These are the day’s legends are made

Alarm set for 6am, watch a little bit of TV have a wee and off to sleep, only to be rudely awakened by the alarm 5 minutes later (it always feels like that).

I get up wash, brush my teeth as Kerry stirs and little Nev looks confused why we are getting out of a nice comfortable bed?  Kerry pops some clothes on and Nev runs into Erin’s bed room and jumps on her bed, thinking option B of going back to sleep is better than option A, getting up! But when he realises we are leaving he wants to come with us … kids!

We jump in the car and Kerry drops me off at the metro station and we kiss goodbye and Nev gets a pat and a hug and I get a lick in return. I hate being away from Kerry, the girls and Nev, but legends do this!

I get my ticket and climb onto the metro heading for Newcastle with the early bird workers, all bleary eyed or asleep with their faces pressed up on the windows, trying to keep the sleepy feeling for a few more minutes. In no time at all I am heading out of the monument station in search of a Greggs that is open at 6.45 am, to my surprise one is open and I pile in like a fat kid at … Greggs and order a sausage sandwich with coffee and a chicken bake (for later I’m not that fat!). I was so excited about the thought of my sandwich I only remembered that I did not pick up my free coffee when I got to the station as I ran for the train; gutted. The running made me remember not to spill my coffee as I ran which was no problem since it was still at Greggs. I jumped onto the train and hearing it only has one stop at king’s cross I jumped back off to ask the lovely woman platform attendant that my ticket was not for this train, she agreed but after seeing the look of disappointment on my face she told me to pop into the staff lounge and get a coffee quoting her name, but for anyone that knows me I would not do that because it is not right, the coffee is for staff only.  I always feel awkward in these situations, even when I worked on the door I would wait in the que for the night club rather than go to the front and do the doorman hand shake to get in! The door staff would always have a go at me for not using my doorman pass for entry, what they did not realise was I had more fun in the que people watching and being a black belt in banter as it was more fun outside than it was inside (this maybe a blog for another time). Sorry I drifted off on a tangent, so I am on the station and have just declined the lovely offer of free staff coffee, but I still have no coffee, so off to costa I go and pay £2.45 for a large white coffee, then wait for my train. My train arrives I get on and sit down and start to write this blog.

Since it is the start of my day, todays adventures have not happened yet so I will drift to tell you about past adventures!

Over the years, I have had the privilege and honour of teaching police forces and members of the security services and M.O.D, This I find both interesting and challenging all at the same time. I still find it strange that the little kid from North Shields gets to play and have fun teaching some of the countries elite fighting and security teams but it is now just dawned on me that I have trained for a lifetime and I have good knowledge to pass on which hopefully could save the life of the people I teach.  If I can stop one more member of the forces dying like Lee Rigby I feel the hours of traveling, all the trains and training would be all worth it.

I loved travelling by train from a very young age, I used to go on the train to Darlington from in my teens to train in the Art of Ninjutsu, 35 years later I am still training and am still intrigued but the Arts in the many forms they take. I would stand at Darlington station then get evacuated due to a bomb scare, after being beating up for 3 hours on a Thursday evening, this when the IRA was at its height of bombing of mainline Military British stations. I never told my mam why I was sometimes late home because she would have not let me travel again (mam if you are reading this I am sorry I just liked to train xx) I would also patch my way across the country to Holyhead to get the ferry over to Dublin to train , jumping off and on trains, napping and throwing all my kit on to the platform at a moment’s notice including my boots at one point , having taking them off to air my feet, much to the delight of the other passenger’s. It was always fun and exciting. I can remember sitting in Crewe station waiting for the first train in the early hours of the morning, after spending 4 days in Dublin training at the Ninjutsu Summer Camp Run by Brian McCarthy. We had just endured a rough crossing in the Irish sea where I had contemplated jumping overboard and swimming to the Isle of Man.

So, we were all tired, sitting in the lounge of the station , with rucksacks and weapons and cracking jokes to keep our spirits up, when we noticed every time someone got out of a seat one for the German group that was with us took the seat and gradually they stated to take over the lounge, so in really dry humour I suggested they we going to take over Britain like they tried during the 2ndworld war, this resulted in everyone (except the Germans) finding this highly amusing. The more seats they sneakily took over the funnier we found it, but trying not to laugh out loud was becoming harder and harder, but explaining what we were laughing at could have started the war off again! Then to add to the amusement I suggested it was like the sunbed wars of the holiday hotels, with German’s sneaking down putting towels on all the sunbeds and then not coming back down for hours as they were raiding the breakfast buffet and swanning around as if they were an occupying force (ask the French how that feels).

Speaking of Dublin, A lovely city with amazing Guinness, but a dark underbelly not unlike Newcastle. One time I was going to train at the outskirts of Dublin not too far from the city centre but we (myself and 2 other people) decide we should walk and enjoy the sights of the city. So, after napping on Trinity college grass and checking out the university students and local girls from Dublin, as you do when you are 18 years old single and ready to mingle, we set of with our map (I love maps, that why Kerry calls me Map man, the Shi*ist superhero name you can get). 

So, off we go down Shaw street and over the river Liffey and on to O’Connell street and Right at Parnell street and up to Summerhill. In the early years of training I trained at the BBD Hombu Dojo on Parnell, it has since been knocked down and been replaced just a little off the street in a lovely old warehouse, where I had the privilege to be there on its official opening many years ago; I never forget my roots. As we walked up Summerhill we started noticing that the atmosphere had started to change, you should always trust your 6th sense because it is trying to save your life, like every animal it is our inherent early warning signal. As we walked we noticed from the flats we were passing spotters looking at us, a bit like walking into a local pub when you are not local you seem to attract attention.

The feeling grew more intense so we started to fan out a bit, naturally, so we were not bunched together and we seemed to adopted a fire and movement exercise, where one moved and the other covered, with our packs on our backs and our weapon bags held like a rifle across our bodies, we made our way up the street at speed like a well-trained team, luckily we did this as a shot rang out just above and to the left of us meaning the sniper was on the right hand side of us in the opposite flats. With this we firstly ducked for cover and started wondering if they did this to all the tourists that strayed off the beaten path in Dublin, then we systematically worked our way up the street looking for cover and escape route. When we reach the top of the street we saw two old gentlemen sitting on a park bench, as we approached them they said “good day lads?” in which I replied “yes having fun!” and they laughed aloud as if they had seen what happen before. 

We got to the Tivoli centre were the training was to take place and got told off like 4 years’ olds for walking there “you could have killed!” now you tell us! I Realise that this all sounds dangerous but at the time I was loving the experience, not just of the training in different places but what happens getting there and back and everything in-between;

The learning curve is huge. Different cities give off different vibes, for example, I love London (if you could take all the arrogant arseholes out of it) it is an amazingly vibrant city. I always feel like millions of people before me must have felt as they passed through London over the centuries, Like a latter-day Dick Whittington, without his cat. The feeling of excitement getting off the train at Kings Cross and heading for an adventure. I am always amazed at the rush of people and the intensity of them as they single handed take on the world in their ultimate ego driven path of success. I find this sad they miss out on the wonderful city they rush around and complain about to anyone and everyone but still choose to stay in the rat race.

I always put myself in a bubble when I come to London, I feel like an outsider looking in, like going to the zoo and looking at the monkeys in the cages. I wander around jumping on trains and tubes, people watching and being aware of the dangers of the big city, such as pick pockets; I Think of the movie Oliver with the artful dodger and Fagin (“You got to pick a pocket or two boys…). Finding my way around the London tube system is ‘fun’ and it always reminds me of American werewolf in London when you hope the werewolf is not just around the corner when you walk down the tunnels leading to the tube. Back to the present time.

The time is 6pm and I have just boarded the train back to the toon, having navigated to and from Gatwick Airport. It is ironic that I must get so many trains to get to an Airport.

I got picked up at the Airport and taken to a global rescue team HQ, that is now run by a former student of mine from many years ago, I know Buddha works in mysterious ways
(I love this quote) but try to get your head around this!

I taught David over 25 years ago, during one of our many conversations about training he said if I knew of any places he could continue his training in meditation as we did some in the Ninjutsu class. So, I found out information for the Buddhist centre and passed it on to him.  David phoned and a girl answered and they chatted for some time and like soulmate finding soulmate they met fell in love, married 10 years ago, had Kia 5 years ago, and next year are due to celebrate 20 years together; karma. But it does not end there, David spent time in the military and private sector, ultimately body guarding the Dalai Lama for many years.

David got back in touch last year just to touch base and tell me how his life has turned out and to see if I was available for teaching, I was amazed and touched that my one-off comment and phone number resulted in David and Becky meeting and spending their life together. They now run the company together, were the team drop into areas of disaster and secure the area and then bring in aid workers to help the people. The recce team has members of both American and British SF and the rescue team are mostly degree and above people all trained in Medicare, they truly work with the hearts and minds of the people that need it most. My job is twofold, I teach David Ninjutsu/switched on self-defence from where we left off many moons ago, the other part I lead the self-defence training for the team so that if they have no weapons they can fight back and escape hostile situations and areas. Next year I will be working closely with the teams in any area they need from close quarter battle fighting to arrest and restraint so I will be having many more adventures. My days are long, I left the house at just after 6 am and got home just before 10pm. But just to sum up my day I was walking from the metro station, feeling tired and in need of a bath, when I noticed two lads coming towards me drinking their cans, they made a b line for me, I noticed the grass to the left of them was like a mud bath so I cut to the right of them to keep to the solid ground. One of the lads cut behind the other in a well-practised move, but me knowing how they work due to years of study stopped him dead in his track with a well-timed “Fuck off”, which caught them by surprise and gave them a huge Adrenal dump and I walked past but kept an eye on them just in case they got brave and ran after me. The whole point of switched on self-defence was summed up in that moment, they thought I was an easy target, I saw them and knew what they were going to try and used their own adrenal against them; Job done.

Until next time I will be living life like a legend!

Big love from the AFC

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