Hard target.. (´・_・`)

The problem with Karate is that if, for whatever reason, you miss out a week or two it seems like you go back to square white belt.  Any semblance of co-ordination goes out the window, and the most basic of principals are assigned to the part of the brain that’s also responsible for you microwaving the bowl of sugar and pouring milk into the tin of coffee… I wouldn’t mind half so much but I can’t have coffee any longer anyways!

However that said I have managed to come up with a variety of fresh and exciting new karate moves, the pinnacle of this being my use of unusual parts of my body to block a punch.

…Let’s put it this way; I was speechless and the young lass who was partnering me is now educated as to the real meaning of “cock-blocking”.  I think Gichin Funakoshi missed a trick what THAT particular move; She couldn’t hit me for laughing, ergo she was incapacitated!

Andy getting physical

Ah well, at least I can work on my katas, how bad can they be?



Life is hard.

Not the most inspirational of openers there, but one worth saying.

It’s all self inflicted I know…

…well some of it, other bits seem to be WAY out of my control and the control of those people working on my behalf.  You can’t help but get a little overwhelmed by it all sometimes.

I did once say that we all live two lives; the ones we show in public, and the one we live in private.  Some people didn’t entirely agree, but I still stand by it.  How many of us have answered “I’m fine” when asked “how are you?”, knowing full well the lie behind the answer?

As per my usual modus operandi, I am listening to WAY too much music and this seems to drive the current mood rather than act as an agent of change

“Maybe I’m wrong
Or maybe I’m right
Maybe it’s just too late but this is keeping me awake all night.
Maybe say yes or maybe say no
Maybe I’m just too shy to admit that it is time to go.”

If I was a braver man I’d let others know how I feel, but a strong streak of self-deprecation, and maybe an ingrained ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude, puts paid to that fantasy.

Get knocked back enough and we all start to believe the message told to us, even when told differently by the majority.

“Maybe believe
Or maybe don’t care
Shit, maybe there is no god in the big white clouds up there
Maybe live long
Or maybe die young
Or maybe live every day like it’s your last day under the sun.”

Now I don’t claim that any of this is in any way unique to myself.  Trawl facebook enough and it soon becomes evident that it’s ‘almost’ fairly universal.

However, when all is said and done, I am at heart an optimist.  I just sometimes give myself time to wallow a little in self pity, moon from afar all that is unattainable and then get on with my life.  This is just one of my ‘wallow’ times.

Even the ‘uncontrollable element’ doesn’t control how I go forward, much to the irritation of some of the aforementioned helpers, and maybe to some detriment to myself.

“We go out on our own
It’s a big bad world outside
Carrying our dreams and all that they mean
Try to make it all feel right.”

I will continue dreaming, even though most of them will ultimately come to naught, otherwise what’s the point in all of this?

There’s no far reaching, and enlightening, conclusion to all this re-arranging of the fluff in my umbilicus, just a process of clearing out the mud bath ready for the next wallow…. whenever it comes ;-)

Big Bad World – Kodaline [In A Perfect World]

~ Big Bad World by Kodaline (from the album ‘In A Perfect World’)

Challenging routine

Not entirely sure why “here” has decided that we’ve been having it all entirely too easy, but the daily showering routine can be summarised as;

1.  Enter ridiculously small shower cubicle.

strong shower2.  Confidently twiddle with shower controls. Alternate between “drooling” and something that a Northern Irish policeman would be proud of during marching season.

3.  Accept fate and go with semi-cold dribble.

4.  Utilise shower gel and shampoo that’s been scientifically researched, finely tuned to our special requirements and sensitive nature. Accept that whatever herbal name is printed on the bottle, it will smell of fly spray.

5.  Suds Up!

6.  Turn around and accidentally turn off the shower with arse, scrabble around for control whilst shampoo blinded (yes I do still use shampoo) and turn shower back into riot control mode. Try to control that and shower curtain starts getting all intimate. Unsuccessfully control shower curtain and drop shower gel, attempt to pick that up and bang head on wall whilst shower curtain visits a place no object should EVER visit.

7.  Violently twist away from curtain and yelp when nether regions and shower control high-five each other. Shower turns to freezing violence again.

8.  Add new and exciting phrases to the Anglo-Saxon lexicon. Retreat.

baby in sink9.  Accept defeat and resort to plan B…

Screaming at the wall

Just a blissfully short post today, as I don’t know where else to post this.  Posting it on facebook seems a little “look at me, me, me” recently and I really don’t want to start wallowing in self  grandstanding, I’m also starting to regret this blog becoming somewhat more public than I had envisioned it would be.

An old ‘friend’ has come back to visit and I just feel like screaming at a wall.  That, or cry in the same direction.

I hate this feeling.  I hate the knot of frustration and anger that ties my stomach up.  I hate.  I hate?  I hate being this tired; tired from keeping this level of anger, frustration and the need to keep it internalised…

Wall Screaming

…but internalised I will keep it, apart from on here, cos that’s the nice thing to do.  As a friend once put it; I’m FINE (Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional).

Seems apt.

Blue skies from pain

Sometimes it’s better to say nothing and just let the music wash over you in silence.




This week has been too bloody weird for words.

…Well almost too bloody weird for words, if it was “too bloody weird for words” this would be a blissfully short blog post.

I’m not entirely sure if I am just a magnet for weirdos and/or weird conversations, or if it’s that I am just more keenly aware of the ridiculousness around me – which probably says more about me than the situations I witness/get involved in.

Baby vs Water Hose

The problem comes when trying to verbalise this.  How do you, for example, write about some fellow user of the work’s urinal approaching the toilet and not-so-much peeing into it but having what can only be described as an uncontrolled yellow explosion, without coming over a little…. weird?

He was apologetic, I had wet shoes and a somewhat alarmed look.

..Or coming across a rather attractive young lady, also at work, struggling to pull open a door that was clearly marked “Push”.

I like to think I’m a polite person, but I struggle to know which is the correct expression to put on one’s face when, after informing her that she needs to push the door, she comes back with “Excuse me, but I had to pull it when I came in from the other side earlier!”

Answers on a postcard please.

kokutsu dachi…Or what shade of red is the most appropriate to blush to when, after providing some help to a more mature lady just starting on her karate journey on where to place her hands when dropping into kokutsu dachi (answer as I explained to her; just below your sternum or “on the bra line” as it had been explained to me by a fellow female karate-ka), she comes back with “What if you have droopy tits?”

Not entirely sure to be honest, or what the best tack is to take when asking that of Sensei.

I think the icing on the cake though was the out of the blue message I received from a young lady of my acquaintance, during my usual insomniac late nighters, which read “Did u know Dolphins rape ppl :O“, then closely followed by “Google it!

Now I’m a self professed idiot, but even *I’M* not idiotic enough to go googling that particular phrase.  Also, I prefer my pornographic material to be somewhat more mainstream than that don’t feel that sort of thing is appropriate.

The fact that the person in question went as far as establishing that the aforementioned dolphin’s prefer their victims to be male and had taken the time to find videos of this was also a little bemusing.

…and the only thing that I can think of after all of this?  I don’t have enough bewildered expressions in my repertoire to continue noticing this stuff.


Tingling Spidey-senses!

Sometimes, although not as often as one would like, the marketing hype behind a product actually does seems to live up to the claims that it makes.  Although not necessarily in ways that you actually imagined them *TO* work.

What am I wittering on about?  Well, I bought one of those compression tops n’ bottoms that athletes wear, and with them the promise that wearing them would reduce aches n’ pains.  What’s more they’ll help me lose weight!  RESULT!

Wear a rather fetching, albeit eye-poppingly tight, bit of spandex under my Gi and suddenly my weight will begin to drop?!  In which direction do I throw my money?

Not entirely sure all my aches n’ pains are taken care of, but that may be more due to my Sensei and fellow Karate-Ka unduly using their fists and feet on my bodily parts.  Maybe I was hoping compression wear was more armour than something that hugs one’s unmentionables somewhat more intimately than is entirely appropriate.

However!  The weight loss promise is ENTIRELY justified!  These things will absolutely, one hundred percent, fully guaranteed help you lose weight!

Muscled Andy

When you put these compression wear thing-a-ma-bobs on, you feel absolutely heroic.  You feel toned, you feel buff as the top clings to your contours and shows off your years or martial arts dedicated and honed body.

You also can’t help but look a little further down your body and think
.oO( whoah! Oh YEAH! ).

Not gonna explain that much further, just use your imagination…. or better still, DONT!

Unfortunately you then catch a reflection of yourself in a mirror and the full horror of what you ACTUALLY look like hits you.  The resultant unbidden thought of “I really, REALLY need to go on a diet” finally makes its appearance.


The heroic self-delusion has been replaced with something far more undesirable.

Honestly, where did all those flabby bits of flesh appear from?  More alarmingly, where did half the bottom of the compression wear disappear to?

*sigh* diet it is then, and I must finally get my carcass up early enough in the morning to actually use the rowing machine I purchased a week or so back.

The only highlight, and thing that still makes me chuckle, is the look of pure horror on one of my fellow karate-ka’s face when a to-remain-unnamed member of our club let slip that he thought it was probably better to wear underwear under the compression wear bottoms.  The picture of her widening eyes and head dropping into her hands will remain with me forever :D

Blowing sunshine and rainbows


KumiteI’m not liking my karate at the moment.

The style and what’s being taught is not the issue, just my unique interpretation of what’s been patiently passed onto me.

My kicks aren’t good enough, flexibility is an issue, stances need a lot of work and after reviewing the awesome books and videos by Iain Abernethy, it’s obvious that I need to go back to square 1 and actually LEARN my kata.  As Sensei Bob McCracken said in a recent seminar; “You shouldn’t move onto the next kata until you’ve learnt the pattern, correct stances and UNDERSTOOD the bunkai and application of that kata”.

Visiting other dojo’s in the region and seeing how karate should be practised, and taught, has only reinforced this personal reflection.

Now this isn’t a “I should quit” posting, I’ve been practising the art WAY too long and have been bitten WAY too hard by the bug to give in.  That, and giving up is no bloody answer at all.  Just wondering if the skills I possess are sufficient enough to aid others on their journey.

Methinks I need to find someone who won’t blow sunshine and rainbows up my arse, faint praise isn’t what I’m looking for, and either kick the aforementioned orifice or confirm my conclusion.  The problem is… I don’t know who that is.


New year, new me

Well 2013 is rapidly approaching and as per usual I have decided that cometh the new year, cometh the new me… or at least a vague set of promises will be made by yours truly to improve my lot and bring unto the world the new, improved, shiny and sexy Andy.

It’s pretty much the same promises that were made in previous years, and will probably end up in the exact same place the last set of resolutions ended up.  But I am a stickler for tradition and, if truth be told, an optimistic dreamer – one day, oh yes, one day the vision WILL be realised!

Rather than the somewhat vague promises of yesteryear, that can be summarised down-to 1) Get fit/slim, and 2) Get better at Karate, I have decided to be somewhat specific!  So ladies and gentlepersons I present to you my New Years Resolutions for 2013;

  • Get my weight down to 85kg (13 and a bit stone).  After the Christmas excess of booze, turkey, sweeties and biscuits my weight has ballooned up-to 94kg (nearly 15 stone) which is WAAAY to porky for yours truly!

    And, in a mood of being VERY specific, this target weight needs to be lost by July.  I’m not entirely sure what’s a safe amount to lose per month, but this should be somewhat achievable (by someone of stronger will and character than mine!)


  • Do 30 minutes of exercise every morning.  There is an underlying, and somewhat unsaid, attempt to become ripped!  BEEFCAKE BABY, YEAH!
  • Master the sweep.  I will figure out how to sweep like a ninja master, oh yes..

…and there you have it, my three resolutions for 2013.

I shall be taking pics of my travels from porky middle-aged crisis’ee to slim-buff godliness, but you’ll be thankful to hear that I shall place them elsewhere that you are unaware of – can’t be having that kind of horror loose on the young and innocent!


Another year nearly done, another Christmas party under my belt, another set of photos circulating on facebook that tells far more in pictures, than I could put into words, what a complete and utter Muppet I am.

It’s a good thing I have a pretty low opinion of myself otherwise this sort of thing would get me down.  That said, and for reasons I can’t really explain to myself, the ‘Prince Charming’ video (trust me, you had to be there) and attached comments kind of made me… I don’t know, but let’s just say I haven’t been able to watch the video, and probably never will.

Idiot in a kilt with a hat

This has been a looooong year for lots of reasons and a little letting down of hair, what there is of it, is something that needed to be done.  Although the plan was to get ever so slightly blathered I can’t even begin to claim I was anywhere near this state after just two pints of Magners!  Even I’m not that much of a lightweight, and I *AM* a lightweight when it comes to the fizzy pop, which I think makes the aforementioned pictures worse!

Yep, this is me SOBER!

I am, however, somewhat proud of the way I managed to control myself and keep things “family friendly” whilst a 20-something female colleague bounced around on my lap during some of the fun-n-games of the night.

Andy's babe

Legs together, make sure nothing untoward is underhand and think of England!  Love her to bits, but she does know how to cheekily make a 40-something idiot get… actually, let’s just leave it there…

It’s a good thing I’m an idiot with his feet on the ground, especially in that kilt!

There’s no great overriding theme to this blog post, or even an actual point to be made, just a splurging words on the page as I try to get the creative juices flowing and actually finish a ‘book’ that I promised a friend.  I’ve been my usual self in prevaricating and being a little sporadic in my updating of certain chapters; some of the questions are HARD!

…Which I wasn’t, even under severe provocation – GO ME!