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The UFC was once again coming to Manchester, England, great fights on GMT so a UFC night was on the plans for the Atkin household, but more importantly the UFC coming means Eddie Bravo was in the country! And he was holding a course before the show! Game on…….
10th Planet Jiu-jitsu was really taking off all over the world; Bushido MMA was the place to be at 11am on Saturday 14th of November, come hell or high water, I would make it there.
After sorting out instructors to cover classes I had arranged to meet Neil Foggin and Paul Holmes in Byker the text said ‘the AFC to meet at the KFC at 7am to see the Twister!’ (Eddie’s nickname taken from one of his many great moves)
7am: BYKER KFC
Paul and Neil got there on time and off we went, anyone that has been on a course can tell you the buzz you get from going on them, as Neil put it we were like kids – all excited, laughing and joking. We made good time down the A1 then across onto the M18 then onto the M1; the day was bright and the sky was blue. We did notice a sign saying there was a problem between junction 30 and 29 but the lanes were reduced down to 2 lanes (where would we be without a few cones on are travels!)
9:10am: plenty of time to have a cup of coffee before the course. Just then the whole world stood still – the tailback was huge (bigger than a North Shields dole queue) the clouds were gathering! We thought it would not be long for this slow moving traffic jam but we move only 6 feet in about an hour! We thought we would slowly trickle passed the hold up like sand through an hour glass; minutes turned to hours and the sign now told us that the whole motorway had now been closed in both directions so everyone was to be taken off the motorway and re-directed. For the first time that day I was worried that we might miss the start of the course, but as the motto goes Keep calm and carry on! So we did – at a snail’s pace.
We finally made it off the motorway and thought we were on our way only to find that the traffic was down to one lane and we were driving along with no hope of getting a break; the whole of the traffic from the M1 was either in front of us or behind us! Don’t they know we are missing Eddie doing his thing!!?
The hours passed but we still decided that we will get to see Eddie Bravo; if we were a bit late we would still jump in and learn the lockdown, the rubber guard or the infamous twister, but my hope was fading like a fire burning to the embers. After the detour from hell when we made it back onto the motorway only to find out we had only gone 8 miles (as depressing as the film!) still 26 miles to Nottingham and Nottingham’s one-way system on a Saturday afternoon..
We made it to Bushido MMA at 1:40 pm just 6 hours 40 mins since we left Byker! We made our way upstairs to catch a glimpse of the man we had travelled so far to train with. Eddie was just putting the finishing touches to the dogfight position and then showing how to take the back from there; if this was anything to go on we had missed a great course! Eddie finished the course by giving Richard Goddard his purple belt so he can start 10th planet Nottingham, well done Rich!
I nipped to the toilet at this point just to find out that Neil had spoken to Eddie and explained our day while I was at the loo. Eddie being Eddie posed for a photo with Neil even while trying to ‘get the f*ck out of dodge’. So I had travelled for nearly 7 hours missed the course and now missed a photo; the only thing I did not miss was the traffic. Now for the next problem how to get home without sitting in a 15 mile tailback for the next 7 hours!
Most people on the course were going to the UFC 105, so they trained with Eddie Bravo and they were going to watch the UFC all in the same day, they were truly on a different planet to us that day; they were having the best day and Paul, Neil and myself were having a very bad day to say the least.
Richard came up with a plan: follow the minibus out of Nottingham and route across to the west coast and get home that way. So here we are stalking Eddie Bravo out of Nottingham, follow that bus (Eddie was at the back of the bus thinking, who are these nuts that are following me?) As we parted company we stopped off for food and fuel. Neil ate half a cow and Paul and I ate a moderate meal. We found out the tailback was huge so we headed back to Nottingham to follow the ring road to come out the other side of the city. We were afraid of travelling on the M1 because if we got stuck as before you would have seen grown men cry!
We patched to Derby then over to Doncaster than made it onto the A1. Three hours later we were back at the KFC in Byker a total of 11 hours driving and 20 minutes watching a truly remarkable man, Eddie Bravo! With the day running through my mind I made it home to Kerry and my girls finding it hard to hide my disappointment. I did make it home to watch the UFC 105 but the day could have gone so much better. We will get to the 10thPlanet some day and train with its leader but today was not to be the day for space travel, until then we will continue to chase twisters.
Take care and watch out for those twisters!