ALS Ice Bucket Challenge & Russian Warriors

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge & Russian Warriors

You might have noticed that your entire Facebook news feed, YouTube, and every other website is full of videos of your mates.

There are random screams to be heard across neighbourhood gardens.

This isn’t a zombie invasion, or the Police running Crime Watch appeals – it’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

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You pour a bucket of ice water over your noggin, then nominate more people to do the same, and then donate some of your dosh to the ALS charity.

Now, first off, the ALS can bugger off.  You’ll see articles creeping in about how only 20% of donated money gets to ‘the cause’ and the rest pretty much goes on paying the wages of fat con men (aka Directors etc).

Luckily, many are already giving to the charity of THEIR choice – which can only be a good thing.

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I’m not going to get into the whole issue of whether you need to throw a bucket of ice over yourself on video to be able to donate.  There are a million charities out there, and many people who would do better to keep the money themselves.  I don’t care who you give to or your reasons for giving.  You’ll have to justify your choices to yourself, ultimately.

What most people don’t know is that dousing yourself in ice water isn’t a new thing to some of us martial artists!

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In ‘Systema’ – The Russian System – it is an integral part of the whole Russian health system.

Renowned Master of the art, Vladimir Vasiliev, recommends tipping a bucket of ice water over yourself twice a day!

This builds character and willpower, and has many health benefits.

Some people are scared that this Ice Bucket Challenge stuff will give them a cold.

You can’t ‘catch a cold’ from being cold!  It irritates me how this kind of wives tale still lives strong these days!  FFS did none of you do science at school?

Anyway, in Systema, if you are ill, then rather than having a whine and chickening out, those crazy Ruskies will actually go stand outside and tip a bucket of water over themselves EVERY HOUR!

Seriously.

The theory here (aside from psychic/natural reasons) is that your core body temperature is raised momentarily as it fights the sudden icy drop in temperature.  This will kill most bad things in your body, and have you back on your feet in no time.

I haven’t tried this myself, yet, but when you jump on the bandwagon and ‘brave’ a bit of cold water, you should maybe think about the practitioners of Systema who do this all the time.

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Huge Hairy Bastard Climbing In The Window!

Huge Hairy Bastard Climbing In The Window!

I was at my girlfriends parents house, in her bedroom, as we both lay on the bed, watching TV and kissing on a hot Summers night.  Umm… Just to clear this up this was me and my girlfriend – not me and her parents in her bedroom.  Anyway…

Suddenly we heard a *THUMP* sound.

I tried to ignore it, as I was hoping for some thumping of my own without the ‘T’…

*THUMP*

We both looked towards the drawn curtains at the window, where the sound seemed to have come from, just as the curtains bulged inwards with another *THUMP*

Whoa!  Playtime over – this looked like there was somebody stood on the other side of the curtain, PUNCHING it!

She jumped up, screaming, and I got into my Close Protection mode, shielding her with my body as I got to my feet and turned to face the curtain.

Who the fuck….???

As it was her bedroom, this was upstairs, at around 10pm on a dark warm summer night. Sure, the windows were all open wide, but this was still spooky.

Being the man, I bravely told her to stay there, as I moved towards the window, flinching and dropping into a subtle stance as the *THUMP* smashed the curtain inwards again.

Then, just as I got close, something came flying around the side of the curtain!

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“AARGHHHH!” I screamed bravely, accompanied by the (slightly) more shrill scream from behind me.

The biggest fucking bright red moth I have ever seen in my life, was now flapping about the bedroom!

This was bigger than my fist – I shit you not!  He was so big I could virtually see him wearing a charity wristband with “I HATE HUMANS” emblazoned across it.  And this fucker could seriously use some a back, sack and crack wax!

The wench behind me had gone hypersonic, as this moth bounced around, leaving huge clouds of red hair every time it hit something. I dodged, trying to stay calm and act like my girl’s Protector, and wondered how the hell I was going to sort this situation out?  And I hate moths!

“KILL IT!!!!!!!!” she screamed at me, resolving one problem.  Shit, she must have been scared if she was bypassing her usual ‘catch and release’ approach to creepy crawlies (and boyfriends, as it turned out) .  So Death it was.  I caught the Red Barron with several hard right crosses, knocking it out the air, but it would get up and come diving straight back at us, like some little red, hairy Rocky!

I’ve seen pretty big moths on David Attenborough programs, and this was a match for any I’d seen on there, but FFS this is ENGLAND!  This shit was about ten times bigger than anything I’d come face to face with, even in Zoo’s!!!!

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One blow knocked it down, and it started flapping around underneath her bed, making a hell of a racket with it’s wings. Still being the Wind-Up Merchant, I announced she’d be fine now and that I was going home!  Job done.

She didn’t find that half as funny as me.

After much more screaming, I felled the beast, trying not to hit it too hard, because that was a lot of ass to splatter! Then I was forced to pick the carcass up, using a JCB crane, and I chucked it back out of the window.

Unfortunately, by the morning it had gone… so no pictures or identification, and nobody else would probably believe the size of that behemoth (ha!).  Apart from some lucky cat/fox/hedgehog who got a free lunch…

Obsession – Not Always A Bad Thing

Obsession – Not Always A Bad Thing

I’m not generally a person with an addictive personality.  I’ve never been hooked on drugs or cigarettes, and am happy to break my daily routine.

However, I do get quite obsessive over stuff.

There’s been martial arts training (ok, so that’s lasted for 28 years), playing bass guitar every spare second of the day when I was in bands, sword fighting/fencing, everything ‘motorbike”, and even girls (not in a stalky way).

Now, of course, I’m living and breathing motor racing as I gear up towards having my first race in Formula Vee later this year.

You may notice that most of these things I’ve moved on from, after a very intense period from months to years.  Even my writing comes in bursts – and at one time I was almost constantly writing poetry and short stories and blogs.

I guess it’s very likely to be my creative side in all these things. 

I will do my utmost to master my latest obsession.  I’m very competitive, and always attempt to be the absolute best, but then also know when to yield and acknowledge I’ve reached my peak and others may be better.

I’m not really a perfectionist – but will strive for perfection from the outset.

This does seem to work for me, too!

With motor racing, it could be the first time that budget gets in the way of my quest to perfect driving a car really quickly around a race track, and that might be tough to take.

So here’s to a big win on the Lottery!

Or maybe to picking up a sponsor who shares my kind of obsession?

Spiders! They’re Coming To Get You!

Spiders! They’re Coming To Get You!

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It’s that time of year when we’re suddenly under siege from spiders.

They’ve been hiding away growing -ing massive, and now they all decide they want to come and sit in your -ing living room, putting all their little feet up on your face whilst they watch the latest season of Big Brother.

Horrible little hairy-legged wank-faced twats!

If you walk around the streets in the evening, you’ll hear the piercing screech of women who’ve just discovered some house spider crawling over their Ugg boots.

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The men, choking back a scream themselves and leaving a small trail of wee like a fleeing rabbit, have to pretend they’re not bothered by spiders.

I have a pair of tonfa sticks that I use for the dual purpose of tomping unwanted burglars AND spiders.  The size of some of the buggers (spiders – not burglars) lately has meant I’ve had to take two swings just to break their backs!

One knew a bit of spider kung fu, and blocked and then rolled, escaping under the bed where you just KNOW that bastard will wait until you fall asleep and then smother your face with its big plump abdomen as it licks at the moisture off your eyeballs.

They say we eat 6 spiders a year in our sleep, on average.  Just what the frikkin’ FRICK are they doing climbing into your mouth in the first place?!  It’s not a -ing spa, you little boss-eyed shits!

And how are they move so fast?!  They never used to be this quick!  Have they discovered Red Bull, or something??

And that’s just inside your house.

Take a stroll up your garden path, and what do you see?

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Nothing!

Because they -ing wait until it’s dark or the sun is in your eyes, and then, THEN they build webs Tarzan couldn’t have got out of.

And they hang there.  Huge fat squidgy body like a beer-bellied bully.

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Waiting for you to come flailing through their webs waving your hands around like a schizophrenic drunk, and then they drop into the hood of your coat and wait until you’re 10 miles down the M42 at 90mph before they crawl inside your -ing ear!!!

I sprayed a filthy great house spider with 90% pure Isopropyl Alcohol last night.

What did he do?

He slowly turned around and staggered back into his little den behind the mantelpiece.

30 minutes later I heard a crash and saw he’d thrown out an empty can of Special Brew.

I’ve created an alcoholic tramp of a spider who’s probably breeding little chavvy spider kids behind my mantelpiece.

I’m either going to get the git on Jeremy Kyle, or when he comes out to walk his Pitbulls and have a spliff I’ll tonfa his ass.

And so the yearly battle begins…

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Moves That Don’t Work In A Fight

Moves That Don’t Work In A Fight

You may have read the story about my school fight with Tompy – in this, I tell of a move I’d learned and perfected that would pretty much end any fight in a shower of blood and snot.

In this fight, I had my first opportunity to use it.  I grabbed a handful of his hair, so I could pull back his head and deliver a hammer fist/forearm strike downwards on his face with all my body weight.  Except I couldn’t pull his head back!

That was probably my first experience that almost every martial artist will have at some point:

Most of what they teach you does not work in a real fight.

Having a fully compliant training partner is a lot different from facing down some adrenaline jacked psychopath.

Most martial arts will teach you to throw a punch, then as you for some weird reason leave your arm out there, fully extended, your partner will smoothly dodge around your extended arm and trip you to the mat.

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What actually happens in your average pub brawl, is this:

You either turn around just as a punch connects with your face, or your opponent talks some shit to scare you, and smacks you in the face while you’re suffering from adrenaline dump.

That’s a real opening.  You’re stood there with a silly look on your face as they hoof you into unconsciousness.

In the extremely unlikely even that you’re switched on enough to actually dodge their first haymaker, you’ll notice that they pull their arm back in almost instantly.  

As a slight aside, this is even more true of someone with a knife – so don’t even start to think about being the hero with that one!

The ONLY chance you have to use that arm is to dodge in such a way that you can hook your arm around theirs as they throw the strike, intercept their strike, or move inside it with a block.

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The first one I have tested successfully.  Basically, as they punch you move to their outside, sliding your hand over the top of their arm and the up under their armpit.  From there, and all in one fluid move, you can push the side of your hand into their shoulder-blade before they recover their balance, and take them face first into the floor or a wall, or apply a suppression hold as needed.  Even with this, I found I had to wait for them to throw a straightish punch – and most untrained people simply won’t do this.  And also remember to think ‘Trap And Snap’, rather then wrestling on the floor where their 4 mates can stamp on your head.

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Intercepting their strike I’ve already covered as being the best move you can ever learn, which will enable you to beat any opponent.  That is simply to get your elbow up exactly how your body wants to react.  They punch the point of your elbow, they shatter their hand, and the fight goes right out of them.  Job jobbed, and so easy I can train a 5 year old to do it.

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Moving inside with a block is one we all like to think we can do, but in reality I doubt it.  You can combine it with the elbow interception, but the idea of actually stepping TOWARDS someone who is punching you isn’t natural, and you can ony overcome your instincts with A LOT of pressure training or real fight experience.

People will tell you to “never kick above the waist in a streetfight”.  I would disagree with that.  Booting someone in the head is something they won’t be expecting, and even if they do grab your leg you can close in and reign elbows down on them before they can do much of use with it.  The main reason I think this would fail is because most people can’t kick to head hight from cold.  If you can’t – don’t.

And do you know what other moves aren’t a good idea to try in a fight?

Anything that doesn’t assume the opponents first strike will be a punch to your head or a headbutt.  Or anything that assumes an attacker will throw one attack at a time, rather than launch an assault like a frenzied windmill, or an Ameri-Do-Te Hurticane.

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If you survive their first assault, THEN you might get a chance to take control and show off your martial arts moves for your mates.

Just don’t expect them to let you do it to them!

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School Fights Part 3: Behind The Bike Sheds

School Fights Part 3: Behind The Bike Sheds

This was probably the biggest fight I ever had with anyone at school.

It was rather different to fighting Chompy The School Bully.

I think this one was a direct result of people knowing that I was fighting in tournaments and stuff, because the only reason he’s given to this day as to why he wanted to fight was: “I dunno, I just wanted a fight.”

Let’s call this one ‘Tompy’.  He was one of those ‘almost a friend’ type people – in the same class, we got on pretty well – but were never best friends or anything, nor had the will to be.  He was a known ruffian and fighter, and I guess considered one of The Hardest in the school.  He certainly was in his High School the year after we fought, anyway!

So I got the message sometime during the school day that “Tompy wants to fight you behind the bike sheds after school!”.

“Umm… why?”  I asked, thinking how I didn’t particularly want to have my brains bashed in.

“Dunno.”

“Err… OK then…”  Well, I could hardly find fault with his reasoning, could I?

People spent the rest of the day helpfully informing me how hard he was, and started to avoid the Dead Man Walking again.

After school I went to the bike sheds and he was there already, with an even bigger crowd than when I fought Chompy the year before.

“Are you ready?”  He asked me, as I put my bag down on the floor.

“Well… yeah…”  I told him, getting ready to get into all the “COME ON THEN!!” stuff again…

*WHACK*

What the fuck was that?

It was him, smacking me with a right hook before I’d even finished speaking!

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Ok then.  We got straight into it – both dancing about, much to the joy of the crowd.  I didn’t really want to be fighting still, but that first punch told me I either had to fight, let him kick the shit out of me, or cry like a baby and call it off and never live it down.

I was a hell of a lot better fighting by this stage, and was getting much nastier, having got into some more brutal styles of martial art.

Unfortunately, I was still shitting myself about fighting him, so I was holding back, and more fighting just to stay even and stop him killing me.  I don’t know why – guess it was just our good buddies Fear and Adrenaline Dump.  Street fighting is a whole new world away from organised competitions, and I was still pretty inexperienced about dealing with my own fear in a ‘real’ fight.

It was an impressive fight – we were using punches and kicks and everything else, and unlike Chompy, Tompy was hitting me hard and I was feeling it.

The fight is still a bit hazy to me, but I remember certain parts of it, either because I’d done something awesome, he’d hurt me, or something surreal was happening.

Now, in competitions, I was a kick specialist, and even to this day I’m an excellent kicker – even though, as back then, I prefer to use hand techniques.  He made the mistake of trying to take me on with kicks early on in the fight.  I remember after fielding a few of these (and this was probably the first time my sixth sense had kicked in during a fight), he tried a kick, but somehow I not only saw it coming, I actually jumped in the air over his leg and kicked down on top of his kick.  He never attempted another kick, and my confidence soared from that point.

A few times, we had to stop fighting because a Teacher was walking past on their way home, and we’d all wander off slowly then leg it back when they’d gone, and it was straight back to the fight.

I managed to grab his hair, intending to pull his head back and drop a hammer fist on his face (my current favourite Nasty Move), but couldn’t quite get his head back so the move failed.

He got me in a head lock, and was smacking me right in my mush with his other hand – fuck knows how he didn’t have my teeth out or break my nose!

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Then he tried to throw me on the floor, and I got a hold and took him down with me, but landed hard on my shoulder.  We both jumped up and carried on the bashings.

Then, I remember clearly that I was stepping back for a bit of a breather, and threw out two super-fast left jabs.  Both connected with his nose, which spread out all over his face and gushed blood.  A few punches that I thought were gentle taps and all that damage from them!

He was still fighting, and seeing the damage to him, I’d gained total confidence in myself.  This was MY fight.  I was in control.  The fear had gone.

I asked him if he wanted to stop, to which he quickly said (just like Chompy had) “He wanted to stop – you all heard that!”

Fine by me – but I really was going to go for it after that!

For some fucked up reason, most people said he’d won that fight, and it wasn’t until a few years later when I spoke to those same people that they admitted I absolutely battered him!  I guess they were his mates, or wanted to stay on his good side as they went to his High School, and I went to mine.

All I know is that I was the one cleaning his blood off me that night, and I’d found out this time that I really could fight – and I was good!  Although that fall totally fucked up my shoulder, so it was probably good that the fight ended there, rather than not long after when I found I couldn’t raise my arm!!!

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School Fights Part 2

School Fights Part 2

The school bell had chimed off its death toll, and am eager crowd had gathered at the foot of the steps outside the school, by the road crossing.

A few times, everyone had to very slowly walk away from the school, as a teacher left whilst looking innocent. As soon as the teacher had rounded a corner, the crowd eagerly rushed back to Ground Zero.

Finally, the Lollipop Lady also left, and it was Fight Time.

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Having never done this before, I wasn’t really sure what was supposed to happen to get things moving. We faced off against each other, and took it in turns shouting “COME ON THEN!!!!” at each other for a few minutes.

Neither of us was seemingly going to ‘come on’.  Frankly, everyone in the crowd was getting a bit bored.

Some helpful soul behind me gave me a hearty shove in the back, propelling me towards Chompy like a hang-glider heading towards a mountain.

I got my hands in the way and gave him a good old shove. He returned the favour, asking me to “COME ON THEN!!!!!!!” even louder than before.

Another few long minutes of this passed.

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It was becoming clear that this big hard bully who’d called me out for a fight, didn’t actually want to START the fight!

I decided to take the initiative. My Karate Competition Winning Move (yes, I had one, and it changed every few months – no, it was never the Crane Kick) at the time was a hefty old reverse lunge punch to the gut.

I dropped down and my lightning-fast fist went into the folds of flab on his belly, sinking deeper and deeper… and deeper… and deeper… and….

Surely I should have hit SOMETHING solid by now?

I must have been almost shoulder deep in the fuckers belly, and I still hadn’t hit anything solid! Usually people would be crumpled up and spewing on the floor, and the Judges would wave flags in my direction and yell “Point!”. All I got here was a muffled “Oomph!” from Chompy as I retrieved my hand!

He didn’t look happy about the whole affair, though.

He came at me, making little “Uss! Uss!” noises every time he threw a punch. Ah – that would be his Boxing training! Whatever it was, it was fucking irritating, and something he had the piss ripped out of him for some time afterwards… I suppose at least I hadn’t yelled out a bloodcurdling “KIAI!!!” when I punched him, or I may have got the same!

It’s funny how when you’re younger, you can smash each other in the face multiple times and cause no damage. There’s a line you cross somewhere between 16 and 21, when all of a sudden one smack in the mush is enough to end the fight in a shower of blood and snot. I guess fighting when young was more fun in that respect.

We both danced around – me doing the gay Karate freestyle bob, him wiggling his Station-from-Bill-&-Teds humungous ass and ‘Uss! Uss!’ing his little heart out.

The crowd was all excited, as we harmlessly bashed each others brains out with our fists.

I dropped down low to deliver my trademark sweep, when he gave me an opening… and promptly fell off the curb into the road.

He ‘uss’ed me with an uppercut right on my jaw just as I was struggling to get out of the path of the car that was coming down the road! The cheek!

I gave him a quick tomp on the side of the head as I got back out the road, and we reached a lull.

Big Ole Chompy was looking a bit worse for wear – not because of battle damage, but he was obviously only used to collecting other kids’ dinner money, not having to ‘uss!’ more than a few times.

“Do you want to stop?” I asked him.

“You heard him! He wants to stop!” He cried to the crowd, picking up his bag and waddling off up the street.

I blinked a few times, rubbed the tiny bruise on my jaw, accepted the pats on the back from everyone, and never got bullied again!

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