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JASON HOWARD

“Its real, its powerful, its built on simplicity and natural subconscious movement, and it’s invaluable.”

Nearly two years ago I was turning 40, I had started smoking again, it was January and I had just got off crutches after 3 months, due to breaking my ankle in 3 places and having metal plates screwed in (I was on a fishing trip with my uncle and basically slipped down a bank- don’t ask!).

2 years before that I had lost half the use of the thigh muscle in my right leg after 10 years of serious back problems culminating in having discs removed due to nerve damage. These were the most recent injuries I’d had; let’s just say I’ve not been the luckiest person when it comes to hospital visits.

So there I am, 40, injured again and feeling a bit sorry for myself, I own my own small office supplies business, and spend most of my day sitting behind a desk eating the wrong foods. I had put on far too much weight and was out of breath at every turn. For a few months I was beating myself up about changing my life around before it’s too late (for those that aren’t 40 yet, that’s when it hits home for a lot of people and a period of self-analysis begins.)

“Its real, its powerful, its built on simplicity and natural subconscious movement, and it’s invaluable.”

After much deliberation I decided to do something about it and make a change. I stopped smoking, I changed my diet around totally, and begin eating fresh produce with minimal fat and no sugar. After 10 years of putting it off – I joined a pilates class to strengthen my core and get rid of all associated ‘postural’ aches and pains. This wasn’t quite enough however, I still needed to tone up and get a little fitter in the process. I had tried the gym for a year or two, but I always found it boring and hated going. If you don’t have
passion for something you won’t get the best out of it, that’s a fact.

So I was looking for an activity to do. My best friend had become a black belt at Kung Fu at Uni and I was always a bit jealous of that. The world we live in today can be a mean place and like all men I wanted to feel confident I could protect my family effectively if the need arose. It dawned on me I ould learn to protect my family and get some activity at the same time. My son who was by now 9 had been attending Karate lessons for 4 years. But to be honest, donning a Gi, going bare foot and needing a lot of balance, and kicking high, wasn’t a bit of me. I ‘googled’ and stumbled across Krav Maga, there were some local classes; you wore a t-shirt and bottoms and socks and trainers. Why? Because that’s what you’ll be wearing when you’re out in the real world with your family!

My first night I was nervous to say the least. On arrival I was made to feel welcome. We did a 10 minute warm up (I managed to keep up) and whilst about 30 other men and women of all shapes and sizes were training techniques, I got some one on one time with an instructor called Paul. What a nice bloke (wouldn’t tell him that though). I honestly felt like I’d found a second home. They ran 5 classes a week over evenings or a Saturday morning, and I could attend as little or as many as I liked dependent on my commitments. I was absolutely astounded how much I didn’t know about protection and more importantly how to conduct myself to NOT get into trouble and be supremely effective if I had to as a last resort. I was amazed, and after just 3 lessons my whole psyche had changed, I felt calm and confident. That was just 3 lessons!!

Its real, its powerful, its built on simplicity and natural subconscious movement, and it’s invaluable.

Nearly a year on now, I’ve passed my level 1 grading, and I am taking level 2 in two weeks. There is no pressure to grade or not. I can do a few press ups, sit ups and squats. I’ve lost over three stone. I feel much more confident, feel more assertive and have a little sense of pride. But more importantly I’m enjoying it. That’s the bit I like the most. I actually enjoy it, and made a lot of new friends to boot.

So, if you happen to be reading this, stop thinking about it. If I can do it, you can do it… see you in class!

Jason

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