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It’s a Duty, not a Hobby

Training, it shouldn’t be a hobby, a pastime.

It shouldn’t be something you do to lose weight or feel good about yourself

It should be a mission, a calling. It should be your duty.

I’ve trained since I was 11 years old and I can’t imagine not training. In that time I’ve cycled across countries, run marathons, lifted heavy weights, fought in martial arts tournaments, swam in the ocean, climbed mountains, rode bikes and boards down mountains. I’ve worked nightclub doors and trained lads to work in even mire hostile environments than the city centre on a saturday night.

Sometimes I train because I simply enjoy it, other times because I have to. But I always train. I couldn’t face the possibility of a situation occurring and me not being able to pull out all the stops to deal with it. Situations like the time while working a door I spotted a gang of beggars eyeing up a womans handbag and I let them know not to carry out what ever they were thinking of. The time I was walking home after a night working a door and walked around the corner into a mugging, I was able to chase of the muggers, retrieve the victims handbag and escort her to safety. Situations like when my own dog, a pup at the time was attacked by a much larger dog and I leapt in prepared to take out both dog owner.

There was the time that my pregnant wife slipped and I was quick enough and strong enough to catch her. The time she rang me while pregnant with our second son, she needed me in a hurry and I had the power to cycle across town at the drop of a hat to get to her.

I’m no hero, I take all these things as part of my duty. I am after all a man and a man should do these things.

I was brought up on old fashioned action stories. I grew up with Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, the A Team. I read Batman and other super hero comics and wanted to emulate the actions and philosophies of the characters.

On TV when I was young there was a show called the Krypton Factor. It was a quiz show with a difference. The winner was the person with the highest over all score after a series of tests including Mental Agility , Response tests (often in the form of a flight simulator), Physical Ability (in the form of an army assault course where injuries were common, one contestant broke an ankle on the course, but still crossed the finish line), Intelligence tests which could apparently take hours to complete (edited down for TV of course) and a quick fire General Knowledge round. It was a real test of a persons all round ability, strength of mind and body. The winner was crowned “Superperson of” whichever year.


These days what do we have? Big Brother and Come Dine With Me, talentless individuals who are famous for sniping behind each others backs. Where is the positive influence in shows like these? In the Krypton Factor, you wanted to join in and become Superperson.  It would mean that you, even just for a brief moment in time were living the life of the heroes in the films and books you read.

If you are of a similar age to me (I’m 34) then you probably listened to the stories your grandparents told about the war. Your own parents probably struggled as they grew up in the post war era and as they raised you.

All around me as a young fella there were positive influences, heroes to look up to. Either actual people, comic book characters or on the TV. People who constantly strived to better themselves. And it left an impression.

I realised, pretty soon after taking my first Karate lesson aged 11, that this is what we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be the best we can be. Not just in one area, but all round. It is our duty to emulate our hero’s, in doing so we may become them and inspire the ones who come after us.

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the work of Georges Herbert (more on him here) who thought that Courage and bravery should be included into physical training. He famously outlined 10 principal areas of physical training:

Walking, Running, Jumping, Quadrupedal movement, Climbing, Equilibrium (balancing), Throwing, Lifting, Defending (martial arts) and Swimming.

Add to that some intellectual training and you have the recipe for a well rounded and useful member of society. Georges would say “Être fort pour être utile” which translates to “Being strong to be useful.” Not a million miles from the Taoist belief that I learned alongside my own Martial Arts studies that states that one should better ones self to be more useful to those around you.

Essentially, if you better yourself, you raise the average of your immediate sphere of influence. You place yourself in a position to help out as and when needed, you are also in a position to inspire others to better themselves.

I’ve two boys now, a 3 year old and a 3 month old. The eldest has seen me teaching self defence, he’s seen me lifting weights, he’s even joined in, you can see him in action here:


He was also recently been teaching his Granny the Turkish Get Up!

Training is not optional.

Training is not a hobby.

Training is a duty.

Training is a way of life.

Need motivation? Click the Image

What have you done today that has made you a better, more useful person?

Will you have completed the day stronger? Faster? Better prepared to defend yourself or your loved ones? Will you have learned something new today? Or applied some new knowledge? Or will you have helped someone else today?



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