When I was 18 I wrote to a new martial arts author called Geoff Thompson. Previously Geoff had annoyed me with the articles he was producing for the martial arts magazine I bought. I grew up in showbusiness right in the middle of old family circus culture and then via a business shift by my parents into film work. Therefore, movie stars, pop stars and other mainstream celebrities never really phased me much. They were accessible to a certain degree. However, living out in the sticks meant there weren't many martial arts clubs or at least there weren't many good ones, certainly not those taught by my heroes in the magazine I had religiously collected since I was 13. Now this new character on the block, Geoff Thompson, seemed to be really upsetting the proverbial apple cart by debunking popular ideas relating to how martial arts worked in real life. He was a doorman who had written about his experiences working the doors in 1980s Coventry in a book called "Watch My Back" and his conclusions were a very bitter pill for many in the martial arts world to swallow.
Then I had another reality check and in a short episode discovered that the stuff I thought I loved about martial arts didn't work for me and what I'd learnt from my circus background did! Geoff was right, but I felt a little shellshocked at the time and needed some support. So I wrote to the man seeking new knowledge. He replied to me with a handwritten and deeply considered letter. The correspondence continued and I became converted to the Geoff Thompson revolution! His work made the same impact on me that Bruce Lee did to the generation before me.
11 years later and I met Geoff for the first time as a seminar and would go on to train under his coaches, host seminars for them and eventually get an instructorship under Geoff in his self-defence system. We became friends and I have just recently written the forward to his latest book. The following link is a reflection on his first feature film, released this year, "Clubbed". http://www.clubbchimera.com/?p=543