I grew up in a small village in the north of England, a working-class community largely built around the local mining industry. My Dad had a weight bench and some barbells/dumbells in the spare room and I used to watch him as he trained sometimes. Back in the 80's movies stars such as Arnold and Stallone were many peoples' introduction into the world of fitness, bodybuilding mainly, and we were no exceptions.
As I child music was, and still is, a major passion in my life; I used to play guitar obsessively and was very creative. I was also very skinny and because of this and my long hair I was bullied quite often. One day something just 'clicked' and I started training, I said to myself that nobody would ever bully me again. My first exercise program consisted of 500 pushups and 500 situps every night. Pretty basic, but in time I started to put on some weight. Then I started reading a book written by Arnold in 1978 called 'Arnold's Bodybuilding For Men' that I found laying around the house. I read it over and over again and started following the circuit program he described within.
And that was me for over 10 years. Bodybuilding. I wanted to get as big as I possibly could. I never got in any fights as I am a very calm, peaceful person by nature and my appearance and shaved head probably put off any potential bullies. I didn't train any cardio; I trained hard and always gave 100% but my goals were to lift weights and nothing else.
Then I saw films like 'The Bourne Identity', 'The Hunted' and while I was searching on Youtube I came across a Discovery Channel documentary about Diony Canete and Escrima in the Philippines. I was fascinated! I'd never seen anything like it before. I was living in Prague at the time and managed to find a Personal Trainer who gave lessons in Modern Arnis and Kickboxing; I was hooked and started training with him 3 times a week and also doing group kickboxing classes twice a week. I started to realise that size means nothing if you don't know what to do with it and true strength is as much mental as it is physical.
It is a journey with no end in sight; I will always train and strive to improve and I am forever grateful that I am able to share my passion with other people.