Category Archives: lifelong learning

It is so hard being a pacifist

When all around you, the world is burning. When you lose friends over suggesting that violence does not beget violence you do start to question your stance on such things.

You see, for the longest time, I was so far from a pacifist. I would have whole heartedly say that punching a White Supremacist is warranted and exactly  the right reaction. That actually, they should all get a taste of their own medicine and on and on. However, I would also suggest that a better world view is to treat people the way that you would want/like/expect to be treated.

BEFORE you try suggesting that that moto is exactly what was happening in the incident I am alluding to. No. No it isn’t. Because the person doing the punching, that is the person who has forgotten. He is punching someone. He can now only expect the same treatment. Do you see how it works? It is an honour system. We all buy into it because we are all wanting the same treatment and by even one stepping out, it has a knock on effect.

The problem is, oh who am I kidding, where do I start? In my last post I alluded to the current situation in American and have waxed lyrical over the last 24 hours over a bunch of people’s status updates and lost friends. I don’t believe that W.S should be refered to as Nazi’s and that I feel I covered in the last blog post. However, there is a question of the culture that helped create this situation.

Nearly 100 years ago, there was a perfect stop of post war reparations and wound licking in Europe that allowed the Nazi party to not only form, but to become popular, gain power and eventually parliament. This was not something that happened over night. It was not a ‘blink and you miss it’ situation that left everyone shocked and surprised.

My argument is that, look America has a fraught relationship with racism. It is a country based on slavery of indigenous people people being shipped in as labour. But this is not really what I wanted to discuss and honestly I don’t know enough on the subject. However, racism is not a new issue, it is not something that is even hidden. AS SUCH I mean we all know it, we see it, we know that WS are prevalent in America (I couldn’t say if less or more so than other countries per capita) but I guess the problem is that it has never been something that you are proud of. Or something you proudly display? Or … FLY FUCKING FLAGS ABOUT. Am I making sense? As I write this I just watched a video where a woman approached her neighbour who is flying a Nazi flag and he couldn’t explain why. I mean if you are going to be open about your inclinations, then you should be able to back it up? 

So what I am trying to say, in a round about way – racism is not something that has recently sprung up in America but like Germany, it has been simmering away for a long, long time and it was just wanting for the perfect series of events to burst into the forefront. 

One thing that does bear remembering. Trump is racist. We can all agree on this. But is is not politically or otherwise, aligned to any WS groups. He is an idiot but he doesn’t legitimise his bigotry in such a way. The WS groups which are not even splinter, they exist independently and just happen to have similar views/values…. they are not political and not aligned with any political parties. I think it is important to remember that technically they are not legitimised in any way. RIGHT UP UNTIL Trump refuses to condemn what happened. Trump who goes into a melt down over a chain store no longer selling his daughters handbags? Among other things. This president who cries foul over the smallest indiscretion, real or imagined. Cannot muster the letters to condemn the march, the murder or the intent. 

And we have Confederate statutes being removed under the over of darkness with a police escort in case of any trouble? This is the America the rest of the world just watches in a stunned silence. Because we are a little stunned that it is a shock, that no one saw this coming. But you know what is really hard? Seeing someone getting punched, and suggesting that this is not the right reaction. And being told that at best by suggesting two wrongs don’t make a right, you are either complicit or at worst, a nazi sympathiser? I mean… 

IT IS HARD TO BE A PACIFIST you get what I mean? Hell yeah, I bet it would feel great to punch someone in the face for sharing abhorrent views. That everything they stand for disgusts you to the point that you have the energy, passion and desire to knock them out. Yep. Honestly, hand on cold, dead, heart. I do understand it. BUT IT IS NOT THE ANSWER because that guy? The one you punched? It was unprovoked wasn’t it? Did he say anything to you? Provoke you? Did he make a move to physically harm you? Nope, he didn’t and there we go, that is the problem. Because you really do need to take the high ground. If we all just resort to violence you are no better than them, sure violence is their language, it is one that they use, that they are fluent in. We need to talk, we need to be loud, we need to show that we are now cowed by them. But you know what we don’t need to do? Lower ourselves to their level. They have experience and will use it to beat us. Being a pacifist is not a bad thing, it can be hard, damned hard. But I stand by it.

The trouble with the …

National Socialist German Workers Party…. no wait… bit of a mouthful… let us try again … Nazi’s … no wait… still not right….. White Supremacists?

Still a bit of a mouthful isn’t it ? And the other problem is that, white supremacists are not one and the same. Overall they may share similar ideology but generally speaking their modus operandi can vary wildly as can their reason for existence. There is no nazi party. It was disbanded in October 1945. It was a socialist party formed after a perfect storm, politically, socially and economically, in Germany in 1920. It didn’t even last 30 years but it has had a lasting and resounding impact globally.

There has been recent reports of tourists in Germany being caught doing the HH ( nazi) salute at prominent sites. It is illegal, but I guess you could argue that no everyone would be aware that it is illegal. But surely, anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that doing such a thing is a bad idea? No??

We are all aware of the legacy of the Nazi party, of the war time atrocities, there were still members of the party being tried for crimes in the last decade or so. I am writing this without doing research. It is all there to check out if you don’t know this already. Germany has spent over 70 years distancing itself from those years under the party and the crimes that were committed.

Now the U.S.A has a long history of racism which I will plead a degree of ignorance on. But we all know and have heard of the K.K.K so it isn’t as if there isn’t a history of white supremacy parties in the country. But they always acted with a degree of anonymity. They always wore hoods, they were covered by layers of secrecy which ensured that you wouldn’t know that you were dealing with a member of the group. A group that was linked to a degree accross American and has led walks, and protests. White Supremacy is not a new idea in America, neither are splinter and anarchist groups that use anti government rhetoric. Some of these parties are disenfranchised men and women who find themselves in prison and need to align themselves with a group for safety (pop culture, I have no real experience of prison life)  or there are gangs which pop up in certain social/economic climates and they find similar morals, values or are young enough to get sucked into it. Or are they fighting against what they see around them, their friends, family, neighbourhood.

However, none of these groups, anywhere, not just America, are Nazi’s because sorry, as easy as it is to use a short and simple moniker for them…. it isn’t true or the case. It is an umbrella term for the most part with each individual group having a separate identify and name for themselves.

But just lately, nazi seems to be a term used more and more, and not just by the media. It seems to be the go to term for white supremacists who have little or no understanding of the Nazi party. But this is not a history lesson. It is a request. Stop using nazi as an umbrella term for white supremacists. It is incredibly disrespectful to Germany, to the memory of what happened (living memory at that) and it is suggesting some sort of wider agency with these groups. Don’t give them the legitimacy, to suggest they are more organised or powerful. And frankly don’t throw them at another countries doorstep. America, you were racisit because the Nazi party were even an inkling of an idea in Germany. You cannot blame another another countries political party, directly or indirectly, for the high levels of racism. This is not something you can foist on anyone else. This is your problem and one you should have dealt with long ago and maybe, just maybe, you wouldn’t have white supremacists marching proudly and without fear.

Please, stop using the word nazi. It is not a kind word, a pretty work. It is a work that just brings to mind, fear and hatred.

Welcome to the friend zone…

here is your season pass. Enjoy your stay, make yourself comfortable. You won’t be leaving any time soon.

Last year I wrote Friend Zoning… and as I had shared it a couple of times with friends, it popped up on my FB memories. Now, I have to be honest. I like a good discussion on many topics and am more than willing to concede ground when I am wrong or given new information to process. This is one of the things I refuse to change my stance on. The a fore mentioned blog was written with the radio show in mind and was followed up by Nice guys finish last.

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I found at the time that I wrote them both, many people didn’t really understand what the term implied, which often led to miscommunication as to why I hate/d the term so much. I really am not as unreasonable as some of my output would suggest. 

Fundamentally it comes down to trust. I have always had more male than female friends and it never (past and present) occurred to me that there is anything on the table other than friendship. I don’t assume men only talk to me because of my gender. If we are talking because of a mutual interest then I assume it is nothing more than that. But apparently I am the strange one of this thought process.

This issue of trust is multifaceted – it can me from the partner of the man or worse her friends. Whispering about what sort of woman hangs out with men. Is that woman some sort of slut, being passed around. Surely there is no other reason that the men would be spending time with her. And this comes down to insecurity that there is a part of his life the S.O is not part of will fully or otherwise. Then you have the man himself – he only entered into any sort of relationship with you because he was pursuing you. Whether you realised it or not. And this makes things somewhat uncomfortable. Especially when you genuinely are oblivious that there is some sort of transaction in place – that in fact, no good deed going unpunished. This isn’t a friend offering you a lift. This is just another transaction that puts good credit in, which can be used to pay for a reward later. 

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Now to go with the last point, I completely understand that everything is based on a work/reward basis. You do things for the reward, whether that is tangible (go to work, get paid) or by being kind to someone (good feeling is its own reward etc). And this is of course the same in any human interaction. No one does something completely altruistic. There is always a payoff. And just because it makes you feel good to make others feel good is still a reward. So yes, I can see how the confusion can come about. And I am risking repeating myself with this avenue of discussion.

Now, I am not blind to the fact that the idea of friend zoning, or what it means at its very core, is gender less. What friend zoning, or rather the habits that cause contention tend to be at the feet of women. Men will invest time and or money in a woman in the hope that she appreciates him and takes a chance, or as an excuse to spend time with her he will buy or give him time, or because he thinks he can buy her, or simply you get to know someone with no real ulterior motive and fall for them and it is not reciprocated. So I guess in this paragraph I just sound a little pissed on behalf of my gender. And of course, we have plenty of pop culture references to show us how women use their wiles to capture a man, even if it is just to pay some bills. How to Marry a Millionaire anyone? 

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I get it, some women will abuse a man and take what she can get, hell there are even sugar daddy websites now that allow these sorts of financial transactions to take place. I would still suggest that you wouldn’t offer what you can’t afford to lose. My argument against the term is not that it doesn’t exist. That there aren’t people who won’t try and get their pound of flesh. No, they will. But it isn’t simply to with sex – friends, family, co workers? There will be people in your life that will try and squeeze what they can from you and will be offended if you suggest that there should be some balance in the relationship.

Friend zoning, or the many ideas behind it, nuances, mean that it is indeed very difficult to pin point as almost everyone has their own idea behind it. But for me, it is simple, Friend zone is a term used by a man to suggest that having a woman as a friend is a runner up prize. To suggest that because all that was invested, was no enough, that having a friend is not enough. Nothing will ever be enough. And this, I hate to say it, comes down to male privilege. It is Broke Turner and all those that came before him, and those who will come after him. That believe that if they invest in a woman, she should be grateful for the attention and become supplicant. That any woman who turns down the advances is then to be shamed and the blame placed at her feet, SHE friend zoned. It was an act that she deliberately and with premeditation, chose to do. Just because you masturbated to her FB profile picture, did not mean that she was similarly attracted or even aware that this was the cost of being in your friend circle.

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Am I angry that women are made to feel like shit because of something that they can’t control? Because male privilege suggests that women should be conditioned to react favourably to any attention levied on them? Damned right I am. That a few women, who are used to knowing that most men (and a bunch of women) that they meet will want to fuck them, use it to their advantage? That this nullifies my upset of the term and everything that it represents? That there are guys shooting up entire dorms on university campus’ because they got turned down by someone? Oh baby, please. It isn’t even a question. The actions of the few does not speak for the many. 

Making someone feel guilty for not reciprocating is not fair, or justified. 

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The Parallel Doctor

Are we all clutching our pearls…… got the smelling salts at the ready? And emails open to be directed at various institutions including the venerable B.B.C?

The new incarnation of the Doctor has been announced and …. SHOCK. ABJECT HORROR. It appears that they have chosen to pick a woman? What on earth are they thinking with this monstrosity? 

The memes (littered through this article for your amusement) have been interesting, tongue in cheek, downright silly. There has been a massive backlash against men about this casting. In the same way we saw a massive backlash against men when the new Ghostbusters movie was announced, leaked, promoted, and eventually, released. Looking back on it, this might have been why Wonder Woman was released with a whimper and not a fanfare.

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I am questioning a lot of the complaints levied at the new Doctor. Personally, not heard of the actor and honestly in a role like this – that is a good thing. Hands off Americans with your wanting well known actors to carry everything. It isn’t always about how well known an actor is. 

Now, before we go on, I best just say this. I have not really watched the ‘new’ Dr Who. And by that I mean anything really after McCoy. And boy, do I remember the geek baying for blood at the idea that there would be a further regeneration… there is a CANNON PEOPLE! A CANNON! Artistic license is not allowed! You see, we have had an entire fandom rise up in disgust… the very same fandom, over changes to something they love. 

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But what I found interesting, from my own news feed is that … well thankfully no one was bitching about the new Doctor. But they were railing against detractors. And that it was mentioned a few times, how disgusting it is that women were complaining about the new Doctor is female. I mean we are all a sorority, a sisterhood, we should be raising each up… right? 

But if I am able to just look at the Ghostbusters analogy that I cobbled together rather briefly, yes, it comes down to gender. But in so much as the detractors, of the detractors are focusing on this rather than the actual issue. The issue is rarely clear cut. With Ghostbusters, there were legitimate concerns over casting, about the story, the direction, Ghostbusters to many of us is a movie that we grew up with, and still love to this day. So it is hard to see it potentially butchered. I have to say potentially, I haven’t watched it. I don’t plan to. None of the trailers appealed to me. But it was and to a degree, is okay for me to say, because I am female. But a guy saying the same will be accused of hating women, being anti feminist, I won’t go on.

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Now, the same can be said about the new Doctor, in so much that the arguments against her being picked are not, in fact, anything to do with her gender. There were 2 very strong candidates. One was a leak from a BBC source, Kris Marshall was a hotly tipped contender with some even suggesting that he has won the role. For some reason, I am not sure where this came from, Tilda Swinton. I really don’t care for the first (My Family should have quit while it was ahead and ditto the BT adverts… see, a pattern!) and the second, I just couldn’t see being a good fit. But, what I am trying to say, in a particularly round about way,  is that it isn’t personal, it isn’t about gender, it is upset over a favourite not winning the race. These are fans that have been debating this for quit some time, debated, weighed, considered many options and but all their hope behind a particular actor. That all comes crashing down with the announcement of someone who wasn’t even on the radar for most (if not all) interested parties. 

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So, I am going to express an unpopular opinion. THIS IS NOT A FEMINIST ISSUE you are beating the wrong horse with this one. We don’t have to agree someone or something is a good thing based on gender. We are allowed to reserve judgement on how suitable someone is until they actually show us their chops, acting or otherwise. We, feminist, non feminist, person with no real agenda, is allowed to say… y’know … not really thrilled by this announcement… and not be beaten down for disrespecting the new Doctor based on her gender. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BRAS IN THE TARDIS! 

Now, just to switch up the conversation a little, I am actually excited for the Christmas special! Like I said earlier, I haven’t really been watching the recent incarnations of Dr Who, I have seen enough but certainly not a fan. I am also blissfully ignorant of this actress. But I am curious to see how the writers play this, especially considering we saw the release of Wonder Woman this summer. And what I loved about Wonder Woman is her heart. She cared, about people, all people, humanity, she loved, and felt. It gave depth to a movie that easily could have just been a bunch of people fighting each other for supermacy. But is this what the writers are planning for the Doctor? The Doctor is an alien, who does not have the same agency as a normal human. We have foils in the guise of the Doctors companions to give human agency and emotion. 

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I am not trying to suggest that the detractors who genuinely have concerns based on the gender of the new Doctor. I am actually really, honestly, looking forward to this new Doctor. Because I really want to see what she brings to the role, what the writers do. I am not alone, and I am going to suggest that the Doctor Who franchise has won over as many disenfranchised fans as it may have lost. 

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You’re so pretty when you smile….

So, I have… for reasons known only to journal keepers, been keeping my mental health journey updated here on my blog. I always feel strange whenever I do this because, it is not something I am particularly open about in most other forums.

So, I quit my, not badly paying, relatively speaking, I was comfortable, job working for the NHS which had security and a basic salary… to well.. what exactly. That is indeed the question.

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Now I am working part time in a salon and have had a lot of fun changing up my hair – going through various pink hues, and most recently a blue.

So, to anyone looking on, it looks like I have given up on being an adult, adulting in general, and decided in typical millennial fashion, to be selfish. Because we can’t all run away with the circus as much as we may want to. We have to suck it up, keep trucking, whatever else is thrown at us to keep us going.

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But you see, the world has and is changing, there is no ‘job for life’, it is rare to be able to stay in the same town, or even county of birth, that your family is within walking distance. That you don’t work 40+ hours a week with little, no or negative financial compensation. And that we are looked upon as craven when we suggest that we might want some sort of compensation for working long, unsocial hours. When we turn to social media for support and companionship, but have to remember to be careful what to share because social media is as often as not a screening tool for employers, the degrees of separation are now narrower so you never really know how is able to keep tabs on you.

Now, this blog has the potential to run away from me, so I won’t dig any further, the previous paragraph should give you a taste. It might seem silly that something like social media has such ‘power’ but it is what it is.

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So yes, after a lot of fighting, soul searching, realisations, and reflection, I quit a job in the NHS. There was a lot behind it, a lot of upheaval, stress, bullying – and I realised that as much as I want to be a people pleaser, not to let people down, pride and vanity didn’t allow me to make a bad job or just walk away… But I did. I walked away. And what is something that people almost immediately said ?

You seem so much happier, you are smiling. You look more relaxed.

Such a seemingly simple thing. That thing that people often bandy about, that people shout in anger, that people suggest in frustration. Just quit your job, we are often told when complaining about a bad day. Then you have the worry about what your partner, your family, your friends will say. Will they be judgemental, will they look down at you, laugh at you, will they understand? Or will they just see it as yet another symptom of being a millennial, without the skill set to cope with real life?

Remember. Your. Smile.

Because it is far too easy these days, in an effort to keep up, do everything, remember to eat, to work out, to finish that project, to try out that new restaurant, watch that film, hang out with people that you haven’t seen in a while. It is easy to let things just, slip by.

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Speaking now, it has been a year since I threw all the paper work up in the air and shouted ‘FUCK IT ALL’ while strolling out of the NHS. Well not quite what happened but it is certainly how I would like to remember it.

I really won’t lie, it is hard, so hard. I am working less, earning less, working in a completely alien environment that I also love. I love my work. It is rewarding, I love the people I work for. Of course, I could get another job or 2. But then I would end up in the same place I was this time last year. Juggling jobs, not getting a moment to stop, pause, enjoy life.

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So I guess, I sound like one of those pesky millennial snow flakes, not able to handle being a grownup, running away with responsibilities. But screw it. I want to be happy. I still see people I have worked with, and they still tell me I am happier. I see people I worked with, who just don’t seem happy at all. I honestly understand that not everyone is in a position to change things up on a whim (and trust me I didn’t do it on a whim) but on the other hand, only you can change your circumstances.

Revising Childhood

So it is that time of year, we are over the last year and all the trauma, we have either completely ignored or already forgotten our resolutions. We are realising the fresh new year is already nearing the end of it’s first month.

Have you noticed the nostalgic posts gathering steam? First FB photo versus current profile, memories, anniversaries of albums or lists of albums? I will freely admit I did a round of albums that meant something to me as a teenager. Which lead me to the following conclusion. I have really great taste in music. And I am old.

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You see, I totally understand looking back at what was, what might have been, could have been. And we are now far enough removed from 2016, but still close enough that we are reflective. We look at where we are, what we have managed to do, what have we changed in the last 12 months. Did you do anything we meant to do?

In our show this week (17th Jan) we were looking at age, and the question on what you would tell your teenage self. And what is age?

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One question that was asked on the show – perfect age. I mean you can totally over think this, look at your experiences at different ages or project where you wish or expect to be at a certain age. Me? 25 – I always default to being 25, I know, I know – you are all shocked to hear I am even that old. But why do I default to that age? Well to be perfectly fair it used to be 21, but I realised that I really couldn’t pull that off any more. I mean is there an age where you can honestly, hand on heart state that everything, EVERYTHING – and I mean the fucking planets aligned and angels sang a chorus, was perfect? Guessing the answer is no. But it isn’t really the question Audrey was asking. It wasn’t directed at our own experiences, but rather at the perceived age that we need to or want to be to gain what we need/want. So yes, I still stand by 25. Because it is long enough to get an education, and have experience. Although when I reflect at being back in a minimum wage job, I wonder at my life choices.

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Now when we look at what we would have liked to have known as a teenager, what life, experience, wisdom, age and reflection has taught us? Well.. nope. I wouldn’t. I may well be in the minority in this. But as much as there are several missed opportunities in my life, both work and love. I have moments, I am sure we all do, where we think about what might have been. But that is a fantasy and not reality. Because… and my not so inner hippy coming out now – life if a journey. The person we are today is a product of everything we have been through up to this point. So to change even one thing, will have a massive consequence. It sounds simple enough to say ‘be more confident’ ‘you will do the thing’ ‘don’t go out drinking instead of studying’ but actually… that all leads you to the person you are today. And by dwelling on what might have been, or what you should have done, you are missing a very important point. You are the only person who is responsible for your journey. And you need to realise, accept and understand this.

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Now something that I want to round this out with, perceived age, what you needed to or should have done, and actually dating. For me to say I will date someone younger than me. at my age? Not an issue. I have got to an age now that I would say that there are much more important things than age when looking at a partner. When you are say, 20 the issue is slightly more … obvious. So while we could white wash age, and state it is just a number, I think the point that we miss is that we need to have LIVED to be able to do that, and no amount of soul search, reflection or wishful thinking will help that. With age comes wisdom. We are able to make informed choices, we are basing them on experience not just our own, but experiences our peers have gone through and that we are able to critically analyse.

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What I am slowly getting at, in a way so round about you probably didn’t see it coming is that we need to stop assigning such importance to age. Age, like maturity, is not something easily assigned. There is no right time, no end time, no cut off point.Equally there is no point in looking back and wishing. All we can do is be flexible in our approach to all things and know that we are the architect of our destiny and journey. Blame can be placed no where else.

With that in mind – be at peace with what has been. It is in the past and has become part of the person you are today. But you can do nothing to change the past. You are though, in control of your future – ENJOY!

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Fighting Fit part 5

So after an extended break from Combat Training, I went back last week (8th Jan 2017) and I can be totally honest…. I was terrified. I had been pushing myself at the gym but am finding it difficult without a P.T or gym buddy. However, recently I have found that I wanted to go to the gym. I have been honest in that I enjoy working out but often when you work long hours, over several different projects – the need or desire to just have down time can be a difficult call to ignore.

But I digress – Combat training. I had tried to up my cardio because I had felt after the last session that this was letting me down. More so than the strength. My stamina, and endurance was going to hobble my ability to continue. So I made a real effort to work harder and faster. And hoped it would make a real difference.

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Well… I should not have been surprised when I found this was just not the case at the first session of 2017. You see, at the Combat Academy, they sessions are never alike. There is never a real indication before the day of what will happen, or who in fact will be there. I have managed to avoid classic self defence classes prior to this. I had had some martial arts training (see Fighting Fit part 4 ) and done enough boxing to be relatively confident that a self defence class would hold no interest. The stereotypes around them do nothing to help my feelings toward them.

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So of course, there I was thinking that it would be lots of cardio, jumping up from the floor, running, jumping, changes of position. No. Well. Now really i should have seen this coming. In my last session it was made very clear (more so than in previous sessions) that old habits would be broken down, and I would become .. I want to launch into some speil about fighting machines which says as much as the type of movie I watch as anything else. But what we are looking for is breakthroughs and confidence. Where I will laugh or giggle to deflect from my short comings, real or imagined – this needs to stop as it hinders training and pushes back the breakthrough.

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Last week, well last week we went back to basics, we concentrated on grapples, on distance and what to do either to bridge the distance and to gain space. We also were reminded of Mohammed Ali – you know… float like a butterfly? Lots of dips, weaves and avoiding. We also worked on kicks or knees. What did I learn? First to change the knee and placement because all that happens is that you end up with a massive cumulative bruise on your knee. And that I needed to work on back strengthening exercises. Ironically i had started doing yoga  as part of my workouts so this was a simple fit. Once I could actually move again.

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Something that again was addressed was that killer instinct. I guess I am wording it wrong, I don’t mean the will or want to kill or end a life. But the ability to engage in the moment and put aside any feelings of self consciousness, or girliness, embarrassment. That worrying about what you look like, sound like, what others think… it is not something that should be on or in your mind at that moment. The point is that in combat training it is a safe space and place in which to practise real life scenarios. And if you can’t get into the correct mindset there and then… what is the possibility that you will be mentally prepared to do so if you happen to find yourself in such a situation.

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That is as simple as it gets, when I am being shouted at, pressure tested, when I am getting punched on the nose because I dropped my block. It isn’t because I am being belittled, or berated, or payback. It simple is to try and make sure that in a situation where it might we be do or die, I don’t black out, breakdown or freeze.

So I really do encourage your all to hunt out your local Combar Academy, and get down there to try it out. It isn’t a case of people being mean to you or trying to change you fundamentally. It is teaching real life skills in order to protect you.

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Fighting Fit pt 3

So… just finished watching One Killer Punch which aired on Channel Four on 22nd November 2016.

Why did I watch it? Honestly, I don’t watch my T.V and certainly not terrestrial programming. But one of my Combat Academy buddies highlighted it as something that would be worth watching.

I assumed it would analyse self defence and the idea of bar brawls gone wrong in a very macho and masculine way. In the same way that I also have preconceived notions about what the atmosphere would be like at my first combat training session. So clearly I refuse to learn. Although I stand by this, because I also like surprises and would hate to always be right.

But what can I saw about this show =it is available on Channel Four on demand for the next month so you can watch it either on TV on another device.

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The fact is, men and women have completely different cannons when it comes to self defence and what it means. To women, it comes down to protecting yourself from unwanted advances. Men however often have prove themselves to both their friends, their peer group and complete strangers. They need to protect their friends and family as well as their own ‘street cred’. From a young age, boys are taught to fight, that strength is the currency that will get them through life.

Now what struck me watching the show, is how differently every situation was and how differently every person in that situation reacted. The show was promoted on This Morning and a big deal was made about the wife of a solider who was killed, had forgiven his killer. I was fairly dismissive of this before I watched the show. But I am jumping the gun.

The first story centered around a young man who had got into an altercation following a night at a house party. It wasn’t even the person he was chasing that was hit, and it was the fall, not the punch that was fatal. But what I found quite distressing, is the anger and resentment that the victims family still hold for him. It was filmed interestingly with the tone clearly against the young man, and his seemingly relaxed attitude to the entire situation. But he defends himself well.

self-defence3

In the second, we have an altercation in a car park – it is over a misconception and someone who clearly is quick to temper. Watching the police interview, he is very concerned about appearing guilty and what the evidence is showing him. The story he offers is so very different from both that witnesses suggest and in fact the CCTV offers. Although showing compassion early on, as the evidence mounts against him he grows more insistent that he has done nothing wrong, that it was all the victims fault. The filming and recordings are weighted with no sympathy for the aggressor, his situation or the outcome.

The final, the one that the program has been leading up to, it is difficult to watch. That isn’t to say that the previous two stories were easy, I was in tears before the first story was over. But it is the way it is presented. This last one, unlike the first 2, the narrative is positively weighted toward, the perpetrator? Is that the right word? Or as the victims father calls him, the murderer. The are similarities in both men’s (prep and victim) upbringings, both having been raised by their fathers. But that is where the similarities end. One assumes, it really wasn’t explored. But both have fighting backgrounds, and that is their undoing. Their reaction to a situation was down to muscle memory. They reacted the way that they had been trained to react.

self-defence2

And that really is what it comes down to in self defence. How many of us have done some sort of martial art, or learnt some fighting skills (okay mostly guys I guess) and with that comes a trained reaction. This is actually why self defence and combat training is so important. And why it is important to reprogram your brain.

It doesn’t matter if your years of Tae Kwon Do don’t even begin to translate to a real life situation, if your Kick Boxing expertise won’t help in a brawl, or your Wing Chun is not a realistic option in the real world. The fact is, you will automatically fall into a comfortable stance and if you have learnt how to punch, and punch well, then in all likelihood that is how you will react without a second thought. And that is where you get into trouble. You see, self defence is exactly that, if there is even the slightest hint that you were becoming or had been the aggressor, it ceases to be a good defence. And if there is any suspicion that your reaction was more than adequate in the given situation …. again you will find yourself in trouble.

So, I would suggest, BEFORE you find yourself in a situation that required you to defend yourself, young or old, you need to get down to a Combat Academy centre. There are plenty around the country, and it will teach you how to defence and how to remove yourself from a situation. It will retrain your reactions, natural and taught so that you hopefully are well equipped if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in such a situation.

If you want to find out more CLICK HERE

Read, Read, DEAD

Couple of weeks ago I have the pleasure of having, internationally renowned author – Mr T W Brown talk to the radio show. It was a bit of a big deal for me as I love his work. I first came accross TW Brown’s work as part of an anthology. I am a voracious reader, and after all the Publishers Clearing shops closed locally, I was  really finding it a very expensive hobby to keep up with. But I received a Kindle as a gift – there were initial reservations over owning one. I like, I love books. I love the gorgeous books with illustrations and pretty finishes. I love notes inside the cover. I adore picking up a book and having all the memories attached flood back.

Not a picture of me but pretty close :

books2

A kindle is like a tabloid paper, disposable, quick, easy, requiring minimal effort, and I honestly was concerned that authors would be missing out on earnings. So what I am about to say is probably shocking. There are a great deal of anthologies available on the Kindle for either nothing, or around 99pence. The idea of these anthologies, I gather, is that you discover an author and the first in a series of books that he has written. Once you do this, your end of the bargain (for say getting 10 books for 10 pence each) is that you follow up this relationship and buy the rest of the books in the series at full price.

Which seems like a fair exchange when you think about it – and it worked out well for me in this case. I won’t lie, there are a lot of books you will wish you never had the misfortune of reading. But there are going to be gems. 

books

TW Brown has a few different series, all in the ‘horror’ genre for want of a better word. The first series that I read was the ‘Zomblog’ chronicles which are exactly what they sound like – they are a series of books written in a diary style depicting the end of the world as we know it. Once I came to the end of the series, I desperately started looking around for something to fill the void. What what do I find? Well the lovely TW Brown has obliged his legion of fans with another zombie filled, post apocalyptic work in which to dive into. The DEAD series is again, captivating. You get sucked in, and every chapter focuses on another individual (and by extension group) and how they are managing to survive and yes, if you are thinking George RR Martin, you are correct. Once I (thought) I had got to the end of that series – I am exhausted just recounting this – he has a further series which is a somewhat different change of pace. This series – That Ghoul Ava which is more, Tom Holt in its consideration. It is a perfectly normal and relatable world – it just also includes the Supernatural fraternity. It is very enjoyable, seeing creatures that you have always suspected exist coming to life. 

aomblog1

Now as you may recall, I recently did  review on Simon Bestwick and one of his zombie lit books in  A fresh Undead. I wanted to clear something up before I go any further. Simon is a clear voice amongst the dredge in the zombie lit genre. As is TW Brown. They have very different writing styles and it works well. There really is no comparison between the authors. Simon for example, if one of the few British authors that I enjoy. I am not sure what it is about British authors, writing about a place that I know. Maybe that is the problem, I know it too well and I don’t know what I see, or maybe it isn’t what I expected. When I read a book based in a foreign country (planet etc) then it adds a layer of escapism? I don’t know what it is, and really.. does it matter ? Go pick up a book and find out how you find it! 

zomblog4

Now, TW Brown chatted to us about his work for our halloween show, if you want to see me fangirling over it there is a video on the show FB page (link at bottom), and we got to know  him a little better and his process. Simon chatted to us about reviews and how important they are. I am currently reading DEAD:Onset so I will do a review on this book in the hope that you have picked up one of his books before I finish.

zomblog5

What I hope you take away from this blog is that – authors are people as well, they can be awesome people. In fact they often are. But like us all, they have an ego and need to be reassured that they are doing a good job. So for that reason, once you have read on of their books (both TW Brown and S Bestwick have a great back catalogue), I know they would appreciate you leaving a review so that others are able to see how much you enjoyed the books but that the authors themselves are able to gauge how good a job they are doing entertaining us. 

I do have something special for those of you that prefer to listen to audio books – if you would like some more information please do not hesitate to drop me a message 🙂 

Here are some important likes for you all :

LifeStyle:MK Halloween special ft TW Brown

LifeStyle:MK Reviewing the Situation ft Simon Bestwick

TW Brown Amazon profile

Simon Bestwick’s Amazon profile

LifeStyle:MK facebook page

Read, read, Undead

Couple of weeks ago I have the pleasure of having, internationally renowned author – Mr T W Brown talk to the radio show. It was a bit of a big deal for me as I love his work. I first came accross TW Brown’s work as part of an anthology. I am a voracious reader, and after all the Publishers Clearing shops closed locally, I was  really finding it a very expensive hobby to keep up with. But I received a Kindle as a gift – there were initial reservations over owning one. I like, I love books. I love the gorgeous books with illustrations and pretty finishes. I love notes inside the cover. I adore picking up a book and having all the memories attached flood back.

Not a picture of me but pretty close :

books2

A kindle is like a tabloid paper, disposable, quick, easy, requiring minimal effort, and I honestly was concerned that authors would be missing out on earnings. So what I am about to say is probably shocking. There are a great deal of anthologies available on the Kindle for either nothing, or around 99pence. The idea of these anthologies, I gather, is that you discover an author and the first in a series of books that he has written. Once you do this, your end of the bargain (for say getting 10 books for 10 pence each) is that you follow up this relationship and buy the rest of the books in the series at full price.

Which seems like a fair exchange when you think about it – and it worked out well for me in this case. I won’t lie, there are a lot of books you will wish you never had the misfortune of reading. But there are going to be gems. 

books

TW Brown has a few different series, all in the ‘horror’ genre for want of a better word. The first series that I read was the ‘Zomblog’ chronicles which are exactly what they sound like – they are a series of books written in a diary style depicting the end of the world as we know it. Once I came to the end of the series, I desperately started looking around for something to fill the void. What what do I find? Well the lovely TW Brown has obliged his legion of fans with another zombie filled, post apocalyptic work in which to dive into. The DEAD series is again, captivating. You get sucked in, and every chapter focuses on another individual (and by extension group) and how they are managing to survive and yes, if you are thinking George RR Martin, you are correct. Once I (thought) I had got to the end of that series – I am exhausted just recounting this – he has a further series which is a somewhat different change of pace. This series – That Ghoul Ava which is more, Tom Holt in its consideration. It is a perfectly normal and relatable world – it just also includes the Supernatural fraternity. It is very enjoyable, seeing creatures that you have always suspected exist coming to life. 

aomblog1

Now as you may recall, I recently did  review on Simon Bestwick and one of his zombie lit books in  A fresh Undead. I wanted to clear something up before I go any further. Simon is a clear voice amongst the dredge in the zombie lit genre. As is TW Brown. They have very different writing styles and it works well. There really is no comparison between the authors. Simon for example, if one of the few British authors that I enjoy. I am not sure what it is about British authors, writing about a place that I know. Maybe that is the problem, I know it too well and I don’t know what I see, or maybe it isn’t what I expected. When I read a book based in a foreign country (planet etc) then it adds a layer of escapism? I don’t know what it is, and really.. does it matter ? Go pick up a book and find out how you find it! 

zomblog4

Now, TW Brown chatted to us about his work for our halloween show, if you want to see me fangirling over it there is a video on the show FB page (link at bottom), and we got to know  him a little better and his process. Simon chatted to us about reviews and how important they are. I am currently reading DEAD:Onset so I will do a review on this book in the hope that you have picked up one of his books before I finish.

zomblog5

What I hope you take away from this blog is that – authors are people as well, they can be awesome people. In fact they often are. But like us all, they have an ego and need to be reassured that they are doing a good job. So for that reason, once you have read on of their books (both TW Brown and S Bestwick have a great back catalogue), I know they would appreciate you leaving a review so that others are able to see how much you enjoyed the books but that the authors themselves are able to gauge how good a job they are doing entertaining us. 

I do have something special for those of you that prefer to listen to audio books – if you would like some more information please do not hesitate to drop me a message 🙂 

Here are some important likes for you all :

LifeStyle:MK Halloween special ft TW Brown

LifeStyle:MK Reviewing the Situation ft Simon Bestwick

TW Brown Amazon profile

Simon Bestwick’s Amazon profile

LifeStyle:MK facebook page