practised so many times over the years but I think because ‘that guy’ reminded me if I want to fight again and win I need to get good, I’ve decided to consistently work on the basics and stuff that I know works and lets me close the distance, as for running?… well I had a couple of nice runs this weekend. I need to step it up but every little helps! I’m going to keep pushing myself at the gym because I want to get better. Ultimately that’s my goal and one day I would like to teach people what I know. There’s still fuel in the tank but looking at my longer term training journey beyond fighting these days isn’t just exciting it’s downright inspirational. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

All good things come to those who never give up.

All types of ill shit.

Yes I’m back y’all. It’s been a long time and I guess I shouldn’t of left you, but hey I’ve been busy with training, work and in general all types of ill shit. Since the last time we spoke I’ve kept training at a steady and consistent 5 or 6 sessions a week and it’s good to see that improvements are emerging in not just bag work and pad work but in sparring. I’ve already asked if I can fight next year when the gym is back in the game so I intend to keep things moving forward and of course I intend to maintain a positive outlook.

Life wouldn’t be the same without a goal to focus on. I guess it wouldn’t be the same without it’s challenges either. As someone said to me the other week at points you just have to navigate your way through, and it’s something due to corona and the lockdown here that I’ve become adept at. When it comes to family life I’m looking forward to catching up my folks soon and it’s good to know that all is well. In terms of the lockdown nothing is forever and everything changes it’s a been a tough and emotional year for many but you know what? I think we’ll come out on top.

Just Like with everything I’ve come up against and successfully navigated in life, the key is to keep going and of course to remember to never ever give up. Especially at the hard bits. I stepped back into training after a good 2 and a half months of no contact with anything remotely bag like and punchy expecting a hard time and was pleased to find the more I trained the easier it got.

I’m now back at a point where I enjoy correcting myself if I get something wrong because I know I can do better, and when I do better I remember for the next time. I’ve found myself hitting harder than I was 6 months ago, getting tougher and stronger mentally even in the small blocks of sparring we currently do and most importantly I’m having an all round good time.

Which, when all is said and done and goals are stripped away and I’m out here raw and past it, is what it’s about. Someone told me today that they thought I was about 32 years old not 41. Martial arts does seem to keep me young inside and out so I guess as I mentioned a moment ago the best thing to do is quite simply keep going and see where it takes me.

Training this week hasn’t been too bad so far, and I’m already looking forward to the gym tomorrow night . I’m not running as much as I should be at the moment but I’ve also been insanely busy with work and projects. It’s something of course I need to dedicate more time to and aim to get a few decent sessions in on top of Muay Thai this week. I’ve actually got a large weekend of martial goodness planned but I’m yet to see if it transpires. This year has caught me off guard in a lot of respects but just like with everything else, I only ever come back stronger. Have a good week, train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

Journeys

Just recently I don’t seem to be finding as much as time as I’d like to keep this blog of mine up to date. I try to publish a blog once a week and if you follow my Twitter you will of noticed the glass case of emotion I end up in about writing this thing. It’s been around since 2014 so I guess you could call it a labour of love.

There is of course as always reasons and excuses as to why I’m not writing as much as I have done previously. Not only has work slowly begun to lurch back into life  but I’m usually pretty busy with at points what feels like relentless activism when it comes to police monitoring and public speaking.

You may of caught parts of my last speech at All Black Lives Matter in Bristol  on Twitter. If you didn’t you can find it here.  Suffice to say I’m pretty proud of me. I seem to be settling into public speaking well and it’s amazing to have my voice, views and experiences heard and to have people say how powerful they find my words. I was touched when someone said “thank you” after my last talk on defunding the police.

I was pretty astounded and very nearly choked at the beginning of my last speech when I introduced myself as a police abolitionist and a huge cheer went up from the crowd. That’s inspiring. Its like fighting but different. When the crowd cheer for you and who you are it makes you feel a bit bigger inside and most importantly it gives you even more conviction than you had before.

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All black Lives Matter, Bristol August 16th 

I feel very strongly about the police and honestly feel that working towards abolition is the best approach. There’s valid and very personal reasons for my stance. Disproportionate policing and racial profiling is something I’ve been unfortunate enough to experience in my life. Section 60 stop search? yep. I’ve been there. In fact too many times to count. At one point in my youth, they used to stop me almost every day. Political policing and harassment because of activism? yep, you guessed it. That as well. In fact, I’ve got the t-shirt.

All of this has added fuel to my  fire and  I sincerely feel that by re-imagining public safety and reevaluating the role of police in our society we can protect our communities and each other from their brutality, and stop them from killing us, because lets be honest at 1750 deaths in this country and not one conviction against any police officer since 1969, it’s clear they are getting away with murder and we need to start thinking about alternatives that work for everyone. The UK is not and never has been innocent.

It is a long journey and an important fight and as always a good path to be on. Many of us across the UK want justice, greater police  accountability,  equality and an end to racist policing. There were in fact 21,950 stop searches of black men by the Metropolitan police over lock down. 80% of those stop searches were no further action.

Institutional racism in the police is unfortunately live and well. The need for change is something right now that is echoing across the globe not just in America. It’s a dark and liberating time to be alive and just like with boxing it’s a good feeling to be one of countless others standing up.

You have to be tough inside to keep going at points and I’ve always been a fighter but  it’s clear that martial arts has changed me for the better as a person over the years, and it’s good to put all the energy it gives me into positive outlets. This week I’ve trained every day of the week. That’s right. Monday through to Sunday. Although some days I’ve turned up a little late and not worked as hard as I should of  I’ve come away feeling absolutely outstanding inside and have a pretty tidy left body shot emerging. Like with all things martial, it’s a work in progress.

And of course, the one thing Muay Thai is very good at doing is helping me bust stress. I spent a lot of this week working on my power, found that at points my technique really isn’t too bad and enjoyed the sparring I did from time to time. I’m really keen on fighting when fights start happening again so I intend to keep training hard and running lots. Tomorrow is a rest day and I’ll be training 6 times next week with a little more volume. 3 hours of training on Tuesday will absolutely set the theme for the rest of the week.

Of course, outside the gym I’m very busy not just with work but with police monitoring which is incredibly rewarding community activism that helps others and being a people person it also makes me feel a bit bigger inside. It’s new just like stepping into the ring for the first time was new but just like with fighting I’ve found my feet and I’m enjoying the journey.

I’m not sure if enjoying is the right word but I hope you know what I mean. Maybe a part of me has found redemption, maybe it’s what I’m meant to be doing right now. Like with all good journeys time will tell. For now, it’s good as always to be here. Have a great week, train hard and may you win all your fights. I’ll see you on that road.

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All Black Lives Matter March August 16th 2020. Remember when they blocked the airports in the US? it kind of felt like that sort of moment. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only an hour.

Hi. Nice to catch up with you all once again. I’ve been pretty busy the past few weeks with writing, work, activism and all that other ill shit that fills up the rest of my life. It has of course been truly awesome to once again get some decent training in at the gym. It may currently be only for an hour at a time, but here’s the best bit, it a good hour, and not only is it a good hour its there 7 days a week if I want it to be. And you know what? right now that’s a good feeling.

Our current sessions comprise of skipping, shadow boxing and bag work and if people are comfortable with it some one on one pad work with our trainer. It’s actually a lot closer to training in Thailand than I’ve trained for a while. Why do I feel like this? I guess it’s the bag rounds and bit of optional pad work plus the drills at the end. Teeps, Knees, and straight punches plus body kicks (although not always )on the bag.

We work through the last part of the session in dedicated sets of 100 straight punches, 25 hooks each side, 100 knees and 50 kicks and I’m hoping that we build it up as the weeks progress. Although training isn’t currently quite the same as a normal class it’s still an undeniably positive and tough hour of my time in the week. Weekends its open mat so ok it opens things up a little more and runs for longer.

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As well as training I’ve done a little running this week which has as always been enjoyable, I noticed earlier on today I’ve managed to drop a little weight so that is of course always a good thing, being a forward thinking person like I am I’m keep focused on competing again but for now want to take a lot of time spent at the gym building skills and working drills that I know are going to serve me well in the long run.

Although this week has only seen 4 sessions I’m planning to step things up to 6 next week onwards. Training regularly gives me a lot of focus and keeps me sharp. It’s good to know as well that self defence classes start again soon. It’s fun as always to have new tools to play with and I often find one thing can compliment another.

So for now that’s pretty much all she wrote. I’ll catch up with you this time next week to discuss whats been making tick when it comes to all things martial, In the meantime train hard and remember to fight easy, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

I shouldn’t of left you.

Hi. I’ve finally decided to sit down and update this blog of mine that being honest was starting to get bogged down in a sea of procrastination. Procrastination is of course, no friend of mine and it’s good to get my groove back and get this thing moving in the right direction again.

Whilst we’re on the subject of groovy redirections I’m pleased to say I’ve spent some quality time of late at the gym. If you follow me on Twitter you will of seen me posting several small violin themed training videos of late.

In between feeling sorry for myself for not being automatically at Baukaw level as soon as I even sniff the heavy bag I’m actually enjoying my rigid, not that great probably not as bad as I think it is return to regular martial goodness. By regular martial goodness I mean actually being able to kick and punch shit before socially distances classes start later this month.

My trainers being nice like there are letting us use the space in ones or twos at the most before normal service resumes. Of course, it’s great to be able to get some genuine gym time in because lets be honest home training has its limitations and my sofas past it and generally not up for a makeshift heavy bag beating, and there’s nothing like putting things into practice rather than shadow boxing them all the time.

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I’m pleased that my left body kick is slowly but surely breathing life into itself and my hands are nice and strong. My cross would totally punch your soul out your body or your spine and skull out your back (for all my atheist pals out there) and I’m confident my left low kick could still make orphans of your future children.

As you can probably guess,  I’ve been working on my basics at a just above average level and have finished the week hungry for more. As such I’m starting next week on the good foot with a run in the morning and intend to get some quality me time in during the week. Look out for a few more videos and a lot more ranting over the course of the week and from  next Sunday onwards. Train hard, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

This is where energy flows

Hey. 🙂 Nice to catch up once again and I hope your week has been a good one so far. I’ve noticed since lock down began that the days and evenings seem to blend into one continual seven day run of monotony that of course of late, has been broken up with writing, demos, more writing and what appears to be an endless fountain of creativity that I’m loving tapping into.

Training wise things haven’t been too shabby at all. Last week saw me maintaining my 4 run a week threshold and I even got a decent amount of home training in as well. In fact, I’ve started to make sure I put a little more time into actually training at home. For the past couple of months I’ve found myself in a place where I am

Shadow boxing round my flat when bored (which is totally fine)

Running and training when I get home for thirty or forty minutes. (which is also totally fine.)

The other day I decided to make things slightly more interesting, I went running and decided to train for a whopping great one hour when I got home. It consisted of the usual stuff I’ve been doing  weights, free weights, knees, elbows and so on and so forth, I just spent a little more time than usual shadow boxing and working on specific combinations. Afterwards, as I lay soaking in a hot bath I noticed that my muscles ached.Slightly bemused, I realised that I haven’t actually ached from training in well over two months. Of course, I thought to myself grinning.. this can only be a good thing.

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WRSA light weight Muay Thai area title 2013. 60-62 kg 

It can only be a good thing because I know that when I ache I’ve worked. I also know that if I haven’t worked then that’s not acceptable. You don’t get anywhere in life by taking half measures be it with writing, activism, running a business or anything else you want to get really good at. When I’m giving something my all, I know that this is where the energy flows and what it gives back is mine to keep.

I guess that’s why towards the end of last week I found myself over the common with friends and whilst my friend’s girlfriend caught some rays, we decided to hit some pads and then as nicely and as socially distanced as possible attempted to beat the snot out of each other with a few minutes sparring.

Despite time out from this kind of training I’m pleased to say I’ve still got it. In fact, I’m that convinced I’ve still got it that trips to Europe to catch one of the best martial arts shows on the face of the planet later this year seem almost a certainty.

I’m hoping to spend a lot more time as lock down eases up focusing more on pad drills and light sparring here and there. It’s a little disheartening to see the continual cluster fuck the so called government here have made of this entire thing giving green lights to the best of the best in the combat sports world (ok, they may be Olympic and world class standard but to me that’s not the point) and not the rest of us, but as always we adapt  and train the best we can in the interim. Of course I’m sure we’ll back on track soon. Hazmat suit or no.

In the meantime, it’s good to have started off this week with a nice if a little shorter than usual run today, and I intend to continue in the same vein tomorrow followed by a bit of living room graft to finish. Regardless of what’s happening out there when it comes to training and all things martial I intend to just carry on as normal. Sometimes, it’s all I know.  Here’s to the gyms  reopening and us fighting again before the end of 2020. I’ll see you on that road.

 

 

Training gets political

Hi. Despite rolling in fashionably late as always it’s good to catch up. I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to see procrastination off earlier than expected and as always it’s good to sit down and write. I’ve been doing a lot of that recently, from blogging, to speeches and poems about racism  (Thanks to Tash Roberts for creating spaces for black voices and for the fantastic art )and so called “patriotism” it’s fair to say I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve even started working on my “Last of the good guys” project again.

Other than keeping the creative juices flowing I’m still training from home and running regularly. it’s good to know we’re only a couple of weeks away from gyms reopening (fingers crossed anyway) and although it’ll be a tough stitch filled return filled with lower back pain and lots of griping I have to say I’m looking forward to it. Seriously though, I’m not that old. In fact, I’m confident that a return to the gym isn’t going to be as half as tough as I think it’s going to be.

It’s been inspiring  watching global protests against police brutality and systemic racism over the past few weeks, and it’s clear that it’s something that will continue for the remainder of this year. But, You know something? It’s also been interesting, infuriating,  and sometimes shocking catching the ignorant, naieve and outright racist views fly across social media, in particular Facebook coming from those you know, those you kind of know and those you’d rather not have anything to do with at all.

They are highly charged often angry and sometimes deliberately antagonistic. More often than not they are incredibly right wing, which has always been my personal issue with that particular political sphere. It gets shouty quickly and if you don’t like what it says it gets nasty, tells you to respect our troops, the flag and screams “all lives matter!”  or “traitor!” because you know.. “patriotism”.

And that’s fundamentally the issue in the UK as it is in the US. Inequality, intolerance of difference and vicious systemic racism, all seemingly amplified ten fold as most of us have been locked away in our homes due to inconsistent and incoherent messaging from the powers that be. Tempers must be frayed and cabin fever is clearly setting in for some. From my point of view, this doesn’t however excuse ignorance. Attitudes may be changing for the better but we have a long way to go before we make real progress.

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Black Lives Matter London. I’m genuinely sorry I missed it… 

If your an angry vilifed member of the white working class reading this blog, I feel your pain, but in order to understand ours it’s time to unpack the napsack.  I really do think it’s in everyone’s interest to take ownership of a global situation and understand that right now the fight is against white supremacy, racism and dare I say it priviledge  

It’s something that emerges not just in day to day life but in training circles too, and as gyms are universal, multicultural and generally friendly microcosms of life tackling ignorance and racism when it emerges in the gym is just as important as tackling it out of it. I don’t believe in giving it space to grow any more than you do.

Runter Vonder Matte! Kein Handshake Mit Nazis  (Get off the Mat! no handshake with Nazis!) is a project that tackles hate politics  in martial arts, in particular the presence of the extreme right wing and Neo-Nazi movements that have taken hold not only in Europe but in the United Kingdom too.

“Neo-Nazis in sports are nothing new – but their style in the gym and in the ring is. Various actors and structures organize and network in order to spread their misanthropic worldview. With hip designs, the fashion labels try to make their ethnic, racist and inhuman messages socially acceptable. We fight for fair martial arts without racism and prejudice!”

If your sitting on the political fence, feel that gyms are  Apolitical spaces or are as anti-racist as White Tiger and Freedom Fighters I’d like to think that fascists are the one set of people we can all agree no one wants in our camps or dojos. As we head closer and closer towards to a return to training as normal (whatever that looks like these days) we should take note of the political climate we’ve been in for the majority of this year.

Although we say we are the same,  if our training partners  are black, POC or from any other marginalized group they are likely to be treated differently by the police and overall system we find ourselves in. When they are training with us it may be their only safe space from the abuse and harassment they face in day to day life.

Being aware of this doesn’t mean embarking on anti-racist witch hunts  it just means being decent humans and talking to those we train with if we can see something is wrong and calling out bigotry when we see or hear it.  It means we need to be decent martial artists and look out for one another.

Maybe if we can do this in our favourite places we can extend that mentality to the rest of our lives too. Martials arts can be an incredibly macho and intimidating place at points, it would be good to see gyms state that racist and bigoted views are not welcome. I think personally think we’ve got a lot of work to do.

It’s going to be good to get back to training. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to hitting the sofa cushion heavy bag later and yet again shadow boxing round the living room. Have a fantastic week, train as hard as you can and click your heels and wish for July. We’ve got alot of graft ahead as fighters and a long way to go as a society. Black lives matter. I’ll see you on that road.

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Black Lives have never mattered enough.

Hi. It’s good as always to catch up with you.  It’s pretty inspiring to see that worldwide protests against police brutality and racism are still taking place. I’m still over the moon that police abolition and defunding is a growing topic of conversation and seeing autonomous police free zones emerge in the US is pretty exciting. Maybe a better world is coming.

Before this blog heads back into the realms of Thai boxing once again I wanted to take the opportunity to first remind you that if you think “all lives matter” is an appropriate response to Black Lives Matter your absolutely part of the problem. You see, black lives have never mattered enough.

The murder of George Floyd and our ongoing struggles against the police was the main reason I wrote my speech for the protest that took place here on the 7th. Being mixed race I’ve experienced racism a lot of my life, and as some of my family are African American I  wanted to get my thoughts on George’s murder and the struggles of my brothers and sisters out to a wide audience.

I wrote about how this felt last week, and if you want to catch some of my speech you can find it here.   Below is the speech in full. It was a labour of love that just as with all things martial came from my heart. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a good week, home train hard and just like the last time.. I’ll see you on that road.

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Black Lives Matter protest speech, 07/06/20 Bristol read to 10,000 beautiful people. 

“On the 25th of May 2020 George Floyd was choked to death by officer Derek Chavin.  I watched as Chavin, like it really wasn’t a thing at all, pressed his knee into George’s neck. I realized after around 2 minutes with mounting horror I was witnessing a murder.

“Why isn’t anyone helping? Get the cop off him!” I yelled at the video like they could all hear me. Like we were in the same room. On the same street. then I saw the photo of the other 3 officers holding George down.  When George Floyd couldn’t breathe I couldn’t either.

This is not the first time a black man, a human has lost their lives at the hands of the police. We remember Michael Brown and Ferguson. We remember Mark Duggan. There are so many names and so many beautiful black faces we will never forget. How can we carry the weight on our shoulders? How can we tell our children to respect the police when we know they want to kill us?

I’ve watched the events of the past couple of weeks unfold at points like an apocalyptic end of days movie.  Last week, my cousin in Louisville, a strong black woman messaged me on Facebook. “John,” she wrote “Remember I am in America. 7 people were shot at a protest for Breonna Taylor yesterday..”  I felt my stomach churn. I felt the rage rise up when she told me she’d been on the sharp end of racist abuse. That she was frightened for her family. I felt helpless. I felt powerless. I couldn’t breathe…

Martin Luther King once said that riots are the voices of the unheard. We should remember that these words were spoken from a place of truth. There is a line in the sand, a thin blue line if you will that is a burning fuse and as events have unfolded, as we wait for another defense of police brutality, of inhumanity remember that the police are the escalators, the agitators, the fragile white victims “just following orders”. Remember that police are the problem. The police don’t change, but we can fight for change. We can demand it.

The problems we see in America do not exist in a vacuum. The UK is a pioneer in inequality. The systemic racism of the police is just as common here as it is in Minneapolis. As it is in New York. As it is in Louisville. Malcolm X once said that the struggle for black liberation is a human rights issue. Never has this seemed more apparent than right here and right now. My father lived through apartheid, he survived the white minorities supremacist machine. We know so-called authority can make monsters of people. We know because we have just seen a monster kill George Floyd.

My own experiences of the police over the course of my life, in particular over the past few years has not been a good one. From regular stop searches in my home town of Portsmouth to fitting a description simply because that description was a mixed-race male to fit-ups, targeting and harassment from Avon and Somerset police because of my colour and anti-racist activism it’s fair to say I know the police are not here to protect me. They only protect themselves!

Last October, the United Friends and family campaign and Netpol (the network for police monitoring) stated Since 1991 on average, there has been a death a week at the hands of the police.  Let that sink in for a minute. A death a week. Over 1500 deaths and still no convictions. The system we find ourselves in, that we are constantly fighting against has protected those who abuse their power for too long.  You cannot reform a system and an organization that was never meant to be reformed.

I  believe we need real alternatives because we are at the point now where it is clear the problem is policing itself. We cannot allow them to police our communities without accountability anymore. If the death of George Floyd has taught me one thing it’s that when we stand together we can hold power to account. We can shake their racist system down to it’s very foundations. If they won’t change it then we will! No justice no peace!”